Former World No 1 Rafael Nadal laid down a purposeful marker on his return to the ATP Tour as he romped to victory at the Melbourne Summer Set trophy last weekend. The event is treated as a warm-up tournament ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year at the Australian Open which starts next week.
Nadal hasn’t played competitive tennis since August but displayed little rustiness as he claimed the title without dropping a set to secure his 89th tour-level crown. He has now won an ATP Tour title for an incredible 19th consecutive season.
Although the win may not be the biggest of Nadal’s career, the Spaniard will consider the outcome as a positive step in the right direction. He was left frustrated during the second half of 2021 due to the recurrence of a foot injury and to be back on court winning titles will be a very welcome improvement.
It will still be a very tall order for Nadal to push on and win the Australian Open in Melbourne but at least he enters the tournament with a much needed confident boost. He is currently level with Roger Federer & Novak Djokovic with 20 Grand Slam titles and it is a battle between the three greats to see how will end their career ahead in the all-time rankings.
Djokovic has had his own issues leading up to the event due to a dispute surrounding his Covid-19 vaccination status. His participation in Melbourne is still uncertain but will be hoping to compete at the Grand Slam where he is a 9-time champion.