Rafael Nadal: Can the Clay-Court Specialist Win on the Grass at Wimbledon 2011?

Dimitri KayCorrespondent IJune 15, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 10:  Rafael Nadal of Spain serves during his Men's Singles quarter final match against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France on day five of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 10, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal may have lost in the quarter finals of the Queens Club grass court tournament after winning the first set, but that is exactly how he went out last year, as well–albeit to a different opponent.

Last year the Spaniard then went on to win Wimbledon by battling through tough opponents like Robin Soderling, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych. So why can’t the defending champion do the same this year? We all know how much Nadal loves his routines.

It is true he is a clay-court specialist; however, the tag of him being good only on clay has long been shed. Rafa has accomplished plenty on hard and grass courts, too.

Out of Nadal's 10 major titles, two have been on grass courts and another two on hard. Additionally, he has also captured five Masters titles on the hard stuff.

So the real question is: Can the clay-loving Spaniard win at Wimbledon for the third time?

In Nadal’s last four appearances at the All England Club he has reached the second Sunday of the two-week event every time. Furthermore, this has also come after the King of Clay won his beloved Roland Garros crown.

In order for Nadal to win his sixth French Open, he had to go through the likes of Soderling, Murray and Roger Federer without playing at his best level.

The Mallorca man lifted a lot of pressure off his back by winning the French Open, so if he can further pick up his game for Wimbledon there is no doubt he cannot become a three-time Wimbledon champion.

Even if he faces the toughest opposition, the mental block that is Nadal will lift his game up, put his head down and battle through until the end.

Ability, check.

Confidence, check.

Mental fortitude, check.

Rafael Nadal is poised and ready to make this already-special season even more special by winning his third Wimbledon trophy.