Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal began his title defence with a four-set victory over Britain’s Jack Draper on the opening day in Melbourne.
Rafa was given a scare by Draper in a physical battle, but the 21-year-old was hampered by cramps as our champ went on to claim a 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1 win in over three and a half hours.
I’m super happy to be back in Australia one more time. It’s, like, my 19th season in the professional tour, so I’m very excited about this new beginning. Just super happy to be back here in Rod Laver Arena, and with a victory that I needed. The last couple of months haven’t been easy for me—hopefully this victory’s going to help me.Rafa Nadal
He will face next Mackenzie McDonald, who was an earlier winner over his American compatriot Brandon Nakashima.