Rafael Nadal French Open 2021

Fans learn when Rafael Nadal will return in 2022

Rafael Nadal has not played since August but is on the entry list for the 2022 Australian Open, though he could take the court sooner.

The last time the 20-time Slam champion took to the court was at the Citi open against South African Lloyd Harris.

Nadal lost in three sets that day, going on to take time out to recover from a foot injury for the rest of the season.

Now, fans can mark their calendars for when exactly the Spaniard can be expected to return to competition.

While Nadal will not be part of the ATP Cup tournament commencing 1st January, he will headline an ATP 250 event in Melbourne starting 4th January.

The 35-year-old is set to lead a strong field which includes former world number four and 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori along with two time Slam finalist Kevin Anderson.

2017 ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov is also scheduled to join the draw.

Other entrants include Reilly Opelka, Alexander Bublik and 2021 breakthrough talent Botic van de Zandschulp.

Nadal’s entry into the ATP 250 event marks the first time he will play an individual Australian Open build-up event in Australia since 2017 (he played the ATP Cup, a team event, in 2019).

In fact such a move is a rare occurrence for the Spaniard, the last time before 2017 being in 2007 when he played in Sydney.

Instead, Nadal has often played the ATP 250 Qatar Open ahead of the Australian Open each year.

Nowadays the event in Doha is played in March, a shift which began in 2021.

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