2022 Hurlingham Club Rafael Nadal bt. Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3
Next match: 24 June, at 2:30 pm (local time), Rafael Nadal v Felix Auger-Aliassime
LONDON (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal played his first grass-court match in three years on Wednesday and the Spaniard says a couple of exhibition games at the Hurlingham Club is the perfect preparation for Wimbledon, where he will bid for a third straight Grand Slam this season.
Nadal won the Australian and French Opens back-to-back for the first time and a win at Wimbledon, where the main draw kicks off on Monday, will take him a step closer to becoming the first man to win all four majors in the same year since Rod Laver in 1969.
The Spaniard, who had not played a competitive match on grass since his 2019 semi-final loss at Wimbledon to Roger Federer, beat Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 on Wednesday and said it was good to get the feel of the surface again.
"It has been a while without playing on grass," he told reporters. "Since 2019 I haven't been able to play on grass through the tough moments we went through with the pandemic and last year I got injured.
"I am older now - I can't manage to play so many matches. For me it is perfect to play a couple of matches here before Wimbledon starts. That helps me to feel at least some competition before Wimbledon."
Nadal, who holds a men's record 22 Grand Slam titles, has struggled with a chronic foot injury over the last year and had pain-killing injections prior to each match at Roland Garros.
The 36-year-old underwent radio frequency treatment after his French Open victory and said the pain had subsided.
"I don't know how he is feeling, it looks like normal Rafa," said three-time major champion Wawrinka. "He has been saying he is feeling better and if he is playing he is ready to play his best and to win."
Photos: Getty Images; Rex; Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic
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