Nadal: 'The Only Thing That Matters Is To Win Matches'
Rafael Nadal faces a tough draw at Wimbledon, with a potential blockbuster against Nick Kyrgios in the second round, and a possible match with #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov or former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round.
But the World No. 2 is not worrying about the toll that difficult matches early on could take on him at The Championships, where he is pursuing a third title.
“The only thing that really matters is [to] win the matches,” Nadal said. “Doesn't matter how, what is the score. So I just really believe that the main thing is [to] win at the beginning, of course, especially in my situation. Every hour and every match I am able to win helps a lot because I am playing well, I am coming with good confidence after playing a good end of the clay-court season.”
When Nadal triumphed at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, the Spaniard competed at the Fever-Tree Championships ahead of the grass-court Grand Slam. In 2010, he had to battle through two five-setters in his first three matches, but ultimately found his best form to emerge victorious.
This year, his most recent event was Roland Garros, where he captured a record 12th Coupe des Mousquetaires.
“There are no two equal situations,” Nadal said. “I won 2010 I think here after a very, very tough first couple of rounds. Sometimes that helps, especially in this event, that you arrive here without playing much on this surface.
“It’s a different situation, different surface, so I need to spend time on court. I'm improving every day. Of course, in terms of a competitive match, on Tuesday [it’s] going to be my first match. Going to be a tough one, a tough start against a player who already played three matches here. So it’s a challenge.”
Nadal has been working hard at home in Mallorca. There was a women’s grass-court tournament there last week, allowing the Spaniard to prepare well on the surface.
“If I will not have this court in Mallorca, maybe I will do another story. But having a women's tournament in Mallorca, I have the chance to practise there. That's positive news for me because I can keep practising on grass and being at home,” Nadal said. “Sometimes that is important, too. Close to the family, close to the people that you love. Sometimes it's tough to be away for such a long time.”
Nadal will now look to make history at SW19, where he is trying to join Swedish legend Bjorn Borg (1978-80) by completing the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double for the third time. And history is on the Big Three’s side, as Nadal (2), Roger Federer (8) and Novak Djokovic (4) have won 14 of the past 16 Wimbledon titles.
“Of course we have been playing so well for such a long time. That's something unique in this sport because, of course, it never happened in the past that three players more or less during the same time achieved that much,” Nadal said. “But here we are.”
Nadal is not thinking that far ahead, though. In the first round, he faces Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita for the first time. That is the only player or match he is concerned with.
“I feel ready to practise this afternoon and to practise tomorrow. That's my goal. It's day-by-day, step-by-step. I have been improving every single day since I arrived here. I hope to be ready, being honest. I think I see the normal evolution,” Nadal said. “I play against Sugita the first round. That's the main thing for me, the main preparation for me.”