World No.2 Rafael Nadal began his quest for a record 13th title at the French Open 2020. Nadal defeated Egor Gerasimov in straight sets in the opening round at Philippe Chatrier. The Spaniard showed his brilliance by winning six consecutive games in the third set after being 0-2 down.
Despite the different conditions at Roland Garros, Nadal didn’t appear too bothered by the new Wilson balls. During the post-match conference, Nadal talked about adapting to the new balls and heavy conditions. However, the 19-time Grand Slam champion contended not to use balls as an excuse.
“If I don’t play deep, it’s my fault, I’m the one who has to adapt to the balls. What happens is that with the humidity and the cold it is difficult to generate effects. But I will never use the ball as an excuse. Under these conditions what I can’t afford is to play passive because then the ball stops hurting,” said Nadal during the post-match interview.
The defending champion played closer to the baseline and converted all the breakpoint opportunities during the match. Nadal admitted that the weather conditions are challenging this year, and he is trying to maintain a positive attitude.
Rafael Nadal advances to the second round
The No.2 is eyeing to equal Roger Federer‘s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles and is a step closer after advancing into the second round at Roland Garros.
Nadal will face the American Michael McDonald, who ousted Steven Diez in the first round. The duo will play against each other for the first time in their career. McDonald has qualified for the French Open for the first time in his career and his best Grand Slam performance has been reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon championships last year.
In the same draw, Dominic Thiem defeated Marin Cilic in the opening round and is likely to meet Nadal in the semifinals.