A 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal is eager to return to the court as soon as possible! Rafa has not played since the Australian Open, experiencing a hip injury in the second round and missing eight months. The Spaniard underwent surgery and will try to return to his best by the end of the season.
Toni Nadal, Rafa's uncle, is confident about his nephew's return, saying Rafa could play again at the 2023 Davis Cup Finals in Malaga or the 2024 Australian Open. Nadal dropped out from the top-250 for the first time since February 2003, playing only 13 matches since last August and experiencing the worst period of his career.
Nadal was in a great position to finish the previous season at the top at 36, conquering the Australian Open and Roland Garros for the first time in a career. Rafa led the ATP Race despite injuries and setbacks, seeking the third consecutive Major crown at Wimbledon.
The Spaniard ousted Taylor Fritz following an incredible five-setter in the quarter-final, prevailing in over four hours despite apparent physical issues. The veteran revealed a seven-millimeter abdominal tear and withdrew ahead of the semi-final duel with Nick Kyrgios.
Rafael Nadal will try to compete again at the beginning of 2024.
Despite giving his best to recover, it remains Nadal's last notable tournament. The Spaniard scored three wins at the US Open before losing to Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round, struggling with pain and staying away from the court for two months.
Never enjoying indoor conditions, Nadal could not find the pace after a long break, losing four consecutive matches for the first time since 2009! The year-end no. 1 battle became the mission impossible, and Rafa embraced an off-season, hoping for a fresh start in 2023, similar to the one he had a year ago.
Instead, he has played only four matches this year, losing three and sealing his fate in the top-10 after 18 years! Not feeling at his best, Rafa gave everything while seeking the Australian Open title defense. He overpowered the young Briton Jack Draper and faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second round.
The American proved too strong and scored a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph. Rafa injured his left hip in the second set's closing stages, refusing to retire and giving his 120% in the third. However, he suffered a late break to propel the rival over the top and drop almost 2000 ATP points.
Nadal underwent surgery, training at home in Mallorca (not on the court, though) and hoping to embrace another run in 2024. "Rafa is recovering, and he is doing well. If all goes according to plan, Rafa will return to the court for the next year's Australian Open.
We have to monitor the intensity of Rafa's training and hope everything goes well in a few months," Toni Nadal said.
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