Nadal, absent since Australian Open, in Davis Cup comeback

Valencia (Spain) (AFP) –


Rafael Nadal returns to competitive action in the Davis Cup on Friday for the first time since retiring from the Australian Open with a crippling hip injury in January.

The 16-time Grand Slam winner leads Spain into a home quarter-final against Germany in Valencia aiming to extend his remarkable 22-match winning streak in singles.

After Thursday's draw the 31-year-old world number one will play Germany's Philip Kohlschreiber in Friday's second singles with a clash against world number four Alexander Zverev on Sunday.

Nadal is taking part in the Davis Cup for the first time since 2016 and hitting his first ball in anger since hobbling out of the first Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne in the fifth set of a quarter-final against Marin Cilic.

He may be back at the top of the ATP rankings but Nadal is far from fully recovered from the hip problem which forced him to sit out the Indian Wells and Miami Masters.

He is using the Davis Cup to start his European campaign which he hopes will lead to an 11th French Open in June.