Nadal tested by Francisco Cerundolo on Centre Court but survives in four sets
Rafael Nadal edged out Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 on Tuesday afternoon and will play Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in the next round
22-time major champion Rafael Nadal moved into the second round of Wimbledon by edging out Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 on Centre Court on Tuesday.
Nadal, ranked No 4 and seeded second, raced out to a two sets to love lead against the hard-hitting Argentinian but struggled to close out the contest. He dropped the third set and ended up having to rally back from a break down in the fourth to lock down his 306th Grand Slam victory in three hours and 33 minutes.
Nadal’s first match on grass since his semi-final loss to Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2019 wasn’t perfect, but in the end it was a strong step in the right direction.
“It’s not a surface that we play very often,” two-time champion Nadal said of his return to Wimbledon. “Especially in my case, for different reasons the last three years I didn’t put a foot on the grass court, so it always takes a while… every day is a test and today has been one of these important tests.”
A milestone for the milestone king
Seems like every time Nadal takes the court this year he is rewriting the record books. Today was no exception as he tied Martina Navratilova for fourth place on the all-time list for Grand Slam singles wins.
Only Roger Federer (369), Serena Williams (365) and Novak Djokovic (328) have more.
54 of those wins have come at Wimbledon and the Spaniard will try to make it 55 on Wednesday when he faces Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in second-round action.
The most important thing is that I am here
Having gone through radiofrequency ablation treatment to quell nerve pain in his nagging left foot after Roland-Garros, the Spaniard is simply thrilled to be progressing.
“At the beginning of the tournament, especially under these circumstances that I arrived here, the victory is the most important thing because that gives me the chance to practice again and to have another match in two days – happy for that, without a doubt,” he said.
Nadal claimed his record 22nd major title on June 5th in Paris, and after a few days of rest and rehab for his foot, it has been a race to get into fighting shape. With two Grand Slam titles under his belt already this season, Nadal competes at Wimbledon with hope for the calendar-year Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
The enormous task that lies ahead may be on the mind of pundits and his legions of fans, but the Spaniard is just happy to have his – healthy – feet on the grass again.
“When you play Roland-Garros there is not much time between,” Nadal said. “I remember all the beautiful days that I was playing the final of Roland-Garros and the next day I was practicing at Queen’s but my body is not allowing me to do it anymore, so I have to take some days off after Roland-Garros and of course everybody knows that I had to do some things on my foot.
“By the way, the most important thing is that I am in Wimbledon 2022 and I won the first match.”
WIMBLEDON 2022, THE SEED WHO LOST ON THE MEN’S DRAW, 1ST ROUND
Auger-Aliassime (6), Hurkacz (7), Berretini (8, W.O.), Cilic (14, W.O.), Carreño Busta (16), Dimitrov (18), Rune (24), Evans (28)
WIMBLEDON 2022, THE SEEDS WHO WON ON THE MEN’S DRAW, 1ST ROUND
Djokovic (1), Nadal (2), Ruud (3), Tsitsipas (4), Alcaraz (5), Norrie (9), Sinner (10), Fritz (11), Schwartzman (12), Shapovalov (13), Opelka (15), Bautista Agut (17), De Minaur (19), Isner (20), Van de Zandschulp (21), Basilashvili (22), Tiafoe (23), Kecmanovic (25), Krajinovic (26), Sonego (27), Brooksby (29), Paul (30), Baez (31) Otte (32)