Rafael Nadal started his final preparations for Wimbledon in London on Wednesday. The 22-time Grand Slam winner does this by playing a few demonstration matches.
The 36-year-old Nadal came into action on a grass court of the Hurlingham Club on Wednesday and defeated Stan Wawrinka in two sets: 6-2 and 6-3. It was Nadal’s first match on grass since he lost to his rival Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2019.
“It was a while ago. I haven’t played tennis on grass for three years, first because of the pandemic and last year because of an injury,” reacted Nadal, who underwent nerve treatment on his foot after his win at Roland Garros at the beginning of this month.
With this treatment, Nadal hopes to put an end to years of ailing his foot. At Roland Garros, the Spaniard played with numerous injections to relieve the pain in his foot. Something he didn’t want another tournament.
“I’m also getting older and can’t play that many games anymore. For me it’s perfect to play a few games here in the run-up to Wimbledon and get a bit of a competitive feeling,” continued the two-time Wimbledon winner.
Rafael Nadal titles at Grand Slam tournaments
- Australian Open: 2009 and 2022
- Roland Garros: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022
- Wimbledon: 2008 and 2010
- US Open: 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019
Nadal chases Laver’s record
After winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros in London, Nadal can take the next step towards winning the four Grand Slam tournaments in one calendar year. Australian Rod Laver last did so in 1969.
“It has always been a dream for me to achieve exceptional performances at Wimbledon,” said Nadal. “I was able to do that for the first time in 2008 and I’ve always come back here with the same passion ever since.”
Novak Djokovic also played for the Hurlingham Club. The Serb defeated Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime: 6-2 and 6-1. The Serb is the defending champion at the tournament that starts on Monday.