London - Rafael Nadal insists his shock defeat in the first round at Queen's
Club won't damage his chances of a strong challenge for the Wimbledon title.
Nadal's disappointing 2015 campaign suffered another setback on Tuesday when
the 14-time Grand Slam winner was dumped out of the Wimbledon warm-up event by
unheralded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
After the bitter blow of falling to only the second French Open defeat of
his glittering career - against Novak Djokovic in the Paris quarter-finals -
Nadal looked to be slowly getting back on track when he won the Stuttgart
tournament last week.
But the 29-year-old's 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4 defeat against world number 79
Dolgopolov in west London shattered his hopes of improving his ranking -
currently at a decade low position of 10th - in time for his latest bid for a
third title at Wimbledon, which gets underway later this month.
Yet rather than dwell on the frustration of his early exit, Nadal maintains
he is happy he has already got enough practice on grass and put the loss down
to the misfortune of facing an inspired opponent.
"I prefer to win all the matches. Not just before Wimbledon. I prefer
to win all the matches of the year," Nadal said.
"But the year I won Wimbledon in 2008 I played five matches here, and
this year I already had five matches (on grass).
"It's nothing very negative. I won a tournament last week and this week
I lost an opportunity.
"But my feeling, my thoughts are no different today than yesterday. I'm
playing better than before and enjoying being on court more than before.
"I'm not happy I lost a match I had a chance to win, but that's it.
That's tennis on grass.
"Today was my turn. I accept that, and the good thing is I am positive
mentally. I feel myself playing well."
Nadal's loss to Dolgopolov was his second worst of the year in terms of the
lowly ranking of his opponent.
Michael Berrer, the German world number 127, is the only lower ranked player
to have beaten Nadal in 2015 - in the Spaniard's first match of the year in
Doha in January.
Nadal knows he will need to raise his game to improve on his recent
struggles at the All England Club, where he hasn't been past the fourth round
in his last three visits.
But the former world number one, who hasn't got beyond the quarter-finals of
a Grand Slam since last year's French Open, says the opportunity to rest his
body and his mind back home in Mallorca could be just as helpful as any extra
time adapting to the grass courts.
"I hope to have some more good days of practice here and some good rest
at home," he said.
"I'm going to go back to Mallorca. I have been travelling a lot this
year. Since the beginning of the season I have been playing more tournaments
"I need my periods of rest. After Roland Garros, I only came back home
for two days and I was flying to Stuttgart to prepare for the tournament.
"I'm going to come back strong with a good week of practice before
Wimbledon and I hope to be 100 percent ready to play there.
"I'm going to try my best at Wimbledon. This was good motivation for me
Results from the second day of the ATP Queen's Club tournament on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x2) bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 6-3, 6-4
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x6) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
John Isner (USA) bt Jared Donaldson (USA) 7-6 (13/11), 6-4
Gilles Muller (LUX) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) bt Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 6-4
Andy Murray (GBR) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) 6-4, 7-5
Gilles Simon (FRA x7) bt David Goffin (BEL) 6-7 (6/8), 7-5, 6-2
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) bt Jrmy Chardy (FRA) 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-4
Oleksandr Dolgopolov (UKR) bt Rafael Nadal (ESP x5) 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4
Feliciano Lopez (ESP x8) bt Joo Sousa (POR) 6-3, 6-4
Marin Cilic (CRO x4) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-2