Nadal refuses to talk up ‘arrogant’ Wimbledon bid
LONDON: Rafael Nadal insists it would be “arrogant and crazy” to start thinking about following his record-breaking seventh French Open title with more glory at Wimbledon.
Nadal has travelled to the All England Club on a high after defeating Novak Djokovic in the final at Roland Garros, a victory that took him past Bjorn Borg’s record of six victories on the Paris clay.
The Spaniard had lost to Djokovic in three successive grand slam finals, including the Wimbledon showpiece last year, and finally beating the Serb meant just as much to Nadal as the historic connotations of the victory.
With the French Open in the bag and his Djokovic demons puts to rest, Nadal is regarded in some quarters as the favourite to win the grasscourt grand slam event.
But the world number two refuses to start thinking about a third Wimbledon title because he believes the likes of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray are far too strong to dismiss so easily.
“I’m very happy the way things went the last couple of months and really since the beginning of the season. But thinking about winning another title here at Wimbledon is arrogant and crazy,” Nadal said.
“That’s something I cannot think about. I can just think about practice and how to keep preparing my game, so I arrive on Tuesday with the right conditions to be competitive and win the first match.
“That’s the goal. I try my best in every practice and every hour on grass helps me.”
After toppling Federer from his perch as the sport’s pre-eminent force, Nadal lost the number one spot to Djokovic during the Serb’s incredible run last year.
The 26-year-old could reclaim pole position in the rankings if he wins Wimbledon and Djokovic bows out earlier in the tournament.
But Nadal, who plays Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in the first round, knows there is good chance Djokovic will be standing between him and the Wimbledon crown in two weeks’ time.
And he relishes the prospect of extending his rivalry with Djokovic.
“It’s great. For me I feel very lucky to be part of these rivalries,” he said.
“I think is something that brings special motivation to the game and motivates me to keep improving my tennis.
“Because if you are not able to improve your level you are dead in this very competitive world of tennis.”
In the past Nadal, who tipped compatriot David Ferrer as an outsider for the title, has had few problems adapting to grass so quickly after the claycourt season.
He won the French Open and Wimbledon back to back in 2008 and 2010, but even so, he believes there should be a longer grasscourt season to cut down on the number of more physically demanding hardcourt events.
“I always say it is great to play more and more on clay and grass because those surfaces are historic in the world of tennis,” he added.
“In the past, most of the tournaments were on clay and grass. In my opinion for the body the worst surface to play is the hard court.
“I will never have anything against playing more weeks on grass or clay, because I think is easier for the physical performance, for the injuries of the players.”