Rafael Nadal Indian Wells Masters 2022

It’s a ‘miracle’ Rafael Nadal can compete in Madrid says former WTA star

Former world number five Daniela Hantuchova has said it is a “miracle” that Rafael Nadal is competing after he won his first match back on tour, just 45 days after sustaining a rib injury in California.

The 35-year-old Spanish veteran Nadal won on his return to the ATP circuit at the Madrid Open on Wednesday after defeating Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets.

Nadal, who had not played since sustaining a rib-injury in the Indian Wells Masters final in March, put on an impressive display wrapping up the match in exactly two hours.

The 13-time Roland Garros champion, despite storming to a first set lead taking it 6-1, had to dig deep in the second set as he was forced into a tie-break by the world number 32.

The tie-break was a tightly contested affair, with Nadal edging it 7-4 as he used all of his experience to edge the victory.

Following the match, former WTA star Daniela Hantuchova hailed Nadal for returning to action in Madrid so quickly saying it was “a miracle” that he was already back on the court and winning.

The Slovakian, who broke her rib three times in her career too, said it was beyond belief that he was able to return so quickly from the injury.

Hantuchova told Prime Video, “It’s unbelievable. When I heard it was the rib, since I had mine broken three times, I know how long it takes. And to see him here in Madrid, I think it’s a miracle.”

She also added that Nadal, due to the injury, can play with great “freedom” in the Spanish capital and said that were lots of positives to take from his opening round win.

“I think he was not expecting himself to be here and that gave him that freedom, especially in the first set he was really free, not really knowing whether he can kind of trust his body or not.

“And great news for all Rafa fans because if he is able to pull off a victory in two sets against Kecmanovic, not knowing how his rib is going to feel, I can’t even imagine how much begged he’s going to get as the tournament progresses.”

Nadal will next face David Goffin on Thursday, with the Spaniard leading their head-to-head 4-2.

All four of Nadal’s wins over the Belgian have come on clay, including in Madrid back in 2017.

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