Rafael Nadal was forced to tell the French Open cameraman to ‘stop’ as he struggled to sign the goal to celebrate his first-round win over Jordan Thompson. The 13-time former champion in Paris recently struggled with injury but proved he was still one of the favorites for the title with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory in two hours and two minutes.
Nadal began his campaign for a record 22nd Grand Slam and 14th French Open title with a straight-set victory over world number 82, just 11 days after suffering an injury in the third round of the Rome Masters. As is the norm for tennis match winners, he went to sign the camera lens at the end of his match but struggled to catch up with the cameraman.
The world number 5 could be seen running after the lens with his pen as he laughed and begged the cameraman to ‘slow down’ and ‘stop’, eventually securing a first-round victory on Philippe-Chatrier court. It was a successful start for the Spaniard, who was drawn in the top half of the death alongside fellow title contenders Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, as well as Alexander Zverev.
He entered this French Open ill-prepared after making his comeback from a rib injury in Madrid just three weeks ago, before scaring himself with his chronic foot injury at the Italian Open. Nadal admitted he was not injured but a ‘living player with an injury’ when he suffered a three-set loss to Denis Shapovalov in Rome, but maintained the French Open was still his ‘target’ “.
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And the most successful player in the tournament’s history managed to bounce back losing just six games in straight sets against Thompson on Monday – his first game at Roland Garros since suffering a semi-final loss to Djokovic l ‘last year. “It’s amazing for me to play here another time. I’m very happy with the win in straight sets and to have passed the first round,” he said after going through his first round.
Nadal will next face French world No. 139 Corentin Moutet, who came from a set down to beat 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka 2-6 6-3 7-6(2) 6-3 minutes after the victory over the Spanish Monday. This will be the first meeting between the 21-time Grand Slam champion and the 23-year-old.
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