For just over an hour, Rafael Nadal trained on court 16 at Wimbledon with his sights set on his quarterfinal match, which will be measured against Taylor Fritz on Wednesday. Accompanied by Francis Roig and Marc López, two of his trainers, the No.4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings worked hard to continue giving himself opportunities to recapture a tournament that he has won twice (2008 and 2010).
"It's fine," acknowledged Roig after training. “We have been able to train a lot, there have been days that we have played almost four hours. When we got here the first thing was to be able to compete. He was waiting for how the foot treatment would work, although in Mallorca he had done well,” he continued.
"Then, the goal has been to play better every day," said the coach of the champion of 22 Grand Slam titles. “Now we are in that situation. Given the urgency, we can be happy after three years without playing on grass.
At the moment we are doing well. When we arrived we didn't think about winning, but now he is among the favourites”. For that, the first thing Nadal must do is beat Fritz, with whom he is tied for the ATP Head2Head (1-1).
A few months ago, the American managed to defeat him in the final of the BNP Paribas Open, although the Spaniard played that match with a crack in his ribs, which would later have him out for several months. "Taylor is a player who showed a lot of promise," Roig recalled.
“To this day, his tennis has evolved a lot, getting the best results from him recently. Now he hits the ball quite well, and perhaps before it was a bit difficult for him to have good mobility."
Roig talks about Nadal
Regardless of what happens next, Rafael Nadal has enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2022 so far.
"When we got here, the first thing was to be able to compete because we had the foot treatment and didn't know how it would work. The first objective was to be in the second week and play better every day and now we are in the quarterfinals and can be happy.
At the moment, we are going well but have a quarterfinal with Fritz. When we arrived, we did not think about winning. I said that if we reached the second week, put Rafa among the favorites to win the tournament," Roig said.
Roig praised the 22-time Grand Slam champion for improving his game as the tournament progressed, but also stated that he could do better. "I have seen the last two games very well. There has been a lot of difference in terms of hitting the ball and dominating and being able to go forward.
He has served well, but everything he does can be done better, especially on grass when it's your first tournament in three years," Roig added.