Rafael Nadal
Nadal stormed into the second round a little over an hour-and-a-half. Getty Images


  • The 2009 champion beat Victor Estrella Burgos for the loss of just three games to reach round two.
  • Nadal to face Floretino Mayer after he beat Nicholas Jarry in straight sets.

Rafael Nadal is refusing to put a timeline on his retirement from tennis after coming through his opening match at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The world number one needed just 94 minutes to beat Victor Estrella Burgos for the loss of just three games on the opening day of the competition.

Nadal overwhelmed his opponent from the Dominican Republic – playing in the main draw at the season's first grand slam for just a fourth time – before prevailing 6-1 6-1 6-1.

Following the knee injury which had curtailed his otherwise fine 2017 campaign, Nadal had raised fears over his fitness Down Under by withdrawing from the Brisbane International – the traditional tune-up event for the Australian Open.

But in his first competitive outing of the season Nadal showed no ill-affects of the injury that has hindered much of his career.

"It was a long season, a good one but very long in 2017," admitted the 31-year-old, who was beaten in last year's final by Roger Federer. "I was disappointed that I couldn't make Brisbane, I finished late but I needed a little bit more time.

"I'm very happy to be here again. It's a very important place to play. Unique Rod Laver court, one of greatest atmospheres on the tour without a doubt, and whenever I have the opportunity to be on this court in front of these people it's very, very special."

The Spaniard added: "I took some time off after London; I had to stop for a while and then started working step by step. That's why I was not able to come to Brisbane because I started a bit more slower than usual and we wanted to do things the right way to be ready for this season. I'm very happy to be back, and very beginning for me, a good start and it is good news for me."

Despite being just 31, Nadal's continuous battles with injury means his years in the sport are surely numbered, though his recent revival has provided optimism that he can match Federer's longevity in the game.

And instead of focusing on when he may call time on his career, Nadal instead wants to soak up every experience until he is forced to quit.

"This year we are here, that's all I can say," the 16-time grand slam champion added when asked about his future career prospects. I love this sport. I love tennis, I love the competition.

"I know one day I will not have the chance to play here on this court so I want to enjoy every year that I am here. I don't want to think about how many more years I will have to play. I am going to try and enjoy every year that I have the chance and I hope to be here for many years."

Victory for Nadal came on an opening day at the Australian Open when several seeds exited both the men's and women's singles draws.

The highest profile casualty on the men's side came in the form of American Jack Sock, who went down in four sets to Japan's Yuichi Sugita.

He was followed by South Africa's Kevin Anderson who was dumped out in five sets by Kyle Edmund, Great Britain's only entry in the men's singles draw after the withdrawal of Andy Murray.

However, there were wins for Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios, Pablo Carreno Busta and Marin Cilic, who all progressed to round two without genuine alarm.

In the women's draw, the fifth seed Venus Williams was beaten by Belinda Bencic while the reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens suffered a shock defeat to Shuai Zhang of China.

Australia's home favourite Sam Stosur made his fifth exit in the first round at the hands of Monica Puig and Coco Vandeweghe followed thanks to a two-set loss to Timea Babos.

Caroline Wozniacki, Dominika Cibulkova and Jelena Ostapenko were among the seeds to progress to the second round.