Stressed Nadal unhappy with winning start

Paris: Rafael Nadal`s 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over French teenager Gianni Mina looked as stress-free as it gets for the four-times Roland Garros champion but the Spaniard was far from happy on Tuesday.

"I played poorly because I made a lot of unforced errors," said Nadal, back to reclaim his crown after last year`s shock fourth-round defeat by Robin Soderling.

"The ball was not doing what I wanted to do. I didn`t play well. That`s the truth. That`s why I couldn`t play my game as usual. I did things in such a way that I couldn`t play well compared with what I usually do."

"I`m a bit nervous or stressed. It`s the first round. The first round is always difficult in this tournament. But I have to re-focus and calm down and move forward," he told reporters.

Nadal`s French Open build-up was perfection with 15 consecutive wins on clay in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid and despite being seeded behind defending champion Roger Federer he is most people`s favourite to reclaim the title.

The Mallorcan, who endured injury problems and poor form in 2009 after suffering his first defeat at Roland Garros a year ago, was at pains to play down those expectations as he continues to try and recover his best form.

"Right now it`s very difficult to speak about the favourites," he said. "Sure I am one of the players that if I play my best tennis I`m gonna have chances but a lot of players think the same than me."

Nadal had plenty in reserve against 18-year-old wildcard Mina who was far from overawed by playing one of the greatest claycourters the game has seen in the first round.

The runner-up in last year`s junior singles delighted the crowd on a muggy Court Suzanne Lenglen with bold shot-making, occasionally wrong-footing his opponent with flashing winners.

He never really threatened to extend the contest, however, and bowed out with a forehand over the baseline as Nadal took his Roland Garros record to 32-1 and set up a second-round match against Argentine Horacio Zeballos.

"I had some nice exchanges and very nice shots," Mina told reporters. "I don`t know if it was his best match but he had to fight back. I was probably a pain for him."

Bureau Report


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