Wimbledon | Nadal opens his challenge
RAFA Nadal must have left himself and his body grateful as he reached the second round of Wimbledon.
The French Open champion had battered his physique with a successful but punishing claycourt season. So punishing the Spaniard skipped Queen’s in the build-up to the Championships to ensure he would be sufficiently rested for the Big One in London SW19.
Great feeling to be back at this amazing club. I never thought to skip the grass. The event is very important Rafa Nadal
But former champion Nadal made fellow thirtysomething Dudi Sela, the unseeded Israeli ranked 127, feel his age as he eased to a 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory.
It completed a Centre Court double for his country in the wake of Garbine Muguruza’s triumph over home player Naomi Broady in the preceding match.
Nadal has targeted bigger doubles, mind, as he aims to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year, for the third time, thus equalling the all-time record held by Bjorn Borg.
The Championships have proved a tad difficult for the charismatic Hispanic from Mallorca in recent years.
The second seed has not gone beyond the fourth round since his last appearance in the All England final seven years ago when he was defeated by Novak Djokovic.
Nadal, twice Wimbledon champion, has been tipped to reach the final to take on Roger Federer by legend Martina Navratilova who is longing for a repeat of the classic between the two veteran superstars ten years ago when the Spaniard came out on top.
The 32-year-old said: “Great feeling to be back at this amazing club. I never thought to skip the grass. The event is very important.”
And as regards the match? “ Good start, of course. Good result. Yeah, of course I did things very well, and other things that I have room to improve. But you are not all times happy. It’s a good start for me.”
Whn asked to analyse his performance, he responded: “I did a lot of games good with my serve, and other ones that I suffered a little bit. I played bad game with my serve, of course, first game of the third. But I’m happy more or less, with the forehand. I went to the net quite often.
“Yes, of course I can improve on the return side. I think the return was the worst thing that I did this afternoon.”