You have to credit Rafael Nadal. Fresh off a fifth French Open title the Spaniard kept his word by playing in the Queen’s Club tennis event in London. And today the now 24-year-old won his first match beating the not-so-mighty Marcos Daniel 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.
“I felt [I was] returning well,” said Nadal. “That’s the most difficult thing for me. I felt [I had] good returns. I was serving well in Roland Garros and I did the same here, I think.”
Nadal has now won 23 straight matches dating back to Miami plus 13 consecutive now on grass, and tomorrow he plays Denis Istomin in the third round.
“For me it is always a challenge to be here and to practice these new things: the serve, the volley, the slice, return more inside than clay,” he said. “So I enjoy doing this transition. After Wimbledon, I’m going to have time to enjoy the victory of Roland Garros and to enjoy Majorca.”
Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey were also winners in this first grass court event of the year. Querrey had complained of tennis exhaustion a few week ago but now sounds fresh again.
“I went home for six days and didn’t pick up a racquet or anything, ” said Querrey after avenging his first round French Open loss to Robby Ginepri. “Now I’m feeling good. I had fun out there [and] I thought I played really well.
“I think I just kind of tapped out a little bit. I’m going to learn from that [and] try not to play the week before Grand Slams. I kind of know that after three weeks in a row or so, I’ve reached my max or my limit and I need to take a week off after that.”
Tomorrow looks great in London with Djokovic v. Xavier Malisse, Andy Murray v. Mardy Fish and Dudi Sela takes on Andy Roddick.
As for Nadal on grass, my feeling is he’s going to lose. Unlike the clay, which I thought he’d play well enough on to run the table, I don’t think he’ll match that feat on the grass. But as long as he’s healthy he’ll be a factor. We’ll see how the draws go.
In Halle, the Roger Federer Open, er, Gerry Weber, rolls on tomorrow. Federer gets a rematch with his early round French Open foe Alejandro Falla. Nikolay Dayvdenko is also back, he’ll face Ben Becker and Jurgen Melzer is also in Germany.
So despite the quick turnaround from the French, many of the top players are getting in their grass workouts this week.
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Nadal, Murray Begin Grass Season at Queen’s Club; Del Potro, Nalbandian Return