Nadal Backed 'To Be Competitive At Very High Level In March Or April' By Coach

Nadal Backed 'To Be Competitive At Very High Level In March Or April' By Coach

by Nurein Ahmed

Carlos Moya, Rafael Nadal's current coach, has spoken about the plan in place for his charge to play at a very high level again.

Nadal, who has just returned to the tour after a 12-month injury hiatus, played his first singles match at the Brisbane International, where he defeated Austria's Dominic Thiem in straight sets. After a closely contested first set, the former World No. 1 ran away with the match.

At times, it felt like watching a young Nadal who made a mockery of his physical struggles at last year's Australian Open by gliding on the Pat Rafter Arena and unleashing his trademark forehand countless times, much to the exuberance of the Queensland crowd.

Carlos Moya, who spoke to Eurosport before the match, reserved special praise for Nadal and admitted that he is not surprised by his recovery from such a lengthy and complicated injury layoff.

"I don't see anything as impossible. I have always said that nothing would surprise me about Rafa, nor has he surprised me so far, for that reason. I always expect the best from him."

However, the 47-year-old adds that it is a peculiar moment in Nadal's career because he has never been away from the tour for such a long period of time. Consequently, there is a lot of uncertainty about how his body will respond to the rigors of day-to-day life on the ATP Tour.

Nadal had initially intended to play a farewell season in 2024 but has been feeling confident with his level in practice. Tuesday's win over Thiem should give him a dose of fresh energy and belief that he can still toil with the best despite his previous health struggles.

Moya believes his compatriot will return to playing at a "very high level" by March or April if he remains healthy. And because of that, he hasn't set high expectations for him in the first quarter of 2024.

"The process we are following is for him to be competitive at a very high level, starting in March or April. Everything that comes from now on is a bonus, but it is a hard process where the draws are going to play an important part in reaching the best level."

"I have no doubt that he will return to a very good level, the only question is when. I see it being difficult in these first two months. But I have no doubt that, if there are no physical setbacks, he will achieve it sooner or later."


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