Rafael Nadal's Comeback Quest: Intense Practice Revealed!

Rafael Nadal will play his second tournament of the season in Doha

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal's Comeback Quest: Intense Practice Revealed!
© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal is working hard on his comeback, with a video of his intense training at Mallorca emerging and making his fans thrilled. After missing the Australian Open, a 22-time Major winner will compete in Doha in two weeks, seeking his second crown in the desert and the first in ten years.

Rafa is looking sharp, hitting powerful strokes from the baseline and hoping to compete injury-free following another setback in Brisbane at the beginning of the season. The veteran experienced a micro tear in the muscle around his troubled left hip in the quarter-final against Jordan Thompson.

Despite a valiant effort that required three hours and 25 minutes of intense tennis, Nadal ended up on the losing side, missing three match points in the second set.

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

Rafa traveled to Melbourne and underwent an MRI check, making a difficult decision and skipping the Australian Open, not risking anything after missing a year.

Nadal revealed Doha as his next step, staying on hard courts instead of chasing victories on clay in South America. Rafa competed in Doha eight times between 2005 and 2016, losing the 2010 final before lifting the trophy four years later over Gael Monfils.

Nadal reached another final during his last visit to the desert in 2016, experiencing a heavy loss to world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in 73 minutes. Rafa should have played in Doha in 2023, but a hip injury at the Australian Open ruined his entire season.

Rafael Nadal is working hard ahead of Doha.

The Spaniard underwent surgery in June and started his comeback a few months later, making slow steps on the recovery course. Feeling positive signs on the practice court and the gym, Nadal announced his comeback for the start of 2024, picking Brisbane as his first stop.

The Spaniard played his first match after 349 days against his old rival Dominic Thiem, playing well and sealing the deal in straight sets after a dominant run from 5-5 in the opener. The second round saw a clash against Jason Kubler, who could not match Nadal's level.

Rafa sealed the deal in straight sets, gathering confidence ahead of the quarter-final clash with Jordan Thompson.

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

The veteran had a chance to pass another rival and reach the last four, winning the opener and earning three match points in the second.

However, Thompson survived and scored a notable 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 victory after three hours and 25 minutes. Nadal suffered a massive blow, missing opportunities and feeling the pain around his troubled hip after an enormous physical struggle.

Rafa required a medical timeout in the middle of the decider, staying on the court until the end and losing the set with a single break on Jordan's tally. Nadal announced a micro tear in his muscle and withdrew from the Australian Open following an MRI in Melbourne a few days later, bypassing the best-of-five duels and more serious issues.

Rafa returned home, took a rest and started practicing again, hoping for a better run and Doha and an injury-free display.

Rafael Nadal