Rafael Nadal recently gave a pretty long interview where he talked about several things. One of those things was his comeback, which is looming and will likely happen in less than three months. The 2024 Australian Open was always talked about as the goal for Nadal, and it's not that far away anymore.
In the same interview, Nadal played down expectations about his return as he's unsure of what type of condition he'll be. He might not be good enough to challenge for titles but tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou expects him to be fine.
The Frenchman doesn't see Nadal coming back solely to say goodbye to the sports but rather play to challenge for titles. It's just how he's wired.
When it comes to Rafa I understand he doesn't want to feel pressure and he wants people to think that he's coming next year to say goodbye, but that's not the type of guy. He's going to play fully. He will have enough time to practice.
It's unlikely that Nadal will challenge at the Australian Open because it's been an event where he struggled quite a bit. Mouratoglou also doesn't see him doing that because, historically, he needs a lot of matches to hit his peak, so to Mouratoglou, Roland Garros seems like the more realistic target. It will all come down to how his body holds up, though.
Historically, he's a player that needs to play a lot. The real question mark is how much injury-free will he be in 2024. If he doesn't have pain and is free to play next year, there is no reason to think that he will not be dangerous/the favourite for Roland Garros.