Berankis On Nadal: 'He Never Gives You A Point, Not One'
The Lithuanian is making his ninth appearance at The Championships, but he has yet to grace the lawns on a show court at the grass-court major. However, that will change when he faces two-time champion Rafael Nadal in a "dream" second-round clash.
“It is always special to play at Wimbledon,” Berankis told ATPTour.com. “It is where tennis started. England, grass courts. It is a very special feeling. To be able to play in these tournaments against players [like] Rafa is a dream come true. I am really looking forward to the match.
“Rafa’s season has been unbelievable. The Grand Slams, in Australia and Paris. It is really impressive what he is doing.”
The 32-year-old Berankis overcame American Sam Querrey in his opening match to set his second ATP Head2Head meeting against Nadal, who won their first clash in straight sets at the Melbourne Summer Set in January.
Berankis is relishing the opportunity to have another crack at the 22-time major champion as he looks to use his Melbourne experience and his four meetings with Novak Djokovic to his benefit.
“It is going to be tough. When you step on court to play against the top guys, the speed is different,” said Berankis, who seeks his third Top 10 win. “The speed and consistency from the top players is always the same. They don’t make mistakes. You need to win the point yourself to have any chance, they give nothing to you.
“I think to keep the concentration is the hardest part and more important. When we played in Australia, I stepped on court in my first match against him and I woke up and was already 1-4 down. You need to be on it right from the beginning as you won’t get gifts.”
Berankis first played a member of the "Big Four" in 2013, when he took on Andy Murray at the Australian Open. While the 32-year-old is still excited to take on the very best, there has been a crucial change in his mentality.
“Over time my thinking has changed. It was more difficult for me around 10 years ago when I didn’t believe that I could maybe beat them. Now I am 32 and I never think that I won’t be able to beat someone,” Berankis said. “You step on court, play, enjoy and push yourself to the limit and get the best out of [yourself]. I would say my mentality at the moment is very good. I am not nervous, I just need to be focussed, as it can get away from you quickly against the top guys.
“I feel great this year. I did a big workout before coming here. I didn’t play any other grass-court tournaments, but I am feeling good on the grass.”
Berankis holds a 15-7 record across all levels this season, with his best tour-level result coming in Dubai, where he reached the quarter-finals. A key factor behind the World No. 106’s success on court is the happiness his family provides him when he is not competing.
“Overall, I am relaxed. I am hanging out and spending time with the family, my baby,” Berankis said. “I like to walk the dog, play pool with my dad and read a lot when I have a chance. It all helps me switch off.”
With his family in support, Berankis’ attention on Thursday will be purely on facing Nadal. The 13-time ATP Challenger Tour titlist is raring to show the world his fighting spirit and believes if he puts his body on the line, he will leave the court with his head held high.
“I want fans to see that I never give up. That I am always there for every point,” Berankis added. “The player to learn from is Rafa. He never gives you a point, not one.”