Rafael Nadal is going to make life "difficult" for his opponents, believes Prakash Amritraj after Spaniard's Brisbane 1R victory

Rafael Nadal is going to make life "a lot difficult" for his opponents, believes Prakash Amritraj after Spaniard
Rafael Nadal is going to make life "a lot difficult" for his opponents, believes Prakash Amritraj after Spaniard's Brisbane 1R victory

Rafael Nadal launched his 2024 comeback in sublime fashion on Tuesday (January 2), defeating Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the first round of the 2024 Brisbane International.

The Spaniard was in his element from the outset as he dominated the former World No. 3 with his forehand. Thiem began wilting under pressure as the match went on, leaking some costly errors on his serve to drop the first set 7-5.

Rafael Nadal continued to punish Dominic Thiem with his groundstrokes in the second set, breaking serve twice to register a convincing 7-5, 6-1 victory. Following the match, former player Prakash Amitraj dissected the 37-year-old's performance on the Tennis Channel Live Podcast.

Amitraj stated that Nadal's groundstrokes were heavy and deep as usual and that his serve was tough to handle during the contest. The American then shot a warning to the rest of the players in the men's singles draw at the Brisbane International, saying that the 22-time Major winner will likely make life 'difficult' for his opponents.

"Going through the ball, but still getting enough depth. But we didn't lose that Rafa heaviness on both sides. Backhand, heavy topspin, pushing Thiem back then flattening out that forehand, really mixing things up well and a huge stat for Rafa, we've added some mph on that serve," Amitraj said (3:11).
"90% [points] won off the first serve, 80% won on the second serve. That's going to make life a lot difficult for all of his opponents," he added.

"Stepping into the backhand there, not really getting too complacent" - Prakash Amitraj impressed with Rafael Nadal's 'aggression'

Rafael Nadal hits a forehand
Rafael Nadal hits a forehand

During the podcast, Prakash Amitraj also praised how Rafael Nadal refused to play on the back foot despite it being his first match in nearly a year. The Spaniard also received kudos for his aggressive intent during the crucial parts of the first set.

"Well, looking for the check markers that we want in Rafa being able to come back and play at a very high level, I think we saw all good things," Amitraj said (2:48)."
"Stepping into the backhand there, not really getting too complacent, playing too defensive behind the baseline, which is a tendency to do when you come back. But it was all aggression, especially in the big parts of that first set," he added.

The 22-time Major winner will play Australia's Jason Kubler for a place in the quarterfinals in Brisbane. If the Spaniard wins his last-eight encounter, he will face the winner between fourth-seed Ugo Humbert and local favorite Jordan Thompson in the semifinals.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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Edited by Aniket Rai
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