Rafael Nadal savouring return to Wimbledon, the scene of his greatest triumph.
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Two years ago Nadal enjoyed the greatest moment of his career when he defeated Roger Federer over five pulsating, emotionally sapping sets in an epic encounter which many regard as the greatest match of all time.
For a player who had grown up honing his game on the red clay of Mallorca, it was an astonishing achievement. No player had achieved the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double in the same year since Bjorn Borg back in 1980 until Nadal stepped up during the glorious summer of 2008 for Spanish sport.
Reflecting back on his achievement ahead of the 2010 championships, Nadal said, “Winning the title at Wimbledon probably is one of the more emotional moments in my career because I worked hard all my life to improve my tennis on the rest of the surfaces other than clay. When I did it, it was after all the work I did to play well, to be a more complete player and play well on all the surfaces, and I won on the most difficult surface. And at probably the most important tournament of the world. So it was very important for me."
However there was a cruel twist. Nadal’s chronic knee problems prevented him from defending his title a year later and in his absence, arch-rival Roger Federer won for the sixth time on the lawns of SW19.
With Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro on the rise, many were writing Nadal off. He went nearly a year without a title on the tour but during the 2010 clay-court season, the Spaniard hit back in devastating fashion.
Along the way to winning Monte-Carlo, Rome, Madrid and the French Open he dropped just one set and looked virtually invincible.
Feliciano Lopez gave Nadal’s challengers at Wimbledon a brief glimmer of hope by defeating the world number one at Queens but for many, the Spaniard is odds on favourite to triumph again on July 4th.
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