Roger Federer sent a warning towards Rafael Nadal about getting eliminated early at the Wimbledon Open championship, a scenario that haunted the Spaniard in his last two outings at All-England club.
Federer, who is gunning for a record 8th Wimbledon Open crown, believed Nadal is more vulnerable than ever on grass-court tournaments, especially in the first two rounds.
The Swiss cited the complexities offered by the new grass, which could spell trouble not only to Nadal but other big name players - including him - as well.
"I think he might be slightly more vulnerable in the early rounds. This new, fresh, lush grass, we're not quite used to it. As you go deeper in the tournament, it becomes easier to move; the ball bounces a bit higher; it becomes more what we're used to," Federer said in an interview with AFP.
"The early rounds are key for most of the top guys. We're talking about the first two rounds in particular.''
Nadal failed to advance beyond the second round of the Wimbledon Open in the last two years, bowing to Steve Darcis in 2013 and Lukas Rosol in 2012.
Nevertheless, Federer believed Nadal's true strength will come to play, once he successfully gets through the first two rounds.
"I didn't expect him to lose last year first round, let's be honest. So these losses, they happen. I didn't check his draw, but if he gets through that, I would think we'll see more of what we've seen in the past, is my opinion."
Still, Federer is not yet ready to concede his throne as the King of Grass, as he buoyantly bragged about his chance of winning back the crown this year.
"I feel like if things click here I should be able to win the tournament; whereas at the French I feel like I'm slightly more dependent on Rafa. He's the only guy really," Federer said.
"That doesn't mean I don't believe I can win the French either. It's just that I know he's been so dominant over there that it goes through him regardless; whereas on the grass or hard courts you don't feel it as much.
"I feel like if I play my game it's more on my racquet. As soon as that's the case, you're more confident in your chances. I feel I have a very good chance again this year," he added.