x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Nadal in a sweat under Wimbledon roof

The world No 1 overpowered debutant Ryan Sweeting easy but the humid indoor-like conditions leave a bitter taste.

LONDON // Rafael Nadal, the defending champion, eased into the Wimbledon last 32 under the Centre Court roof, but admitted he was not a fan of the stadium's £80 million (Dh310m) structure.

The world No 1 overpowered Wimbledon debutant Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in his first experience of the roof which had been rolled into action as heavy rain swept south-west London.

"That's something strange. They told me they were going to open the roof. But at the last minute, they told me they predicted a shower. Never comes," said the Spaniard.

"It's a new experience for me, a good experience. But the tournament is outdoor, not indoor and I prefer to play outdoors. I prefer to play with no roof, that's for sure."

Nadal added that the atmosphere inside the stadium had been altered with the roof shut.

"It's more humid. The court is a little more slippery than usual," he said.

Next up for Nadal is Luxembourg wildcard Gilles Muller who defeated him in the second round in 2005.

Muller reached the third round when Canadian opponent Milos Raonic, the 31st seed, was forced to retire in the first set after he fell and injured himself in the first set.

"Gilles is a very dangerous player on this kind of surface. He has a very good serve, good volley. So will be tough match for me," said Nadal.

Six-time French Open winner Nadal, chasing an 11th Grand Slam title, had little trouble in moving past Sweeting on Wednesday.

He had already defeated the American twice this year — including the second round of the Australian Open — for the loss of just eight games.

He raced through the first set courtesy of a break in the fourth game and he was just as dominant in the second, breaking in the first and third games before wrapping it up with his 11th ace of the tie.

By that stage the Spaniard had surrendered just eight points on his serve to the world 69.

Sweeting had shown his fighting spirit in the first round when he had been just two points from defeat against Spain's Pablo Andujar and he called on that doggedness to retrieve another break to level at 2-2 in the third.

But Nadal stepped it up, broke for 4-3 and took the match with a sweet volley.