For a little over an hour on Tuesday, Rafael Nadal practised on Court 16 at Wimbledon with his sights set on his next encounter; Wednesday’s quarter-final against Taylor Fritz. Accompanied by Francisco Roig and Marc Lopez, his two coaches, the 22-time Grand Slam champion was working hard to keep alive his chances of reclaiming a title he won in 2008 and 2010.
“It’s good,” Roig told ATPTour.com after the training session. “We managed to train a lot, there were a couple of days when we almost played for four hours. When we got here, the first thing was to be able to compete. He arrived here unsure about his foot treatment in Mallorca, even though it went well for him.
“The goal was to keep playing better every day. Now we’re in that situation. Given how last-minute it was, we can be happy after three years without playing on grass. So far, we’re doing well. When we arrived, we weren’t thinking about winning, but now he is among the favourites.”
To stay on track for a third Wimbledon crown, Nadal must next move past Fritz, with whom he shares a 1-1 ATP Head2Head record. In March, the American defeated the Spaniard in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, a match in which Nadal played with a rib fracture that subsequently kept him out of action until the Mutua Madrid Open in early May.
“Taylor is a player that was very promising,” said Roig. “Today, his game has progressed a lot, he’s had his best results quite recently. Now he hits the ball quite well, and maybe before he struggled with mobility. Today he moves much better and that’s why his ranking has gone up. He’s very dangerous on grass, he hits the ball hard. We’ll have to have a great day.”
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Roig, though, is satisfied with the progress Nadal has made in his last two matches, straight-sets victories against Lorenzo Sonego and Botic van de Zandschulp.
“I think he’s looked really good in the last two matches, although he struggled to close them out,” Roig said. “There was a big difference in the level of ball striking, in dominating, going forward. The more he goes to the net, the better he’ll hit the ball.
“Everything you do can always be done better, especially on grass. We’re working on things every day, facets that will increase his chances on court.
“You do things to improve. That is what we’re trying on our day off. We’re on grass and we need to improve things. We’re working on specific things that he may see in the match so that when he has to execute them, he is confident because he’s practised them.”
– This story was translated from ATPTour.com/es