'So good': Tennis world erupts over Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray moment

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·Sports Editor
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Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal, pictured here in their first meeting in five years.
Andy Murray beat Rafa Nadal in their first meeting in five years. Image: AAP

Rafael Nadal made his long-awaited return to the ATP Tour on Friday after a four-month layoff with a foot injury.

However things didn't exactly go to plan for the Spanish superstar, suffering a straight-sets loss to Andy Murray at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

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More than five years on from their last meeting, both former World No.1s made impressive starts on Friday.

However the Scot's superior match practice was telling as he saved a break point in the third game and then broke himself to easily claim the first set.

Nadal battled valiantly in the second set and saved a number of break opportunities.

However it was Murray who secured the crucial break at 5-5 before serving out to secure victory in an hour and 50 minutes.

Murray went on to claim the high-quality clash 6-3 7-5.

"Me and Rafa have played so many tough matches over the years," Murray said after the match.

"Both of us have gone through injury troubles and it's just great to have the opportunity to be with him on court again."

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, pictured here shaking hands after their match in Abu Dhabi.
Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray shake hands after their match in Abu Dhabi. Image: AAP

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Nadal was making his first appearance since the Washington Open in August.

The 20-time grand slam champion missed Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and US Open due to the nagging injury.

"Special to be back in a competition... at the same time we haven't played each other in a while," he said.

"Super happy to be seeing Andy playing at this great level.

"For me, this is a comeback. It wasn't a bad match for me.

"After a long time on a professional court, so positive feelings."

Fans flocked to social media in delight at seeing the tennis champions back on court together again.

Nadal said he is hoping to be in much better shape for the Australian Open in January.

Currently tied for the men's all-time grand slam record with Novak Djokovic and Roger Fedeter, Nadal is an outside chance to claim his 21st major at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic's participation remains under a huge cloud due to his mysterious vaccination status, while Federer isn't playing after a third knee surgery earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Andrey Rublev defeated Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-4 in the other semi-final in Abu Dhabi.

with AAP

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