Former World No.1 Rafael Nadal has revealed the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has provided him with motivation to continue his career beyond the age of 30.
The 11-time Grand Slam winner is competing in both the singles and doubles tournaments at the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo, his second tournament since returning from a seven-month layoff due to a knee injury, reports Xinhua.
“The long-term objective in my mind is to play in Rio in 2016,” the 26-year-old said during a press conference Tuesday.
“I know it’s a long way from now, but it is also a real objective for me.”
Nadal will be 30 years and two months when the Olympics begin Aug 5, 2016.
This week’s event marks the Spaniard’s first appearance in Brazil since winning the same tournament as an 18-year-old in 2005.
It follows his defeat in Sunday’s Chile Open final to 73-ranked Horacio Zeballos 7-6 (7/2) 6-7 (6/8) and 4-6, his first competitive event since Wimbledon last June.
Nadal is partnering Argentine David Nalbandian in the doubles, which began Tuesday night, while he will start his singles campaign Thursday against the winner of the Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo—Joao Souza match.
Despite an encouraging return in Chile, Nadal talked down his chances of lifting the singles trophy in Brazil.
“After so many months away it’s difficult and illogical to think about winning titles,” the 26-year-old said. “Even though my knee continues to hurt me, the doctors say everything is fine and that my recuperation is going to plan.”