Roger Federer’s Former Coach Takes a ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ Approach as Rafael Nadal Sets His Sights on a 2024 Comeback

Published 10/22/2023, 9:18 AM EDT

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via Reuters

Just when the tennis world thought it was time for the comeback of ‘King of Clay’, someone turned the hourglass upside down yet again. The wait is getting longer and longer for the fans of Rafael Nadal. There are speculations, opinions, optimism, and remorse surrounding the former world number one in tennis. Let’s see what the former coach of Roger Federer says about Rafa’s comeback.

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The defending champion of the Australian Open had been knocked out of the Australian Open earlier this year. America’s Mackenzie McDonald defeated him in straight sets (6-4,6-4,7-5). What seemed like a moment of a lifetime for the 28-year-old was like agony for the veteran on the court. He had sustained a left psoas injury during the second round of the match at Rod Laver Arena, which took him out of the action for most of the season. But can he make a comeback?

Roger Federer’s former coach has a say on the comeback of Rafael Nadal

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The tennis world is quite acquainted with the name Jose Higueras. This legendary coach of tennis has coached some of the best in the game. It includes Roger Federer, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Sergi Bruguera, Michael Chang, Todd Martin, Carlos Moya, Dmitry Tursunov, and Guillermo Coria. Now this vast, experienced mind has a say on the 22 Grand Slam title holders. Let’s find out what he says.

The 70-year-old came to Courtside: The US Open Podcast and expressed that he’s ‘cautiously optimistic’ with the return of the 37-year-old icon of tennis. “Obviously, it will be a great situation if we see Rafa coming back at the Australian [Open] and then being able to play a good amount of the schedule through the year. At the same time, I think Rafa is fully realistic and cautious,” said the 70-year-old coach.

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He also added, “I understand that he has only been hitting balls for a couple of weeks and not full work-outs. Yes, progressively, he is getting his body into the workout mode. Practicing and playing matches are two different things. I think, at Rafa’s age everything is possible. It is possible that he comes back and is able to play a good amount through the schedule. It is possible that he comes back and he has another setback. So, I am cautiously optimistic.

After going under the knife in June, the return of 14 French Open title holders at the Australian Open is quite dodgy. Is it just a rumor or a reality? Only time will tell, but with this legendary Spaniard, nothing is impossible.

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What could be a better epilogue for Nadal than his 15th French Open title?

After the surgery, he was expected to return after 6–8 weeks. But Rafa had expressed his discomfort following his injury recovery. This might be the reason hindering his comeback. He is facing a situation that he has never faced before in his career, so he has yet to confirm his return. But ‘King of Clay’ making a return to his kingdom won’t be bad, right? Fingers Crossed.

via Reuters

While Higueras feels ‘everything is possible’ with his compatriot, he didn’t miss showering praise on the Swiss legend. He said he was quite impressed with the way Roger Federer treated people behind the scenes. Federer initially hired him to help him with the clay court season, and later on, the partnership lasted longer. Now, one of the ‘Big Three’ had hung up his boots. The other is looking to throw a counterpunch before the sunset. How will life be in the tennis world after these two legends of the sport?

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Written by:

Sayantan Roy

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Sayantan Roy is a Tennis Writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following tennis for almost 17 years. His sheer love and enthusiasm for the racket sport has been a major influence in him wanting to build a career in sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Das

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