Nadal aims to fight through the Wimbledon jitters

Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:05pm EDT
 
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By Clare Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - It was a jittery first outing for Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Memories of his checkered recent history at the tournament, the fast grass and a tough opponent combined to cause the world No.1 some anxious moments.

But Nadal is nothing if not a fighter and he said it was that quality that saw him through his 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory over Slovakia's Martin Klizan, even if he felt well short of 100 percent comfortable on Center Court.

"I won. That's the most important thing. I didn't play much on grass for the last three years. So always, it's like you restart," Nadal said.

"In the end the match was difficult ... So I was able to fight. I was able to try to find some solutions, some changes during the match."

Two grueling weeks sliding and rallying on clay at Roland Garros earned Nadal his 14th grand slam title, but grass feels alien to him even after his triumphs here in 2008 and 2010.

"I think I can do it better than I did today, but at the same time I knew I would not play today at 100 percent. I would not play perfect today after not playing in grass for a while."

Nadal's past two Wimbledon forays were cut short when he lost in the second round in 2012 and the opening round last year. He also tumbled out of the Halle warm-up event in the first round two weeks ago, so he was looking to break a three-match grasscourt losing streak.

"When I am playing on clay, I don't have to think a lot about what I have to do ... because all the things come together and are automatic," the Spanish world No.1 said.   Continued...

 
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts to winning the second set in his men's singles tennis match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 24, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne  Plunkett