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Fired-up Nadal gives Spain a boost after World Cup heartbreak

By Robert Jones

Rafael Nadal helped to bring a smile back to the crestfallen face of Spanish sport after making a bright start at Wimbledon.

A 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory over Israel's Dudi Sela, a player with an attractive backhand but lacking the tools to really threaten, was a solid opening to Nadal's campaign.

Hopes that his country had of World Cup glory were shattered by Russia in a gripping penalty shoot-out on Sunday in Moscow.

But Nadal has already given Spain plenty to be proud of this summer with an 11th French Open title last month, and the 32-year-old is aiming to justify his status as the world number one in London.

A decade on from beating Roger Federer in their classic Wimbledon final, Nadal is firmly established as an all-time great, but ambition still burns deep within the left-hander from Majorca.

Nadal, aiming to add to the Wimbledon titles he landed in 2008 and 2010, said: "It's great to be out here at Wimbledon. I'm happy to be through.

"There's still room to improve but after a while without playing on grass it's very important to start with a straight victory," he added.

"I think I went to the net a couple of times and when I had a chance on my forehand I think I took advantage.

"It's the first round and not easy. It's never easy but especially here on grass without playing a match before."

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