“I can just say a big thank you to all the people who helped me and all the people who helped me at any point in my life to be where I am.”
Nadal’s first victory in the ATP came when he was 15 years old. He beat Ramon Delgado, Paraguay then ranked 81 in the world, in the first round match at the 2002 Mallorca Open, a win that earned him 15 points in the ATP ranking and imminent for $ 5,850
Eighteen years old and about $ 122 million in prize money, Nadal would later become one of the most successful tennis players in history.
At the French Open last month, he equaled Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam victories.
Nadal’s first-round match was his first since he clinched his 13th Roland Garros title.
“The match started in the worst possible way, especially against a great servant like Feli,” Nadal said. “After that, I played under a lot of pressure the rest of the match, but I found a way.
“That’s the main thing … This win is the one I’m proud of. Personal satisfaction is sometimes greater when you win these matches than if you went on the field and won 6-3 6-3.”
Nadal will meet Jordan Thompson in the next round after the Australian rebounded from a set and collapsed to beat Purna Churic 2-6 6-4 6-2.
While he is a hit in Paris on clay, Nadal aims to win his first title at the Paris Masters.