World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will compete at the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires in February, a tournament he last played eight years ago.
The Spaniard, now 27, lost in the quarterfinals of that event in 2005, in what was his second-to-last defeat on clay before embarking on a mind-boggling 81-match winning streak on that surface.
He also plans to play another clay-court tournament in February in Rio de Janeiro, where he will be joined by countryman and world No. 3 David Ferrer.
"It was an incredible feeling when I was (in Buenos Aires) in November (for an exhibition) and I'm very excited to play the Copa Claro once again," Nadal said in a video uploaded to the event's official Web site.
The tournament's director, Argentine Davis Cup captain Martin Jaite, said Nadal's presence would be comparable to that of Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten when he played - and won - the tournament as the world's second-ranked player in 2001.
"But no doubt that considering what he means at the moment, Nadal is an even bigger deal," Jaite said of the 13-time Grand Slam champion.
Nadal played in relatively small clay-court events in Chile, Brazil and Mexico early this year, looking to ease into the 2013 season after a seven-month injury hiatus.
The change in his normal February schedule worked wonders, as the Spaniard used those events as a springboard to his eighth French Open championship and second U.S. Open title.
His outstanding season on both clay and hard courts also enabled Nadal to wrest away the No. 1 ranking from Serbia's Novak Djokovic.