Rafael Nadal returns to action at the ATP 500 Acapulco in Mexico

Who will get to wear the famous sombrero in Acapulco next week? Rafael Nadal makes his highly-anticipated return, while Sam Querrey will be defending his crown.

The stars will come out to play on the blue hardcourts at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess in Acapulco with defending champion Querrey joining the likes of Juan Martin del Potro, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and 2016 winner Dominic Thiem at the event.

Nadal, the 16-time Grand Slam champion and last year’s finalist here, is also scheduled to make his return to competition and has been undergoing intensive treatment to make sure he is fit to play.

The Spaniard will be making his first appearance since retiring from his Australian Open quarter-final against Cilic with a hip injury.

Nadal is 14-1 in Acapulco, winning the title twice, in 2005 and then again in 2013, when it was played on clay, but was surprisingly beaten by American Querrey last year.

He lost his status as world No 1 to Roger Federer, who became the oldest world No 1 at 36 years and 195 days when he won in Rotterdam last week.

But the Swiss superstar has opted against playing in Dubai this week, meaning Nadal can close the gap when he returns in Acapulco before back-to-back Masters 100 events in Indian Wells and Miami in March.

Sky Sports’ analyst Barry Cowan is impressed with the star-studded turnout in Mexico and expects it to be highly competitive.

“I loved it last year. The atmosphere is great and the matches are late. I’m also looking forward to seeing Nadal back,” he said. “He needs to try and get his season back because he hasn’t been able to get it going yet.”

We’re covering the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, and ATP 500 Acapulco on www.skysports.com/tennis with news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis.

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