Home » Rafael Nadal ‘taking it easy’ as he wins comeback match, setting up clash with Aussie number one

Rafael Nadal ‘taking it easy’ as he wins comeback match, setting up clash with Aussie number one

With a crosscourt forehand that forced his opponent to return into the net, Rafael Nadal has completed a highly successful return to action. 

The 22-time grand slam winner had not been seen on court since making a brief comeback in Brisbane in January, his only tournament since the Australian Open in January 2023.

He had not played on clay since winning the French Open title for the 14th time in June 2022.

But on a court named after himself, and backed by an adoring crowd, he brushed aside world number 62 Flavio Cobolli 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 25 minutes in the opening round of the Barcelona Open.

De Minaur won the last match-up with Nadal at the 2023 United Cup.(Getty Images: Andy Cheung)

That set up a second-round clash with Australian number one Alex de Minaur, who will provide a much tougher test than the nervous Cobolli, who made 41 unforced errors.

“I’m just having fun, happy to start with a victory,” Nadal said on court. 

“When you are at an advanced age it makes things even more tough [to come back] but to be able to continue to be on the tour for a few days and practise with the guys, and to be able to compete a little bit, it means a lot to me.”