Rafa Nadal next match | Who and when does Nadal play next?

Jamie Shaw in French Open 18 Jan 2022
Rafael Nadal won his 13th French Open title in 2020 (PA Images)

Rafael Nadal will return to Grand Slam action at the 2022 Australian Open in January as he continues his quest for a 21st major title.

Nadal cut short his 2021 season back in August, citing an ongoing foot injury as the main issue.

Having won the Barcelona Open and Italian Open, Nadal lost an epic Semi-Final to rival Novak Djokovic at the French Open – a result which signalled only his third ever defeat at Roland Garros.

That campaign appeared to have taken its toll on the Spaniard physically, and he subsequently withdrew from both Wimbledon and the Olympic Games, citing schedule reasons.

Following further injury problems, Nadal withdrew from Toronto and Cincinnati and announced on August 20 that his season was over.

Now, after five months of rest and recuperation, the 35-year-old will return to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open as he looks to mark a sensational return to the winner’s circle.

With Djokovic and Roger Federer both out of action in Melbourne, Nadal is aiming to claim the outright lead in the Grand Slam champion list, with the trio currently locked level on 20 titles apiece.

Nadal’s only previous triumph at the Australian Open came back in 2009, when he defeated Federer in a classic five-set final.

Since then, he has had to settle for the runner-up spot on four occasions, most recently in 2019, and has reached back-to-back Quarter-Finals in his last two visits Down Under.

Nadal returns to Melbourne Park as the number six seed and got his latest campaign off to a winning start against America’s Marcos Giron on Monday with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 success.

He now faces Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann – the world number 125 – who defeated Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis in Round One.

The match start time is expected to be around 2.30am GMT, with either Karen Khachanov or Benjamin Bonzi awaiting the winner in the Third Round later in the week.

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