Wimbledon Day 3 | Nadal hands out advice
The 30-year-old world number two, Rafa Nadal, may be seeded fourth but with two Wimbledon titles to his name in a total of 15 grand slam titles, the Spaniard’s performances on grass these last two days give a very clear warning that he could well be collecting his third title at these Championships come Sunday week.
For the rest of the things, I think I played a solid match. Serving well. It's true that in the third I served a little bit worse but in general terms, I am happy. I played well Rafa Nadal
On Wednesday he demolished a very spirited Donald Young for the loss of 11 games. Young was certainly outclassed as a tennis player but he never rolled over despite realising he was on the wrong end of a hiding. He actually prevented Nadal from serving out at 5-4, breaking the Spaniard for the first time in the match but that was the extent of his recovery, dropping his serve again in the next game, and then allowing Nadal to finish off the match 6-4 6-2 7-5 to reach the third round for the first time since 2011.
He was certainly satisfied with his day’s work. “Good. I think it was — yeah, it was a good match again.,” Nadal said. “Almost all the time more or less, [it was} under control. It’s true that I had the inconvenience of losing the serve, serving for the match. That’s the only moment.
“For the rest of the things, I think I played a solid match. Serving well. It’s true that in the third I served a little bit worse but in general terms, I am happy. I played well.”
Nadal has never been known to overstate circumstance having adopted from the early days of his career a very open-minded approach to questions.
He was reminded that he had mentioned he had had doubts and was asked to elaborate on that and be more specific.
“Was nothing really special,” he replied. “Was just about life, in general, not only in sport. It’s normal to have doubts on everything when you have to take positions. You know, if you are not too arrogant, you have different ways, and it’s normal to have doubts in life.
“In sport it’s exactly the same. When you are not playing well, when I had more injuries than I would like, it’s normal to have doubts. And I did. And I tell you one thing, if I had doubts when I was winning almost every match, how can I not have doubts when I am in a bad situation?
“But I repeat that, in my opinion, doubts are good. If it’s too much, it’s too much. If you have too much doubts, then to practice sport is more difficult because you need to have determination at the same time.
“But the doubts give you a couple of things that for me are important. Respect for every opponent, that’s important. When you’re on court, you know that every opponent is dangerous. Then don’t relax yourself when you are winning. Keep having the motivation to improve, you know. Don’t consider yourself too good.
“And I think this kind of stuff help me to have a longer career and at the same time a successful career during a long time.”
Asked in a follow-up question whether he had had more doubts when he was younger, he added: “Probably not. I was very good when I was young. I think when you are older sometimes you have more, you are a little bit more scared about things. When you are younger, everything is new so you have the energy.
“You know, you are not scared about anything because [it] didn’t happen to you in the past. When you are older probably you had negative experiences, too, that you have positive experiences that help, but at the same time you have negative experience that push you to the other way.”
All excellent advice for up and coming players but it was also interesting to hear his comments on the next generation who are destined in due course, to take over from the likes of the Big Four.
He believes they will be hard pushed to emulate the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and himself with regard to grand slam wins.
“Win so many Grand Slams?” he asked. “I tell you one thing: It’s not easy. Somebody has to win Grand Slams, of course, but looks a little bit easier because during this part and this moment of our sport, there are three players that won 18, 15, and 12.
“But if we look back about the history of our sport, [it] was not very long time away when [Pete] Sampras has 14, and looks like nobody is going to have the chance to increase that number. We need to appreciate these things, when we need to put everything in the right spot.”
Whether the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and others will be able to emulate any of them, has yet to be seen. As Nadal said: “There are good players out there and the player who is able to improve more during the next couple of years will have the chance to win more than others.”
On the women’s side it was sad to see Petra Kvitova’s brave return to the game end in the second round She was beaten by the unseeded American Madison Brengle, the world 95th ranked player, 6-3 1-6 6-2.
Kvitova, who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, was competing in only her third tournament following her comeback from that horrendous knife attack last Christmas.
She has admitted she still didn’t have full strength in her racket hand and it became obvious as the match progressed that she was not feeling well for she called on the trainer and doctor during the latter stages of the decider but resumed play after an extensive examination.
“I feel just really empty right now. I know my body; it’s not great. But mentally I’m really glad that it’s over. I mean, it was kind of a fairy tale, but on the other hand, it was very tough,” Kvitova said. “I just need to look forward and look to the future.
“When the match [got] longer and longer, I felt a little bit sick and tired. So I couldn’t really move. I was so slow,” she added. “I felt like, I don’t know, like an animal. But a very slow animal.”
Kvitova, the eleventh seed, was one of a half-dozen seeded women to lose on Day 3, a group that also included No. 15 Elina Vesnina , No. 17 Madison Keys, No. 18 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 22 Barbora Strycova and No. 25 Carla Suarez Navarro.
In the men’s draw seventh seed Marin Cilic beat Florian Mayer 7-6(3) 7-6(5) 7-5. And ninth seed Kei Nishikori got past Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4 6-7(7) 6-1 7-6(6).
No. 16 Gilles Muller outlasted Lukas Rosol 7-5 6-7(7) 4-6 6-3 9-7 while American Sam Querrey stopped Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-3.