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Rafael Nadal fitness update ahead of farewell tour in 2024

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Rafael Nadal’s recovery from injury is going “great so far” but it is too early to put a timeline on when he will return to action, says compatriot and friend Feliciano Lopez. The 22-time Grand Slam winner has not played since his second-round exit at the Australian Open in January and has since undergone arthroscopic hip surgery.      Nadal, 37, announced in May that he expects 2024 to be his farewell tour where he wants to “try to enjoy and say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important to me.”

Lopez, the former world No 12, spoke to Nadal in Mallorca at the end of June and revealed his health was in good order following his surgery.

“He was looking great,” Lopez told a group of assembled media including The Independent. “It was only a few weeks after the surgery and he was looking great, working perfectly, feeling healthy and everything is going great so far.

“First of all, he needs to finish his rehab… but by the end of the year, I think he’s going to be fully recovered.” However, Lopez insists it was not practical to pinpoint a date for his return just yet.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal has ruled out competing on the tour again in 2023, which makes the Australian Open in January the first feasible opportunity for a return to competitive action.

“It’s very early to make a realistic plan of where he is going to play,” Lopez added.

“Maybe Australia is too early? Maybe he doesn’t want to play in Australia because he wants to focus only on the clay season?

“It’s impossible to make a prediction because he’s the one who is able to surprise everyone, even in difficult situations. I hope he recovers 100% and then he will decide if he goes just for the clay, which is probably more reasonable now, or if he goes for the full calendar.”Rafael Nadal

Lopez also mooted that the Paris Olympics next summer – held on the clay of Roland Garros – is a target for the 14-time French Open champion.

“The Olympic Games next summer, in Roland Garros, is another hypothetical tournament that he’s willing to play,” Lopez says.

“But it’s very difficult to predict at the moment because the most important thing for him is to be fully recovered… but for all tennis fans around the world, I think they’re going to have another opportunity to see Rafa.

“Where and when? This I don’t know yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to be competing next year.”

Speaking in May about his motivation to return to competitive action one last time, Nadal said: “I don’t think I deserve to end like this. I’ve worked hard enough throughout my career for my end not to be in a press conference.”

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