Yes, Nadal showed his dedication to the sport and to his career by coming to Queens despite and exhausting French Open. It’s more important for Nadal to get a lot of practice and matches under his belt, than it is for Federer. Federer tries to keep the body fit, chooses his tournaments carefully and that’s probably one of the reasons he hasn’t missed from a Grand Slam in many, many years (ever?). This approach show how different the two legends are and that of course makes their rivalry and their quest for the GOAT title even more interesting.
Today he plays British talent Mark Ebden. Ebden will surely come ready to fight with absolutely nothing to lose so it might be more difficult than you think, but I expect Nadal to win a tight first set and then a easier second set.
The best match of the day is probably Malisse vs Murray. The chubby Belgian Malisse has great hands and managed to get to the final of last year’s event. He usually struggles with consistency but grass seems to be his preferred surface. Murray is of course a very difficult opponent though and together with Roddick he’s actually my favorite to win the tournament (somehow I don’t see the grass season happening for Nadal). But this is his first round so he might lose a set.
In Halle I predict Milos Raonic winning the whole tournament. The young Canadian has really blossomed this year and his strong serve will sure make sense on a fast grass court. He also has a strong volley to back it up with so I predict great things for him this summer.
Today Raonic plays Kamke in a match he should be able to win fairly confidently.
Also watch out for Del Potro of course, playing Kunitsyn today.