Sinner, 18, revels in Federer praise after first Slam win

Tanya Simon
January 21, 2020

World number one Rafael Nadal insisted 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. He's also aiming to complete a collection by winning each of the four Grand Slam titles at least twice.

It is a big ask for the 33-year-old, who has only won the title once before at Melbourne Park, against a tearful Federer in 2009, with four runner-up finishes to his name.

"There were times I was struggling with an elbow injury and I had to change the technique of my serve and a lot of things were happening, but in the last year-and-a-half I feel great serving".

"A positive start", Nadal said, via the Associated Press.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his match against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff at the Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, January 20, 2020.

After his two-hour, 16- minute triumph, Djokovic stated on court that he declines to take anything for given, also a first-round win. No reason was given immediately for his withdrawal.

Despite a relatively easy win in the previous set, Djokovic stumbled in the beginning of the third, allowing Struff to make an early break to take a confident 2-0 lead.

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"I never felt like this after a match".

Sinner, the youngest player in the year-end top 80 last year since a 17-year-old Rafael Nadal in 2003, said he was honoured by Federer's comments. "Seeing him retire in this match is just painful".

Switzerland's Roger Federer in action during the match against Steve Johnson of the USA at the Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, January 20, 2020.

In other first round matches carried over by an opening day hit by the rain, Milos Raonic beat the lucky loser Lorenzo Giustino 6-2 6-1 6-3 while Marin Cilic knocked down Corentin Moutet 6-3 6-2 6-4.

Local hopeful and women's World No. 1 Barty had the home crowd on edge after losing the first set against Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko, but she dominated the remainder of the contest with a final score of 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

"There's no reward for being a defending champion and you just have to go into it with the mindset that everyone wants to beat you and it's going to probably be tougher the second time around", the Japanese told reporters.

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