Rafael Nadal made a brilliant start to his Australian Open 2023 campaign as he thrashed Britain’s Jack Draper in his men’s singles match on Monday. The 22-time Grand Slam champion defeated the 21-year-old Draper 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 at Rod Laver Arena. The defending champion will now be facing American Mackenzie McDonald in round two. I am enjoying this new moment. I am really grateful to have them (wife and baby) with me over here in Australia.”
The Spanish great became a father for the first time in October and is playing at his first Grand Slam since, leaving home in late December for the United Cup in Sydney before heading to Melbourne Park.
Nadal won the 2022 edition of the Australian Open after beating Danil Medvedev in the summit clash.
While Nadal cruised to the second round of the Australian Open, Nick Kyrgios quit through injury without hitting a ball. In the women’s draw, top seed Iga Swiatek survived a tough examination while Jessica Pegula and teenage prodigy Coco Gauff were both emphatic winners on the first day of action. Spanish great Nadal, 36, had been in poor form by his sky-high standards, losing six of his last seven matches stretching back to defeat in the last 16 at the US Open.