No wild card required for Rafael Nadal at Australian Open 2024, Spaniard to use Protected Ranking: Reports

Rafael Nadal to use Protected Ranking to enter Australian Open 2024
Rafael Nadal to use Protected Ranking to enter Australian Open 2024

Rafael Nadal will reportedly make use of a Protected Ranking to enter the 2024 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of his comeback season. He will, therefore, not require a wild card.

The Spaniard will kickstart his year at the Brisbane International, where he will join the likes of Andy Murray, Naomi Osaka and other top stars. He is currently outside the top 600 of the ATP rankings, and is therefore ineligible to enter the main draw of the Melbourne Major or even the qualifications.

Nadal was last in action at the 2023 Australian Open, where he exited in the second round and suffered a hip strain in the process. The extended time on the sidelines meant the 22-time Grand Slam champion would have to either use one of his Protected Ranking slots or wait for a wildcard from the tournament officials.

But as reported by journalist Jose Morgado, he has decided to use the former.

According to the ATP rules, a player coming back from injury can use a Protected Ranking in their first 12 singles or doubles tournaments. However, it should be noted that Nadal cannot use it to get a seeding at the Australian Open, and will remain an unseeded player in Melbourne next year.

Rafael Nadal's comeback is good news for tennis as a whole, says Taylor Fritz

2023 Australian Open - Day 3
2023 Australian Open - Day 3

Rafael Nadal's colleague on the ATP Tour, Taylor Fritz, recently commented on the Spaniard's 2024 comeback, saying that it was good news for tennis as a whole to see him back in action.

Fritz admitted that Nadal might be a little rusty in the beginning, but still expects the 22-time Grand Slam champion to be a formidable opponent on the tour.

"I mean, I expected that, it’s Rafa. I don’t think that he was ever going to just retire and not give it another go, so I definitely, after the amount of time he’s had off, I expected him to come back to start the year. So I think that it’s good news for tennis as a whole," Taylor Fritz said.
"He’s Rafa, so I think even if he’s going to be maybe a little rusty coming back or it takes some time, he’s still going to be playing really well and he’s still going to be tough for a lot of guys to play early and draws as well just because of him being unseeded," he added.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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