Nadal defeated World No. 86 Alejandro Tabilo in straight sets in Santiago on Friday.
A video was shared on Twitter showing the Spaniard walking onto the court swarmed by security guards and photographers, among others. Fans cheered and shouted his name as soon as he made his way onto the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo tennis court in Santiago.
Rafael Nadal began his Latin America exhibition tour on November 23 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he defeated World No. 3 Casper Ruud 7-6(8), 6-2. He also played a doubles set with former US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini against Gisela Dulko and Ruud. Nadal and Sabatini won the match 6-4. He then headed to Santiago, Chile, to play against Tabilo.
The 36-year-old will continue his exhibition tour in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 26 and in Quito, Ecuador, on November 27. The tour will conclude on November 29 in Bogota, Colombia.
"I would say you have three or four more years" - Mats Wilander on Rafael Nadal
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander is of the opinion that Rafael Nadal will play tennis for another three or four years.
"If you have just won the Australian Open and the French Open in 2022, I would say you have three or four more years. I don't care about the fact that Rafa turns 40 in four years. I don't think it matters because you are going to have in your mind 'Hey, kids, I've done this now since I was 17-18 years old,'" Mats Wilander said.
Wilander went on to say that Nadal will achieve more success as long as he is injury-free.
"Rafa knows what he is looking for: he knows emotionally what he is looking for; he knows physically what he is looking for. He knows how much he has to train to have any chance of achieving that feeling, both physically and mentally. If his injuries are okay, I think he is going to get there," he stated.
"There is a lot of luck involved, for sure. I think Rafa is going to need a bit of luck, but he would say he always got a bit of luck. When you win that much, you need a bit of luck, and so I think he is going to be back," he added.