Rafael Nadal
Nadal will return to the ATP Tour at the Monte Carlo Masters. In this picture, Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a shot during a practice session ahead of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Jan. 13, 2018, in Melbourne, Australia. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal is ready to return to the ATP tour at the Monte Carlo Masters later this month after making his comeback from injury for Spain’s victory over Germany in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup on Sunday.

The Spaniard had not played since pulling out with a hip injury midway through his quarter-final defeat to Marin Cilic in the 2018 Australian Open in January. He was expected to return at the Mexico Open in Acapulco at the end of February, but suffered a recurrence of the injury.

Nadal subsequently missed the Masters Series events in Indian Wells and Miami before returning for the Davis Cup tie. He played two singles matches, winning both to help his nation progress to the last four stage of the competition where they will face France.

The 31-year-old’s successful participation in the Davis Cup was the first time he completed an event since losing the final of the Shanghai Masters to Roger Federer in October 2017. He has struggled with injuries since his loss in China and has been unable to compete at his best.

The clay court swing of the season is the most important part of the campaign for the 16-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion. Nadal is defending titles at Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Paris and revealed that his win over Alexander Zverev in the Davis Cup was as important for him as for the team.

The German is one of the in-form players having recently reached the finals of the Miami Open, and Nadal’s straight sets win over him on Sunday proved the Spaniard is not suffering any drawbacks from his lengthy injury absence. The 10-time French Open champion also recently returned to the top of the world rankings following Federer’s early exit at the Miami Open, but he will have to defend the clay court titles he won last season to arrive at Roland Garros as the world number one.

“I feel prepared to compete tennis-wise and physically," Nadal said after his Davis Cup win on Sunday, as quoted by Tennis World USA. “It's the first event I end this year.”

“The win against Zverev is important for me as much for my team. I am happy with the level I played. The first set was very very good and then my level dropped a little bit but since Shanghai, I have not been able to play without physical problems,” he said.

Spain will face France in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup and Nadal has made himself available for the next round which will take place after the U.S. Open in September. He was also delighted to have played the quarter-final as he believes the two wins gave him the confidence needed to return to the tour in what is an important two months for the Spaniard.

“I have a total availability for the rest of the year and I am excited,” Nadal said talking about returning to Spain's squad for the semi-finals of the Davis Cup later in the year.

“The next tie is after the last Grand Slam (of the season) and this helps. Winning two matches with a good score, especially today against a rival, gives me positive energy ahead of a very important part of the season.”