Rafael Nadal firms up plans for Australian Open return
Rafael Nadal appears to be on track for an Australian Open comeback, with reports from Spain claiming he has solidified his plans for the coming weeks.
Nadal has essentially missed the whole season due to a hip injury and he underwent surgery in June to correct the problem.
Even then it was unclear whether the surgery would be successful, and there have been significant doubts for months that he would be forced into retirement.
However, Cadena SER report Nadal will soon travel to his academy in Kuwait to increase the intensity of his training – before going to Australia after Christmas.
According to the report he will also look to play at least one warm-up tournament before the Australian Open, which he last won in 2022.
Earlier this month at a tennis clinic in Barcelona, Nadal ramped up the optimism about his return by saying he was, for the first time since surgery, ‘confident’ he would be back.
“I sincerely believe that I will return to play,” he said.
“I can’t say at what level I’ll be able to return, but I’ve never lost the desire to play and now it seems that things are going in the right direction. I’m not ready to say whether it will be in one place or another, but I’m happy with how things are going.”
Australian Open ‘certain’ Rafael Nadal will play
Much of the speculation about Nadal returning in Australia has been driven by Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.
He has given a number of interviews in which he has addressed Nadal’s recovery and expressed his confidence that he will be in the draw for Melbourne.
Nadal has always distanced himself from those comments, specifically saying he would be the one to confirm and announce his plans, no one else.
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Tiley, though, has continued to promote Nadal for the Australian Open, including last week.
“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day, because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” Tiley said. “He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”
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