Rafael Nadal launched his pursuit of a record 10th French Open title in convincing fashion, while defending champion Novak Djokovic eased to victory under the gaze of new coach Andre Agassi.
Nadal, who was forced to withdraw before last year’s third round with a wrist injury, brushed aside 45th-ranked Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 inside two hours.
“I’m very happy to be back here after what happened last year. It’s great to feel the support,” said the 14-time major champion.
Nadal broke Paire eight times and recovered from a slight second-set wobble when he dropped serve twice in a row to surge into a round two meeting with Dutchman Robin Haase.
“It’s always at the start, happy for the victory. Was not an easy opponent in the first round, obviously. He’s an uncomfortable opponent that already he had some good victories this year,” added Nadal.
Title-holder Djokovic strolled through his opener against Marcel Granollers of Spain, advancing 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
With 1999 French Open champion Agassi in the players box for the first time after agreeing a short-term coaching role, Djokovic experienced some trouble against the world number 77, being broken four times.
“It’s great to have Andre Agassi as coach and as a mentor. I will try to learn as much as I can from him,” said Djokovic.
The Serb, seeking to become the first man in the Open era to win all four majors on at least two occasions, will take on Portugal’s Joao Sousa next.
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