Rafael Nadal is perhaps best known for dominating Roland Garros, but the 22-time Grand Slam champion is a major threat to all four majors – and he is certainly one of the biggest threats at Wimbledon this year.
Here are seven reasons why:
He has won Wimbledon before – twice. Nadal is one of only four active men’s players to have won Wimbledon, doing so in 2008 and 2010. And with the eight-time champion Roger Federer still not back in action after his knee injury break, Nadal will be one of only three former champions in the men’s draw this year, along with six-time champion Novak Djokovic and second double-winner Andy Murray.
He has been in three more finals. With second places in 2006 (to Federer), 2007 (to Federer) and 2011 (to Djokovic) to go along with his two titles, Nadal is actually one of only 13 men in the entire history of the tournament – since 1877, for exactly 145 years ago – having reached five (or more) finals in the All-England Club.
He reached almost two finals the last two times he also played. Nadal reached the semifinals in his last two appearances at Wimbledon in 2018 and 2019, and he was barely beaten in the first of those two semifinals against Djokovic, where he had five breakpoints in the fifth set before eventually falling, 6-4, 3 – 6, 7-6 (9), 3-6, 10-8, after five hours and 15 minutes. Federer handled him a little more comfortably in the semifinals of 2019, 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, after three hours and two minutes.
Wimbledon was actually the second of the four majors he won. Nadal’s first four majors all came on Roland Garros in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, and a few weeks after the fourth title in Paris, he won his first Wimbledon title and surpassed Federer in an epic final, 6-4, 6-4 , 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7. He won his first Australian Open title the following year in 2009, and his first US Open title the following year in 2010.