Rafael Nadal said that he can no longer afford to fear injury after battling into the second round of the Italian Open on Thursday, with the French Open looming on the horizon.

Clay-court icon Nadal bounced back from a set down to beat qualifier Zizou Bergs 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in Rome with a gritty performance that he will need to improve upon when he faces his next opponent, world No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz.

Should he progress further, Nadal also has last year's winner, world No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, and finalist, Holger Rune, on his side of the draw.