Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsVideosScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday January 16, 2023


The defending champ was pushed by Jack Draper but found his way through in four sets on Day 1 in Melbourne.

Photo Source: Getty

It wasn’t pretty – or earth-shattering – like so many of his previous 1,067 career victories have been, but number 1,068 for the great Rafael Nadal was meaningful, and it did give him what he wanted on Day 1 of the Australian Open: a spot in the next round.

Tennis Express

Indeed, after his 7-5, 32-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over strapping southpaw Jack Draper, the Spaniard is on the board in 2023.

Nadal summed up aptly after the match, during his post-match press conference.

“I need a victory, so that's the main thing. Doesn't matter the way,” he said.

Never mind that the Spaniard had his share of struggles during the three hour and 41-minute encounter, or that he hit more unforced errors (46) than winners (41), or that he was broken six times from 12 opportunities.

At the end of the day, the scoreline went in Nadal’s favor and that means a lot to a player that entered the tournament having lost six of his previous seven matches.

“To win against Jack, I need to do things well, no?” Nadal said. “I think I did things well. So satisfied with the victory because that gives me the chance to play after tomorrow again.”

Nadal said he didn’t expect a perfect match and he knew he’d have to weather some ups and downs to get through. The fact that he did that is what pleased him most.

“Have been a tough battle, but I accepted well the mistakes. I was humble enough to accept that going to be a little bit ups and downs during the match,” he said. “Typical thing when you are not in a winning mood. When you lost more, when you are not competing every week, that's the work, no? Accept all these mistakes in a positive way and keep working. That's what I did.”

Adding a bit of sugar coating to the victory was the fact that it represents yet another milestone in Nadal’s legendary career. The Spaniard tied Ivan Lendl for third on the ATP’s all-time win list with 1068. He can pass the Czech with a victory over Mackenzie McDonald in the second round. Nadal dropped only four games in the pair’s previous meeting, in 2020 at Roland-Garros.


Latest News