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Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal won't shun grass surfaces


Injury woes: Rafael Nadal has endured several knee problems

Injury woes: Rafael Nadal has endured several knee problems

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Injury woes: Rafael Nadal has endured several knee problems

Rafael Nadal will keep on playing at Wimbledon even if it risks shortening his career, according to the 14-time grand slam winner's coach Toni. Nadal's uncle said the clay-court supremo, on a revenge mission against his one-time conqueror Lukas Rosol today, will not countenance avoiding Wimbledon in a bid to lessen the damage to his long-term knee problems.

Toni Nadal said that the two-time Wimbledon winner has shaken off a host of knee-joint concerns to approach this year's tournament in rude health.

The nine-time French Open king suffered a first-round exit last year and second-round slump in 2012.

He has encountered pain when playing on grass in the past, but the world number one's coach said playing and winning Wimbledon was a lifelong "dream" that Nadal will not forego at any point in his career.

"Last year he lost in the first round, and it's the same – we want to play here," said Toni. "For us it's very important to play here, it's a dream for us.

"When Rafael was young my dream was that he could win at least once here. Every year when we come here it's a dream, and we'll try to keep coming.

"If we play badly this year we'll come back next year, so still we have a little chance to have a good tournament when we come here.

"When he's good, his knees and his body, then grass court is a good court for us.

"We'll always come back, the knees are not an issue in that, sometimes he has played with problems in the past, and we could do that again."

Nadal will face Rosol, knowing exactly what to expect.

The Czech knocked him out at the same stage in 2012, causing a stunning upset, and Toni admits Rosol poses a tough assignment but confirmed his 28-year-old charge from Mallorca is ready for the challenge.

"You want to play here, and it's a special tournament," said Toni.

"People said Rafael doesn't play well here, but that's because people have a short memory.

"We made the final in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. Five finals before knee problems."

Nadal is closing in on Roger Federer's record haul of 17 men's grand slam titles, but Uncle Toni said: "We don't think about four more, or the record. We have many fantastic victories – anything more would be amazing."

Belfast Telegraph