Rafael Nadal showed up at Wimbledon in good condition, although we will have to wait for a few matches to be able to pass judgment. The former world number 1 won the first two majors of 2022, proving for the umpteenth time that he is an absolute legend of modern sport.
Thanks to a series of infiltrations and the help of Dr. Cotorro, the Spanish champion raised his 14th trophy at Roland Garros leaving everyone speechless. Rafa benefited from Alexander Zverev's retirement in the semifinals, only to wipe out poor Casper Ruud in the final act.
The 36-year-old from Manacor has risen to 22 Slams, +2 from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time ranking. The Iberian also hopes to shine at Wimbledon, where he hasn't triumphed since 2010. The Majorcan stopped in the semifinals in both 2018 and 2019, while last year he had to forfeit due to injury.
At the Tennis Channel microphones, Jan-Michael Gambill analyzed Nadal's scoreboard in detail. After a smooth debut against Francisco Cerundolo, the 22-time Grand Slam champion could meet Sam Querrey in the second round.
Nadal opted for a new foot treatment
"I like where Querrey is in the draw. I think he gets through (Ricardas) Berankis if he's playing well. Could he be a threat to Rafael Nadal? I think so. Rafa versus a big server, it has happened in the past that he's struggled with big servers on the grass at Wimbledon.
So it's an interesting match-up," Gambill said. Former WTA No. 1 Tracy Austin, who was also part of the segment, picked two other American players who she believes can make deep runs at Wimbledon this year. "I also picked Frances Tiafoe.
Most people would say, 'Why? He hasn't won a grasscourt match this year.' But I like his draw and I think when Frances is on fire on the big stage, he can get through. He has Casper Ruud, the 3rd seed, in his section and I pick him against Ruud on grass," Austin said of Tiafoe.
The Spaniard was present as part of the pre-match conference ahead of his first round match against Francisco Cerundolo. After being quizzed by many journalists about his foot, Nadal did not seem too pleased. He said, “Well, are you going to talking [about] my foot today? Not anymore.
If it’s fine for you guys. I have always been very open, but we cannot be talking about my foot every single day. We forget the most important thing that is tennis. I can’t tell you, I don’t have experience on that. Something new. I didn’t try it,” he added.