(Reuters) – Rafael Nadal has suffered a straight-sets defeat to Marin Cilic in his first Wimbledon warm-up match at the Aspall Tennis Classic at Hurlingham. The world No. 2 went down in straight sets to big-serving Croat in London.
Rafa, who turned 33 this month, has opted not to play any competitive tournaments on grass ahead of the Championships, practising instead at home on grass in Mallorca.
He lacked sharpness at the Hurlingham Club in London as a well-drilled Cilic sent him packing in less than an hour — a sweating Rafa going straight from court to a waiting black Rolls Royce and away minutes after his 6-3 6-3 defeat.
“This was the first time that I played points and that was too much for me today,” Rafa, who won a record-extending 12th French Open title earlier this month, said on court at the Aspall Tennis Classic alongside the Thames.
“I’m excited to be back at Wimbledon. This type of match today helps to try to be ready. Of course I decided not to play a tournament before Wimbledon, I’m 33 so I need to save energy.
“I will just try to improve a little bit every single day and on Friday I have will try to be a bit better.”
Rafa will practise at Wimbledon on Thursday before returning to Hurlingham for another match on Friday.
I am confident that Rafa will be ready to ompete at his best level next week . As always , Rafa can challenge for the title if he serves well , plays aggressively and minimizes his unforced errors . I watched last years Wimbledon match against Djokovitch again today and I am convinced that Rafa is up to winning Wimbledon 2019
Watched the full match replay from Facebook. As always, great to see Rafa, he looks in good shape and it’s fascinating to watch from this angle. I wonder who Rafa was chatting with, in Spanish, in the corner, and what he said?
I thought Rafa did well, better than the score suggests. He broke Cilic’s serve twice, served well himself, some good winners and I loved the volley in his first service game of the second set.
Marin Cilic looked better than the shadow of himself he was at Queens, losing to Diego who I think had only won two matches on grass previously. I think winning today’s match was probably more important to Cilic than it was to Rafa.
Nice to see the Academy banners so prominent (co-sponsors I assume). Maybe Rafa isn’t allowed to win in case it looks like he paid off the event 😉
I hope Rafa beats Lucas Pouille on Friday.💪🍀 Also, fingers crossed he will get a good draw at Wimbledon and the most important thing is to be healthy and competitive! All the best Rafa❤️
RNF site – you should have corrected the Reuters text – he hasn’t played Pouille yet. The people who ran this site before were more careful. Your editing, not for the first time, is sloppy.
Not concerned about this whatsoever. Rafa often loses matches at the warm up Hurlingham and then he’s prepped and ready to go when Wimbledon begins. Why expend so much energy during an exo match when you need it all for SW19? Go and play with freedom on Friday Rafa. Your fans got your back full speed ahead for next week. Vamoooooooooos lovely Rafa!
What did I say last week, ? wish he would stay on the grass in Mallorca 🌞🌴 and go tô London at the last minute . Why bother with thèse exhib matches as they put à damper on things straight away 😕 same as last year losing to a player who he would hope to beat in Wimbledon 😡 Fiona in Paris
Watched the 11 minute highlight reel on youtube and Cilic was really taking it to him. Will be interesting to see if Rafa can step it up a notch against Pouille. Can’t blame him for leaving as there was nothing important to stay for. He no doubt has rented a house again this year which he enjoys being at cooking his special shrimp and pasta dish and bicycling around the neighbourhood. Am eagerly awaiting the draw Friday at 10am.
Will be better and better till monday. Vamos Rafa <3
The main thing today is having fan Rafa you can do it if you are healthy vamossssssssss champ you can do it love all your fans all over the world 🌎 💪🎾😘❤️🌎
I´d admirer you as the Great Tennis Player you are, despite whatever you should do in future, C. Javier from The Canaries
It’s understandable that Rafa is a little rusty in his first competitive match on grass. As long as he’s healthy, the loss is no big deal. He’s looking at the long game, so a firm but sensible build up to Wimbie fortnight is what he’s aiming for. Fingers crossed for a decent draw.
I totally agree and marked a thumbs up and it recorded thumbs down!! I did not do that. Thumbs up to everything you said!!
No worries Gwendolyn. Thanks anyway. Just for information, if you keep tapping rapidly on the thumb you wanted to choose, it will change.
I’m glad he got through the match, but I hope he’s OK for Wimbledon. Vamos!
Geezzzz…sounds like Serena who disappeared after losing a match not long ago. I just hope Rafa will be ready for Wimbledon.
Good luck Rafa.
The main thing today: he is healthy. Vamoooooosssss!!!!