Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal has expressed anticipation and joy as he prepares to return to the court after a year-long layoff due to a hip injury. The 37-year-old, who last played at the Australian Open in January where he lost in the second round, is due to take part in the upcoming tournament in Brisbane.
He himself announced it about a month ago to the amazement of all tennis fans who were expecting his return. Nadal, a two-time Australian Open champion, has tempered expectations for his performance in Brisbane, acknowledging the challenges of returning from a lengthy layoff.
"Today, it is impossible to think about winning the tournament. What is possible is that I enjoy my return. I don't expect much, after all, I was out of the field for a year," shared Nadal.
An incredible journey to a first Australian Open title
Brisbane serves as a prelude to the Australian Open, the Grand Slam tournament where Nadal left an indelible mark, winning the title twice.
His first triumph in Melbourne dates back to 2009 when he engaged in an epic semi-final battle lasting more than five hours against compatriot Fernando Verdasco, before triumphing over Roger Federer in the four-hour final.
Reflecting on that historic win, Nadal admitted, "I still don't know how I won that title in 2009." Despite falling to No. 672 in the ATP rankings, Nadal remains one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport, with 22 Grand Slam titles.
Looking ahead, Nadal hinted that 2024 could mark the end of his illustrious career. He, however, emphasized the unpredictability of the future and expressed optimism about his current physical condition, noting that he is feeling better than expected just a month ago.
But years of playing at a high level and injuries still took their toll on this tennis legend. "I can't have long-term goals because I don't see myself playing for that long. I don't know how things will develop," Nadal concluded, leaving fans eager to witness the next chapter of his extraordinary tennis journey.