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Nadal raring to reclaim Wimbledon crown

sports Updated: Jun 21, 2010 12:10 IST

AFP
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Rafael Nadal insisted today he was ready and raring to go in his bid to win back the Wimbledon crown he never got to defend.

The world number one is back at the All England Club for his first appearance on its cherished grass courts since winning the men's singles title in 2008.

Nadal could not defend his trophy last year due to a recurring knee problem, and is desperate to recreate what he said was one of his finest achievements - victory on what he considers to be for him the toughest of surfaces.

"Winning the Wimbledon title is one of the more emotional moments in my career," the Mallorcan said.

"I worked hard all my life to improve my tennis in the rest of the surfaces other than clay. In clay, too, but that is a little bit easier for me.

"Winning on the most difficult surface, in probably the most important tournament of the world, was very important for me.

"This tournament is very special for everybody because it is probably the nicest in the world. It is always a pleasure be in this very beautiful club."

The second seed gets his campaign underway with a first round match against Japanese wildcard Kei Nishikori.

Talented youngster Nishikori is ranked outside the top 200 due to an elbow injury which stalled his progress last year, just as he was beginning to produce significant results.

He also sustained a gluteal injury and retired hurt during his first round match at Eastbourne earlier this week but will be ready for Wimbledon.

"He is a very good player," Nadal said of his opponent.

"He had a very important injury for the last year or last two years. But he has amazing potential. I think he has enough potential to be in the top 10 if he is healthy, and he's still improving. It is going to be a very difficult match."

Nadal said he was feeling physically "perfect" after a relaxing break in Mallorca partying with friends, playing golf and going to the beach.

"I am playing probably one of my best seasons since before this tournament because the level was high in all the tournaments for me and I was healthy," the 24-year-old said.

"I hope to be ready to play well on Tuesday."