Rafael Nadal says he is “feeling great” after he was in close contact with Matteo Berrettini who withdrew from Wimbledon after contracting Covid-19.
The Spaniard spent time preparing with Berrettini on Centre Court last Thursday to give them time to adapt to the surface, but he says he's fine despite the Italian having been forced out of the Championships on the eve of the first round.
“It is difficult to be in close contact when you are outside, when you are practicing,” said Nadal. “For the moment I am feeling great, no problems at all. The main thing is I feel very sorry for him because he was playing fantastic, winning two tournaments before the tournament started. He's a very good colleague on tour. We know each other well.
“I know how sad he will probably feel today. I'm sorry for him. Wish him a quick recovery. He was unlucky, without a doubt.”
The 22-time Grand Slam champion progressed to the second round on Tuesday after having to dig deep to beat Argentine Francisco Cerundolo. The 36-year-old defeated his opponent 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 on Centre Court. He admitted after the match that Cerundolo was a tough test, especially since Nadal had not featured on grass since 2019.
“Difficult, yeah, but that was expected because I didn't play on grass for three years,” Nadal explained. “The positive thing is I finished the match playing well. The last couple of games I raised my level without a doubt. That gave me the chance to end with a victory. But, yeah, a very positive match for me. Of course, there is an important room to keep improving, but I am sure this match is going to help.”
Nadal also spoke about Serena Williams after it was revealed she had named her dog after him because he inspires her. And while Williams exited the Women's Singles at the first-round stage, Nadal insists the feeling remains mutual.
“It's great to hear these beautiful things from probably one of the biggest female athletes in the history of sport in general," he said. “And it's great that she's trying to come back. The only thing that shows is passion and love for the game. After all the things that she achieved, and a long period of time being injured, it's so difficult to try to come back.
“Just being here shows that she has a lot of love for her work and for this game. And I think that's a great example.”
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