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Rafael Nadal will play Chile Open, return earlier than expected

Rafael Nadal will play the Chile Open before heading to Brazil. (Robert Marquardt/Getty Images) Rafael Nadal will play the Chile Open before heading to Brazil. (Robert Marquardt/Getty Images)

Fans who can't wait to see Rafael Nadal come back from injury and play in late February at the Brazil Open will get a sneak peek of the former top-ranked tennis player in a few weeks.

[PREVIEW: Nadal among players looking to rebound in 2013]

Nadal announced Thursday morning that he will play at the Chile Open which starts Feb. 4 in Vina del Mar in Central Chile's Pacific coast, according to an announcement by organizers of the event via an AP report.

The appearance will mark the first time he will play in a tournament since June. He has been rehabbing tendinitis in his left knee and had been scheduled to play an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi in late December but ultimately opted to sit out because of a stomach virus that also forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open.

The Chile Open will mark the third tournament in February in which he plans to compete; he is also scheduled to play the Brazil Open on Feb. 11 and the Mexican Open in Acapulco on Feb. 25. He won both of those tournaments, the Brazil Open and the Mexican Open, in 2005.

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