Rafael Nadal will fight again. One more time. After spending a year without playing due to an iliac psoas injury, the Spaniard will return to the circuit in Brisbane (from December 31 to January 7) and a few days after officially having a racket in his hand again, he spoke about all the feelings he is having. And his fears.
January 18, at the Australian Open, was the turning point. Nadal had to be treated for hip pain in the loss to Mackenzie McDonald and he never played again. What’s more, some imagined that it could have been the farewell. However, the warrior is back.
“I am and have been afraid to announce things because in the end it’s a year without competing and it’s a hip surgery, but what worries me most is not my hip but everything else. I think I’m ready, and I trust and hope that things will go well. And give me the opportunity to enjoy himself on the court again,” Rafa reflected, in a video posted on his social media.
“In the end it’s a long time. I hope to feel those nerves again, that enthusiasm, those fears, those doubts. I expect nothing from myself. I hope to have the ability not to demand what I have demanded of myself throughout my career. I am in a different era, a situation and uncharted terrain. All my life I’ve been pushing myself to the max and I hope to be able not to,” he admitted.
Nadal went through the operating room at the beginning of June to clean the fibrotic and degenerate areas of the tendon both at the proximal and distal levels, as well as suture the tendon to properly reinforce it. In addition, an old injury to the labrum of the left hip was also regularized to help the tendon evolve better.
“I have to accept that things are going to be very difficult at first. I have to give myself the necessary time and forgive myself if things go wrong at the beginning, which is a very big possibility. But knowing that there may be a not too distant future in which things can change if I maintain my enthusiasm, the spirit of work and the physique responds to me,” said the winner of 22 Grand Slams.
Nadal, with protected ranking for the Australian Open
The Spanish tennis player will travel to his academy in Kuwait in the next few days and will finish his preparation for the Brisbane tournament, which he will be able to play despite not being ranked because he received an invitation from the organization.
In case the return goes as Nadal expects, the next stop would be the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, where he is registered with a protected ranking. This condition allows him to participate in nine tournaments, although only one can be one of the “big” ones.
At 37, Nadal is looking forward to more battles and the tennis world is also excited to see him at Roland Garros, where he won 14 times and the stage where the next Olympic Games will also be held.
“Rafael will try to play every possible tournament, but especially the Olympic Games and Roland Garros. For him, playing the Olympic Games, representing Spain, has always been very important, as he has participated before in Beijing or Rio. The Olympic Games are in Paris, at Roland Garros, which makes them more special. Then, we’ll see how the year is going. All I say is what I think, I haven’t talked to Rafael about tennis,” said Toni Nadal. Will there be one last performance?