Just a couple of weeks after turning 17, the young Spaniard Rafael Nadal entered his first Major at Wimbledon, staying away from the court since Hamburg due to an elbow injury. Rafa was the semi-finalist at junior Wimbledon a year ago but this was a completely different experience for him, playing on the big scene for the first time and doing the best he could to make an impression.
In the first round, the Spaniard took down Mario Ancic in four sets, becoming one of the youngest players in the Open era with a win at Wimbledon and facing world no. 489 Lee Childs in the second round. Childs was capable of playing well on the fast surfaces but couldn't match Nadal's level, with Rafa scoring a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 triumph in just over two hours to find himself in the last 32!
Childs grabbed two breaks from only four chances and that wasn't enough to keep him competitive, with the youngster securing six breaks from 19 opportunities to stay in front and find himself in the third round. "Yes, I think the rain came at the right moment for me, he was hitting well in those moments and I didn't.
I played better in the first two rounds against Mario Ancic than today, not playing on the desired level at the end of the second and beginning of the third set. Those two sets against Mario are still my best tennis on grass, today I wasn't at that level as I wasn't fast with my legs, a crucial element if you play on grass.
In comparison to clay, I changed a little bit of everything. The grip on my forehand and backhand is different and I serve with more slice. The important thing is that everything is fine with my elbow. I should lose in the next round, you know.
Before Wimbledon, I would have signed a five-set loss in the first round and be happy with that result because I couldn't play for a month. I can only say I will do my best in the next match and we will see. The Spanish players are starting to get good results on grass, the young competitors have the interest to play on this surface and develop their game."