Rafael Nadal has completed his first tournament since August without dropping a set, sending a strong message to his rivals ahead of the Australian Open.
Nadal lifted the Melbourne Summer Set trophy on Sunday after defeating American qualifier Maxime Cressy 7-6 (6), 6-3 in the final.
That extended the 35-year-old Spaniard’s streak of winning at least one ATP Tour title for a 19th straight year.
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The World No. 6 returned to the tour this week after a foot injury cut short his 2020 season. And while Novak Djokovic is still awaiting a ruling on whether he will be allowed into the country to compete at the Australian Open, Nadal’s preparations for the year’s first major is off to a perfect start.
”I am coming back from some challenging moments in terms of injuries, so I can’t be happier,” Nadal told the crowd during the trophy presentation.
It means a lot to be back and with a trophy in my hands.
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Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009 but has lost in the final four times since then, with two of those losses coming to Djokovic.
Nadal hit out at Djokovic this week for not getting vaccinated against Covid-19, saying the world No. 1 should ”follow the rules.”
"The world has been suffering enough,” Nadal said on Thursday. ”Get vaccinated. If he wanted, he would playing here in Australia without problems."
Against the 112th-ranked Cressy, Nadal couldn’t convert any of his five break points in the first set and then had to save a set point in the tiebreaker. The Spaniard then came from a break down in the second set to clinch the win.
Cressy for playing in his first ATP Tour final after beating second-seeded Reilly Opelka and third-seeded Gregor Dimitrov along the way.
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