Rafa Nadal marks his return to Grand Slam action with a First Round clash against Marcos Giron at the 2022…
Rafa Nadal marks his return to Grand Slam action with a First Round clash against Marcos Giron at the 2022 Australian Open on Monday.
Nadal cut short his 2021 season back in August, citing an ongoing foot injury as the main issue.
Having won the Barcelona Open and Italian Open, Nadal lost an epic Semi-Final to rival Novak Djokovic at the French Open – a result which signalled only his third ever defeat at Roland Garros.
That campaign appeared to have taken its toll on the Spaniard physically, and he subsequently withdrew from both Wimbledon and the Olympic Games, citing schedule reasons.
Following further injury problems, Nadal withdrew from Toronto and Cincinnati and announced on August 20 that his season was over.
Now, after five months of rest and recuperation, the 35-year-old will return to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open as he looks to mark a sensational return to the winner’s circle.
With Djokovic and Roger Federer both out of action in Melbourne, Nadal is aiming to claim the outright lead in the Grand Slam champion list, with the trio currently locked level on 20 titles apiece.
Nadal’s only previous triumph at the Australian Open came back in 2009, when he defeated Federer in a classic five-set final.
Since then, he has had to settle for the runner-up spot on four occasions, most recently in 2019, and has reached back-to-back Quarter-Finals in his last two visits Down Under.
Nadal returns to Melbourne Park as the number six seed and will commence his latest campaign against America’s Marcos Giron on Monday January 17 – the opening day of the tournament.
This will be the first competitive meeting between the two players, as world number 65 Giron vies to pull off a famous upset.
The 28-year-old is making his third consecutive appearance in the Australian Open but is yet to progress beyond the First Round stage.
His best performance to date in a Grand Slam came in last year’s French Open – when he defeated Grigor Dimitrov and Guido Pella en route to the Third Round.
The match gets under way from around 3am GMT, with either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Yannick Hanfmann awaiting the winner in the Second Round later in the week.
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