Rafael Nadal said that he had been “very sick” with COVID as he returned with a patchy win over qualifier Ricardas Berankis at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament on Thursday.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion launched his Australian Open preparations with a 6-2, 7-5 win, his first singles match on the ATP Tour since August after injury and then the virus.
The 35-year-old, who tested positive for COVID last month, was in action just as his rival Novak Djokovic — who is also chasing a record-breaking 21st Slam title — was facing deportation from Australia.
“I felt so tired and I had fever,” Nadal said of having COVID.
“I had to be on the bed for a couple of days without having the chance to move much because I was very sick with…