Nadal ready for Wimbledon challenge

Rafael Nadal insists there is no chance that his French Open thrashing of Roger Federer will quench his thirst for success at Wimbledon.

updated: June 15, 2008 18:11 IST
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Rafael Nadal insists there is no chance that his French Open thrashing of Roger Federer will quench his thirst for success at Wimbledon.

Nadal could have been forgiven for resting on his laurels after clinching a fourth successive Roland Garros title and handing Federer one of the most humiliating defeats of his career in the process.

The world number two celebrated his latest Parisian conquest with a champagne dinner with his family on Sunday evening. But it wasn't long before the Spaniard began to plot victory over the Swiss at Wimbledon as well.

By the time his train was pulling out of the Gare du Nord and heading towards London, Nadal had wiped away any last traces of clay court dust from his shoes and was turning his attention to the lush lawns of Queen's Club and Wimbledon.

There was no sign of any hangover from those champagne-fuelled celebrations in the more sober environment of Queen's as Nadal started his grass-court campaign with a 6-2, 6-2 second round win over Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman on Wednesday.

It was the kind of ruthless victory that Nadal has made his trademark on clay and is now becoming increasingly familiar on grass. Still, the left-hander admits match practice is essential to put him in prime condition to overthrow Federer at the All-England Club.

"If I can have a very good result here it is going to be very important for me. But if I play some matches, that's the most important thing, to prepare for a good Wimbledon.

"The important thing is to arrive there playing well. It's going to be very important in the first matches. If you can win the first two, three matches, later is a little bit easier.

"Especially if there is sun, it will be easier because the court is a little bit more tougher, a little bit more easy for me to play.

"I know the grass is a difficult surface for me, but probably I play my best tennis in this surface too."

Losing successive Wimbledon finals to Federer has left a stain on Nadal's CV that he wishes to erase this year.

The Mallorca-based star enjoys the unique atmosphere of Wimbledon more than any other tournament and made it clear how much a first success there would mean to him.

"The final last year in Wimbledon was the best and worst moment on grass for me. I played an unbelievable match, but at the same time I lost a good chance to win my favorite tournament," he said.

"For me is important to play good in every surface. Grass is another surface. Wimbledon is a very important tournament and so is improving on every surface.

"I am still young. I have to continuing improve. I have four Grand Slams already and I want to have more, if it's possible, on a different surface."