Rafael Nadal is in first round action against wildcard Go Soeda at the Japan Open in Tokyo.
Nadal is on course to finish the season ranked in the top two for the seventh consecutive year, an astonishing achievement. However he has not won a title since lifting his sixth French Open crown back in June.
Nadal will be strong favourite in Bangkok this week with no Novak Djokovic to spoil his chances of defending his title and he's confident ahead of his first round match.
“For me the motivation is high and it’s always exciting to come back to every place around the world, but especially when you come back and you won last year, the memory and emotions are higher," Nadal said. "Last year was an important victory for me. I’m back here and looking forward to go on court, practice, know a little bit about the conditions this year and try to feel good as soon as possible.”
Soeda is ranked 118 in the world and with the field this strong, he had to rely on a wildcard to make the main draw. The highest he's ever been in the rankings was 90 earlier this year and he does not have nearly enough in his game to trouble Nadal.
Prediction: Nadal in two.