Nadal was made to kick-start his Italian Open campaign on Grandstand because of the fixture congestion caused by yesterday’s rain.
The Spaniard knew he would have to play twice in a day so rushed to a 6-0, 6-1 victory against Jeremy Chardy.
Hantuchova hailed Nadal’s ability to deal with the distractions of fans upping to centre court to watch Federer beat Joao Sousa, which was taking place simultaneously.
Only supporters who purchased tickets for yesterday were allowed onto the show courts for the first two matches in Rome this morning.
That meant there was a lot of shuffling between stadia.
“It was almost half-empty for Rafa’s match which was very unusual,” Hantuchova told Amazon Prime.
“But he handled those conditions very well as there was a lot of movement between the crowds going on.
“It is always strange to see Rafa on the Grandstand but it seems Roger and Rafa both tried to get off really quick.
“They are aware of the fact that he had to follow it up because there are two matches in the same day.”
Nadal returns to action on Centrale this evening.
The world No 2 takes on No 14 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili at 6.30pm (BST) for a place in the quarter-finals.
And Hantuchova is impressed with Nadal’s start to the competition.
“He couldn’t ask for a better start,” she added.
“The way he hits the ball is just incredible.
“The next match he can hopefully get some easy points as well.”