‘I have great faith in Rafael Nadal and believe he won’t disappoint in hardest comeback yet’

Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

Toni Nadal has declared he has “great faith” in Rafael Nadal and is confident his nephew will not disappoint when he makes his return to tennis in 2024.

The esteemed coach revealed he is “very excited” to see Nadal compete again, while also recognising the former world No 1 is facing his hardest comeback yet.

Nadal announced last week that he would be making his long-awaited return to action at the Brisbane International tournament in January in preparation for the 2024 Australian Open.

The Mallorcan has not played since suffering a hip injury in his second round loss to Mackenzie McDonald at the 2023 Australian Open in January. The 37-year-old underwent surgery to address the issue in June, having initially expected to be out for just six to eight weeks.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion was forced to cancel his planned comeback during the clay-court season and missed the French Open for the first time since 2004. He explained in a press conference announcing his withdrawal from the clay-court Major that 2024 would likely be his final season on the tour.

Nadal won his most recent Grand Slam title at the 2022 French Open, where he defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets to claim a record-extending 14th Roland Garros crown.

The 92-time ATP titlist also claimed the Australian Open title at the start of last year, having missed most of the second half of 2021 due to his degenerative foot condition: Mueller-Weiss syndrome.

The tennis legend secured four titles in 2022, but suffered with an abdominal injury following his French Open victory, which is the last event he won.

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal makes honest confession as he discusses comeback expectations

In a post shared on his Instagram account, Toni Nadal shared his excitement ahead of his nephew’s imminent return and expressed he still has belief in his long-time student.

“Very excited to see Rafael Nadal compete again. Even knowing this time will be “the hardest one yet”, I have great faith in him and believe he won’t disappoint,” he wrote.

The 62-year-old coached his nephew Nadal from his childhood until 2017, helping him win 16 of his 22 Grand Slam titles. The Mallorcan is the director of the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca and has also been working with ATP star Felix Auger-Aliassime since 2021.

READ MORE: The 10 biggest ATP Rankings rises in 2023: American star makes stunning 500-place surge