Ex top-10 details why Rafael Nadal won't play his best tennis early in comeback

Nadal's first tournament in 12 months is going to be the Brisbane International.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Ex top-10 details why Rafael Nadal won't play his best tennis early in comeback
© Getty Images Sport - Mark Evans

Barbara Schett thinks Rafael Nadal won't play his best tennis early in his return as the former world No. 7 expects the Spaniard to be "rusty" when he returns after a long absence. Nadal, 37, hasn't played any tournaments since losing injured his Australian Open second-round match to Mackenzie McDonald. After undergoing surgery and being away from tennis for 12 months, Nadal's comeback will start in the first week of the 2024 season in Brisbane. After Brisbane, Nadal also plans to make his Slam return at the Australian Open.

"Of course, he will be 'rusty'. To be honest, I don't think he's going to play his best tennis. Rafa is a guy who needs matches. And everyone else has raised the level again maybe one more step since the last year. So, it's going to be very difficult for him. But to be honest, I don't really care. I just want to see him one more time. It's a legend of the game. Obviously, the big focus will be on the clay, on what he will play in the events leading up to Roland-Garros , and then on seeing him back home, where he has had so much success at the French Open, It's going to be the best," Schett told Eurosport.

Nadal's 'humble' expectations 

Throughout 2023, Nadal was speaking very humbly about what would be his expectations if he managed to return in 2024.During the year, Nadal said a couple of times that it would not be realistic to expect to win a Grand Slam in his return in 2024. After confirming his comeback, Nadal reiterated his previous messages, claiming that he just aspires to be competitive. The general belief is that Nadal indeed does not have high expectations for the Australian Open but that he will try to reach his best level by the time comes for the French Open. It remains to be seen how will the early stages of Nadal's comeback go. 

Rafael Nadal Brisbane International
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