Rafael Nadal's return seems imminent as reports suggest the Spaniard will travel to Australia post-Christmas.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been out of action since January due to a left psoas injury sustained at the Australian Open. His comeback could see him returning to the court during this tournament, marking a significant step in his return to competitive tennis.
Nadal recently confirmed his readiness to resume competition after a period of uncertainty. The 37-year-old ended his season in May after failing to recover during the clay season, subsequently undergoing arthroscopic surgery.
Initially cautious about his return, Nadal recently signalled his comeback without specifying a particular tournament or date. Recent reports indicate a likelihood of his return at the Australian Open. As per Cadena SER, the former world No. 1 plans to head Down Under post-Christmas, focusing on preparation and potentially participating in warm-up tournaments to regain match fitness.
If his preparations go smoothly, he's anticipated to compete in the Australian Open. The report also mentions Nadal's intention to intensify training at his academy in Kuwait and potentially participate in events there before returning home to Mallorca and eventually heading to Australia.
It comes just weeks after Nadal announced that he would be making a comeback to professional tennis. "I sincerely believe that I will return to play," the 37-year-old said at the Clinica del Tenis.
"I can’t say at what level I’ll be able to return, but I’ve never lost the desire to play and now it seems that things are going in the right direction. I'm not ready to say whether it will be in one place or another, but I'm happy with how things are going."
Nadal also confirmed that he would soon be giving more concrete details, adding: "A few weeks ago, I wasn't in a position to say if I could come back, but the steps forward have been positive. I hope to be able to say something more concrete in the next few weeks."
Nadal has not disclosed any details yet, but it appears that an announcement might be coming soon. Craig Tiley, the tournament director for the Australian Open, has expressed his confidence that the former world No. 1 will confirm his entry into the first Grand Slam of the year.
"Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day, because he's a massive drawcard for us," Tiley said in Melbourne on Thursday. "He wants to play, he's obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
"Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I'm certain Rafa will be here because he's not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago."