Rafael Nadalwho won the Roland Gartos title for the fourteenth time on June 5, returned today, 17 days later, to play a match even if it was not an official competition.
At the prestigious Hurlingham exhibitionwhich serves as a prelude to Wimbledon, the 22-major champion He has shown that he goes from less to more in his adaptation to grass, a surface that he had not stepped on in the last two seasons.
After training last week in Mallorca and since Monday at Wimbledon’s Aorangi Park, Nadal has given a good account of Stan Wawrinka by 6-2 and 6-3, in 61 minutes.
The Swiss, 265 in the ATP ranking, It is far from being a rival to the Spanish on any type of court. Up to three times Rafa broke his service in the first set.
Wawrinka reacted timidly with a ‘break’ in the seventh gamewhich only made up the result in the initial round and ended with a third break for the winner.
It was of little use to Stan to have a greater filming on the green baize, Not in vain did he come from playing the Queen’s Open 500 where he lost in the round of 16 with Tommy Paul. At 37 years old, he wanders the circuit without goals, quite the opposite of his executioner, who dreams of completing the ‘Grand Slam’ in the same campaign.
Only Rod Laver did it in the Open Era, in 1969. Novak Djokovic was left with honey on his lips in 2021. After winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, he collapsed with only one match left, in the final of the US Open against Daniil Medvedev.
Gone is 2009, when Nadal lost at Hurlingham to Wawrinka and then announced his resignation from Wimbledon due to chronic tendinitis in both knees.
Now his problem is located in his left foot, but the pulsed radiofrequency treatment, which he underwent in Barcelona two days after winning the Gallic Open, is giving results. “I’m not going lame anymore,” he said last Friday when he announced his willingness to go to the third major on the calendar. In the current circumstances, Rafa, more than testing himself, is shooting in a habitat that is not very popular for him along his trajectory.
The Swiss surrendered after the fourth ‘break’ against in the fourth game of the second set. He would have a fifth. The only similarity between the two competitors is that they both wore white.
Nadal did not even have the need to go up to the volley, something that seems essential to win important games on the grass.
Aliassime, on Friday
Nadal’s next test will be this Friday, this time with a bigger opponent like Felix Auger-Aliassime, who took him to the fifth set in the recent round of 16 at Roland Garros. The Canadian has Toni Nadal as technical advisor, uncle and mentor of the Balearic phenomenon.
Aliassime faces Novak Djokovic this afternoon, world number three and defender of the crown starting next Monday on the pitch of the All England Club.
In fact, the Serbian will be the one who has the honor of first stepping onto center court as reigning champion. In this way it is already certain that Nadal, as the second favorite, will debut on Tuesday, June 28 with an opponent that he will meet on Friday after the draw for the draw.
Alcaraz, against Tiafoe
Carlos Alcaraz, seeded fifth at Wimbledon, will debut tomorrow at the Hurlingham exhibition against American Frances Tiafoe. He will have a second match on Saturday with an opponent to be confirmed.