Rafael Nadal in practice before the official start of Wimbledon. Photo: EFE

There will be no Russian or Belarusian tennis players, no points to distribute at Wimbledon, but there will be Rafael Nadal, who will return to the tournament three years later to fight for the hardest goal in tennis: the Grand Slam.

Winning the big four in one year, which has been achieved only by Rod Laver and Don Buzz in the history of the game, is a glorious horizon for Nadal, who must first concentrate on a different Wimbledon, including bans against the Russians and Belarusians. ATP and WTA refuse to distribute points, but it will breathe normally when the ball starts to spin.

Wimbledon will be played from June 27 to July 10, 2022.

Balearic attended the All England Club in the only year of his career where he has won Australia and Paris this time around, but without a favorite.

It’s been 12 years since he won in London, he hasn’t reached the final for 11 and his preparation for the toughest surfaces has been minimal. Just a few exhibition games in Harlingham, a few days of practice in Mallorca and a week of training in London.

It’s Nadal’s service record on the grass. “We’re obviously on an ascending line,” the man from Manakor replied, aware of the difficulty of seeing the somersault that usually transforms from clay to grass.

Nadal has trained with players of all styles to reduce the impact. Grigor Dimitrov, Kamil Majchrzak, Jiri Vesely, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe went through training camps in the Balearic Islands, who also added a win against Stan Warinka and a defeat against Felix Agar-Aliasim in Harlingham.

Get accustomed to heavy balls compared to the rest of the circuit, take automation and speed up movement, a few tasks that Nadal is filing to get ready this Tuesday, in his debut against Argentina’s Francisco Serundolo, who never did. Was measured before his career. Then comes Curve, with Sam Query, Marin Cilic, Agar-Aliasim and Matteo Beretini on the horizon, which will cloud their future in a tournament that, if they have a clear favorite, is Novak Djokovic.

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The Serbians’ last defeat on this court was in 2017, when Czech Thomas Berdych separated them in the quarter-finals.

They have lost 21 wins in a row since then, three titles that put him in fourth position at the Open Era to win four Wimbledon chains. Only Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer managed it, who got five, and Pete Sampras, who got four.

The six titles he owns also give him one of the seven pre-historic tennis winners Sampras and William Renshaw and two of Federer’s absolute records among men.

Djokovic has not competed in the Roland Garros since the quarter-finals and has not played in previous grass-court tournaments since 2017, as he has done, but his lightness and versatility on the grass have not been affected. He arrived in London eight days ago and has practiced in each of them with a freshness that keeps him as a top favorite.

Only Matthew Berettini He can discuss the dominance of the grass, but without the cache of a big stay with his name. The Italian has burned 31-3 on this type of court since 2019 and has won nine in a row after recovering from an operation on his arm that led him to the title in Stuttgart and Queens.

Hale has only beaten Djokovic and Federer on the grass since 2019 and he now has the experience to play in a Grand Slam final, losing to Serbia here a year ago. Avoiding Djokovic until a final in Rome is another incentive to believe in the possibility of repeating and / or improving what was achieved last season.

Hubert Hurkacz, Nick Kyrgios and Andy Murray, who have recovered from stomach problems, should be remembered in a tournament that presents itself with high expectations for Carlos Alcaraz, but Murcian tried to stop the previous days.

The winner of the Masters 1000 in Madrid and Miami and the tournament winners in Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro has little previous experience on the grass, but that doesn’t stop him from being the fifth pick and one of the men who is under the most pressure. . “I’m not a favorite at all,” replied Alcaraz, who has come to this surface without a previous tournament due to some discomfort in his elbow that has set him apart from Queens.

With his team surpassing him in the quarter-finals with Djokovic, another reason for caution for Alcaraz, who will make his Court 1 debut against Jan-Leonard Stroff on Monday, is that he already knows he lost last year to Russian Daniel Medvedev, missing great. From the version due to the tournament ban on Russians and Belarusians so that they do not defend the rule of Vladimir Putin.


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