More details on Nadal's Chile trip:
Rafael Nadal's presence in Chile may well be considered to be the most important visit here by a sports personality in recent years. Despite his star status, the Mallorcan has made no problems about carrying out the various activities he will have during his stay in the country, his first stop on his return to the tennis court, after seven months without playing.
"Rafa" will be arriving in Chile on February 1st, shortly before 10 am, accompanied by: his father, Sebastián; his uncle and trainer, Toni; his manager, Carlos Costa; his press agent, Benito Pérez-Barbadillo; and his physiotherapist, Rafael Maymó. From the airport at Pudahuel, he will be taken to the Palacio de La Moneda, where he will be received by the head of state Sebastián Piñera. After their meeting, he will travel to Viña del Mar, where he will be staying in the presidential suite of the hotel at the Enjoy Casino and Resort.
A press conference has been arranged for 13.30 the next day, in the Club Naval Las Salinas, immediately after the draw, which starts at 12 noon. So, the Mallorcan will not be present at the draw ceremony. It is also planned that he will have his first practice session that morning, on central court, which will be open to the public. This routine will be repeated on the following days. In any event, he will be surrounded by a large detail of security guards, uniformed and plain clothed.
On Sunday 3rd, at 9 pm, he will attend the tournament's official dinner at the house of businessman Jorge Yarur, in Reñaca. In the days that follow, the seven time Roland Garros champion will be involved in promotional activities for Cachantún (sponsor) and the VTR, while on Tuesday 5th, at 3 pm, he will sign autographs. Three hours after that, he will make his debut in the tournament, in doubles partnered by the Argentinian Juan Mónaco.
As the tournament progresses, it is also expected that other activities will be added, like visits to hospitals and tennis clinics for children at social risk. "I think for sure we're going to be able to count on Rafael's presence at sports clinics and also at centres and places where people don't have it so good, like, for example, hospitals," Viña del Mar councillor Andrés Celis advanced.
Visit from his Chilean family
While he is in Viña del Mar, the Mallorcan will be visited by his Chilean family. "They are relatives on my father's side, who left Mallorca for Chile many years ago," said Toni Nadal. In fact, the player's coach confirmed that his nephew was going to be able to meet them. "They wrote me a letter saying they would be coming to visit us," he added.
On the other hand, the municipality of Viña del Mar, the "Garden City", and the regional authorities are preparing a tribute to their famous guest. It was local councillar Celis himself who commented: "I've requested that it should be declared an illustrious visit and he'll be given a plaque to commemorate it. We are also thinking of handing over the keys of the city to him in a symbolic way, because he's someone of renowned quality. As far as I remember, no tennis player with his achievements has ever come to Viña before. Moreover, it's an opportunity that has to be taken full advantage of and he has to be made to feel as much at ease as possible."
Sounds like a pretty big event! You'd hope he doesn't crash out first round for the tournament's sake...
Hopefully this time next week we may get better practice footage to see where his level is really at. Draw matters to an extent too - could get someone like Massu in the first round.