Wimbledon 2011: Rafael Nadal’s foot not seriously injured

Tennis fans stood three-deep, as did reporters and photographers, along the fences surrounding the practice courts at the All England club, where world No. 1 Rafael Nadal tested his left foot in advance of Wednesday’s quarterfinal.

Nadal showed no sign of discomfort as he bounced from one foot to the other and smacked ball after ball at his hitting partner, with his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, looking on nearby.

Nadal was disconsolate after beating Juan Martin del Potro on Monday, fearful he had suffered a serious injury when he skidded badly just before the first-set tiebreak was contested.

He underwent an MRI exam soon afterward and Tuesday morning announced via Facebook that the results showed nothing. He wrote: “Good morning everybody. Yesterday after the match I went to take an MRI at a London hospital. During the match I thought I had something serious but as the match went through the pain got better and thankfully the tests don’t show an injury. Today I will practice at 4.30 pm and I’ll play tomorrow. Thanks all for the support.”

That’s good news for fans of the two-time, defending Wimbledon champion but less so for his quarterfinal opponent, American Mardy Fish. Fish, the tournament’s 10th seed, has won only one set against Nadal in their five previous meetings.

But Fish, 29, is playing the best tennis of his life at Wimbledon and blasted 23 aces to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in his career.

Asked what Fish needs to do against Nadal, former U.S. Davis Cap captain Patrick McEnroe, who has worked with Fish for years, said via e-mail: “He needs to keep serving great, especially out wide, mixing up serving and volleying and staying back at times too. Fish has to attack with his better wing [his backhand] as much as possible and believe he can do it. Maybe Nadal will not be 100 percent, but he can’t let that get in his own head.”

Meantime, the British tabloids are abuzz with Andy Murray’s mother’s daily tweets fawning over her son’s semifinal opponent, Feliciano Lopez of Spain, whom she has dubbed “Deliciano.”

Murray told the BBC’s Sue Barker that he succeeded in embarrassing his mother over her very public crush during a recent practice session with Lopez, telling the Spaniard, as she looked on: “My mom thinks you’re beautiful. Can you please take a picture with her?”

Murray said that when he looked up, his mother was running in the other direction.

Wednesday’s other men’s quarterfinals pit six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France and second-seeded Novak Djokovic against Australian teen Bernard Tomic.

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