He conquered the clay courts of Roland Garros for a record-extending 12th time, but now Rafael Nadal has set his sights on a third Wimbledon title.
Once considered the second-best grass-court player in the world behind Roger Federer, Nadal’s knees have prevented him from playing at his best on the All England Club lawns since reaching a fifth straight final in 2011.
Unlike high-bouncing clay, the ball bounces lower on grass and forces players to bend their legs more, placing strain on Nadal’s already vulnerable knees.
But the two-time Wimbledon winner has found a way to impress again on grass over the last two years, losing an epic fourth-round clash in 2017 to Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller and coming within a whisker of reaching the final after a classic encounter with Novak Djokovic in last year’s semifinals.
“I felt myself ready to go all the way,” Nadal told CNN Sport in an exclusive interview at his tennis academy in Manacor, Mallorca ahead of this season.