WORLD No3 Rafael Nadal has opted to return to Queen’s Club after a four-year absence to play the Aegon Championships in June in an attempt to rediscover his best form at Wimbledon.
Nadal has reached the final of the grand slam on all five occasions that he has prepared for the tournament by playing at Queen’s, while he has failed to make it past the fourth round at Wimbledon on each of the three times he has played the other main warm-up event in Halle, Germany.
The Spaniard’s decision comes despite the continued existence of tax laws that played a part in his abandoning of the Aegon Championships in 2011. Unlike in some other countries, sportspeople visiting the UK to take part in events are required to pay tax not only on their prize money but also on sponsorship earnings, calculated according to time spent here. The law has been relaxed slightly since 2011 but remains in place.
“I’m very happy to be back,” said Nadal. “Queen’s is a great event, I always enjoyed it. I had some great feelings there, the atmosphere of the Club – a real tennis club – is very special and the courts are unbelievable. I enjoyed Halle but the results have not been perfect for me, so I want to try Queen’s again where the grass courts are a little bit more similar to Wimbledon. That’s the reason for my decision.”
Nadal claimed the title at Queen’s in 2008, just weeks before winning Wimbledon for the first time. Two years later he triumphed again on Centre Court, having prepared by reaching the quarter-finals at Queen’s. His three runners-up performances at Wimbledon, in 2006, 2007 and 2011, also came after reaching the last eight in west London.
The 14-time grand slam winner is set to be joined at the Aegon Championships, which runs from 15-21 June, by Britain’s Andy Murray and defending champion Grigor Dimitrov.
NADAL AT WIMBLEDON
2005: Round two
2012: Round two
2014: Round four