The upcoming 2024 return of Rafael Nadal to tennis after last competing in January has stirred contrasting emotions in the tennis world.

A former coach of the Williams sisters believes the Spaniard’s career is over while current ATP No. 10 Taylor Fritz is convinced the recovered player will again be a force on the Tour.

The pessimist’s view goes to Rick Macci, who guided the Williams pair back in the day two decades ago.

He sees little upside to the Australian return of the 22-time Grand Slam champion, aged 37.

 “As time goes by the player ages, you lose a little mobility and people are increasingly afraid of you, because they know you are vulnerable,” the American told Tennis Infinity.. 

“Now the boys know that they will have a chance to beat him, even on clay.”

The coach added: “I wish all the best to Rafa, but he’s not at the same level as he was before, so I do not consider him a contender for the Grand Slams.

“I think he can be competitive, that he will be a tough one for anyone on clay, but it will depend a lot on his health “, commented the coach in Tennis Infinity .

But Fritz, who had to quit injured in his first group match at last month’s ATP Finals in Turin, offered a more upbeat assessment of Nadal’s┬ácomeback┬áchances.

“I never thought Rafa was going to retire and not try again, so, after the time he has been away, I expected him to return at the beginning of the year,” the Californian told Eurosport.

“It’s good news for tennis in general, but it will be hard – he could be a little rusty. 

“It will be crazy to have him in the draws in which he is not going to be seeded (but playing with a protected ranking). Anyone can play against Rafa in the first or second round.”

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