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Business News/ Sports / Tennis News/  Tennis: Rafael Nadal to make a grand comeback in Barcelona Open next week
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Tennis: Rafael Nadal to make a grand comeback in Barcelona Open next week

22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal set to play Flavio Cobolli in Barcelona Open after injury setback.

Rafael Nadal will make his return to ATP competition for the first time since January when he plays Flavio Cobolli in the Barcelona Open next week. (AP)Premium
Rafael Nadal will make his return to ATP competition for the first time since January when he plays Flavio Cobolli in the Barcelona Open next week. (AP)

Rafael Nadal is set to return to ATP competition after recovering from a hip injury. The Spaniard, who will turn 38 this year, will face Flavio Cobolli in the Barcelona Open next week. Nadal has never played 63rd-ranked Cobolli, 16 years his junior.

Since January, the 22-times Grand Slam champion has only played one exhibition match due to the injury, which flared up during the Brisbane Open quarter-final defeat by Jordan Thompson.

Nadal was smiling when he appeared at Saturday's press conference alongside the organisers and seeing his name in the draw.

On Friday, ATP news reported, Nadal practised on the courts of Real Club Tenis de Barcelona-1899, the venue for the ATP 500 on clay. He was doing so for the third consecutive day in a bid to have a chance of competing for the 17th time in one of the four tournaments he has won the most in his career.

“Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament. I’m here to see how it goes... can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see," he announced earlier this week. 

Nadal boasts a 66-4 match record in Barcelona, where the stadium court is named after him. The home favourite first lifted the trophy in 2005 and most recently in 2021.

Nadal missed 2023 season due to injury

Nadal missed virtually all of the 2023 season through injury and has only played at the Brisbane International this season. The injury in Brisbane prompted his withdrawal from the Australian Open as well as Doha and Indian Wells, where he had first intended to make his comeback.

With this potentially Nadal's last year on tour, he will be desperate not to miss any more clay court preparation time as he seeks to win a record 15th French Open title in June.

(With inputs from agencies and ATP news)

 

 

 

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Published: 13 Apr 2024, 06:01 PM IST
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