Andy Murray Rafael Nadal ATP Finals 2015

‘Not a bad match for me’ – Nadal pleased with comeback performance despite loss

Rafael Nadal is happy with his performance in his first competitive match after injury, despite losing to Andy Murray at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition.

Murray beat Nadal 6-3, 7-5 in the semi-finals of the Abu Dhabi Exhibition in what was Nadal’s competitive return after being ruled out since the start of August with a foot injury.

The match was the pair’s first meeting since the Madrid Masters semi-final back in 2016. Both Nadal and Murray have suffered multiple injury woes over the past few years as they look to be entering the latter stages of their careers.

Three-time Slam winner Murray will play World number five Andrey Rublev in the final, whilst 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal will take on Denis Shapovalov in the third place play-off match.

Following his loss, Nadal said he was pleased with his performance, saying “it was not a bad match for me.

“It is special to be back in competition at a place I enjoy a lot. It had been a while since we played against each other – I am happy to see Andy playing at this level after everything he went through (Murray underwent hip surgery in 2018 and 2019).

Similarly, Murray said “it is great being able to play at this level again after a very long time.

“Me and Rafa have played so many matches over the years but both of us have gone through so many injury troubles and issues. It is great to have the opportunity to be on court with him again.

“Yeah, I mean, certainly when I was younger I wasn’t appreciating it as much as I do now, so like I said, great to be back on the court, so happy that Rafa’s back, and I look forward to the next few years.”

When asked about playing Rublev, Murray said “It’s another chance to play against a top player. He hits a huge ball from the back of the court so will certainly test my movement out.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.