Rafeal Nadal returned after a seven month layoff in February this year to regain the world No.1 ranking and win two Grand Slams.

This has led to many plaudits and many sports writers saying that his return from injury is one of the greatest sporting comeback stories.

Here, GMS academy member Karan Gadhia, looks at some of the best injury comebacks in the history of sport.


Pele arrived in Sweden for the 1958 World Cup sidelined by a knee injury, but his teammates pressed for the 17-year old to be included in the Brazil team nonetheless.

After making his debut in the third match of the tournament, Pele would go on to score in the quarterfinal against Wales, becoming the youngest goal scorer in World Cup history. Pele continued to dazzle in the tournament, netting a hat trick in the semi-final against France and two goals in the final.

Tiger Woods

In 2008 when Tiger Woods suffered a double stress fracture in his tibia, doctors advised that he spend over a month of rest and the use of crutches. Not the type to sit back and call a match, Woods hit the course as he planned before the injury. After five increasingly painful days, Woods managed to defeat Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff and win the US Open.

Lance Armstrong

Despite being involved in a recent drug scandal, Lance Armstrong beat testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain to win the Tour de France, which is arguably the most gruelling sporting event in the world, seven times between 1999 to 2005.

Brian Baker

In 2003, Brian Baker was heralded as one of tennis’ rising young stars but shortly after a promising performance at the US Open, he suffered multiple injuries that kept him away from the game for a long time.

Stunningly, after six years away from major tournaments and several operations, Brian Baker was back on the court, beating early career highs in Wimbledon and the US Open.

Eric Abidal

In March 2011 Eric Abidal was diagnosed with liver cancer after the doctors found a four-centimetre tumour in his liver. The Frenchman went under a three hour operation two days later and it took him just six weeks before he was back at the training ground.

He played the full 90 minutes as part of the winning team in the Champions League final.

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