RAFA NADAL returned to singles tennis with a win on Tuesday with a straight sets defeat of Dominic Thiem at the Brisbane ATP 250 event.

The 37-year-old Mallorcan wrapped up the first round victory in 90 minutes, 7-5, 6-1 against the former US Open champion.

Nadal has been out of action since January 18, when he retired from the second round of the Australian Open.

He was struck down with an injury to his left psoas iliac- a deep muscle that runs from the lower back to the hip.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion’s absence from the courts was further extended by a subsequent surgical procedure had kept him off the courts longer than anticipated.

Nadal looked in good form against the Austrian player on Tuesday with no obviously apparent issues concerning his mobility.

“Today was a tricky test”, said Nadal. ”The first set was very close, with both of us serving well, and me feeling comfortable.”

“The break made the difference and from there the match changed. Dominic Thiem has also had a very hard time with injuries, and I hope he does very well in the future,” he added.

The Spanish ace continued: “I want to thank everyone for their support. It is an exciting and special day for me, one of the most in my career, after the worst year of my career.”

“My level has been very positive, and I am proud for for me, and for my family and my team. The support I receive is very important to me, the messages that reach me… And in Australia I have always felt very loved, and today I have also been competitive.”

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