By Abigail Johnson
- Rafael Nadal returns to the Aegon Championships after injury forced him out last season
- The 2008 champion joins world no. 1 Andy Murray in what will be a star-studded line-up
- The current world no. 6 once skipped the event for three years because of taxes in the UK
LONDON, UK – Australian Open finalist Rafael Nadal has joined Andy Murray in June’s Aegon Championships field, and will make his second appearance at the ATP 500 event since taxes steered him away in 2011.
After a tumultuous couple of seasons, 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal appears back on track following a five set loss to Roger Federer in Melbourne’s final last month. The Spaniard is a former champion at the Queen’s Club in London, defeating Novak Djokovic to lift the Aegon Championships trophy in 2008, and has now been confirmed to make his second appearance in three years at the event this June. His two Wimbledon titles, claimed in 2008 and 2010, both followed good runs at the tournament.
Last season, Nadal skipped the Championships due to the wrist injury that forced him out of Roland Garros. He has competed at the Queen’s Club a grand total of six times, but embarked on a three year hiatus from the event due to tax demands in the UK after 2011.
“I really wanted to play in Queen’s, but the truth is, in the UK you have a big regime for tax,” Nadal explained, as reported by the Guardian in October 2011. “They [HMRC] take from the sponsors, from Babolat, from Nike and from my watches. I am playing in the UK and losing money. I did a lot more for the last four years, but it is more and more difficult to play in the UK.”
Nevertheless, the 30-year-old is happy to confirm his 2017 appearance at the Championships, where world no. 1 Andy Murray will also be present. Nadal will be seeking a first main draw win in six years when the tournament kicks off this Summer.
“I am very happy to be coming back to Queen’s in June,” said Nadal. “Winning the title in 2008 is a great memory for me. The people that organise the event at Queen’s and the British crowds are fantastic, and it is the best way for me to be ready for Wimbledon.”
Stephen Farrow, the Aegon Championships tournament director, added: “Rafa is one of the greatest players of all-time, and one of the most popular ever to play at the Queen’s Club. To be able to add his name to Murray’s in the Aegon Championships line-up – in a year when we are expanding our Centre Court capacity by 30% – is wonderful news for the tournament, our spectators, and our sponsors.”
Last year, the Aegon Championships was voted ATP World Tour 500 Tournament of the Year by the players. This was the fourth successive year that the event has received a tournament of the year award.
The 2017 Aegon Championships will take place at the Queen’s Club, London, from 19th – 25th June.
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