Rafael Nadal, former world number one tennis legend, recently dropped a bombshell on his fans announcing that he will make his long-awaited return from injury at the Brisbane International in January, CNN reported.
Nadal on Friday announced his comeback in a video message posted on several social media platforms: "After a year away from competition, it's time to come back. It will be in Brisbane the first week of January."
The last time Nadal played was in January at the Australian Open, entering the competition as the reigning champion, having won his 21st grand slam there in 2022.
However, a hip issue hindered his performance, and in the second round, he fell to a shock straight-sets defeat to American Mackenzie McDonald.
The Spaniard, initially expected to return later in the year, announced he would miss Madrid, Rome Masters, and French Open due to hip surgery in June, preventing him from playing for the rest of the season.
Recently, the 37-year-old tennis legend gave his fans glimpses of himself on the court via photos and videos as he prepares for a competitive comeback — something the tennis world has been anxiously anticipating.
The Brisbane International, an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) 250 event that serves as a warmup for the Australian Open, will mark the beginning of what will likely be Nadal’s last year on tour.
"My idea and my motivation is to try to enjoy and try to say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important for me in my tennis career during [next] year, and just try to enjoy that, being competitive and enjoying being on the court, something that today is not possible," he said at a press conference in May.
Nadal, currently No 662 in the world, is expected to return to the Australian Open in 2024 after he fell out of the top ten for the first time in 17 years in March due to injury.
The 22-time champion will need to enter tournaments using his injury-protected ranking or a wildcard entry.
In October, before Nadal had officially announced a comeback, tournament director and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley stated that Nadal would be among the field at the 2024 edition of the competition.
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