Rafael Nadal began his 2021 French Open campaign with a typically destructive victory over Alexei Popyrin in straight sets in Paris.
The 13-time champion at Roland Garros, sporting a lurid fluorescent shirt in the baking sunshine on Philippe Chatrier, steamrollered the Australian with consummate ease to secure his place in the second round.
It was his 101st victory at the tournament he has made his own and the King of Clay never looked in any trouble as he won through in two hours and 23 minutes.
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Nadal fought off two set points at 5-2 in the third set in what was a surprise as Popyrin reminded everyone he was in the contest before the third seed responded in decisive fashion.

'He was hitting bombs, incredible!' - Nadal praises Popyrin after opening win in Paris

Intriguingly, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have all found themselves in the same part of the men's draw at the 2021 edition of the clay-court Grand Slam.
Djokovic could take on Nadal in the semi-finals in Paris in what would be a repeat from last year's final in the postponed autumnal edition.
Such has been the 34-year-old's influence at Roland Garros, a statue was unveiled in his honour ahead of this year's tournament - something he was moved by.
"It means an awful lot to me," Nadal said in a speech prior to his first-round win.

'It means an awful lot to me' - Nadal meets his statue at Roland Garros

The three most successful players in the history of the men's game have won 17 of the last 20 Grand Slam titles between them.

Nadal gets his French Open campaign underway against Popyrin

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Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title and 2020 Roland Garros sensation Iga Swiatek aiming to replicate her stunning triumph.
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