Rafael Nadal to meet Dominic Thiem in first post-surgery match in Brisbane

Nadal and Thiem set to highlight Brisbane first-round action.

by Dzevad Mesic
Rafael Nadal to meet Dominic Thiem in first post-surgery match in Brisbane
© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

Rafael Nadal has been drawn to meet Dominic Thiem in his first singles post-surgery match as the Spaniard and the Austrian are set to meet in the Brisbane first round.

On Saturday, former world No. 1 Nadal learned that he would be playing against a qualifier in the Brisbane first round. The same day, Thiem defeated James McCabe in the Brisbane qualifying first round. Today, Thiem came back from a set down to beat Giulio Zeppieri 3-6 6-4 6-4 in the Brisbane qualifying final round. 

Shortly after the Brisbane qualifying event was concluded, the qualifiers were placed in the main draw. Then it was revealed that Nadal and Thiem - who played against each other in two French Open finals in the past - would meet in the Brisbane first round. 

Nadal, who had surgery on his hip in June and hasn't played any tournaments since the 2023 Australian Open, is set to battle Thiem for the 16th in his first match in 12 months.

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem
Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Nadal and Thiem set to meet for the 16th time and for the first time since 2020

When Nadal, 37, and 30-year-old Thiem meet in Brisbane, it will be the 16th time that they are playing against each other. Also, it will be the first time since the 2020 ATP Finals that Nadal and Thiem are squaring off against each other. 

Going into the match, Nadal owns a 9-6 head-to-head record against Thiem. However, it should be noted that Thiem won their last two meetings - the Austrian beat Nadal at the 2020 Australian Open and also defeated the Spaniard in their last meeting at the 2020 ATP Finals.

Thiem and Nadal have also had some meetings in Grand Slam finals as the Spaniard claimed back-to-back French Open final wins over the Austrian in 2018 and 2019.

When it comes to their upcoming Brisbane match, the match itself will certainly draw lots of attention and interest as Nadal is officially set to launch his comeback, while Thiem continues to work on returning to the top of tennis. 

Rafael Nadal Dominic Thiem