Rio de Janeiro: Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal said that he will play in February’s Rio Open on his ‘favourite’ clay surface.

The 14-time Grand Slam winner won the inaugural edition of the ATP 500 event in 2014 before being eliminated by Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the semi-finals of this year’s tournament.

“The Rio Open is an important event on the tennis calendar in a special country,” the 29-year-old said in a statement on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

“I have developed a great relationship with the Brazilian public over the last two years and I love going back there,” Nadal said.

Nadal endured a frustrating 2015, failing to win a Grand Slam for the first time in a calendar year since 2004.

The 2016 Rio Open will be played at the Brazilian Jockey Club from February 15 to 21.