Rafael Nadal unleashes return of lethal weapon

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It would be fair to say that tennis, as a sport, misses Rafael Nadal when he is unable to compete because of injury, and that has been the case over the last few months.

However, the omens are promising that he'll soon be back to his best.

A few weeks ago, it was suggested that the former world no.1 was looking to be back and challenging at the Australian Open in January. Now, as Christmas looms large over the horizon, his most recent social media activity certainly validates those hopes.

Nadal's trademark on-court trick is arguably his ferocious forearm smash. It can leave the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer looking silly; it's on its way back too. 

The 28-year-old has given his fans an early Christmas present by uploading a slow motion video of the forearm smash in training. It looks a fierce as ever. Nadal captioned the 11 second clip: 'Training hard these weeks before 2015 starts. Do you like the video?'

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If he needed that question answering, he need only look at the response by fans on Facebook. At the time of writing, it had been liked over 16,000 fans and had hundreds of approving comments.

One comment read: 'That video has 2 dislikes on YouTube, they were obviously from Djokovic and Federer'.

It show that the anticipation is already hitting boiling point as the new year draws ever closer. The very best of Nadal has not been seen since early summer this year when he defeated Djokovic to win a record ninth French Open title. Since then, however, the Spaniard has experienced frustration.

At Wimbledon, he was knocked out in round four by Australian wildcard teenager Nick Kyrgios - the youngster put himself on the tennis map by destroying the 14-time Grand Slam champion.

Great rivalries

Ever since then, Nadal has struggled to overcome a double dose of injury. The chance to atone for the loss to Kyrgios was scuppered by a long term wrist injury. He recovered from that, however, and looked likely to compete at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, only for a bout of appendicitis to come along and end his season. 

In the long absence, both Djokovic and Federer have been able to move ahead of Nadal in the world rankings as they virtually shared most of the major trophies up until the end of the season. 

All that is likely to change by the time that the first Grand Slam of the year kicks off Down Under. Nadal has only won once in Melbourne, a traditional stronghold of his great rival Djokovic, but will be desperate to end a long period of turmoil with his 15th major title; cutting the gap in Federer's record all-time total of 17 in the process. 

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