A landslide victory as an antidote to doubts. The Spanish Rafael Nadal began the conquest of his fourteenth Roland Garros like a hurricane, with a brilliant victory against the Australian Jordan Thomson, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, in two hours and two minutes.
In his first appearance after the problems in his left foot that diminished him in the last tournament in Rome, Nadal did not hint at any flaw in his physique or in his tennis in a victory that leaves him one of the 300 in Grand Slam.
The low entity of the rival, 82 in the ranking, a tennis player who moves on clay like a fish on the sand of the beach, allows few conclusions to be drawn, but if one trusts sensations, the Mallorcan left many good ones on center court in Paris.
Despite this, he said he was aware that "there is significant room for improvement"a path that he hopes to travel with work, to put himself in the best situation to win.
The scene of his 13 triumphs, the battlefield of his legend, who applauded to see again in a splendid moment the player who has dominated the place the most in the last 18 years.
There are already 106 victories achieved in the tournament and only three defeats, two of them against the Serbian Novak Djokovic, his executioner last year and on paper his main rival for this, with the permission of the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, the player who arrives with better balance of wins on clay.
The Spaniard’s debut served, above all, to show that the pessimism that could emerge from his words after the Rome tournament is relative.
Nadal warned two days ago that the pain in his foot is part of his daily life, but that it does not necessarily have to prevent him from playing a good game.
"At this point in my career it is a gift to be here and to be able to compete at Roland Garros. I will do my best to give myself a chance to win"he pointed from the track, which started a new ovation from the stands.
As if he wanted to reduce the illusion, after the match unfolded, Nadal indicated that the road is still long and that he will not travel it with history, but with work.
"It is an honor to be part of the history of this track (…) But I don’t have to look back, I have to look forward, train and give myself options to win"he added.
His next rival will be the Frenchman Corentin Moutet, 23 years old and 139 in the world, who after two editions falling in the first round managed to overcome it against the Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka, fourteen years older, winner in Paris 2015 but who does not manage to return with force to the circuit.
The Frenchman defeated him 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) and 6-3, in almost three hours of play, to earn the right to face the tournament’s most successful player for the first time in his career.