Rafael Nadal pictured in action against Flavio Cobolli at the Barcelona Open

Rafael Nadal was playing his first match since the 5th of January (Picture: Getty)

Rafael Nadal secured victory on his ATP Tour return, beating Flavio Cobolli as he aims to put injury issues behind him before the French Open begins.

The 37-year-old faced the world No.62 in the first round of the Barcelona Open on Tuesday, conjuring up a 6-2 6-3 win in his first clay match since June 2022.

Nadal was playing his first match since the Brisbane International in January with injury problems ruling him out of the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.

The 22-time major champion tried to return in Qatar, California and Monte-Carlo respectively but his body was not ready and he was forced to wait.

Nadal, who has admitted that 2024 is likely to be his final year in tennis before retirement, is now back as he looks to play Roland-Garros for the very last time.

The Spaniard is the most successful player in French Open history, registering an incredible 14 men’s singles titles and earning the nickname ‘King of Clay’.

More to follow…

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