That is the view of former WTA star Daniela Hantuchova.
Nadal was in no mood to hang around on Stadium 1 as he swept aside Donaldson in just 72 minutes.
And Hantuchova reckons Nadal delivered a performance that would have made the rest of the tour sit up and take notice.
She said on Amazon Prime: “It was incredible. Talk about sending a message to the locker room and how prepared he is coming into this event. I don’t think I’ve seen Rafa play this well for a long time.
“He just looks fitter than ever, making hardly any mistakes.
“His serve, that he has worked so hard on in pre-season, was working extremely hard.
“And the other thing I loved was he was coming in a lot into the net.
“That’s great news because on this court you need to be aggressive and confident.
“And that’s what he did last night.”
Hantuchova’s co-pundit on Greg Rusedski added: “At the beginning of the year in Australia, he worked with Carlos Moya on hitting through the ball, shortening the points, having that one-two punch.
“Because he usually likes to build it up so I think that change in style will help him with the cooler conditions.”
Nadal will face Argentine Diego Schwartzman and the world No 2 says he is expecting a tough test.
“Today was a very positive step for me, and the next one is going to be against a player that I know very well,” said Nadal.
“We practised a lot of times, and we played some tough matches.
“[He is] one of the best talents of the sport today. So it’s going to be a tough one against Diego.”