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Tennis: Nadal back in the groove in Rio

Published on Feb 15, 2014 11:51 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - World number one Rafael Nadal will top the bill at next week's inaugural Rio Open as he returns from the back injury that wrecked his Australian Open title assault.

The Spanish star, denied a 14th Grand Slam title in Melbourne by Stanislas Wawrinka, will be the biggest draw for what is South America's only combined ATP World Tour 500 and WTA International event.

The event replaces Memphis in the tennis calendar.

For Nadal, forced to skip Buenos Aires last week as he returns to full fitness, the tournament is an early stepping stone in a claycourt season he hopes will culminate in a ninth French Open crown.

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