Rafael Nadal and Taylor Fritz - Indian Wells 2022

Rafael Nadal being unseeded will ‘be crazy’ claims Taylor Fritz

Rafael Nadal has announced that he will return to the ATP Tour at the Brisbane International and American No.1 Taylor Fritz has reacted to this news.

Nadal has been out of action since the Australian Open this year, where the Spaniard picked up a psoas injury in his second round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald.

And Fritz has responded to the 22-time major winners announcement, “I mean, I expected that, it’s Rafa. I don’t think that he was ever going to just retire and not give it another go, so I definitely, after the amount of time he’s had off, I expected him to come back to start the year. So I think that it’s good news for tennis as a whole.”

As a result of his lengthy absence, Nadal has fallen outside of the top 600 for the first time since 2002 and will need to rely on wildcards or his protected ranking to gain entry to ATP and Grand Slam tournaments, something that Fritz claims is ‘crazy’.

“I think that maybe it’s going to be tough. Maybe he might be a little bit rusty. I think it’s going to be pretty crazy having him in draws where he’s going to be unseeded,” claimed Fritz. “So anybody can play Rafa in the first round, so it’s going to be pretty crazy.”

The world No.10 continued, “He’s Rafa, so I think even if he’s going to be maybe a little rusty coming back or it takes some time, he’s still going to be playing really well and he’s still going to be tough for a lot of guys to play early and draws as well just because of him being unseeded.”

Nadal and Fritz have played each other on four previous occasions, getting two wins apiece, with one of their most memorable encounters coming in the 2022 Indian Wells final where the American was victorious.

However, with Fritz signed up to play the United Cup at the same time as Nadal is in Brisbane, it seems that the next time the two could go head-to-head would be at the Australian Open.

The Brisbane International begins on the 31st December, before the first major of 2024 kicks-off on 14th January.

Inside the baseline…

Nadal’s return has been the talk of the sporting world this week, with many people speculating over what sort of form the former No.1 will return in. Nadal and Fritz have had some big meetings over the last couple of years, with finals in Indian Wells and Acapulco, a five-set battle at Wimbledon and an ATP Finals round-robin match, so tennis fans will likely be excited if they draw against each other once again.

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal announces official comeback date for 2024

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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.