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Updated: July 3, 2010 17:53 IST

Nadal's fitness still in doubt ahead of final

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Nadal returns to Britain's Andy Murray, during their men's singles semifinal on the Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon
Nadal returns to Britain's Andy Murray, during their men's singles semifinal on the Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal is counting on his injury luck holding for at least one more match when he plays for his second Wimbledon title in three years Sunday against Czech outsider Tomas Berdych.

The Spanish world number one is due for serious medical therapy on his dodgy right knee next week. But it has been so far, so good during the grass-court Grand Slam for the second seed.

“I haven’t had any problems for the last three matches,” said the seven-time Grand Slam winner who got a fifth French Open crown last month. “But the pain in the second and especially in the third match is something I won’t forget.

“I don’t have any control of over this. I’m working every day to try to be healthy like I was the last three matches. But pain sometimes appears, I don’t know when it is gonna start and when it will stop,” he said.

Nadal stands stands 7-3 over Berdych with a Davis Cup win already this season.

But the 13{+t}{+h}-ranked Berdych is no cupcake, having knocked out Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to reach his first final at a Grand Slam on the back of a run of form which began with a career-first semi-final in Paris last month.

“He’s had an amazing tournament. He played good matches against Federer and Djokovic,” said the Spaniard. “He’s the best of his draw (quarter), so for that reason he’s in the final. No opponent can be more difficult than Tomas to play this final.” Nadal, who knocked out British hero Andy Murray in their semi, is well accustomed to breaking hearts on court. But the second seed won’t be counting on anything except difficulty.

“Tomas is a very aggressive player, very good serve, very good flat shots from the baseline. It’s gonna be very, very difficult.

It’s tough to stop him when he’s playing well — and he’s playing really well.” In 2008, Nadal won the title in what is called the most dramatic of recent Wimbledon finals, five sets over Federer, with the end coming in near-darkness on Centre Court to end a run of five straight titles from the supreme Swiss.

But Nadal, who had to sit out last year’s edition injured, is not ready to live in the past.

“Two years, well, the life goes fast. In those two years a lot of things have happened in my life.” Berdych, with no experience at the business end of a major, will have to improvise in the final, something he’s done with great success so far.

“It is tough to find some special tactic, he has experience with Grand Slam finals — me, not. I’ll try to just keep concentrating on myself and playing my tennis. So far I’m playing, well, quite well here,” he said.

“But there’s one more match to go, so just need to bring all what I have to that Sunday match. That’s why I’m here and why I’m trying to win every match.” Prior to the biggest match of his career, the 24-year-old’s major achievement was winning the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 crown in 2005.

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