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Rafael Nadal makes winning start on return, beats Dominic Thiem in straight sets

Returning to court for a singles match after 349 days, Spanish champion Rafael Nadal made a winning start at Brisbane International beating Austria's Dominic Thiem in straight sets. Nadal suffered an injury last January before he got his left hip operated on in June and was out of action since then.

Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: January 02, 2024 19:15 IST
Rafael Nadal made a winning start on return to singles
Image Source : GETTY Rafael Nadal made a winning start on return to singles competition in Brisbane

Returning to the court after 349 days, Rafael Nadal, the 22 Grand Slam winner, made a winning start in Brisbane International in the run-up to the Australian Open as he beat the Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets. Nadal, who suffered an injury during the last year's Australian Open was out of the action for the whole year after getting his left hip operated on in June. Nadal made his return in doubles by partnering countryman Marc Lopez in a doubles loss to Australians Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson in Brisbane before getting his singles campaign underway with a win on Tuesday, January 22.

Nadal beat Thiem 7-5, 6-1 to move to the Round of 16 where he will face the Australian Jason Kubler on Thursday, January 4. It was an emotional comeback for Nadal as he admitted that it was one of the toughest years of his career but was glad that he could come back and play.

"Today is honestly an emotional and important day for me after probably one of the toughest years of my tennis career," the 37-year-old said. "I had the chance to come back after a year and play in front of an amazing crowd and play at a very positive level on the first day, [It] is something that makes us feel proud - my team and family who have been there every day in the last year."

Nadal has indicated that this could be his final year in an illustrious career and after the year he had in 2023 being out of the action, he is all the more motivated to make 2024 count. Nadal is using the Brisbane International to be ready for the Australian Open that kicks off on January 14.

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