Rafa and Berrettini train on Centre Court in an historic first

───   MORGAN PIEK 08:38 Fri, 24 Jun 2022

Rafa and Berrettini train on Centre Court in an historic first | News Article
Rafael Nadal - Steven Paston/ PA

The 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal’s participation at Wimbledon is pretty much guaranteed. Following his win at Roland Garros for his record-extending 14th French Open title the King of Clay could not guarantee that he would play at SW19.

Following two rounds of medical treatment, the 36-year-old Spanish star flew to London before committing to playing at Wimbledon. Nadal suffered with pain in his foot during the clay-court Grand Slam and it cast a shadow of doubt over his fitness heading into the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament.

On Thursday, Nadal and last year’s losing finalist, Matteo Berrettini, wrote their own piece of Wimbledon history by becoming the first ever players to play a practice match on Centre Court.

The pair played a warm-up match lasting 45 minutes.

Last year there was an issue with the court being too slippery and this led to players such as the 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams of the USA, and Adrian Mannarino of France falling during the opening rounds. This led to both players having to retire from their matches at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

The idea behind Nadal and Berrettini playing on the Centre Court was to wear in the surface slightly in order to prevent retirements at the grass court slam.

Nadal has been seeded second for Wimbledon which gets underway on Monday. The draw for Wimbledon will be conducted on Friday morning.

Morgan Piek/OFM Sport

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