Spain's Rafael Nadal defeated Argentina's Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the second round of the Mexican Open in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.
The former world No. 1, who is on the comeback trail after a seven-month hiatus due to a knee injury, revealed that his ability to play was limited earlier this month at the tournaments in Viña del Mar, Chile, and Sao Paulo.
"My priority goal today is that the (left) knee recovers to 100 percent and to be able to compete and train fully as soon as possible. If this happens, the goals will be the same as they have always been," Nadal said during his post-match press conference.
Nadal began last summer on a high note by capturing a record 7th French Open title with a victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final, but he went off the ATP Tour following a shocking second-round loss at Wimbledon.
The Spanish star said in August that he was suffering from a knee ailment known as Hoffa's syndrome, which is also known as fat pad impingement and involves pain and swelling around the bottom and under the kneecap.
"If I don't recover, we'll take it calmly, we will accept it calmly and we will be positive. We will continue working so that when I am perfect I can return to competing at the maximum (level) in a short span of time," Nadal said.
The 26-year-old Spaniard made the final in Viña del Mar, Chile, and won the event in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
"My intention is to go to Indian Wells, my priority is to play there, but if I do not feel comfortable and I am not well, a decision will have to be made," Nadal said.
The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California, is one of the tennis season's nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, which rank only below the four Grand Slam tournaments and the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in terms of ranking points and prestige.
Nadal said Spanish media reports that he planned to skip the season's first ATP Masters events were "incorrect."
"The media can't know more than me," Nadal said. EFE