“I Had to Survive”: Rafael Nadal Gives Injury Update After First-Round Victory at Australian Open 2021

Published 02/09/2021, 1:41 AM CST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 9, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his first round match against Serbia’s Laslo Djere REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


World No. 2 Rafael Nadal took on Serbia’s Laslo Djere in his opening round match at the Australian Open 2021. It was their first-ever meeting and the Spaniard’s experience worked to his advantage.

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The 56th ranked player fell victim to the Spaniard, as Rafa beat Laslo 6-3 6-4 6-1 to advance into the second round.

As the match began, Nadal raced quickly to a 3-0 lead, handing Djere the early break. Eventually, he got another break to take a healthy 5-1 lead.

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Soon after, the Spaniard got broken himself, but it was too late as he ultimately sealed the opening set 6-3. Laslo won 20 points in the set as compared to Rafa’s 27 points. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 9, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his first round match against Serbia’s Laslo Djere REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Rafael Nadal steps up to take control of Set 2

Djere started serving to begin the second set and after nearly 10 minutes he took a 1-0 lead. However, on his next service game, the Serbian player was broken as he always felt the pressure the Spaniard forced upon him.

The single break proved enough for Rafa to claim the second set. Nadal served brilliantly, registering 91% of his first serves. 

In the third set, Nadal broke his opponent thrice, after converting all the breakpoints he received. Laslo hit thirteen unforced errors as compared to Rafa’s two.

The Spaniard won 85% of his first-serve points whereas the Serbian player managed to win only 40% of them. Moreover, the World No. 2 won twenty-five points in the set overall to his opponents mere ten points. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 9, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his first round match against Serbia’s Laslo Djere REUTERS/Loren Elliott

After the match, Nadal stated, “I had a difficult 15 days with my back. Today, I had to survive. I wish Laslo the best for the future. I’m here to do my best, as always. I can’t say anything else. We will see day after day.

Today, I gave myself one more day to get better. I’m staying alive. Tennis is an important part of our lives, but we face something much bigger. Let’s take care of each other.”

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The Spaniard will now face the winner of the match between Michael Mmoh and Viktor Troicki in his second-round on Thursday. 

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Rohan Kollare

703 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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