Rafael Nadal's major milestone in Brisbane marks his will to rule again

The Spanish champion has passed Ivan Lendl about an important ranking, putting Novak Djokovic in 'the sights'

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Rafael Nadal's major milestone in Brisbane marks his will to rule again
© Bradley Kanaris / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal passed the first round of the ATP 250 of Brisbane with a sumptuous performance that has annihilated his rival Dominic Thiem. A like back on the court - after almost a year - really perfect for the Spaniard, who put the serious injury behind the Australian Open 2023 behind him.

The Spanish champion beat the Austrian with a final score of 7-5, 6-1 and can now look at the next commitments in Australia, without great expectations from the point of view of the results.

Nadal© Bradley Kanaris / Stringer Getty Images Sport

The victory obtained on the Pat Rafter Arena has an even more special meaning for the player Majorcan, who has reached an important milestone right to his debut in the new - and perhaps the last - season of his career.

In fact, Nadal has definitively exceeded Ivan Lendl in the special ranking of tennis players with multiple ATP victories. Rafa reached 1069 wins, while the Czech - the 5th of all time in this ranking - had stopped at 1068. The American Jimmy Connors with 1274, a little further back the Swiss Roger Federer at 1251, leading the ranking.

The winner of 22 Grand Slam titles is not so far from the Serbian rival Novak Djokovic, currently at 1088. This milestone confirms - once again - that Nadal is come back on the court to rale again. He wants to mark 2024 as a season in which he play with the aim to win the most important tournaments he will play.

A warning for all his rivals. Thursday 4 January Nadal will take the court to face the round of 16 of the Australian competition. Jason Kubler, number 102 of the world who will challenge him, who at the debut took advantage of the withdrawal of Aslan Karatsev after the first two sets of the match on the score of 6-4, 6-7.

Nadal shares an exciting message after the victory over Thiem

After the numerous interviews and the usual press conference, Rafael Nadal took time to write directly to his fans through his Instagram account.

For the 22 times Slam champion was a special day. In fact, the Spaniard returned to the field after almost a year after suffering a serious Australian Open injury, having undergone an hip operation and skipped practically all last season.

"It was a very exciting day for me. As you know, it was not a simple match ... I am really happy to have had the chance to resent the competition. It took a lot of work and commitment to return. Everything could have happened on a day like this after all this time without playing a game.

I am happy with the way things went. Nothing has changed compared to what I recently said: it's just a step and the road to go is still long. I thank my team, my family and all my fans who offered me all their support," expalined Rafa.

Rafael Nadal Ivan Lendl Novak Djokovic