Having missed a significant amount of tennis in recent months, firstly with a wrist injury picked up after Wimbledon, then with appendicitis, which he developed after making an unconvincing comeback, Rafa Nadal is once again looking to get back to his best. Despite apparently still having not fully recovered from his appendix surgery, the 28 year old is in Melbourne and is preparing to step out at the forthcoming Australian Open.
Having won the Australian Open back in 2009, and made it to the final of last year’s event, only to be beaten by Stan Wawrinka, the Spaniard’s seeding of 3 seems fair, and he will be well fancied by online punters and users of the Betfair sports app to win his 15th Grand Slam. Can he really hope to make such a swift comeback though? What are his chances of starting 2015 off with another Grand Slam win?
Rafa Nadal is nothing if not durable and he has proven in the past how well he can recover from serious injury- the man from Mallorca famously overcame a potentially career-ending knee injury in 2012 to comeback and win the French and US Open titles in 2013. He is willing to work hard to recover his fitness and to go through the pain barrier to keep playing at the highest level, but he also knows when to take a step back. His absence from the 2012 Olympics and US Open, as well as the 2013 Australian Open show that he will not rush back if he is not in a position to compete.
With Nadal having publicised his return and publicly shown off his fitness in exhibition matches against Mark Philippoussis, Fernando Verdasco and Andy Murray in Australia, he clearly thinks that he is more or less ready. Nadal may accept that he is not 100% fit, but even if he is at 90%, he will still be more than a match for most of the field at the Australian Open.