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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday June 28, 2022

 
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal won on grass for the first time since 2019, setting a round two clash with Ricardas Berankis.

Photo Source: Camera Sport

Rafael Nadal played a grass-court match for the first time since 2019, and came away feeling good about it on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

Tennis Express

The Spaniard, who defeated Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, on Centre Court, struggled to close his opponent out, but came away pleased with the fact that he was able to find solutions on the trickiest surface for him.

"It's not a surface that we play very often," two-time champion Nadal said of his return to Wimbledon. "Especially in my case, for different reasons the last three years I didn't put a foot on the grass court, so it always take a while... every day is a test and today has been one of these important tests."

Nadal is playing Wimbledon with the possibility of winning the calendar-year Grand Slam for the first time in his career, and the 22-time Slam champion continued to rewrite the history books with his latest triumph. He ties Martina Navratilova for fourth on the all-time list for Grand Slam singles wins – only Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic have more.


Though he struggled in the third set, Nadal’s foot did not bother him and he was able to turn up the heat on the 23-year-old World No. 41 down the stretch to close out his win in three hours and 33 minutes.

That’s great news for a player that underwent radiofrequency ablation to quell nerve pain in his left foot immediately after Roland-Garros. It was not a lock that the procedure would take hold, but Nadal is feeling much less pain in his foot as he improves to 15-0 at the Slams in 2022.

The Spaniard’s remarkable season will continue in two days against 106th-ranked Berankis, and Nadal is thankful to have another two days to continue to improve his form on the grass.

Nadal finished the match with 23 winners and 41 unforced errors. He was broken four times and won just 70 percent of his first-serve points. There is plenty of room for improvement, and now, some time to work.

"At the beginning of the tournament, especially under these circumstances that I arrived here, the victory is the most important thing because that gives me the chance to practice again and to have another match in two days - happy for that, without a doubt," he said. “The most important thing is that I am in Wimbledon 2022 and I won the first match."

 

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