Rafa Nadal has admitted he needs to improve after his tough second round Wimbledon victory, which was disrupted due to a rain delay and controversial roof closure decision.
Nadal overcame Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a tough match where the Spaniard struggled to put his opponent away with his usual swashbuckling groundstrokes.
The 22-time grand slam champion took the first set and many would have predicted Nadal to step it up a level on Centre Court.
However, he was made to work for the second set after losing his serve and needing to recover.
Nadal was then stunned in the third, before recovering to close out the match.
And in his on-court interview, Nadal made the brutal admission that improvement was needed before he comes up against the dangerous Lorenzo Sonego in the next round.
“I need to improve. But I think the fourth set was much better,” Nadal said right after the match.
“I think it was a good level of tennis in that fourth set. The serve worked much better.
“In the end I was able to play a little bit more aggressive with the forehand.
“At the beginning, it was too many mistakes, but that’s a process. It’s important for me to accept that things are not perfect and [that I need to] just keep working, being humble and accept the challenge.”
Nadal has now lost the third set in consecutive matches, but has recovered to regain momentum.
Rain and roof delay causes confusion at Wimbledon
At 3-0 in the fourth set, rain fell on Centre Court.
Nadal and Berankis played through the drizzle for a little while, before officials decided to close the roof.
However, the interruption to the match took nearly an hour.
While Nadal had no qualms about the process, the Spaniard did admit the court was ‘slippery’ when they returned.
“It’s part of tennis, no complaining,” Nadal said when questioned on whether the roof closure disrupted him.
“I think they thought at the beginning it was going to be a quick shower. So they did’t want to close the roof straight way, so they wanted to keep playing outdoors. I respect that.
“No problem at all. I think they did the right process…it’s true maybe we could close the roof three minutes before because it takes a long time ad the court was wet.
“Even when we were playing, when we came back to the court, it was more slippery.”
Many viewers were left perplexed to why the game was halted for close to an hour when officials knew rain was on its way to SW19.
Two roof bungles today by #Wimbledon. First they close the Centre Court roof (Boulter v Pliskova) when it was not raining. Then, in the 4th set of Nadal v Berankis, they left it open longer than was necessary when it was raining. It’s closed now but it’s caused a 50-minute delay
— Rob Maul (@Rob_Maul) June 30, 2022
what’s up with the rain interruption of the nadal/berankis match? why does it take more than half an hour to close a roof?? #Wimbledon
— vixii 🌿adores andrey (@kissesfromivona) June 30, 2022
Where’s the #nadal match gone. Roof has been on for ages #Wimbledon
— JaxR (@jaxrafferty) June 30, 2022
Close the roofs please. Nadal’s encounter is closer to finish… This breaks the dynamic of the match.
— Luisfa ~ 🎮🎧🎬 (@LuisfaTech) June 30, 2022
Why don’t they just keep the roof shut at @Wimbledon from the start of matches? Seriously, it’s in Britain!!! #Wimbledon #wimbledon2022 #Nadal
— Sarah Majid (@SarahSportPsy) June 30, 2022
Nadal said he understood Wimbledon would be challenging after having not played on grass for three years.
“Every day is a challenge, that’s the truth. All the opponents are difficult,” Nadal said straight after the match.
“We are playing against the best players of the world and especially even in these conditions, it will be more [difficult].
“I didn’t play much on grass for the past three years. Every day is an opportunity to improve and today I’m through, so that gives me the chance to keep going. [I am] very happy for that.”