LONDON—The beauty of watching Rafael Nadal play the game of tennis in his inimitable way is simply this: he approaches each match at every tournament he plays with the same single-minded pursuit of perfection and a fundamental respect for all his opponents, regardless of their ranking status, no matter how easy his task may appear to be. Nadal is the ultimate professional, unswerving in his integrity as a competitor, a professional through and through, and a fellow who will not surrender his hard earned reputation as an uncompromising craftsman with a will to win that is unsurpassed in his trade.
Today, the 32-year-old Spaniard opened his bid for a third title in his 13th appearance at the shrine of the sport, and took apart Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 on the Centre Court. The conditions suited him to the hilt. Much more often than not, the courts are slick during the first week, the ball is skidding through awkwardly and low, and Nadal struggles to find a rhythm. But this year in the weeks leading up to Wimbledon, the weather has been consistently hot, the sun has been shining brightly, and the courts have hardened much sooner than usual on the British grass.
Match Point—Nadal defeats Sela: