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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Nadal: this time I’m a contender

Nadal: this time I’m a contender

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Rafael Nadal has warned his Wimbledon rivals he will be a major threat to their title hopes if he can survive the first week at the All England Club.

Nadal arrives in London on a high after winning his 10th French Open crown without dropping a set, but a mixture of poor form and injury means he has not been past the fourth round at Wimbledon since 2011.

The 15-time major winner, who has won the event before in 2008 and 2010, starts his campaign against Australian world No 137 John Millman next week. He said if he can make it through the first three rounds as he gets used to playing on grass he can make a strong run for the title.

“This is a tournament that you can go out very early. But at the same time, if I am able to go through at the beginning, I think I’m with confidence,” he said.

Nadal missed last year’s tournament with a wrist injury and, dogged by chronic knee problems, he has often struggled to deal with the low bounce of the ball on grass.

But Nadal is hopeful his body will stand up to the strain of the two-week tournament.

“I cannot tell you exactly what will happen because I experienced all the things. I had success without feeling myself in great shape,” said the world No 2, who is seeded fourth.

“I experienced very negative moments when I was trying to play, and I was not in great shape, like last year in Roland Garros or like here in 2012.

“So there is always decisions that you have to take. On the decisions, you take risks. Sometimes goes well, sometimes not that well.”

Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic gave himself a boost as he won only his second title of 2017 as he defeated Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4 in the men’s final of the Aegon International at Eastbourne yesterday.

The Serbian, who has had a torrid year in which he failed to defend either his Australian Open or French Open crowns, and has fallen to fourth in the world rankings, his worst position since October 2009. The two-time Wimbledon champion, seeded second at the All England Club, will start his campaign on Tuesday against Slovakian Martin Klizan.

Agencies

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