From Manacor to Brisbane: Rafael Nadal's Journey Back to Tennis Glory

Rafael Nadal will kick off the new season at the ATP 250 event

by Jovica Ilic
From Manacor to Brisbane: Rafael Nadal's Journey Back to Tennis Glory
© Mackenzie Sweetnam / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

A 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal has embraced a long trip to Brisbane, heading toward his first destination of the new season. Nadal made the final preparations for 2024 in Manacor and Kuwait, improving the pace of his practice sessions and gathering a boost following a career-threatening hip injury.

Rafa's first-round Brisbane clash will be his first match almost a year after injuring his left hip at this year's Australian Open, missing the rest of the season and embracing the most extending break of his incredible career.

Nadal underwent surgery in June, returning to the court after a summer break and shaping his game slowly. Doing everything right on the court and the gym, Rafa announced his comeback event, entering the ATP 250 Brisbane event in the opening week of 2024.

Ranked outside the top-600 for the first time since 2002, a 22-time Major winner will sail through uncharted waters, capable of drawing the top seeds right from the start.

Rafael Nadal is heading to Australia after missing almost a year.

Despite that, Rafa is enthusiastic about competing again and seeking his A-game in the upcoming months, hoping to enjoy the challenges and fight injury-free.

The Spaniard had a rough 2021 season, plagued with injuries. Despite more issues in the first half of 2022, Nadal lifted two Major titles in Melbourne and Paris, becoming the first player with 22 Major crowns! Rafa extended his streak at Wimbledon, reaching the semi-final but withdrawing due to an abdominal injury.

It marked the beginning of the Spaniard's downfall, playing only 13 matches in the previous 17 months and losing ground. Nadal wished for a better start to 2023, but it did not happen. World no. 2 lost both matches at the United Cup, heading to the Australian Open with zero confidence.

The defending champion made a winning start against Jack Draper, beating the young Briton in four sets. Nadal faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second round, falling in straight sets after injuring his left hip in the second set's closing stages.

Rafa revealed a Grade 2 iliopsoas and underwent arthroscopic surgery in June, missing the rest of the year and jeopardizing his career. After a proper rest and quality time with his family, Nadal started practicing again, combining his training sessions with the gym and shaping up his body.

Rafa raised his level to the desired level and scheduled his comeback for Brisbane, returning to action after almost a year. The Spaniard hopes to enjoy his fresh start and build confidence ahead of the season's first Major at the Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal