With COVID-19 world headlines, Rafael Nadal found it hard to get overly excited after a routine Monday win into the second round of the French Open.

Spain’s 12-time Roland Garros champion said that in the grand scheme, his 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 defeat of Belarussian Egon Gerasimov means absolutely nothing outside the four walls of the clay court.

“I will not say it’s important, because in the world today there are things much more important than a tennis tournament,” the 19-time Grand Slam winner said.

“It’s our job, and the only thing we can say is thanks to the ATP Tour, to Roland Garros, to the US Open, to everyone who make big efforts to come back to the
tennis tour.”

Nadal called the current pandemic situation “unpredictable, so difficult.”

Rafael Nadal. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

He added: “Economically the tournaments are suffering a lot, so it’s bit risky to organise an event during these difficult moments.

“The only thing that I can guarantee is I’m gonna be here, try my best every single day fighting, and trying to give to the people my best every single day, because in some way sport helps the people.”

Spain’s king of clay defeated Gerasimov with a typical display of his clay power play which took just over two hours.

Nadal whipped through the first two sets but was broken to start the third.

That error was quickly corrected, with Gerasimov rolling his ankle and requiring a visit from the trainer after taking a tumble.

The interruption did not help the outsider, with Nadal resuming where he left off as the Spaniard rolled to the win.

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