Nadal’s comeback gets Federer, Djo thumbs up

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have warmly welcomed Rafael Nadal’s competitive comeback as the scene at the very top of men’s tennis edges ever closer to turning from a terrific trio to the fantastic four once more.

By Alex Leach

Published: Tue 26 Feb 2013, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:56 AM

The 26-year-old Spaniard has eased himself back into the fold this month with two low-ranking tournament appearances on the clay in South America, where he finished as the VTR Open runner-up in Chile before winning the Brasil Open at Sao Paulo.

That methodical approach in Rafa’s rehabilitation from chronic knee problems has been backed by Federer, who – despite not seeing much of Nadal’s matches – is pleased to see his long-time adversary return to the sport.

“I’ve seen five points, but it’s nice to see him back,” admitted the Swiss world number two.

Nadal is on a comeback trail after suffering a knee-injury. — AFP

“He will obviously be smart about his scheduling of course. He is naturally going to be careful about picking his schedule. He is a player who seems to need to play a lot to play his best tennis or – at least – that is what he thinks.

“I disagree with that a little bit. I think he can still play very good tennis while not playing a lot.”

Djokovic meanwhile has seen only a single set or so of Nadal’s recovery, but that was enough to reconfirm the impression that the matador from Manacor remains supreme on the red stuff.

“I’ve seen highlights of his matches. I actually watched him play in Brazil, maybe one set,” the world number one Serb said.

“He’s still playing really, really good on clay and I didn’t expect any different. I’m not in his shoes and I don’t know how he feels physically, but he played in finals and won a tournament.

“Even though it’s a 250 event and he hasn’t played in the tournament in many years, I’m sure that’s going to give him a lot of confidence for the rest of the season because that’s what he wanted; he wanted to play matches and it doesn’t matter at what level. It’s great for tennis that he’s back – there’s no question about it.”

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