Rafael Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, said Ricardas Berankis was not an easy opponent and admitted he needs to improve if he wants to go far at Wimbledon. On Thursday, Nadal beat Berankis, ranked No. 106, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Down two sets, Berankis began the third set with a break and then held serve for the rest of the set to force a fourth set. After dropping the third set, Nadal rallied early in the fourth set and broke Berankis in the second game before serving for the match in game nine.
"Every day is a challenge, that's the truth. All rivals are difficult. We are playing against the best players in the world and, above all, in these conditions, it will be more [difficult]. I haven't played much on grass in the last three years," Nadal said in his on-court interview, according to the ATP website.
"Every day is an opportunity to improve and today I passed, so that gives me the opportunity. To continue. [I'm] very happy about it." Nadal also struggled in his Wimbledon debut, as he needed four sets to beat Francisco Cerundolo.
"I need to improve. But I think the fourth set was much better. I think there was a good level of tennis in that fourth set. The serve worked much better," Nadal said. "In the end I was able to play a bit more aggressive with the forehand.
In the beginning, there were too many mistakes, but that's a process."
Kenny Ducey on Rafa Nadal
In an interview with the Tennis Channel, Kenny Ducey spoke about Rafael Nadal's chances of winning a third title at Wimbledon by highlighting the difficulty of his draw.
"I’m not going to put my life savings against Rafa but I will continue to say that the deck is definitely stacked against him," said Ducey. "I just think he’s going to get batted and bruised along the way through this draw and like that’s just not something we normally say about the Nadals, the Federers, the Djokovics, we just usually expect them to come through without dropping a set pretty easily but yeah I mean I think we already the saw it and the more time on court, the worse for him."
Kenny Ducey continued by describing the challenging opposition Nadal will encounter if he advances to the quarterfinals. "The top half of this quarter, there is going to be a good player coming out and playing Rafael Nadal assuming he gets to the quarter final, and it is going to be an American player which is very exciting," Ducey said.
"You know you wanna talk about the proverbial favourite to get there would be Taylor Fritz and Taylor Fritz I mean he already has the win over Rafa."