On Wednesday, Rafael Nadal competed in a grasscourt match for the first time in three years. The Spaniard believes that playing a couple of exhibition matches at the Hurlingham Club is the ideal way to prepare for Wimbledon, where he will attempt to win a third consecutive Grand Slam title this year.
A victory for Nadal at Wimbledon, where the main draw begins on Monday, will move him one step closer to becoming the first man to win all four majors in the same year since Rod Laver in 1969. Nadal is the only man to have won the Australian Open and the French Open in consecutive years for the first time.
The Spaniard has not competed in a competitive match on grass since his loss to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the 2019 Wimbledon tournament, but he defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday. After the match, the Spaniard said that it was wonderful to have a feel for the surface again.
“Because of my age, I am no longer able to compete in as many bouts as I used to. Before the start of Wimbledon, it would be ideal for me to compete in a few of matches at this venue. This allows me to have a sense of at least part of the competitors before Wimbledon.
Nadal, who has a men’s record 22 Grand Slam victories, had been battling a persistent foot ailment over the course of the last year and received pain-killing injections before to each match at Roland Garros. Nadal is the current holder of the record for most Grand Slam trophies won by a male player.
Following his triumph at the French Open, the 36-year-old had radio frequency therapy, and he said that the discomfort had been much reduced.
According to Wawrinka, a three-time winner of a major championship, “I don’t know how he is feeling, it seems like usual Rafa.” He has been reporting that he is starting to feel better, and if he does participate, he is prepared to play at his best and to win.
Novak Djokovic, who has won Wimbledon each of the last three years, competed at the Hurlingham Club in London on Wednesday as well, where he defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is ranked ninth in the world. Djokovic won 6-2 and 6-1.