Rafael Nadal will make a tennis comeback next year, but he's realistic about his chances when he does come back to playing tennis.
Not playing tennis for an entire year leaves effects, especially if you're on the wrong side of 30, which he is. The Spaniard is a legendary player who will certainly be competitive, but we don't really know to which extent.
He might be Grand Slam competitive or just a regular event competitive. Nobody will really know until he officially comes back to the tennis courts and plays a match. He is realistic, though, as some struggling is expected, and he spoke about it at the presentation of the Teknon Tennis Clinic in Barcelona.
I sense that it will be very difficult to recover a very high level of tennis. But hey, if I did not have the illusion of trying to be competitive, Well, I probably wouldn't be doing everything I've done in recent months, all the effort it takes at the age I am, and after having a very long career, the years weigh on me.
It's not the first time that Nadal spoke about his comeback in recent weeks, and it's not the first time he defused expectations. He's always been a very realistic person, and this is just him speaking the truth. As of right now, we don't even know where he'll make his comeback.
During his comeback, Uncle Toni has often served as PR for Nadal, and he pointed towards the Australian Open as a 'likely.' He has been practicing for weeks now, so that's another indicator that a return is likely near.
He's had some historic success when returning at the Australian Open after a long injury hiatus, and considering how much he loves his bottles a specific way, there might be some calculations there. With all seriousness, the Spaniard may return at the 2024 Australian Open, but he's yet to confirm it.