hi INDiA Copyright 2022
LONDON, June 25
Rafa Nadal returns to Wimbledon for the first time in three years but it will feel a little odd for the Spaniard who, for the first time at the All England Club, will not have sparring partner Roger Federer for company.
Their epic rivalry includes three successive Wimbledon finals from 2006 — the first two won by Federer and the last by Nadal in unforgettable fashion in 2008.
Federer played in the juniors at Wimbledon in 1998 and has been back every year since, winning a record eight titles and establishing himself as the king of the lawns.
But the 40-year-old will be absent this year as the 36-year-old Nadal seeks to continue his quest for the calendar year Grand Slam, having won the Australian Open and French Open to take his haul of Majors to a record 22.
Federer’s absence because of a knee injury that has sidelined him for a year will leave Wimbledon a little empty.
Nadal acknowledges that without the Swiss raising the bar, his own achievements might not have been possible. “I mean, we shared lot of important things together,” second seed Nadal said. “It’s difficult in some ways to think of tennis in the last 15, 20 years without thinking about the rivalry that we have. I think in some way we push each other. …to have somebody like him, like a rival, that he’s amazingly good, helps you to let you know the things that you have to do better,” he added. — Reuters