It's the one (tournament) I base my year around so I hope I can play well here," said Federer. "It would mean as much as winning a Grand Slam. I've won so many Grand Slams and the Olympics only comes around every four years. I love playing for my country so this is a great start."It was the Olympic singles debut for Nadal, who is poised to replace Federer as the No.1 ranked player in the world on Aug. 18.
Next up for Nadal will be Australian Lleyton Hewitt, a 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) winner over Swede Jonas Bjorkman. Hewitt is currently ranked 37th in the world, but owns a 4-3 lifetime edge on Nadal. The Aussie has dropped the last two encounters.
"For sure he's one of the best players in the world," said Nadal of Hewitt. "But he is not playing all the time. So for that reason his ranking is not in the top positions."
Federer's next opponent will be Rafael Arevalo of El Salvador, the 447th- ranked player in the world.