Rafael Nadal announces some big news and makes Novak Djokovic confession
Rafael Nadal’s comeback has been shrouded in doubt over the last few months, but it seems the 22-time Grand Slam-winning legend is on course to make a return to tennis after all.
The 37-year-old has not been in action since suffering a hip flexor injury during his second-round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald during the 2023 Australian Open.
Earlier this year, Nadal announced he would miss the French Open, where he has claimed 14 of his 22 major titles, as he was undergoing surgery on the issue.
He stated his intention to return to tennis for one final year in 2024, but there have been doubts over the progress he has been making in practice sessions at his Academy in Mallorca.
Now he has given his most positive update yet, after confirming he is confident of playing again.
Yet he has not put a date on his comeback bid, with a return to Grand Slam action after so long away at the Australian Open in a few weeks time a decision he has yet to make.
“Until now, I didn’t know if I would ever play tennis again and now I think so,” said Nadal on Wednesday.
“What has changed from a few weeks ago to now is that now I know that I am going to play tennis again.
“I didn’t know it before, but now, honestly, I know it because the evolution is positive.
“Big steps have been taken lately. I’m not yet ready to say where. When I know, I will be the first to say it.
“It’s a good period of my life. It’s a step forward, without a doubt, and it means a lot.”
Nadal is two behind his great rival Novak Djokovic in the race to finish their respective careers with the most Grand Slam titles.
Yet he admits chasing down the Serbian great is no longer a viable option as he sets smaller targets on his return to action.
“I know it will be difficult to return to a very high level of tennis, but if I did not have the hope of being competitive again, I would not have done the work I did these months,” he added.
“The effort that must be made after a very long career, which the years weigh on. I’m not going to win more Grand Slams than Novak Djokovic, but I’m going to give myself the opportunity to have fun again.”
Whole Djokovic continues to reign supreme at the top of the world of men’s tennis, it is clear that Nadal is eyeing up a farewell to the sport that may not include trophies at the game’s biggest events.
Yet the presence of one of the greatest players ever to grace a court in the 2024 tennis season will set pulses racing for his fans around the world and while he may suggest his ambitions have been diluted, that will change when he gets on the court for real.
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