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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday January 6, 2021


Rafael Nadal waltzed past Ricardas Berankis in his first match of 2022.

Photo Source: Getty

Nearly 20 years after his first ATP win, which came in April of 2002, Rafael Nadal notched ATP win number 1029, 6-2, 7-5 over Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis to reach the quarterfinals at the Melbourne Summer Set.

Tennis Express

Nadal cracked 17 winners against 13 unforced and responded when he struggled in the second set, taking the final two games after he had been broken twice by Berankis in the 91-minute match.

Nadal, who tested positive for Covid-19 after playing an exhibition in Abu Dhabi in mid-December, said he went through some difficult times before being cleared to travel to Melbourne.

“I have been going through very challenging times for four or five days,” he said. “They've been tough, and after that I felt so tired, and I had fever. I had to be on the bed for a couple of days without having the chance to move much because I was very sick with fever, and one of the toughest symptoms that I had in my life in terms of flu.

“Then I decided when my PCR was negative, I decided to come here as soon as possible because that's in my opinion the better way mentally and physically to try to recover and to be ready and to adapt myself to the conditions here in Australia.”

Nadal admitted that he needed time to find his footing again while at home after his positive covid test.

“I was shaking a lot at home during the process,” he said. “After that when I was back on the court, normal muscle pain and joints and body tired after 10 days at home and after going through some tough moments with the body issues.

Nadal will face either Alexei Popyrin or Tallon Griekspoor in the quarterfinals at Melbourne.

Nadal had to cut his season short last year due to a foot injury, and he admitted that he still needs to test the foot to be sure all is working as it should.

“It's about you need to get back to the confidence on a tennis perspective and on a body perspective day by day,” he said. “That's the thing; I am working hard to recover all these positive feelings with my physical performance, with my tennis performance, trying to save my body as much as possible, but in some way I need to test my foot.”


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