Rafael Nadal hopes knees hold up after French Open victory as he braces for Wimbledon
Paris: Rafael Nadal returned to his bitter relationship with Wimbledon, backed by his French Open record, but beware of the traps that trapped him at the All England Club.
The 31-year-old Spaniard chases Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros on Sunday 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 to become the first man in history to win the same important 10.
Rafael Nadal celebrates his trophy after beating Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal celebrates his trophy after beating Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros. AP
This led to 15 Grand Slam titles, one ahead of Pete Sampras and only three behind 18th-ranked Roger Federer.
Then on the hit list in three weeks, Wimbledon, where Nadal was champion in 2008 and 2010 and finalist in 2006, 2007 and 2011.
However, his last four visits have ended with defeats against opponents outside the top 100.
“This is a moment that I have not played a very good Wimbledon. It is true that after 2012, what happened with the knees, made it increasingly difficult to compete with the grass.” C is reality, “said Nadal.
The injury forced him to jump from Wimbledon in 2009 and 2016, while the years 2012 to 2015 saw Lukas Rosol (ranked World 100), Steve Darcis (135) nick kyrgios (144) and Dustin Brown (102) lose.
In this spell, a fourth round in 2014 was his best effort.
Nadal admits that if he suffers a new problem with his knees on the grass at Wimbledon where the lower ball bites bounce more pressure on the legs and joints while his visit to London may still be short.
“I like the grass, everyone knows, and that’s a surface that I really played on. And I lost playing at Wimbledon,” said Nadal.
“I hope my knees are holding up well and can have the preparation I really need and preparation I want.
“So if that happens, why not? If I have pain in my knees, I know from experience that it is almost impossible because I have to feel good and be down and strong legs to play well at Wimbledon.
“If I do not feel it, then my chances are not there, right? But if I’m healthy and I can have a good preparation and feel healthy for Wimbledon, they will have a good chance to play.”
The resurgence of Nadal is one of the 2017 tennis stories with similar rejuvenating Federer that defeated him in the Australian Open final in January.
Before his title triumph Sunday, his most recent Grand Slam title came to Paris in 2014 and admitted he had doubts as to whether his former powers would recover.
“I have no doubts every day, but it’s good because it makes me harder with more intensity,” he said.
“You have to be humble and accept that you have to work to make things better.
“I have no doubts today, I had doubts in the last three years, I have doubts in a few days.
“Life is never clear.If you have no doubt you are very arrogant.I am not an arrogant person.”
After winning his ninth Roland Garros and his 14th edition in 2014, the best performance at Slams Nadal was two points from the quarterfinals.
His world rankings have marked up to 10 in 2015 and his open Frankfurt in 2016 ended prematurely after the second round with a wrist injury.
But he dominated the clay season this year with titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.
He lost only one match on clay, while his victory Sunday had his record in Paris to 79 incredible victories and only two defeats.
This streak of success began in 2005 with a first victory of the French Open and Nadal admitted he was surprised to be still playing.
“In 2005, I thought I would fish in my boat in Mallorca in 2017. I really do not think I would have a long race and win the most tournaments,” he added.