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Nadal, Berrettini get historic chance to practise on Centre Court before Wimbledon

After concerns about the slippery courts in the first few days at Wimbledon last year. the All England Club moved away from their long-standing tradition this year

Rafael Nadal after practice at Wimbledon Spain’s Rafael Nadal with his coach Toni Nadal after practice (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Wimbledon, known for being a stickler for tradition, decided to move away from its long-standing policy of no play on Centre Court before the tournament with Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini becoming the first players to hit on Centre Court on Thursday.

Nadal is a two-time former champion at the All England Club while Berrettini is the 2021 runner-up, with both being among the favourites for the title this year.

The Spaniard is aiming to win the third leg of the calendar Grand Slam after capturing the Australian Open and Roland-Garros while Berrettini has won back-to-back titles on grass coming into this year’s event.

The decision of Wimbledon organisers may have been prompted by complaints that the courts were too slippery last year. Both Serena Williams and Adrian Mannarino slipped on the grass during their first round matches and had to retire during their first-round matches.

And for those counting at home, Berrettini won the practice set 6-4.

Women’s world No 1 Iga Swiatek and seven-time champion Serena Williams will practice on Centre Court on Friday while Andy Murray and Dan Evans, and Emma Raducanu and Garbine Muguruza will test out No 1 Court.

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