Four-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal began his campaign to win back his Roland Garros title with a convincing 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over France's Gianni Mina, the world 655, on Tuesday.
Nadal, whose unbeaten record in Paris came to an agonising end in the fourth round in 2009, courtesy of knee trouble combined with Robin Soderling's performance of a lifetime, next faces Argentina's Horacio Zeballos.
“My goal is always to play my best tennis. I would love to come back here every year as defending champion but that's impossible,” said the Spanish world number two, bidding to become only the second man after Bjorn Borg to win five French Opens.
“Last year Robin Soderling played very well to beat me. Now we will see what happens.”
Nadal ended an 11th-month trophy drought in the run-up to Roland Garros, winning all three springtime claycourt Masters in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid.
It took his Masters trophy collection to a record 18 and helped banish the misery of the injury-cursed second half of 2009.
“Winning three Masters was a dream, but a Grand Slam tournament is always more difficult,” he said.