Rafael Nadal's Bucket List keeps growing but can he fulfill it?

A guy like Rafael Nadal, a multi-grand slam and titled winner, has his competitive playing days lessening. He still continues to have goals to accomplish but they are increasing.

by GALE MOORMAN
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Rafael Nadal's Bucket List keeps growing but can he fulfill it?
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"I will not give up on a return to competition," Rafael Nadal had emphatically said to the media as everyone questioned if or when he'll return to playing tournaments again. But that is a most difficult question as Nadal doesn't even know how he will feel or his body will react.

One thing that Rafa has put on his bucket list is keeping up his physical training at a good pace and staying mentally strong. "I'm training more than before, and I'm making progress on a mental level," he had said. But there are times when 'the King of Clay' cannot have a single practice session without some level of pain.

"I'm not training without pain," he solemnly said. Ths isn't a good indication that the Spaniard will be soon going back on tour. Everyone knows that. But it was in January, that fateful month at the 2023 Australian Open that Nadal injured his hip during the second round against MacKenzie McDonald.

It was in June that he had surgery to repair his psoas muscle. Four months later (October, 2023), he started practicing again. Another item on Rafa's bucket list is to be ready for the start of the 2024 Australian Open. But that has become a bit unrealistic because he's admitted "I'm in less pain than I used to be, but I'm still in pain," At first the prognosis was for him to recover from six to eight weeks.

But the muscle wasn't healing as planned and Rafa has been out a good part of the year. This is something that couldn't be foreseen. It must have seemed like a hundred years ago that he defeated Daniil Medvedev at the 2022 Australian Open.

The Spaniard was down two sets and crawled back up to win the Championship at Melbourne. He had said to the press that he won the match because he had belief in trying to find a solution (to winning). It sure might have been but Nadal has a tough physical and especially mental capacity to play gritty and dig out winning points.

He's iconic in every way. "I feel confident that I will have a chance to play tennis for a while," Nadal said back then with a big grin after winning the 2022 slam. But the effects that injuries have on the body aren't predictable and the recovery time is less certain.

All of the matches, tournaments and titles that Rafael Nadal has won, this one the 2022 Australian Open stick in his head. He was losing two sets down and continued to fight and strive to win the match and the title. He smiled saying to the media that "Sport is unpredictable.

When you put everything together; the scenario, the moment without a doubt this was the biggest moment of my career." Well, another agenda the Spaniard has on his bucket list and that's returning after this year to be on tour again, no matter how abbreviated.

It will be at some level that Nadal wants to return but acknowledges saying that "My limitations are obvious now, but when they're gone...I hope it will be soon..." Rafael Nadal is gently optimistic but believes in realism and comments that "But right now, I really can't confirm something I don't know. Nothing has changed in the last few weeks..."

Rafael Nadal
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