'Rafael Nadal had a few years in which he didn't play well on...', says top coach

‘Rafael Nadal had some years where he didn’t play well at…’, says the top coach

After relatively solid performances from Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, who made it to the third round without much effort after their successes against Kokkinakis and Griekspoor, it’s up to Rafael Nadal to respond.

The Mallorcan will take on Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis on Center Court in a match that, on paper, presents few obstacles for the recent Roland Garros winner. Nadal’s match will follow Katie Boulter and Karolina Pliskova (the latter last year’s finalist) and anticipates a challenge between Coco Gauff and Mihaela Buzarnescu.

The surprise is therefore the “relegation” of world number one Iga Swiatek, who is forced to “make do” with court number one to face the Dutch Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove. The first court will also host Stefanos Tsitsipas (he will take on Jordan Thompson) and a challenge between host Jack Draper and Alex De Minaur.

The other surviving Italian (Sinner is already in the third round), Lorenzo Sonego, will play the second match on Court 14 against Hugo Gaston; followed by the amazing Maxime Cressy, the serve and volley champion. Nick Kyrgios will have to meet the crowd on Court 2 after Tuesday’s controversy, while Krajinovic will be on the other side of the net.

Paula Badosa (against Irina Báře) and Simona Halepová will also play on the same court.

Roig opens to Nadal

Former Spanish player Francisco Roig believes Rafael Nadal’s game is better suited to beating Novak Djokovic on grass than on hard court.

“After three years of not playing on grass, he got ahead on the scoreboard without playing great tennis. He played better in the second set, did more damage with the ball. With the break, the game got out of control, he lost the third and it was complicated in the fourth.

But after three years without playing on grass and in the first round, he’s fine.” He thinks that while Djokovic looks good for a fourth Wimbledon title in a row, Nadal has a strong chance of beating the three-time defending champion this fortnight.

“He’s had some years where he hasn’t played well on grass, but if he’s doing well, there are fewer opponents who can beat him on grass than on hard courts,” Roig said. “In the same way, I think he’s closer to Djokovic on this surface than on the fast one.”

(It’s) difficult (to beat) on both (surfaces) but (despite) being the favorite (at Wimbledon) there are more chances to beat him.”

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