Coach Carlos Moya admits he has certain concerns about how Rafael Nadal's body will look after the 37-year-old goes from practicing to playing real matches. Over the last couple of weeks, Nadal has been training at a much higher intensity and his long-awaited comeback is set to come at the Brisbane International in the first week of the 2024 season.
But when Nadal returns to action on the hard courts of Brisbane, he will be coming off surgery and playing his first tournament in 12 months. "Rafa's going to go from training, which he's doing very well, to competing. It's impossible to have the same conditions in training as in a match.
Playing the best of five sets, win, rest, return to court two days later ... That's the doubt I have right now, especially for a grand slam. But we have time. If the Australian Open started tomorrow, it would be a real fear. There's still a month left, a tournament before in Brisbane, demanding training ...
I think all of this will put him in a position to be able to endure it. But now that's my fear," Moya told ATP Tour Espanol.
Moya concerned how Nadal's body will hold up when he returns
Nadal, who has 22 Grand Slam titles in his collection, has a history of making strong comebacks after injury periods.
But Moya acknowledges this time the situation is different. "I've never been of the thought that Rafa needs rhythm because he's too good for that. But now the situation is different," Moya added. After confirming that his comeback would come at Brisbane, Nadal insisted his expectations weren't high.
Instead, Nadal claimed he "just aspires" to be competitive when he returns to tennis after being sidelined for 12 months. It will be interesting to see how Nadal does in his first tournament back in Brisbane.