Rafael Nadal confirms arrival at Australian Open in huge boost for tournament
Rafael Nadal announces end to 2021 season through injury
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Rafael Nadal is set to take part in the first Grand Slam of 2022 after recovering from coronavirus. The Spaniard has confirmed he has travelled Down Under to take part in the Australian Open, which gets under way in just over two weeks.
Nadal missed several months of action at the end of the 2021 season through an injury which had been plaguing him for a long time.
His last competitive appearance was at an ATP event in Washington DC in August, before deciding not to participate in the US Open later that month.
Fellow Grand Slam magnet Roger Federer had already announced the end of his season when Nadal followed suit, citing a foot injury.
He told fans he had been suffering with the problem for a long time, and had decided to step away temporarily from the sport in order to give it a chance to fully heal.
“Honestly, I’ve been suffering a lot more than I should with my foot for a year and I need to take some time,” the Spaniard wrote on Twitter.
JUST IN: Murray explains why Australian Open ‘amazes’ him ahead of tournament
“After having discussed it with the team and family, this decision has been made and I think it is the way forward to try to recover and recover well.
“Thank you in advance for all the support, understanding and all your expressions of affection that are very important and more in difficult times like these.
“I promise you what I am going to do is work hard to try to continue enjoying this sport for a while longer. A big hug to all.”
He later pencilled in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament as the date he was hoping to appear back on court.
He did indeed enter that competition, but suffered another setback when he returned a positive Covid test just a few days later.
Nick Kyrgios makes ‘disaster’ comment over Federer, Nadal and Djokovic
Novak Djokovic ‘to skip Australian Open’ after exemption denied
Dominic Thiem makes ‘difficult’ Australian Open decision after wrist injury
It left fans worrying that Nadal might not be able to serve his isolation period and travel to Australia in time to take part in the first Grand Slam of 2022.
But those fears have now been allayed, after he confirmed he had been able to make the trip with time to spare.
Nadal took to social media to confirm the news to his legion of fans.
He posted a photo of himself stood on the court at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, with the tongue-in-cheek caption: “Don’t tell anyone… here I am,” complete with a winking emoji.
It means the Spaniard will be in the draw to compete for what would be his 21st major title.
No-one has ever reached that tally before, with Nadal currently sharing the record of 20 with his great rivals Federer and Novak Djokovic.
The Swiss will certainly be absent as he continues his recovery from knee surgery, while Djokovic’s participation remains up in the air.
Players need to have been vaccinated against the virus to be able to travel to Victoria, but the Serbian has on several occasions refused to reveal whether or not he has had the jab, citing medical privacy.
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley has said “a small number” of medical exemptions will be handed out to players and coaches, but it is unknown if one of those documents will have Djokovic’s name on it.
The defending Melbourne champion has yet to be spotted in Australia and pulled out of the ATP Cup in Sydney, so it appears Nadal might be the only one of the ‘big three’ of men’s tennis in the draw.
Source: Read Full Article