Rafa Nadal announces his return date

PARIS-. Almost a year after his last match, the former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal will return to the tennis courts in January in Brisbane (Australia), in what could be his last active season before hanging up his racket.

“After a year out of competition, the time has come to return. It will be in Brisbane and it will be the first week of January,” declared the former world No. 1, 37, in a video published on his social networks.

Nadal, who has not played since his defeat in the second round of the Australian Open last January, will return to competition in that ATP 250 tournament, preparatory to the Australian Grand Slam.

In his last match, the Mallorcan, visibly handicapped by a hip injury, lost to the American Mackenzie McDonald.

“I don’t think I deserve to finish like this,” the left-hander from Manacor, currently ranked 663rd in the ATP ranking after a year without playing, can be heard saying in the video.

Injuries in Rafa Nadal’s career

The player has undergone surgery twice since then and in September declared that the 2024 season would be the last of his career.

Nadal will try to return to the highest level in Australia, where he won twice (2009 and 2012), but he will have his sights set on his favorite tournament, on the clay of Roland Garros, which he won 14 times.

With 22 ‘Greats’, Nadal is two behind Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Nadal had already experienced a 2021 season hampered by a foot injury, and in the French Grand Slam that year he lost to Djokovic himself in the semifinals, with obvious signs of suffering from physical discomfort.

The following year he returned to the path of victory on the Parisian clay, but had to resort to infiltrations to alleviate his pain.

Appointment with Paris

“I have the hope of playing again, and that for me is a great personal satisfaction. I am not going to win more Grand Slams than Djokovic, but I am going to give myself the opportunity to enjoy myself again,” he explained in mid-November. .

“I think that Novak in that sense lives it in a more intense way than I have experienced it. For him it would have been a greater frustration not to achieve it,” he commented in September about the record of ‘Big’ tournaments.

However, Nadal will have the Roland Garros event marked in red, which he won 14 times.

“But the hope is not to win Roland Garros again or win Australia, so that people do not get confused, all that is very far away, I am very aware of the difficulties that I face, one is insurmountable, which is age, and the other is physical problems,” he said in September.

Nadal’s return to the courts will be an opportunity to glimpse the stature of the generation called to succeed him, Djokovic and Roger Federer, embodied in his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, world No. 2.

But beyond the search for new trophies, Nadal’s first objective will be to leave behind the injuries that have prevented him from performing to the extent of his potential in recent years.

“We know that the pain will never go away, but there has been a step forward,” he said two weeks ago.

“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again one day, and now I sincerely believe that yes, I will play again,” he predicted then.

Thus, the Bisbane hard court, from December 31 to January 7, will see the return of one of the most legendary tennis players of all time.

With 92 titles in his cabinet, Nadal faces the challenges of the four Grand Slam tournaments, as well as the Olympic Games, where he won gold in Beijing in 2008 in singles and in Rio in 2016 in doubles.

And the competition will be held this time on familiar terrain, the clay of Roland Garros, where he could say goodbye to the Parisian public in the best way.