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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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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