Rafael Nadal makes triumphant tennis return in Barcelona

Welcome back, Rafa! (Getty Images via bbc.com)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Rafael Nadal kicked off his professional tennis return with a bang after sweeping Flavio Cobolli of Italy- 6.2, 6.3- during his first match in the ongoing Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on April 16, 2024, at the Real Club Tenis de Barcelona in Spain.

After two months of taking a break from the sport due to several injuries, Nadal hinted at his Grand Slam return after surprising his fans with his participation in Barcelona.

Not only did he show up at the match venue, but Nadal also played as if he never left and gave the crowd a moment to remember.

Everything was still there. his signature top-spin forehand bombs, his heavy service game, and his relentless drive in chasing the drop balls were all witnessed by his fans.

Nadal quickly got ahead in the opening set after scoring back-to-back service breakpoints that put him in a commanding position.

Carrying a 5-2 lead, Nadal wrapped up the first set after holding his service possession while putting the cherry on top with a driving forehand point.

It was pretty much the same in the next set as Nadal was still dictating the pace of the match, sending the Italian challenger to the baseline with his laser-sharp groundstroke game.

Despite adjustments made by Cobolli midway through the second set when he threw a series of slice lobs to slow down the tempo of the match, Nadal still found a way to break through and flaunted his baseline game to go away with his first victory in two months.

Nadal played last March 4, 2024, in Las Vegas, USA, but that match against Carlos Alcaraz was an exhibition game during the Netflix Slam tournament.

In front of an energetic crowd at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Carlos Alcaraz gave his all to edge living legend Rafael Nadal- 3.6, 6.4, 14-12- and picked up a much-needed momentum heading to the ATP Indian Wells Masters tournament.