Rafael Nadal's Return Tour: The Next Stop Might be Doha!

Rafael Nadal experienced an injury in Brisbane, but he should compete again in a couple of weeks

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal's Return Tour: The Next Stop Might be Doha!
© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal competed in Brisbane for the first time in almost a year. The Spaniard reached the quarter-final before experiencing a micro tear on his muscle in the area of his troubled left hip, heading home to Spain and withdrawing from the Australian Open.

Rafa might step on the court again in a couple of weeks, and some rumors say he will sign to play at the ATP 250 tournament in Doha. The 2014 Doha champion would have played at the prestigious ATP 250 event last year, although he had to skip it due to an injury.

The Spaniard embraced eight Doha campaigns between 2005 and 2016, losing the final in 2010 and beating Gael Monfils four years later for his only trophy in the desert. Nadal advanced into another final in 2016, suffering a crashing defeat to Novak Djokovic in an hour and 13 minutes.

Rafael Nadal might enter the ATP 250 event in Doha in February.

Eight years later, the Spaniard might play in Doha again if he stays on the hard court and skips the South American clay swing. Rafa started the 2023 season as world no.

2 despite many setbacks in 2022. The Spaniard battled against Mackenzie McDonald in the Australian Open second round, suffering a severe hip injury in the second set's closing stages and hitting the exit door. The veteran missed the rest of the year, undergoing surgery in June and returning to the practice court in the second part of the year.

Feeling positive signs on the court and the gym, Nadal arranged his long-awaited comeback in Brisbane in the first week of 2024.

Rafael Nadal, Brisbane 2024© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Nadal played his first match in almost a year against Dominic Thiem, performing well and leaving his old rival behind from 5-5 in the opening set.

Like he never left, Rafa played well again in the second round versus Jason Kubler, controlling the pace on serve and return and sailing into the last eight. Nadal had a chance to extend his Brisbane journey, squandering three match points against Jordan Thompson in a 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 loss in three hours and 25 minutes!

Nadal's body could not endure such an effort, with the veteran feeling the pain in his muscle and revealing a micro tear after an MRI. Rafa wasted a match point on the return at 5-4 in the second set and two more in the tie break, losing it and struggling in the decider.

Thompson claimed it 6-3, and Nadal asked for a medical timeout in the middle of the set. Rafa traveled to Melbourne but could not train, withdrawing from the Australian Open and experiencing a massive blow. If everything goes right, Nadal should play again in February.

We might see him in Doha if he opts to stay on the hard court, and it would not be a surprise if he changes his mind and enters the South American clay swing, already doing that in the past.

Rafael Nadal