He had a really tumultuous year in 2023, all things considered. He once said that 2024 would probably be his final year as a professional tennis player. His statement seemed to imply that he wasn’t entirely sure he would be able to recuperate to the appropriate degree this time.
After losing his doubles match with fellow countryman Marc Lopez on Sunday, he did, however, seem somewhat optimistic about his fitness level and expressed uncertainty about whether this year would mark his final competitive tennis match.
It was at an awful period in May when Nadal had voiced such concerns. He was forced to withdraw from the French Open, which he had a record 14 victories in. It was the first time he hadn’t played at Roland Garros in nineteen years. By then, it was also clear that he was going to need surgery. Given this dire situation, he predicted that 2024 will probably be the last one.
Tuesday marked the 37-year-old’s actual return, as he defeated Thiem with relative ease. This is because the doubles match was merely a warm-up for him. Throughout the game, there were times when it seemed like he could go back in time. For the majority of the first set, Thiem was competitive, but in the crucial game of the twelfth, he lost his serve. Nadal was all over him after that. There were only 89 minutes in the match.
Nadal exhibited a very good serve. He won 21 of his first 24 points when serving. For a player playing his first singles match in 349 days, it was really impressive.
Nevertheless, don’t assume that Nadal’s performance against Thiem was his finest. It’s only the beginning. Even while he might be in the zone, he won’t likely play at his best in Brisbane. Priority one for him must be to determine how much strain his body can withstand before the big test at the Australian Open starts on January 14. This includes healing areas in particular.