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Nadal: Early Loss Is Setback For Wimbledon

Halle, Germany

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal has lost three straight matches on grass.

Rafael Nadal is concerned that his early exit from the Gerry Weber Open could make it tougher to win a third Wimbledon title.

In a match in which German opponent Dustin Brown served big on first and second serves and kept the points short, Nadal never found rhythm in his first grass match of the season. He suffered a 6-4, 6-1 loss and will not play another tour-level match before the start of The Championships.

“I was able to play very well on grass in the past,” said Nadal, who reached five straight Wimbledon finals he contested between 2006-’11 (he did not play in 2009) and won the title twice (2008, '10).

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"But to play well on grass the most important thing is to play matches. You need to play with confidence… [and] you need to adjust. The only way to adjust is by playing matches and winning matches.”

Nadal plans to spend a few days away from training at home in Mallorca before heading to Wimbledon on Wednesday to begin practise. The World No.1 is also considering playing in an exhibition match in London to help with his grass-court preparation.

In better news for the Spaniard, Nadal said that he expected to be in much better physical shape at The Championships this year than he was in 2012 (l. Rosol in the second round) and in 2013 (l. Darcis in the first round).

"I don’t count 2012 like a loss,” the left-hander said. “I was totally injured from my knee. I didn’t play anything for seven months. Last year I tried. I was not well enough. And this year, talking about my knee, I’m much better than last year. I lost today because my rival was playing better than me.”

Nadal, who ahead of the match identified Brown as a tricky opening-round opponent, said that it was difficult to take any positives away from the defeat.

“It was the worst draw possible against a player like this. It’s very difficult to talk about the match because I don’t know what to say. I didn’t play. My opponent always served over 200kph with his first and second serves. So, that can happen on this surface if you face an opponent like this.

"I tried but my serve was not good enough. At the same time he changed the dynamic completely. For four games he really didn’t put many returns on the court and then suddenly he was playing winners from the return. So, it’s difficult to analyse these kind of matches.”

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Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Rafael Nadal

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