Entry list confirmed for Rafael Nadal’s comeback tournament and he could face an old foe

Rafael Nadal on the comeback trail

Rafael Nadal has confirmed he will make his long-awaited comeback from injury at a tournament in Brisbane at the end of December and now the list of his potential opponents have been confirmed.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has not played a competitive match since suffering a hip injury during his second-round defeat by Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open in January.

Having initially hoped the lay-off may only be a few weeks, Nadal admitted in May that he was staring at the end of his career and that he hoped to be able to play a final year on tour in 2024.

He had surgery in June and has been gradually building up to a return that he has now announced will be at the Brisbane International, a key warm-up event for the Australian Open, beginning on December 31.

In a video on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Nadal said: “After a year away from competition, it’s time to come back. It will be in Brisbane the first week of January. I’ll see you there.”

His fans are naturally excited by the prospect of seeing Nadal back on court, but he will not be seeded for the event in Brisbane as his ranking has collapsed due to his inactivity over the last year.

The current entry list for the Brisbane tournament has world No 8 Holger Rune as the highest-ranked player.

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov will look to build on his positive end to 2023 by getting off to a flying start in his first event of the new year.

American Ben Shelton has also entered the Brisbane event, with the big-serving American preparing to defend plenty of ranking points in January after his surprise run to the Australian Open quarter-finals last January.

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal’s alarming update on his comeback plans puts perspective on his ambitions

America’s Sebastian Korda is also on the entry list, along with world No 20 Ugo Humbert.

The draw for the Brisbane event will be eager-anticipated as Nadal will learn his fate alongside an old foe, with Britain’s Andy Murray also unseeded for this tournament.

Nadal released a social media video to his huge fanbase suggesting his ambitions for his comeback should be diluted after so long away from the court.

“It’s been a long year in which I’ve gone through many phases, from trying to get back to compete at the clay season, week after week disappointment after disappointment,” said Nadal, who appeared to be a little downbeat in the social media post.

“Then I had to decide to stop and say ‘enough’ and look for a definite solution, which was surgery.

“Since then, everything has been a new horizon, a difficult path, but always with the hope of coming back.

“Of course, there were moments where it seemed impossible that this moment would come, but we’ve maintained the work, spirit and hope and I think I am ready.

“Since then, everything has been a new horizon, a difficult path, but always with the hope of coming back.

“Of course, there were moments where it seemed impossible that this moment would come, but we’ve maintained the work, spirit and hope and I think I am ready.”

Latest