“For a lot of moments, I was thinking maybe I will not be able to finish the match,” he said, speaking to the Centre Court crowd. “But, I don’t know, the court, the energy, something else, so yes, thanks for that.”
Nadal has not always been the crowd favorite at Wimbledon, where his longtime rival Roger Federer has long enjoyed that role. But Federer, 40, is not playing here this year, and Nadal, back for the first time since 2019, has been hearing plenty of positive feedback as he tries to win Wimbledon for the third time.
He pushed on Wednesday, evened the match at two sets apiece and then went up a break in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead, only to lose his own serve in the next game. But as the match extended past four hours, he regained control and finished off the victory with a classic forehand winner from inside the baseline, complete with his bolo-whip finish behind his left ear.