Tennis Australia CEO says Rafa Nadal will play in 2024 Australian Open

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
12/10/2023
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Rafa Nadal to play at 2024 Australian Open

Craig Tiley, the CEO of Tennis Australia, claims Rafa Nadal will make his return from injury at the 2024 Australian Open.  

News Insights

  • Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley says Rafa Nadal will play at the 2024 Australian Open.
  • Nadal is “working hard to come back”
  • The 22-time Grand Slam champion has not played since January.
  • Nadal plans to retire at the end of the 2024 tennis season.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley revealed on Channel 9’s Today Show that the legendary Rafael Nadal will play at the 2024 Australian Open. The 22-time Grand Slam winner has not played competitive tennis since suffering a hip injury at the 2023 Australian Open in January.  

“Rafa will be back,” says Tiley

Craig Tiley’s Wednesday-morning appearance on Channel 9’s Today Show was meant to be a simple preview of the Australian Open. The 61-year-old former tennis coach did so much more than that. In addition to talking briefly about what to expect from the 2024 Australian Open, Tiley revealed a major bombshell about a legendary tennis player.  
 
According to Tiley, Rafael Nadal is set to make his long-awaited return from injury at the 2024 Australian Open. “We can reveal exclusively here that Rafa will be back,” said Tiley.   
 
The Tennis Australia boss went into further detail, saying “He's been off for most of the year and in talking to him over the last few days he confirmed he will be back, which we're really excited about, the champion of 2022. That's awesome.” 
 
Awesome is one way to describe it. Poetic is another. Nadal’s most recent injury came in the 2023 Australian Open back in January. The hip injury was so severe that the Spaniard was considering retirement. Instead of calling it quits, Nadal has decided to come back for one last season.  
 
He intends to retire at the end of the 2024 season. Starting his final campaign at the place where he suffered such a severe injury would be one of the most compelling tennis stories in recent years.  

Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, and Nick Kyrgios also set to play at 2024 Australian Open

Tiley’s announcement of Nadal’s return overshadowed virtually everything else the Tennis Australia boss said in his Today Show interview, including the news that Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, and Nick Kyrgios will all also play at the 2024 Australian Open.  
 
Osaka and Kerber have each been away from tennis on maternity leave. Osaka pulled out of the 2023 Australia just days before the tournament’s first match due to her being pregnant. Kerber has not played in a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon in 2022.  
 
Wozniacki is still in the middle of her return from retirement. The Dane retired back in 2020, but decided to return for the 2023 US Open Cup. After competing in that tournament, Wozniacki declined to participate in any of the remaining tournaments in 2023. 
 
Like Nadal, Nick Kyrgios’ return will be one from injury. The Australian has played just one match this year after suffering multiple knee and wrist injuries.  

Nadal quiet about 2024 Australian Open chances 

While Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki’s participation in the 2024 Australian Open have been confirmed officially by Tennis Australia in a video posted to their social media platforms, neither Nadal or anyone in his camp have confirmed the Spaniard’s return.  
 
Benito Perez-Barbadillo, Nadal’s main representative, went as far as to confirm that the 22-time Grand Slam winner is back practising, but he would not say whether Nadal will be ready to play in the Australian Open. “There is no date confirmed, scheduled or programmed yet for his comeback,” said Perez-Barbadillo. 
 
Nadal himself took a similar approach to Perez-Barbadillo when addressing Tiley’s statement. The 37-year-old Mallorca native sent out a tweet indirectly addressing Tiley and his statement about Nadal’s return. “I appreciate the vote of confidence from the Australian Open… I am practising every day and working hard to come back asap,” said Nadal. 

If Tiley is right and Nadal does play, the 2024 Australian Open could be one of the most exciting Grand Slam tournaments of the 2024 tennis season. For Nadal, the Australian Open would be a fitting place to return considering it was where he last played before his most recent injury.