World number two and French Open Champion Rafael Nadal of Spain has set his eyes on the elusive Chennai Open ATP title to start the 2008 season on a winning note.
The 21-year old Nadal, who won his third straight title at the Roland Garros this year, has confirmed his participation for the South Asia's premiere ATP tournament which is in its 13th edition, the organisers said in a press release today.
On his third appearance in the Chennai Open in last five years, Nadal was confident of making a good start to the new year with a title win here.
"I lost in the semifinals last time and I hope to win my first Chennai Open title this year. I had some injuries this year, but I am confident that I would make a good start to the New Year and improve my performance, playing in this tournament," Nadal said.
"It feels great to be coming back to Chennai. I like the crowd and their enthusiasm and support and they always push you to give your best," said the Spaniard, who won six titles in eight finals in 2007, including the Rolland Garros and ATP Masters Series at Monte Carlo where he defeated World No.1 Swiss Roger Federer.
Nadal had lost to eventual Champion Belgian Xavier Malisse in the 2007 Chennai Open semifinals. Earlier, he had pulled out of the 2006 edition due to injury while on his first appearance in 2004 he made a first round exit.
However, he went on to clinch his first career title, claiming the doubles crown partnering compatriot Tommy Robredo.
The USD 416,000 Chennai Open ATP Tour tennis tournament is among the three season openers along with Adelaide and Doha events to be held in January.