Rafael Nadal kick-started his bid for a 14th French Open title with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory over Australian Jordan Thompson.
The 13-time champion was looking to make an early statement at Roland-Garros after failing to pick up a single warm-up title on clay, with a recurring foot problem hampering his preparations.
No such issues arose on Court Philippe-Chatrier, however, with Nadal needing just two hours and four minutes to wrap up the victory.
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Nadal, in the same quarter of the draw as Novak Djokovic and rising star Carlos Alcaraz, will face either wild card Corentin Moutet or 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in the second round.
With Djokovic in action later, Nadal was third out on the French Open’s main court after women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek breezed through and defending champion Barbora Krejcikova crashed out.
Hoping for an afternoon devoid of drama, Nadal quickly took a stranglehold on the match when breaking twice to take a 4-1 lead, and he closed out the opening set moments later.
A stunning Nadal forehand then earned the Spaniard the first point of the second set on Thompson’s serve, and it set the tone as the Australian was broken and looked visibly frustrated.
“I need all the help I can get,” Thompson could be heard saying, before then claiming he was struggling to see the ball.

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Thompson was never able to get a foothold in the match, always a tough task when facing a player with just the three career losses at Roland-Garros, and he was left slumped over the net when scuppered by some relentless Nadal defence in a second set that also ended 6-2.
Come the third set, once again Thompson was left bemoaning his luck, but Nadal was utterly dominant as it followed a familiar pattern, with two breaks helping the Spaniard complete the win.

NADAL 'NEEDS TO IMPROVE', LOOKING TO REBUILD CONFIDENCE

There was a focus about Nadal as he faced reporters in his post-match press conference.
He noted that he wasn't fully content with his performance, citing the "need to improve [his] movement, the speed of [his] forehand."
But he insisted that he was happy with the win, despite only playing five matches on his home surface in the build-up to the tournament.
"[I'm] happy with the performance, by the way. It’s a positive start. Of course, I’m the kind of player looking for something else; looking for better things, and that’s what I’m going to try to find in my practice tomorrow and in my next match.
“Of course, the confidence is higher when you win Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid or Rome. Without a doubt, things are easier in this world to understand when you are winning more matches and more tournaments, you will have greater confidence and the opponent feels that too. At the end, you are more used to the level you need to play [at] to win matches.

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"[For me,] this is not the case, things are different. But I never expected to be winning 15 Monte Carlo’s and Rome so, that’s the situation. I got injured, what happened has passed and I am here at Roland-Garros."
The Spaniard was also asked about his opinions on the Wimbledon saga, but the great man kept his cards close to his chest.
“I don’t have a clear opinion [about Wimbledon]. The problem with the players’ side is always the same. From the tournament’s side, there is always a person or a board that makes the decision, and the rest of the people running the event follow that decision. In our tour, every player has a different opinion, and that is why we never achieve the things that we could achieve if we came together.
"The ATP board made a decision, and we need to accept that. The rest of the things… I will not be the player who comes here and put my board in a tough position for the decision that they have made. As players, we are not prepared well enough to make important decisions because at the end it is an individual sport and everyone has their own personal views in terms of how much profit they get from every decision that the ATP makes.
"I understand both sides. I understand Wimbledon’s position, without a doubt, but on the other hand I understand and respect the ATP for respecting their members, and that’s it. It’s not that one is doing a positive thing and one is negative. In my personal opinion, there are good reasons for them to make the decisions that they have made today, and hopefully the ATP and Wimbledon can be together and negotiate a better future for both sides.”

'I need to improve' despite easy first-round win - Nadal

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