Rafael Nadal hopes he is back to 100% fitness and claims his uncle Toni remains on hand to provide any assistance as the world number one secured passage through to the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday (17 January) courtesy of a straight-sets win over Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.
The Mallorcan was initially considered as a doubt for the first Grand Slam of the year due to an ongoing knee injury that forced him to pull out of the season-ending ATP Finals in November and also caused his withdrawal from the Brisbane International.
This is also the first time that Nadal has entered a major tournament without coach Toni, who stopped travelling with his nephew at the end of 2017 after 27 years, 75 titles and 16 grand slams and is now focusing on work at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca.
However, the top seed does not appear to be having any trouble adjusting to the change after following up his emphatic opening defeat of Victor Estrella Burgos by beating Mayer, who briefly threatened a comeback after breaking to level the third set, 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in under three hours at Rod Laver Arena.
The performance included 40 winners and only 10 unforced errors.
"Hopefully he was watching the match - that's all, no? I have my team here with me, we are working the right way," Nadal said in his on-court interview when asked if it would be awkward for Toni watching at home.
"Toni is always there when we need anything. I'm just happy to be here, to be with part of my family. For my team and my family this tournament is the favourite of the year, so I want to stay here as long as possible."
Pressed on if his body being so strong on the court was the most pleasing aspect of his latest win, he replied with a chuckle: "I don't know, I hope."
Nadal will face Damir Dzumhur next after the latter eliminated John Millman in four sets.
Elsewhere on day three, British number two Kyle Edmund dismantled Denis Istomin to set up a third-round tie against Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili and women's second seed Caroline Wozniacki saved two match points before finally seeing off the spirited challenge of world number 119 Jana Fett.
Fifteen-year-old Ukrainian qualifier Marta Kostyuk became the youngest player to reach the third round of a Grand Slam since Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in 1997 as she overcame Olivia Rogowska in straight sets. Up next is a tough clash with fourth seed Elina Svitolina, who dropped the opening set against Katerina Siniakova before winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga needed five sets to vanquish Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, while French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko also required a decider to squeeze past Ying-Ying Duan.
Australian Nick Kyrgios and Marin Cilic saw off Viktor Troicki and Joao Sousa respectively, while there were also wins for Diego Schwartzman, Pablo Cuevas, Giller Muller, Pabelo Carreno Busta and Ivo Karlovic as well as Kiki Bertens, Magdalena Rybarikova, Carla Suarez Navarro and Anett Kontaveit.
Julia Georges' 15-match winning streak was ended by Alize Cornet, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was toppled by Kateryna Bondarenko and Daria Kasatkina fell to Magda Linette.