Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has agreed to play for the first time at this year’s Brisbane International in January.
The Spanish ace has traditionally favoured the Middle East to start his new year campaign but will break with tradition and slots in as an unofficial replacement for Roger Federer, who will instead represent at Perth’s Hopman Cup.
“It’s going to be the first time in my career that I’m going to play in Australia the first week of the season and I’m really excited about it, Nadal said.
“I think this is something I have to do during my career and I think at the same time it’s going to be a great preparation to be in Australia early.
“Everybody who has been in Brisbane has told me very beautiful things about the tournament and the place so I want to try it.”
Nadal completes a clean sweep of tennis’ big four to step out at Pat Rafter Arena, with Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all having competed at previous editions.
Earlier this month Nadal teamed with compatriot Marc Lopez to win gold in the men’s doubles at the Rio Olympics and narrowly missed a singles medal.
Brisbane International Tournament Director Geoff Quinlan said the world No.5 was the first of “a very exciting line-up of players we will announce over the coming months”.