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Nadal Reflects On Comeback & ‘Unexplored Terrain’

Statement follows announcement of return in Brisbane
December 04, 2023
Rafael Nadal speaks at his eponymous academy earlier this year.
AFP/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal speaks at his eponymous academy earlier this year. By ATP Staff

Just three days after announcing he will make his return in Week 1 of the 2024 season at the Brisbane International presented by Evie, Rafael Nadal further elaborated on his comeback Monday on social media. In a philosophical message spoken in Spanish, the former World No. 1 brought the fans closer to his current mentality.

“I have been afraid to announce things because in the end it’s [been] a year without competing and it’s a hip operation,” Nadal said. “But what worries me most is not the hip, it’s everything else. I think I’m ready and I trust and hope that things go well and that it gives me the opportunity to enjoy myself on the court.”

The 37-year-old explained that because he has not competed since the 2023 Australian Open, he hopes to quickly have the feelings associated with competition.

“I hope, first of all, to feel again those nerves, that illusion, those fears, those doubts. I expect from myself not to expect anything. This is the truth,” Nadal said. “To have the ability not to demand myself what I have demanded myself throughout my career. I believe I’m in a different moment, in a different situation and in an unexplored terrain."

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The 92-time tour-level champion has become known throughout the world for his competitive spirit and pushing himself to win every single point.

“I have internalised what I have had throughout my life, which is to demand myself the maximum. And right now what I really hope is to be able not to do that, not to demand [myself] the maximum, to accept that things are going to be very difficult at the beginning and to give myself the necessary time and forgive myself if things go wrong at the beginning, which is a very big possibility," Nadal said. "But knowing that there may be a not-too-distant future in which things can change if I keep the illusion and the spirit of work and the physique responds to me, without any doubt.”

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