Rafa Nadal US Open 2022

Rafael Nadal admits he feared he’d ‘never be back at the US Open’ after first round win

Rafael Nadal declared himself ‘super happy’ to be back at the US Open, with him admitting he feared it would never happen.

Nadal was playing his first match in the tournament since winning it 2019, and he was given a stern test by Australian youngster Rinky Hijikata.

Hijikata won the first set to give Nadal a serious scare, but he was able to battle his way back into it and eventually secured a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win.

“It’s been a long wait,” he said on court afterwards. “For some time I thought I may not be able to be back, so I am super happy. Night sessions are the best.

Rafael Nadal entered into the US Open unsure of his fitness after only on playing one match since tearing his abdomen at Wimbledon.

That definitely showed at times too, with the Spaniard appearing to be attempting to adjust his service action to protect the injury.

He, though, says that caution is just a natural part of recovery, and he has no real injury concerns on his mind for now.

“I just have to be humble and accept the process, day after day in practices and matches and stay positive,” he said.

Nadal will now face another tough test in round two of the US Open when he comes up against experienced Italian Fabio Fognini.

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.