Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal has made a winning return to the Tour as on Tuesday he and partner Jaume Munar won a doubles match at the Melbourne Summer Set. Nadal, who played his last tournament of the 2021 season in early August, made his first Tour appearance in five months on Tuesday.
Nadal and Munar beat Sebastian Baez and Tomas Etcheverry 6-3 3-6 10-4 in ther doubles opener in Melbourne. Nadal and Munar claimed the first break of the match in the sixth game and then routinely held on to their serve the rest of the set to win their opener.
After losing the first set, Baez and Etcheverry started the second set with a break and then held on their serve the rest of the set to force a decider. In the decider, Nadal and Munar led 6-4 before they won four points in a row to seal a three-set win.
Nadal preparing for the Australian Open
"At the moment, Djokovic is playing well and he is healthy, but I [also] think Rafael Nadal has a chance to win the Australian Open, for sure," former world No. 3 David Ferrer told Sky Sports.
Nadal is coming off a long injury layoff but former world No. 2 Alex Corretja insists a champion like Nadal can never be ruled out. "Rafa will retire being a winner, whatever happens. No matter how he was before, he has to assess how he wants to face what he has left from now on, but being Rafa you always have the feeling that he still has a bullet in his chamber to do something great.
You can never doubt special people like him, even if he comes from a very long injury and the process that he will have now will be difficult, I trust that there is still that great title to celebrate with him. A great title I mean a Grand Slam, because a Masters 1,000 more or less is not going to change anything. As for being number 1, it will be quite difficult because for that he needs to play," Corretja told Marca.