Mutua Madrid Open 2014 Interviews. Rafael Nadal: “I was dominating over the points and playing very well.” - UBITENNIS
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Mutua Madrid Open 2014 Interviews. Rafael Nadal: “I was dominating over the points and playing very well.”

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TENNIS Mutua Madrid Open 2014 – R. Nadal d. J. Monaco 6-1, 6-0. An interview with Rafael Nadal.

 

Q. First of all, congratulations. I want to talk to you about the people that are not playing here. Djokovic and Federer; Wawrinka left. Do you think there is a favorite, apart from Nishikori and Ferrer and you to win here this year? I think that Murray-Isner is a little bit complicated.

RAFAEL NADAL: Favorite, as I always say, is whoever lifts the trophy. That’s the favorite. There are candidates, and in the end it’s you, the ones who care about that and you have to write about that.

We don’t care. We go day after day and we know that all the matches are complicated. Every day you have to be out there with all your senses. When you come off a winning streak you see things differently. When you’ve lost a few matches, maybe things are a little bit more complicated.

So you just have to think on each point, match after match, and then see if things just work out. And in the final we’ll see what happens. We will see who’s playing better. Let’s see who can be there for the final rounds.

 

Q. Your friend and opponent Monaco was really angry with the umpire. Do you think that that was something that affected him?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t know if that affected him. Whenever you have a distraction sometimes you don’t play as well. It doesn’t help.

Well, as I said, in the end he was a little bit angry. For example, the time he was taking too much time, I understand that after that point it was not a time to give a warning.

You know, after all, it seemed that the ones that rule here don’t want to see what people like to see. People like to see that the points are fights and they have long rallies. I’m not making things up.

I just see what people applaud out there. People rarely applaud an ace; people don’t really applaud a serve. People applaud normally long rallies. That’s what they like.

The points where the abilities are there, where you’re suffering, that’s what people like. The points that normally we face the limits, that’s what people like to see.

It seems that those up there that are ruling don’t like that. They’re looking at a game where you don’t have to think, where you have to play ping pong really fast, one shot after another one. I think that’s not the sport.

So I understand that Juan was getting angry when he had a warning after a long point. He was running from one side to another. He needs to recover to continue giving a good performance. That’s what happens. That’s my feeling.

I already told you last year when this rule came into the game and it was a little more strict, what I do is try to adapt myself and play. I just do what they say. But my opinion is different to what we have out there.

 

Q. How did you feel out there? Did you need that victory to start with here?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I don’t know what I needed. Of course I needed to win to have positive feelings. I think I had it. Maybe I started out a little bit nervous during the first game. It’s logical after losing a match that the next match, the beginning is always tough whenever you’ve lost.

Yesterday it happened to David. The points are a little bit more complicated at the beginning.

But it’s also true that since I’ve was able to break and confirm the break with my serve when I was 4 1 up, I think I was playing at a really good level. Perhaps one of my best levels on clay from the 4 1 to the 6 1, and then in the end of the match.

Sincerely I think I moved better and played well, better than I normally play on the clay. I was dominating over the points and playing very well. I think I’ve done positive things.

That’s the most important thing. I go step by step. You know, I don’t go from zero to 100. I go step by step. I think I’ve been playing better than I played in Barcelona.

I lost this match that I think I should have won, as I said. This week I have another opportunity to try to play well. I started pretty well, and tomorrow I have another match. We just have to be prepared for it.

 

Q. I want to ask you about the people that are not playing here. Do you think that the tournament has lost intensity or energy because we don’t have Wawrinka, Federer, Djokovic, in comparison to other years?

RAFAEL NADAL: I understand that for the tournament it’s always better that all the top players are here. Wawrinka was here but he simply lost. This is what happens in sport. You are here and you lost. It’s true that important people are not playing here, Djokovic and Roger. I’m sorry for the tournament. I’m sorry for Novak.

You know, whenever you don’t feel well, it’s really tough to say no to a tournament like this. It’s never an easy decision.

I just have to say congrats to Federer because he’s a dad once again. I think it’s a complete different situation, the one of Federer to Novak’s. It’s much more complicated, Novak’s complication, rather than Federer. Federer is something really happy. For Novak is something really bad.

In my case, I’m just playing here at home with lots of intensity, and I don’t care if Novak, Federer, or Wawrinka are not in the draw. I just look at my side of the draw, and I have to be ready for my next match.

I know that you are thinking further, but it’s very positive for the tournament and all the fans that all these players are here.

 

Q. After the matches that you’ve lost, does this generate in you tranquility? Do you have a different dynamic? Does it affect you, especially in the breakpoints out there? Do you feel it or not?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, no, it’s the first match. As always, afterwards you have to go over those barriers that you might have whenever you lose your confidence.

In Barcelona I had the opportunity to go over that barrier, and I think I was a little bit unlucky. Well, I’m always saying that I don’t believe in luck, but I had the opportunities to end that game in the second set and I didn’t do that.

Now I have to do things right here in Madrid, and today’s match will help me play a little bit more calm. I have another opportunity and I have to go for it. I am moving well, and tomorrow I’m a little bit more calm, as I say, with a little bit more security as I went out today.

Because each victory pulls you up, levels you up. Barcelona I started pretty bad. In the second round I played better. With Almagro I started playing really well. After that I lost. I didn’t go for any opportunities and ended up playing really well.

We could see that at the end of the match. We’ll see once again. I’m quite happy about the things that I’ve been doing well in training, the things I did before the match. I’ve done good things.

Well, talking about being calm, it’s something that you have to live with. Whenever you win, you can also be not so calm. When you don’t win, of course you’re more nervous.

It may be a little bit more tougher to go over the barrier that was talking about. Also, I know from experience in my career that you don’t go from here to here.

So you just have inertia, small things you have to change and they come out naturally. I just have to do it. I think today in the second set, the end of the first, I’ve done it pretty well.

Tomorrow I have another opportunity to play well. I’ll try to continue playing at tournament and we will see what happens. Because I also have a difficult opponent tomorrow.

 

Q. You have achieved your 654th victory. That’s over Arthur Ashe. What do you think about that?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in this case I always say that these things, you have to analyze them when you’re done with your career, not when you’re in the middle of your career.

You know, Ashe was a fantastic man in our sport. Well, it’s not something that was planned or that he knew, so all merit for what he did. As I said, he was a very important person in our sport.

In this case for me, you know, no matter how many victories I’ve had, I’m very happy that I can be compared to him. You know, to be to the level of some people like this, it’s always a great satisfaction for me.

 

Q. I am from Argentina. Monaco, I was just with him, and he said that he received a great lesson from your side. On Twitter, he just posted a phrase for you saying that you’re going to charge him Argentinian pesos for the lesson that you taught him?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, we’re friends. You know, I played pretty well. I think that he had an opportunity at the beginning of the match and didn’t go for it. He started with a break, and maybe that could have put him up a little bit.

Then when I recover from a that breakpoint, a couple good points from 2 0, to 2 1, he committed a fer errors and then I was up 3 1. That was very decisive at the end of the match.

You know, these are matches that the results say it, but you never know if at the end things are different. Something else could have happened. You know, just all the support to Pico. I think he hasn’t gone through easy situations. He’s one of my best friends on the tour without any doubts.

Apart from being a good friend, he’s a really good person. So really the best to him and really good luck for his next events.

 

Q. Out of all the other tournaments on clay, not including Roland Garros, does playing in Madrid make this one more special than the others for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, it’s not fair if I answer that yes. It’s always more special when you are playing at home. Talking about the crowd, talking about the feeling that play in front of your people.

But talking about the tournament, it would not be fair if I say    I will not say the true if I say that for me is more special for me play here than in Monte Carlo, Rome, or Barcelona. They are historic tournaments, too.

I say the same: The crowd is more special here, and the chance to play in front of the Spanish crowd, Madrid crowd, was always very special for me.

Yes it is different. But talking about the tournament, for me all the tournaments are the same. All tournaments are very, very important for me.

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Matteo Berrettini Frustrated By Curfew Delay At French Open

Due to French law Roland Garros had to remove spectators from the venue at 11pm which angered many fans in the crowd.

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Matteo Berrettini (image by Ray Giubilo)

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini said the pause in his match against Novak Djokovic at the French Open disrupted his momentum and hopes situations like this will ‘end soon.’

 

The world No.9 was taking on Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final in Paris on Wednesday evening. Trailing by two sets, Berrettini clinched the third in a tiebreaker as he was cheered on by the crowd. However, the atmosphere took a dramatic change during the fourth frame with fans having to be removed from the venue. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, France has a 11pm curfew in place which means any tennis matches after this time have to be held behind close doors.

The decision to stop the match at 11pm (when spectators were already breaking curfew) infuriated many with a series of booing coming from the stands. It is unclear as to why organisers didn’t evacuate the arena after the third set, which was 30 minutes before the curfew came into place.

“I’ll tell the truth. I think it’s a shame. It’s something that I didn’t like,” Berrettini commented on the situation afterwards. “But it’s (the law) bigger than us.
“It’s not that you can do something about it. You have to adjust. Hopefully this COVID and these bad situations are going to end soon. It’s not the worst thing that happened in the last year.”

The 25-year-old says the pause to the proceedings had a negative impact on his physicality, but didn’t go into the specifics as to why.

“I was feeling the momentum. I was playing good. Stopping wasn’t the best thing I think for my tennis, but I had to take it,” he continues. “Also physically I think didn’t help me. I got back on court and I wasn’t feeling great.
“But again, tennis players always say they have to adjust to everything. Next time I’m going to try to be better.”

Unlike his rival, Djokovic says the break was a blessing in disguise for him as he sealed a place in his 40th major semi-final. Becoming only the second player in history to reach that milestone after Roger Federer. He ended up winning the match 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 after converting his third match point.

“I didn’t mind actually leaving the court because I felt like I needed a little bit of a break and reset,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for the tournament, for the crowd, to have that curfew. But we knew it before the match.”

Despite losing, Berrettini has still made history at the tournament. He has become the first Italian man in history to have reached the fourth round of all four Grand Slam tournaments.

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Curfew Drama Overshadows Novak Djokovic’s French Open Win

After being taken to five sets in his previous match against Lorenzo Musetti, Djokovic was in fierce form throughout his latest encounter at Roland Garros.

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Top seed Novak Djokovic battled his way into the last four of the French Open after overcoming some stern resistance from Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.

 

The world No.1 produced some emphatic defensive skills throughout his roller-coaster 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5, win on Court Philippe Chatrier. Against the world No.9 he blasted 44 winners and broke four times en route to winning his 79th match at Roland Garros. The latest win has also secured another historic milestone for Djokovic with him being only the second man in the Open Era to have reached a 40th Grand Slam semi-final after Roger Federer.

“He was playing some really powerful tennis. Especially in the third and fourth he served tremendously strong and precise. It was just very difficult to read his serve and play someone like him,” Djokovic commented on Berrettini’s performance.

Although the talking point quarter-final concerned the controversial decision by organisers to start the match at 8pm local time which allowed just a three-hour gap before Paris went into curfew. Five games after Berrettini clinched the third set, fans were left furious after being evicted from the venue with players being taken off the court. Even more baffling was the decision by organisers to halt proceedings at 11pm when those attending had already broke curfew instead of stopping it 30 minutes or so before.

“I didn’t mind actually leaving the court because I felt like I needed a little bit of a break and reset,” said Djokovic. “It’s unfortunate for the tournament and for the crowd to have that curfew. But we knew before the match. Referee came up to us and said, If it comes close to 11:00, we’ll have to empty the stadium. That’s what happened.’
“I’m happy that I had that experience of playing in front of the crowd in the night session.” He added.

The Wednesday night showdown was a historic occasion at the French Open with it being the first time a night session had been played in front of a crowd following a relaxation of national restrictions on the same day. Taking to the court Djokovic looked determined from the onset as Berrettini provided him with plenty of challenges early on. In both of his opening service games the world No.1 fended off break points as he tamed a series of thunderous shots from the Italian with some sublime defensive play. Djokovic secured his first breakthrough four games in after a Berrettini forehand drifted wide which enabled him to break for a 3-1 lead. That single break was enough of a margin for him to close out the set, which he did with a love service game.

Gaining momentum, the 18-time Grand Slam champion continued to apply the pressure in the second frame as he won eight consecutive points behind his serve. Berrettini, who had the support of an animated crowd, was unable to find any answers. The former champion surged to a 5-2 lead with the help of a double break. Serving for a two-set lead, he sealed it with a forehand shot which prompted an unforced error from his rival.

It looked as if Djokovic was on course for a straight sets triumph but a resurgent Berrettini had other ideas. Edged on by an highly animated crowd, the Italian rediscovered the power of his serve as he matched him game-by-game until a nerve-stricken tiebreaker. Djokovic moved to just two points from victory with two serves at his disposal. However, a tight backhand crashed into the net handed Berrettini set point, which he converted with a blistering forehand down the line. Prompting an almighty roar from him.

The tussle between the two caused a headache for officials. The fourth frame started 30 minutes before the curfew was imposed, meaning fans would have to evacuate the venue before the match finished. Eventually the match was halted amid booing and jeering from fans angry they had to leave in what was one of the most unusual situations to ever occur at the tournament.

Returning to the court in almost silence after a 20-minute delay, both players continued to valiantly battle. A nasty fall failed to deter the Serbian as he edged closer towards the finish line. Leading 6-5 he had his first match point but failed to convert due to a Berrettini serve out wide. Then on his second failed attempt a furious Djokovic screamed at his team out of frustration and then kicked one of the boards at the side of the court. Two points after that mini meltdown he prevailed with the help of a Berrettini shot going into the net.

Djokovic will next lock horns with nemesis Rafael Nadal for a place in the final. The Spaniard has won more matches at Roland Garros than any other player in history and is bidding to win the men’s title for a record 14th time. He narrowly leads their head-to-head 29-28 but lost their most recent clash at the Italian Open earlier this year.

The quality and the level of tennis that I’ve been playing in the last three, four weeks on clay – Rome, Belgrade and here – is giving me good sensations and feelings ahead of that match. I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” he said.

It is the 11th time in Djokovic’s career that he has reached the semi-finals of the French Open.

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Updated Entry Lists For Queen’s, Halle

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photo by atptour.com

Two ATP 500 tournaments will be played in London at the Queen’s Club and in Halle (Germany), as the grass-court season is set to continue.

 

Two of the most prestigious grass-court events on the ATP Tour will take place from the 14th to the 20th of June: the Cinch Championships in London (Queen’s Club) and the Noventi Open in Halle are going to be the crucial steps of the Wimbledon warm-up.

Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic and Jannik Sinner will be some of the seeds at the Queen’s Club, where Andy Murray plans to come back with a Wild-Card. Spain’s Feliciano Lopez is the defending champion.

Four top-ten players are committed to play Halle: Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and the defending champion Roger Federer will start their grass-court season in Germany. Roberto Bautista-Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Kei Nishikori have entered the tournament as well, while the promising Swiss teenager Dominic Stephan Stricker has received a Wild-Card for the qualifying draw.

NEWS: Diego Schwartzman has withdrawn from Queen’s, he’s been replaced by Alexei Popyrin.

NEWS: Stefanos Tsitsipas has been awarded Wild-Card entry into Halle.

NEWS: Milos Raonic has pulled out from Queen’s, Frances Tiafoe takes his place.


ATP 500 Queen’s (GBR, Grass), entry list:
Berrettini, Matteo (ITA)
OUT Schwartzman, Diego (ARG)
Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
OUT Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Fognini, Fabio (ITA)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Krajinovic, Filip (SRB)
Millman, John (AUS)
OUT Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Cilic, Marin (CRO)
Djere, Laslo (SRB)
Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
WC Murray, Andy (GBR)
WC Broady, Liam (GBR)
WC Draper, Jack (GBR)
OUT (WC)
OUT (SE)
Alternates:
OUT Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
IN Chardy, Jeremy (FRA)
IN Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
IN Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)

OUT Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
IN Lu, Yen-Hsun (TPE)
IN Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
IN Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)

Alt.1 Albot, Radu (MDA)
Alt.2 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)


ATP 500 Queen’s (GBR, Grass), qualifying:
OUT Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
OUT Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
OUT Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
OUT Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA)
OUT Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)

Pouille, Lucas (FRA)
Zapata Miralles, Bernabe (ESP)
OUT Broady, Liam (GBR)
Van de Zandschulp, Botic (NED)
Huesler, Marc-Andrea (SUI)
Jung, Jason (TPE)
Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
Tabilo, Alejandro (CHI)
WC Peniston, Ryan (GBR)
WC Parker, Stuart (GBR)
WC Ward, James (GBR)
Alternates:
IN Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO)
OUT Safiullin, Roman (RUS)
IN Rosol, Lukas (CZE)
OUT Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
OUT Muller, Alexandre (FRA)

IN Marcora, Roberto (ITA)
IN Bemelmans, Ruben (BEL)

OUT Ito, Tatsuma (PR, JPN)
IN Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
OUT Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
IN Vukic, Aleksandar (AUS)

OUT Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
OUT Tomic, Bernard (AUS)
OUT Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
OUT Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)

Alt.1 Copil, Marius (ROU)
Alt.2 Ebden, Matthew (AUS)
Alt.3 Gojo, Borna (CRO)




ATP 500 Halle (GER, Grass), entry list:
Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
Zverev, Alexander (GER)
Rublev, Andrey (RUS)
Federer, Roger (SUI)
Bautista Agut, Roberto (ESP)
OUT Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
Goffin, David (BEL)
OUT Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
OUT Garin, Cristian (CHI)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
Nishikori, Kei (JPN)
Korda, Sebastian (USA)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
Pella, Guido (ARG)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
WC Kohlschreiber, Philipp (GER)
WC Altmaier, Daniel (GER)
WC Monfils, Gael (FRA)
WC Tsitsipas, Stefanos (GRE)
Alternates:
IN Querrey, Sam (USA)
IN Simon, Gilles (FRA)
IN Moutet, Corentin (FRA)

OUT Lu, Yen-Hsun (TPE)
OUT Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)

Alt.1 Albot, Radu (MDA)
Alt.2 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Alt.3 Giron, Marcos (USA)


ATP 500 Halle (GER, Grass), qualifying:
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
OUT Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
OUT Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
OUT Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
Albot, Radu (MDA)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
OUT Alcaraz, Carlos (ESP)
Duckworth, James (AUS)
Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
Novak, Dennis (AUT)
Sousa, Joao (POR)
Rinderknech, Arthur (FRA)
Barrere, Gregoire (FRA)
O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)
OUT Gojowczyk, Peter (GER)
Stebe, Cedrik-Marcel (GER)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO)
OUT (RA)
WC Molleker, Rudolf (GER)
WC Stricker, Dominic Stephan (SUI)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN Rodionov, Jurij (AUT)
IN Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
IN Muller, Alexandre (FRA)

OUT Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN)
OUT Marcora, Roberto (ITA)
OUT Bemelmans, Ruben (BEL)

IN Maden, Yannick (GER)
IN Lacko, Lukas (PR, SVK)
IN Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)

OUT Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
IN Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
Alt.1 Masur, Daniel (GER)
OUT Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
OUT Copil, Marius (ROU)
OUT Ebden, Matthew (AUS)
OUT Gojo, Borna (CRO)

Alt.2 Celikbilek, Altug (TUR)
Alt.3 Kuhn, Nicola (ESP)
Alt.4 Blanch, Ulises (USA)
OUT Kopriva, Vit (CZE)
Alt.5 Molleker, Rudolf (GER)
Alt.6 Choinski, Jan (GER)
Alt.7 Brown, Dustin (GER)
Alt.8 Sakamoto, Pedro (BRA)
Alt.9 King, Darian (BAR)
Alt.10 Vavassori, Andrea (ITA)

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