Rafael Nadal in high spirits ahead of Wimbledon


Rafael Nadal insists he can make a strong challenge for Roger Federer's title this year

Rafael Nadal insists he will find his confidence during Wimbledon after pulling out of his scheduled warm-up event at Queen’s Club last week.

For the second year in a row, the Spaniard decided to stay at home in Majorca to practise after a heavy clay-court campaign.

The Spaniard has won three of the last five Grand Slams, taking the French Open two years in a row and lifting the US Open trophy in 2017.

Despite his strong form at Wimbledon in the first half of his career, Nadal hasn’t been past the last 16 since 2011 after a series of shock defeats against players outside the top 100.

Nadal, who is seeded second behind Roger Federer, said: “I’m feeling good. I decided to be here in Wimbledon again. It’s a very special event, of course. I always loved to be around here.

“It was not positive for me to not play Queen’s. I was sad to not have the chance to be there. On the other hand, I didn’t go there because I played a lot on clay. So I was very happy.”

Nadal admits it is difficult for his aching knees to transition from clay to grass, but insists he can make a strong challenge for Federer’s title over the next fortnight.

“I am not 20 any more. I have to take decisions on the schedule sometimes. The body needed a rest, needed a slow adaptation to adapt to the grass. That’s what I did,” said Nadal, who opens against Israel’s Dudi Sela in the first round.

“Expectations are always high. I am not here to play the tournament; I am here to try to have a good results.

“But it’s true this is one of these events that you arrive here and you really don’t have the previous feeling of how you feel, how you are playing. It’s nothing new; even when I won here, when I played five finals in a row.

“It’s an event that you need to find your confidence during the tournament and during the practice the week before.

“For example, when I arrive to Roland Garros, I know more or less if I am playing well. I know where my chances are. In the US Open, little bit less, but still better than here.”

We will keep you up to date with all the news ahead of Wimbledon including our live blogs once the action gets underway on July 2.

Our next tennis action comes from the German Open in Hamburg. Watch the action live on Sky Sports Arena from Monday, July 23 from 10am.

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