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”




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.


Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career

The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.




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British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.


The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.

Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.

Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.

Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).

Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.

According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.

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Canada Daily Preview: Two Clashes Between Top 10 Seeds in the Third Round




Felix Auger-Aliassime practicing this week in Montreal (

On Thursday, all third round matches will take place in both Montreal and Toronto, making for another extremely busy day of tennis.  And two of those third round encounters see top 10 seeds collide.  In Montreal, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime faces Cam Norrie in a rematch from last Friday’s Los Cabos semifinals.  In Toronto, Aryna Sabalenka plays Coco Gauff, who survived an extended battle on Wednesday against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina


Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time in Toronto and 12:00pm local time in Montreal.

Aryna Sabalenka (6) vs. Coco Gauff (10) – 11:00am on Grandstand in Toronto

Gauff’s second-round victory on Wednesday was a grueling affair.  After failing to convert four match points in the second-set tiebreak, Coco finally prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.  And she did so despite striking 13 double faults, a part of her game that continues to trouble her.  Sabalenka spent over an hour less time on court, defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets.  Gauff leads their head-to-head 2-1, though all three meetings have been rather tight.  And of late, Coco has been the much stronger performer.  Going back to her run to the French Open final, Gauff has claimed 15 of her last 19 matches.  By contrast, Sabalenka arrived in Toronto having lost three of her last four.  While Coco will surely feel a bit tired on Thursday, she’ll also feel relieved having escaped what would have been a heartbreaking loss a day earlier, and should play a bit more freely.  And most importantly, she’s currently feeling much more confident than Sabalenka.

Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Not Before 4:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Last week in Los Cabos, Norrie took out Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.  However, that was Cam’s first victory over Felix in five tries.  The previous four had all gone the way of the Canadian, including another hard court matchup earlier this year in Rotterdam.  Auger-Aliassime pulled out a dramatic first-set tiebreak on Wednesday night over Washington runner-up Yoshihito Nishioka in thrilling fashion, eventually prevailing in straights.  Earlier in the day, Norrie advanced comfortably, allowing Botic van de Zandschulp only three games.  Just six days removed from their last encounter, Felix will be eager for revenge, especially at his home country’s biggest event.  But playing at home comes with a lot of pressure, and Auger-Aliassime is only 3-4 in his last seven matches.  Cam is the more in-form player, and should be favored to earn his second win over Felix in less than a week.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Camila Giorgi – Giorgi is the defending champion, and is yet to drop a set through two matches.  Last year in the semifinals of this same event, she defeated Pegula in three.  But overall the American leads their head-to-head 5-2 at all levels, and has twice defeated Camila since that semifinal.

Nick Kyrgios vs. Alex de Minaur – It’s Australian versus Australian, and the Washington champ against the Atlanta champ.  Kyrgios upset world No.1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday, and has now won 13 of his last 14 matches.  De Minaur has already defeated Denis Shapovalov and Grigor Dimitrov this week. 

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia – In typical Swiatek fashion, she required just over an hour to prevail over Ajla Tomljanovic in her opening match.  Haddad Maia eliminated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez on Wednesday, and won 13 straight matches on grass in June.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Qinwen Zheng – Andreescu outlasted Alize Cornet on Wednesday night in a tight three-setter.  Qinwen benefitted from Ons Jabeur’s retirement due to abdominal pain during their second round matchup. 

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Canada Daily Preview: A Huge Day of Action Headlined by Serena/Bencic and Medvedev/Kyrgios




Serena Williams on Monday in Toronto (

On Tuesday, Serena Williams announced her retirement from the sport in a poignant essay.  With only a month left before one of the greatest players of all-time retires, Serena will play only her third match in the past 14 months on Wednesday, as she faces fellow Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic.


In Montreal, the two ATP singles champions from last week will collide, as Los Cabos champ and world No.1 Daniil Medvedev takes on Washington champ and Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios

Those are just two of a plethora of high-profile second round matches on Wednesday.  Overall seven of the WTA top 10 and six of the ATP top 10 will be in action in a jam-packed day of tennis.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time in both Toronto and Montreal.

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Nick Kyrgios – Not Before 1:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Medvedev did not drop a set during his title run last week in Mexico, and is the defending champion of this event.  But Kyrgios is having the best summer of his career.  He’s now claimed 12 of his last 13 matches, which of course includes his first Major singles final at Wimbledon.  And Nick is 2-1 against Daniil, though they’ve split two hard court meetings.  Three years ago in the final of Washington, Kyrgios prevailed thanks to two tiebreaks.  But at this year’s Australian Open, Medvedev was victorious in four.  Last year at this tournament, Daniil defeated a few other big servers such as Hubi Hurkacz, John Isner, and Reilly Opelka.  On Wednesday, his defensive skills may again prove to diffuse Nick’s serving prowess.  And as seen in the Wimbledon final, Kyrgios can get easily frustrated by opponents who can play elite-level defense.

Belinda Bencic (12) vs. Serena Williams – Not Before 7:00pm on Centre Court on Toronto

These next few weeks will be the last in perhaps the most remarkable career in tennis history.  Serena has said she does not want a lot of fanfare surrounding her last tournaments, but fans will surely be clamoring to see the all-time great one last time.  In just her third match this year, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in women’s singles faces the most recent gold medalist.  Bencic is now 28-13 this season, and two of her best results this season have come in the US.  She was a semifinalist in Miami, and the champion in Charleston.  Serena is 2-1 against Belinda, though Bencic’s only victory occurred in this same city seven years ago, when the Swiss star won this title as an 18-year-old.  Williams played some good tennis during her straight-set victory on Monday, and both players will assumedly be quite nervous knowing this is one of Serena’s final matches.  But considering Williams has not defeated a top 20 player since the 2021 Australian Open, Bencic should be favored on this day.  Regardless, this opportunity to watch Serena compete will be cherished by her millions of fans.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic – Swiatek is now 48-5 on the year, and has won her last three hard court tournaments dating back to February (Doha, Indian Wells, Miami).  Tomljanovic reached her second consecutive Wimbledon quarterfinal last month.  Their only previous meeting also occurred in Toronto, when three years ago the Australian retired after only five games.

Elena Rybakina vs. Coco Gauff (10) – The new Wimbledon champion played for a full three hours on Tuesday, eventually defeating Marie Bouzkova 6-1 in the third.  On the same day, Gauff dropped only four games to fellow American Madison Brengle. 

Tommy Paul vs. Carlos Alcaraz – Alcaraz is now 42-7 in 2022, and is coming off back-to-back finals at clay events in Europe.  Paul has accumulated 25 wins of his own this season, 16 of which have come on hard courts.

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Leylah Fernandez (13) – Fernandez gritted her way to a three-set victory on Monday night in her first match since injuring her foot at Roland Garros.  Haddad Maia has 34 wins on the year, and won back-to-back grass court tournaments in June.  Earlier this season in the semifinals of Monterrey, Leylah prevailed over Beatriz in straight sets.

Qinwen Zheng vs. Ons Jabeur (5) – Jabeur went 1-1 last week in her first two matches since her losing effort in the Wimbledon final.  Qinwen also lost to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon, after two tight sets in the third round of that event.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Alize Cornet – Andreescu overcame injury to defeat San Jose champion Daria Kasatkina on Tuesday evening, requiring multiple medical timeouts in the first set alone.  Earlier in the day, Cornet took out Caroline Garcia in three sets.  Alize is 2-0 against Bianca.

Yoshihito Nishioka (SE) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Nishioka was a surprise finalist last week in Washington, where he earned impressive victories over five top 40 players, including Andrey Rublev.  Auger-Aliassime has now lost four of his last six matches.  Yoshi leads their tour-level head-to-head 2-1, which includes a dramatic three-set win three years ago at Indian Wells in a third-set tiebreak.

Jack Draper (Q) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) – Tsitsipas has not played since his embarrassing behavior in a third-round defeat at the hands of Kyrgios at Wimbledon.  20-year-old Draper has earned 35 match wins at all levels this season. 

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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