Rafa Nadal stunned his fans and announced he intends to play at the 2022 Australian Open after a long hiatus due to injury.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion skipped the Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon in a bid to get back into top form ahead of the US Open.
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However, after a shock loss to Lloyd Harris at the Washington Open, Nadal withdrew from the US Open and announced he would take the remainder of 2021 due to a foot injury.
After remaining silent on his progress, Nadal excited fans after confirming he would play at the Tennis World Championship next month.
This signals his intention to play at the Australian Open next year.
“My plan is to play in Abu Dhabi in December, then in a tournament before Australia, then the Australian Open,” Nadal said.
“That’s my goal.
“We are working hard to make it happen.
“The foot injury still needs to improve a bit, but I’m already training for 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.
“So I’m on the right track. I’m training, I’m feeling better. I’m back on the pitch.”
Fans were rightly excited about the announcement.
While Nadal has signaled his intention to play a 21st Grand Slam, world No.1 Novak Djokovic has yet to sign up for the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic awaits Australian Open decision
Debate has raged for weeks over whether unvaccinated tennis stars will be able to compete in the Australian Open next year as the country opens its borders.
After a leaked email sent to WTA players, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed unvaccinated players would be free to compete in the grand slam if they completed two weeks in hard quarantine.
However, Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews slammed the door, insisting – as did unvaccinated fans – that unstung players would not be allowed into Melbourne Park.
This prompted Novak Djokovic to address his fans, confirm he will wait for more details on restrictions before making a decision on a trip to Australia.
However, Djokovic said it was not only him who weighed his participation.
“Well, I’ll decide if I’m going to Australia or not after seeing the official statement from Tennis Australia,” said Djokovic, ahead of his campaign for the Paris Masters.
“At this time, we don’t have any official announcement or statement. So until it’s released, I won’t talk about it anymore, because I don’t want to be part of the stories about assumptions and assumptions. .
“When the official conditions to travel to Australia and play in Australia are off, then obviously I’ll see what I personally do with that, and also the larger group of players, you know, because the situation is obviously different in Australia than most parts of the world. “
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