Rafael Nadal will enter the Australian Open 2024 main draw

The Spanish champion will be able to use the protected ranking to enter the main draw of the Melbourne Slam

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Rafael Nadal will enter the Australian Open 2024 main draw
© Darrian Traynor / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal will finally return to the court at the ATP 250 in Brisbane, after almost a year's absence from the ATP Tour due to the serious injury suffered at the Australian Open 2023. However, due to the long absence, the Spanish champion currently occupies the 664th position in the ATP ranking, with only 45 points.

So how will he be able to take part in major tournaments with such a low placing? Nadal will start practically from scratch in this new year, arriving at the 2024 edition of the Australian Open with only very few points. In order to take part in the Australian Slam, and subsequently in the other main tournaments, the Spanish champion will use the protected ranking, a tool that any player who has been out of the circuit for more than six months - due to an injury - can use during the first nine tournaments after returning to the court.

His ranking position in the three months preceding the injury is taken into account and this position is the reference position for accessing the draws for the final tournaments. However, this does not allow him to be seeded, so Rafa could face the best players from the first round.

Rafa is finally ready to excite his fans

Rafael Nadal's return to the court now has a date and a place. As announced on Instagram by the Spanish champion himself, his return to the circuit is scheduled for 31 December 2023, the last day of the year, on the occasion of the ATP 250 in Brisbane.

An event awaited as much by all tennis lovers as by Nadal himself, absent from the tennis courts since 18 January 2023. An entire year without the racket in his hand, an ordeal to recover from the 2nd degree injury to the iliopsoas muscle of the left leg which it caused the 20-time slam champion to miss the entire season.

Now, however, the injury is behind him, and the 37-year-old Spaniard's intention is to prepare his sets and matches in order to reach the first slam of the year, the Australian Open, competitively. We recall next sespn could be the last professional tennis year of the Spanish champion.

Rafael Nadal Australian Open