Ace on the Greens: Rafael Nadal Clinches Golf Title During Tennis Hiatus


Ace on the Greens: Rafael Nadal Clinches Golf Title During Tennis Hiatus
© Mike Ehrmann / Staff - Getty Images Sport

While extending his break from professional tournaments until Indian Wells, Rafael Nadal embraced the Campeonato Balear Mid-Amateur golf event in Mallorca. Rafa won the tournament by seven strokes on Sunday, finishing second a year ago and moving a step further this time to stand at the top.

Golf is among Nadal's favorite sports, enjoying it with his family and friends and competing at amateur events whenever possible. Rafa should return to the tennis court after this success, planning to compete in Indian Wells in March.

Nadal should have been in Doha this week but withdrew a couple of days ago, feeling minor discomfort around his troubled hip and taking more time away from the competitive matches. Rafa will turn 38 in June. However, he still wants to play at a high level and chase titles, eager to end his career on his terms after giving so much to our sport.

Rafael Nadal, Brisbane 2024© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal won the Campeonato Balear Mid-Amateur golf tournament.

Rafa claimed two Majors titles early in 2022, struggling physically but overcoming the issues to stand alone on 22 trophies.

Nadal experienced an abdominal injury at Wimbledon, withdrawing before the semi-final and never reaching that level again! The Spaniard wrapped up the season inside the top-2 despite lacking form and confidence, which manifested again at the beginning of 2023.

Nadal lost both matches at the United Cup, heading to Melbourne as the defending champion but without a chance to extend his reign. Rafa beat Jack Draper in the first round before falling to Mackenzie McDonald. Nadal injured his left hip in the closing stages of the second set, revealing a left psoas muscle injury and undergoing surgery in June.

As it turned out, it led to Rafa's most extended break from tennis, closing the season after only four matches and working on his comeback ahead of 2024. Nadal felt progress on the practice court and gym in the closing stages of 2023, arranging his return for the opening week of the new season in Brisbane.

Rafa played his first match after 349 days and ousted Dominic Thiem in straight sets, playing well on serve and return. The veteran repeated that performance against Jason Kubler, sailing into the quarter-final. Nadal faced a stern test in Jordan Thompson and experienced a massive blow, squandering three match points in a 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 loss after three hours and 25 minutes!

Rafael Nadal, Brisbane 2024© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafa's body could not endure the effort, feeling the pain around his hip and asking for a medical timeout in the middle of the final set.

Nadal underwent an MRI in Melbourne and revealed a micro-tear in his muscle. The veteran skipped the Australian Open, unwilling to risk more issues in the best-of-five duels. Rafa went home and stayed away from the court for a couple of weeks.

Nadal resumed training before experiencing another minor setback, feeling discomfort and deciding to skip Doha. Rafa should be in action in Indian Wells in March, seeking competitive matches ahead of his beloved clay swing.

Rafael Nadal