MADRID (AP) " Rafael Nadal's debut at the Madrid Open has been pushed back a day because of an ear infection.

Organizers said Monday that Nadal will play his opening match on Wednesday because of the ailment that has been bothering him since Friday.

The four-time champion said he has had trouble sleeping because of the pain, but was cleared to keep playing. Nadal said the infection was "nothing important" but was a "little bit painful."

"I'm still practicing," he said. "It really bothers a lot because (it) is pain all around and on the head. Sometimes you get dizzy a little bit with that. I think it's better to start a day later, to start on Wednesday."

Advertisement

Nadal, who had a bye in the first round, will play his second-round match against Fabio Fognini, who has three career wins over the Spaniard, including one in the 2015 U.S. Open.

The fifth-ranked Nadal has won two consecutive titles on clay, the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open. His last title in Madrid was in 2014.

"Right now I feel fine," he said. "I'm very happy because of the start of the year, not only because of the start of the clay season. I think in general it's been some very good months."

Nadal made it to three finals this year before finally winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He twice lost to Roger Federer, in Miami and in the Australian Open, and also lost to Sam Querrey in Acapulco.

"I needed to win a title after playing a few finals. I'm very happy for having achieved that," Nadal said. "I think what I have achieved in Monte Carlo and Barcelona is something great. It's something very difficult to do. But we are in another very important event here and we have to leave that in the past."

Nadal, who didn't play much last year because of a wrist injury, has won 10 consecutive matches and 21 of his last 22 sets. Next month he will try to win a 10th French Open title. The last of his 14 Grand Slams was three years ago at Roland Garros.

"I think that I'm in a good place," he said. "I've been training and competing well for a couple of months, which is always important. You are always confident when you are in a good place."

___

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni