Rafael Nadal provides honest injury update as he outlines his comeback goal

Ewan West
Rafael Nadal Brisbane 2024
Rafael Nadal speaks to the press in Brisbane

Rafael Nadal has shared an update on his progress as he works towards his return to action from the injury setback he suffered at the start of the 2024 season. 

The former world No 1 outlined his goal to make his latest comeback at the start of the clay-court season as he revealed he has “not stopped training at any time.”

Nadal was due to face Milos Raonic in the first round of the Indian Wells Open earlier this month, but pulled out late on the opening day of the tournament.

The 37-year-old was hoping to make his competitive return to action at the ATP Masters 1000 event, having faced Carlos Alcaraz in the Netflix Slam exhibition in Las Vegas on March 3.

The Spaniard has not played an ATP event since making a long-awaited comeback at the Brisbane International in January, where he suffered a hip injury in his quarter-final loss to Jordan Thompson.

READ MORE: WATCH: Rafael Nadal’s comeback gathers pace with training video as his second clay event is revealed

The 22-time major champion had not played for almost a year before Brisbane, having sustained a hip psoas muscle injury at the 2023 Australian Open that required arthroscopic surgery.

Speaking before the second Rafael Nadal Foundation Awards ceremony in Palma, Nadal divulged when he hopes to play again, but was cautious about expressing this with certainty given his physical issues.

“I will do my best to try to start the clay season, which is my goal, I am working for that and striving for that goal, but I don’t dare to say anything about what might happen because lately it has been difficult for me to make predictions, unfortunately,” said the Mallorcan.

“I’ve not stopped training at any time. I’m trying all the time. I feel fine, I just haven’t managed to follow the schedule I would have liked to. Hopefully things can change, but as you can imagine, I can’t say because I don’t know myself.

“It doesn’t matter whether I’m optimistic or not; I’m a realist. For the last year and a half or two it’s been impossible for me to compete, so the first objective is to try to compete and I’m going day by day.

“If I had to be optimistic or negative, I probably wouldn’t even be trying. It’s a long time, I’m very old and I’ve got a very long career behind me.

“At the end of the day, I try not to be one thing or the other, I try to go day by day, do the work I have to do to give myself opportunities and we’ll see how long we can try.

“The reality is that I didn’t feel ready to start playing a tournament at this level, with the little training background I had behind me at the level I needed.

“I didn’t want to start a tournament coming from where I came from, with no guarantee of being able to advance to at least the levels that I think I need to demand of myself to try and start a tournament.”

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