Rafael Nadal will return to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open in January, tournament director Craig Tiley said Wednesday, for what will almost certainly be the Spaniard’s farewell to Melbourne.
The 22-time major winner has not played since his second-round loss to American Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open in January this year because of a hip injury.
The 37-year-old has twice undergone surgery during his long rehabilitation and said last month that he was still aiming to finish his career in 2024.
“Our 2022 champion Rafa Nadal has been working hard on his rehab for most of this yea,” said Tiley, who also expects home favourite Nick Kyrgios to return from injury.
“He (Nadal) always brings his best to Melbourne and no one can doubt how hard he competes.
“I’ve been in touch with his team and he’s now back on the court and looking forward to returning to Melbourne in January.”
Organisers will hope that Nadal’s highly anticipated return will offer a challenge to the dominance of Novak Djokovic, the reigning champion and 10-time winner in Melbourne.
Kyrgios also poses a potential threat to Djokovic after undergoing knee surgery this year.