It was normal service resumed for Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros on Monday afternoon.
The 13-time champion powered to a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over Australian Jordan Thompson in the first round at the clay-court major, marking his 299th Grand Slam win. The Spaniard will now seek to join Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the 300-plus club in a second-round meeting with Corentin Moutet or 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.
Nadal spoke of a chronic foot injury hampering his movement in a third-round defeat to Denis Shapovalov in Rome just 10 days ago, but the Spaniard’s movement and all-around game appeared in fine working order in a two-hour, two-minute victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Thompson reached the third round at Roland Garros in 2019 but was unable to counter Nadal’s brutal groundstrokes in the pair’s second tour-level meeting. Although he battled well, the Australian was unable to disrupt the Spaniard’s flow in the baseline exchanges frequently enough to build any sustained pressure.
Nadal broke the Thompson serve seven times in the match as he found good rhythm on his familiar rasping forehand throughout. It was not a flawless performance from the Spaniard, whose level lapsed in the second set as Thompson battled to his only break of the match for 2-4. However, it was only a minor blip for the 21-time Grand Slam winner, who will be pleased who will be pleased with his first-round outing as he seeks a second major title of the year.
The win takes Nadal to a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead over Thompson, having beaten the Australian on the indoor hard courts at the Rolex Paris Masters in 2020.