Rafael Nadal begins bid for 38th clay-court title with win in Mexico


Former world number one Rafael Nadal beat qualifier Diego Sebastian Schwartzman 6-2 6-2 in his first round match at the ATP Tour's Acapulco event.

Nadal, who recently returned after a seven-month injury lay-off, needed just 68 minutes to beat Schwartzman in Mexico.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion now faces Argentine qualifier Martin Alund as he seeks his 38th clay-court title.

Nadal won his 37th crown earlier this month by winning in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Spaniard is back in action after taking time off to recover from a persistent problem with his left knee.

The current world number five has been testing his fitness in clay tournaments this month and is scheduled to play in the high-profile Indian Wells and Miami hard-court events next month.

However, the 26-year-old admits that he continues to feel pain in the knee and, while he intends to play at Indian Wells, he has yet to make a definite decision as he continues to monitor the injury day by day.

"My priority today is that the knee recovers 100% and to get back competing and training in full condition soon," he said after his win on Tuesday.

"If that happens the objectives are the same as they have always been.

"If I do not recover, we will take it in our stride, calmly accept it and be positive. We will continue working so that when it's perfect I can get back to competing at the maximum level in a short space of time."

Nadal is scheduled to play an exhibition match against Juan Martin del Potro at New York's Madison Square Garden on 4 March before heading to Indian Wells.