ATP Monte-Carlo interviews, Nadal: “I didn't play the right way. I didn't play with the right intensity with my forehand.” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Monte-Carlo interviews, Nadal: “I didn't play the right way. I didn't play with the right intensity with my forehand.”

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TENNIS ATP Monte-Carlo – D. FERRER/R. Nadal 7-6, 6-4 An interview with Rafael Nadal

Q. Can you explain what happened? Was it a bad day for you? Just a great day for him? How do you feel in general after this match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Was a tennis match. When you play tennis, you can lose, you can win. When the opponent is doing the things better than you, the normal thing is lose. That’s what happen today.

I didn’t play the right way. I didn’t play with the right intensity with my forehand. I played too short. I give him the chance to have the control of the point almost all the time.

He did much better than me, so just congratulate him

Q. Does losing here hurt more than losing at another tournament to you?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. Losing hurts everywhere. On clay always little bit more.

Is not lose, is the feeling on court was not the best one. So not happy today about what I did. Not very happy about the way that I played the second set after losing the first. I didn’t play with the right intensity at the beginning of the second. I give him big opportunity at the beginning of the second. I cannot do it.

Q. You had 44 unforced errors today. It’s very unusual for you. What reason do you see behind all those mistakes you had?

RAFAEL NADAL: The reasons is I am not playing enough well. That’s the main reason. I am not playing with the right intensity with my legs. When that happens, the unforced errors are there more often.

Is true that I started the year great in Doha and during Australia. But, I don’t know, I don’t have to lie to nobody. After what happened in Australia was little bit harder for me to find again the intensity, the confidence, the inside power that always I have.

Even if I won Rio, I played the final in Miami, you know, remains something in my mind and in my game. I going to fight to try to find that solution soon.

Q. You mentioned about confidence inside. Is there a problem with your confidence? Is there something that’s maybe affecting your confidence? You were 4‑1 against Gabashvili.

RAFAEL NADAL: Forget it. Is a completely different history. Doesn’t matter what happened in the first and second match. Is true if I lost that point at 4‑1 in the first game, will be hard to come back in the set. But is a different history. I think I still have little bit of room to win that match, even with the 4‑1.

Yesterday, too, I played good, with confidence. But is not that problem. The problem is when the match became little bit more to the limit, and not answering the right way as I normally do. So that’s it.

Q. A player like Ferrer, he doesn’t give you anything. He fights for every point. It’s very hard to stay in every point and find the intensity?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, is not very hard. That’s tennis. That’s the sport. Fight for every point: that’s the way to win.

With my style of game, I don’t know another way. I am not a player who will win in two shots. I can do it when I am playing very, very well. But normally I play the points. I fight for the points. I’m playing with no mistakes. I’m playing with a very regular level. Is something I was not able to do. He did much better than me.

That’s my feeling, my personal feeling. I’m talking from a tennis player from inside the court. That’s my view of what’s going on. But I can be wrong.

Q. Did David surprise you in some way with something he did, something which was new or strange that he did this match?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. David always plays great. He’s a fantastic player. He’s top, top player. To win against him, you have to be at the top level, no?

Last year I played with him in Madrid. I was two points away to lose the match. I played against him in Rome. I won very long match in three sets. And is true in the final of Roland Garros, I won in straight sets.

But always a big challenge play against him. Is not surprise. Only difference is you’re not playing very well, you’re not in a good position when you’re playing against him. I didn’t play well today.

Q. Regarding confidence, is what happened in Australia still in the back of your mind?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know. I think after what happened, not only the lose, the same time, too, the pain in my back that I had, I had to do treatment after Australia, not playing for three weeks. I played in Rio. After Rio I had to stop for 10 or 12 days again because the back still hurt me.

But after that I feel the back much better. So I already have since Indian Wells to here I am doing a regular work. Should be okay for that.

No, no, is not an excuse on the back. No, the back is in good shape. Physical performance is in good shape. No problems about that.

Just keep working to try to find the solution for next week in Barcelona. I going to try to play well in there and fight for the matches.

Q. What is your state of mind right now? Is it more frustration, anger, doubting, surprise?

RAFAEL NADAL: Lose against David Ferrer is not surprise. Frustration? I cannot be frustrated to lose a tennis match. In the life there is much more important things than a tennis match.

But I am not happy with it. I feel that I have to do more than what I did today. So when you feel that you can do more, always you come back home or to the next tournament with not the best feeling. That’s my feeling today.

I didn’t find the solution. Not talking about winning or losing, but the solution of my game at the right time. You can lose because David is a fantastic player.

No frustration, no drama. Just tennis match. But at the end I prefer to win (smiling).

ATP

Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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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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ATP

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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