Rafa Nadal is going to play again tennis at the highest level. The Spaniard has already made it clear that his return to the courts will occur sooner or later, although it is not yet known in which tournament his reappearance will occur. No less than number 662 in the world at the moment, the player with the second most Grand Slam titles in the history of the men’s circuit (22) is increasingly training with more intensity and verbalizing with greater vigor his desire to return to the competition.
“Until now, I didn’t know if I would ever play tennis again and now, honestly, I think so,” Nadal said last week at a public event. “I’m fine, training, happy. I’m in a good time in my life […] From how things were a few months ago to how they are now, I think I have taken a step forward without a doubtand for me that is a lot,” he also confessed.
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Although he did not want to set any type of sporting goal (“I sense that it will be very difficult to recover a very high level of tennis”), the Spaniard stated that he has “the hope of trying to be competitive.” As it could not be otherwise, he was questioned by one of his main rivals, still active: Novak Djokovic. “I’m not going to surpass them (the Serbian’s 24 grand), I don’t think we’re in that situation. I live a very different reality, I haven’t played for a year and for me personal success is maintaining the enthusiasm to do it again,” Nadal said.
Since seeing him again in the draw of an ATP event is a more real possibility than ever in recent months, the environment of the number one in the ranking starts talking about Nadal. It was the case of Djokovic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, last weekend. When his pupil had just become champion of the ATP Finals for the seventh time in his career, the former tennis player was questioned by the Manacor native and his view on the matter was resounding.
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“If it is true that Rafa returns, for me it is the best news in tennis. I love Rafa. It’s going to be interesting, because Rafa is not seeded. He can play against anyone in the first round. To Rafa you don’t want to find him even in the hotel”Ivanisevic declared to Relief this Sunday.
The winner of Wimbledon and the Davis Cup, as well as Olympic bronze, is looking forward to the reunion between Nadal and Djokovic, always a high-flying match. “It would be great for tennis (for Nadal to return). Rafa will return only if he is 100% prepared. And when Rafa is ready, I think he will still have something to say with that left arm,” said the Croatian.
Alcaraz did not avoid appearing in the conversation either, as Nole’s great adversary that he is at the moment. “He has already won two Grand Slams and It is the future of tennis“, Ivanisevic acknowledged, expecting a “very, very competitive and interesting” 2024. A year in which, if the forecasts are met, there will once again be two Spaniards with rackets in hand to threaten Djokovic’s hegemony.