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Hungry Nadal Hoping For Wimbledon Feast

On paper, the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, which start on Monday, could be Rafael Nadal's best chance in years to win another title at the All England Club. The Spaniard has won 24 of his past 25 matches, including three titles – Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and the Mutua Madrid Open – en route to his 10th Roland Garros crown during the European clay-court swing.

He's been healthy all season long, has posted a 43-6 record so far and appears to be in good health heading into his 12th Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal chases No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings at Wimbledon.
“You can imagine playing here in Wimbledon for me has always been very, very special. It was one of the biggest goals that I had when I started to have success in this sport, to play well in this tournament,” Nadal said in his pre-tournament press conference on Saturday. “Let's see what's going on this year. I know it is always difficult. I am excited to be playing again here, in a tournament that I really love, I really enjoy playing. But at the same time I tell you, it is a tournament that you can go out very early in the tournament.”

Indeed, Nadal has either been wide smile or quick exit at SW19. From 2006-2011, the Spaniard reached the final five consecutive times, hoisting the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy twice – 2008 and 2010. But Nadal has also failed to reach the quarter-finals six times at Wimbledon. He missed the tournament last year because of a left wrist injury.

Besides his wrist, Nadal's knees have also hampered him on grass. “It's true that what happened with my knees in 2012 was more difficult. At the same time it's true that in 2014 I played a good event. I lost in the fourth round against Nick. But I had my chances, too. After that, last year I couldn't play, 2015 was not my year, of course,” Nadal said. “But at the same time, if I am able to go through at the beginning, I think I am with confidence. I am playing well since the beginning of the season, so let's see.”

Nadal was scheduled to start his grass-court season last week at the Aegon Championships at The Queen's Club. But he decided to rest instead after his nonstop clay-court season. Last week, he practised on grass courts on his home island of Mallorca, which was hosting a WTA event.

“After the last three months and after what happened in Roland Garros, we decided that for my body it's better to have a slower change to the grass. We were practising little bit more every day. I was lucky to have a tournament there in Mallorca. That was a big help,” Nadal said.

He will have extra incentive to do well this year at Wimbledon. Regardless of how his peers fare, if Nadal reaches his sixth Wimbledon final, he will return to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since 23 June 2014.

The odds are good that at least one of the “Big Four” members will win the title. Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have swept the past 14 Wimbledon titles. Nadal faces World No. 137 John Millman of Australia in the first round.

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/nadal-wimbledon-2017-press

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