Rafael Nadal officially opened his 2017 season on a positive note besting Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-3 Tuesday night in Brisbane.
“I was very happy with that start,” said Nadal who came in off an Abu Dhabi exo win Saturday. “Winning against (Dolgopolov) is never easy.
“I said yesterday it was an important match for me. It was an important match for me and not much time to adjust the game and to adapt myself to the conditions, so it was great that I was able to play late. I think that helps.
“In terms of the jet lag, helps for me this week if I play later. I think I played a solid match with not many mistakes. That makes me feel good and happy for the victory, obviously.”
Next for Nadal is Mischa Zverev on Thursday. And Rafa could meet Milos Raonic in the round after.
“He’s an offensive player with a great serve, good volley,” said of the German. “It will be important to be very focused with my serve, when I’m serving, try to be very… aggressive. I cannot let him play comfortably, because if not, I will be in trouble because he goes to the net frequently.”
Rafa, though, still hasn’t adjusted to the time zone, and he would prefer to play Zverev later in the day.
“Depends how I adapt to the jet lag, because playing early,” he said of the match time for the next match. “For example, today, at 2:00 in the afternoon I was on the bed. I was destroyed. I’m not sure if it’s better play earlier or not. I think for the moment I think it’s better for me to play later.”
With the Australian Open looming, Nadal offered his thoughts on winning another Slam.
“The only thing I can say is if I am healthy, I believe that I can do it,” Nadal said Monday. “If not, I will be at home fishing.”
Two-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Lucas Pouille was also a winner beating countryman Gilles Simon.
Tomorrow, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori are in action along with World No. 1 Angelique Kerber headlining the women’s field as she opens her 2017 season.
“I’m really not thinking about defending points or pressure, whatever,” Kerber said Monday. “I was, like, really happy to be back in Australia, like, the trip was really long again. It’s always nice to be being back here.
“Everything starts here last year for me. Everything, actually. This is my only feeling I have now to being back here and trying to get used very fast to everything: the jet lag, the weather conditions, and just playing like I always playing, game after game. Yeah, of course to play my best again here.”
WEDNESDAY BRISBANE SCHEDULE
PAT RAFTER ARENA start 11:00 am
WTA – S. Zhang (CHN) vs  D. Cibulkova (SVK)
ATP – [Q] J. Donaldson (USA) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP –  D. Ferrer (ESP) vs [WC] J. Thompson (AUS)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – V. Troicki (SRB) vs  S. Wawrinka (SUI)
Not Before 8:30 pm
WTA –  A. Kerber (GER) vs [WC] A. Barty (AUS)
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