Rafael Nadal will return to action in Melbourne
Spanish maestro Rafael Nadal is set to return to action. Nadal, who had earlier pulled out of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, will be playing at an ATP 250 tournament in Melbourne, starting January 4. Nadal has not competed anywhere since the Citi Open, where he lost the last 16 clash to Lloyd Harris. Here are further details.
- Nadal last played in Washington, having faced a defeat to Harris.
- He also skipped Wimbledon after losing to world number one Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals.
- Nadal also missed the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to recover from fatigue.
- Thereafter, he opted out of the 2021 US Open as he didn't want to travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nadal has a win-loss record of 24-5 in the ongoing season. He has won two titles so far. He lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open at the start of the year. Nadal avenged this loss by beating Tsitsipas in the final of the ATP 500 event in Barcelona. Thereafter, the former won the Rome Masters.
Earlier this year, Nadal missed out on his 14th Roland Garros title. Djokovic defeated Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 in a tense semi-final that ran for over four hours. Nadal lost a French Open semi-final for the first time. Djokovic became the first-ever player to defeat Nadal twice at this Slam. The former became the first player to win French Open after defeating Nadal.
Nadal had sustained a foot injury at the French Open. He opted out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in order to rest following the clay-court season. Nadal said he has taken the tough decision considering the "demanding clay-court season".
Nadal is set to compete at the ATP 250 in Melbourne that will be underway on January 4. The Spaniard will face tough competition from Reilly Opelka, Alexander Bublik, and Botic van de Zandschulp. Nadal is also expected to take part in the Australian Open. He reached the quarter-finals at this Slam in 2020 where a young Stefanos Tsitsipas stunned him.