‘I played a solid match,’ says Rafael Nadal after dominant Monte-Carlo showing

Rafael Nadal powered past Federico Delbonis to make what he described as a ‘solid’ start to Monte-Carlo.

Nadal, the 11-times-winner, was in typically dominant mood in his first clay match of the season.

An additional bonus for the Spaniard was there were no signs of the back injury that he suffered before the Australian Open.

“It was a good start and it’s always good to come back to the competition with the victory,” Nadal said.

“I think I played a solid match and I had to keep going. I had some positive feelings.”

Nadal also spared comment for his opponent, who he has no beaten in all five of their meetings.

“We have been playing against each other for a long time so we know each other well.

“I have respect for every opponent and of course for Federico it is no exception.

“He played some amazing matches on clay, winning tournaments, so maximum respect.”

Nadal will play former world number three Grigor Dimitrov in the next round after the Bulgarian overcame Jeremy Chardy 7-6, 6-4.

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