World no. 2 Rafael Nadal began the Australian Open with an easy victory over Alex Kuznetsov, but the Spaniard came close to forfeiting the match due to a slight knee injury.
As reported by Nadal, he was sitting in a chair in his hotel room on the morning of the match when he felt a sudden crack on his knee. As he tried to stand up, he felt a pain in his knee. On attempting to straighten it, he felt a severe pain and couldn’t feel the movements of his knee. An immediate MRI was done, which showed no internal damage. Following this, the Spaniard decided to play the match although he later admitted to having concerns over his fitness.
The match, however, was a fairly easy one. Nadal won the match in straight sets 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. But that was obviously expected of someone who had been at the top of the standings until last year, when a certain Serbian named Novak Djokovic dethroned him.
The Spaniard is the second seed in the tournament and is expected to go quite far. His opponent was an American qualifier, but his tournament ended abruptly and quite quickly as the 2009 champion completed the match in just 106 minutes. Nadal hit 46 winners during the course of the match, making his opponent look amateurish.
Rafael Nadal will face three-time semi-finalist, Tommy Haas, in the next round, who defeated Denis Kudla of America 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-0, 7-5.
After the match, Nadal was asked if the knee would hamper his progress in the tournament. Nadal said that while he was apprehensive about the condition of his knee, it was fine after the first 10 games. News about a possible rift between him and Federer were also quickly rubbished. All tennis fans are looking forward to the final stages of the opening Grand Slam event and hope that Nadal will be there. The latest online Australian Open betting odds show nadal is still the second favourite at 3/1, behind Novak Djokovic.