Rafael Nadal Makes Rousing Return To Tennis, Tops Thiem In Brisbane

by Staff | January 2nd, 2024, 3:15 pm

Rafael Nadal look about as good as Rafael Nadal could after not having played for 11 months. Last night in Brisbane, the former No. 1 cruised past a man who he had lost to six times in Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-1.

In his first match in 349 days since losing to Mackenzie McDonald at the 2023 Australian Open, Nadal

“Today is honestly an emotional and important day for me after probably one of the toughest years of my tennis career, without a doubt,” Nadal said in his on-court interview. “I had the chance to come back after a year and play in front of an amazing crowd and play, I think, at a very positive level.

“On the first day, it is something that makes us feel proud. Myself, all the team and family that have been there every single day during the past year.”

Thiem, who had come through qualifying and had twice lost to Nadal in the French Open final, fought hard with Nadal in the first set before Nadal pulled away, taking eight of the last nine games.

“The first set was equal, with both of us serving well and more or less winning on serve,” Nadal said. “I was able to have that break at 6-5, so that makes the difference. Honestly, I know Dominic has gone through some hard times with injuries too, so I’m happy to see him on court and I wish him the very best for the season.”

Nadal will get a day off before his second round against Australian Jason Kubler advanced when Aslan Karatsev retired after two sets of play.

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15 Comments for Rafael Nadal Makes Rousing Return To Tennis, Tops Thiem In Brisbane

Dave Says:

Rafa did in one match what Andy hasn’t been able to do for around 3 years since coming back from his hip injury. Rafa has adapted to his situation right away by playing more aggressive than before. The backhand aggression was great. Same with his forehand. He’s not going to depend on the way he played before the hip injury to win titles again. Andy just doesn’t have it in him to play more aggressive than in the past. And it’s been really frustrating to watch. Rafa isn’t coming back just to play again. He will absolutely go for most grand slams if he can. I have no doubts. He’s going to be burning for more for sure.

Wog Boy Says:

Dave, agree about Rafa, I watched the match, but take in account who did he play against. All what’s left of Thiem is the name, he is deserving #98, he allowed Rafa to play the way he played by returning his serves from the stands and playing 5 meters behind the service line, his shots had no penetration whatsoever, it’s sad what is left from him. His SHBH is no match for Rafa. Perfect opponent for Rafa’s first match.

One thing I noticed is that they slowed down, once very fast, Brisbane court, I wonder if sleazy Tilley has done the same with AO courts, since 2019 second fastest on the tour after Shanghai, except last year Turin.

Wog Boy Says:

should say “since 2017” and not “2019”

Dave Says:

Yep. In my opinion Rafa wants the record just as bad as Nole. He will play 5 more years if his body allows him to play. Only a major injury and surgery will stop him from playing after this year. I don’t see this being his last year. I really don’t. Nole isn’t going to have his guard down thinking this is a fair well year for Rafa. No way. He knows better than that. Rafa is the king of talking with no expectations. He’s been doing it for decades. He puts ways less pressure on himself. If you watch formula 1, it’s similar to Hamilton. So many times on the radio to his team Hamilton says something and I automatically think the opposite most of the time. Maybe for different reasons. Nothing against Hamilton or Nadal. Just a pattern I notice. So for me. I won’t believe Nadal is retiring until he literally says this is my last match.

Wog Boy Says:

Exactly, couldn’t agree more👍

Giles Says:

https://x.com/nadalprop_/status/1743271931347153152?s=61 Now put that in your pipe and smoke it! Vamos Champ!

Wog Boy Says:

Don’t you worry Gisele, Nadull is in my “pipe” since AO 2022.


Is drama queen injured again?

Zed Says:

WB, don’t worry, just like so many years before, as soon as the clay season starts he will be magically healed.

None of this matters, he wasn’t going to win much of anything on hard court.

Furthermore, Nadal is not going to win any tournament that has Novak as one of the players, not even on clay. Novak will always be there to block him.

chrisford1 Says:

Well, I do think there is good evidence that Nadal ‘timed’ his injuries to avoid hard court seasons as Zed says, but I defend him somewhat because he had serious foot, ankle and knee issues even when young, more than 15 years back, in 2007. His team believed he had a higher risk of injury on hardcourts so they did curtail his play when injured – thinking only clay and grass would be safe and not aggravate injury. But I do suspect there were times when Rafa was not at all or barely injured – didn’t want the literal pain and aggravation of hardcourts.
That’s fine, but Rafa’s history does show his absences from Tour events were to some extent voluntary to preserve his knees and longevity. So this avoidance of hard courts later in his career gave him a more positive won-loss percent than he would have otherwise and it should be a discussion item because he, Novak, and Borg are alltime leaders. And it also takes away the argument that Rafa Fans have that he was a better player that Novak and would have have oodles more Slams and ATP Championships, and Master’s titles but for his injuries.

That said, “Sorry Rafa and I hope you can try Indian Wells. Get well fast!”

Giles Says:

https://x.com/itzzzain10/status/1744307898128207957?s=61 Can’t stop laughing. Attention faker fans! Hahaha

Alison hodge Says:

Some people will never give him credit for his achievements, quick to bring up the shortcomings though, always an indirect dig, followed by a get well soon pft

Alison hodge Says:

And Nadal has his own set of records that are his and his alone, never forget that

Okiegal Says:

@Giles…..I am excited to see that you started out the New Year with your shovel!! Great DIG!! I laughed out loud regarding this find!! 🤣🤣🤣

Giles Says:

Oki. I am still splitting my ribs. Too funny.

Okiegal Says:

Giles, your best “find” ever!! You outdid yourself….hilarious!
Hey, have a prosperous 2024 with good health and much happiness!! 😊😊

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