MONTREAL – Tennis star Rafael Nadal plans to return to the courts at the US$3-million Rogers Cup after more than two months sidelined with sore knees.
The Spaniard’s website said he will fly to Montreal on Wednesday to begin preparations for the Aug. 10-16 hardcourt event at Uniprix Stadium. A tournament spokesman said his flight and hotel room have been booked.
Nadal has been out of action with tendinitis in both knees since losing at the French Open on May 31. His coach and uncle Toni Nadal told Spanish media this week that the world’s No.2-ranked player would play at the Rogers Cup.
He will then play at Cincinnati before tackling the U.S. Open, the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments he has never won. It begins Aug. 31 in New York.
“Rafa’s main objective is to start getting ready for the U.S. Open, the last Grand Slam of the season,” his website read.
Ticket sales for the Rogers Cup have been strong despite a summer of uncertainty over the sport’s top two stars, Nadal and world No. 1 Roger Federer.
Tournament spokesman Louis-Philippe Dorais said organizers expect to hear from Federer in the next few days on whether he will play.
The Swiss star has taken a break from tennis while his wife Mirka gave birth to twin girls, but he has targeted a return to the court at the Rogers Cup to prepare for an attempt at a sixth U.S. Open title.
Dorais said that despite tough economic times, ticket sales have been “tremendous” and they may put up a giant screen on the Banque Nationale Court next to Centre Court for overflow fans to watch the final.
He said they hope to surpass the world attendance record for a one-week tournament of 182,252 set the last time the men’s tour visited Montreal in 2007. The stadium court holds 11,437.
Nadal won his second Rogers Cup title last year in Toronto. He withdrew from Wimbledon this year due to pain in his knees after failing to win a fifth straight French Open.
Federer won the French Open and Wimbledon to bring his career Grand Slam total to a record 15, one more than Pete Sampras. His twin girls Charlene Riva and Myla Rose were born July 24.