Rafael Nadal - Brisbane International 2024

Rafael Nadal reveals that he will ‘confirm’ future before Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal has provided a major update on his immediate future, with the 22-time Grand Slam champion heavily suggesting that 2024 is going to be his ‘last year’ on the ATP Tour.

Nadal has spent the majority of the past year on the injury sidelines, having picked up a serious tear to his psoas muscle at the 2023 Australian Open.

After undergoing arthroscopic surgery and falling to his lowest rank since 2002, Nadal returned to action at the Brisbane International last month.

The 37-year-old won his opening two matches at the ATP 250 event, before being beaten by Jordan Thompson in the quarter-finals.

It was in this match that Nadal later revealed he had obtained a ‘minor tear’ in a muscle, but reassured fans that it was nowhere near as serious as the one he had picked up a year before.

Nadal consequently withdrew from the Australian Open, but was set to return to the matchcourt next week in Doha, although he has since withdrawn after revealing he is ‘not ready’.

And when speaking to Cope, Nadal has spoken about how his schedule has altered compared to what he was hoping for, “What I want to play and what I am going to play is very different. What I wanted my calendar to be is not going to be. It will be what it can be.”

The former No.1 continued, “My hope is to play the dirt [clay] season in acceptable conditions and today’s decision is aimed at that. I’m talking about being healthy, not being competitive.

“There are many very exciting tournaments on land and I hope to visit Madrid. I will play what I can within my reality and within an objective vision that I cannot lose sight of that I want to play Roland Garros. I will assume the minimum risks to be able to play Roland Garros in an optimal way.”

Nadal has heavily suggested that this year will be his last and reiterated that once again, but says he will make an official announcement before his most dominant Grand Slam.

“This is going to be my last year but I don’t confirm it 100%,” revealed Nadal. “I will go day by day. I’ll say it before Roland Garros. I give myself a few months of caution. You know that things can happen, so I can’t define things months in advance after a year without competing.”

The now ranked No.646 has won Roland Garros a record 14 times, and while he has admitted it will be ‘very difficult’ to claim a 15th he has not shut down the idea, “Today it is impossible for me to answer you, today it is very difficult to think that I can win Roland Garros, but I am excited to be able to arrive and enjoy playing Roland Garros. If I thought I had zero chance of winning, I would be doing other things.”

Nadal is next expected to compete in an Netflix special exhibition match against compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, before returning to official tour action at Indian Wells.

Inside the baseline…

It must have been a very frustrating last year or so for Rafael Nadal, who has spent so much time away from the matchcourt. Especially as when he did return there was a lot of good signs, even in the match that he lost, as he had three match points against Jordan Thompson. Hopefully Nadal can play as much as possible during the clay court swing, as that is the least he deserves for such a legendary career.

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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.