Rafael Nadal - US Open 2022

Rafael Nadal approaching ‘Father Time’ claims fellow sporting great

Rafael Nadal has been praised by golfing great Tiger Woods, who believes that ‘we should all enjoy watching him compete’ as the Spaniard reaches the latter stages of his career.

Nadal has spent the majority of the 2023 season on the injury sidelines, having picked up a serious hip injury in his second round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open.

However, following surgery back in June, Nadal appears to be recovering well and there have been recent suggestions that he will be present for the Australian Open in 2024.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has hinted that next year will be the final of his career, and Woods believes that fans should saviour these final tournaments.

“Well, I think what Rafa, what he’s done is extraordinary,” said the former golf No.1. “I mean, he won the Australian Open [2022] on a broken foot. The guy is beyond tough and beyond competitive.”

Woods continued, “He knows that Father Time is here. Every athlete faces it. Although in some sports it happens faster than others, and unfortunately, just like every sport, you get aged out. I don’t want to see him go. I never wanted to see Fed [Roger Federer] go, but that’s what happened.

“We should all enjoy watching him compete and watching him play and what he’s meant to the game, what he’s meant to all of us, just to see the passion of how he plays and why he plays.”

Woods, himself, is no stranger to injury setbacks, highlighted by a car crash back in 2021 that nearly caused the American to lose his right leg.

However, after further injury woes this year, the 47-year-old underwent subtalar fusion surgery and is scheduled to make his comeback at the Hero World Challenge this week after an eight-month absence from the circuit.

Inside the baseline…

Rafael Nadal and Tiger Woods are two of the most successful names from their respective sports and it is well documented that the Spaniard enjoys a bit of golf, and vice-versa with Woods and tennis. All the signs appear to be looking in a positive direction in terms of Nadal’s return, with footage being released of the 37-year-old playing practice points this week.

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal firms up plans for Australian Open return

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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.