Rafael Nadal shares his thoughts after playing a warm-up match at the Hurlingham Classic
Rafael Nadal played his first match on grass in three years as he prepares to bid for a third straight Grand Slam at the Wimbledon Championships.
The Spaniard engineered a solid win over Stan Wawrinka in straight sets at the Giorgio Armani Hurlingham Classic, an exhibition event which only hosts a select group of players.
The 22-time Major winner, who played his first match on grass since his loss to Roger Federer in the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2019, said it was good to get the feel of the surface again.
“It has been a while without playing on grass. Since 2019 I haven’t been able to play on grass through the tough moments we went through with the pandemic and last year I got injured,” Nadal told reporters
The 36-year-old underwent radio frequency treatment for his chronic foot injury after his French Open victory, keeping him out of action from ATP events on grass leading up to Wimbledon. Nadal, who has won the iconic Grand Slam twice, spoke about his preparations leading up to the tournament.
“I am older now, I can’t manage to play so many matches. For me it is perfect to play a couple of matches here before Wimbledon starts. That helps me to feel at least some competition before Wimbledon,” Nadal said
Former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka also reflected back on their match and gave an update on the Spaniard’s fitness
“I don’t know how he’s feeling, it looks like normal Rafa, he has been saying he is feeling better and if he is playing, he is ready to play his best and to win,” Wawrinka said
Can Rafael Nadal win the Channel Slam (French Open and Wimbledon) for a third time in his career?
The Championships – Wimbledon 2010: Day Thirteen
The French Open and Wimbledon are two of the most iconic Grand Slams in the history of tennis. Winning these prestigious events back-to-back is a herculean task given the contrast in surface bounce, speed and ease of movement. Very few players have been versatile enough to achieve the ‘Channel Slam’.
The 36-year old has been a dominant force on clay since the early stages of his career. He won his first French Open crown in 2005 and also went on to win the title for three consecutive years. The Spaniard came close to winning the channel Slam in 2006 and 2007, but lost the finals in London against Roger Federer.
After winning his fourth consecutive French Open title in 2008, Nadal locked horns against five-time defending champion Roger Federer for a third time at Wimbledon.
The historic 2008 final, which is considered to be one of the greatest tennis matches of all time, saw the rise of a new champion at the All England Club. Nadal finally conquered Federer, winning the Wimbledon Championships for the first time in career and also completing the channel Slam. He went on to achieve the double once again after overcoming Tomas Berdych in the 2010 Wimbledon finals.
After winning the first two Majors of the season, the Spaniard has a shot at achieving this feat once more this year. If he manages to go all the way at SW19, he could tie Bjon Borg’s record, who is the only player to complete the Channel Slam thrice in the Open Era.