The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been out of action since the beginning of the year due to a hip injury sustained during the Australian Open's second round.
Initially, he had hoped to return after eight weeks to participate in a full clay-court season. However, the injury turned out to be more severe than anticipated, and in May, he conceded his chances of being fit for the French Open.
In a press conference, the 37-year-old confirmed his decision to undergo hip surgery, and he also hinted that the 2023 season was likely to be missed, setting his sights on returning for the 2024 campaign, which he indicated might be his last on the ATP Tour.
Since the surgery, more than two months have passed without any updates from Nadal himself, but recently, Toni Nadal, who coached the tennis legend until 2017, provided reassurance during an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE that everything is going well with his recovery.
"Rafa is fine, on vacation, wanting to jump onto the court in 2024. Let's hope that [Carlos] Alcaraz will let us win something then," he said.
"He is excited to return and retire on the court."
Lopez, meanwhile, was asked if Nadal would still be competitive when he returns next year.
"He is fine and his recovery is going well. Knowing Rafa and watching his career, it's hard for me to see him enter a tennis court without feeling competitive," the Spaniard told Claytenis.com.
"If everything goes well, in 2024 we will see him playing well. At what level? It's difficult to know because it's a big question mark. It's been a long time, after the injury at Wimbledon 2022 he played very little. But he has all the rest of the year to recover."
Lopez said the extended break due to the injury and surgery should benefit Nadal by allowing him to be refreshed and rejuvenated for his final campaign.
"I'm sure that if Rafa returns to play tennis he will do it competitively. Sometimes being away from the courts helps you to see things differently, to come back with enthusiasm and desire," he added.
"Because keep in mind that being 15 or 20 years at that level of demand saturates you mentally. Being away from your family and your son can help a lot."