Rafael Nadal had a rough start and a shaky conclusion in his first match at the U.S. Open in three years.

However, the rusty Nadal, who has only played one match since pulling out of Wimbledon due to an injured abdominal muscle,

summoned enough greatness to defeat the obnoxious unseeded Australian Rinky Hijikata and prevailed in a four-set encounter that lasted 3 hours, 8 minutes.

Nadal commented, "It was a tough contest. "I was a little anxious for my first match here on the night session after three years.

But I believe I performed better. It was a day for getting things done.

The two pandemic Opens were skipped by Nadal, who commented, "It's been a long wait.

"In 50 days, I played one game. Being humble enough to accept the process and embrace the good things is key.

It's time to endure, to be optimistic, to maintain the appropriate frame of mind, and to take pleasure in my presence.

As the second seed, Nadal has a fantastic chance to surpass Novak Djokovic by two Grand Slams, climb to No. 23, tie Serena Williams, and take the top spot in the men's all-time rankings.

Nadal, meanwhile, was defeated in Cincinnati two weeks ago in his lone encounter since Wimbledon.