Nadal to back for one last hurrah


Agency :
More than two decades after bursting on the scene, the sun is setting on Rafael Nadal’s storied career with the Spanish gladiator hoping his creaking body can hold up long enough to see out the season.

The 37-year old returns to the courts in Brisbane this week, almost a year since he last played professionally before an injury curse that has long plagued him returned with a vengeance.

It has been a recurring theme of a record-breaking career which has brought 22 Grand Slam titles and global respect, a painful by-product of his all-action, brutal-hitting style that has led to struggles with serious knee, wrist and foot problems.

His most recent setback, at the 2023 Australian Open, resulted in two rounds of hip surgery and fears that he would never grace the courts again.

But Nadal did not want it to end like that, and he has battled back for what he admits is likely his last season, to say goodbye to the fans, “enjoy myself again”, but also be competitive.


“I don’t know at what level (I can play at), I don’t know what to expect, I have no idea, but I don’t care right now,” Nadal said this month, looking ahead to 2024.

“I’m just happy to be back and with great excitement to make the effort that is necessary to have fun, and I believe that I will be competitive.”

His coach Carlos Moya gave an insight into how hard it had been to get to this point, admitting there were times when he thought Nadal’s career was over.

“When you go through a process like this operation…at the end of the day, going under the knife is really a last resort to try and make a comeback and retire on court,” Moya told the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour website last week.