Australian Open: No record chase here for Rafael Nadal

Updated: Jan 22, 2020, 08:42 IST | AFP | Melbourne

After easy first round win, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal says he's not eyeing Roger Federer's 20-Slam mark

Spain's World No. 1 Rafael Nadal returns to Bolivia's Hugo Dellien on Day Two of the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP
Spain's World No. 1 Rafael Nadal returns to Bolivia's Hugo Dellien on Day Two of the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP

Melbourne: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal insisted on Tuesday that matching or beating Roger Federer's record 20 Grand Slam titles is not important and he was "super happy" with his tennis career regardless.

Power-packed show
The Spaniard launched his campaign to equal the Swiss great's mark by dropping just five games in a 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 annihilation of Bolivian Hugo Dellien in the Australian Open first round.

The Mallorcan, the first man to be World No. 1 in three different decades, can not only match his great rival's achievement, but also become the first man in the Open era to win all four Majors at least twice if he lifts the trophy again at Melbourne Park.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

'Trying to keep going'
It is a big ask for Nadal, 33, who has only won the title once before in Australia, against a tearful Federer in 2009, with four runner-up finishes to his name. "I don't care about 20 or 15 or 16. I just care about trying to keep going, keep enjoying my tennis career," said Nadal. "It's not like 20 is the number that I need to reach. If I reach 20, fantastic. If I reach 21, better. If I reach 19, super happy about all the things that I did in my tennis career. I am very satisfied about my tennis career because I give it all most of the time," he added. "That's the only thing that matters."

Oz Open failure
The Australian Open is the only major Nadal has failed to win more than once, having claimed 12 titles at Roland Garros, four at the US Open and two at Wimbledon.

He has been a finalist in Melbourne four times since winning but has struggled to get over the line, something that baffles him. "I have been a break up twice in the fifth set and I lost. Another time I have been injured in a final, of course, against a great opponent," he said on why he had not been able to convert in Australia. Nadal next plays either Argentine Federico Delbonis or Portugal's Joao Sousa.

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