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Marcos Giron, a former UCLA Bruin, has battled back from two hip surgeries to become a consistent force inside the world's Top 100.

Five Things To Know About Giron, Nadal's Australian Open Opponent

The American will face the Spanish lefty for the first time

Rafael Nadal, the only former Australian Open champion in the men's singles draw in Melbourne, will look to get off to a good start on Monday against American Marcos Giron. This will be the pair’s first ATP Head2Head clash.

Before they step inside Rod Laver Arena, ATPTour.com looks at five things you should know about Giron.

Marcos Underwent Two Hip Surgeries
You couldn’t tell by the way he moves around the court, but Giron underwent surgery on his right hip in December 2015 and his left hip in February 2016. Those operations sent Giron outside the Top 750 in the ATP Rankings in October 2016, but he has steadily climbed ever since.

In Antwerp in 2020, Giron qualified and advanced to his first ATP Tour quarter-final. The man he beat to get there, former Top 10 star David Goffin, was surprised to hear the American underwent hip surgeries.

“I didn’t know [about his surgeries], so after two hip surgeries it’s amazing how he’s moving and how strong he is with the legs, moving left and right,” Goffin said. “You couldn’t see that he had surgeries, so I think he had a good surgeon. Second of all he was moving well, he’s strong, you can see that his legs are really strong and he was really solid from the back. I’m happy to hear that he’s playing his best tennis after two tough surgeries.”

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Giron Is A Former College Champion
Giron competed from 2012-14 at UCLA in California. The American won the NCAA Singles title in 2014 before turning professional.

The 28-year-old was teammates with Mackenzie McDonald, who is also in the Australian Open singles draw. While rehabbing from his hip surgeries, he served as a volunteer assistant coach at UCLA. At the time, McDonald and another Melbourne competitor, Maxime Cressy, were on the team.

Video Games & Parks
Giron has various off-court interests, including playing video games. The American has travelled with a PlayStation 4 to disconnect and socialise. It was an especially valuable tool for him as tennis returned from its Covid-19 suspension in 2020, as he played games with colleagues in the bubble.

During that year’s US Open, Giron played ‘Fall Guys’ with McDonald, Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul. He was unafraid of admitting that “Fritz is definitely the strongest on the sticks”.

Giron also enjoys spending time outdoors, visiting national parks such as Zion National Park when he can. He also likes skiing and mountain biking.

2021 Was His Best Year Yet
It was going to be tough for Giron to improve on his career-best 2020 season, during which he cracked the Top 100 in the ATP Rankings. But the American did just that in 2021.

Giron advanced to his first ATP Tour semi-final in Sofia, where he defeated Jaume Munar, Alex de Minaur and John Millman. Entering the year, he had only made one tour-level quarter-final. But the American also advanced to the last eight in Halle, Winston-Salem and Metz.

It was also his best campaign at the majors, winning at least one match at three of the four Slams. Giron advanced to the third round at a major for the first time at Roland Garros. He reached a career-high World No. 57 in November.

He Can Make History Against Rafa
Giron owns a Top 10 win (1-6), which came against Matteo Berrettini at the 2020 Rolex Paris Masters. But a victory against 2009 Australian Open Nadal, a 20-time major titlist and former World No. 1, would be the biggest triumph of his career.

The former UCLA Bruin, currently World No. 66, can become the lowest-ranked competitor to beat Nadal Down Under. The legendary Spaniard has lost in the first round of a major just twice — at 2013 Wimbledon against Steve Darcis and at the 2016 Australian Open against Fernando Verdasco.

Nadal, who is chasing a record-breaking 21st major title, has not lost earlier than the quarter-finals at a major since falling in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2017.