Day 2 Preview: Rafael Nadal & Stefanos Tsitsipas Open Wimbledon Campaigns | ATP Tour

Day 2 Preview: Rafael Nadal & Stefanos Tsitsipas Open Wimbledon Campaigns | ATP Tour

Editors Note: This story has been amended following Matteo Berrettini‘s withdrawal.

Rafael Nadal will play at Wimbledon for the first time since 2019 Tuesday on Centre Court, while Stefanos Tsitsipas headlines the men’s singles action on Court 1. The complete bottom half of the draw is set for first-round action on the London lawns, with Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, and #NextGenATP stars Holger Rune, Lorenzo Musetti and Jack Draper also in action. 

Top-half matches that were not completed on a rainy Monday will also be played.

ATPTour.com looks at some of the matches to watch on Day 2 at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

View Schedule | View Singles Draw

[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Francisco Cerundolo (ARG)

Nadal’s stellar start to the 2022 season has put him in a new position at Wimbledon. For the first time, the Spaniard enters London half-way to the Grand Slam — winning all four majors in the same season. Nadal brings a 30-3 season record into the event, with four tour-level titles in tow.

“In general terms it has been an amazing, positive six months in terms of tennis results,” he said Saturday in his pre-tournament press conference. “I enjoy it because it has been unexpected. But now is the moment to keep going, if I am able to be better with my body. The main thing for me is to keep enjoying my daily work and my day-by-day playing tennis.”

While the 36-year-old does not want his physical health to be a focus during the tournament, he did give a positive report on that front before opening his campaign. A new treatment on his chronic foot injury has provided relief from pain both on the court and in his daily life.

“Quite happy about how things have evolved,” he said. “Since the last two weeks, I didn’t have not one of these terrible days that I can’t move at all.”

Like Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz — both first-round winners on Monday — Nadal did not play any grass-court events in the build-up to Wimbledon. But he is no stranger to the surface — the 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon champion is making his 15th appearance at the major.

Nadal’s Wimbledon Success Years
 Champion  2 (2008, 2010)
 Finalist  3 (2006-07, 2011)
 Semi-finalist  2 (2018-19)

“Happy to be here,” he told the press. “Enjoying playing on grass after such a long time. [It is] always a challenge, the transition.

“Comparing to other surfaces, you have to think a little bit more under control in terms of knowing what can happen. Every single time you go on court, you can lose, you can win. It’s a little bit more predictable when you have the history in the weeks before.”

Nadal also lacks any history against World No. 41 Francisco Cerundolo, who is among the highest-ranked men in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings he could have drawn in the opening round. The 23-year-old Argentine enjoyed a breakout run to the semi-finals of the Miami Open presented by Itau in March and also reached the Rio de Janeiro semi-finals in February.

Entering Wimbledon at a career-high in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Cerundolo picked up one grass-court win in two events in Great Britain prior to Wimbledon. He defeated Spain’s Pedro Martinez at The Queen’s Club in London before losing to home favourite Ryan Peniston, and dropped a three-set decision to American Tommy Paul last week in Eastbourne.

[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. [Q] Alexander Ritschard (SUI)

In stark contrast to Nadal, Tsitsipas played three grass-court events in the last month, saving his best for last. After defeats to Andy Murray (Stuttgart) and Nick Kyrgios (Queen’s Club), the Greek went all the way in Mallorca. He claimed his maiden grass title by beating Roberto Bautista Agut in a third-set tie-break in the final of the ATP 250 event.

“I think my preparations are good in terms of matches,” he told the media on Sunday. “That’s what I wanted from the very beginning, to have a lot of matches on grass. That’s what I think I achieved in the last couple of weeks, to get as many matches on grass as possible.

“I think the first tournaments probably not were what I expected in terms of matches, but I managed to pick up quite fast in last week’s performance in southern Europe.”

Tsitsipas holds a 3-4 record at Wimbledon, his 2018 fourth-round run his only trip beyond the opening round. But he has never doubted his ability on the grass, where he now has a 14-10 overall record.

“People kind of doubted that I can play on grass, I think it’s fair to say. I never doubted myself. I said — I insisted, in fact — that I can play on this surface, and it remains one of my favourite surfaces that tennis has to offer. I was pretty confident about it… I like playing on grass, probably more than on clay.”

The fourth seed is widely regarded as one of the game’s best clay-courters, so that statement is not one to be taken lightly. Last season, he reached the Roland Garros final then lost to Frances Tiafoe two weeks later in his first grass-court match of the year at Wimbledon. Analysing that defeat, Tsitsipas felt he did not adapt to the new surface and instead continued playing as he did on the clay.

This year, he’s fine-tuned his grass-court tactics.

“I love playing on these courts,” he said. “I love the serve-and-volley game, coming in as much as I can, slicing, attacking. This feels right.”

Tsitsipas has yet to face World No. 188 Alexander Ritschard, who won a pair of three-setters to qualify. The 28-year-old is at a career-high in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and will be playing the first tour-level match of his career on Tuesday. A run to the final of an ATP Challenger Tour event in Forli, Italy, in February is his best result of the 2022 season; he lost to Great Britain’s Jack Draper in a third-set tie-break in title match.

Also In Action

Sixth seed Auger-Aliassime faces a tough opening test against American Maxime Cressy, who advanced to his second tour-level final last week in Eastbourne. The Canadian, who pushed Nadal to five sets in the Roland Garros fourth round, posted a 4-2 record in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Halle in the buildup to Wimbledon.

Fritz, who defeated his countryman Cressy in the Eastbourne final, opens against #NextGenATP Italian Musetti. The pair’s first meeting came at Wimbledon in 2018, when Fritz won in four sets. The 11th-seeded American leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-2, with both defeats coming on clay.

Holger Rune will seek to build on his Roland Garros quarter-final run in his opener, with the 24th seed seeking his first grass win of the season against Marcos Giron. Fellow #NextGenATP star Jack Draper will face Zizou Bergs in his opening match, one year after taking a set off Djokovic in his Wimbledon debut. Rune, Musetti and Draper are third, fourth and fifth — respectively — in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan, trailing only Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner.

Twelfth seed Diego Schwartzman is set to open against American Stefan Kozlov, while 13th seed Denis Shapovalov faces France’s Arthur Rinderknech.

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