Rafael Nadal recovery update as tennis great gets backed to be competitive when he returns

Rafael Nadal at practice

Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal as well as his former Davis Cup team-mate Feliciano Lopez have both given positive updates about his recovery following surgery.

22-time Grand Slam winner Nadal has been sidelined since the start of the year after picking up a hip injury during his second-round defeat at the Australian Open.

He had initially hoped to be return to action after eight weeks on the sidelines as he eyed a full clay-court season, but the injury proved to be more serious than initially thought and in May he admitted defeat in his hope to be fit for the French Open.

During a press conference, the 37-year-old confirmed that he was likely to miss the remainder of the 2023 season as he was due to undergo hip surgery and also revealed that the 2024 campaign was likely to be his last on the ATP Tour.

More than two months down the line and Nadal has not given any updates since his doctors announced that his surgery was a success, but Toni Nadal – who coached the tennis great until 2017, revealed during an interview with Spanish news agency EFE that all is well.

“Rafa is fine, on vacation, wanting to jump onto the court in 2024. Let’s hope that [Carlos] Alcaraz will let us win something then,” he said.

Toni added: “He is excited to return and retire on the court.”

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Lopez, meanwhile, was asked about the possible farewell that Nadal can expect next year.

“He is fine and his recovery is going well. Knowing Rafa and watching his career, it’s hard for me to see him enter a tennis court without feeling competitive,” he told Claytenis.com.

“If everything goes well, in 2024 we will see him playing well. At what level? It’s difficult to know because it’s a big question mark. It’s been a long time, after the injury at Wimbledon 2022 he played very little. But he has all the rest of the year to recover.”

Asked if Nadal will be competitive next year, Lopez replied that the extended break will do him well as he will be refreshed.

He added: “I’m sure that if Rafa returns to play tennis he will do it competitively. Sometimes being away from the courts helps you to see things differently, to come back with enthusiasm and desire.

“Because keep in mind that being 15 or 20 years at that level of demand saturates you mentally. Being away from your family and your son can help a lot.”

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