Nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, after ending his clay court season on a high, will kick start his Wimbledon preparations with a second round encounter against Dustin Brown of Germany at the Gerry Weber Open on Thursday.
These two are facing each other for the first time in the professional tour, and it will not be an easy task for the 14-time major winner to get past the German. Brown had reached the third round of last year's Wimbledon and proved he is tough to beat on grass.
The world number one admitted that it going to be a challenge for him to get past Brown as he is strong on the baseline and plays with a lot of aggression but he is determined to clinch his 700th career win in the professional tour.
"(Brown) is a player who plays with a lot of inspiration. He's very dangerous. He can play so aggressively," said Nadal. "He's not a player who's going to give me rhythm on the baseline. It's going to be a big challenge for me."
"You never know what to expect with him. He plays with a lot of inspiration, very aggressively."
In his last outing at Halle in 2012, Nadal faced a quarterfinals defeat at the hands of Philipp Kohlschreiber. The top-seed said he is making every session on grass count, to gather confidence before starting his season.
"In 2012, I had physical problems and last year I wasn't at full strength," the Spaniard said. "Now I've got to and I want to show good form and get some self-confidence. Each training session and each match on grass is very, very important for me. However, I have taken a bit of pressure off myself by winning the French Open."
The two-time Wimbledon champion has a 50-13 win-loss record on grass and it is no secret that this is not his favourite surface to play on. Nadal said it is tough to switch from clay to grass and every match before the upcoming Grand Slam is important for him.
"Grass is always a bit of a lottery," said Nadal. "On grass you need to be at 100 per cent because movement is important here, especially for a player like me. I'm not a player who's going to serve 35 aces per match."
The man from Mallorca said he is motivated after winning his record-extending ninth title at the French capital and is looking forward to be competitive on grass.
Schedule of Play
Ivo Karlovic vs Yen-Hsun Lu starts at 5:30 pm IST, 12:00 pm GMT
Steve Johnson vs Teymuraz Gabashvilli starts at 7:30 pm IST, 2:00 pm GMT
Rafael Nadal vs Dustin Brown starts at 9:00 pm IST, 3:30 pm GMT
Where to Watch Live
The action starts at 9:00 pm IST, 3:30 pm GMT. Global online viewers, including India, can live stream the action HERE or HERE. Euro Sports will have live coverage in the UK but to watch the action online, click HERE or HERE.