The 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal's uncle, Toni Nadal, has welcomed his nephew's much-awaited return and backed him for success in an Instagram post.
Rafa announced his comeback to the court in a short video posted on his social media accounts on December 1 after a 12-month-long absence at the Brisbane International in January.
Toni, who has previously coached Rafa as well, expressed his enthusiasm on the 37-year-old's return saying that it will, indeed, be the hardest one but the Spaniard will not disappoint.
"Very excited to see @rafaelnadal. compete again. Even knowing this time will be the hardest one yet I have great faith in him and believe he won’t disappoint," Toni captioned his Instagram post (translated from Spanish).
Nadal, who last featured at the 2022 Australian Open where he sustained a hip injury that kept him out for 12 months, announced his comeback on December 1.
“After a year away from competition, it’s time to come back,” Nadal said in a video posted on multiple social media platforms Friday. “It will be in Brisbane the first week of January, I will see you there.”
In the same video, the Spaniard also added a small clip from his previous press conference where he stated that he doesn't deserve to end his career like this.
"I don't think I deserve to end like this. I have worked hard so that my end is not here, in a press conference. I am going to work hard to finish my career the right way," he had said.
It is worth noting that Nadal fell out of 10 rankings for the first time in his 20-year-old illustrious career and is currently ranked World No. 663.
While talking in a local show in September, Rafa made an honest admission and made it clear that he would not be returning with hopes of winning any major title.
"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?" Nadal said in September.
"I am very aware that at the time I am in my life, all that is very far away, right? 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," he added.
He also talked about his 2024 retirement plan saying that it remains his goal.
"I said that possibly 2024 was my last year, I maintain that, but I cannot confirm it 100% because I do not know," the 22-time Grand Slam triumphant added.