Tennis great Rafael Nadal is set to play the Australian Open in 2024, marking his return to the sport after a year off due to injuries.
- Nadal has not played since his second round defeat at this year’s Australian Open.
- The 37-year-old man suffered several lower body injuries.
- He admitted he was still a long way from adding to his 22 major singles titles
Nadal has not played on tour since being troubled by a hip injury in a second-round defeat to American Mackenzie McDonald, world No. 65, at this year’s Australian Open.
But tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed to Channel Nine that the 37-year-old is set to return to Melbourne Park in 2024, despite his current ranking of 240th in the world.
“He’s been out for most of the year and speaking to him over the last few days he’s confirmed he’ll be back, which we’re really excited about,” Tiley said on The Today Show.
The news comes just weeks after Nadal provided an update on his struggles, which also include a degenerative condition called Muller-Weiss syndrome that affects the bones in his feet.
“(The pain has not disappeared) but it is now controllable,” Nadal told Spanish broadcaster Movistar.
“There are times when my foot does not allow me to live in peace. Sometimes it is even difficult for me to go down the stairs.”
Nadal won the 2022 Australian and French Open titles to become the most prolific men’s major winner with 22 singles titles, but his rival Novak Djokovic has since won four slams to move to 24, eclipsing Serena Williams to the greatest number in the Open era.
As retirement rumors swirled around the oft-injured Spaniard, Nadal said he wanted to come back and be “competitive” but acknowledged adding to his major record was still a long way off.
“The dream is not to come back and win Roland Garros or to win Australia, so people don’t get it wrong, right?” he said.
“I am very aware that at this point in my life, all of this is very far away.
“And I’m not saying it’s impossible because things can change very quickly.”
Tiley also said organizers “expect” Nick Kyrgios to return to the Australian Open next year.
The Australian has only played one match on tour in 2023 as he too struggles with injuries.
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