Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2023

Rafael Nadal ‘hitting strong and moving extremely fast,’ says Holger Rune

Rafael Nadal is in such good condition he gave Holger Rune his ‘hardest practice for half a year’ in Brisbane.

Nadal is poised to make his return to the ATP Tour, starting with Brisbane as a warm-up for the Australian Open.

Excitement at Nadal’s return is understandably high, despite he himself trying his best to downplay what people can realistically expect of him.

However, world number eight Holger Rune has revealed that Nadal is absolutely crushing the ball in practice, as well as moving brilliantly on his surgically repaired hip.

“It’s funny, like after the practice I talked to my team,” Rune told the press in Brisbane. “I thought he played unbelievable.

“We were hitting. He was hitting strong. He always used to hit strong. Then we started points and I thought he was moving very well, moving side to side extremely fast.

“I think the intensity he brings is incredible. I’ve been playing a very intense pre-season and a very intense end of the season last year, and that was probably the hardest practice I’ve had the last half year, I would say.”

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Carlos Alcaraz predicts big year for Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has been doing an awful lot of practice with a variety of ATP players as he builds towards his comeback, as well as posting videos online for his fans to see.

It remains difficult to predict what level he can reach when the actual competition starts, although that has historically brought the best out of him.

Holger Rune is not the only top player to be impressed by Nadal too, with Carlos Alcaraz expecting big things too based on what he has seen and heard.

“I think he’s ready,” Alcaraz said. “I saw some videos of him practicing. He looks 100%.

“I hear from other players that they practiced with Rafa in these past weeks and they said that he’s going to return to his good level. His top level.

“I think he’s ready for great things this year as well.”

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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.