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Returning Rafael Nadal to face former Grand Slam champion Dominic Thiem in his first match since January 2023

The 22-time Grand Slam winner lost his doubles match at Brisbane International 2024 to Australians Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson at the Pat Rafter Arena on Sunday and faces former rival Dominic Thiem in the Round of 32 singles match on Tuesday.

Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Published on: December 31, 2023 16:04 IST
Rafael Nadal in a training session at Brisbane
Image Source : GETTY Rafael Nadal in a training session at Brisbane International on December 31, 2023

Rafael Nadal is drawn against another returning Grand Slam champion Dominic Thiem in the round of 32 at Brisbane International 2024 on Sunday. Nadal is set to make his long-awaited comeback to the tennis court after a gap of almost 12 months but faces a tough draw.

Both Nadal and Thiem are returning to action from long-term injuries with the former missing the majority of the 2023 season due to a knee injury. Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion, has won his last two encounters against the Spaniard but the latter leads with a 9-6 record.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner returned to action through a doubles game at Brisbane International but suffered a loss Sunday. He partnered with former teammate Marc Lopez in the Round of 32 clash against Australia's Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson at Pat Rafter Arena. Nadal showed no post-injury struggles and is looking all set for his return to singles on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the world no.4 Holger Rune, the highest seed at Brisbane International, will take on Max Pussel in his first match on Monday. The three-time major Andy Murray also faces a tough draw in his first game with second-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in Round of 32. 

Both Rune and Murray partnered in the double in the round of 32 matches but lost against Russia's Aslan Karatsev and Roman Safiullin on Sunday.

Coming back to Nadal, the 37-year-old veteran has already hinted that the 2024 season will be his last and is expecting no immediate results on his highly-anticipated return. Ahead of his return to action, the 14-time French Open champion said that he is focusing on comeback, not on winning.

"It's impossible to think about winning tournaments today," Nadal said on December 29. "What's really possible is to enjoy the comeback. I don't expect much -- one year without being on the court."

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