Rafael Nadal has a simple explanation for becoming the first player since Bjorn Borg to twice successfully win the French Open and Wimbledon titles within the space of a month.
After a couple of five set examinations earlier in the Championships, Nadal proved as dominant on the All England Club’s grass as he did on the clay of Roland Garros to claim the eighth Grand Slam title of his career.
Nadal insisted there is no secret formula in mastering what many insist is the most tricky transformation in the sport of tennis and said: “If you really want to play well, then you are going to find a way.
“Winning here at Wimbledon on grass always was my dream. All my life playing was a big goal for me. I have very good thing to play here on grass and that is the movement. I move well on this court, and that's very important part of the game.
“But sure, the main thing is I really want to improve in every surface. I have enough illusion to play well on grass after winning Roland Garros. I know how difficult is to change and to adapt from clay to grass but that is why I went from winning the title in Paris on the Sunday to practicing on grass at Queen’s Club on Monday.”
Nadal admitted he felt distinct anxiety when he took the court against Berdych even though he was overwhelming favorite. His two previous Wimbledon finals saw him in a distinctly different situation against Roger Federer but he said: “If you are not nervous in the final of Wimbledon, you are not human. Today I was a little bit more nervous than usual. Plus I was a little bit lucky on few moments with the breakpoints.”
The upcoming US Open remains the only Grand Slam title he has yet to claim but Nadal is insistent he will not be contemplating the rigors of New York and the cement courts that cause his knees such trouble for another couple of weeks. Sadly he will also be unable to travel to South Africa if his beloved Spanish football team manages to reach next weekend’s World Cup finals.
“I must have treatment right now on the knees,” he said. “I have to have serious work while at the same time to try to ready for the American season. But I am a crazy fan of football and a big follower of the Spanish team. I would love to go down there but I don’t think it will be possible. So I will be following them from Majorca.”
Berdych was full of praise for his opponent. “He was really good,” said the Czech. “He was strong. He can play more aggressive on the faster court here, on the grass. It just makes him really dangerous. I think the biggest difference between us was that when he got a chance, he just took it.”
And the finalist admitted he struggled to devise a game plan to trouble the world no.1. He added: “You know you are going to face the toughest opponent and it's really tough to find out some special tactic. He can play really with a lot of spin, which seems to allow him not to make any mistakes.”
As well as becoming $750,000 richer for his fortnight’s labors, Berdych will move to a career high no.8 on the ATP World Tour rankings but the pain of his straight sets demise in the biggest match of his 24 year-old life was still hard to digest.
Berdych was adamant the size of the occasion was not the decisive factor in his defeat. “Right now, of course I'm disappointed,” he said. “It was my first Grand Slam final and I hoped it could go better than it did. But still it was an experience for me. With the experience of reaching the semifinals at the French Open in Paris, I hope if I can work from here.”
Therefore the US Open would appear to be another opportunity for the 24 year-old who admits his favorite surface on which to perform are the North American hard courts. “Only the good times are waiting ahead for me,” said Berdych. “After this I know I can play well on all surfaces.”
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