By Aaron Hindhaugh •
Updated: 11 Oct 2023 • 12:30
Rafael Nadal set for tennis return at Australian Open
Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal is set to make his long-awaited return to the court early next year in the Australian Open.
Former world number 1, Nadal, has not been seen on a tennis court in a competitive sense since early January having undergone hip surgery that’s seen him even strongly hint at retirement in 2024.
The Spanish legend is certainly coming toward the end of his career being 37 years old now, however, he is hoping to go out with a bang if 2024 is to be his final year by returning for the January Australian Open alongside several other stars.
It’s been a tough 6-12 months for some of tennis’ superstars having experienced injuries as well as mental health problems that have seen them miss time on the court, but the first major of 2024 is set to be a blockbuster one.
This is because, alongside Nadal, the likes of Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Australian favourite Nick Kyrgios are all set to make their return to the court in January for what is always a very exciting tournament.
Craig Tiley, the tournament director has revealed the exciting news to tennis fans in the last few hours that he’s spoken to the 2022 Australian Open champion and confirmed he would take part in January.
He said: “We can reveal exclusively here that Rafa will be back. He’s been off for most of the year and in talking to him over the last few days he confirmed he will be back, which we’re really excited about, the champion of 2022. That’s awesome.”
Nadal spoke earlier this year about the battle he’s been facing following his hip surgery and that he envies the way Novak Djokovic has looked after himself throughout his career, enabling him to still be at the top of his game this late into his tennis career.
Having won 22 major titles, Nadal will go down as one of the best to ever grace the sport, but next year could indeed be his last, although the prospect of playing doubles with fellow Spanish national, Carlos Alcaraz, is certainly something that has him excited.
It’s shocking to see for people who grew up watching and being in awe of Nadal that he is now ranked 240th in the world, but he will be eager to prove that ranking number wrong and reclaim his title.
The last time Nadal managed to win the Australian Open was against Daniil Medvedev in 2022 and he also made history in the process by becoming the first male player to come back from two sets down in a final to win the game.
Nadal will be looking towards someone such as Andy Murray for inspiration about how to come back from injury as he enjoyed a solid summer showing on tour despite his high-profile injuries and setbacks.
It will be a shame for one of Spain’s heroes and tennis legends to go out with a whimper in 2024, so everyone can only hope the year taken out has done him the world of good and will enable him to be competitive in all the majors moving forward.
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Qualified and experienced journalist covering all aspects of news and sport. Specialist in both Men's and Women's football with increasing coverage of golf and tennis.
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