Rafael Nadal beat three-time Major winner Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 in an exhibition game at the Hurlingham Classic in his first match on grass since 2019.
Nadal missed out on Wimbledon last year due to a chronic foot condition but looked in good shape in front of 1,300 spectators in Fulham, west London on Wednesday afternoon.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner says he was pleased with how he performed and believes the matches at Hurlingham will prove to be beneficial ahead of Wimbledon which gets underway on June 27.
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“It has been a while without playing on grass,” he said.
"Since 2019 I haven’t been able to play on grass through the tough moments we went through with the pandemic and last year I got injured. So I am excited to be back where we are today. It has always been a pleasure playing here in Hurlingham. It is special to be back.
“Honestly for me it is positive to play a couple of matches before the competition starts at Wimbledon. I used to play at Queen’s a long time ago now.
"I am older now - I can’t manage to play so many matches. For me it is perfect to play a couple of matches here before Wimbledon starts. That helps me to feel at least some competition before Wimbledon.”
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Wawrinka, who has been given a Wimbledon wild card, said he was playing "normal Rafa" and did not feel he looked affected by his foot problem.
“I don’t know how he is feeling, it looks like normal Rafa," the Swiss said.
"He has been saying he is feeling better and if he is playing he is ready to play his best and to win. I think Rafa any time he enters a Grand Slam is going to be one of the favourites if not the favourite.
"He won the first two Slams of the year without too many matches before those grand Slams so he got a lot of confidence so of course he is part of the favourites."
Later in the day at Hurlingham, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic thrashed Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2 6-1.
Auger-Aliassime said afterwards: "He was a lot better than me for sure. It was a difficult day on the court.
In his post-match press conference, he added: "He was on it. He was playing well. I was struggling with my serve quite a lot. Novak I felt like he was striking the ball well and returning the ball well from the first game."
Highlights: Djokovic claims first grass season win over Auger-Aliassime at Hurlingham
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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