French Open 2014: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic secure opening round wins
Last Updated: 26/05/14 7:16pm
Defending champion Rafael Nadal and second seed Novak Djokovic opened up their French Open campaigns with comfortable first round victories.
Djokovic kicked off his bid for a maiden win at Roland Garros with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 success against Joao Sousa.
"We had a nice chat. He's a tennis player, so I asked him how long he has been playing, and how he is enjoying his time as a ball kid."
Meanwhile, Nadal found Court Suzanne Lenglen to his liking as he dispatched American wild card Robby Ginepri on his way to a 60th win at the tournament.
Djokovic, who is coming off a stellar showing in Rome where he defeated Nadal, following earlier victories in 2014 at Indian Wells and Miami, converted eight of 15 break points.
The Serb also rained down eight aces behind a first serve percentage of just under 70 per cent in a match that lasted one hour 46 minutes.
During a match interrupted by rain, the 27-year-old Belgrade native was at his charismatic best on and off the court as he even had time to chat extensively with a ball boy during a brief rain delay.
He offered the young lad a drink and clinked bottles with him as the crowd roared their approval.
"We had a nice chat. He's a tennis player, so I asked him how long he has been playing, and how he is enjoying his time as a ball kid," Djokovic told a news conference.
"It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the grand slams. But we waited for around 10 minutes in the pouring rain on the court, so I felt there was something I should do and make a new friend.
"He accepted the offer to sit down, which I didn't think he would do. He's very spontaneous little boy, and I hope I see him my next match."
The former world No 1 now faces French hope Jeremy Chardy for a place in the last 32.
Nadal, chasing a record extending ninth French Open title, shrugged off the controversy over his demotion from Roland Garros's showpiece court.
The Spaniard, looking to become the first man to win five times in a row in Paris, cruised to a 6-0 6-3 6-0 win over Ginepri, the world No 279 and former top 30 player who has not won a match on tour all year.
He will face either France's Paul-Henri Mathieu or 20-year-old rising star Dominic Thiem from Austria in the next round.