(AFP) – Rafael Nadal, the only Australian Open champion in the men’s draw, opened his campaign in blistering fashion in Melbourne on Monday.
The Spanish sixth seed unleashed some of his trademark hammer forehands to wear down American Marcos Giron in straight sets on Rod Laver Arena.
Rafa, who beat Roger Federer for the 2009 Australian title and is chasing a record 21st Grand Slam crown, traded blows with the world number 66 Giron, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
Rafa will next play Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis or Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann in the second round.
It’s been a very challenging few months… tough moments with a lot of doubts – there still are doubts. But I am here and I can’t be happier to be back in Australia in this amazing stadium.
You never know when you come back from injury, which unfortunately I have a lot of experience with, how things will be, so you have to take it day by day. You have to forgive yourself if things aren’t going the proper way.Rafa Nadal