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Rafael Nadal has prompted 'unprecedented interest' in Citi Open, says tournament chief

Rafael Nadal practicing French Open

Rafael Nadal has 'the whole town buzzing' for his first ever appearance at the Citi Open, says the event's tournament director.

Nadal skipped Wimbledon and the Olympics, but he is set to return in Washington.

It will be the first time he has ever played the event, and the tournament director Mark Ein says his impact has already been significant.

"It is indescribable," Ein said on Nadal playing the event. "I mean the level of interest in this event in unprecedented in our five decades of this tournament.

"The whole town is buzzing, our community is buzzing. Tickets have been sold out the minute they went on sale.

"The extra that we could put on sale, went on sale. And we have a waiting list of 15,000 people who want to come.

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"I think that's indicative of the amount of interest there is in seeing this great icon of our game in Washington for the first time."

Despite Nadal's lack of tennis recently, coach Francisco Roig believes he will be able to get up to speed very quickly and be a huge threat at the US Open.

“Rafa has not played for a long time and it is not easy for him. He trains great, he’s in good shape overall," Roig said.

"I think he can beat [Novak] Djokovic at the US Open.”

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