Nadal happy to be back in New York

Rafael Nadal, pictured, eased to victory over Ryan Harrison (AP)

Rafael Nadal, pictured, eased to victory over Ryan Harrison (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Rafael Nadal made up for lost time with a dominant start to his US Open campaign in New York.

The 2010 champion was playing his first match at Flushing Meadows for two years after missing last year's tournament during his seven-month break with knee problems.

Nadal took on America's Ryan Harrison in the first round and was never really troubled in a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory.

The Spaniard said: "I missed a lot of places last year. Always when you miss a tournament like the US Open, it's not good news.

"So for me the chance to be back here playing is great. I enjoyed the week before when I was practising. The first match after two years on Arthur Ashe is a great feeling."

Hard courts have been Nadal's most troublesome surface, both results-wise and for his suspect knees, but he has been flawless this year, winning three Masters series titles.

He went into the US Open on a 10-match winning streak after back-to-back trophies in Montreal and Cincinnati, which included victories over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Djokovic is a narrow title favourite but Nadal is considered by many the man to beat - and he will not be enlisting the help of any special diets.

Djokovic believes his switch to a gluten-free diet was crucial in his elevation to the best player in the world and he has recently published a book on the subject.

Andy Murray briefly tried the same diet but Nadal will not be following suit.

He said; "At the end of the day, all the small things can help if you don't go crazy. I always had the theory that the most important thing is to be happy, enjoy what are you doing, and be fresh mentally.

"If you have the gluten-free diet or have the perfect diet and it's a big sacrifice for you and that results in you not being happy the rest of the day, not being fresh mentally because that's a lot of effort for you, it's better not to do it.

"If you feel that's the right thing to do to be fit, do it. It's not a secret, and there's not only one way to be a good tennis player or to be fit. Everybody's different.

"Now it seems like the gluten-free diet is great. After three years or four years we will find another thing that will be great, too. Then the gluten-free will not work anymore.

"So all these kind of things that are news, personally I am not doing. I am happy with the normal diet."

Later on, Roger Federer's first-round match against Grega Zemlja fell foul of the New York weather.

The five-time champion was scheduled to play in the second night match on Arthur Ashe but then the rain began to fall.

A good number of fans stuck it out in the hope the match could start but at around 10.15pm local time play was officially called off for the night.

Federer and Zemlja will have to return on Tuesday, although with the first round here being played over three days, the winner should still have a day off before they have to play again.

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