Novak Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic wary of ‘threatening’ Rafael Nadal challenge after he stages a comeback in 2024

Nadal recently returned to the practice courts in his hometown Mallorca.


Novak Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic wary of ‘threatening’ Rafael Nadal challenge after he stages a comeback in 2024

Goran Ivanisevic alongside Novak Djokovic (L), Rafael Nadal (R) (Credit : AFP Photos)

Novak Djokovic‘s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, is wary of the threat posed by 22-time Grand Slam title champion Rafael Nadal, who’s looking forward to making his return to the Tour after a lengthy injury absence next year. 

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For context, Nadal last made a tour-level appearance at this year’s Australian Open. Entering the tournament as the defending champion, the 37-year-old was knocked out in straight sets in the second round by Mackenzie McDonald. The Spaniard struggled with a hip injury, receiving treatment throughout the game.

Since then, Nadal has been working on recovery, as he has seen his ATP ranking drop to 242. In a recent interview with Spanish TV channel Movistar+, the former World No. 1 hinted towards his return to the tour in 2024 while toning down any expectations of him winning a Grand Slam as he remained realistic about his chances.

However, more interestingly, Ivanisevic isn’t convinced much, as he asserted that the Spaniard wouldn’t be making a comeback if he felt that he wasn’t ready.

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I am convinced Nadal’s level will be good, he would not be coming back if he did not feel ready, and I am confident that at Roland Garros he will be dangerous.
The former World No.2 remarked in an interview with Croatian media.

Incidentally, Paris will host another significant event on the tennis calendar in addition to the French Open, which is the Summer Olympics. This will serve as added motivation for Nadal to arrive fit for the clay court season in 2024, according to the 2001 Wimbledon champion. Continuing his train of thought, Ivanisevic further added:

He will actually be more dangerous this year because nowhere has anyone been as dominant as Nadal at Roland Garros, and it is possible that, in the year of the Olympics, he will aim for the double crown in Paris. 

For the uninitiated, Nadal has won the title in Paris a record 14 times.

Rafael Nadal remains tight-lipped about his return to the Tour at the 2024 Australian Open

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley recently announced to Australian media that two-time Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal would play in the 2024 edition of the tournament. 

Rafael Nadal and Craig Tiley. (Credits: The Canberra Times, Sky Sports)

However, Nadal was quick to refute the rumors as he took to the social media site ‘X’, saying that although he appreciated the confidence shown by Craig, he was working hard to come back as soon as possible. The former World No. 1 confirmed that he’s not sure about his participation.

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Yes, it was a bit daring. I have a very good relationship with him and I understand his excitement and also that of the Australian Open, which is surely less than the excitement I have about going there. But from there to say that I am going to be at the Australian Open seems very complicated to say today.
Said Nadal to Agencia EFE during the presentation of a new project

He further added:

In fact, I don't know and I'm working to try to recover. Therefore, my way of understanding my moment is that I do not need dates, but rather I need to simply work day by day with enthusiasm and with the right mentality to try to recover. If I set dates and I don't keep them, I add disappointments that I don't need, because I have already had enough disappointments at a sporting and physical level in recent times.

The Spaniard would be eager to return to the court and would hope that he’s fit enough to chase down his long-time rival Novak Djokovic‘s Grand Slam tally. The World No. 1 leads Nadal by 2 slams as he won a record-extending 24th Grand Slam title at the recently concluded US Open.

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