HALLE, Germany: Newly-crowned French Open champion Rafael Nadal was quickly back in training on Monday, but this time on the grasscourts of Halle as the preparations for Wimbledon swung into top gear.
Nadal took his ninth Roland Garros title in Paris on Sunday when he defeated Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in a bruising final that saw him bothered by leg cramps in the fourth set.
But, determined to add a third Wimbledon title to his growing collection of Grand Slam wins, the 28-year-old Spaniard opted to ignore his tiredness and taste the grass instead.
He had a brief 30 minutes session on one of the outside courts before leaving the stadium.
Nadal, who pulled out of the tournament before the start last year after winning for the eighth time at Roland Garros, is the top seed with Roger Federer as second seed.
Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, seen as a real threat at Wimbledon, is also in the draw as is Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Richard Gasquet of France.
Nadal has a bye in the first round and will play Dustin Brown in the second round after the German won through on Monday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia.
That revived German hopes somewhat after the news that veteran Tommy Haas had pulled out with a shoulder injury which also cast doubts over his chances of playing at Wimbledon.
“I could hardly hit a ball in practice and so it would have been ridiculous to have tried to play here,” he said.
“Whether there is any hope I will be fit in time to play at Wimbledon, even I do not know. I will try to get better by consulting a specialist but I think the chances are very small.
Another German winner in early action on Monday was Philipp Kohlschreiber who defeated Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 6-4.
But there was an upset in the defeat of last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz of Poland who lost 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France.