Tennis needs Rafael Nadal's charisma and talent

The legendary Spanish tennis player will return to the court at the ATP 250 in Brisbane after almost a year out due to a psoas muscle injury

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Tennis needs Rafael Nadal's charisma and talent
© Kelly Defina / Stringer Getty Images Sport

The comeback to the court of the legendary Spanish champion Rafael Nadal is close enough to thrill al his fans. The 22-time Slam winner has announced that he will return to play an official tournament, almost a year after the last time, at the ATP 250 in Brisbane, with the aim of reaching Melbourne and the Australian Open in the best possible psycho-physical conditions.

The Spaniard explained that he will try to be kinder to himself, avoiding always imposing his best, as happened during his glorious career. What worries Nadal, as specified by the Spanish champion himself, is not the surgery he underwent, but what his state of mind will be during the complicated moments.

Finally Rafael Nadal, tennis needs his charisma

Moreover, his absence during 2023 was particularly difficult for the men's Tour. Already orphaned by Roger Federer, who retired at the 2022 Laver Cup, the ATP Tour had to face almost the entire 2023 without another great charismatic star like Nadal.

Novak Djokovic took the Tour on his shoulders, dominating almost the entire season. But that wasn't enough. Apart from the Wimbledon final, the season was almost entirely a monologue by the Serb. Who missed was his great rival.

The matches against Carlitos Alcaraz were very intense and fun, but they lacked that breath of titanic epicness that a match between Nadal and Djokovic (or Federer, when he was still playing) can have. The problem of young tennis players and the intermediate generation is a glaring lack of charisma.

One of the best to have it, in addition to Rafa and Nole, is Nick Kyrgios, who has also been out for months due to injury. One day guys like Carlitos, Jannik Sinner, Holger Rune and the others will acquire the charisma that the greatest legends had.

But today, being so young and with little history of rivalry behind them, they need legends capable of elevating these young champions. The task falls to Djokovic and the returning Nadal. Nadal, with his body language and with his story, brings to the court that legendary and iconic air which, let's face it, I think is perceived by the crowd as a sort of electric shock. That thrill and those emotions that only great champions can give.

Rafael Nadal