Just a couple of weeks after turning 17, the young Spaniard Rafael Nadal entered his first major in Wimbledon, staying away from the court from Hamburg due to an elbow injury. Rafa was the semi-finalist at Wimbledon junior a year ago, but for him it was a completely different experience, playing for the first time on the big scene and doing his best to impress.
In the first round, the Spaniard defeated Mario Ancic in four sets, becoming one of the youngest players of the Open era with a win at Wimbledon and facing the world no. 489 Lee Childs in the second round. Childs was able to play well on fast surfaces but could not match Nadal’s level, with Rafa having scored a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 triumph in just over two hours to find himself in the last 32 !
Childs took two breaks from just four chances and this was not enough to make him competitive, with the young man having six breaks from 19 occasions to stay ahead and find himself in the third round. “Yes, I think the rain came at the right time for me, it was hitting well in those moments and I didn’t.
I played better in the first two rounds against Mario Ancic today, not playing at the desired level at the end of the second and at the beginning of the third set. Those two sets against Mario are still my best tennis on the grass, today I was not at that level as I was not fast with the legs, a crucial element if you play on the grass.
Compared to clay, I changed a little bit of everything. The handle on the obverse and on the reverse is different and I serve with more slice. The important thing is that everything is fine for my elbow. I should lose the next round, you know.
Before Wimbledon, I would have scored a five-set loss in the first round and would be happy with that result because I couldn’t play for a month. I can only say that I will do my best in the next game and we’ll see. Spanish players are starting to get good results on the grass, young competitors have an interest in playing on this surface and developing their game. ”