Rafael Nadal made a successful comeback to the ATP Tour, beating a familiar name Dominic Thiem. Later, he talked about the Austrian’s injury woes in a press conference.
Former World No.1, Rafael Nadal, returned to on-court action in the Men’s singles category and won his first match after his return. He won the Round of 32 match at the Brisbane International by defeating Dominic Thiem in straight sets, scoring 7-5, 6-1.
Dominic Thiem, himself, has faced several injury issues in recent years. The once-acclaimed Austrian seems lost and doubting his capabilities after these injuries. The former US Open Champion has seen his ranking fall from once being the World No. 2 to now being ranked 98.
Rafael Nadal shared his opinions on the Austrian’s injury woes and sympathized with him. The Spaniard also shed light on the importance of match fitness and proper rehabilitation. He advised him to play ‘freely’ and recover his lost confidence.
Rafa Nadal says Dominic Thiem will be ranked much higher this year if he recovers his confidence & stays healthy:— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) January 2, 2024
“I think for him it's been a tough beginning after the injury. That makes things very difficult for him at the beginning, no? Because I don't know if when he came… pic.twitter.com/ocNWsdx6r9
He also expressed his confidence in Thiem to make a big jump in the ATP ranking this season.
“I think the last year has been a positive year for him because, after a tough time, he was able to come back to top 100. Something that is not easy.”
“I think he started the year again with the ambition to make a positive year & to finish the year with a much higher ranking. I think that is something that should happen if he is healthy… I think if he is able to win matches & recover the confidence in himself, I don’t see him being in a ranking close to 100, no. I see him in a much higher ranking, honestly.”
Rafael Nadal shares the comeback experience, talks about Dominic Thiem, and thanks his supporters and family for their support
After making a winning comeback, Rafel Nadal took a moment to express his gratitude towards his peers, teammates, family, and supporters from all over the world for showing confidence in him.
The legendary Spanish player looked sharp in his comeback. He seemed like his regular self and showed dominance in the match. His shots were powerful, and his movements were not as rusty as expected. He defeated Dominic Thiem comfortably in two sets.
In the on-court interview after the match, the Spaniard expressed his feelings about his comeback. He shared that it was one of the ‘toughest’ years of his tennis career.
“Today is honestly an emotional and important day for me after probably one of the toughest years of my tennis career, without a doubt.”
He also thanked his team and fans for showing incredible support throughout the process.
“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.”