Picture: Rafael Nadal shares good news, thrills his fans

Rafael Nadal will return to action in 20 days in Doha

by Jovica Ilic
Picture: Rafael Nadal shares good news, thrills his fans
© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

A 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal is back on the practice court! The Spaniard shared the news with his fans on Instagram, starting preparations for the ATP 250 event in Doha that kicks off in 20 days. Rafa experienced a minor injury during the season opener in Brisbane, withdrawing from the Australian Open and taking a couple of weeks off the court.

Nadal is back in action, working hard on his game ahead of Doha. Armed with a protected ranking, Rafa is determined to make a triumphant return after encountering a setback in Brisbane in the season's first week.

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

The Spaniard experienced a micro tear in the muscle around his troubled left hip during the quarter-final clash with Jordan Thompson.

Despite a valiant effort that saw him enduring three hours and 25 minutes on the court, Rafa underwent an MRI in Melbourne and withdrew from the season's first Major, not risking more serious issues. After a proper rest, the veteran is ready to embrace his first Doha campaign since 2016.

Rafael Nadal is back on the practice court ahead of Doha.

The 2023 season was the most challenging one in Nadal's career, playing only four matches and missing all the action after the Australian Open. The Spaniard struggled with injuries in the second part of 2022 and kicked off the following season far from 100%.

He suffered two United Cup losses from a set up and experienced a massive blow in Melbourne, injuring his left hip in the second round against Mackenzie McDonald. Rafa underwent surgery in June and missed the rest of the year, preparing his comeback for 2024.

Nadal started his comeback after a proper rest and quality time with his family and friends, making positive steps on the practice court and gym. Feeling good about his recovery process, Nadal arranged his long-awaited comeback for the first week of 2024, entering the ATP 250 event in Brisbane.

Nadal played his first match in 349 days against Dominic Thiem, performing well and breaking the rival's resistance at 5-5 in the opener en route to a straight-sets triumph. Rafa took down Jason Kubler in the second round after another rock-solid performance on serve and return, preserving energy and setting the quarter-final duel with another Aussie, Jordan Thompson.

Nadal missed a massive chance to seal the deal and maybe avoid an injury and all the issues.

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

The veteran wasted three match points in a tight 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 loss after nearly three and a half hours of a titanic battle.

Nadal felt the pain around his hip after a massive physical effort, requiring a medical timeout in the middle of the decider but refusing to retire. Rafa fought until the end and lost the set 6-3 after getting broken once. Nadal revealed a micro tear in his muscle and withdrew from the Australian Open, unprepared for the best-of-five duels.

We should see Rafa in action in 20 days in Doha, with potential duels against Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov.

Rafael Nadal