"It was an accident, I lost" - UBITENNIS
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"It was an accident, I lost"

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“It was accident, I lost” says Rafael Nadal, who was clearly disappointed after his loss to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round on The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6. In front of a packed main Stadium, and in front of Larry Ellison, one of his greatest supporters, Rafael was not able to stop the inspired Ukrainian as he has done many times before.

“I played bad. This is a tournament that I really love so much. I wanted to play very well here. I had good success in this tournament in the past, a tournament I always have great feelings.  I had great feelings practicing.”

“I never find a good feelings when I was on court competing this year. Upset for that, because as I said before, I love a lot this event. That’s fine. It’s impossible to be every single week on the last round of the tournament. I did for the first three tournaments of the year that I played. Today was an accident. I lost.”

Rafael was pretty much aware of the mistakes he made during the match. He mentioned not being able to play solid rallies from the baseline, or hold on to the breaks during matches, and Nadal gives credit to his opponent.

“When I have two breaks in one set, normally I don’t lose the set.  He played great. He’s playing well, much better today. But today.  At the end I have to analyze my part and opponent. I cannot talk about the opponent because what the opponent does is not in my hands. I can talk about what is in my hands, and what is in my hands I didn’t play enough solid today. I had enough breaks to win the match, but I didn’t play enough well from the baseline then to be solid with my serve.  Is not a problem with my serve. Was more problem with my baseline shots. I didn’t go for the points. I played with too many mistakes.”

“So when that happens, you know, when you are playing a player like Dolgopolov, the way to stop him and the way that I really bother him is when I am solid all the time, playing long, playing high.  When I play a high ball and the ball comes short, I go for the point and try to hit a winner and I open the court all the time. So he’s in trouble, no, if I play defensive, if I play short, if I hit good ball.  But when the ball comes back short I am not able to have the winner or to play a shot that gonna give me that advantage.”

“So then the match  then I become a really normal player.  I am not anymore a great player. I am a great player when I am doing these kind of things. These kind of things I am not doing the last two days. So when I am not doing these kind of things, I am not that good player. I become a normal player.”

Nadal will play the Sony Open next, in Miami, and hope to be ready for it.

NUMBERS DO MATTER:

“I don’t know how to play tennis different way, 50%. I play with all 100%, all my 100% every week. Today my 100% was here; sometimes it’s here. But I played with my 100% today was not enough. I gonna play with my 100% in Miami. Let’s see if my 100% in Miami still here or is here. “

CLAY SEASON:

“And talking about French Open, remain a lot about the French Open. My goal is try to be one of the candidates. To be one of the candidates, I need to play well in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, and Rome to arrive with the right feelings. That’s what I gonna try.”

ON LOSING:

“But at the end, when you are on the limit, this thing happen. You can lose. I lost today.”

BAD BACK:

“No. Forget about the back. I don’t want to talk anymore about the back because I am fine with the back. I didn’t have bad feelings with my back. The bad feelings was with the forehand and with the backhand (smiling). “

FACTS in IW:

Rafael Nadal lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round of Indian Wells

6-3, 3-6, 7-6

The two met in the finals of the Rio Open, in Brazil last month. The Ukrainian player, had lost all previous 10 sets he played against Nadal.

Nadal had not lost before the semi finals in Indian Wells since 2004.

Nadal did say his opponent played well.
Lucia Hoffman
Tennisvista
Indian Wells, CA

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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Andrey Rublev Reflects On Recent Struggles Ahead Of Monte Carlo Title Defence

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Andrey Rublev admits he continues to struggle to maintain his emotions on the court after his disqualification from a tournament earlier this year.

The Russian world No.6 hopes to get back on track after a disappointing American swing where he won just one out of three matches played. In Indian Wells, Rublev beat ex-No.1 Andy Murray before falling in straight sets to Jiri Lehecka. Then in Miami, he lost his opening match against Tomas Machac. 

“At Indian Wells, I was so focused on trying to control my movements that I was completely stuck,” the 26-year-old recently commented
“I had no energy left, I had no strength. And in Miami, I exploded. I could no longer control myself, my actions, my nerves. I felt paralyzed, I couldn’t move.”

As to why Rublev felt so paralyzed, he acknowledges it could be linked to an incident that happened earlier in the season. At the Dubai Tennis Championships he was defaulted from his semi-final clash against Alexander Bublik for unsportsmanlike conduct after he was accused of saying an obscenity in his native language at an official. He then successfully appealed against the penalty and retained the ranking points and prize money he earned, barring a fine of $36,400 for a code violation.

“Maybe what happened in Dubai remains in my mind,” said Rublev. 

Rublev’s focus now switches to his title defence at the Monte Carlo Masters. It is the only Masters 1000 event he has won so far in his career. 

“I feel better. These last two weeks I have been training a lot. But it’s one thing to train well, it’s another to play well in a match.” He evaluated of his current form. 

Rublev has yet to defend a Tour-level title so far in his career. Should he do so, he will become only the fifth player in the Open Era to win multiple Monte Carlo trophies. 

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