Wimbledon: Nadal looks forward to quarter-finals
Rafael Nadal spoke about how he is fighting against his physical decline after defeating Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4 6-2 7-6 to advance to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
It was Nadal's second consecutive straight sets win after dropping a set to both Ricardis Berankis and Francisco Cerundolo in his first two rounds.
After not competing at Wimbledon since reaching the semi-final in 2019, Nadal is back as he tries to keep his dreams of a calendar slam alive, having won the Australian Open and the French Open already this year.
Speaking to the media after his fourth-round win, the Spaniard declined to give detail about his injuries, saying he is "healthy enough to keep going".
"I am a little bit tired of talking about my body," he said. "It's not that I don't want to answer the question, but at the same time, sometimes I am tired of myself, and all the issues I'm having.
"I'd prefer to not talk about it now – I'm sorry for that – but I am in the middle of the tournament, and I have to keep going.
"All respect to the rest of my opponents, I am just trying my best every single day, and for the moment I am healthy enough to keep going, and to fight for the things that I want."
He added: "I think I made a big effort to be here.
"It takes a lot of mental and physical effort to try to play this tournament after the things I went through the last couple of months.
"But as everybody knows, Wimbledon is a tournament that I like so much, and it's been three years without playing here. I really wanted to be back, and that's what I'm doing, so that's why it means so much to be in the quarter-finals."
Nadal did not want to get into a discussion about his physical struggles, but it was unavoidable when he was asked about how his grass-court play has evolved over the years.
"I won here in 2008, and I played the final in 2006 and 2007," he said. "So I have to say that during that period of time there were a lot of things I did well [on grass courts].
"At very early stages of my career I was able to play very well on this surface too, but of course I am running less than before, that is obvious.
"When I am losing things, in terms of physical performance, you need to add things to keep being competitive. That's what I did all my career, try to add things to my game, and improve things I need to still be competitive after losing some physical capacities, and other things you lose during your career.
"At the same time, one of the things I'm more proud of is the way I've been able to adjust and accept the challenges in terms of physical issues, and to be able to always find a way to be competitive and improve my game."
Looking forward to his quarter-final clash with American Taylor Fritz – who defeated Nadal in the final of the Indian Wells Masters back in March – the legend said he was in too much pain during that contest to learn any lessons.
"Honestly, what I learned out at our last match was zero, because I had a stress fracture in my rib," he said. "That made it difficult to learn many things, because honestly the pain was terrible playing that match.
"He's playing at a very, very high level, having a great season, winning matches everywhere, and you can see it. He won the tournament last week – the week before Wimbledon – and now the quarter-finals, winning already in a Masters 1000, he's in a very high position in the race already."
He added: "At the same time, we're in a quarter-final, so you can't expect an easy opponent."