- The Spanish great has been out all year due to injury
- There has been speculation that he might be about to retire
- 37-year-old withdraws from Australian and French Opens
Tennis great Rafael Nadal has put an end to rumors that he is retiring from the sport by announcing that he will compete at the Australian Open next January.
Tournament boss Craig Tiley announced the news on Australian television on Wednesday morning local time, delighting fans of the 37-year-old Spanish Grand Slam legend.
“We can exclusively reveal here that Rafa will be back,” Tiley told the Today show.
‘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. It’s great.’
The 37-year-old has not played since injury ruined his run to another Australian Open title in January this year (pictured)
Nadal (pictured during an appearance at a soccer match in Spain last month) has been sidelined with a nagging hip injury that has ruled him out of the French Open and Wimbledon .
It will be Nadal’s first action on the ATP Tour since falling at this year’s Australian Open while seriously dealing with a hip injury.
He withdrew from the French Open in an emotional press conference in May, with the ongoing complaint also excluding him from Wimbledon.
Nadal explained that he had not been able to train properly for months and would never be able to catch up at Roland Garros, where he has won the men’s singles title 14 times.
It was the first time he had missed the clay-court Grand Slam since 2004.
Nadal’s emotional announcement that he would not play at Roland Garros this year led to speculation that his incredible career was coming to an end.
“After many years playing there, you can imagine what a difficult decision this was for me,” he said.
“It’s not a decision I made, it’s a decision my body made. I’m not going to play for the next few months.
Asked about taking a break from the game, he said: “I have to draw the line and that’s what I’m doing now.” Over the next few months I will strengthen my fitness and recover.
“I have to put my career on hold and I will try to regenerate my body. I’m not going to set a deadline, it will be when I feel physically ready.
He has pledged to return to the sport by the end of 2023, before making the most of 2024.
“I want to look back at all the tournaments that have been important to me in my career,” he said, adding that he hopes to make one final appearance at the Paris Olympics in 2024 – and of course, Roland Garros hosts tennis.
Nadal’s wife Maria Perello broke down in tears in the stands when he crashed