Mutua Madrid Open 2014. Interviews. Rafael Nadal: “You never win without playing well. This is the reality. You don't win a Masters 1000 playing badly” - UBITENNIS
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Mutua Madrid Open 2014. Interviews. Rafael Nadal: “You never win without playing well. This is the reality. You don't win a Masters 1000 playing badly”

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TENNIS Mutua Madrid Open 2014 – R. Nadal d. R. Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-3. An interview with Rafael Nadal.

Q. Congratulations. Can you just a little bit sum up how you’ve been improving during the week and how you feel your game is getting better and better, and was that the case today?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, thank you. Yeah, it was an important victory for me. After I think a great match yesterday, have the confirmation today that the improvement is real is a very good news for me, important one for me. I think for moments I played great tennis against an opponent that is playing really well and improving a lot.

He’s a really dangerous one today. He has already this year great victories, a lot of good ones. So is an important one for me.

And be in a final here in a difficult tournament at home after losing two weeks in a row quarterfinals means a lot to me. So very happy. (Smiling.)

 

Q. Ferrer has beat on you repeatedly on clay; Nishikori, the last time you played together was in Australia. Who do you think suits better your game tomorrow for the final? Who would you like better?

RAFAEL NADAL: I really don’t know. I have no clue. Really, I don’t know. We’re talking about top players. They’re really good. They’re the players that are playing really well.

Nishikori has done a really good season. He comes from winning in Barcelona, so he has a lot of confidence.

Well, David played really well in Monte Carlo. In Barcelona he had an accident, and here he’s already had several complicated matches that he has won. A match with Isner, and with Ramos he suffered and he managed to get through it.

He has had two really tough matches. He won today in two sets, so very well.

And tomorrow, you know, I would like to play against the one who plays not so good, but I don’t know who.

 

Q. You talking on the court before, and is it more important this week to win than to play well?

RAFAEL NADAL: You know, you never win without playing well. This is the reality. You don’t win a Masters 1000 playing badly. That’s impossible.

You can play well, normally very well, or incredibly well. These other three options you have in order to win a Masters 1000, not only playing well. You need several circumstances in order to achieve it.

Times I have won tournaments like this without playing well, I would say never. So to win, of course it’s important, and especially more when you come from not winning.

So for me, the fact of being able to win four matches in a row is something really positive. It’s always true. As I said at the beginning of the week, I think that in Barcelona I could have done it. I should have done it, but I let that match go.

Well, it makes you, you know, suffer a little bit and it makes you next week start from zero.

But it’s true that the feeling was much better in Barcelona than in Monte Carlo. That’s why maybe I got here with a better feeling and also more calmness, you know.

We could see that in the matches. As you keep on winning, you have more confidence and play more calmly. That allows you to go the match with some calm that allows you to do your match, to do your game. It allows you to do what you’re thinking to do.

In the end, important thing is the nerves    the important is not the nerves. As I always saying, the nerves are good for you. The bad things is when the nerves don’t allow you to do what you want to do on the court.

 

Q. Compared to Monte Carlo, how do you see yourself? Talking about your legs, your mobility, your reactions.

RAFAEL NADAL: I think that I’ve done pretty good things. Not only talking about legs. Of course legs are pretty important, but I think I’m doing things much better in general.

Again, I’m doing my logical game that I’ve always done on clay. I think I’m playing well with my drive and defending very well. Especially when I have intermediate balls, my drive is dangerous again. I don’t have to put it really close to the baseline. I play like safe shots so I am managing to move the opponent around the court without assuming great risks.

That’s the key for playing on these kinds of courts, on clay. I think that in this tournament I managed to do it well. I think today I had an opponent that was playing very well. I started well and managed to break, and then a double fault with my serve. I managed to do that well.

He also played a couple points good and complicated it again. Psychologically, Monte Carlo and Barcelona, whenever I had thoughts, moments, I was not ready and I was a little bit down.

Over here I managed to be ready straightaway. For example, in the second set I had a ball to go 5 0 and he played well and then I committed an error with a deuce in the 4 1.

At 4 3, I responded again. I managed to serve well and play a good passing shot and to break again. All of those symptoms are symptoms that I am mentally more stable and more confident that things are going to go well.

This is great news in order to go out and play tomorrows’ match, but also for what may come in the future.

 

Q. You played constantly with the noise of an internal riot. Had that happened to you before?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I didn’t know. I asked the umpire because I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know if it was noise from the inside of the tournament or not. He told me it was a riot outside of the complex. It’s uncomfortable, but I cannot do anything about it.

There are riots. We have them. They have freedom in order to do them, so no problem at all with that. Just a pity that it’s really close to here. That’s the only thing I have to say.

 

Q. One day left for the tournament to win, the Magic Box is still not full. Today was the fullest, but still not full. Do you agree with the philosophy of the tournament on the ticket prices?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know the philosophy that the tournament follows, but I can’t talk about it in the Davis Cup when I’m talking about something which is public.

After all, we’re playing with the Spanish Federation, which I don’t know if it’s private or public. At the end, it’s just an organization. I don’t know how it works. I guess it’s 50/50.

But afterwards we understand when we’re talking about the federation that referring to a public organization, not like here which is a private tournament.

When you have a private tournament you have the freedom and the right to price the tickets as you want. We don’t have anything to say about that.

Of course, each one of us does with the tournament whatever they think is more convenient for the tournament. I cannot talk about that, and I will never do it.

On your own you can do whatever you want. You’re free to do whatever you want. I really don’t have anything to say about it.

 

Q. Do you miss Federer and Djokovic because they haven’t been here this week and maybe not going to be next week? Does that mean more relax or rehab?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, there is no rehab at all. No rehab for me. As I said before, in Barcelona and Monte Carlo I didn’t get to the round to play against them, so that’s a completely different story.

Of course for the tournament it’s better that these players are present, and also for the fans. But we also to have get used to tennis    the tennis is not only Federer, Djokovic or me. We have it get used to that. Or Murray. Because we’re going to leave one day.

We’re not 20 years old anymore, and tennis is way more important than just for the player. This is the reality of the situation. We have to get used to it. You have to get used to it, and the fans also.

But you are the ones who help the fans so that their mentality can change. You can do that because you communicate with them. I think that tennis is way more important than any player.

In this case we’re talking about some of the best players in the world currently. It’s a pity that they’re not here. I would have liked that they would be here for the tournament and the fans.

But talking about a Masters 1000 who has all the other 50 some best players of world, it’s a really good tournament. This is the reality of the situation. I don’t think that the tennis should depend on just these four or five players. These players, as I said, are just going to leave. Me too. I’m also going to leave, and tennis will still be there and other players will come.

 

Q. I wonder the main difference you’re feeling in the sensations on the court between here and how you played and how you felt in Barcelona and Monte Carlo.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. At the end, I said before the tournament start, no, very few details make a big difference.

I think in general I am able to hit more forehands than a few weeks ago. I was playing too much with my backhand. To play on clay I need to play with my forehand and use my forehand to create the possibilities to create angles.

In normal balls during the points    there is always normal balls. I’m not talking about when you are hitting a winner, when you’re trying to defend a difficult ball. Talking about a normal ball, I think I am able to create that spin that I was not able to create few weeks ago.

With that spin I had the possibility to change the direction of the ball down the line. I feel that to put the opponent in a problem, I don’t need to play that close to the line because the ball starts going quick again and with the right spin.

So playing with the right, you know    I don’t need to play few centimeters to the line. Playing one meter away from the lines, the ball is still very good. That’s the basic thing on clay that I’m doing better.

 

Q. Do you ever read what people say about you? When you lose a couple tournaments like you did and certain people say it’s the end, he’s not the player he was, and things aren’t going well, do you ever read or listen to that or hear it?

RAFAEL NADAL: I never read a lot about me when I’m winning or losing because I understand that there is always    I don’t know how to say    but when you are winning, people talks here; when you were losing, people talks here.

I always understand there is a middle point. That that’s always the real thing. There is always moments of your career. There is always situations, ups and downs. You know, the people are very quick put you on the top and very quick to say that you are over, no?

So just try to maintain the calm, trying to keep working doing the right things, and one day will be the end.

But I don’t know if it’s that moment yet. (Smiling.)

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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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