20 Jun 2009

Nadal Wimbledon mystery continues

6:06 am on 20 June 2009

Mystery still surrounded defending champion Rafael Nadal's participation at Wimbledon after he lost a second warm-up match in two days but showed few obvious signs of pain from his knees.

The 23-year-old was beaten 4-6 7-6 10-3 by Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in front of a couple of hundred spectators at an exclusive southwest London sports club before heading to Wimbledon where he was expected to talk about his fitness.

The match had been billed as a last-ditch test for the world number one who has been troubled by tendonitis in both knees since his shock early defeat at the French Open to Sweden's Robin Soderling.

While fans at the country club just a few miles away from the scene of Nadal's astonishing defeat of Roger Federer 12 months ago marvelled at the dashing Spaniard, the assembled media only had eyes for Nadal's knees.

Every bend and stretch was a potential Wimbledon wrecker for Nadal, who gave precious little away with his body language throughout what was a reasonably strenuous work-out against the Olympic doubles champion.

The Mallorcan had winced and grimaced his way through a two-set defeat against Lleyton Hewitt the previous day but appeared more relaxed at the Hurlingham Club on Friday.

According to leading London knee surgeon John Browett the best option for Nadal would be complete rest, possibly as long as three months, although he said playing at Wimbledon would not risk serious injury.