Rafael Nadal launched his Australian Open title defence with a four-set victory over Britain’s Jack Draper as home hope Nick Kyrgios exited through injury without hitting a ball.
In the women’s draw, in-form Jessica Pegula and teenage prodigy Coco Gauff were both emphatic winners on the first day of the opening Grand Slam of the year.
Spanish great Nadal, 36, had been in poor form by his sky-high standards, losing six of his last seven matches stretching back to defeat in the last 16 at the US Open.
In fast-rising Draper, 21, the 22-time Grand Slam champion faced a tough test to start his campaign at a sweltering Melbourne Park.
But top seed Nadal recovered from a second-set wobble to defeat the 38th-ranked Briton 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 at Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal, who is now a father, faces American Mackenzie McDonald in round two.
“Very exciting, new beginning, just super-happy to be back at Rod Laver with a victory I needed,” he said after seeing off Draper.
“Last couple of months have not been easy for me… a very positive start.”
Nadal was on court when Australia’s talented but temperamental Kyrgios called a hastily arranged press conference and announced that he was out with a knee injury.