Rafa Nadal back on the clay, takes second at VTR Open in Chile

"I'm preparing to play God," Argentine tennis pro Horacio Zeballos was heard to say this morning. No one argued with him, because Zeballos' task on Sunday was to play a man named Rafa at the VTR Open finals in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Zeballos broke down in tears and collapsed on the clay when he pulled off what commentators called an "improbable" and "impossible" victory over the King of Clay, Rafa Nadal.

Though Zeballos took the title, the rest of the world was treated to a Nadal show like it hasn't seen in many months. Spain's young tennis legend has been off the court since early last summer when his knee gave out on him.

Though he wasn't perfect on Sunday night, it's clear the tennis legend and eleven time Grand Slam winner, is back.


If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you know we often speak glowingly about Vina del Mar, Chile, one of the stops on the Latin American Poker Tour. In fact, Season 6 of the LAPT kicks off in that city in just 31 days.

But this weekend, the city was all about tennis and Rafa's comeback to the game. Having fallen back to fifth in the worldwide rankings, the King of Clay went to Vina del Mar with something to prove. He put on the show on the red clay court and proved that even a seven month layoff couldn't atrophy his talent. The three-set match was tight the whole way. In the end, the relative unknown Zeballos pulled off one of the biggest achievements of his life.

As you probably know, just as the injury sidelined Rafa, he was in the process of learning to play poker. He joined PokerStars, and within the last few weeks won his first poker tournament. Now he seems like he's close to winning on the court, too.

Nadal is now likely to head over to Sao Paulo, Brazil next week for the next stop on the tour and his next chance at winning a title. We, of course, will be watching.

Congrats on a great performance, Rafa. And welcome back.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Rafa Nadal