Rafael Nadal to return next year
Originally published on 28/11/14
He is scheduled to return on New Year’s Day at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi before defending his Qatar Open title in Doha on January 5. Nadal will then travel to Melbourne to compete in Rafa’s Summer Set, an exhibition held at Margaret Court Arena on January 14, five days before the start of the Australian Open.
“I have a month before Australia to get to my best level,” he said. “I hope to be healthy enough to work as much as I need and want, and if that happens I really feel confident I can come back strong.”
Nadal will target a 15th Grand Slam in Melbourne after a mixed 2014 season. Although he won a ninth Roland Garros title, he was blighted by knee, wrist and back problems and lost several times to lower-ranked players including Martin Klizan and Dustin Brown.
A capacity crowd is expected for Rafa’s Summer Set in the 7,500-seat venue. Stars including fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco will face off against Nadal, while one of Melbourne’s top DJs will perform.
“I’ve heard that the new roof on Margaret Court Arena is now finished and the pictures I’ve seen are amazing. The Australian fans are always fantastic and I hope they’ll come and experience the finished stadium at this special event,” said Nadal.
The event will also support the Rafa Nadal Foundation, which assists and provides opportunities for socially disadvantaged young people, and the Australian Tennis Foundation.