Rafael Nadal admits he is missing competition and playing on the biggest tennis stadiums. Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, suffered a very unfortunate injury to his psoas muscle at this year's Australian Open. What was expected to sideline Nadal for six to eight weeks, ended up sidelining the former world No 1 for the entire 2023 season.
In June, Nadal had surgery on his psoas muscle and basically that put an end to his 2023 season. “I have a theory... You might miss it when you feel like you can be there, right? But when you feel like you can't play, because physically you can't, you can't miss it.
You have to live day by day and I tried to be happy with what I had and I think I achieved that in my everyday life. Competition? Ultimately I am a competitive person, but not just in tennis, it cost me not being able to play golf which after all is a way to compete, it cost me not being able to compete in other areas and, obviously, in tennis, I missed being on the circuit, being able to compete, feeling like a player, going out on the best courts with a full stadium; of course, I miss it, but you have to deal with it," Nadal said.
Nadal works on returning to tennis in January
For a couple of weeks now, Nadal has been regularly working out in the gym and practicing on the court. Two weeks ago, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley claimed Nadal would be returning to Melbourne Park in January.
Nadal and his team issued a statement regarding those claims as the Spaniard underlined that his Australian Open return was far from set in stone. However, Nadal did confirm that his intention is return at the start of the 2024 season and that he is heavily working on it.