Rafael Nadal tastes defeat in first comeback match after year out injured | Tennis | Sport

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Rafael Nadal tastes defeat in first comeback match after year out injured | Tennis | Sport

Rafael Nadal suffered defeat in his tennis comeback as he teamed up with compatriot Marc Lopez for a doubles showdown against Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International on Sunday. The Spanish duo were defeated 6-4 6-4 as Nadal’s return from injury ended in misery.

Nadal didn’t play a competitive match for 347 days after being dumped out of the Australian Open by American star Mackenzie McDonald in mid-January. He spent almost a year on the sidelines with a hip injury and was forced to undergo surgery at the start of June.

His injury agony means he has been unable to add to his 22 Grand Slam trophies and, earlier this year, he was leapfrogged at the top of the men’s all-time title standings by Novak Djokovic, who has now claimed 24 Majors after winning the 2023 Australian Open, French Open and US Open.

Nadal and Lopez were second best throughout their encounter in Brisbane, with their opponents dominating from start to finish. The Australians served up 12 aces as they barely looked threatened and secured their place in the last 16 when Lopez fired a forehand long.

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Despite the result, Nadal was all smiles at the end of the match as he embraced Lopez and removed his headband. The 37-year-old kept up his positive demeanour as he shook hands with Purcell and Thompson at the net. And he was beaming from ear to ear as he waved to fans while walking off the court.

Thompson, who was thrashed by Nadal at the French Open in 2022, was full of praise for the veteran after Sunday’s match as he was interviewed at the side of the court and explained: “It’s great to see Rafa back. I’ve been on the receiving end a couple times in singles. So it’s nice to get him back on the doubles court. So this was more enjoyable than playing Rafa at Roland Garros? I actually said at the shake of hands that Roland Garros was a pleasure but it wasn’t fun.”

Nadal is set to return to the court to take on Dominic Thiem in the singles round of 32 on Tuesday. Following the Brisbane International, the Spaniard will then return to Melbourne to play in the Australian Open.

Nadal clinched his 21st Grand Slam title Down Under in 2022 when he overturned a two-set deficit to stun Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller. And the blockbuster star also lifted the trophy in Melbourne back in 2009 when he got the better of Roger Federer.

Cet article est apparu en premier en ANGLAIS sur https://www.express.co.uk/sport/tennis/1850487/Rafael-Nadal-Brisbane-International-Australian-Open


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