Rafael Nadal intending to play Davis Cup, eyeing 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Rafael Nadal had played one Davis Cup tie last year – against Germany in November. (AP Photo)

17-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he intends to play at this year’s Davis Cup and is also eyeing the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The Davis Cup will be played in its new remodeled, shorter format, which has been ushered in under significant criticism. "I would like to be there, but there are still a lot of months to go, seven or eight months, almost nine," he said on Thursday. "It's very difficult to predict what is going on in nine months, but my hope is to be there."

Nadal had played one Davis Cup tie last year – against Germany in November. The Finals of the remodeled tournament will be played over a week in Madrid in November, with the intention being to attract big players like Nadal to the tournament.

The tournament’s new format, championed by investment group Kosmos led by Spanish football star Gerard Pique, has been slammed by a number of former players and pundits. Additionally, Nadal’s long-time rival and 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer had said in October that the new Davis Cup format is "not designed for me." "No, I highly doubt it, of course. We’ll see what happens," he said about his possible participation.

"I don’t think this was designed for me, anyhow. This was designed for the future generation of players."

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has capped his comeback from injury with victories by winning the Wimbledon and US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open in 2019, said in October that the tournament’s timing is "really bad" and backed the rival tournament ATP World Team Cup.

"I just feel like the date of the Davis Cup is really bad, especially for the top players," said Djokovic. "Between the two, I will prioritise the World Team Cup because that’s a competition of ATP. But also I think and I hope that there will be a larger discussion between the players to understand how we are going to approach these two competitions."