It's been a long, long wait for Rafa fans but finally, on November 20th, came the great news that he was back training on a tennis court.
There were a couple of tentative tweets from Spanish journalists and then Rafa posted this: -
Hola a todos, hoy mi primer entrenamiento despues de tantas semanas, vamos mejorando y espero seguir con la buena evolución.
Hi all, today my first tennis practice after all these weeks. Getting better and hope to continue with the positive trend.
As expected, there were loads of journalists there...
...and he had to face a barrage of questions.
This was swiftly followed by a couple of videos.
Os dejo el primer vídeo de mi primer entrenamiento!
I leave the first video of my first practice!
Unsurprisingly, Twitter was alive with delighted comments from fans. Rafa responded to some with these tweets (English translations by Ellie and Crisstti):-
Gracias a todos por vuestras felicitaciones y apoyo en mi primer día de entrenamiento. Buenas sensaciones en la pista.
Thanks to all for your congratulations and support in my first practice. Good feeling on the court.
Gracias @LenkaKlementov!! Todo fue bastante bien ya os iré contando los avances
Everything went pretty well, I'll be telling you all how it keeps going
Thanks for your support @mayorukan!! Everything is going wellll
La verdad es que estoy muy contento por la vuelta a la pista! Lo estaba deseando @_RafaNadalFans
The truth is I am very pleased with the return to the court. I was looking forward to it
Paso a paso, hoy ya he vuelto a la pista y las sensaciones son buenas! Seguiré entrenando día a día @iloveabie!
Step by step, today I'm back on the court and the feelings are good! I'll keep training every day
Gradually, more footage was released by the media.
"I think I am feeling better, the knee is improving the right way and I am happy to be on court another time after a few months outside.
"I am just enjoying the feeling to be playing tennis another time and, well, it will be another period of my recovery.
"I start very slow and I go day by day. I will work hard in my comeback and hopefully the knee will be ready soon.
"Always you have to be careful. A few months outside of competition the body has to re-adapt everything on court and all the muscles need to start very slow.
"Every day is better otherwise I wouldn't be on the court.
"The images say the evolution has been favorable and that is reason for satisfaction after many months of working and waiting.
"It is now another phase where I´m starting little by little and going day by day with patience to find the right moment when all is well and my body will be ready to compete and when my knee is ready."
Screencap by MAC
Some quotes as taped by the journalists present at his practice session & aired on the UHABCRadio in the afternoon (Translations by malimeda):-
@RafaelNadal en @UHABCRadio "Contento de empezar de nuevo tras tanto tiempo. Día a día y con cautela esperando evoluciones de la rodilla".
Happy to start again after so much time. Going day by day and carefully, hoping for improvements of the knee.
@RafaelNadal en @UHABCRadio "Uno debe aceptar las lesiones como parte de su carrera. Lo principal es que las cosas van por buen camino".
You have to accept injuries as a part of your career. The main thing is that all is on the right track.
@RafaelNadal en @UHABCRadio "Tomeu Salvà es uno de mis mejores amigos y le agradezco que esté entrenando conmigo".
Tomeu Salvà is one of my best friends and I thank him for practicing with me.
@RafaelNadal en @UHABCRadio "No he pensado en retirarme. Volveré cuando mi juego y mi rodilla estén preparados para volver".
I haven't thought about retiring. I'll return when my game and my knee are ready to return.
Escuchamos a Tomeu Salvà, hoy entrenó con @RafaelNadal: "Empezó a entrenar hace 3 o 4 días subiendo intensidad y movimiento progresivamente"
We're listening to Tomeu Salvà, who was practicing today with Rafael Nadal: "He has started to practice 3 or 4 days ago, progressively increasing intensity and movement.
Tomeu Salvà, hoy entrenó con @RafaelNadal en @UHABCRadio: "No tuvo molestias, puede correr y se le ve bien pegando. Síntomas positivos".
He has no discomforts, he can run and he feels well while hitting. Positive signs.
@QuiqueCano desde Argentina sobre @RafaelNadal @UHABCRadio:La noticia dio vuelta al mundo. Todos le esperábamos.Rafa es el que mejor vende
Enrique Quique Cano from Argentina about Rafael Nadal on UHABCRadio: The news has travelled around the world. All of us have hoped for it. Rafa is the one who sells the best.
Screencap by MAC
Journalists from another local radio station, Cadena SER Deporte Baleares, were also at this morning's practice and tweeted a few Rafa quotes (Translations by malimeda):-
No me marco un plazo para volver. Mi plazo ahora es el día a día entrenando.
I'm not setting a deadline for my return. My deadline now is practicing day after day.
No me he planteado retirarme con 26 años, es una lesión que no retira a nadie.
I haven't planned to retire at 26, this is an injury that doesn't make anybody retire.
Contento de empezar aunque sea poco a poco, las cosas van favorablemente. Ahora se trata de ir con cautela y paciencia
Happy to have started, although little by little, the things have been going favourably. Now it's about proceeding with caution and patience.
La retirada está muy lejos de mi mente. No me siento ni con la edad para hacerlo ni la lesión es para retirar a nadie
Retirement is very far from my mind. I don't feel of age to do that, and the injury isn't such to make anybody retire.
Screencap by MAC
Editor & anchor at IB3TV, Joan Marti Mir, tweeted these Rafa quotes (Translations by malimeda):-
Jamás he pensado en la retirada. Nada más lejos de mi mente
I've never thought of retiring. Nothing is further from my mind.
No tebc data per tornar competir. Ho diran els entrenaments
I have no date for my return to competition. The practice sessions will tell me that.
RTVE evening news clip.
SNTV footage which includes Rafa speaking in English.
Antena3 TV clip, including a brief shirt change.
It's just fabulous to see you back on a tennis court, Rafa.