Wimbledon | Knowing that quarterfinal will be tough match, I have to play at higher level: Rafael Nadal

Spain’s Rafael Nadal defeated Netherlands’ Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6) in straight sets and will face American Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals.

Rafael Nadal celebrates after reaching the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. (courtesy: AP)

highlighted

  • Rafael Nadal won the round of 16 match in straight sets
  • Nadal will face Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals
  • Nadal has won Wimbledon only twice – in 2008 and 2010

Rafael Nadal has become the third man at the age of 36 or older to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in the Open Era. The Spaniard, who is aiming for a rare calendar-year Grand Slam, knows a last-16 match will be “tough” and he will have to play at a “high level” to reach the last four.

Nadal defeated Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6) in straight sets and will face American Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals.

Nadal said after the match, “I am very aware that this will be a difficult match where I have to play at a high level to substitute (to win).”

“But I’m also a realist. We’re in the quarter-finals and you can’t expect to play in the quarter-finals against an easy opponent in a tournament like Wimbledon.

“I have to accept the rest and in the end I have to play at a very good level to go into the next (round) and if I don’t I will go home without any problem and wait for the next one to come.”

The road to the quarterfinals hasn’t been an easy one for Nadal, who has been battling a chronic leg injury. The 22-time Grand Slam champion had to go numb in Paris earlier this year to win his 14th French Open title.

“After the things I went through in the last few months, it takes a lot of mental and physical effort to try to play this tournament.

Nadal, who has won Wimbledon only twice – in 2008 and 2010, returned to the championship after three years as the 2020 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Spaniard was absent from the 2021 edition.

“But as everyone knows, Wimbledon is a tournament that I love very much. (I) have gone three years without playing here. I really wanted to come back. That’s what I’ve been doing. So it’s a lot for me. It matters. Be in that quarter-final.”