Nadal seeking improvement after first round win

rafael nadal

Nadal is a four-time champion at Roland Garros (Photo: Mirsasha)

Rafael Nadal says he was surprised to be suffering from nerves during his victory over Gianni Mina in the first round of Roland Garros yesterday.

The Spaniard, who is a four-time champion in Paris, disposed of the Frenchman in straight sets 6-2 6-2 6-2, but admitted afterwards he was feeling far from comfortable on court.

“Always the feeling is a little bit different, and I have to pass this day,” said Nadal after his victory. “I remember the four times that I won here – I always had really bad first matches.

“I was a little bit surprised to be nervous like this, because the other years I didn’t practice well before the tournament.”

Nadal won three Masters titles in Monte Carlo in the build-up to Roland Garros, but the no.2 seed says it is normal to need some time to adapt to the Parisian tournament.

“I was practicing really well all the days,” he added. “I played very well at three tournaments [winning in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid] but the first day here is always a little bit more nervous than usual,”

“I think I played bad, but I won anyway, without problems, so that’s always important and a positive thing. But I can do a lot better in the next round.”

The 23-year-old is now looking to become more consistent when he faces Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos in round two later this week.

“I know him a little because I have friends who know him,” he said. “I was told he serves pretty well, that he hits very strongly. Therefore, I have to be more regular and more consistent.”

Elsewhere on day three, sixth seed Andy Roddick battled back from two sets to one down against Finn Jarkko Nieminen to book his place in round two.

In the women’s draw, Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova progressed to the second round with straight sets victories over Tsvetana Pironkova and Ksenia Pervak respectively.

But there was disappointment for two-time losing finalist Dinara Safina after she crashed out 3-6 6-4 7-5 to Date Krumm. In beating the Russian, Krumm, 39, became the second-oldest winner of a match at the French Open since Virginia Wade in 1985.

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