Two-time champion Rafael Nadal made a solid start to his Wimbledon campaign by overcoming Yuichi Sugita in straight sets in the first round on Tuesday.
Playing in his first tournament since last month’s French Open triumph, Rafa earned a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 triumph in two hours on the grass court at SW19.
Our champ made a slow start as 30-year-old Sugita broke his opening serve in the first game, with the world number 274 threatening to go 3-0 up before the Spaniard fought back from 0-40 to hold.
The sense of shock around Court One did not last much longer though, Rafa breaking back in the next game and taking control with four of the next five to clinch the opening set.
Sugita, who had only won one previous match at SW19, offered little resistance from that point as two-time champion Rafa raced through the second set and dominated the third, crucially breaking in the eighth game.
He will now face Nick Kyrgios on Thursday.
After the match, Rafa said:
I’m happy for the victory. This is the main thing. My first official match on grass in a year so it’s always difficult. At the beginning it was tough. There are lot of things to improve. I have one more day to keep practising.
On the fractious relationship between himself next opponent Nick Kyrgios: Being honest I’m too old for all this stuff. What I said I said. That’s all. I’m not a guy who will be in a fight with anybody. I will keep doing things I love. After tomorrow I will be back in this amazing place.
Do whether he misses the feeling of winning the Wimbledon title? I had success in a lot places since I last won at Wimbledon in 2010. I had problems with injuries which didn’t give a chance to play as well as i would like.
My knee has been better so I have been able to compete better. After you play a tough clay-court season… I’m 33 now so it’s not like 10 years ago when I could play at Queens [before Wimbledon].