Spaniard legend, Rafael Nadal has announced he would be making a return to tennis before this year runs out. Nadal took a break from tennis after losing to Novak Djokovic at the semifinals of the French Open back in June. He then skipped the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Wimbledon Championship. Nadal said that he was taking time off the sport to undergo foot surgery. He had hinted that he would return next season, but it seems we might see him in action before then.
According to Nadal, he has been training for a while now, although his foot still has some healing to do. About his plan, he said, “My plan is to play Abu Dhabi in December and then in a tournament before Australia and then the Australian Open. That’s my goal.” Nadal has won the Australian Open just once and lost at the finals four times. His appearance at next year’s edition might just give him his 21st Grand Slam title.
Nadal’s announcement might spur world number one Novak Djokovic into playing at next year’s event. The Australian Open is Djokovic’s favourite Grand Slam, having won it nine times. He too also has 20 Grand Slam titles. So, playing at next year’s event might give him his 21st Grand Slam title as well.
Last week, a leaked email revealed that the organisers of the Australian Open might allow unvaccinated players into the event, although with stringent rules in place. If the email turns out to be false, however, then only vaccinated players would be allowed in Australia. This means Djokovic, who has refused to declare his vaccinated status, might not play. His absence at the event might just hand Nadal his 21st Grand Slam title, putting him ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer.
But it remains to be seen what would happen. In the meantime, we look forward to Nadal hitting the court again in December.
Written by: Leon Osamor