Rafael Nadal said Friday he was “feeling good” but played down any chance of winning tournaments in the near future as he returns from a near year-long injury absence.
The 37-year-old has not played since a second-round loss at the Australian Open this year, undergoing two rounds of hip surgery on the long road back.
It raised fears his career could be over, but he will again grace the courts at the Brisbane International starting on Sunday ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
“I am feeling good,” the Spaniard, who has previously indicated it could be his farewell season, said at a promotional event in the city.
“I can’t complain. I feel much better today than what I expected one month ago, but for me, it’s impossible to think about winning tournaments today.
“What’s possible is to enjoy the comeback to the court.
“I don’t expect much, honestly,” he added. “The only thing that I expect is to be able to go on court, to feel myself competitive and to give my best.”
The 22-time Grand Slam champion spent time at his academy in Kuwait this month in search of temperatures and conditions similar to those he will encounter in Australia.
But his level of training has been limited and he admitted it would be “a tough process in the beginning”.
“It’s not like I’ve been practising with good intensity for the last six months. I just have been practising for the last month in a very good intensity,” he said.
“Nothing is impossible. But for me, just being here is a victory, and I hope that I will have a chance to enjoy, and the crowd too.”
A two-time Australian Open champion, in 2009 and 2022, Nadal has slipped behind old rival Novak Djokovic in the all-time list of Grand Slam singles titles, as the Serb won three this year in his absence to take his tally to a record 24.
Nadal said at this stage of his career “I cannot have super long-term goals because I don’t see myself playing for a super long time”.
“But in my mind, I’m going to try to give myself the opportunity to be more and more competitive as the season keeps going.”
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