2013 Wimbledon Profile: Rafael Nadal

by: Tennis.com | June 21, 2013

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Prior to his shocking second-round upset to Lukas Rosol last season, Rafael Nadal reaching the final was almost as certain as the sight of the Fred Perry statue playing the forehand. Nadal contested five consecutive Wimbledon finals before Rosol snapped the streak last June. Rafa’s responded to a shattering defeat with a convincing comeback and returns to Wimbledon as one of the favorites. Grass rewards athleticism, and Nadal’s agility, court coverage and astonishing accuracy squeezing shots inside the lines when stretched out on the run are all assets. Considering Nadal played grass-court tune-up tournaments before all five trips to the Wimbledon final and enters SW19 without a grass-court match since the Rosol upset and you can argue he’s vulnerable to a big server. Riding a 22-match winning streak into Wimbledon with seven titles this season, Nadal will be ready to go deep in the draw yet again.

Why He’ll Win:
Nadal owns an .806 career winning percentage on grass. He has had time to recharge after Roland Garros and will be pumped up to improve upon his 2012 second-round exit.

Why He Won’t:
When his returns land short, Nadal can be tested by big servers in the early rounds. He arrives at SW19 without having played a grass-court match since losing to Rosol.

Bottom Line:
Nadal is on a 43-2 tear. On grass, Nadal transitions from defense to offense quickly, and if his serve and return are clicking early, he is a title contender.

 

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