New Mallorca grass courts give Rafa extra home training base
Rafael Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni Nadal revealed yesterday that his nephew will train for Wimbledon on the first set of grass courts ever laid down on his home island of Mallorca.
The turf, installed under supervision of All England Club grass gurus, will host a new WTA event from June 11-19, the Mallorca Open. The venue will be the new Santa Ponsa tennis club, currently in the final construction phase for the breakthrough WTA tournament. Headlining will be Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, German Julia Goerges, Italy’s Sara Errani, former number, one Jelena Jankovic and Slovak Daniela Hantuchova.
The courts were baptised Tuesday with a hit-out featuring Ana Ivanovic plus local Mallorcan Carlos Moya, the one-time mentor to Rafael Nadal and a former world number one who now coaches Milos Raonic.
Also on hand: Toni Nadal, who helped bring the unique grass idea to reality alongside Austrian tournament director Edwin Weindorfer, whose grass-court Mercedes Cup will hold its second edition the week before in Stuttgart. “For us, it’s a perfect idea to be able to come here so close to home and get ready for Wimbledon,” said the elder Nadal, while his nephew trained at his new tennis academy at the family village of Manacor. “Before, we had to do elsewhere to find grass - now we have some courts. For sure after Roland Garros, we will be here.”
Toni Nadal also confirmed that his nephew and Muguruza will comprise the Spanish mixed doubles team at the Rio Olympics in August. “Rafael want to play in all three Olympic events. The team may not be as strong as (Swiss) Martina Hingis and Roger Federer, but it can still be competitive.
“Nothing is easy at the Olympics. I hope we have some possibilities.”