Rafael Nadal begins Australian Open with victory

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Rafael Nadal begins the Australian Open with a victory with 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over American Marcos Giron at the Australian Open on Monday.

Speaking after the game Marcos Giron stated that he always look up to Rafael Nadal while growing up.

“Growing up, I’ve looked up to him,” said Giron, a 28-year-old from the U.S. “He’s one the absolute legends of the game.”

Nadal is tied with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer with 20 major singles titles each, the most in the history of men’s tennis.

Nadal claimed the Australian Open in 2009 and is the only past champion in the men’s bracket after Djokovic’s deportation on Sunday a court upheld the cancellation of his visa. Federer is skipping the tournament to continue recovering from right knee surgery.

Monday was Nadal’s first appearance at a major since he lost to Djokovic in the semifinals of the French Open. He missed Wimbledon because of fatigue, skipped the US Open because of a painful left foot and, after recovering from a breakthrough case of COVID-19 in December, started 2022 with a title in a tuneup tournament in Melbourne.

“Honestly, it’s been very tough moments and there are still doubts,” Nadal said. “But here I am and I can’t be happier to be back in this amazing stadium. It’s fantastic.”

During his on-court interview with Jim Courier following Monday’s match, Nadal discussed his challenging experience with the coronavirus.

“The symptoms haven’t been nice,” Nadal said. “I have been four days in bed and then three more days just destroyed physically. After that I started to feel a little bit better.”

The Spaniard stated that he was able to have “one or two practices at home” once he received a negative PCR test before coming to Australia to play in a lead-in event. He said he feels better now but wasn’t sure if the fatigue he was feeling was related to COVID-19 or the lack of recent match play.

“I don’t know if sometimes you’re a little bit more tired because of it or because I haven’t been on the tour for the past six months,” he told Courier.

Nadal is bidding to become the second man in the Open Era — and only the fourth man — to win each of the four Grand Slam singles titles twice. Djokovic completed the double by winning his second title at Roland Garros in 2021. Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only other men to have won each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.

Djokovic had been scheduled to play Monday night’s last match in Laver, following No. 1-ranked woman Ash Barty’s contest, but instead the 34-year-old Serbian player was on a flight that landed in Dubai.


Source: ESPN



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