Nadal offers boat to Murray for Mallorca stay

Rafael Nadal celebrates a routine win in the first round of the US Open. (AFP Pic)

NEW YORK: Rafael Nadal revealed Tuesday he had offered to provide Andy Murray with his boat in Mallorca, where the Scot is playing in a second-tier Challenger event as part of his comeback following hip surgery.

The Spaniard swept into the second round of the US Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 rout of Australian world number 60 John Millman on the same day as Murray won his second singles match at a tournament that bears Nadal’s name.

“I’m very happy to have Andy Murray playing there,” Nadal said. “It’s great news for us, of course, but for him and for the world of sport that’s great news and I wish him the very best.

“I just text him a couple days ago saying, ‘If you need anything, just let me know. You want to go out with the boat or anything, I can help you, just let me know.'”

Murray, playing on the Challenger circuit for the first time in 14 years, defeated 115th-ranked Norbert Gombos of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4 in an event he is using to rebuild his singles form.

The three-time Grand Slam champion underwent a hip operation in January following his first-round exit from the Australian Open and began easing his way back by playing doubles, starting with a title at Queen’s in June.

“Best of luck, and more than playing in my home it is great news that he is back on the tennis court playing singles after a lot of struggles in recent years. I am happy for him, it is very special,” Nadal said.

“The decision to go and play a challenger is because he feels well, my feeling, the way that I see it.

“If you don’t feel it very well, you play normal tour and just let’s see how it goes. If one player like Andy is able to go and play a challenger is because physically he feels well and he wants to play matches.”

Nadal has his sights fixed on a fourth US Open crown this fortnight and will face another Australian, Thanasi Kokkinakis, in the second round after taking just over two hours to see off Millman, the player who stunned Roger Federer in the last 16 here a year ago.

“I’m happy the way that I was able to win tonight. It’s a good start,” Nadal said.

“It’s very special to be back in the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The beginning, the first match, is always a little bit new even if I’ve played here plenty of times.

“I think I had more or less positive feelings tonight,” he added. “I need to keep improving every single day. Winning with that result allows me more to have a good practice. I hope to be ready for after tomorrow knowing it’s a tough challenge, Thanasi in the second round.”