Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2022 - Budding bromance with Liverpool FC star

Rafael Nadal ‘very positive’ after matching personal best season opening

Rafael Nadal picked up where he left off from his Australian Open triumph to record an 11th win of 2022 so far.ย 

By defeating Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-2, the GOAT contender equals his previous best start to a year, recorded in 2014 when he went 11-0 before losing to Stan Wawrinka in that year’s Australian Open final.

While not a perfect display from the fourth seed, Nadal was happy to progress without much fuss.

“It was a positive match,” he said in his post-match interview.

“I think I started playing well, a good victory in straight sets.

“That’s always very positive for the confidence.”

“Of course there are a couple of things that I can do better, but in general terms, I played well so I can’t complain at all.”

The Spaniard is vying for a fourth title in Acapulco, having previously clinched the title in 2005 and 2013 on clay and in 2020 on hard courts after the event shifted surfaces from 2014.

Nadal faces lucky loser Stefan Kozlov next after the American overcame 2014 champion Grigor Dimitrov in the longest ever match at the Mexican Open.

Kozlov and Nadal have already met in Acapulco, on the practice court, where the 21-time Slam champion was part of a highly unexpected sequence of events for the American.

After Kozlov had to cut their practice short to take to court against Dimitrov, the 24-year-old signed the camera after defeating the Bulgarian with: “Rafa, sorry for stopping practice today.”

The match will be just a 30th at ATP tour level for the world number 130, having paid his way predominantly on the Challenger circuit since turning pro in 2013.

Meanwhile, Nadal will be contesting his 1249th tour level match by facing the American.

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