(Reuters) – Rafa Nadal defied his gloomy injury prognosis to crush Laslo Djere 6-3 6-4 6-1 and reach the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.
The Spanish great was not quite at his all-action, fist-pumping best but appeared unimpeded by his back problems as he posted an encouraging win over the 56th ranked Serb in the afternoon sunshine at Rod Laver Arena.
After closing out a tight second set, the second seed played like a man unburdened, racing to the finish line in a hail of winners before Djere conceded the match meekly with a double fault.
After the match, Rafa said:
“It’s been a tough 15 days for me because I had some issue with the back. I just had to focus today and get through. I did a good job today. Straight sets, that’s what I needed.”
“Let’s go day by day. It wasn’t ideal preparation but I’m still alive. I’m happy to be paying in Australia one more time and happy to stay here as long as possible.
“Every player needs the crowd. But it’s time to be responsible too. It’s time to take care of each other. Tennis is an important part of our lives but we are facing much more important things than that.”
Rafa will meet the winner of two qualifiers — American Michael Mmoh or Viktor Troicki — for a place in the third round.
Great King Rafa be strong always
Well don Rafa congratulations vamossssssssss champ stay healthy we love 💕 good luck next much 👍😘🎾👍😘🎾👍
I was really nervous because of the back injury, but, touch wood, he looked fine. Medvedev and Tsitsipas both looked very good today, but one match at a time!
In order for rafa to win his second australian open title. He is going to need some help. Hopefully Medvedev and Fognini will be eliminated early in the tournament.
Also hopefully rafa will win the early matches without set loss so he doesnt spill a lot of energy
Well done champ. Take rest and take care of your back tomorrow.
Bravo Rafa, great to get the first match over in straight sets and he finished strongly, now to rest and recover fir Thursday. Sad to see Roberto BA defeated in 5. I think the ATP Cup took a big toll .
Now to sleep as stayed awake to watch Rafa as many of his supporters did.🇪🇸🌟👋
Congrats, Rafael Nadal. Stay healthy-all the best in the next round👏💪👍🤛🍀❤️
A good straight sets win for Rafa, with just the right level of challenge to set him up for the next round. I’m glad there were no visible signs of a back issue, so let’s hope all continues to be well.
Hello RNF, did you mean “for a place in the second round.” ?
M. Mmoh and V. Troicki needed a fifth set to determine who will meet Rafa👍
Never mind RNF, my bad. I needed to go to bed, my brain couldn’t function anymore lol 😴😴
Mimi, it isn’t you. Suffice it to say the paragraph is a doozie.
Hi Margo, it was a long and stressful day for me……Rafa passed his first test🙏 Vika is out 😔
Great job Rafa
Great to see Rafa again and hear fans in the stadium cheering him on. I hope he’ll be OK for the next match. The forehand in the first photo was amazing, the Rafa signature shot!
go go go Rafaaaaaa…more power on the next round🙏💪🙏
Well done Rafa! Vamos!