Tennis

Nadal feels strain after win

2011-06-09 09:20
Rafael Nadal (AP)

London - Rafael Nadal admitted he is feeling the strain of his French Open heroics after the world number one kicked off his grass-court campaign with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden at Queen's on Wednesday.

Nadal clinched a sixth Roland Garros crown by beating Roger Federer in Paris on Sunday and just four days later he was back on court on the other side of the English channel in west London.

Although Nadal was lively enough to break Ebden in the first game of each set and clinch victory in 75 minutes, the Spaniard revealed that his mind and body weren't as sharp as he would have liked against an opponent ranked 168 in the world and playing only his 11th ATP Tour match.

With just 11 days until the start of his Wimbledon title defence, Nadal knows he has no time to rest but ideally he believes there should be a bigger gap between the two Grand Slams.

"I had a tough Roland Garros this year. I played very long matches so my energy levels are not perfect right now," said Nadal, who will face Radek Stepanek in the third round.

"I'm here because I love this tournament, it's one of the most beautiful in the world but it also works for me to start have feeling on the grass.

"In a perfect world there would be a month and a half between Roland Garros and Wimbledon but I think it is too difficult to make changes."

Nadal may be worn out already but the Spaniard's season is certain to go the full distance after he was told by ATP officials that his victory over Ebden gave him enough ranking points to secure a place in this year's World Tour Finals in November.

Nadal joins Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic as the first players to qualify for the event, to be held at The O2 Arena in London.

"It was a fantastic tournament last year for me, playing in the final, with very emotional matches. I'm very happy to be qualified and to come back again this year," Nadal added.

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