2021 Citi Open: Who Rafael Nadal will play when he returns to the tour

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Here's who Rafael Nadal will play in his return at Citi Open originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Citi Open's top seed Rafael Nadal will play the winner of American Jack Sock and Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in the second round of the tournament when he makes his return to the ATP Tour next week. 

The full tournament field and draw were unveiled on Friday. Even as a Wild Card to the event, the 20-time major champion was granted the Citi Open's top seed.

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Nadal has not played since he lost to Novak Djokovic at the French Open in June. The Spaniard skipped Wimbledon altogether where Djokovic tied Nadal's and Roger Federer's all-time men's mark of 20 Grand Slam singles titles. No injury was announced by Nadal's camp, but it's been rumored that Nadal suffered a foot injury.

Additionally among the Big Three stars, each has taken time off from the tour to just focus on the majors or bigger tournaments.  

Of Nadal's two potential opponents, Nishioka is the higher-ranked player at No. 57 in the world. However Sock - who has not played in the singles competition of the last three majors - was once the top ranked American male at No. 8 in 2017. Combined Nadal is 7-0 against the two in his career.

Related: How the Citi Open lured Nadal to D.C.

The second round match will take place at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 4. Nadal received a bye by virtue of being a top-16 seed. 

Here is Nadal's potential path to a championship based on seed as he seeks his 89th singles title:

Second Round: Jack Sock/ Yoshihito Nishioka

Round of 16: Lloyd Harris (No. 51)

Quarterfinals: Cam Norrie (No. 29)

Semifinals: Grigor Dimitrov (No. 21)

Final: Felix Auger-Aliassime (No. 15)

Nadal becomes the biggest star to attend Washington D.C.'s annual tennis tournament, which took years of work to lure the star. Main draw action for the tournament begins Monday, Aug. 2 at Rock Creek Park.