'Give Myself Option To Enjoy Clay Season': Nadal Makes Objective Clear In Comeback Year

'Give Myself Option To Enjoy Clay Season': Nadal Makes Objective Clear In Comeback Year

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal may have played a few matches on hard courts since his return, but he has not lost sight of his primary objective for the current season.

The Spaniard made his comeback at last month's Brisbane International, which marked the full 12 months since he competed on the ATP Tour. Nadal won a couple of matches Down Under but was beaten in the quarterfinal of the ATP 250 tournament by Jordan Thomspon.

He wasted three match points in that defeat and picked up another injury to his hip. After undergoing scans and consulting his doctors, Nadal was forced to withdraw from the 2024 Australian Open.

It was a big blow for the 22-time Grand Slam champion, who missed 11 months of action through a different hip injury last season. However, early reports indicated that the injury was not as detrimental as feared and that Nadal would be back on the courts very soon.

The 37-year-old confirmed his return tournament to be the Qatar Open. But on Wednesday, he withdrew ahead of schedule, citing that he is not at 100% yet. This also raises questions about his possible involvement in the hard-court Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells.

However, Nadal has reiterated that his priority is the clay court season. He wants to give his body maximum recuperation time to be healthy. Last year, he missed Roland Garros - a tournament that has shaped his legacy - for the first time since he made his debut in 2005.

"My priority objective, which is what I said from the beginning, is to arrive at the clay season at least as healthy as possible. I want to try to give myself the option of enjoying that clay season."

Nadal's level during his participation in Brisbane was excellent, not dropping a set until his capitulation against Thompson. His coach, Carlos Moya, maintained his stance that his best level is yet to come, targeting the period between March and April as the likeliest where we will see him in competitive shape.


You may also like