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Rafael Nadal to return to tennis at Brisbane International in January

Rafael Nadal to return to tennis at Brisbane International in January
© Reuters
Twenty-two time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal reveals that he will return to tennis at January's Brisbane International after nearly a year out with a hip injury.

Twenty-two time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he plans to make his competitive tennis return at the Brisbane International next month.

The 37-year-old Spaniard missed the majority of the 2023 season with a troublesome hip injury, dropping to 663rd in the ATP rankings in the process.

Nadal only played in two tournaments during the most recent campaign, suffering back-to-back defeats to Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur at the United Cup before attempting to defend his Australian Open title.

Nadal began his quest for glory with a four-set win over Great Britain's Jack Draper, but he lost in straight sets to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round, where his hip was evidently plaguing him.

As a result, the former world number one pulled out of forthcoming Masters tournaments and Grand Slam at Roland Garros at Wimbledon, ceding his title in the former to Novak Djokovic.

Back in June, Nadal went under the knife to correct his hip problem and was given a five-month recovery timeframe, although he stated in September that he planned to return to the tour in 2024.

Three months ago, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley stated that Nadal would play at the opening Grand Slam of 2024, and the Spaniard has now taken to social media to confirm his comeback date.

Two weeks before the start of the Australian Open - which commences on January 15 - Nadal will make his highly-anticipated return at the ATP 250 Brisbane International, which begins on New Year's Day.

"Hello everyone. After a year away from competition, it's time to come back. It will be in Brisbane, the first week of January. I'll see you there," Nadal said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Nadal has only ever competed at the Brisbane International once before, reaching the quarter-finals on his tournament debut in 2017 and losing to defending champion Milos Raonic.

The 37-year-old was set to begin his 2019 season in Brisbane, but a thigh injury forced him to pull out of the tournament, although he recovered in time to play at the Australian Open, losing to Djokovic in straight sets in the final.

Nadal is a two-time Australian Open champion, triumphing in the 2009 and 2022 editions, and he will be eligible to enter the 2024 tournament via a protected ranking.

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Rafael Nadal pictured at the Australian Open on January 18, 2023
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