Wimbledon will be complicated, says clay king Rafael Nadal

Laura Christensen
June 12, 2017

Be it his knees, wrist or appendicitis, Nadal has always managed to recover and rediscover some of his finest tennis, despite admitting to having doubts.

"It's true that this one is gonna be one of the more special ones for the number, for what happened on the ceremony after the final, for so many things", he told reporters.

His play at the French Open hasn't been, that's for sure. He was right, because he knew he had no chance.

His collection of Slams now stands just three behind great rival Roger Federer, a staggering statistic coming just a year after he quit Roland Garros with a wrist injury.

Murray, meanwhile, started his grass-court preparations today with a practice session at Wimbledon, just three days after his defeat to Wawrinka in the semi-finals at Roland Garros. Nadal was at home on the clay, though. Nadal was beaten in all three of those showpieces, but he gained vengeance by denying the Serbian in his first attempt to complete a career Grand Slam. Neither does competitive spirit.

"There are so many improvements to his game that he's a better player now than he was when he won Wimbledon two times before".

That explains, in part, the tears that he shed in his chair after match point last Sunday. He still does that - just ask Stan Wawrinka.

From there, it was all downhill for the Swiss star.

The ATP website did the math for us and the numbers are stunning.

All those years ago, it was Toni's decision to turn Nadal from a right-hander - his dominant hand outside of tennis - to a lefty.

The Spaniard won 60% of his points in under four strokes, 72% of his first-serve points and a stunning 74% behind his second serve.

- Nadal hit five backhand winners, but committed only 14 total backhand errors.

Nadal has not had to wait as long as Real Madrid did for a 10th European title but, for a man who won nine titles in 10 years, two years without one was virtually an eternity.

He is closing in on Andy Murray, who has a mountain of points to defend on the grass. "Winning one point is hard". And the shorter points show that he is playing aggressive tennis... moving into his shots with. "It's unbelievable. It's the last time as coach but I hope I can see more times him playing here".

Only Australia's Margaret Court has more victories at a single Grand Slam tournament, with 11 Australian Open wins between 1960 and 1973. His mastery on one surface has never quite translated to the other Slams but they forget that Rafa is still just 31 and that 10 titles at the same Grand Slam is anything but normal.

Sunday was also the first time since 1969 that the Roland Garros final had featured two men over 30. A quarterfinal loss in 2015 ended that run, and then came last year's injury.

He has been coached since the beginning by his uncle, Toni Nadal, who gave him his first lesson in Majorca and has remained by his side throughout his career.

However, on his return, Nadal made it to the summit showdown of the season-opening Australian Open and dominated the clay-court season, losing just one match to Dominic Thiem in Italian Open.

"I'm going to be under pressure in one week when I play in Queen's". My motivation is still there.

"I have doubts every day but that's good as it makes me work hard with more intensity, You have to be humble and accept that you have to work to improve things". "He's the man that I think to beat on the grass".

Ever modest, Nadal declared he'd played the "perfect Roland Garros", having not conceded a set. But can he drive himself to even greater glory?

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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