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Headlinesn > Sports > Tennis star Rafael Nadal announces return to the ATP stage after year-long absence: ‘It is time to come back’
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Tennis star Rafael Nadal announces return to the ATP stage after year-long absence: ‘It is time to come back’

Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal will make his highly anticipated return to the sport next month. 

On Friday, the 22-time Grand Slam champion revealed his intentions to compete in Australia at the Brisbane International tournament.

“After a year of not competing, it is time to come back,” Nadal said in a video posted on social media. “It will be in Brisbane in the first week of January. See you there.”

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Rafael Nadal celebrates during an Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2022 match against Denis Shapovalov May 12, 2022, at Foro Italico in Rome.  (Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The 37-year-old has been away from ATP Tour competition, the world’s top-tier tennis tour, the past 11 months. He injured a hip flexor in the second round of the 2023 Australian Open.

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In May, shortly before the start of the French Open, Nadal announced he would miss the tournament. Nadal has dominated on the clay surface at Roland-Garros throughout his career, winning the title a record 14 times.

At the time he withdrew from the French Open, Nadal also seemed uncertain about when he would return to competition. But he did express his desire to return to the court at some point in 2024, which is expected to be his final season.

Rafael Nadal plays a backhand at the Australian Open

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand in a first-round singles match against Jack Draper of Great Britain at the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park Jan. 16, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“You never know how things will turn out,” Nadal said at a news conference at the time, “but my intention is that next year will be my last year.”

Nadal underwent arthroscopic surgery in June in Barcelona.

Since the end of 2022, he has lost seven of his past nine matches and has gone 1-3 this season.

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Nadal’s 22 Grand Slam singles titles rank second to Novak Djokovic’s 24 for the most among men.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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