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Rafael Nadal to mark tennis return at Qatar Open

Published at :February 10, 2024 at 9:37 PM
Modified at :February 11, 2024 at 9:07 AM
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(Courtesy : AP)

Ajay Gandhar

Rafael Nadal earlier missed Australian Open due to hip injury

Rafael Nadal, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, is set to make his comeback to the ATP Tour at the Qatar Open in Doha next week. The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been sidelined for most of the past year due to a series of injuries that forced him to miss the Australian Open 2024 and the French Open last year.

Nadal, who is currently ranked 647th in the world, underwent surgery on his psoas muscle in January 2023 and suffered a recurrence of his chronic hip problem that kept him out of action for several months. He made a brief appearance at the Brisbane International in January 2024, where he won his first two matches in straight sets, but then sustained a micro tear on another muscle in his quarter-final loss to Jordan Thompson.

The 37-year-old Spaniard decided to skip the Australian Open, where he has won twice, and return to his native Mallorca to recover and train at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. He has been working with his team to regain his fitness and form before resuming his competitive career in Doha.

Nadal has a successful history at the Qatar Open, an ATP 250 event that serves as a warm-up for the first Masters 1000 tournament of the year in Indian Wells. He has played in Doha eight times, winning the title in 2013 and reaching the final in 2010 and 2016. He will be back in Qatar for the first time since 2016 when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the title match.

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Nadal will face a strong field in Doha, which includes Andy Murray, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Alexander Bublik. He will be hoping to shake off the rust and find his rhythm on the hard courts, as he prepares for bigger challenges ahead. He is also scheduled to play in Indian Wells, where he has won three times, and Miami, where he has never won.

Nadal, who has won 92 career titles, is still chasing the record of 98 held by Novak Djokovic and 103 by Roger Federer.

Nadal, who has said that 2024 will probably be his last year on tour, will be eager to make the most of his remaining opportunities and add to his legacy as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. His fans and admirers will be hoping to see him back in action and full swing at the Qatar Open and beyond.

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