Rafael Nadal makes comeback from injury at Barcelona Open; says ‘…my last year’

Rafael Nadal made light work of Flavio Cobolli on a triumphant return from injury at the Barcelona Open on Tuesday.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion had not played an ATP Tour match since January but dispatched the Italian 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 25 minutes to reach the second round.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner missed several tournaments in 2023 due to injuries. 

His comeback ahead of the French Open, where he boasts a record 14 titles, sparks hope for his participation in Paris. 

Clay court king Nadal, who withdrew from the Australian Open, Doha and Indian Wells, also missed virtually all of the 2023 season injured.

His clash with Flavio Cobolli on Catalan clay is his first on the surface since his 2022 victory at Roland Garros.

Playing on the centre court named in his honour, Nadal said Monday that making his return in Barcelona was a “gift” and that he wanted to enjoy what he expects will be his final year as a professional.

Speaking about his return, the Spaniard said, On a personal level it is a gift for me to be in Barcelona,” said Nadal.

“I’m taking this as my last year and I want to enjoy every moment.”

However, he has not yet decided the date of his retirement. “We’ll keep going forward until I have the feeling that it’s not worth it,” Nadal added.

“I’m not putting a deadline on that, but as I’ve said, in the end life marks your path for you.”

(With inputs from agencies)


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Published: 16 Apr 2024, 09:03 PM IST

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