Rafael Nadal returned to professional tennis on Tuesday after an almost year-long injury break. Although Nadal won his comeback match, the Spaniard pointed out that there is still room for improvement in both his health and his game.
The 22-time Grand Slam Champion secured a competitive yet comfortable victory over former world No. 3, Dominic Thiem, in the first round of the Brisbane International. The final scoreline read 7-5, 6-1 in favor of the Spanish player.
Rafael Nadal evaluated his performance in the comeback game. He also identified the key aspects of his game that still need time and practice for him to be at his best. He said that just because he was injured, it does not mean that he ‘forgot how to play’.
“For me, the main thing is staying healthy. I really think that I didn’t forget how to play tennis. The only thing that’s going to be difficult to make it in a professional match and in a very high level of tennis.”
“You need hours on court, hours in a practice session, but at the same time hours in professional matches. I [did not] know what could happen today. It’s a day to be happy … I am excited to have the chance to play another time.”
The Spanish player emphasized the uncertainties that come along with an injury return. While one can not expect amazing things, disaster can often occur if the limits are pushed too far.
“You cannot expect amazing things, but you can expect disasters”
The Spaniard is all set to challenge Jason Kubler to secure a quarter-final spot in the ATP 250 tournament, Brisbane International.
“I’m not here to use any excuse at all”, Rafael Nadal, defends himself from criticism and speculations from rival fans
The King of Spain returned in fine fashion on Tuesday, winning the first round of the tournament and addressed some speculations around his injury and health.
Addressing the ‘nerves’ he felt before taking on the court, Rafael Nadal made this statement that caused his fans to wonder about the inner circle of people he is surrounded with.
“I am not here to protect myself, to use any excuse, at all. I am speaking with the hand on the heart.”
“It’s normal that uh you go on Court and you have more nerves than usual because you really at the end you hope that you’re going to play at this level but inside your yourself you know that can be a disaster and that of course worried me.”
One fan took to X to point out exactly that. Since Nadal doesn’t use his mobile devices or social media platforms often, there has to be a person relaying him the information.
" I am not here to protect myself, to use any excuse, at all. I am speaking with the hand on the heart "— Flavietto99 🇮🇹 (RAFA 22 🏆) (@FlavioBertolin8) January 2, 2024
He spends little time on social media but I think someone tells him the kind of nosense criticisms according to which he looks for 'excuses'. pic.twitter.com/Je1dOTSSuM