World number one Rafael Nadal powered into the Australian Open second round with a routine win over Victor Estrella Burgos of Dominican Republic.
The Spaniard, playing in his first competitive match since suffering a knee injury in November, took just 94 minutes to dispatch his opponent 6-1 6-1 6-1 at the Rod Laver Arena.
Speaking after his victory, 17-time Grand Slam winner Nadal revealed that his knee was “feeling good”.
In his words, Nadal said: “If I did not feel ready I would not be here. I’m happy to be back.”
“I always have doubts, but at the same time I have confidence that I was ready to start the tournament and that was the case.” he added.
Nadal will play Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in the second round in his quest for a second Australian Open title.
The Spanish tennis star played his first Grand Slam match without long-time coach and uncle Toni Nadal in his box.
Toni had earlier announced last season that he would no longer travel with Rafael Nadal at the end of 2017 to concentrate on the family’s academy in Majorca.
His uncle was heavily involved in the other 51 Grand Slam matches of his career.
Speaking about Toni, Rafael Nadal, who is now coached by former world number one Carlos Moya, said: “Toni is the most important person in my career, everybody knows.”
“I can’t thank him enough for all the things but today he is not here. He’s doing a great job in my tennis academy. I have to think about the team that is here. I am happy with it.” he concluded.
Third seed Grigor Dimitrov and in-form Australian Nick Kyrgios are also through to the next but eighth seed Jack Sock and 16th seed John Isner have been eliminated.
Jack Sock was beaten 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-3 by world number 41 Yuichi Sugita while his 16th seed compatriot John Isner lost 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-3 to Matthew Ebden of Australia.
Bulgarian Dimitrov, 26, beat Dennis Novak of Austria 6-3 6-2 6-2 in one hour 38 minutes to secure a second round spot.
The top-seeded Australian in the men’s draw at 17, Nick Krygios also recorded a straightforward 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva in their first round clash.
Sixth seeded Croatian Marin Cilic beat Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil 6-2 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-5) to move into the next round.