Rafael Nadal roar

Rafael Nadal confirms return to tennis: “It will be my first tournament following a long period without playing’

Rafael Nadal has confirmed his return to tennis, revealing he will play his first competitive match since February in Rome this month.

Nadal won the US Open in 2019 but decided not to defend his title this year due to safety and scheduling concerns.

He started the year reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open and then won in Acapulco, Mexico, in February, but he has not played since.

However, in a video message played at the launch of the Italian Open, which starts on September 14, Rafael Nadal shared positive news.

“The Foro Italico is always a special place for me and even more so this year as it will be my first tournament following a long period without playing,” he said.

According to tournament organisers, 19 of the world’s top 20 male players will play the tournament, with the only exception being the injured world number four Roger Federer.

Serena Williams is currently on the list of women entrants, although she has hinted she may rethink plans to travel to Europe after the US Open.

WTA world number one Ashleigh Barty will not be there, though, after she confirmed she was ending her season early because of fears surrounding safety.

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.