Mutua Madrid Open 2014 Interviews. Rafael Nadal: “In Madrid I always play at this time. It's not a matter of TV. For me, no problem at all. I like to play with sun” - UBITENNIS
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Mutua Madrid Open 2014 Interviews. Rafael Nadal: “In Madrid I always play at this time. It's not a matter of TV. For me, no problem at all. I like to play with sun”

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TENNIS Mutua Madrid Open 2014 – R. Nadal d T. Berdych 6-4, 6-2. An interview with Rafael Nadal

Q. First of all, congrats for the great match. Just wanted to say 3-2, 30 Love you were both playing really well. From there on, 3 games for Berdych. Was that the key of the match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, of course the first set is always very important, especially when it’s an even set. I think that I wasn’t playing bad, but it’s always tough at the beginning. It’s always difficult.

It was a match with a lot of intensity, and perhaps it was my toughest match until now in the tournament. I knew that I had to go a step forward. I think that talking about my level, I did it pretty well. I played pretty well during a long time.

Perhaps then I was down a little bit, but I knew it was a different match. It’s true the first two opponents I had, Pico or Nieminen, they were two opponents that if I do things more or less correctly, his game isn’t going to be negative for me Mo because I’m going to have a lot of rhythm.

I managed to save a break point at the beginning of the match, and also I saved another Love 30, so I think that in the key moments I played really well. I’m happy for that.

In general, I think overall it’s a more complete match that I did. I managed to play with the same energy, the same intensity, and I think that during the match I was levelling up.

I’m happy for that. To make it to the semifinals for first time in the clay season here in Madrid is great news for me.

 

Q. Was it very hot out there? Normally you play at the night. What did you think about the match today? Is it a matter of TV?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, normally in Madrid I always play at this time. It’s not a matter of TV. For me, no problem at all. I like to play with sun, too. I would rather play with sun at night, and especially when I play on a clay court. It’s more natural.

Well, it was pretty hot out there. I think that in this case it’s even worse for the audience than the players because it’s hot. But it’s not very humid. Even though I sweat an awful lot.

But we don’t have here the heat that you can have perhaps in Miami, which can be heavier. Here it’s hot, but it is something you can cope with.

 

Q. I wanted to ask you to talk about the characteristic of Giraldo. Evaluate his moment right now.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he’s been doing well in two tournaments, two in a row with very positive matches on his side. He’s a player that has a high speed of ball. Normally I think that he’s a player that plays a little bit disorganized but with really good drive and return.

So he’s a dangerous player.

 

Q. Recently we saw you play a lot with your backhand. I don’t know if you don’t feel comfortable with your forehand. Can you explain that?

RAFAEL NADAL: You know, all my life I have been playing with my backhand. More than normally, you know. No, I don’t think so.

I think that my game is good when I do my drive. When I do five or six backhands, my game is not as good, especially on clay court. On the clay court you have to play with your drive. You have the possibilities to open the match.

Well, in Monte Carlo, I played very little with my drive. I played a lot with my backhand. It’s something that we talked about. I have to play more with my drive. I’m still lacking a little bit of that, a little bit more automatic position that I used to have. I should have more space, because sometimes I don’t have that space.

In general, I think it did pretty well. My shots were working and my backhand is okay. I think it hasn’t been a problem. I think that I’ve had a problem of legs rather than of backhand. I think that my backhand has been pretty good in all the clay tournaments.

It’s not that I cover my backhand because I don’t feel comfortable. During all the clay season I’ve been pretty comfortable with my backhand. But to play well in clay, you have to have really good passing shots.

 

Q. Yesterday we were talking to Giraldo and he was talking about important tennis in Colombia. The ATP 500 tournament was in Rio and you were there. Seems that the ATP is trying to grow in Latin America. Would you agree that a Masters 1000 should be played there?

RAFAEL NADAL: It’s not that I’m looking forward to it. I will really support it. Tennis is a global sport. It’s important that it’s equal all over the globe.

Also, it’s a reality that the matches have to be played and the tournaments have to be played where the audience really lives and feels the sport. My personal feeling is that each time I go to Latin America, the response of the audience over there is unbelievable.

I can’t remember any matches that I’ve played in Latin America that the court was not up to its fullest. It was really crowded. So that’s great news for our sport.

They are continually growing. They might have had some problems in the past concerning security. Perhaps they’re now less, not so problematic.

Think that the ATP should go for that situation and really make more tournaments there in Latin America.

But as always, we know the changes and the innovations in our organization are complex.

 

Q. You’re saying that you’re very satisfied and happy. Perhaps the best news is that you’ve been pretty consistent.

RAFAEL NADAL: The best news is that I play well. That’s the best news, I think.

I think that I’ve done a lot of things that I’ve done well historically during a lot of years on this surface. I think I’ve done them again today.

So I’ve played really good shots; I’ve been able to win two break points with two passing shots, very complicated shots. I took the opportunity that I had on the break points.

I managed to solve the opportunities that he had with my serve because I think I played bravely and aggressively. After that, I managed to have a regular game without committing many errors and having the initiative in the point whenever I could.

When I couldn’t, I was just defending, trying to recover. I was moving pretty well covering the court. I wasn’t feeling that the court was too big for me as perhaps could happen in other moments.

I feel that I was in good position on the court. Those are all the things that led me to a good result on this surface.

Of course there are always things I can do better, but I think I’ve gone a very important step forward.

 

Q. You were talking about Brazil and the crowd over there, saying that they support you and that the court is very full. What do you say about the people here in Madrid? The court with you is pretty full, but with other players it’s not as crowded, like with Giraldo.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in my case I have only the feeling when I’m not court. When I’m on the court, the support of the crowd is simply amazing, it’s brutal.

It’s one of the places where I go out there in the court and I feel the most loved, the most supported in the world. So for me, whenever I go out to play here in Madrid in any kind of situation, it’s a really good feeling.

You know, I feel very emotional and I really want to play well here. The energy these people give me here it’s really hard to find in other places.

In the end, it’s also really hot here on this court. There is a lot of the metal out here. The people don’t leave, but they’re just looking for shade and trying not to be so hot and all the time on the court.

So it’s tough for them, too.

 

Q. You were talking about the tennis in Latin America. On the calendar there are a lot of things. What would you do? Would you substitute one of the current tournaments we have? Do you think that the market is very saturated? How would you do it?

RAFAEL NADAL: You know, I left the council of players because of something a long time ago. In politics there has been a long time that I’ve not been there, and it’s not going to be now when I go back in.

When I was in there I saw a few solutions. That’s when I left. So being out of it, you know, it doesn’t worry me a lot. It shouldn’t worry you. Shouldn’t worry you my opinion or my solution because I’m not there. We should ask the people that have the power to change these things.

I don’t know that other people have the power, but it would be great to have a Masters 100 in Latin America.

 

Q. Yesterday you said that after your win that you played about an hour of what you thought was your best tennis for the past couple of weeks. You struggled a little bit to close out the match. Do you feel that you were playing at your best throughout the whole match today and were able to close it out?

RAFAEL NADAL: I played probably the most solid match during the whole clay season, because it’s true that in the first round I played well after the 4 1 in the first set; in the second round I played well for almost one hour, you know, 6 1, 3 Love playing at the very good level.

Today I was playing with very positive energy during the whole match and increasing the level as the match went on. So I am very proud and happy the way I managed the situation today. I made an important improvement about personal feelings and talking. Happy for that.

Tomorrow is another history. Always the feet close to the floor. Every day is different history, and I know that the things can change.

But victory like today improve my confidence.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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