Rafael Nadal comeback could be cancelled as top coach raises suspicion

Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that Rafael Nadal will stop his tennis comeback if he feels that he can’t win a Grand Slam title. The Spaniard is set to return to competition in 2024 after being sidelined since January and underground surgery in June. Nadal has remained realistic and claimed that he wasn’t expecting to win the Australian Open or Roland Garros but Mouratoglou thinks his tennis return could be cancelled if he isn’t competitive enough to lift trophies.

Nadal has been out of action for most of the year, picking up a left psoas injury during his second-round defeat at the Australian Open. The former world No 1 then attempted to mount a comeback during the clay season but conceded that his body wasn’t responding to treatment and instead announced that he’d be back in 2024 for what would likely be the final season of his career.

The 37-year-old then underwent arthroscopic hip surgery in early June and recently gave his first real updates, claiming that he didn’t have any expectations of winning Majors upon his return. But top tennis coach Mouratoglou disagreed with Nadal’s statements and claimed that the 22-time Grand Slam champion could stop his comeback altogether if he wasn’t able to return to the top of tennis.

“Will he be ready to win the Australian Open? Probably he’s going to be short. He wants to see if he’s able to win a Grand Slam still or if he’s far,” the former coach of Serena Williams said on Instagram. “If he’s far from the feeling that he can win a Grand Slam, he will probably stop.”

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Mouratoglou – who has also previously worked with the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Simona Halep – backed Nadal to keep playing so long as he believed he could still win the biggest titles. He added: “I don’t think he’s gonna play just to be No 20 in the world.

“But if he feels he can still [win], I think he will continue. Again, unless he has an injury that we ignore.” The Frenchman also made another big claim when it came to Nadal’s ability to lift trophies, naming him as one of the favourites at Roland Garros so long as he was fit and healthy.

“When it comes to Rafa, I understand he doesn’t wanna feel that pressure and he wants people to think that he’s coming next year to say goodbye. But that’s not the type of guy [he is]. He’s going to play fully,” Mouratoglou claimed. “He will have enough time to practise. Historically, he’s a player that needs to play a lot.

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“The question mark is, how much injury free will he be in 2024? If he doesn’t have pain and he’s free to play next year, there is no reason to think that he will not be dangerous or the favourite for Roland Garros.”

The Spaniard is a 14-time champion at the French Open and has lost just three matches at the tournament in his career – to Robin Soderling in 2009 and to Novak Djokovic in 2015 and 2021. But Nadal shared a different view to Mouratoglou when he discussed his comeback last week.

While he wanted to feel competitive on the match court, the 37-year-old said his run wouldn’t depend on whether he won Grand Slams – something he wasn’t expecting anyway. “Yes, I want to play again and I’d like to become competitive again, but the goal is not to come back and win the French Open or the Australian Open, don’t get me wrong,” he told Movistar.

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