Rafael Nadal will reportedly use a Protected Ranking to enter the 2024 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of his comeback season. He will not need a wild card and will start his year at the Brisbane International, joining top stars like Andy Murray and Naomi Osaka. Currently ranked outside the top 600 of the ATP rankings, Nadal is ineligible to enter the main draw of the Melbourne Major or the qualifications.
Nadal last played at the 2023 Australian Open, where he exited in the second round due to a hip strain. With an extended time on the sidelines, the 22-time Grand Slam champion has chosen to use one of his Protected Ranking slots to enter the 2024 Australian Open, as reported by journalist Jose Morgado. However, he will not be eligible for seeding and will remain an unseeded player in Melbourne next year.
Nadal’s fellow ATP Tour colleague, Taylor Fritz, has commented on the Spaniard’s comeback, stating that it is good for tennis to see him back in action. Fritz expects Nadal to be a formidable opponent, despite some rust initially. He believes that Nadal, even unseeded, will be a tough opponent for many players in the early draws.