‘Scary’ Rafa ready for comeback

Henry

Rafael Nadal is, as it were, at the last toll gate on his road to recovery – the final destination of the Brisbane International tournament beckons early in the new year.

The 37-year-old player’s last tennis match was precisely in Australia when Mackenzie McDonald eliminated him 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5 in the Australian Open earlier this year.

Since then, a hip injury and surgery kept him on the sidelines and he missed, among other things, his beloved French Open – for the first time in 18 years.

“I was just scared to announce a comeback – I didn’t play tennis for a whole year and then there was the operation,” said the Spaniard.

Still, he admits that his nagging hip injury doesn’t cause the biggest headache.

“I worry about a lot of things, but I believe that I am ready to hit a match again. At the same time, I hope and trust that things will go well and that I will enjoy the time on the track.”

Nadal has previously indicated that 2024 may be his last year on the big stage; A 15th French Open title is the pot of gold at the end of the comeback rainbow.

According to the winner of 22 Grand Slam titles, he will try to play without any expectation of winning for once.

“I can’t expect too much from myself. And that is the truth. I currently find myself in a brand new situation and this is unknown territory for me.”

Several players, including Carlos Alcaraz, have said before that Nadal is good enough to fire on all pistons again.

“Tennis is a sport where rhythm is of great importance. But Rafa is Rafa and even if he is not match fit, he can still dish out incredible tennis,” said the Spanish crown prince of tennis.

  • List of Nadal’s Grand Slam titles:

French Open: 14 titles (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022)

Wimbledon: Two titles (2008 and 2010)

Australian Open: Two titles (2009 and 2022)

US Open: Four titles (2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019)