Nadal not feeling the pressure despite Monte Carlo record
Rafael Nadal said he feels under no pressure after extended his unbeaten run at the Monte Carlo masters to an incredible 43 matches as the Spaniard breezed past Marinko Matosevic.
The former world number one, who has been resting since winning at Indian Wells last month, powered past the Australian in just over an hour to win 6-1 6-2
But despite his impressive record at the competition - with just one loss in the last decade - he says he feels under no pressure to succeed this year.
"I feel that I am coming here trying to play well," he said.
"As in every tournament, (I) try my best in every moment. If that happens, if I'm able to play my best tennis, probably I will have my chance to be in a good position to play in the last rounds, to fight for important things."
Nada, eight times champion in Monte Carlo, was in his comfort zone as he brushed aside Matosevic.
"I played well with the right feelings and doing the right things, so I'm very happy," he said. "I had the right intensity, with no mistakes.
"I was trying to find a good feeling on the ball, to find the right rhythm. And I think I did, no? That gives me confidence."
Novak Djokovic, the world number one, admitted he was pleased to have passed a huge test on his injured right angle after beating Mikhail Youzhny 4-6 6-1 6-4.
Djokovic admitted that at one point in the second set he felt some pain but played through it successfully, thanks in part to his heavy strappings.
Djokovic had waited until the last minute to make his decision on whether he could compete, having rolled his ankle on Davis Cup duty 10 days ago. He earned a late break for 5-4 in the final set as Youzhny missed a drop shot, before serving out the match.
"I think that my ankle is in a good state as the days are passing by," said the winner. "Today was a big test, I had a great quality opponent.
"My clay movements are still not at the maximum. But I'm going to slowly get into it. Hopefully I can elevate the level of performance in the next match.
"I'm very happy to win, I'm just happy to compete, to be honest. I didn't know if I'm going to be playing the tournament up to yesterday (Tuesday) basically
Andy Murray hopes he will reverse his record against Stanislas Wawrinka when the two meet today, having lost the last two encounters on clay.
"It's a very tough match," Murray, who beat Eduardo Roger-Vasselin 6-1 6-4 yesterday, admitted.
"He has played some great tennis this year and when his game is on he's a tough player to beat.
"He likes this surface and I have lost to him on it in the past.
"It will be a good match and a chance to see where my game is at."
Elsewhere in the second round, Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych began his clay season with a defeat of Spain's Marcel Granollers 7-5, 6-4.
Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic put out South African Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-3, while Austrian Jurgen Melzer upset Spanish tenth seed Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-2 and veteran Finn Jarkko Nieminen upset Canadian 12th seed Milos Raonic 6-3, 1-6, 7-6
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Published: April 18, 2013 04:00 AM