Nadal beaten on doubles return | ‘I can’t predict if I’ll play on past 2024’

Rafael Nadal has refused to rule out the possibility of playing beyond the 2024 season but added there was also a “high percentage” chance he may not continue into 2025 as he made his competitive return to tennis.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left hip in June after sustaining an injury during last year’s Australian Open, made his competitive return to action in a doubles match alongside Marc Lopez at the Brisbane International on Sunday.

The Spanish pair, who won Olympic gold together at Rio 2016, ultimately succumbed to a 6-4 6-4 defeat to Australia’s Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson.

Nadal is next in singles action against Austria’s Dominic Thiem on Tuesday – a blockbuster rematch of their 2018 and 2019 French Open title clashes, both of which the 37-year-old won.

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Dominic Thiem had a close encounter with one of Australia’s most venomous snakes during a qualifying match at the Brisbane International on Saturday.

Ahead of his comeback in Brisbane – a tune-up for the Australian Open which starts on January 14 – Nadal said: “The problem about saying it’s going to be my last season is that I can’t predict what’s going on 100 per cent in the future. That’s why I say ‘probably’.”

He added: “It’s obvious it’s a high percentage that it’s going to be my last time playing in Australia. But if I’m here next year, don’t tell me, ‘you said it’s going to be your last season’ because I didn’t say it.

“You never know what’s going on, you know? I can’t predict how I’m going to be in the next six months. I can’t predict if my body will allow me to enjoy tennis as much as I enjoyed the past 20 years.”

In an interview on December 13 with Spanish newspaper El Pais, which was published on Sunday, Nadal said he was already thinking about the French Open, where he has won 14 of his major titles.

“When I arrive in Paris, I will know if it is my last year. And there will be a prior announcement,” Nadal said.

“There will have passed five months on the circuit and I’ll know my reality: one can sense these things, but until he feels them he cannot do anything.”

Watch continued coverage of the Brisbane International throughout the week, live on Sky Sports. Stream tennis and more with NOW.

Source : Sky Sports