'Rafael Nadal had a few years in which he didn't play well on...', says top coach



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'Rafael Nadal had a few years in which he didn't play well on...', says top coach

After the fairly solid successes of Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, who reached the third round without too much effort after their respective successes against Kokkinakis and Griekspoor, it is up to Rafael Nadal to answer.

The Mallorcan will face the Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis on the Central Court in a match that on paper presents few obstacles for the recent winner of Roland Garros. Nadal's match will follow Katie Boulter and Karolina Pliskova (the latter a finalist last year) and anticipate the challenge between Coco Gauff and Mihaela Buzarnescu.

The surprise is therefore the "relegation" of the number one in the world, Iga Swiatek, who is forced to "make do" with court one to face the Dutch Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove. Court one will also play host to Stefanos Tsitsipas (he will take on Jordan Thompson) and the challenge between host Jack Draper and Alex De Minaur.

The other Italian survivor (Sinner is already in the third round), Lorenzo Sonego, will play the second match on court 14 against Hugo Gaston; followed by the amazing Maxime Cressy, serve and volley champion. Nick Kyrgios, after Tuesday's controversy, will have to get acquainted with the crowd on court 2, while Krajinovic will be on the other side of the net.

Paula Badosa (against Irina Bara) and Simona Halep will also play on the same court.

Roig opens up on Nadal

Former Spanish player Francisco Roig reckons Rafael Nadal's game is better suited to beat Novak Djokovic on grass than on hardcourt.

"After spending three years without playing on grass, he got ahead on the scoreboard without playing great tennis. In the second set he played better, he did more damage with his ball. With the break up, the game got out of control, he lost the third, and in the fourth, it was complicated.

But after three years without playing on grass, and in a first round, he's fine." He thinks that despite Djokovic looking good to win a fourth straight Wimbledon title, Nadal has a good chance of beating the three-time defending champion this fortnight.

"He had a few years in which he didn't play well on grass, but if he's doing well, there are fewer rivals who can beat him on grass than on hard courts", said Roig. “In that same way, I think he is closer to Djokovic on this surface than on fast.

(He's) difficult (to beat) on both (surfaces), but (despite) considering that he is the favourite (at Wimbledon), there are more chances to beat him here”.