It took Spain’s Rafael Nadal, 30, a few games to find his groove in his Rio opener against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.
After three months away from competition due to a nagging wrist injury, a bit of sluggishness was to be expected.
But twenty minutes into his first round match, the World No. 5 caught fire. He blazed through the first set, winning 6-2.
Rain halted the momentum, causing a short rain delay during the second set. But it couldn’t quench the flames. While Delbonis managed to compose himself during the break, Nadal overwhelmed his opponent by playing like his old self – hitting the ball hard, moving swiftly, ripping serves.
The Spaniard looked confident and didn’t hold back. He won the match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.
Nadal is seeded third at this tournament, behind World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and World No. 2 Andy Murray of Great Britain. But if today was any indication, Rio 2016 may see Nadal play like he did at the Beijing 2008 Games – where he won singles gold.