Rafael Nadal started his mission 21st Grand Slam victory without any wobbles. The 35-year-old Spaniard, who attracted even more attention after the expulsion of his big competitor Novak Djokovic, convincingly defeated the American Marcos Giron 6: 1, 6: 4, 6: 2.
“It’s fantastic to be back,” said Nadal, who has won the Australian Open once before in 2009. He can now expect a duel with Karlsruher Yannick Hanfmann or Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, who just won his first ATP title in Adelaide.
Nadal looks ready and in full possession of his powers. “You never know exactly where you are when you come back from injury. It helps to win matches,” he said.
The star player struggled with a foot injury for a long time last year and ended his season prematurely in August. Then, after returning from the show tournament in Abu Dhabi in mid-December, the king of clay courts was diagnosed with a corona infection, which gave Nadal “a few very uncomfortable moments”.
In preparation for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the 13-time French Open champion then confidently won an ATP tournament at Melbourne Park. And was able to convince in his first match at the Australian Open.