Nadal pleased with impressive start to Australian Open campaign

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Rafael Nadal was happy to see his confidence in his body play out with an emphatic win over Victor Estrella Burgos in the opening round of the Australian Open.

The world number one came into the tournament without having played a warm-up event following knee problems at the end of last season.

But he was anything but rusty as he raced to a 6-1 6-1 6-1 win in just an hour and 34 minutes.

Nadal said: “I always have doubts but at the same time I have the confidence that I was ready to start the tournament. That was the case.

“I’m happy for the start, of course. It’s a positive start with a good result. If I do months without playing an official match it’s always a little bit more difficult.

“But I started with positive feelings. That’s most important thing for me now. Of course, there are things to improve. But the things that I need to improve, the matches will give me those things.”

This is the 52nd grand slam of Nadal’s career but the first without his long-time coach and uncle Toni Nadal in his box.

Toni announced early last season that he would cease to travel with his nephew at the end of 2017 to focus on the family’s academy in Majorca.

Former world number one Carlos Moya has assumed the role of Nadal’s main coach, and the 31-year-old Spaniard said: “Toni is the most important person in my career, everybody knows.

“I can’t thank him enough for all the things. But today he is not here. He’s doing a great job in my tennis academy. I have to think about the team that is here. I am happy with it.”

Like the other players competing on Monday, Nadal was tight-lipped about Friday’s eventful player meeting.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is president of the ATP Player Council (Joe Toth/PA)

Djokovic argued the players should push for a greater share of tournament revenues to be allocated in prize money despite huge rises in recent years.

“Every year here in Australia, there is talks about new things,” said Nadal. “I really believe that there is plenty of time later on the year to speak about things. But now is the moment, for me personally, to play tennis.”

Back on the court, things were equally straightforward for Australian title hope Nick Kyrgios, who promised a new mature approach ahead of the tournament and largely delivered in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva.

Kyrgios received a code violation for swearing at a spectator who he felt was being too noisy but otherwise kept his focus on the matter in hand.

Elsewhere, a terrible day for America in the women’s draw was compounded by defeats for eighth seed Jack Sock and 16th seed John Isner.

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov, a semi-finalist 12 months ago, eased past qualifier Dennis Novak 6-3 6-2 6-1 to begin his campaign in fine style.

It was a trickier first outing for sixth seed Marin Cilic, who dropped a set to Vasek Pospisil before coming through 6-2 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7/5).

Denis Shapovalov won the battle of the teenagers 6-1 6-3 7-6 (7/5) against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas but US Open finalist Kevin Anderson lost in five sets to Britain’s Kyle Edmund.

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