Andrey Rublev cracks hilarious Rafael Nadal joke ahead of Spaniard's comeback

Rublev reacts to Nadal returning to tennis in 2024.

by Dzevad Mesic
Andrey Rublev cracks hilarious Rafael Nadal joke ahead of Spaniard's comeback
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Andrey Rublev says Rafael Nadal returning to tennis is "amazing" news but also jokingly added that he "felt more freedom" while the Spaniard was more sidelined. Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, is set to return to tennis at the Brisbane International.

When Nadal returns to tennis in the first week of the new season, the former world No 1 will be playing his first tournament in 12 months. "I'm happy for him that finally he's back. But obviously as a competitor, I feel more freedom when he was not there.

For tennis, it's great that he's back. He will bring back a lot of spectators, a lot of followers, especially, again back for the tie between him and Novak (Djokovic) will bring a lot of attention again to tennis. So, it's amazing that he's back," Rublev said of Nadal returning.

Rublev jokes he 'felt more freedom' while Nadal was sidelined

Rublev, ranked at No 5 in the world, has played against Nadal three times. After losing his first two meetings against Nadal, Rublev managed to clinch his first win over the Spaniard at the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters.

In 2024, Rublev could potentially meet Nadal again. Ahead of his comeback, Nadal reveals his humble expectation, claiming his wish is only to be competitive. “I have finally had good training weeks at a level that allows me to have the possibility to compete again.

I have gone through many phases, but today I think it’s time. I’m coming back in a tournament that I’ve played in the past, that I’m familiar with, a 250 tournament. I know it’s a difficult tournament but I hope to be ready to compete.

I don’t aspire to anything else, (just) to be competitive," Nadal said in one of his messages after announcing his comeback. It remains to be seen if Rublev will get a chance to play Nadal again next year.

Andrey Rublev Rafael Nadal