Mutua Madrid Open: Nadal wins the trophy after Nishikori's back gives in - UBITENNIS
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Mutua Madrid Open: Nadal wins the trophy after Nishikori's back gives in

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TENNIS – Rafael Nadal successfully defended his Mutua Madrid Open title rallying from a set and a break down to beat Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-4 3-0 after the Japanese player was forced to withdraw from the match with a back injury during the decisive set. Diego Sampaolo

Interviews & results of the Mutua Madrid Open

With today’s title Nadal clinched his fourth Madrid title after his triumphs in 2005, 2010 and 2013 and his third win of the year after Doha and Rio de Janeiro. Nadal also collected the 27th Master 1000 win of his career 63th title of his career tying Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras on the all-time title ranking. He is within two wins of equalling Guillermo Vilas all.time record of 46 titles on clay.

Nadal won the first clay of the European clay season after two consecutive quarter final defeats in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Nishikori’s winning streak of 14 consecutive wins came to an end but the Japanese made history as he has become the first ever Japanese player to reach the top 10 in the ATP Ranking.

It is difficult to say what would have happened if Nishikori had not suffered from a back injury in the crucial part of the match but what is certain is that the Japanese star played a fantastic first set in which he dominated with a clear 6.2. Nadal held serve in the first game to love to take a 1-0 lead. Nishikori saved a break point to draw level to 1-1. Nishikori earned two break points at 40-15 when Nadal made two forehand errors and a double fault. Nadal managed to save the first break point but Nishikori converted the second for 2-1 with a backhand smash at the net after a spectacular rally.

Nishikori got a second break for 4-1 and pulled away to 5-1 after just 27 minutes. Nishikori earned three set points at 5-2 40-0. Nadal saved the first set point but Nishikori converted the second with an ace to clinch the first set after 36 minutes .

Nishikori was on fire at the start of the second set when he got his third break of the match winning the game to love. Nishikori rallied from 0-40 to hold serve in the second game to go up 2-0.

Nishikori seemed to dictate the match from the baseline sending passing shots with his forehand and backhand. He was a break up and was serving at 4-3 but unfortunately the Florida-based Japanese player suffered from back pain after a long rally at 15-30 and needed a medical time-out.

The injury hampered Nishikori who dropped serve and Nadal sealed the win in the second set with a backhand beyond the baseline to force the third set.

Nishikori tried to continue at the start of the third set but he was forced to withdraw at 0-3 down. The injury has forced to pull out of the Rome Master 1000.

Unfortunately I was hurting and I tried to fight but Rafa was too good today, so congratulations to him. It has been a great few weeks for me in Spain. I won in Barcelona and now reached the final in Madrid, so it’s becoming like a second home for me. There is a lot of confidence I get from the tournament by beating Ferrer in three sets and playing well in the final. It’s going to be very exciting at the Roland Garros because I have never felt like that on clay. I am very confident of whatever I hit going for winners. I can hit from either side, forehand and backhand, so It’s a very good feeling that I have on clay right now”, said Nishikori.

It was the end of Nishikori’s dream to win his first ever Master 1000 tournament but he proved to be a tough opponent for Nadal and he will have other chances in the future. He has fulfilled his dream to become the first Japanese player to reach the top-10. His next step will be to become the first Japanese player to qualify for the ATP World Finals in London at the end of the year

Nadal improved his match record against Nishikori to 7-0. Nishikori managed to win just two of 19 sets. This year Nadal won a very tough match against Nishikori in the fourth round of the Australian Open with the scoreline of 7-6 7-5 7-6

Winning at home is always more special than winning anywhere. Having the chance to play in front of your home crowd is unforgettable for me. This city gives me a lot. This is a very important win for me but I am very sorry for Nishikori. He is an unbelievable player who will fight to be in London. I am sure of that. I really hope that the injury is not too bad and he will be able to play at the Roland Garros”, said Nadal

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Andy Murray Fights Back To Reach First ATP Final In 27 Months

The Brit was in impressive form against America’s Reilly Opelka.

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Andy Murray (GBR) AELTC/Simon Bruty

Former world No.1 Andy Murray is on the verge of re-entering the world’s top 100 after battling into his first Tour final since 2019 at the Sydney International on Friday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion recovered from a set down to beat Reilly Opelka 6-7(6) 6-4 6-4 in a marathon clash which lasted almost two-and-a-half hours. Murray, who is currently ranked 110 places lower than his American opponent, faced just one break point in the match which he saved. Impressively the Brit produced 16 aces and won 88% of his first service points. After dropping the opening tiebreak, he managed to turn the match around in his favour by breaking Opelka once in each of the next two sets.

“I love competing. You want to try to finish the matches if you can but I lost a tight first set and not easy to come back against someone who serves like that. I kept fighting… and managed to get the win,” said Murray who produced just 10 unforced errors.

It is the second time this week Murray has beaten a seeded player in Sydney after edging out second seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets. He also beat eighth seed David Goffin in the quarter-finals who was forced to retire whilst trailing 6-2 due to injury.

The 34-year-old has reached his first Tour final since winning the 2019 European Open when he defeated Stan Wawrinka. He now has a shot at claiming his 48th ATP title on Saturday where he will play either compatriot Dan Evans or Aslan Karatsev.

“It would be amazing to start the year with a win,” he said. “It’s been a great week for me, great progress against anything I’ve done in the past year. I’ll go for 47 tomorrow. It’s been a good week. I’ve played better with each match.”

It has been two years since Murray last played a tournament on Australian soil. Back then he was facing the prospect of having to retire from the sport due to a serious hip injury but later received resurfacing surgery which has enabled him to continue playing. Murray now plays with a metal rod inserted into his hip.

Should he prevail in Saturday’s final, Murray will crack the top 100 for the first time since May 2018.

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Bernard Tomic Tells Umpire He Thinks He Has Covid During Australian Open Qualifying Match

The tennis player says he is ‘really sick’ after crashing out of the tournament.

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Bernard Tomic (image via https://twitter.com/rnadalacademy)

Bernard Tomic has taken a swipe at Australian Open officials over their testing system for COVID-19.

 

The former top 20 player crashed out in the first round of the qualifying tournament to Roman Safiullin, who impressed many during the ATP Cup last week. Tomic was on the court for less than an hour as he lost 6-1, 6-4. This was the first match he had played since September 2021.

During the second set of his clash with Safiullin, the 29-year-old was heard telling umpire Aline Da Rocha Nocinto that he believes he has COVID-19. Saying he would ‘buy her a meal’ if he was wrong.

“I’m sure in the next two days I will test positive, I’m telling you,” he said.
“I’ll buy you dinner if I don’t test positive in three days, otherwise you buy me dinner.”

Venting his frustration, Tomic said he was shocked that no official PCR tests are required for players, just rapid tests. However, Tennis Australia later clarified that all players must complete a PCR test before participating in the tournament and their result must be negative in order to play.

“They’re allowing players to come on court with rapid tests in their room, c’mon … no official PCR testing,” he continued.

Following the match Tomic posted an update on his Instagram account saying that he is currently feeling ‘really sick’ and has been asked by doctors to isolate in his room. During the match he did have a medical time out and was seen checking for his own pulse.

“Feeling really sick, I’m now back in my hotel room,” Tomic wrote.
“Just spoke to the doctors on site and they’ve asked me to isolate. They couldn’t treat me yet to avoid contact.
“Thank you for all the support on the court today. I really appreciate it! I’ll do better next time.
“Very disappointed as I really wanted to make Aussies proud and perform well on my home turf.”

Tomic has not commented on why he decided to play his match if he believed he could have covid. It is also unclear as to what symptoms he experienced leading up to today or the severity of them.

In a separate development, Portugal’s Nuno Borges was forced to pull out of the qualifying draw after he tested positive for COVID-19.

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Eight Questions For Novak Djokovic

So far Djokovic has been anything but transparent. His positive COVID-19 result was made known by the lawyers, not him. He trusted Craig Tiley’s assurances that he misinformed him. Here are the questions we would ask him.

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Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters (Credit: Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Roberto Ferri

For several weeks the troubled events relating Novak Djokovic and his participation in the Australian Open have been taking place.

 

For the few who still do not know them, I will summarize them briefly.

In order to take part in the 2022 edition of the Australian Open it is necessary to have completed the vaccination cycle against Covid-19 or, alternatively, to have requested from the competent local medical authorities a certificate of exemption.

On January 4, Djokovic announced in a post that he had obtained medical exemption and was on his way to Australia. Some may say it was kind of naive post, but it’s hard to believe that it was his responsibility to check consistency between the exemption that had got and the Australian federal laws.

Before his arrival at the Melbourne airport, the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison – perhaps under the pressure of a large part of national and international public opinion who had immediately expressed their discontent with this concession – declared: “Djokovic will be sent home on the first plane if he is unable to provide sufficient evidence to support his exemption from vaccination ”.

Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on January 5th but his visa to enter the country is rejected by the border authorities.

Tension rose between Australia and Serbia with the Serbian government summoning the Australian ambassador.

Djokovic’s lawyers are appealing against the visa refusal; the judge in charge of examining the appeal reserves the right to make a decision on Monday 10th January.

While awaiting the sentence, Djokovic is accompanied to a hotel of the lowest level; many fans of the champion gather in front of the hotel to protest in his favour.

In Serbia, Djokovic’s father made a series of statements in which he compares his son to Spartacus and Jesus, we assume not necessarily in this order of importance.

In the meantime, through the papers supporting the appeal filed with the Melbourne court, we learn that Djokovic had requested an exemption because he recently recovered from COVID and that he had obtained it from the Medical Director of Tennis Australia on December 30th. In the same documents we read that Djokovic’s positivity to COVID was ascertained through a molecular test carried out on December 16th.

If we (UbiTennis) had the chance, I would like to put these eight 8 questions to the Serbian champion:

1- The documents filed by your lawyers state that on December 16th you took the test for COVID 19. Why did you take it that very day?

2- On what day did you know your test result?

3- In this circumstance you considered it appropriate not to publicly reveal your positive result unlike what you did in June 2020. Why?

4- Between the day you learned about your positivity and the following days did you take part in public events?

5- If you took part in public events, what precautions did you take to avoid transmitting the infection?

6- When you arrived at Melbourne airport did you have complete documentation that provided all the evidence supporting the exemption?

7- If you had not contracted COVID you would have not been able to apply for vaccine exemption; what alternative strategy did you plan to participate to the Australian Open?

8- Would you get vaccinated if it were the only option to be able to take part in ATP and ITF tournaments during 2022?

Is Novak Djokovic going to answer them?

Only time will tell.

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