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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Sounds of progress echoed around the Rafa Nadal Academy with each expansive swing.  

Rafael Nadal has returned to the practice court with vigor. 

More: Djokovic Captures 24th Grand Slam Title

The 22-time Grand Slam champion shared video of his practice session at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca. Nadal's practice video post comes nearly four months to the day after his June 2nd hip surgery.


A post shared by Rafa Nadal (@rafaelnadal)

While it's a short practice video, it's a positive sign for fans as Nadal aims to return for the 2024 Australian Open, which begins on January 14th.

In a Movistar Plus + interview with Juanma Castaño last month—his first major interview since undergoing hip surgery on June 2nd—Nadal reiterated his belief 2024 will possibly be his final season.

However, the king of clay made it clear he is not closing the door to continuing to compete if his body can cope with the rigors of the pro circuit.

"I said that possibly 2024 will be my last year. I stand by it, but I can't confirm it 100 percent,” Nadal told Juanma Castaño. “I think there's a good chance yes, because I know how my body is but how I'll be in four months, I don't know.

"I'm not sure what I will do in 2024, because it will change completely depending on whether I have some objectives or others. If I don't recover it's one thing, if I can compete at a level that excites me is another.”

The 37-year-old Spanish superstar aims to comeback and compete at a high level, but cautions he’s well aware of the considerable challenges he faces in advancing age, chronic injury and aches and pains that limit training time. Recovering from the arthroscopic surgery Nadal underwent on the left psoas tendon has limited his practice time—and prompted him to maintain an open mind about his 2024 aspirations.

"I don't have a set plan, I would like to play again, to be competitive again, but the ida is not to come back and win Roland Garros or Australia,” Nadal said. “Do not confuse people, I am very aware that at this time I am in my life all that is far away. I don't say impossible because in the end things in sport can change very quickly.

“I'm not frustrated for one simple reason: within my means I've done everything I can to make things as good as possible. I am not deluded and I am aware of the difficulties I face: age and physical problems that do not allow me to train 100 percent. But that doesn't take away my idea [to come back]. I don't know how I'm going to be."

Here's hoping Nadal can practice pain-free ahead of his planned 2024 comeback.

Photo credit: MGM Resorts International