MELBOURNE, January 17, 2017
Rafael Nadal opened his Australian Open campaign with a convincing 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over German veteran Florian Mayer on Tuesday afternoon in the third match on Rod Laver Arena.
It was a vintage Nadal performance, where he was moving well, dancing around the ball to take control of the rallies with his big, curling forehand. The 30-year-old from Spain won 77 per cent of his first service points and capitalized on three of his 12 break point chances to advance in two hours and four minutes.
“It felt great. I am happy to do an interview with you, last year I didn’t have the chance,” Nadal told Jim Courier in his on-court interview. In 2016, the World No. 9 lost in the opening round for the first time in his career, falling to Fernando Verdasco in five sets. “I’m very happy this year, I have had a long period here and it’s been a great experience, visiting Brisbane, Sydney and now Melbourne.
“I have been practicing a lot, this year even a little bit more. I worked on a lot of things in Mallorca. Today was a good first round, Florian was a tough player to play. He changes the rhythm and you need to be careful on every shot.”
Nadal is bidding to claim his second Australian Open trophy after beating Roger Federer in the 2009 final. He could become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the four Grand Slam titles twice. The lefthanded will next face Marcos Baghdatis from Cyprus.
Concerning his spare time, Nadal frequently mentioned that he likes to go fishing. “I love to be a little bit away sometimes with the boat, going out with the boat, to spend the night outside. For me, is something unique. That’s make me feel great. I relax myself. I love it.”
Here in Melbourne he had at least the chance for a short boat trip on Monday.
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