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Beyond the Baseline

Rafael Nadal to return with new racket

Rafael Nadal Rafael Nadal hasn't played since Wimbledon but hopes to return next week. (Jamie Reina/AFP/Getty Images)

When Rafael Nadal returns to court next week at the ATP 250 event in Vina del Mar, Chile, he won't be carrying the Babolat Aero Pro Drive that has been his trusty racket of choice since he was 12 years old. According to DPA. Nadal will be switching to a newer Babolat model to -- get this -- achieve even more topspin.

“Uncle Toni put pressure on Rafa to change. If you want to be better, you have to take risks,” Eric Babolat, the owner of the firm that makes the racket Nadal has been playing with since age 12, told DPA.

“I don’t agree with what you’re saying, but I’ll give it a try,” Babolat said Nadal usually tells his uncle-coach.

According to the Frenchman, the new racket and new strings give “more power and more control” to the Spaniard’s shots.

“More top spin, he already has a lot of that but he wants more,” said Babolat.

More topspin? Well now you're just getting greedy, Rafa.

Nadal will test the racket and his knees on a three-tournament swing that will see him play back-to-back-to-back clay court events in Chile, Brazil and Mexico. Speaking to reporters in Mallorca on Wednesday, Nadal said his goal in the first stages of his comeback is to ensure his knees can withstand the heavy load.

"The most important thing for me is the knee...that I can support the pain of the knee and then if I am able to play these three tournaments in a row I think it will work very well for me because I will have three important weeks to prepare for the rest of the season.
Nadal is set to leave for Chile on Thursday.
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