Rafael Nadal marked a successful return to tennis after nearly a year of inactivity due to a hip injury.
He couldn’t have asked for a more dangerous first-round opponent than the 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem at the Brisbane International. He already came with some experience as he played a doubles match before playing in the singles.
It was difficult for the Spaniard to overcome the talented Thiem in the first set but showed some mental toughness to dominate in the second set. He eventually defeated the Austrian player 7-5, 6-1 to close the game.
With this victory, he not only regained his confidence after a challenging year in his career but also marked his 1069th tour-level win. It is special as it made him the fourth player in the list of most career wins for a man in the Open Era, overtaking Ivan Lendl.
Rafa Nadal on passing Ivan Lendl for 4th most wins of all time:— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) January 2, 2024
“As you can imagine today was not a day I was aware of this statistic. I had enough work just to be focused & come back on court & remember how to play in a professional match” 😂
In the post-match interview, the 37-year-old Nadal mentioned that he was unaware of the statistics and was solely focused on playing his best at his first competitive match after a year-long hiatus.
“As you can imagine today was not a day I was aware of this statistic. I had enough work just to be focused & come back on court & remember how to play in a professional match.”-Rafael Nadal in the post match on-court interview
He is set to face Jason Kubler in the second round at the Brisbane International. Kubler overcame Aslan Karatsev in the first round in straight sets.
Rafael Nadal becomes the fourth player with the highest number of career wins
Rafael Nadal is playing at the Brisbane International after a year-long hiatus from tennis due to injury. He participated in singles and teamed up with Mark Lopez for the doubles rubber.
Nadal and Lopez faced a first-round exit after losing to the Australian pair of Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson on December 31. Gaining some experience, he played better tennis to defeat Dominic Thiem in the singles rubber in straight sets.
It marked his 1069th win and became the fourth player in the list of most career wins in the Open Era, surpassing Ival Lendl.
The list is led by Jim Connors with 1275 wins, and the retired Swiss maestro Roger Federer occupies the second spot with 1245 wins. He is followed by the current World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the third place.