Nadal handed Argentina Open wildcard

Rafael Nadal will defend his Argentina Open title after accepting a wildcard to the tournament.

The Spaniard had not been due to play at the Buenos Aires event this year, but following his first-round exit from the Australian Open he has changed his schedule.

A trip to Argentina presents Nadal with the chance to enjoy the first taste of clay-court play this year, as he prepares for the French Open in May, an event that may prove to be a strong indicator as to whether Nadal can still compete with the best in the game.

“I want to thank the organisers of the Argentina Open for giving me this wild card to play in Buenos Aires,” the 29-year-old told the ATP website.

“The times that I’ve played in Argentina have been special and full of good memories because the people are some of the best in the world.

“I asked for this wild card after the bad result in Melbourne and I hope that Buenos Aires will once again be the start of a good run for me. I will try my best to make sure it is.”

World number six David Ferrer will be the top seed at the event.