Pedro Luis Alonso
Sunday, 21 May 2023
Rafael Nadal, who has ruled himself out of the French Open this week, a competition he has won 14 times, has set his sights on Malaga for his long-awaited return to action.
Nadal, whose press conference on Thursday shook the world of sport when he announced that 2024 would most likely be his last year in professional tennis, has set himself the goal of fully recovering from his hip injury in time for the Davis Cup Final at the end of the year.
"Over the next few months I’m going to strengthen my physique and recover," he said. "I need to put my career on hold and I’m going to try and regenerate my body."
This would allow him, he said, to tackle "what I probably sense will be my last year" in a way that would allow him to play all the tournaments that have been important to him.
One of them is the Davis Cup, which he has won five times (the last in 2019, which is also the last time Spain won the trophy). This year, the final of the tournament will take at the Martín Carpena arena in Malaga city from 21 to 26 November.
Before then, however, several things must happen. First of all, Spain needs to qualify from the group stage in Valencia this September, where they'll fight for one of two places against teams such as Serbia, Czech Republic and South Korea. Then, he has to convince team captain David Ferrer that he's in shape and would be a valuable addition to the team.
If everything comes together, it could provide an exciting spectacle for tennis fans in Malaga, with a possible pairing with Spain's new, rising star Carlos Alcaraz.
It would be only the second time Nadal has played in Malaga, after he competed in the 2006 Malaga Masters in the arena adjacent to the area the Mallorcan plans to build a headquarters for the Rafa Nadal Academy.
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