Rafael Nadal confirmed as using Protected Ranking for 2024 Australian Open, joined by Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic among others

ATP
Monday, 04 December 2023 at 22:00
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Confirmed players entering the main draw of the Australian Open with a Protected Ranking include Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic, and Milos Raonic.
The 2-time Australian Open champion won't need a wildcard from the tournament organizers to participate. Rafael Nadal will finally be able to use his Protected Ranking, defined by the ATP as "a ranking assigned to a player who has been unable, due to injury, to compete in any tennis event for a minimum of six months." Returning to the court at the Brisbane International Open starting on December 31, Nadal will have been out of competition for just over 11 months.
The Spanish tennis player will enter with a Protected Ranking of 6, but this only applies to the entry list and doesn't grant him seeding status. Thus, Nadal will enter a Grand Slam outside the group of seeded players for the first time since 2005, potentially facing any seeded opponent in the first round.
The Protected Ranking rule will benefit Nadal for several months, as the ATP allows its use in the first 9 individual or doubles tournaments or over 9 months, whichever comes first. Considering Nadal's reduced tournament schedule in recent years and the likelihood of managing his workload upon returning from injury, this provision will likely be beneficial for a significant portion of the year. In 2022, Nadal's 9th tournament was only in mid-August at the Cincinnati Open.
Other players with Protected Ranking
Rafa Nadal is not the only one set to benefit from this rule at the upcoming Australian Open. Other players using their Protected Ranking include former US Open champion Marin Cilic (#21), Denis Shapovalov (#27), Milos Raonic (#33), Soonwoo Kwon (#80), Jiri Vesely (#94), and Attila Balazs (#101).
Indeed, the organization has opened up some wild card slots, as Nadal and Cilic appeared to be secure entries, especially considering that the Croatian reached the final of the tournament in 2018 and is one of the few Grand Slam champions on the Tour.

Nadal using protected ranking for the Australian Open so no wild card needed there. More players using PR in the Men's Singles list there: Marin Cilic (#21) Denis Shapovalov (#27) Milos Raonic (#33) Soonwoo Kwon (#80) Jiri Vesely (#94) And... Attila Balazs (#101).

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