"I knew my knee was not perfect yet, and grass is very aggressive for my knee because I need to play very low," he told the Independent, noting that things have improved. "The feeling this year is better with my knee. I feel a little more comfortable running, and that's very important."
He demonstrated that during one exchange in the first round, slipping and then getting up and traversing both sidelines to win the point. But if the knee is less of a problem, this season he has also had to contend with his back, which affected his title match at the Australian Open and the first two rounds of the French Open. At Halle, Nadal acknowledged that it was still a slight issue and did not go on court again until the Wednesday before Wimbledon.
"I needed a few days off for my back after a lot of stress in Roland Garros," he said.
Since then, he has been training harder than usual to get used to the surface. The back has prevented him from practicing his serve at times this season and limited his serving during matches. On top of all that, Nadal is in a packed section of the draw at this year's tournament, with players like Richard Gasquet, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori, who was in a winning position against Nadal at Madrid before retiring with injury.
So Nadal has plenty to contend with this fortnight, though he isn't letting that get to him.
"I am going to try to play well," he said. "I am going to try to play with the best attitude that I have."
He is aware that it is winning that will restore his reputation.
"Everybody remembers the victories," he said. "Eight first rounds in a row and then you arrive to Wimbledon and you win Wimbledon; nobody will remember about that you played bad. Everybody will remember about your victory in Wimbledon."
But with his two most recent defeats at this tournament, Nadal is finding it hard to get others to recall anything else.