Tennis: “It took a while”, Nadal reaches quarter-finals at Brisbane tournament despite long toilet break

Rafael Nadal, who returned to the court after more than a year, opened the doors to the quarter-finals by beating Australian Jason Kuber (6/1, 6/2). Although he put in a very good performance, a minor incident marred the Spaniard’s performance.

Rafael Nadal continues his momentum! On Thursday, the Spaniard advanced to the second round of the Brisbane tournament, conceding just three games against Australian Jason Kubler, ranked 102nd in the world, with scores of 6-1, 6-2. “It’s a very positive match for me, I have a chance.” being able to continue playing tomorrow (Friday, Editor’s note). Two wins after such a long break from the professional circuit, that feels good,” he said beaming in the post-match on-field interview.

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Nadal had not played singles since his defeat against American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round of the Australian Open on January 18, 2023. He lost 7-5, 6-1 against Austrian Dominic Thiem in the first round in Brisbane on Tuesday. And to the delight of the packed Pat Rafter Arena crowd, Nadal has indeed done Nadal again: precise return along the line, unstoppable diagonal forehand, magnificent backhand, perfect cushioning, minimal direct errors…

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Ten days before the start of the 2024 Australian Open, the winner of 22 Grand Slam tournaments (including 14 at Roland Garros) is therefore back, although heavy favorite Novak Djokovic had suffered a minor ankle injury while competing in the United Cup on Wednesday. , a mixed competition for national teams.

Too long toilet break

Nadal, who knows his style of play well, whose forehand is still dazzling, who is hands-on and organized, has only to adapt to the level of the rules. At the end of the first set, the Spaniard took a toilet break that went over time by four seconds. Although the player, who won the Australian Open twice, returned to his tempo on the court, he could not escape the warning of French referee Arnaud Gabas.

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“It’s a bit weird actually,” he laughs, “I knew I had time but it’s so humid in here and I had to change all my clothes. Everything really! It took me a while. There was a guy with me who was communicating by radio and giving me the remaining time but I don’t know if that’s true or not.” “When I returned to the field I thought everything was fine. I know I’m slow and I’ll try to improve on that in 2024!”

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The king of Roland-Garros (14 titles) will return to the circuit for his first quarter-final since Wimbledon 2022 on Friday. It’s undoubtedly a slightly more convincing test against Jordan Thompson, another Australian who benefits from the ‘Ugo package. Humbert is weakened by stomach cramps.

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