Rafael Nadal has touched down in Australia as he prepares for his first match of 2024 after spending 11 months on the sidelines.
The Spaniard will mark his return to tennis on the Brisbane Worldwide after recovering from hip surgical procedure, which dominated him out for the rest of this season after he was hampered by harm issues.
Brisbane spectators, who’ve solely seen Nadal play within the metropolis as soon as earlier than, could bear in mind his spectacular run to the quarter-finals in his earlier look as he bowed out to Milos Raonic.
As Rafa steps onto the Brisbane courts once more, tennis followers eagerly anticipate the resurgence of the 22-time Grand Slam champion, though they might want to regulate any lofty expectations.
The 37-year-old’s final aggressive outing got here on the 2023 version of the match, when he suffered a shock exit by the hands of Mackenzie McDonald within the second spherical.
Nadal picked up a hip harm in a straight-sets defeat to the American and it pressured the Spaniard to withdraw from the French Open in June, denying him a shot at a fifteenth title. He underwent hip surgical procedure with a return in 2024 focused for what’s prone to be his ultimate yr in skilled tennis.
The place is Nadal enjoying?
Again in November, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley introduced the Spaniard will return on the Australian Open in January, saying: “Rafa shall be again”.
Nadal responded on X, previously Twitter, by thanking the CEO for his or her religion in his restoration, which now seems to be full as he prepares to return to the courtroom.
“I respect the vote of confidence from the Australian Open. I’m practising on daily basis and dealing exhausting to come back again asap,” he wrote in October.
With that in thoughts, he shall be handed a wildcard to ensure his entry in Melbourne as a result of he’s presently ranked 670th on the planet – his lowest rating in over 20 years – that means he wouldn’t usually get a spot with out qualifying.
And afterward within the yr, Nadal shall be pitted towards Carlos Alcaraz, the two-time Grand Slam winner and his probably successor as Spain’s major hope in tennis.
He’ll face the 20-year-old within the Netflix Slam exhibition occasion in Las Vegas in March. Whereas it is not going to be an official ATP occasion, Nadal boasts a 2-1 file over his youthful competitor within the head-to-head.