World Number two Rafael Nadal played his first professional match on the ATP Tour after 200 days, against reigning US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta at Italian Open 2020. The Spaniard dropped just two games in the match and closed out the battle within an hour.
His second match on Friday against Serbian tennis player Dusan Lajovic was also a one-sided affair. The 19-time Major Champion swept past Lajovic 6-1, 6-3, and reserved a place in the quarterfinals of Rome Masters.
Despite his pitch-perfect form and his ability to steamroll against the other professionals, Nadal feels there’s always room for improvement and he wants to meticulously work on his shortcomings.
“I played at, I think a very positive level of tennis. Of course, it needs to keep improving. I need to keep working on a couple of things that are not coming automatically. But I can’t ask for more,” Rafa mentioned.
“[It was] another great evening for me against another good opponent. Can’t complain at all. Much better [than] what I expected. The first set was 6-1, but a super tough beginning of the match. A lot of good points. [I’m] very happy, it’s an important victory for me after such a long time. To start the tournament with these two victories is great news.”
Rafael Nadal vs Diego Schwartzman
Up next, Nadal will be facing the Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open 2020. In Rome, eighth seed Schwartzman held victories over the likes of Hubert Hurkacz and John Millman. He also played the clay event in Kithzbhul, Austria before coming to Rome.
Rafa and Diego have previously met nine times in their careers and the Spaniard maestro is yet to drop a match against him.
With Nadal’s victory on Friday, he earned his 992nd win on the ATP Tour, and within a few days, he’s expected to attain the 1000 mark.
Also, if Rafa manages to defend his title in Rome this year, it will be his 10th title on the Italian clay and his 36th Masters 1000 title.