THE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011
Nadal Plays Down Repeat Of 2010
by Kate Flory|
On the eve of his Wimbledon campaign, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has ruled out a repeat of his astounding success in 2010. Last year, the Spaniard became the first player to win three consecutive Grand Slam championships in a season since Rod Laver in 1969 when he won Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open back-to-back.
Nadal comes into his title defence at Wimbledon fresh from retaining his Roland Garros crown, but believes the quality amongst the Top 4 is such that it will be nigh-on impossible to win all three once again.
"Last year is, in my opinion, very impossible to repeat: three Grand Slams in a row," said Nadal. "So this year I am very happy about what's going on the season. But to repeat what I did last year is something that I for sure don't think.
"I think we are playing well. I think Novak [Djokovic] had a fantastic season. The first six months was really unbelievable. Roger [Federer] had a very good season, and especially at this last tournament in Roland Garros played fantastic. Andy [Murray] had a fantastic clay-court season, and he arrived at Queen's and he won the tournament. It’s going to be always a big challenge. But I love to play on grass. I love to play in this fabulous place. So I am excited to be back here."
The 25-year-old Nadal also reveals he envies the home support that British favourite Murray receives at the All England Club, where he is bidding to become the first homegrown male to win the singles title since Fred Perry in 1936. Nadal defeated the Scot in his second attempt at the Wimbledon semi-finals last year.
"The pressure is tough, but at the same time, the support is high," said Nadal. "So I prefer have this pressure than don't have this pressure. For sure it is very special [to] play at home. But when you go on court and see all the crowd supporting you it is something very, very emotional and very special. I would love to have this feeling."
Two of Nadal’s 10 Grand Slam championships have come at Wimbledon. He won the title for the first time in 2008 in one of the greatest-ever finals when he defeated Federer 9-7 in the fifth set after four hours and 48 minutes. The Mallorcan explained that it was the opportunity to be a part of epic sporting moments that continues to inspire him.
"When you see some emotional moments on the TV in different events around the world, tough situations, that's inspiration. And just to have the chance to live one of these moments in my sport, that's something really, really exciting for me.
"So my inspiration is every day. For me I love to play big matches. I love to play in big stadiums like here, historic stadiums like Wimbledon. So for me, tomorrow I start playing the first match of the tournament in the Centre Court; for me is a dream. Seriously, that's my inspiration, trying to live these moments."