Rafael Nadal - Brisbane International 2024

Australian Open boss ‘planning on seeing’ Rafael Nadal next year

Rafael Nadal has elected to withdraw from the upcoming Australian Open, but tournament director Craig Tiley has suggested that the Spaniard could be back next year.

Nadal revealed on Sunday that he was ‘not ready’ to play at the Melbourne major due to a ‘micro tear on a muscle’, as he prepares to be at his best level in three months.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion made his long awaited return last week at the Brisbane International, impressing in his open two matches before feeling pain in the quarter-final defeat to Jordan Thompson.

Nadal has previously implied that 2024 is likely to be the final year of his career, but Tiley still appears to have hope that the two-time champion will return to the Australian Open, “I’m absolutely planning on seeing him next year.”

Tiley continued, “I’m planning to see him tonight [Monday] for a private catch-up, as we always do before he leaves town in the next few days, and I’ll ask him that same question. But Rafa is the kind of player who, as long as he’s fit, and feels like he’s healthy, and can play, he’ll be out there playing – he loves to play.

“Of course, we would love to have him back in Melbourne, under any circumstance, whether he’s playing or whatever else he’s doing … we will provide him every opportunity to come back and play.”

It is the first time that Nadal will miss the Australian Open since 2013, after admitting that he does not feel ready to play best-of-five set matches.

And Tiley has empathised with Nadal’s reasoning, “To win the Australian Open, you’ve got to play seven [best] of five-set matches, over the two weeks, so I think he thought that he wouldn’t be able to withstand that. Rafa being the kind of player [he is]; he’s not going to enter an event unless he knows he is 100 percent fit to win it.”

It is currently unclear as to when Nadal will be returning to the ATP Tour, but the main draw of the Australian Open will definitely begin on Sunday 14th January.

Inside the baseline…

Rafael Nadal could probably have played the Australian Open and depending on his draw may have won the opening couple of rounds. However, like Craig Tiley said Nadal has that champion mentality and doesn’t want to just show up to a tournament knowing that he is not feeling at full fitness. Hopefully Nadal will be able to come back to the Australian Open, as his last appearance at the tournament ended in unfortunate circumstances.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.