Carlos Taberner (Valencia, 1997) steps on Wimbledon grass for the first time in his career and seeks experience and enjoyment from it. At 24 years old, he lives the premiere of almost everything, including entering the top one hundred and attends ABC with that illusion of someone who wants to squeeze the opportunity to learn at every step he takes in Wimbledon, the cathedral of tennis. He today he plays against Reilly Opelka, and Carlos Alcaraz, against Jan-Lennard Struff. On Tuesday 28 Rafael Nadal debuts against Francisco Cerúndolo.
Does Wimbledon impress?
I've never been here before, it's the first time I've been able to play here. And the truth is that they had spoken very well to me and they were not wrong, it is one of the most beautiful clubs I have been to.
I haven't had time to go around yet, but I will. Tomorrow [for today] friends from Valencia and my girlfriend are coming. And it's the first time for everyone.
What catches your attention the most?
It is different from what we are used to because it is a club that is surrounded by green, immaculate, every detail. And the tradition that exists in training and in matches; seeing all the players in white makes it more special. It is a very different environment and I am delighted. But I have to be focused on my work, on what I want and can do.
How many games have you played on grass in your career?
I had played the previous phase last year, but it has nothing to do with the club. And before coming here this year I played the preliminary phase of Mallorca. That is my baggage: one win and two losses. Just three games. I'm a bit of a novice and I'm here to learn.
And how is tennis on grass? Is it so different from other surfaces?
The differences are quite noticeable when it comes to the bounce of the ball. The topspin shot is slowed down a lot because the ball bounces quite low. And he slides a lot with the flat and sliced bangs. That is the big difference. That is why the issue of mobility is very important. To get to the ball you can't slide like on clay or like some tennis players do even on hard court. And that makes it more different. The leg requirement is higher because you have to better adjust your legs to each movement to hit.
Is the change to grass noticeable in the body?
The other day I played my first match after the clay court season. The next day it was more loaded because your legs are lower, your buttocks and your legs are more tired because they should be more flexed.
Has your coach also had to adapt to grass?
My coach tries to provide me with those little details, but I have to do the things myself.
Do you have time to make some communion with other tennis players?
Yes. We Spaniards get together a little, we have a very good relationship. Especially those of us who live nearby. With Bernabé Zapata, with Pablo Andújar... We got together at dinner time.
You have entered the top one hundred in the world, how do you rate this first part of your season?
I prefer to wait until the end of the course to assess, but this year is my first year in direct rankings, qualifying for ATP tournaments directly, and the first year of my career in which I have played less challenger. The season is being correct. But I work every day to make it better. Above all, you have to be healthy.
How are you nervous about debuting? Today, with Reilly Opelka, almost nothing.
The nerves are always there. But I have nothing to lose, against a very tough opponent who makes the most of his qualities on this surface. He is the favourite. I'll try to go after him.