The world tennis number two Rafael Nadal eased into the second round of the Australian Open with a fuss-free 6-4 6-1 6-1 win over American Alex Kuznetsov but says he felt lucky to be on the court because of a big injury scare.
The Spanish second seed explained that he felt a "crack" on his right knee when sitting on a chair at his hotel on Sunday and needed physiotherapy that afternoon and all day Monday to recover in time for his match.
Nadal says scans did not show any major problem but added he was still in pain when he started the match with qualifier Kuznetsov.
He will meet Tommy Haas in the second round after the German beat American qualifier Denis Kudla 7-6 3-6 6-0 7-5.
Meanwhile the other man most likely to be able to knock world number one Novak Djokovic off the top of the rankings, Roger Federer, showed no sign of back trouble, testing it at every opportunity, as he cruised into the second round with a 7-5 6-2 6-2 victory over qualifier Alexander Kudryavtsev.
The 30-year-old Swiss world number three, who withdrew during the leadup Qatar Open after suffering back pain, was at his clinical best, blasting winners from all angles as he wrapped up the match in 98 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.