UPDATE 1-Tennis-Nadal confirms comeback at Chilean Open

Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:02pm GMT

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(Adds Nadal quote)

SANTIAGO Jan 17 (Reuters) - French Open champion Rafa Nadal will make his long-awaited comeback from injury at next month's Chile Open, the Spaniard confirmed on Thursday.

The ATP had already announced he would take part in the Brazil Open the following week.

"I'm delighted to confirm my participation in Vina del Mar in Chile," Nadal said on his Facebook page.

"I would like to thank the organization for the invitation to play there and say I've got a lot of fans in the country and finally I'll be able to go there to see them and play my first tournament after the injury that got me out of the circuit for so long. Thank you and see you in Vina."

Chile Open organisers described Nadal as the "best claycourt tennis player of all time" when announcing that the 10-times grand slam champion would be playing.

Nadal, who has not played an ATP tournament in south America since 2005, has been sidelined with tendinitis in his left knee since last year's Wimbledon tournament in June.

His hopes of returning at the Australian Open were dashed by illness.

Nadal's long absence from the circuit means he could drop outside the top four in the world after the conclusion of the Australian Open.

(Reporting by Javier Leira; editing by Rex Gowar and Mark Meadows rex.gowar@thomsonreuters.com; 44 7905 733628; Reuters Messaging:rex.gowar.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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