Rafael Nadal opens quest for 21st Grand Slam with first-round win at Australian Open

With 20 major singles championships, Nadal has matched with Novak Djokovic as well as Roger Federer for the most in men's tennis history

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Rafael nadal and giron shakes hands
(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

With a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory against American Marcos Giron at the Australian Open on Monday, Rafael Nadal maintained his campaign for a record 21st Grand Slam singles championship

According to Giron, a 28-year-old from the United States said

Growing up, I’ve looked up to him. He’s one of the absolute legends of the game.

With 20 major singles championships, Nadal has matched with Novak Djokovic as well as Roger Federer for the most in men’s tennis history.

After Djokovic’s late withdrawal Sunday because he had been forced to jet out of the country after a judge affirmed the rejection of his visa, Rafael Nadal is the only previous champion in the men’s bracket.

Federer will not partake in the competition since he is still recuperating from right knee surgery.

Rafael Nadal debuted at a major since losing in the quarterfinals of the French Open against Djokovic.

He missed Wimbledon owing to tiredness, skipped the US Open due to a bad left foot, and began 2022 with a victory at a tuneup event in Melbourne after healing from a breakthrough occurrence of COVID-19 in December.

According to Rafael Nadal

Honestly, it’s been very tough moments and there are still doubts. But here I am and I can’t be happier to be back in this amazing stadium. It’s fantastic.

Following Monday’s match, Nadal had spoken to Jim Courier on the court about his traumatic journey with the coronavirus.

The symptoms haven’t been nice. I have been four days in bed and then three more days just destroyed physically. After that, I started to feel a little bit better.

After receiving a negative PCR test, the Spaniard revealed he was allowed to have “one or two practices at home” before heading to Australia to partake in a lead-in event.

He mentioned he was feeling better now, but he could not really tell whether his exhaustion was caused to COVID or a lack of a consistent match.

He told the courier

I don’t know if sometimes you’re a little bit more tired because of it or because I haven’t been on the tour for the past six months.

Nadal is striving to become just the fourth player in Open Era history to win each of the four Grand Slam singles championships twice.

In 2021, Djokovic secured the double by winning his second Roland Garros championship. The only other guys to have claimed each Grand Slam two or more times are Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.

Djokovic was meant to play the last match of the night in Laver, after No. 1-ranked lady Ash Barty’s match, but the 34-year-old Serb was on his way to Dubai.

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