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).
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development
Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.
The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.
Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.
Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.
“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”
It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.
One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.
Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.
“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.
“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.
“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”
Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.
Australian Open Chief Confident Nadal Will Play But Kyrgios’ Participation Uncertain
The tournament director of the Australian Open says he is ‘certain’ that Rafael Nadal will play at the Grand Slam even though the Spaniard has yet to outline his comeback plans.
Craig Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday he hopes to receive some clarity over Nadal’s intentions in the next couple of weeks but is confident he will play. However, the tennis official had previously claimed in October that the former world No.1 had already committed to play in the event before his team denied that statement.
Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t played a Tour match since his second round defeat at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury. He was originally expecting to take an eight-week break but the recovery didn’t go to plan and he ended up having surgery. In May he confirmed that he will take an extended break from the sport to heal his body and admitted that retirement next year is a possibility.
“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” the Reuters News Agency quoted Tiley as saying.
“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”
Earlier this month Nadal confirmed that he intends to return to the Tour but admits that he will continue to experience a degree of pain. Although he has yet to give any information about which tournament he will begin his comeback at. The 2024 season begins during the first week of January.
“I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life,” atptour.com quoted Nadal as telling reporters in Barcelona.
“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.’
Will Kyrgios play?
Another player Tiley is eager to welcome back is home player and former Wimbledon Finalist Nick Kyrgios who has only played one Tour-level match this season due to injury. He underwent knee surgery in January and then tore a ligament in his wrist during the summer. As a result, the Australian currently doesn’t have an ATP ranking due to his inactivity.
“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” Tiley said of Kyrgios.
“Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health …”
Kyrgios recently worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel during this year’s ATP Finals in Turin and gave a brief update on his ongoing recovery during a segment.
“After last year, I had such a great year, and I’m so hungry to get back out there,” the 2022 Wimbledon finalist commented.
“So I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. Obviously, you know how injuries are every day, just doing the rehab, doing the gym work.”
The Australian Open will begin on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions.
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