‘It has been a solid start’ – Rafael Nadal happy with win but admits he played it safe
Rafael Nadal made a convincing start with a 6-2 6-3 6-0 victory over Hugo Dellien, before insisting there is plenty left to come from him as he attempts to make history at the Australian Open.
Nadal was kept out on court for more than two hours in his first-round match by the Bolivian, and he admitted he played it safe in the first two sets.
“It has been a solid start,” said the world number one, who next faces either Federico Delbonis or Joao Sousa.
“I think the third set was a great set. I think I played a very good level of tennis. The first two I played with a little bit more caution.
“I think I was just trying to not do something very good, but not doing something very bad. Just trying to play a solid game with not many mistakes.
“Just try to do the things that I know that I can do it. Just try to put myself on rhythm. That was my goal at the beginning of the match.
“Then, with an advantage on the score, I just tried to play the way that I really believe I need to play if I want to have a positive result here.”
Nadal will draw level on Grand Slam titles with his great rival Roger Federer if he can win the tournament, as well as becoming the first man ever to complete a double career slam.
Asked if he was thinking about number 20, Nadal said: “I think about Sousa or Delbonis. That’s all.
“I think about my practice of tomorrow, try to follow up the level of tennis that I played in the third set.
“If I am able to reach my highest level, that’s the thing that I have to worry about. If I am able to play at my highest level, normally I am able to produce some good chances. If not, impossible.
“So I don’t care about 20 or 15 or 16. I just care about trying to keep going, keep enjoying my tennis career.
“If I reach 20, fantastic. If I reach 21, better. If I reach 19, super happy about all the things that I did in my tennis career.”
Quarantine plan revealed for the game’s top players ahead of Australian Open
The world’s leading players will quarantine in Adelaide rather than Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.
Rising star provisionally suspended from all tennis activity following a positive doping test
Ukrainian rising star Dayana Yastremska has been…
Is this the real reason why Roger Federer is skipping next month’s Australian Open?
Roger Federer suggested he pulled out of the Australian Open for fitness reasons, yet other reasons were in play.
Sofia Kenin wins as the tennis season gets underway despite doubts over what happens next
No.1 seed Sofia Kenin of the United…
Exclusive – F1 champ Jenson Button on his love of tennis and the Federer vs Nadal debate
Formula 1 ace Jenson Button has admitted he is ‘in awe’ of the tennis giants of the modern era.
Exclusive – British Davis Cup captain makes a prediction for Dan Evans in 2021
British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith believes Dan Evans could be a player to watch in 2021.
Tennis star Camila Giorgi draws mixed response after posting sexy lingerie images on social media
Tennis star Camila Giorgi has been targeted by online trolls after sharing a series of racy lingerie snaps on her social media channels.
Legendary coach of Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic loses his fight with cancer
Bob Brett, one of tennis’ most respected coaches and a former director of player development has died of cancer.
Australian Open organisers scrambling to finalise preparations for players
The hard work appeared to have been done when Tennis Australia announced last month that the tournament would start on February 8.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to lead the field at the ATP Cup next month
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will lead a star-studded field at the ATP Cup next month.