Nadal misses former sparring partner Federer on return from Wimbledon | Tennis News



LONDON: Rafael Nadal returns to Wimbledon for the first time in three years but it will seem a little strange for the Spaniard who, for the first time in All England Clubwill not have sparring partner Roger Federer for company.
Their epic rivalry includes three successive Wimbledon finals from 2006 – the first two won by Federer and the last by Nadal in unforgettable fashion in 2008.
Federer played juniors at Wimbledon in 1998 and has returned every year since, winning a record eight titles and establishing himself as the king of the lawns.
But the 40-year-old will be out this year as Nadal, 36, looks to continue his quest for a calendar-year Grand Slam, having won the Australian Open and French Open to boost his number. major tournaments to a record 22. .
Federer’s absence due to a knee injury that sidelined him for a year will leave Wimbledon a bit empty.
Nadal acknowledges that without the Swiss raising the bar, his own achievements might not have been possible.
“I mean, we shared a lot of important things together,” second seed Nadal told reporters on Saturday. “It’s hard in some ways to think about tennis of the last 15, 20 years without thinking about the rivalry we have.
“I think in a way we push each other. I’ve always wanted to think that my motivation never comes to me because of other people, that it’s self-motivation.
“But, of course, having someone like him, as a rival, that he’s incredibly good, helps to let you know the things you need to do better.”
Federer has hinted that he will make a post-Wimbledon comeback with an eye on the US Open which could see Nadal complete his collection against the Swiss great.
“We played in all the big stadiums, but not in New York, it’s the only thing that bothers me a bit, that we never played in New York,” Nadal said.
Nadal’s appearance at Wimbledon has been put in doubt due to a foot injury that forced him to receive an anesthetic injection at Roland Garros just to skip his matches.
A minor surgery since has allowed him to play without terrible pain, but the Spaniard said he is unsure if the injury will flare up again.
“I can’t tell you if I’m going to be in this positive moment for a week, for two days or for three months,” he said.
Of course, the treatment I did didn’t fix my injury, it didn’t improve my injury at all, but it can ease the pain a little. This is the main objective.
“In the past two weeks, I haven’t had a terrible day where I couldn’t move at all. Of course, some days are better, some days are a bit worse.”
Nadal opens his quest for a third Wimbledon title against Argentine debutant Francisco Cerundolo.


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