NADAL: Best Spanish athlete in the last 50 years

FORMER Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal has secured his place in the second round of Wimbledon.

The current world number one made a smooth return to the grass courts, beating Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

It is only the second time the Mallorquin has arrived at SW19 without playing any prior grass-court tournaments.

Admitting there was still ‘room to improve’ after his victory, he said: “After a while without playing on grass, it’s very important to start with a straight victory.”

He added a rare pop at the media who questioned his pre-Wimbledon absence.

He said:  “If I play too much, then I come here, all the questions are: Why are you not playing less? Now I play less and the question is: Why are you not playing?”

Nadal faces Kazakhstan’s world 77 Mikhail Kukushkin in the next round.

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