KEY POINTS

  • Rafael Nadal has won four titles this year
  • He now has 22 Grand Slam titles to his name
  • Nadal last played Wimbledon in 2019

Stan Wawrinka has said Rafael Nadal "looks like normal Rafa" after the Spaniard won his first grass-court match in three years.

Ahead of Wimbledon, the 22-time Grand Slam champion defeated Wawrinka comfortably 6-2 6-3 in an exhibition match at Hurlingham club on Wednesday.

Nadal's participation at Wimbledon had been in doubt because of a chronic foot injury.

Wawrinka, who has won three Grand Slam titles, was given a wildcard entry for the All England club major event.

"I don't know how he is feeling, it looks like normal Rafa. He has been saying he is feeling better and if he is playing he is ready to play his best and to win," Wawrinka said after losing in straight sets to Nadal, according to BBC Sport.

Nadal was photographed practicing with last year's finalist Matteo Berrettini on Center Court on Thursday.

"Honestly for me it is positive to play a couple of matches before the competition starts at Wimbledon. I used to play at Queen’s a long time ago now. I am older now - I can't manage to play so many matches!" Nadal said after his victory over Wawrinka.

After getting treatment on his left foot before arriving in London, the two-time Wimbledon winner practiced on the grass courts in his hometown of Mallorca.

Action man: Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Roger Federer during their 2019 semi-final
Action man: Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Roger Federer during their 2019 semi-final AFP / Ben STANSALL

Nadal's last participation at Wimbledon was in 2019. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, he gave Wimbledon a miss to recover after playing in the Roland Garros.

The World No. 4 is having a fine run this year, having already won four ATP titles, including two Grand Slam events: the Australian Open and French Open. Before the start of this year, Nadal was tied with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles. The Spaniard now has two titles more than the legendary duo.

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