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Rafael Nadal Marks Emotional Return with Victory at Brisbane International

Rafael Nadal Marks Emotional Return with Victory at Brisbane International

In a triumphant return after almost a year of injury-induced absence, Rafael Nadal made a powerful statement at the Brisbane International by defeating Dominic Thiem. Playing his first singles match in 349 days, Nadal showcased his enduring prowess, winning 7-5, 6-1.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion expressed the emotional significance of the day, considering it one of the most important moments in his tennis career. Nadal, who has hinted at this season possibly being his last, acknowledged the challenges of the past year and expressed pride in his positive performance on the court.

Competing as a wildcard, Nadal is using the tournament as preparation for the upcoming Australian Open, commencing on January 14 in Melbourne. The 37-year-old Spaniard will face Australian Jason Kubler in the last 16.

Nadal’s last singles appearance was at the 2023 Australian Open, where he struggled with injury and lost in the second round to Mackenzie McDonald. Following hip surgery and a drop in world rankings to 672nd, Nadal began his comeback with a doubles match before the singles test against Thiem.

The match demonstrated Nadal’s resilience and skill, with a dominant performance that included a break in the 12th game to secure the first set. The second set saw Nadal maintain momentum, securing love holds and breaking Thiem’s serve twice.

After sealing the victory, Nadal expressed gratitude to the crowd and emphasized the pride he felt in returning to competitive play. Despite previously suggesting 2024 might be his last year, Nadal’s desire to continue playing remains strong, and he refrained from confirming that this season would indeed be his farewell.

Nadal’s win against Thiem marked his 1,069th victory at the tour level, surpassing Ivan Lendl and placing him fourth on the all-time men’s list. The victory was a significant milestone for Nadal, who acknowledged the nerves and doubts before the match but expressed excitement about being back.

As Nadal navigates his comeback, the tennis world eagerly watches to see if the iconic player can add to his Grand Slam tally. The Brisbane International victory is a testament to Nadal’s enduring spirit and skill on the court.

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