March 4, 2024

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Rafael Nadal hands over the calling card upon his return: “An emotional day”

Rafael Nadal hands over the calling card upon his return: “An emotional day”

Rafael Nadal is back. After an absence of about a year, he immediately won a rematch in the Roland Garros final. In Australia he showed Austrian Dominic Thiem who the master is. “I'm at a good level,” Nadal said after two sets.

A hip injury kept Rafael Nadal out for almost a year, but that was not noticeable on his return to Brisbane. The 37-year-old emperor returned to playing tennis again cheerfully and energetically.

In his first singles match, he faced Dominic Thiem. Nadal had beaten the former world No. 3 twice in the Roland Garros final (in 2018 and 2019), and was also the best in Australia.

The Spaniard was barely caught making a mistake. Just making a difference took a little longer. The 22-time Grand Slam winner needed 4 set points to take the lead.

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The second set became a formality for Nadal. After an hour and a half of playing tennis, he achieved his 1,069th win as a professional player.

With this he leaves Ivan Lendl behind. Only Jimmy Connors (1,274 wins), Roger Federer (1,251) and Novak Djokovic (1,087) have done better.

Nadal said immediately after the match: “This is an emotional and important day for me, after one of the most difficult years in my career.”

“I hit a good level in the first match. That's great and I'm already looking forward to my next match.”

Host player Jason Kubler (ATP-102) is waiting in the second round. He started the tournament with a wild card and benefited from the withdrawal of Russian Aslan Karatsev (ATP-35) in the first round.

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