Speaking about Rafael Nadal's performance in the Australian Open first match, Mats Wilander said that the 20-time Major winner plays aggressive tennis from both wings. Nadal suffered a minor back injury during the quarantine in Adelaide and has been doing his best to recover and compete at 100%.
Playing his 80th Australian Open match, Nadal defeated Laslo Djere 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 52 minutes. Rafa lost serve once and scored six breaks to control the scoreboard and pass the first obstacle en route to the 21st Major crown.
Nadal grabbed an early break in game two and held at 15 a few minutes later to confirm the advantage and settle into a fine rhythm. Nadal earned another break at love with a forehand return winner in game six and lost serve for the only time while serving for the set.
Djere opened a 30-0 lead at 3-5 before Rafa took four straight points to secure the opener. The Spaniard produced four excellent holds in set number two and broke the Serb at 1-1 following Laslo's backhand mistake. Returning at 4-5, Laslo created three break chances that could have prolonged the set before Nadal erased them all and sealed the set with a service winner to open a massive advantage.
Rafael Nadal played aggressive tennis to beat Laslo Djere in Melbourne.
Djere hit a double fault in the first game to suffer a break, followed by Rafa's forehand winner in game two that sent him further ahead. The Spaniard produced another comfortable hold in game four with an unreturned serve and forced Djere's error to clinch another break and open a 4-1 gap.
Rafa erased a break chance in the sixth game with a brilliant forehand down the line winner and stole Laslo's serve in the next one to seal the deal and move into the next round. "Nadal played incredibly aggressively, and it was an excellent showing.
His play has been extremely aggressive, and he was playing very quickly, something he has been trying to do lately in his career to try and shorten the points as much as possible. Rafa is hitting it harder on the backhand side than on the forehand, and part of that is that he wants to shorten points; the courts are quicker, so he doesn't have time to run around and hit forehands; he needs to hit flat backhands.
His past injury issues ahead of the Australian Open could come from the fact that he has to work on hard courts for a couple of months getting ready for Australia; that's the first thing. You would think he would be more injured during the clay-court season because he plays so many more matches; we know Nadal likes to play a lot and get his confidence.
Maybe when he trains, I can also see that he pushes himself harder because he needs that confidence and needs to be out there. We have seen him during tournaments hitting ball after ball after ball, and the other players don't do that - he works really hard, even during Majors," Mats Wilander said.