Rafael Nadal made a triumphant return to tennis after a long hiatus due to a hip injury. Although his men’s doubles match ended in a loss, his singles game at the Brisbane International showcased his enduring prowess. Facing off against familiar opponent Dominic Thiem, Nadal, a wildcard entrant, emerged victorious after an intense match at the Pat Rafter Arena, winning 7-5, 6-1 and securing a spot in the pre-quarters.
This marked Nadal’s first competitive singles match in almost a year following his injury during the Australian Open 2023 and subsequent surgery. His performance in Brisbane highlighted his exceptional agility, reflexes, and powerful forehand, leaving the packed crowd, including his father, impressed.
The initial set was closely contested, with Nadal displaying strong serves and eventually clinching a crucial break in the 12th game. Despite a few slip-ups, he secured the lead in their 16th ATP encounter. The second set further showcased Nadal’s dominance as he broke Thiem twice while maintaining an excellent serve record, winning an astounding 90% of points on his first serve.
Nadal expressed his emotions after the win, acknowledging the challenging year and the support of his team and family. This victory also propelled him to surpass Ivan Lendl on the all-time leaderboard of career tour-level victories, standing behind tennis legends like Connors, Federer, and Djokovic.
Looking ahead, Nadal is set to face either Aslan Karatsev or Jason Kubler in the round of 16 at Brisbane, marking his return to the tournament after a four-year hiatus.