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Top seed Rafael Nadal has had his first hit out ahead of his Argentina Open title defence, practising with compatriot David Ferrer in Buenos Aires on Monday.
It was the first look at Nadal in action since his first-round exit to another of his countrymen, Fernando Verdasco, at this year’s Australian Open. The Spaniard downed his good friend Juan Monaco to claim last year’s title in the Argentine capital and the pair could be set for a rematch in the second round provided Tandil native Monaco wins his first match.
“I didn’t like at all the defeat in Australia, but that I cannot solve,” Nadal said. “It was a bad tournament. [It] just did not work out despite having prepared very well. So I'm in Buenos Aires to give my best and try to make a better presentation.
“Every season is different, but with the same purpose to fight in every tournament and finish as high as possible in the ranking. I’m happy to return to Argentina, because every time I left this country I did it with a lot of positive energy. They treat me very well here, like few places in the world.”
World No. 5 Nadal has a first-round bye, while Monaco can set up an eighth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with his occasional doubles partner should he get past Italian qualifier, Marco Cecchinato. The pair won the 2015 Doha doubles title together, and finished runners-up at Vina Del Mar in 2013.
“Monaco was injured a long time, so we have to wait if he can eliminate Cecchinato,” Nadal said. “I hope that Juan can win because he is my friend and a victory would benefit him after many days without playing. Anyway, it will be a difficult match for me.”
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