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SportNadal sees off Thiem in emotional return in Brisbane

Nadal sees off Thiem in emotional return in Brisbane

Rafael Nadal made a winning return to singles action today with a straight-sets victory over Dominic Thiem at the Brisbane International.

The Spaniard has not played an ATP event since injuring his left-hip flexor – he underwent surgery on the joint in the summer of 2023 – in a second-round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open last January.

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The 22-time grand slam champion looked sharp against Austrian Thiem, a former world number three whose career has also been derailed by injury, and emerged an impressive 7-5 6-1 winner.

“Today is honestly an emotional and important day for me after probably one of the toughest years of my tennis career,” Nadal said.

“I had the chance to come back after a year and play in front of an amazing crowd and play at a very positive level on the first day is something that makes us feel proud – my team and family who have been there every day in the last year.”

After a tight first set, Nadal ran through the second by claiming two breaks of serve to set up a second-round clash with home-town favourite Jason Kubler.

The 37-year-old Nadal added: “The first set was equal, with both of us serving well and more or less winning on serve.

“I was able to have that break at 6-5, so that makes the difference. I know Dominic has gone through some hard times with injuries too, so I’m happy to see him on court and I wish him the very best for the season.”

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