Posted: Thu January 17, 2013 11:25AM; Updated: Thu January 17, 2013 11:25AM

Nadal moves up return, will play in Chile Open

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Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is slated to fall behind David Ferrer in the ATP rankings and out of the top four.
Jessica Kluetmeier/SI

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Rafael Nadal plans to return to tennis a bit earlier than expected.

Chile Open organizers announced Thursday that Nadal will make his debut in the clay-court event, which starts Feb. 4 in Vina del Mar.

Nadal hasn't played tennis since June, mainly because of tendinitis in his left knee. He was scheduled to play in an Abu Dhabi exhibition event in late December, but a stomach virus forced him to withdraw and skip the Australian Open.

He then planned to return in late February. But on Tuesday, organizers of the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo said he enter the tournament, which begins on Feb. 11. He's also signed up for the Mexican Open in Acapulco on Feb. 25.

He won the Brazil and Mexican titles the only time he entered them in 2005.

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