Raphael Nadal returns to the court almost a year later with defeat in the doubles in Brisbane
The Spaniard, who played his last official match at the last Australian Open, returned to play with Marc Lopez in a doubles in which they lost to Australians Purcell and Thompson.
Raphael Nadal returned to the courts this Sunday almost a year after his last official match, on January 18, 2023, when he lost in the second round of the Australian Open to Mackenzie McDonald He did so in the doubles draw of the Brisbane tournament, alongside Marc Lopez, a member of his coaching team, with whom he won Olympic gold at Rio 2016.
The Spanish pair lost to Australians Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson in two sets, 6-4, 6-4. It was Raphael Nadal‘s first taste of the court in an official match, ahead of his singles debut against Dominic Thiem on Tuesday, also at the Brisbane tournament. Nadal was combative and smiling in many moments in a game that served to rebuild his physical condition.
After an even start, the Australian pair broke Raphael Nadal and Lopez‘s serve in the fifth game, which allowed them to take a 3-2 lead. Subsequently, they consolidated the break with their serve (4-2), thanks to Thompson’s service and Purcell’s good play at the net. Thus, they won the first set, 6-4.
After passing through the locker room, at the beginning of the second set, Nadal did not fail with his serve, and the Spanish couple won the first point. Then, with 1-1 on the scoreboard, two shots from Rafa were key to keep the service. That equality was maintained until 3-3, where Thompson and Purcell were able to get the second ‘break’ of the match to even the score at 3-4.
The Australian duo consolidated the break (5-3), but Nadal closed the gap with his serve (5-4). However, Thompson and Purcell managed to close and take the match at 6-4 in the second set.
Nadal accumulated his first hour and 14 minutes on court in 347 days, a meeting with which closed months of uncertainty about his sporting future, which had already cleared up on December 1 to confirm his return in this Australian tournament.