Rafael Nadal expresses surprise that the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will be played on hard courts instead of clay, given the event is in South America.

The Rio Games will take place two weeks before the U.S. Open, and will be played on the same hard-court surface used in Flushing Meadows to minimize disruption for players. Brazil's traditional playing surface is clay, which the ATP event in Rio is also being held on.

"I am surprised that in a country which has clay specialists the Olympics are going to be played on hard court," said Nadal, who is in Rio for next week's tournament.

Clay is also the nine-time French Open champion’s preferred surface, with Nadal having previously expressed a preference for the ATP World Tour Finals to rotate playing surfaces.

The Rio ATP tournament will be Nadal's first event since the Australian Open, where he experienced some physical problems and was defeated in the semifinals. Nadal said he was fit to play, but expressed some caution about the warm conditions. The world No. 3 is the defending champion.