The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal is back in action after staying away from the court for four and a half months, losing both matches in Abu Dhabi. The five-time Mubadala World Tennis Championship winner failed to defend the title he claimed in 2019, ending on the losing side against Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov in his first encounters since Washington in early August. Dealing with a left foot injury since the Roland Garros semi-final, Nadal skipped Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and the US Open, closing his season in Washington and undergoing a minor procedure in Barcelona to take the pain away.
Feeling better in the last couple of months, the Spaniard wanted to test his current level in Abu Dhabi and gather more information before taking his next steps. Nadal is scheduled to compete at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne in the opening week of the 2022 season before entering the first Major. However, he could not confirm the Australia trip following that loss to Denis Shapovalov on Saturday. Rafa will sit with his team and discuss their next moves, feeling happy to play again but wanting to improve many elements of his game ahead of the first official matches of the new season.
Rafael Nadal is yet to make a decision about entering the Australian Open.
Nadal played only 29 encounters in 2021, winning two ATP titles and remaining in the year-end top-10 for the 17th straight season. The 20-time Major winner will need some time to recover his form and strokes, and we will find out in the next couple of days if he travels to Australia and makes a regular start to the new season.
“I need to speak with my team, and I can not guarantee anything about my Australia trip. The plan is to go there and try my best, but I need to go back and see how the body feels after these couple of days in Abu Dhabi. I have some time to make this decision, so let’s see. I will take it day by day. At this moment of my career and after everything I went through, I need to think wisely about every next step,” Rafael Nadal said.