Nadal confirms return date ahead of Aus Open

December 8, 2023 BY

He’s back: Rafael Nadal has announced he’s set to return to competitive tennis after almost a year off the court. Photo: PATRICK HAMILTON/ BELGA/ SIPA USA

The 2024 Australian Open has received a major boost with former world number one Rafael Nadal detailing his warm-up plans for the first Grand Slam of the calendar year.

Despite tournament boss Craig Tiley recently expressing his confidence Nadal would play in Melbourne in January, the 22-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played in almost 12 months due to a persistent hip flexor problem.

It had sparked concerns that the Australian Open might have seen the last of Nadal, but taking to social media late on Friday, the Spaniard confirmed he’ll return via the Brisbane International across the new year.

“After a year outside of the tour, it’s time to come back,” he said on Instagram. “I feel ready to announce I will be back in Brisbane, the first week of the season.”

Nadal has won the Australian Open twice, with his most recent victory in 2022 cementing him as an all-time crowd favourite for his determination on the court and grace off it.

He’s previously forecast that he’ll likely retire in the back half of 2024.

The Brisbane International runs from 31 December to 7 January, with the Australian Open kicking off a week later on 15 January.