Rafael Nadal: Why Rafa Won't Miss a Beat in Return at Australian Open

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIOctober 6, 2012

June 28, 2012; London, ENGLAND; Rafael Nadal (ESP) reacts during his match against Lukas Rosol (CZE) on day four of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.  Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-US PRESSWIRE
Susan Mullane-US PRESSWIRE

Rafael Nadal is aiming to compete in the 2013 Australian Open after missing several tournaments and the Olympics after tearing his patella tendon at Wimbledon in June.

The news came from Australian Open director Craig Tiley.

According to Tiley (via Courtney Walsh of The Australian), Nadal texted him with a picture of himself stretching and then followed that with a statement indicating he would definitely be in Melbourne competing.

“He did text last week and we had direct communication with him and he is planning to be back toward the end of the year and definitely play in the Australian Open," Tiley said.

His original recovery time was estimated to be about two months, but the 26-year-old has been sidelined much longer, as he has refused to come back unless he was back to 100 percent.

Since the injury and inactivity, Rafa has fallen to the No. 4 in the world ATP rankings.

He won’t be idle much longer, however. According to the Associated Press (via ESPN), Nadal is set to return at an Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament at the end of December (Dec. 27-29). Also competing will be Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and David Ferrer.

Luckily for Nadal, he’s had great success at the Australian Open and should be back to 100 percent by the time the opening match begins. Last year he finished second in the tourney, losing a dramatic finals match against Djokovic.

The world’s former No. 1-ranked player is simply the best competitor in the sport when healthy and playing at his best. And he’s had plenty of time to get ready for the Australian Open.

He’s too rested, too determined and too capable to do anything other than succeed in Melbourne, and that’s exactly what he’ll do come January.

Mike Hoag Jr. is a Breaking News Team writer with Bleacher Report and also covers the NFL and the Cleveland Browns for the site.