Rafael Nadal began his quest for a 21st Grand Slam title with a 3-0 victory over American Marcos Giron at the Australian Open on Monday. The ends were 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
After Novak Djokovic’s elimination and Roger Federer’s absence from the tournament to continue recovering from surgery on his right knee, Nadal is the greatest Grand Slam champion in the men’s category. The Spaniard won the 2019 Australian Open and tied evenly with the competitors, each with 20 Grand Slam titles.
Nadal also aims to become the second man in the Open Era – and only the fourth man – to win each of his four Grand Slam singles titles twice. Djokovic completed the double by winning his second title at Roland Garros in 2021. Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only other men to have won each of the Grand Slams on two or more occasions.
Nadal didn’t waste much time getting into the match as he dismantled the American in the opening set. The 35-year-old converted his first breaking point in the fourth game, with a moment of magic that left commentators and spectators alike.
Nadal during his debut at the 2022 Australian Open – Photo: ausopen.com
Giron seemed to have an idea of the sixth seed when he found a defensive backhand from Nadal with a powerful shot into the net. However, Nadal showed insane judicial coverage to chase the shot and strike an unusual backhand from a tight angle.
Nadal missed the second half of the 2021 season with a foot injury, and in December he tested positive for Covid-19. During his on-court interview with Jim Courier after his opening match, he recalled his difficult experience with the virus.
Symptoms were not good. I stayed in bed for four days and then was physically destroyed for another three days. After that I started to feel a little better – the Spanish tennis player commented.
The Spaniard said he was able to “train one or two at home” after receiving a negative PCR test before disembarking in Australia for an official event. He said he was feeling better now, but was not sure if the fatigue he was feeling was related to Covid or the lack of recent matches.
“I don’t know if you get tired sometimes because of that or because I haven’t toured in the past six months,” he said.
Djokovic was scheduled to play the final on Monday night in Laver. But instead, the 34-year-old Serb was on a flight that landed in Dubai to banish him
Getting vaccinated properly is a requirement for anyone – players, coaches, fans and more – to enter Melbourne Park for the tournament.
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