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Nadal: 'You Always Have To Give Yourself A Chance'

Spaniard shares his thoughts on his comeback to the ATP Tour
December 07, 2023
Rafael Nadal is set to return to the ATP Tour in Brisbane to begin the 2024 season.
Kelly Defina/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal is set to return to the ATP Tour in Brisbane to begin the 2024 season. By ATP Staff

Editor's note: This story was translated from ATPTour.com/es

Since he set the 2024 season as the possible stage for his comeback, Rafael Nadal has been erring on the side of caution. Facing one of the longest spells away from the game in his career, with a full year sidelined from competition due to an iliopsoas injury in his left leg, the Spaniard is now counting down the days until his return to professional tournament tennis at the ATP 250 in Brisbane, which starts on 29 December.

In the midst of a period of preparation that started in October, with work set to continue over the coming days in Kuwait alongside French #NextGenATP star Arthur Fils, the Spaniard was keen to share his thoughts before returning to the ATP Tour, with a sincere message for fans.

“I have thought many times that it did not make sense,” admitted the Spaniard, whose last match was in the second round of the Australian Open last January. “In the end, there have been many years, many hours of work in which I did not see the result. I still believe what I said in the last press conference, that I do not deserve to end my sports career in a press room. I would like to finish in a different way, and I have fought and kept the illusion for that to happen, with doubts, with bad moments, very bad or better moments.”

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The 22-time Grand Slam champion, who decided to end his 2023 season before Roland Garros, has had a completely different year to what he has been used to. Away from the big stages, away from the tension of competition, he surrounded himself with his own people in order to make the best decisions at all times.

“I think I have had the right people around me, as I have always had throughout my career,” he explained. “Family, team, friends, I think everyone has helped me decisively to be where I am today, which is with the option of returning to compete. The desire of people who want to watch me play again has also an important impact on my day to day.”

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The Mallorcan is being cautious about that return to competition, recognising that it is nothing more than a first step. The next step will be seeing if his body is up to the test.

“It is a reality, there are many chances that it will be my last year, without any doubt,” underlined Nadal. “There are chances that it may only be half a year. There are possibilities that it may be a full year. There are possibilities that we may not be able to reach all that. These are things that right now I do not have the capacity to be able to answer. I am only in conditions to say that I return to compete. There are many possibilities that it is my last year and I am going to enjoy the tournaments in that way.”

In a season with added incentives, such as the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis will take place on the clay of Roland Garros, the Spaniard has simply sent a message of hope. Only time will dictate the limits of the decisions he has made, including the timing of the end of a career that has already gone down in the history of modern sport.

“I do not want to announce it because in the end I do not know what can happen and I have to give myself the opportunity not to say one thing and then I can be a slave of what I have said," he explained. “I think it is going to be like that but I can’t be 100 per cent sure because in the end I have worked a lot to come back to compete and if suddenly things and my physique allows me to continue and I enjoy what I do... why am I going to set a deadline?”

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