The king of clay ‘Nadal Debuts’, who had not played at Wimbledon since 2019, won 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in three hours and 33 minutes
Wimbledon – Rafa Nadal, seeded number two, made his debut on Tuesday at the Wimbledon grass tournament beating Argentine Francisco Cerúndolo, who waged battle by starting a set against the Spaniard in a difficult first match. The king of clay, who had not played at Wimbledon since 2019, prevailed 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in three hours and 33 minutes of rocky confrontation on the center court of the All England Club londoner The Argentine made his Wimbledon debut 19 years after the Spaniard had made it. “Fran started playing very well and has been a great rival,” Nadal later acknowledged before an audience that stood up to applaud the two players.
“Today has been a very important test for me,” he added, grateful that this victory allows him to continue improving his game on the pitch. “It’s not a surface we play on very often” and “in the last three years I hadn’t stepped on grass,” explained the world number 4. Champion of 22 Grand Slams, Nadal, who has won the English tournament twice (2008 and 2010), had to find solutions to the fast and accurate drive of the Argentine, 23 years old and number 41 in the world, who was playing his first match in Wimbledon before a legend and on center court. That did not prevent him from raising some difficulties for the Spanish star, 36 years old and apparently no longer in pain from a degenerative disease that he suffers from in his left foot.
Despite not shining particularly well on serve, Cerundolo recovered several breaks in his service and maintained long exchanges pushing Nadal into error, who slipped on one occasion and fell to the grass.
The Argentine, who reached the semi-finals in Miami, was especially intractable in the third set and broke his opponent’s serve again at the start of the fourth.
But he ended up succumbing to the speed and aggressiveness of the Spaniard, who after winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros, is halfway in his ambition to add four Grand Slams in one year.