Dudi Sela’s first competitive match in over a month ended in a straight sets defeat, but the Israeli was far from all doom and gloom.
Comprehensively beaten by Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in 110 minutes, the game was also his first ever on the main showpiece court and he felt he performed ok given the circumstances going into the match.
Reflecting back on the match, he said: “I was a bit nervous, it’s tough to play your first match on grass against Nadal on centre court, I didn’t play for a month, due to an injury to my wrist. I came here hoping for a good draw, because I know I can play well on grass but the draw came out – and it wasn’t the best one.”
Commenting on how he performed and making his debut on the court, he said: “I think I played ok, not bad. I didn’t expect to play that well because I hadn’t played for such a long time. And playing in this stadium is difficult, it’s a big court, it’s not playing on court 15 where the crowd is right on top of you. It’s more difficult to serve (for me) on a big court, so it was different conditions.
“I enjoyed it a little bit, it’s difficult, not about the atmosphere, but the layout of the court – it’s different playing on it – when you serve, the court seems so big. Against Nadal, I’d prefer to play on court 15 – it’s a completely different game. I’ve never played on it before, so it’s different, but you have to get used to it very quickly.”
And happy in some respects to his display, he said: ““It was better than expected. I started off at 3-3, perhaps I then thought I could win the first set – but I got thinking too much. He was then 5-3 up and the set was gone.”
Looking back over the first half of the year, which has seen him drop to 127 in the rankings, he said: “I started the year pretty well, but didn’t win. Then I took three weeks off, got injured in a Challenger and haven’t really played since. I haven’t played so many tournaments, nothing on grass, only the French Open on clay, and now need to see if I travel to the States.
I want to come back and play again, but with two young kids, am also thinking of other things to do. It’s hard to work in tennis in Israel, it’s not like here, but we’ll see. I would really like to coach in Israel, but I don’t think that’s possible, there’s no Federation, it’s different than here, but we’ll see.”