Andy Murray almost pulled off quite a comeback before losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2 to 22nd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open on Monday, his first opening-round exit from a Grand Slam tournament in a decade.
Chuckling even further, Nadal added: "I know, you were closing your eyes to be more focused on what I was saying".
After an injury-plagued 2018, Nadal was back to his devastating old self as he raced through in 2 hours and 15 minutes against Duckworth.
"That's what I needed today".
Nadal, who is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era, and only the third man ever, to win each of the four Grand Slams twice, ran his opponent down with his superior court coverage and ability to hit winners under pressure.
"So that's an important victory because it is the first victory since a while, and at the same time, because that gives me the chance to be on court again". But Nadal insisted his new serve was not to blame.
The only break point Sharapova faced was when she double-faulted in the fifth game of the second set.
"And in general terms, I am happy about the victory of today against, as I said before, a very hard opponent to play". Not at all. Believe me. The new rule was introduced to ensure matches don't get too lengthy - previously the third set in women's matches and the fifth set in men's matches at the Australian Open had to be decided by a two-game advantage.
"My serve worked well. But, you know, I felt like I did all the right things today in order to get through that match".
The Spaniard, who will next meet the victor of Australian Matthew Ebden's contest with Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, broke Duckworth six times while surrendering his serve twice and brought an end to the match with a brilliant crosscourt victor. "It was sad not to play in Brisbane". "It's always different pains appearing in the first weeks back after a while".
"Despite my opponent not having the best day, you still have to get the job done", Sharapova said. "I had a good week of practice before this tournament".