‘Rafa Sends Warning to Aus Open Rivals with Demolition of Hometown Hero’

Rafael Nadal yearns for more games after firing another ominous warning to his Australian Open opponents with a ruthless Brisbane International win over home-town favorite Jason Kubler. In just his second competitive outing after almost a year out, Nadal dismissed Kubler 6-1 6-2 in a tennis masterclass. The 22-times grand slam champion followed his imperious first-round win over Dominic Thiem with an equally breathtaking display at Pat Rafter Arena. Nadal also showed fans that he retains, even at almost 38 years of age and after career-saving hip surgery, extraordinary physical powers. Nadal would like to play more games and continue to improve. Until facing Thiem this week, the Spaniard had not played since suffering a hip injury in a second-round loss at last year’s Australian Open. Nadal knows he needs more court time to be a serious contender for a third Open crown when the Melbourne Park major gets underway. Meanwhile, Australian wildcard Arina Rodionova’s run at the Brisbane International came to a halt against 16-year-old Russian sensation Mirra Andreeva who took 64 minutes for a 6-1 6-1 victory.