Salisbury JournalNadal through as Tomic pulls out (From Salisbury Journal)

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Nadal through as Tomic pulls out

Salisbury Journal: Rafael Nadal progressed to the second round of the Australian Open, taking the first set against Bernard Tomic before the home favourite retired Rafael Nadal progressed to the second round of the Australian Open, taking the first set against Bernard Tomic before the home favourite retired

Rafael Nadal needed just one set to book his place in the second round of the Australian Open as opponent Bernard Tomic retired with injury.

The top seed took the first set 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena before his Australian opponent withdrew, with the decision appearing not to go down well with some sections of the crowd.

Nadal took the only break point in the set to move into a 5-4 lead and then closed out the set in 39 minutes.

The Spaniard missed last year's tournament with a stomach virus and admitted and admitted his return to Melbourne had been "really emotional".

He said in an on-court interview: "The final against Novak (Djokovic) two years ago, even if I lost (Djokovic won in five sets), is one of the top moments of my career.

"I really enjoy playing here so much in Australia. I am sure I missed you more than you missed me last year."

Nadal will next face another home player, Thanasi Kokkinakis, the 17-year-old world number 570.

And he said he was pleased with his fitness at the start of the year.

"My first goal of last year when I came back was to finish the year, and that's what happened," he added. "I finished the year and I finished the year playing one of the best seasons of my career.

"I am able to start again this year and that's the best news possible."

Tomic went into the clash in great form having reached the final in Sydney at the weekend, and Nadal appeared rattled by the draw.

But Tomic felt the problem in training on Monday, and he said: "This opportunity I had to play against Rafa was huge for me. Unfortunately I couldn't compete.

"It was very difficult for me to say sorry to the crowd. I don't think they quite knew what was wrong with me. After, when I told them it was my leg, they sort of started to be on my side. I did what's best for me, the crowd have to understand that."

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