Nadal plots December return ahead of 2022 Australian Open

The
20-time
major
champion
has
not
played
since
a
defeat
to
Lloyd
Harris
at
the
Citi
Open
in
August.

The
35-year-old,
who
withdrew
from
Wimbledon
and
the
Tokyo
Olympics
after
losing
to
Novak
Djokovic
in
the
French
Open
semi-finals,
also
pulled
out
of
the
US
Open
due
to
a
recurring
foot
injury.

Nadal
has
spent
time
training
in
Mallorca
this
month
following
treatment
in
Barcelona
and
said
he
was
not
sure
when
he
would
make
his
return
to
action.

Speaking
at
a
sponsor
event
in
Paris,
Nadal
said
he
hopes
to
play
at
the
World
Tennis
Championship
next
month
before
a
possible
tilt
at
the
first
grand
slam
of
next
year,
an
event
he
has
won
just
once
back
in
2009.

“My
plan
is
to
play
Abu
Dhabi
in
December
and
then
in
a
tournament
before
Australia
and
then
the
Australian
Open.
That’s
my
goal,”
Nadal
said.
“We’re
working
hard
to
make
it
happen.

“The
injury
in
my
foot
still
needs
to
get
a
little
better,
but
I’m
already
training
almost
an
hour
and
a
half
a
day
so
that’s
positive.
Some
days
are
better
than
others,
but
I’m
starting
to
have
a
lot
more
positive
days
than
negative
ones.

“So,
I’m
on
the
right
track.
I’m
training,
I’m
feeling
better.
I’m
back
on
the
court.”

World
number
eight
Casper
Ruud
and
world
number
13
Denis
Shapovalov
are
two
of
the
big
names
from
the
ATP
Tour
to
have
confirmed
they
will
play
in
Abu
Dhabi
in
the
event
that
runs
from
December
16-18.

Women’s
Olympic
gold
medallist
Belinda
Bencic
and
surprise
US
Open
champion
Emma
Raducanu
have
also
signed
up
to
make
their
tournament
debuts.

The
Australian
Open,
won
this
year
by
Novak
Djokovic,
is
due
to
start
on
January
17.

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