Rafael Nadal has said he was overjoyed to finally have the chance to open Wimbledon on center court three years after he won the title for the first time. The beautiful grass court was in perfect condition as Nadal stepped on to center court to open his defense of the Hold Grail in tennis.
The Spanish world number one may have prepared by staying up late and watching the golf but that didn’t effect his emotions on court. “Was a big emotion be the first player to play in this fabulous court. So seriously was a very, very exciting feeling. Fantastic how see the court in the really, really perfect conditions. So, yes, very, very happy for everything.”
As is tradition the defending champion is treated with much respect in Wimbledon and all the stops were pulled out for Nadal, his parents being seated in the Royal Box. It was the first time in some time the two, who split in 2009, have sat next to each other to support their son. Nadal was delighted to have his parents side by side again sitting in such a prestigious position.
“Too many beautiful things to saw my mom and my dad in the Royal Box. For sure can just say thanks to Wimbledon, to the people who organize this fantastic tournament to invite my mother and father to the Royal Box. I think for”
Nadal must also have been happy to feel how slowly the court was playing and to be able to whip his shots up nice and high. On grass normally the players have to sit a little lower but Nadal was able to work the ball exactly how he would like – once he adjusted to it being a little slower than he thought it would be!
“I’m especially happy about this first-round win because of the way I played in the second and third sets. I think he started playing very well, aggressive with some very good returns. My mistake in the beginning was to try to play too fast and I made some mistakes with the backhand and the forehand – and so he had the break. But after that I started to change a little bit more the rhythm with the slice, trying to play a little longer points, trying to hit the forehand when I had the chance. I think I did well after that first moment of the first set. My level in general I think was positive, no?”
Despite his improved form Nadal was hesitant to look beyond his next round where he will play Ryan Sweeting.
“I think my biggest opponent is Sweeting now. I am focused on my part of the draw. I am focused on myself. To play against the other three can only be in a semi-final or the final. So let’s talk about today. Let’s talk about tomorrow. Don’t let’s talk about 10 or 12 days’ time because I do not know if I will be here or fishing in Majorca. You never know what’s going to happen in a tournament like this.”