Rafael Nadal says he ‘felt sorry’ for Andrey Rublev but adds: ‘It’s an important win’

Rafael Nadal ruthlessly took advantage of a nervous Andrey Rublev to win his ATP Finals opener before admitting he ‘felt sorry’ for the Russian.

Rublev has been in fine form this season but he looked overwhelmed on his ATP Finals debut.

Nadal was only too happy to take full advantage, but he did admit to having some sympathy for the Russian.

“It’s a positive start for me, the first match is always very tricky.

“Here, every match is difficult because you play against the best of the best.

“It’s a very positive start for me. I feel sorry for Rublev but I wish him all the best for the rest of the tournament.

“He had an amazing season even in difficult circumstances, he was able to win a lot of titles.

“So this is an important victory for me.”

Nadal lost his first match at the ATP Finals last year before crashing out of out at the group stage, and he is pleased to have got off to a better start this time.

“It’s important to start well, of course, for the confidence, because winning [in] straight sets helps,” Nadal said.

“The serve tonight was very important. I played solidly with my serve.

“I didn’t suffer much, and that helps [me] to play more relaxed on the return. That’s what I did.”

“[I’m] happy the way I approached the match. The first match is always difficult, and Andrey played an amazing season.”

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