Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal will begin his Wimbledon campaign on Tuesday afternoon at the All England Club when he meets Thomaz Bellucci in the opening round. This marks the fifth time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Nadal holding an undefeated 4-0 head to head record against the Brazilian.
After losing just his second match ever at the French Open this year to be denied a 10th title at Roland Garros, Nadal fought valiantly all week in his first grass court tournament of the season Stuttgart to claim the title following a straight sets victory against Victor Troicki. He won the match 7-6(3), 6-3 to earn his first title on grass since the 2010 Wimbledon Championships. However, he followed that up with a opening round loss to Alexandr Dolgopolov at the Aegon Championships, which is likely why he is keen to get a few more matches in before Wimbledon, where he will be seeeded 10th this season.
‘It is more difficult not being seeded top four,’ he said in an interview. ‘I am seed 10 because I didn’t play well enough and I was out injured for six months last year. I am where I deserve to be and I hoped to be in a higher position back here. I am going to work for that, but what gonna happen, gonna happen. I need to do it my way.”
Nadal will begin his campaign against Thomaz Bellucci, who only played one match on grass so far this season and that was a loss to Alexander Zverev at Nottingham. His best performance to date this season was at Geneva, where he won the clay court tournament.
This marks the fifth time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Nadal leading the series 4-0. All three of their previous encounters took place in Grand Slam events, except for their latest meeting, which took place in Rio. Nadal will likely hold the advantage this time around but all eyes will be on him to see if he will be ready for the fortnight ahead.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets