World No. 1 Rafael Nadal was in great spirits after beating Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in his ATP Cup opener at Perth's RAC Arena. Nadal had a short offseason as he led Spain to winning the Davis Cup Finals at the end of November and also appeared at the inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup between 12-14 December.
The Spaniard continued where he left off in 2019 as he saw off Basilashvili 6-3 7-5 in his first match of the 2020 season. Nadal blew a 5-2, double-break second set lead, but kept his focus as he broke Basilashvili in the 11th game before serving out for the match a game later.
"It feels like the 2019 season didn’t end yet, everything is too short,’ Nadal said, per Metro UK. "But I’m super, super happy to be here in Perth for the first time in my life. Amazing experience, one of the nicest arenas that I ever played.
‘It’s a tough first match of the season, of course. Nikoloz is a great player with great victories on tour so yeah not an easy start." Nadal now hopes to start the new season on the best possible way as he aims to lead Spain to winning the inaugural ATP Cup.
"I love playing for my country, it’s always a big honour to play not just for me and my team – my personal team – but to play for the rest of my friends and the country, it’s an extra motivation," Nadal insisted.