Rafael Nadal began intense training ahead of his return to competitive action in Kuwait, picking the Middle-East country as one of the stops in the final leg of his preparations. Nadal confirmed he would return to action after nearly a year-long break at the season-opening Brisbane International ATP 250 tournament, starting December 31. The Spaniard has begun training at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Kuwait which was inaugurated in 2020.
Rafael Nadal shared photos from his training session in Kuwait. The 22-time Grand Slam champion had a training session with Arthur Fils, the 19-year-old Frenchman who was a finalist at ATP NextGen Finals.
“More work in progress,” Nadal wrote after sharing a photo from one of his training sessions in Kuwait. Fans were thrilled to see the Spanish star, in his trademark sleeveless t-shirt, back on the court ahead of what could be his last season on the professional tour.
“It’s great to be here in Kuwait to train for a few days. Everyone has been so welcoming. Thank you for everything,” Nadal said.
Nadal’s decision to train in Kuwait is a strategic call due to the weather conditions, which mirrors the conditions that Nadal will soon face in the Australian summer.
Fans are excited to welcome Nadal back even as the Spaniard has played down expectations in the new season. Nadal last played in the Australian Open earlier this year. The Spaniard lost in straight sets to Mackenzie McDonald after battling an injury on the court. Nadal won hearts by opting not to retire midway during the contest in Melbourne.
Nadal pulled out of the French Open and confirmed he would need surgery to treat his long-standing hip injury which flared up at the Australian Open. Nadal ended his season early and hinted that 2024 would be the last time he would be battling for honours on the ATP tour.
After undergoing keyhole hip surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that allowed for a quicker recovery and less trauma to surrounding tissues, Nadal has been meticulously working his way back to form. This surgery addressed damage to his psoas muscle or tendon and any issues with the labrum, setting the stage for his return.
“I have internalised what I have had throughout my life, which is to demand myself the maximum, and right now what I really hope is to be able not to do that, not to demand the maximum, to accept that things are going to be very difficult at the beginning and to give myself the necessary time and forgive myself if things go wrong at the beginning, which is a very big possibility,” Nadal had said earlier in the month.
Nadal was named in the entry list for on the Australian Open 2023, which gets underway on January 14.
Source : India Today