Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2021

‘Let’s see’ – Rafael Nadal reveals concerns ahead of attempted comeback

Rafael Nadal has described himself ‘super happy to be back’ as he prepares to go again in Dubai, but he admits he is entering the unknown.

The 35-year-old has not played since August when he finally succumbed to a long-standing foot injury.

He will make his return at the World Tennis Championships exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Friday, where he will play either Andy Murray or Dan Evans.

However, he has admitted he has had to reduce his expectations of himself while he finds out whether he is still able to compete at his previous level.

“I am super happy to be back,” Nadal said. “It’s not about pain. I had pain a lot of times during my career, almost all the time, it’s more about having the chance to have a pain that I can manage to compete well.

“Let’s see. I need to try it in competition. Of course, I am feeling better, if not I will not be here. I know the comeback will be not easy. I don’t have big expectations now.

“My only expectation is to be here, to play in front of a great crowd again, to feel myself competing again against great players, and then enjoy.

“It has been a very tough period of time for me, honestly, so just to be here is great news for me.

“I really hope the foot is going to get better and better to be again at the level that I want to be.

“If I am able to play with no limitations, I want to fight again for everything, so that’s the goal.

“My experience says that things change very quick. What today seems impossible or almost impossible, nobody knows what can happen in one month.

“It’s going to be super difficult for me. If things are going well, I’m only going to play one tournament before Australia and these two matches here so the amount of hours on court at the competitive level before such a tough and demanding tournament like Australia will be not much but the main thing is still always the same – be healthy.

“If I am healthy, I still have the interior fire to keep going and to fight for my goals.”

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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.