With most of the attention of the tennis world focused on the ATP Finals in Turin, Rafa Nadal appeared this Wednesday in Barcelona on the occasion of the presentation of the Teknon clinic, in the hands of Ángel Ruiz Cotorro, doctor of the Spanish federation and the Nadal himself. The Spaniard, who fell out of the top 600 in the ranking this week after losing the points he defended from last year’s ATP Finals, did not set a date for his return, but did confirm that he will play again in 2024.
«When I know when I will play again, I will be the first to tell you. Now I’m fine, training and happy. I’m in a good time in my life. Until now, I didn’t know if I would ever play tennis again and now, honestly, I think so,” Nadal said. «From how things were going a few months ago to how they are going now, I think I have taken a step forward without a doubt. “For me that is a lot,” he added.
Nadal has not competed since the last Australian Open, in January, when he lost in the second round against the American Mackenzie McDonald and a hell of injuries began, focused on the iliopsoas. This made him make the decision mid-year to take a six-month break and try to play his last season in 2024.
For this reason, he has been gradually increasing the intensity of his training, especially in the last two months, with the aim of being ready for the start of the year, that is, the Australian Open, where he has won twice: 2009 and 2022.
A “very different” reality
There will be a circuit in which Novak Djokovic surpassed his record of 22 Grand Slams and in which the Serbian already has 24 in his record, in addition to other records such as more than 400 weeks as number one, 40 Masters 1,000 and stalking the goal of Jimmy Connors’ 109 titles.
«I’m not going to surpass them (the Grand Slams). I don’t think we are in that situation. I live a very different reality. I haven’t played for a year and for me personal success is maintaining the enthusiasm to do it again. “It is going to be very difficult again to recover a very high level of tennis,” Nadal said.
“If I didn’t have the illusion of being competitive, I wouldn’t have done everything I’ve done in recent months and the effort it takes for me to do it at the age I am,” commented the man from Manacor.
With these good prospects on the horizon and waiting for Nadal to make it official in the coming weeks, his return could occur the first week of January, in the Brisbane tournament, the second, in Auckland or Adelaide, or wait for the Australian Open , which starts from January 15. Another option is for him to opt for one of the exhibitions that are played at the end of December and at the beginning of the year.
Because by the start of Australia he will have lost the 45 points he has in his locker, the Spaniard will need to take advantage of the protected ranking, which allows him to enter the tournaments with the classification he had before the injury (2) for twelve events, or wait for an invitation from the organization itself, which, given Nadal’s legendary status, will not be a problem in any tournament he intends to play.