(January 19, 2015) Rafael Nadal answered any questions about his confidence, form or fitness on Monday in a dominating one hour, fifty-minute victory over Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday in Rod Laver Arena.
“Very positive result for me,” Nadal said. “I think very good start. Very important, no? Always before the first match you always have the doubts, especially in this situation I’m arriving here. Never easy, but it was an important match for me. Every match is very important for me today. Was a comfortable victory that give me some confidence.”
The Spaniard hit 37 winners in the match with just 15 unforced errors.
Nadal was sidelined at the end of 2014 after his appendix was removed.
“Last year, second half of the year had been tough mentally, tough physically for me,” said the world No. 3.
“Last year was tough year with my back because I had problems here, then in Rio, then in Roland Garros, then I didn’t have more because I didn’t play more,” Nadal said with a smile. But for the moment, for this year, I am feeling well. The back is not limiting me, so that’s important for the moment, no? I know the back is dangerous. I know the back is a thing that you have to take care about. We are trying to do the right things to be safe with that, but there is things you cannot control.”
Nadal will American Tim Smyczek next.
“I don’t know very well,” Nadal admitted. “I talked little bit about. But he’s losing the third. I don’t know what’s going on. But, anyway, for me always, but especially today, all opponents are dangerous. All opponents are going to be difficult, and with the maximum respect for everybody and knowing that anything can happen in every round against anyone. So just going to go on court with the same spirit as today, maximum respect, trying to be very focus, and try to play little bit the same way like I did today. I think I did very positive things. I am trying to improve in the thing that I need to improve a little bit more.”
Sixth-seeded Scot Andy Murray began his Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Indian qualifier and 2009 Australian Open Junior champion Yuki Bhambri in Margaret Court Arena.
“I thought it was a tricky match,” Murray said. “He played very close to the baseline on that court. I feel it’s quicker than Rod Laver and Hisense. He was coming forward a lot. Even when I was hitting good returns, he was changing the direction of the ball very quickly and coming to the net. He played well up at the net. He had good hands, solid volleys and made it tough. I thought I served well the whole match. I served well. I just got caught a few times the first shot after the serve. Could have been a little bit better my first shot after the return. I don’t know if that was something to do with me feeling like the court was a bit quicker. I felt a little bit rushed there. I served very well. That was good.”
Murray had to rally from 1-4 down in the third set.
“He was rushing me. I was saying it was more my movement after the return or after the serve. I was a little bit slow there. Once I got into the rallies I was moving good. But because of the way he was playing, and also maybe just feeling that court was a bit quicker, I thought it was a little bit slow on the first shot of each rally”
Murray is a three-time losing finalist in Melbourne in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
The Scot will play Australian Marinko Matosevic next.
“Well, hopefully I’ll play well,” Murray said “I need to continue serving well. That helps against whoever you’re playing against. Yeah, when you play against a big guy who likes to go for his shots, if you can keep good weight and depth behind your shots, that can frustrate them. I’ll try and use some variety to throw his timing off a little bit. Yeah. Just continue doing what I’ve been doing the last few weeks. I’ve been playing very well in the practices and striking the ball cleanly in the matches. If I keep that up, I’ll keep getting better each round.