T Tennis

Rafael Nadal is back on the tennis stage. © APA/afp / WILLIAM WEST

Rafael Nadal's comeback victory: “Emotional day”

Top star Rafael Nadal celebrated a successful comeback on the tennis tour after an injury break of almost a year.

In Brisbane, Australia, the 37-year-old Spaniard won his first round game against the Austrian Dominic Thiem 7:5, 6:1 on Tuesday and immediately showed his extraordinary class.

“Today is an emotional and important day for me – after probably one of the most difficult years of my tennis career,” said Nadal in an interview on the court after his victory in 1:29 hours. He was proud of his “positive level” in his first match. He went into the match nervous and with doubts about the long break.

Break for almost a year

For the 22-time Grand Slam tournament winner, the 250 hard court event in northeastern Australia is the first tournament since his dramatic second-round exit at the Australian Open on January 18, 2023. This meant that his long period of suffering due to a hip injury and the renewed doubts that whether he would continue his career began.

Nadal was happy about his victory. © APA/afp / PATRICK HAMILTON

In Brisbane he starts with a wildcard and impressed in his service games, where Thiem often had no chance. Nadal took advantage of a slightly weaker game by the 2020 US Open winner, who was among the world's best before his long-term wrist injury, for the decisive break to 7:5. A total of five game wins in a row formed the basis for the one-sided second set. “I don’t expect much,” Nadal had previously said about his comeback in Brisbane: “Being here is already a victory.”

Probably the last season

Nadal had announced that 2024 would likely be his last season. The first highlight will be the Australian Open in Melbourne, which starts in just under two weeks. The clay court specialist's big goal is the French Open in Paris, which he has already won 14 times, and then the Olympics, also in the French capital.

Schlagwörter: Tennis Rafael Nadal

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