Nadal plots December return ahead of 2022 Australian Open

By Sports Desk November 01, 2021

Rafael Nadal intends to make his Tour comeback next month and plans to play at the 2022 Australian Open.

The 20-time major champion has not played since a defeat to Lloyd Harris at the Citi Open in August.

The 35-year-old, who withdrew from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics after losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals, also pulled out of the US Open due to a recurring foot injury.

Nadal has spent time training in Mallorca this month following treatment in Barcelona and said he was not sure when he would make his return to action.

Speaking at a sponsor event in Paris, Nadal said he hopes to play at the World Tennis Championship next month before a possible tilt at the first grand slam of next year, an event he has won just once back in 2009.

"My plan is to play Abu Dhabi in December and then in a tournament before Australia and then the Australian Open. That's my goal," Nadal said. "We're working hard to make it happen.

"The injury in my foot still needs to get a little better, but I'm already training almost an hour and a half a day so that's positive. Some days are better than others, but I'm starting to have a lot more positive days than negative ones.

"So, I'm on the right track. I'm training, I'm feeling better. I'm back on the court."

World number eight Casper Ruud and world number 13 Denis Shapovalov are two of the big names from the ATP Tour to have confirmed they will play in Abu Dhabi in the event that runs from December 16-18.

Women's Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic and surprise US Open champion Emma Raducanu have also signed up to make their tournament debuts.

The Australian Open, won this year by Novak Djokovic, is due to start on January 17.

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