- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND (AP) - Rafael Nadal will play in the Wimbledon quarterfinals despite a left foot injury.

The defending champion said Tuesday that his foot, which he injured during Monday’s fourth-round win over Juan Martin del Potro, is not seriously injured.

“Yesterday after the match I went to take an MRI at a London hospital,” Nadal said in a statement. “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.”

Although Nadal appears to be ready to play on Wednesday, the courts at Wimbledon were not Tuesday as rain returned to the All England Club.

The roof over Centre Court started to close just before play was scheduled to begin, so the match between ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki was temporarily delayed. The second match on Centre Court was to be fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova against Dominika Cibulkova.

On Court 1, the opening match between No. 8 Petra Kvitova and Tsvetana Pironkova was being delayed. The second match was to pit Tamira Paszek against fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka.

Also Tuesday, U.S. Open golf champion Rory McIlroy paid a visit to Wimbledon, meeting Andy Murray and John McEnroe.

But the biggest news came before the rain when Nadal announced he would be ready to face Mardy Fish in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

“Today I will practice at 4:30 p.m. and I’ll play tomorrow,” Nadal said.

Nadal, a two-time champion at the All England Club, hurt his foot in the first set of Monday’s win over del Potro. He twice called for a trainer during the set, but still managed to win 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Nadal said he felt something “crush” and thought his foot might be broken. He said he even contemplated retiring from the match.

Nadal is 30-2 at Wimbledon since the start of the 2006 tournament. He lost to Roger Federer that year and the next in the final, but then beat the Swiss in the 2008 championship match. Nadal was unable to defend his title in 2009 because of injury, but he won again in 2010.

The top-ranked Spaniard also won his sixth French Open title this month, equaling Bjorn Borg’s record. Overall, Nadal has won 10 major titles, including one at the Australian Open and one at the U.S. Open.

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