Nadal, Djokovic impress in exhibition wins at Hurlingham Club
Nadal and Novak Djokovic kick-started their Wimbledon preparations with easy exhibition wins.
LONDON (Web Desk) - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic kick-started their Wimbledon preparations with easy exhibition wins at the Hurlingham Club on Wednesday.
Nadal showed no ill-effects after nerve treatment on the chronic foot problem that troubled him during his French Open triumph earlier this month as he beat Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 at the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic event in London.
Djokovic, in his first match since losing to Nadal in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, won 6-2 6-1 against Canada s Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Nadal, in his first match on grass since 2019, raced into a 5-1 lead after twice breaking Wawrinka s serve in the opening set and sealed it 6-2 in 30 minutes.
Wawrinka, who returned to action in March after missing most of 2021 due to two foot operations, failed to convert a break point in the opening game of the second set and was soon 3-1 behind.
The Swiss three-time major winner broke Nadal s serve in the fifth game, but the Spaniard was rarely troubled and wrapped up the match in just over an hour.
Nadal announced at the end of last week that he plans to play at Wimbledon in pursuit of a third-straight Grand Slam win after undergoing a procedure to reduce nerve pain in his foot.
Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he intends to play at Wimbledon, despite concerns about an ongoing foot injury.
"It has been a while without playing on grass," said Nadal.
"Since 2019 I haven t been able to play on grass through the tough moments we went through with the pandemic and last year I got injured. So I am excited to be back where we are today. It has always been a pleasure playing here in Hurlingham. It is special to be back.
"Honestly for me it is positive to play a couple of matches before the competition starts at Wimbledon. I used to play at Queen s a long time ago now.
"I am older now - I can t manage to play so many matches. For me it is perfect to play a couple of matches here before Wimbledon starts. That helps me to feel at least some competition before Wimbledon."
Six-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic was given a sterner challenge than the scoreline suggested against Auger-Aliassime.
The Serbian world No 3 three broke the Canadian twice to take the first set 6-2 in 44 minutes.
Auger-Aliassime failed to trouble Djokovic s serve in the second set and was broken three more times as the former world number one wrapped it up 6-1 in 28 minutes.
Wimbledon starts on Monday, June 27.
Nadal is bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in the same year after already winning the Australian Open and French Open.