Rafael Nadal kickstarts his quest to win the French Open by beating Jordan Thompson in straight sets to reach the second round at Rolland Garros, as he puts his troubled build-up behind him to lay down a marker
- Rafael Nadal beat Jordan Thompson to reach the French Open second round
- Putting aside his troubled build-up, Nadal downed his opponent in straight sets
- He showed few signs of weakness and left Thompson exhausted with his speed
- Nadal will next face wildcard Corentin Moutet in his bid for Rolland Garros glory
Twenty four hours after the young prince made an impressive Philippe Chatrier debut, the king delivered his response.
The build up to this tournament has been a tale of two Spaniards: 19-year-old phenom Carlos Alcaraz and 35-year-old Rafael Nadal.
On Sunday Alacaraz was initially hesitant but eventually rampant as he beat Juan Ignacio Londero. And Nadal put a rather troubled build-up to this tournament behind him by taking care of Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 on the same court.
Rafael Nadal beat Jordan Thompson in straight sets to reach the French Open second round
Alcaraz has dominated the clay season so far, winning in Barcelona and Madrid. Nadal was one of his victims in the Madrid quarter finals and then lost in Rome, citing a foot problem. So he arrived in Paris without a clay court title for only the second season in his career.
So Nadal, with 13 titles here, is the king of the past, while Alcaraz is surely the future. What will play out over the next fortnight is a battle for the present.
The man who most prominently stands in the way of a blockbuster Iberian clash in Paris is Novak Djokovic, who was playing his first round in the night session.
Superstar Nadal put aside his troubled build-up to lay down his marker at Rolland Garros
If results go to form, Nadal would have to beat his great Serbian rival to beat a path through to face Alcaraz in the semi final.
Djokovic would start as a slight favourite in such a clash but Nadal showed few signs of weakness on Monday.
The laboured movement he displayed in Rome as the foot pain bit was nowhere to be seen and he was back to his scampering best.
The heavily moustachioed Thompson was on a hiding to nothing in a punishing defeat for him
Aside from one loose game to be broken in the second set he was rock solid, and will face French wildcard Corentin Moutet in the second round.
The heavily moustachioed Thompson was on a hiding to nothing and he looked like he knew it. After one rally in which Nadal scampered from pillar to post before hitting a deft winner, Thompson slumped on the net in abject exhaustion.
It was an image to sum up what it feels like to play Nadal on this court.