Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2023

Australian Open CEO ‘certain’ Rafael Nadal will compete at tournament

Australian Open Chief Executive Craig Tiley has revealed that he is ‘certain’ Rafael Nadal will be present at the tournament next year, however he seems less confident about Nick Kyrgios.

Nadal has been out of action since losing to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round of the Melbourne major last year, where he picked up a tear in his psoas.

After undergoing arthroscopic surgery back in June, Nadal has been focussing on recovery for what he has admitted could be the final season of his career next year.

And Nadal, who is now ranked No.662, told the ATP Tour last month that his training has picked up, “I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life.

“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.”

Australian Open CEO Tiley had previously ‘announced’ Nadal’s participation, but the two-time champion quickly shut those rumours down.

However, Tiley has since told Reuters News that he has been in close contact with Nadal and is very confident, despite his premature announcement, “Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us.

“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up. Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”

Kyrgios is another player who has missed the majority of the 2023 season through injury, having played only one competitive match.

The Aussie underwent knee surgery in January and tore a ligament in his wrist prior to Wimbledon, and as a result has fallen off the ATP rankings entirely.

Tiley confessed that Kyrgios is working to return at the Australian Open, but suggested that the 2022 Wimbledon finalist could be doing something else at the tournament.

“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” said Tiley.

He added, “Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health.”

Kyrgios recently began his commentary career for Tennis Channel at the ATP Finals, and it is unclear as to whether he will be continuing this at the Australian Open that begins on Sunday 14th January.

Inside the baseline…

All the signs about Rafael Nadal seem positive at the moment, however the Spaniard seems to be staying tight-lipped until he knows of any definite confirmations for his return date. In terms of Nick Kyrgios, he has revealed that he is working to return but until the entry list for the Australian Open is announced it all seems very unclear at the moment.

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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.