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Rafael Nadal still feels pain but no limitations as he returns to favoured clay in Monte Carlo

Nadal roared to victory
Nadal stormed through in Monte Carlo (Picture: Getty Images)

It was a comfortable afternoons work for Rafael Nadal as he returned from his latest knee issue and while he may still feel pain in the problem area, he certainly didnt show any signs of limitation.

The 32-year-old has won 11 of his 17 Grand Slam titles on a clay court and typically finds his best form on the dirt. On this evidence, theres no reason to suggest this season will be any different.

Having withdrawn from the much-anticipated Indian Wells semi-final with Roger Federer last month and subsequently skipped the Miami Open, there were suggestions that Nadals preparation on clay would be so disrupted that it could open the door to other potential challengers. For the time being, at least, that doesnt appear to be the case.

No, this was the same old Nadal. Same brutal, relentless ball striking. Same complete and utter dominance at a tournament he has won 11 times. Roberto Bautista Agut didnt stand a chance.

Nadal hitting a forehand
Nadal is moGetty Images)

Of course, its early days to truly assess his physical condition but Nadal seemed content that any pain he does feel is all part of the typical wear and tear of the ATP Tour.

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Asked if he felt any pain in his knee after his 6-1 6-1 win, he replied: I cant pretend to dont have pain at all, because I never thought about that.

Its a long time ago that professional players play normally with pain, because thats part of the sport to the highest level and no limitations at all. So I was able to move well and be confident with the things that I did.

Im happy for this very positive start. I had good feelings on court, yeah.

The match itself was a one-sided affair.

Dimitrov will play Nadal next
Dimitrov is up next (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Bautista Agut was impossibly far off Nadals – admittedly, fast – pace in the opening five games, winning just five points. And despite putting up a better fight in the second set, he still went down by the same scoreline as the first.

But while Nadal was happy with his performance, he maintains theres work to do as he prepares for a meeting with Bulgarias Grigor Dimitrov.

I cant tell you if I found my great rhythm. No, is not the case, no? I just started well, he added. Is the first match in almost a year on this surface.

But of course start like this helps. Tomorrow is another good test against Grigor, so lets see. I need to plRead More – Source

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