Spain's Rafael Nadal [Source: Reuters]
Rafa Nadal was elated to return to professional tennis after nearly a year on the sidelines but the Spaniard said recovering his confidence and natural movements on the court would take time.
Nadal marked his singles comeback after hip surgery with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Austrian former world number three Dominic Thiem in the Brisbane International first round, with the 22-times major winner showing he was far from done with the sport.
The 37-year-old’s last match was at the Australian Open in January 2023 and he sat out the rest of the season after undergoing hip surgery a few months later.
Thiem, 30, has also been on the comeback trail after missing several months in 2021 and 2022 due to a wrist injury.
The former U.S. Open champion is now ranked 98th in the world but Nadal said he could easily climb the rankings judging by the way he played.