Confirmed: Rafael Nadal to return to action at Australian Open 2024

Rafael Nadal will be back in action at the 2024 Australian Open, as confirmed by tournament director Craig Tiley.

Speaking to Nine’s Today on Wednesday, Tiley, who is also the CEO of Tennis Australia, revealed “exclusively” that the 22-time Grand Slam champion has told him personally that he will be playing at the Melbourne Slam next year.

“We can reveal exclusively here that Rafa will be back. He’s been off for most of the year, and in talking to him over the last few days he confirmed he will be back, which we’re really excited about. That’s awesome,” Tiley said.

Incidentally, Nadal played the last competitive match of the 2023 season at the Australian Open, where he lost in the second round to Mackenzie McDonald. He suffered a hip strain during the loss, which has kept the former World No. 1 on the sidelines since.

Recently, he was spotted training again on the courts of his tennis academy in Mallorca, giving a sign of hope to his fans of his imminent comeback.

It should also be noted that 2024 is likely to be the 37-year-old’s final season on the ATP Tour.

“My intention is that next year be my last and to be able to play the tournaments I want to say goodbye to those who have marked me. If you’re not happy, it ends up affecting your personal life,” Nadal said in a press conference he hosted last year just prior to the French Open.

Rafael Nadal is a two-time winner at the Australian Open, having won the Down Under Slam in 2009 and 2021.

Rafael Nadal: “I’m sad, I’ve lost a season”

2023 Australian Open - Day 3
2023 Australian Open – Day 3

Speaking at the press conference before the French Open, Rafael Nadal admitted that he was indeed sad by how his 2023 season had unfolded, ending with him playing just four matches. Three of those ended in losses, with the Spaniard losing both of his clashes at the United Cup prior to the Australian Open.

At the same time, the 22-time Grand Slam champion emphasized that one must “accept” things and look to the future, adding that he did not have the luxury of demanding more and more from his body anymore.

“I’m sad, I’ve I lost a season. I felt prepared to continue fighting but on a physical level it’s not like that. One must accept things. You can get angry, sad, which is what I do, but you have to look to the future. You can’t demand more and more to the body. Although my head has not wanted me to go this far, my body has told me that this far,” Nadal said.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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