sport news Rafael Nadal's a smash hit on his return to grass - as the Spaniard sends an ... trends now
It had taken three years, but Rafael Nadal was back on a grass court on Wednesday and looking deadly serious about the third leg of his calendar Grand Slam bid.
'I haven't been able to play on grass through tough moments we went through with the pandemic and last year I got injured so I am excited to be back,' he told a tightly packed crowd of 1,500.
Rafael Nadal (above) looks deadly serious about the third leg of his calendar Grand Slam bid
He beat Stan Wawrinka (above left) 6-2, 6-2 at the Hurlingham Club in Fulham on Wednesday
It was Nadal's first match on grass for three years - and he looked good ahead of Wimbledon
Equally convincing was Wimbledon's defending champion Novak Djokovic, another who has opted for rest and more gentle preparation for the big fortnight.
These occasions are some way short of full-blooded competition, but Nadal still looked extremely sharp with no sign that the most famous foot in tennis is giving him trouble.
The last time he properly stepped on the turf was when Roger Federer beat him in the 2019 semi-finals — what may yet go down as the last time the two great rivals faced each other.
Nadal moved on Wednesday almost as if he had never been away, and his timing was on from the start.
It is difficult to believe that Nadal would have travelled to London unless he thinks he is a serious contender for SW19, and it certainly looked that way.
Wawrinka, three times a Grand Slam champion himself, was left in no doubt about the Spaniard's