Rafael Nadal announces return to competition in January in Brisbane

The Spaniard has not played since suffering a hip innjury at the Australian Open in January

Rafael Nadal at the 2023 Australian Open Rafael Nadal at the 2023 Australian Open Image Credit: Rafael Nadal at the 2023 Australian Open

This time, it’s official. We already knew that Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t been able to play an event of any kind since the hip injury he sustained at the Australian Open, would be returning. But now we know where and when. The former world No 1 announced it himself on Friday on social media: he will join the field in Brisbane to start the season.

“After a year away from competition, it’s time to come back”, said Nadal, simply. “It will be in Brisbane the first week of January.”

It’s been a long wait for this Rafael Nadal announcement, as doubts kept going about his ability to come back to competition. Everyone still remembers how emotional he was when he withdrew from Roland-Garros through a press conference at his academy. What is supposed to be his last season on the Tour will therefore start in Brisbane.

That’s great news for Australian Open organisers, too, as Nadal will head to Melbourne Park for another crack at the title he won for the first time in 2009 and a second, most unlikely, time in 2022.

Nadal has not put a name on what he describes as success this time round. After being out for so long, at the age of 37, his expectations are low, at least on the outside. On the inside, once he gets going, if he stays injury free, then the clay-court season, as always will be his aim.

Who’s to say a record-extending 15th Roland-Garros title – and 23rd Grand Slam crown – is not a possibility.

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