Twenty-time Grand Slam singles champion Rafael Nadal made his long-awaited return to the tour in doubles at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne on Tuesday, partnering fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar to beat the all-Argentine duo of Sebastian Baez and Tomas Martin Etcheverry in a match tie-break, 6-3, 3-6, 10-4.
It was Nadal’s first doubles match on the tour since January 10th, 2020, 725 days ago, when he and Pablo Carreno Busta beat Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, 6-7 (7), 7-5, 10-7, in Spain’s quarterfinal tie against Belgium at the ATP Cup that year.
And it was Nadal’s first match on the tour in either singles OR doubles since August 5th, 2021, 152 days ago, when he fell to Lloyd Harris in the third round of Washington D.C., after which he ended his season due to a foot injury.
Though he’s best known for his singles play, accumulating 88 career ATP titles and a 1,028-209 career win-loss record, Nadal’s doubles resume is also very strong.
The Spaniard has 11 career ATP doubles titles, including capturing the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics (with Marc Lopez) and three Masters 1000 crowns at Monte Carlo in 2008 (with Tommy Robredo) and Indian Wells in 2010 and 2012 (both with Marc Lopez). He’s been ranked as high as No. 26 in doubles and with his win in Melbourne on Tuesday, he has a 138-74 career record in doubles (.651).
Next up for Nadal and Munar in Melbourne will be the No. 4 seeds, Andrey Golubev and Franko Skugor, who had a first-round bye.