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Other SportsBREAKING NEWS: Nadal to return after one year out ahead of Australian...

BREAKING NEWS: Nadal to return after one year out ahead of Australian Open

Rafael Nadal will begin his comeback from injury at the Brisbane International as the 22-time grand slam champion targets January’s Australian Open after almost a year on the sidelines.

Nadal has not played since suffering a hip injury during a surprise third-round defeat to unseeded American Mackenzie McDonald at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

The Spaniard attempted to recover in time to feature at the French Open, but he was forced to withdraw from that tournament – which he has won a record 14 times – and undergo season-ending surgery on the injury in June.

Nadal’s injury struggles have cast doubt upon his future in tennis, with the 37-year-old saying he would likely call time on his glittering career after the 2024 season.

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The ‘King of Clay’ said in May that he was hoping to enjoy a fruitful farewell season on the ATP Tour, saying: “Next year will probably be my last year. That is my idea. If I keep going now, I won’t be able to make it happen.

“I didn’t make the decision, my body made the decision.

“That is my idea but I can’t say 100 per cent it will be like this. My idea is to try to enjoy and say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important for me.”

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley has repeatedly talked up Nadal’s chances of featuring at Melbourne Park in recent weeks, and that looks to be a realistic goal after the Spaniard announced he would return at Brisbane in preparation for the first major of 2024.

In a video posted to his social media channels on Friday, Nadal said: “Hello everyone, after a year away from competition, it’s time to come back.

“I will be in Brisbane in the first week of January, I’ll see you there.”

The Brisbane International, part of the 250 series on the ATP Tour, begins on December 31 and runs to January 7, with the Australian Open beginning one week later.

It will be the first edition of the tournament to be held since 2019, having been discontinued as an ATP event for 2020. Previous winners include Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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