The 37-year-old has been kept out of competition by a hip injury. The 22-time Grand Slam singles champion’s last match was a second-round loss at the Australian Open last January, and Nadal eventually decided to have surgery on his hip in June.
Thousands queued for a glimpse of Nadal on Friday at a fan appearance. But Nadal would not put pressure on himself to win a title in Brisbane, or a third Australian Open crown later in January
But he was quick to mention his Melbourne Park wins when prompted, two against-the-odds titles won in 2009 and 2022 that set aside his low expectations then.
In 2009 he outlasted countryman Fernando Verdasco over five hours in the semi-final before beating Roger Federer two days later in a four-hour final.
Thirteen years later, after six months sidelined with a foot injury, he came from two sets behind to beat Daniil Medvedev in the final.