Nadal to make tour return at Brisbane International

Rafael Nadal of Spain, a 22-time Grand Slam winner, announced on social media on Friday that he would make his return at the Brisbane International, due to take place from December 31 to January 7.

Nadal, 37, has not competed since losing in the second round of this year’s Australian Open in straight sets due to a hip flexor problem. He initially planned to rest for only eight weeks, but hip surgery in June extended his absence from competitions till now.

“After a year away from competition, it’s time to come back,” Nadal said in a video posted to social media. “It will be in Brisbane, the first week of January. I’ll see you there.”

Rafael Nadal gestures to spectators after losing in the men’s singles second round at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 18, 2023. /CFP

Rafael Nadal gestures to spectators after losing in the men’s singles second round at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 18, 2023. /CFP

In November, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed that Nadal would be participating in the year’s opening Grand Slam, which he won in 2009 and 2022.

The tennis giant had said earlier that he hoped to play the French Open and represent his country at the Paris Olympics in what would be his farewell season before he retires.

He last won a Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2022, and prior to that in the Australian Open the same year he became the first men’s singles player to overcome a two-set deficit to win a title in the Open era.

In his injury-hit 22nd career season, the former world No.1 dropped out of the top 100 for the first time in 20 years and slipped below number 650 last month, but he is eligible to compete as a protected ranking, which players with long-term injury can apply for six months after their last match. Their ranking is determined by their average ranking during the first three months of injury.

The Australian Open is set to take place in Melbourne from January 14 to 28.

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