King of Clay Rafael Nadal surprised no one when he stormed to the French Open title, but to do so without dropping a set was impressive even for him.
The Spaniard is widely believed to be the greatest player of all time on that surface, and has been in great form during a surprise resurgence season for both him and Roger Federer.
The record 10th win at Roland Garros takes him back to number two in the world rankings, but Nadal says he doesn’t think he can replicate that standard of tennis at Wimbledon – because he doesn’t think his knees will hold up.
He said: “There has been a while since I don’t play very good Wimbledon.
“It’s true that after 2012 what happened with my knees have been tougher and tougher to compete on grass for me.
“Playing on grass is very special. You need to play at a lower level. The body posture is down. You have less stability on grass.”
He did say, however, that if the old injuries don’t play up, then there’s no reason why he couldn’t make his first serious SW19 title challenge since 2011.
“I love grass,” he continued. “Everybody knows, and it's a surface that I really enjoyed a lot playing there.
“So I hope that my knees hold well and I can have the preparation that I really need and the preparation that I wanted.
“So if that happens, why not? If I have pain on the knees, then I know from experience that it's almost impossible.
“Because I need to feel strong, low, and powerful legs to play well in Wimbledon.
“If I don't feel that, then probably my chances are not there.
“But if I am healthy and I am able to have the right preparation and feel healthy during the Wimbledon, then probably gonna have my chances to play well.”
Even if all goes to plan, he surely won’t match his clay court form, which seems to still be improving despite that fact he is now 31.
But, there’s nothing to say a slight dip in standards would scupper his chances, he’s still the form man in tennis right now, and it seems you can’t rule anything out this season.
With Nadal at world number two, Djokovic and Federer sit fourth and fifth respectively, meaning number one Andy Murray could have to beat them all if he’s to retain his Wimbledon title.
It’s a big ask, but the Brit has defied the odds before, and his French Open displays are another example of him finding his form just in time to play on home soil.
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