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.
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.
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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.”