Rafael Nadal's emotional interview after 'very special night' in Australian Open

Nadal was emotional on court as he admitted he had been through some “very tough times” with his foot injury.

The world No 5 had played just two matches since suffering a shock semi-final defeat at the French Open, and shut down his season after the Washington ATP 500 in August to rest and recover an ongoing left foot injury.

He also tested positive for Covid after competing in last month’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition, leaving him in doubt for Australia, but arrived in Melbourne on New Years’ Eve ahead of the ATP 250 warm-up event, which he won without dropping a set.

Playing just the sixth match since his return on Friday, the 2009 Aussie Open champion needed almost three hours to get past the 28th seed, but was in great spirits after sealing the victory.

JUST IN: Murray gets support from Barty as star hits out at Aus Open crowd

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