Rafael Nadal: Gareth Southgate impressed by Spaniard’s Wimbledon first touch

Rafael Nadal Wimbledon Gareth Southgate

Rafael Nadal breezed into the fourth round at Wimbledon after a comfortable victory over Lorenzo Sonego in the presence of none other than England manager, Gareth Southgate on Saturday.

It was vintage Nadal who won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to make a huge improvement on his first two round victories.

Despite his brilliance on court, he was booed by the fans at the end after clashing with the Italian during the match and also afterwards.

Whilst the third set was underway, he called Sonego to the net and had words with him, although he later admitted: “I should not call him to the net. I have to say that I was wrong. So I apologise for that. My mistake in that, no problem, I recognise that.

“My intention was never to bother him at all. Just to tell [him] one thing that was bothering me that I think he was doing in that moment, but that’s it.

“I think there is some codes between players. We had some issues there, but that’s it.”

His frustrations were vocalised due to the roof coming on during the third set and then he accused his opponent of making noise during a point.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 02: Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Lorenzo Sonego of Italy during their Men’s Singles Third Round match on day six of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 02, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Nadal took it on himself to speak to the umpire before calling Sonego to the net to let him know exactly how he was feeling with everything.

With words continuing after the game, Nadal was met with boos from the Wimbledon crowd for his actions during the match.

However, there was one moment which the fans absolutely loved from Rafael Nadal. A dead ball was hit back to him and he controlled the ball perfectly on the volley before tapping it into his hand with the racket.

The cameraman deserves a pay raise, panning straight to Southgate who was watching on and was clearly impressed by his touch. Unfortunately for Southgate, there’s no chance of calling Nadal up to his squad for obvious reasons!

He’s certainly throwing his hat into the ring as a favourite to make it 23 grand slam triumphs, taking on Botic van de Zandschlup later today on Centre Court (Monday).

Nadal is making his first appearance at Wimbledon since 2019 and hasn’t played any grass court tennis in the interim, but he is quickly looking back to his best out there.

He dropped a set in both of his opening matches, but his victory in straight sets was much more like it from the two-time Wimbledon champion.

News Now - Sport News