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Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic pick up wins at Hurlingham

Rafael Nadal made a winning return to grass in the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Club (John Walton/PA)
Rafael Nadal made a winning return to grass in the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Club (John Walton/PA)

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both kick-started their Wimbledon preparations with easy exhibition wins at the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic.

Nadal showed no ill-effects after nerve treatment on the chronic foot problem that troubled him during his French Open triumph earlier this month as he beat Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 at the Hurlingham Club in London.

Djokovic, in his first match since losing to Nadal in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, won 6-2 6-1 against Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Nadal, in his first match on grass since 2019, raced into a 5-1 lead after twice breaking Wawrinka’s serve in the opening set and sealed it 6-2 in 30 minutes.

Wawrinka, who returned to action in March after missing most of 2021 due to two foot operations, failed to convert a break point in the opening game of the second set and was soon 3-1 behind.

The Swiss three-time major winner broke Nadal’s serve in the fifth game, but the Spaniard was rarely troubled and wrapped up the match in just over an hour.

Nadal announced at the end of last week that he plans to play at Wimbledon in pursuit of a third-straight grand slam win after undergoing a procedure to reduce nerve pain in his foot.

Novak Djokovic began his preparations for Wimbledon with a comfortable win at the Hurlingham Club
Novak Djokovic began his preparations for Wimbledon with a comfortable win at the Hurlingham Club (John Walton/PA)

Six-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic was given a sterner challenge than the scoreline suggested against Auger-Aliassime.

The Serbian world number three broke the Canadian twice to take the first set 6-2 in 44 minutes.

Auger-Aliassime failed to trouble Djokovic’s serve in the second set and was broken three more times as the former world number one wrapped it up 6-1 in 28 minutes.