Rafael Nadal set for 2024 farewell after pulling out of French Open
Rafael Nadal has sent his fans into a frenzy as footage of him training has surfaced on social media ahead of his expected comeback from injury next year. The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been out of action since the Australian Open in January as a result of psoas, hip and foot injuries, which led to the announcement that he would likely retire from tennis in 2024.
Ahead of his farewell tour next year, several worrying updates have been made as Nadal admitted that he struggles to even walk down stairs as his injuries have taken a big toll on his life even away from the court. However, he seemed to be moving much better during a practice session on Saturday.
In footage shared on Instagram by Pepe Pinto, a tennis coach at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Nadal was back on the court and hitting forehands. The 37-year-old himself similarly posted footage of him on the court recently, perhaps teasing his fans that he is ready for a return to the sport next year.
Nadal’s last training video came in early June, after his surgery, but once again he is back on the court and showcasing that he is getting up to speed by broadcasting his forehand and backhand in addition to a variety of different serves – keeping fans updated on his progress as they look forward to bidding him farewell next season.
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Former tennis star and Nadal’s friend Feliciano Lopez also shared a promising update that the veteran Spaniard should be healthy for his comeback. “He was looking great,” Lopez told The Independent.
“It was only a few weeks after the surgery and he was looking great, working perfectly, feeling healthy and everything is going great so far. First of all, he needs to finish his rehab… but by the end of the year, I think he’s going to be fully recovered.”
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Nadal has already stated that he wants to be competitive upon his return, though did play down the chances of drawing level with Novak Djokovic on 24 Major titles. “Yes, I would like to play again and be competitive again, but the dream is not to come back and win Roland Garros or win Australia, so that people don’t get confused, right?” he told Movistar+.
“I am very aware that at the time I am in my life, all that is very far away. And I don’t say it’s impossible because in the end I say things – I have said it a thousand times – all things in sport, they change very quickly.”
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