The 23-year-old Argentine tennis pro – Francisco Cerundolo is a talented youngster who recently won his first ATP Tour title at the Nordea Open last month.

Francisco Cerundolo turned pro in 2018. 4 years later, he bagged his first title after defeating compatriot Sebastian Baez in the final of the Nordea Open. He also performed well in the Hamburg European Open. He progressed to the semifinal before losing to eventual champion Lorenzo Musetti.

Francisco Cerundolo

The world No. 25 ranked player spoke to La Nacion about his Wimbledon encounter with Rafael Nadal at SW19. The youngster took on the 22-time Grand Slam champion in the first round of this year’s tournament. Cerundolo managed to win one set but eventually succumbed to a 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6 loss.

Francisco Cerundolo narrates the experience of facing Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2022

Francisco Cerundolo revealed how nervous he was before taking on the 36-year-old Rafael Nadal for the first time. He said that he convinced himself to believe that he would enjoy the outing against the “lion”.

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A jubilant Francisco Cerundolo at the Nordea Open

“It was all very crazy. I felt that I was destined to play that match against Nadal. I arrived at Wimbledon and there are two changing rooms: one for the top 35 of the tournament, and one for the rest of the field participants and I headed towards the latter and, upon entering, they told me that there was a place reserved for me in the other locker room, that of the strongest.

“This has already impressed me: being with the best was beautiful. An attendant took me for a ride on the Centre Court, told me the whole story of that stadium and at a certain point I felt the feeling that I would play there, right on that grass.

“As there are no points to be won, I must admit that I was hoping to face Djokovic or Nadal, which I did. Half an hour before the match, I started to get nervous. And during the corridor that connects the locker room to the court, I could feel Rafa walking right behind me, sighing in my ear. I felt that a lion was coming. We were just a few meters from the entrance, I calmed down and I convinced myself that it would be fun. And so it was.

“When I left the court I was initially disappointed, because I almost managed to force Nadal to the fifth set, but when I started to hear the ovation of the people and the applause of Rafa himself, I felt happy and proud. That match changed things in my head: I felt able to play with anyone on equal terms.”

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