Rafael Nadal: 'My only expectation is to be...'

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Rafael Nadal: 'My only expectation is to be...'

After the foot injury that forced him to miss the last part of 2021, Rafael Nadal is ready to return to the field. The Spanish champion will play the Mubadala World Tennis Championship from 16 to 18 December; exhibition tournament that will see Andrey Rublev, Andy Murray, Daniel Evans, Taylor Fritz and Denis Shapovalov compete.

Nadal has not played a game since the loss he suffered in Washington against Lloyd Harris and will be able to test his physical condition in this event.

Nadal wants to play a tournament and assess himself

Ahead of his comeback after a lengthy period, Rafael Nadal spoke on the upcoming 2022 season.

He intends to take things slowly and not load himself by competing in a number of tournaments. At the age of 35 years, he’s aware of the limitations of his body and doesn’t want to over-exert himself. Speaking at a press conference in Abu Dhabi, Rafael Nadal explained he does not expect to play without pain on his return, but hopes it will be manageable enough for him to perform well.

“I am super happy to be back," Nadal said. "It’s not about pain. I had pain a lot of times during my career, almost all the time, it’s more about having the chance to have a pain that I can manage to compete well.

Let’s see. I need to try it in competition. Of course, I am feeling better, if not I will not be here." The 20-time Major champion then admitted his comeback will be challenging and that he is simply pleased to be able to compete again after a difficult period.

"I know the comeback will be not easy," Nadal continued. "I don’t have big expectations now. My only expectation is to be here, to play in front of a great crowd again, to feel myself competing again against great players, and then enjoy.

It has been a very tough period of time for me, honestly, so just to be here is great news for me." Nadal wants to play a tournament and assess himself. After that, he will shift his focus to the Australian Open, but he will not compromise on his health.

As long as he feels good on the court, he will perform to the highest level. He also spoke about the prospect of Djokovic overtaking him and Roger since he has been playing tournaments regularly. This season, Rafael didn’t compete at a Grand Slam after the French Open as he skipped the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open due to the foot injury.