Rafael Nadal - US Open 2022

Coach Carlos Moya gives big Rafael Nadal scheduling update ahead of comeback

Carlos Moya has confirmed that Rafael Nadal will skip the South American clay tournaments this year to stick with hardcourt events instead.

Nadal is coming back from a hip injury and he was forced to pull out of the Australian Open with a minor problem this month.

However, he has already confirmed he will return quickly, with Doha in mid-February already pencilled in for his return.

Ordinarily, Nadal would be heading to South America to play the clay events at this time of year, but the difficulties in switching surfaces has led to a scheduling rethink this time around.

Speaking to Punto de Break, Moya said: “Surface changes are not easy.

“While it is true that the clay should be better for the joints, to go from hard court to the clay, to go back to the United States and then again to the clay, we thought it was a little excessive.

“That’s why we chose this calendar, without so much change of surface.”

Rafael Nadal will be ‘a candidate to win’ any tournament he plays

Nadal has been careful to try to manage expectations this year, stressing that he does not know what level he can return to.

There is, of course, good reason for that. Tennis is noxious among sports for requiring a long catch-up period after injury. The difference in level and intensity between practice and matches has seen many a top player struggle to work their way back up the rankings after a long spell out.

And is 37 too, and it’s not something that gets any easier with age.

That said, Carlos Moya believes Nadal could be unique due to his natural intensity level being famously high, and he says no one should be writing him off.

“Rafa reminded me of a bull that has been locked up for a year,” he said.

“You release it and it goes like a beast. He will be a candidate to win the tournaments he plays”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.