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Australian Open Handed Boost With Rafael Nadal Return

The 2024 Australian Open has been given a substantial boost with the news the iconic Rafael Nadal will be returning from injury to feature in the Grand Slam event.

Nadal has endured a tough 2023 with injuries but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, with the Spaniard expected to feature in the first major competition of 2024 in Melbourne.

A Year To Forget For Nadal

This 2023 season is not one that will live long in the memory of Nadal, his coaching team or his vast number of fans. Nadal, who is +400 in the tennis odds to win the French Open next year, has been sidelined with a hip injury since January. The injury, sustained in his Australian Open second-round defeat at the hands of the American Mackenzie McDonald, required surgery and the 37-year-old has been working hard behind the scenes to get himself back to match fitness.

The work with his medical team looks to have paid off, with Australian Open tournament chief Craig Tiley revealing in October that Nadal will be back in time for the Grand Slam event in January. The Mallorcan star has enjoyed some great times at the major competition in Melbourne, winning the Aussie Open twice in 2009 and 2022. The Grand Slam event has also been handed further boosts in the women’s competition, with Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki all set to return for the 2024 tournament.

Nadal Looking To Finish On A High

There has been plenty of speculation regarding Nadal’s future and 2024 could possibly be his last season before calling time on what has been nothing short of an illustrious career. With 22 Grand Slam titles, Nadal has been one of the dominant figures in modern tennis, alongside the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Winning the 2022 Australia Open, Nadal knows that even in this latter stage of his career he can still go deep into this hardcourt event in Melbourne.

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Of course, there will be stern competition for the title in the first Grand Slam event of the new year, with world number one Djokovic set to be the man to beat. The Serbian star has won the competition on 10 previous occasions, including earlier this year when he beat Greece’s Stefano Tsitspias 6-3 7-6 7-6 in the final. Djokovic went close to completing a clean sweep of the Grand Slam events in 2023 but fell just short in the final at Wimbledon. With 24 Grand Slam titles to his name, Djokovic has pulled ahead of Nadal in the standings and the Spaniard will be eager to make up for lost time in 2024.

While 2023 has been a year to forget for Nadal due to injury, there are high hopes for what the veteran player might be able to achieve in the new year. The Australian Open will be a good acid test to see where he’s at, before going again in his beloved French Open at Roland-Garros in May.

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