Rafael Nadal's Australian Open return is far from set in stone!


Rafael Nadal's Australian Open return is far from set in stone!
Rafael Nadal's Australian Open return is far from set in stone! © Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The 2024 Australian Open tickets are up for grabs, and the tournament director Craig Tiley reached for his "old tricks!" Tiley confirmed a 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal for the upcoming edition of the Australian Open, although the Spaniard's team could not guarantee that!

Rafa has just started training following a severe hip injury, and it's too early to make any plans about 2024. Tiley did that in the past with Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Andy Murray, confirming they would compete at Melbourne Park, which did not happen.

Nadal lifted his second Australian Open title in 2022, celebrating in Melbourne for the first time in 13 years! Nadal took down Daniil Medvedev in a memorable final, trailing 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before embracing one of his career-best comebacks.

Rafa prevailed 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in just under five and a half hours, becoming the first player with 21 Major titles. Nadal has been dealing with injuries since last spring, and the latest came at this year's Australian Open, ruining his season.

Nadal is back on the practice court, hoping to recover and make another push in the upcoming season, eager to retire on his terms. Rafa knew his chances in Melbourne were not high this year, but he still gave it a go. The Spaniard passed the opening obstacle before losing in the second round, experiencing his earliest Major loss since 2016!

Nadal fell to Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-4, 7-5, injuring his hip in the second set and battling until the end.

Rafael Nadal is yet to confirm his Australian Open participation.

The American broke the Spaniard five times and lost serve two times to control the pace.

The lower-ranked player made a flying start, breaking Nadal two times for 4-1 in under 20 minutes. Rafa reduced the deficit with a break in game six before Mackenzie fended off a break point at 5-4 to bring the set home. Rafa squandered a game point at 3-3 in the second set and lost serve.

The Spaniard asked for a medical timeout on his left hip in the closing stages, returning to the court and continuing. McDonald brought the set home after Nadal's tired forehand at 5-4, moving closer to the finish line. Rafa gave his best in the third set, fighting like a true champion despite an apparent struggle.

He fired an ace on a break point at 4-4 and extended the battle. Mackenzie placed a backhand down the line winner in game 11 to grab a decisive break. The American landed a service winner at 6-5 to seal the deal and send. It remains Nadal's most recent match, skipping many tournaments and dropping out from the top-200!

"We have seen the reports and comments, but we can not confirm as of today. We do not know yet, as it's too early to say. We have not released any return date because we simply do not know it. Rafa is just starting to practice," Rafael Nadal's team stated.

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