Rafael Nadal has admitted that his body has prevented him from preparing how he would like for Wimbledon after a tough first-round win over Francisco Cerundolo. The Spaniard hadn’t played a single competitive match on tour since winning the French Open earlier this month.
There are only a few weeks in between Roland Garros and the start of Wimbledon with players trying to fit in as much time on grass as possible to acclimatize to the surface. Nadal was unable to do that this year with his foot issue forcing him to undergo treatment immediately after his win at the French Open.
It’s been seven years since Nadal has played at the infamous Queen’s Championships though with his one and only win at the event coming back in 2008., Instead, Nadal has often come into Wimbledon not playing a single grasscourt event and it’s often cost him.
He’s not been able to reach the final of Wimbledon since 2011, back when Nadal was in the prime of his career at 25 years of age. Nadal remains at the top of the men’s game having won both the Australian Open and French Open this year.
But the Spaniard accepts that he needs longer to get used to the grasscourt surface due to the toll on his body through the years. “Even after 19 years it takes time to get used to grass and I have not set foot on grass for three years,” Nadal said.
“Every day is a test and today was an important one.” He added: “It’s obvious that when you play well at Roland Garros, there is not much time between.
“I used to remember these old beautiful days I was playing the final on Roland Garros and the next day I was practicing on Queen’s. But my body is not allowing me to do this any more so I have to take a few days off after Roland Garros.
“Ofcourse everybody knows I had to do some things on my foot. But the most important thing is that I am at Wimbledon 2022 and I won my first match.”
Nadal moves on to face Ricardas Berankis in the next round with a potential meeting against Lorenzo Sonego in the third.
Matteo Berrettini’s withdrawal may well have helped Nadal in his side of the draw as well after the Italian was forced to pull out after testing positive for Covid.