Rafael Nadal has declared his return to tennis, signaling a potential comeback at the Australian Open in January. Despite this announcement, legendary coach Rick Macci, known for coaching tennis icons like the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova, expresses doubt about Nadal's chances, stating that the Spaniard may no longer be considered one of the favorites for Grand Slam titles.
Nadal's challenging 2023, marked by injuries and absence from major tournaments, has raised concerns about his previous dominance on the court.
Nadal's last appearance was a surprising second-round exit at the Australian Open earlier this year due to a hip injury, which led to him missing the remaining three Grand Slam events and Novak Djokovic surpassing his Grand Slam record.
While Nadal plans to make a comeback in Brisbane, Macci believes that the fear factor associated with Nadal's game has diminished, making him less formidable compared to his prime. The coach acknowledges Nadal's competitiveness, especially on clay, but emphasizes the importance of his health in determining his performance.
Despite Macci's reservations, Nadal has expressed optimism about his return, stating that recent positive developments in his recovery indicate that he will play tennis again. While cautious about specifying the exact timeline or location of his return, Nadal acknowledges significant progress and a positive evolution in his recovery.
Reports say that Nadal will intensify his preparations by heading to his academy in Kuwait in early December. After a year of inactivity, Nadal has slipped to 663rd in the ATP men's singles rankings, emphasizing the challenges he faces in regaining his former standing in the tennis world.