Nadal Pledges to Win Wimbledon
Thursday, 23 June, 2005
The agony of defeat was clearly etched on Rafael Nadal's face as he strode to the net for the traditional end-of-match handshake with his vanquisher. It remained there as he strode off court to wild applause, waving to the crowd which had taken him to their hearts.
With his shoulder-length black hair held in place by a bandana, rippling muscles, and sleeveless shirt, it isn't surprising that Nadal has set a lot of teenage and matronly hearts pulsating this week. Not since the early 1970s when Bjorn Borg strode the hallowed lawns of the AELTC, has a teenager attracted so much attention.
Nadal, the French Open champion, may well have been disappointed but at no point since his arrival had he prophesised that, even as the fourth seed, he should be considered a contender. In years to come perhaps but not this year. As Nadal himself said before the match, "There are better players here like Federer, Hewitt, Henman and Roddick. Every match here is difficult, and while I think I am playing good on grass, I know every match is different."
But the signs are that he is a quick learner and frankly, there can be little doubt that this 19-year-old from Mallorca will emulate the great Swede and win both the French and Wimbledon in the same year. He could even go one stage further and collect the US Open title, a feat Borg, much to his frustration, never achieved.
Having accepted his fate, the usually fierce looking youngster was all smiles, cheekily admitting that he needs to improve 'some things' and listed them as follows: "I am improving myself. I think when I improve a lot of myself, I can win a lot of matches here because I am fast. I need to improve my volley; I need to improve my serve: I need to improve my confidence with the game on grass. And for that I need to play a lot of matches." He added through an interpreter, "I need to play more, train more. This used to happen to me two years ago on clay. I think that when you are developing, you are evolving, you learn to live the moment."
It wasn't surprising to then learn that he declared in his native tongue, "My ambition now, until the day I die, is to win Wimbledon." That day will surely come
lol, good luck.
I normally can't stand Nadal. He usually fuels my fire of hatred for him. But I must admit, at least he isn't pulling a Safin saying stuff like, "I give up. Grass is stupid... I hate it." Such strong words for a 19 year old.
Do I think he's going to do it? No.