Serena Williams' ex-coach warns Rafael Nadal's rivals ahead of Spaniard's return



by DZEVAD MESIC

Serena Williams' ex-coach warns Rafael Nadal's rivals ahead of Spaniard's return
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Serena Williams' ex-coach Rick Macci believes that fully healthy Rafael Nadal "can be a factor in any tournament." Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, announced on Friday that he will be officially making his comeback in the first week of the 2024 season at the Brisbane International.

Nadal, who sustained an injury to his psoas muscle at this year's Australian Open, is set to play again after being sidelined for 12 months. Nadal has since turned 37 and his competition has only gotten better while he was away from pro tennis.

"Rafael Nadal, if 100% healthy can be a factor in any tournament as he has championship qualities inside and out, especially the inside out forehand," Macci wrote on X.

Macci: Never underestimate a player like Nadal

Nadal, a former world No 1, is widely recognized as one of the greatest champions in tennis but also in all sports. Returning after a year of being sidelined is a big challenge and the fact that Nadal is 37 doesn't help either.

But Nadal has a history of making strong comebacks after injury breaks. "When you have twenty-two Grand Slams in your back pocket and have the heart of a lion never underestimate the great Spanish bull for trying," Macci wrote on X.

In late November, Nadal hinted to his fans that he was about to make a major announcement.

On Friday, Nadal uploaded a video on his social media, where he announced his plans to play again in Brisbane. "After a year away from competition, it's time to come back. It will be in Brisbane the first week of January. I'll see you there," Nadal announced.

The Brisbane International is taking place between January 31 - December 07. In Brisbane, Nadal will be making his second appearance. In Nadal's lone Brisbane appearance in 2017, the Spaniard suffered a quarterfinal loss to Milos Raonic.

Serena Williams Rafael Nadal Brisbane International