Rafael Nadal is hoping to end an eight-year wait for a title at the All England Club as he won the second-round against Mikhail Kukushkin this afternoon.
The Spaniard has won yet another one to move onto the third round at Wimbledon. Nadal is in the opposite half of the draw to Roger Federer meaning the pair could meet in a blockbuster repeat of the final back in 2008.
But Nadal has other priorities over the next fortnight – and the key one is to remain fully fit. The world No 1 suffered a hip injury earlier this year and he does have any intention of repeating the problem which kept him sidelined for three months.
Nadal, 32, won the French Open last month – the 17th Grand Slam victory of his career.
That’s three less than his great rival Federer, who is four years older than the Spaniard.
Neither Nadal or Federer have revealed exactly when they will quit but there are suggestions the Swiss could call it a day after the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The strain on Nadal’s body has been immense – his battling style has put huge stress on his troublesome knees – but hanging up his racket doesn’t seem to be in his thoughts.
Ahead of his second round clash with Mikhail Kukushkin at Wimbledon, Nadal said: “I am 32. I don’t know for how long I going to play. Hopefully for a long time.”
“I repeat: for me the most important thing is being healthy,” Nadal said,
“That’s the priority always.”
Nadal returned from his injury to win four clay-court titles including the French Open.
But he decided against playing any ATP grass events in the build-up to Wimbledon to allow his body the best time to recover.
“Because if I play too much, then I come here, all the questions are: Why you are not playing less? Now I play less and the question is: Why you are not playing?” he added.
“I had a long clay court season, a lot of matches. As you know, I had a lot of problems in terms of physical injuries during my career.
“Of course, I will love to play on Queen’s. That was my schedule agenda. But after playing the final of Roland Garros and playing so many matches on clay, for my knees, the drastic changes are not good.
“So we decided to stop a couple of days, then to start step by step on the grass.
“I did the same last year. Worked well. I lost here in the fourth round. But I felt I was in a position to fight for important things.”