Nadal upbeat for Wimbledon push

Andover Advertiser: Rafael Nadal hopes he will be able to play better on grass this year (AP) Rafael Nadal hopes he will be able to play better on grass this year (AP)

Rafael Nadal believes he has more chance of performing well at Wimbledon this year after finishing the clay stretch in customary style with a ninth French Open crown.

The Spaniard extended his remarkable record to 66 wins and only one defeat at Roland Garros with a 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 victory over Novak Djokovic to move level with Pete Sampras on 14 grand slam titles.

Nadal won two titles and made three more finals at Wimbledon between 2006 and 2011 but on his last two visits he has won just one match.

In 2012 he was stunned in the second round by Lukas Rosol while last year he failed to win a set against Steve Darcis in his first match.

With only two weeks between tournaments, adjusting to a surface that troubles his knee and recovering from his efforts in Paris is very tough for Nadal.

Last year he missed the warm-up tournament in Halle but will head to Germany on Monday and is hopeful the transition will at least be better this time around.

He said: "I want to try to play well again at Wimbledon.

"I'm healthy. That's the most important thing. I hope my knee will have the positive feeling on grass, because I feel my knee better than last year on the rest of the surfaces.

"Grass always was a little bit harder for me after the injury. Last year I tried, but I was not ready enough to compete at Wimbledon. Let's see how my feeling is there this year, but it's a very important tournament.

"It's a tournament I really love so much, so after the match of today and after how tired I am, after a little bit the back problem that I had during the whole tournament, I'm not in the strongest position to go to Halle.

"But I missed it last year. I don't want to miss it two years in a row. At the same time, it's the right way to prepare for Wimbledon. So I really want to do it and try my best there.

"I know probably the result will not be the perfect one there, because the days of preparation are not the right ones."

Djokovic had hoped to become only the eighth man to win all four grand slam titles but leaves Paris licking his wounds once again having lost to Nadal for the third straight year.

It was also a fifth defeat in his last six grand slam finals for the Serbian, who hired Boris Becker as his head coach to try to give him an extra edge in the biggest matches.

Djokovic said: "T he crucial points he played better. I wasn't playing at the level that I wanted, especially in the second part of the match.

"Congratulations to him. Of course it's disappointing for me, but life goes on. It's not the first time or last time that I lost a match."

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