American Sebastian Korda claimed his first victory since January by battling past Mackenzie McDonald at the French Open on Sunday and said he had spent the last few months learning to play again after a wrist issue wrecked his strong start to 2023.
Korda's hopes of emulating his father Petr's 1998 Australian Open triumph ended in pain and disappointment as he retired with a wrist problem in the Melbourne Park quarter-final.
The 22-year-old returned to action at the end of April but crashed to early defeats in Madrid and Rome.
"I'd say I went two-three months without touching a racket. I even still had a little bit of pain in Madrid and Rome was the first tournament where I had nothing, which was a really big positive for me," said Korda, who won 6-4 7-5 6-4 on Sunday.
"Now I have zero pain in my wrist. Just kind of learning how to play again a little bit."
Korda enjoyed a breakthrough year at Grand Slam level in 2020 by reaching the Roland Garros fourth round where he lost to eventual champion Rafa Nadal.
Nadal, 36, is not playing in Paris this year due to a hip problem but is no stranger to making comebacks on the tour after injury and Korda backed the 22-times Grand Slam champion to return stronger next year.
"Ever since I started watching tennis he was always the guy," Korda said.
"He didn't lose too many times. That's one of the most impressive things in tennis history, maybe sports history how many times he's won and how much he's dominated here.
"It definitely opens up the draw, that's for sure. But there are still so many unbelievable players. He's definitely missed, but next year he'll be back and back to his old ways."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Paris Editing by Toby Davis)