'Can't guarantee': Australian Open rocked by Rafa Nadal confession

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·Sports Editor
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  • Rafael Nadal
    Rafael Nadal
    Spanish tennis player
Rafael Nadal, pictured here speaking to the media at the Australian Open in 2020.
Rafael Nadal speaks to the media at the Australian Open in 2020. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Nadal has tested positive for Covid-19 since time of publishing.

Rafael Nadal has made the startling admission that he's no guarantee to play the Australian Open despite making a successful return to the court in Abu Dhabi last week.

Nadal made his comeback at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event, suffering two close losses to Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov.

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However the fact he got through unscathed after four months out with a foot injury was a huge win for the 20-time grand slam champion.

The 35-year-old hadn't played since the Citi Open in Washington in August after re-injuring his left foot.

Nadal first suffered the injury in the French Open semi-finals and was forced to pull out of Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and US Open.

The Spanish superstar will now turn his attention to the Australian Open in January, where he can break the all-time men's major record he holds jointly with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

But speaking to reporters on Saturday, Nadal made the staggering confession that he's no guarantee to even make the trip to Melbourne.

"The idea is to go there and try my best there in Australia ... Being 100 per cent honest, I can't guarantee it," he said. 

"I need to speak with my team. It's more than six months since the last real official match. Things are difficult and I accept that.

"I was able to compete in both matches and even had my chances, so if we put that in perspective it's a very positive thing.

"I went through this process unfortunately a lot of times in my tennis career but I need to practice and I need to be healthy enough to go through this process. 

"If that happens, I'm confident that I will be back."

Rafael Nadal, pictured here in action against Denis Shapovalov at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
Rafael Nadal in action against Denis Shapovalov at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Tennis fans stunned by Rafa Nadal admission

The world No.6 said he would not have returned to tennis if he did not feel he was competitive enough to challenge for the biggest titles in the sport.

"I am not playing at all for money or just for fun," he added.

"I am playing to keep achieving goals or at least to enjoy the process to try to achieve my goals.

"If then you don't achieve, it's fine, but the motivation and the passion is still there."

The Australian Open begins on January 17.

with AAP

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