TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 26th of May 2014. R. Nadal d. R. Ginepri 6-0, 6-3, 6-0. An interview with Rafael Nadal
Q. How does it feel to get the first one over with, Rafa?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. I think I played after the first game that was not good, I played a solid first set. I start first six games of the second I didn’t play well, and he had a terrible game with the 3 All, a lot of mistakes. After that I think I started to play a little bit better again.
So in the third I finished the match playing not that good, so it was a solid start, happy for that.
Q. Last year the first couple of rounds for you were a bit tricky. Are you feeling kind of relieved or confident this time your first round was not like…
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Doesn’t matter, no? In the end it’s day by day not, it’s difficult to compare years, difficult to compare opponents.
Important thing is go on court, try your best every day, and try to improve a little bit in every practice day and every match day, and that’s what they did a lot of times during this tournament. That’s why I had that success, and I gonna try to do it this year.
I think I started a little bit better than last year, but still last year I arrived with a lot of victories on my shoulders, this year with a little bit less.
We’ll see. Important thing is that I am in second round. I won the first one. I have two days for practice, to keep doing the right things and to arrive on the second round hopefully ready to play well.
Q. This is not strictly related to Roland Garros, but how would you describe your relationship with your racquet?
RAFAEL NADAL: I know my racquet since a long time (smiling). No, that’s the best thing that I can say about my racquet is for some reason I am playing with this one.
It’s because I feel the racquet give me what I need for my game and is long, long time ago that I am playing with Babolat, since the age of 10 or 11, I don’t remember. Always Babolat did the best possible for me, trying to help me in what I really need.
I think is great to be part of a great company of Babolat and a great company in the world of tennis. I have a great relationship with them, and that makes the things a little bit easier.
Q. Some people were a bit surprised that you were scheduled on Suzanne Lenglen today. I was wondering if it made any difference to you. Were you expecting to play on Chatrier, or you didn’t really care?
RAFAEL NADAL: Doesn’t really matter a lot. Always playing Roland Garros is a pleasure for me, is a really honor, and is a special feeling. So all the memories at this place give me are unforgettable.
And doesn’t matter if it’s Chatrier or Lenglen or another court, be around here in Roland Garros always gonna be great. And I started in Lenglen this year, is a great court.
I am not sure, but probably next one I gonna play in Chatrier. That’s it.
Q. Can you tell us the whole process in Madrid, in Rome? Your confidence came back. You’re more competitive. Is it because you played quite a lot?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, Madrid is a Masters 1000, and I didn’t play that much until the final. I lost no set. I think I never played any long match until the final, so this is a tournament during which I didn’t spend that much time on the court.
But after Madrid and mostly after the two first rounds in Rome, which were very difficult with very difficult conditions, with a lot of wind, very cold, I think I started being what I used to be in the past and playing the way I used to play in the past.
My game was back, much better than during my first tournaments on clay. Had it been possible, had I been in a position to use my shots in Madrid or in Rome or in Barcelona, the process would have been far less complex for me.
And maybe I would come here with slightly more confidence. But I think the beginning of the season on clay was positive.
And with regards to my feelings here with regards to what other people tell me when they see me, watching, I think I’m fit, but you want to come to Paris having played well in the other tournaments.
Q. Coming back to Madrid, you said that Berdych was hitting his balls very high and that you had difficulties returning and you also complained about the sun, the lack of sun, about the cold.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it’s true. The sun, either you have too much of it or not enough of it. But when it’s very hot and there is not much wind, the court is much faster. That helps me quite a lot.
I’m not trying to find any excuses. That’s tennis. We want to talk about tennis. We are here because we love tennis. And when the ball does not go as far as I want it to go, I’m the only one to blame. Maybe it’s because at one stage I was not running fast enough or maybe I was not strong enough on my legs. Had I run faster, I would have had more time to position myself, to position my arm, and return better.
Of course I have ups and downs, just like any player, and we all have in this sport. But I also managed to play very good games in Rome. The matches were very difficult, but the conditions were nightmarish, really. It was very difficult to play in these conditions.
But after that, I think I played very well when I played Murray. There was less wind. The weather was slightly warmer. Against Dimitrov it was at night with wind. Not as cold as during my match against Simon, but I managed to return deeper. I was calmer. I could position myself much better on the court.
And when the ball arrived, I could return it not taking too many risks. I did that and I felt I could not attack, I managed to play safely and create some difficulties for my opponent.
It’s always very difficult to win against him, but I think I played well. Today it’s true that the court was very heavy. The balls were very heavy, very wet.
I had a question, why don’t they dry the court before we start playing? The court is soaked with water. Why don’t they do anything?
Well, anyway, there are moments when I played better today. Others when my let game was not all that good, when I couldn’t run as much as I should have. But that’s the way it is.
Andy Murray To Play Four Tournaments In A Row Following Shanghai Wild Card
It is going to be a busy few week’s for the British player as he continues his comeback to the tour.
The comeback of former world No.1 Andy Murray is gaining momentum after he received a wild card into the most high-profile men’s tournament in China.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has been given entry into the Shanghai Masters, which will get underway on October 5th. Murray is one of only three players to have won the title three or more times. His last triumph was back in 2016 when he defeated Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the final. That was also the last time the Brit played in the tournament after being hampered by a serious hip injury over the past two years.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to Shanghai, a tournament I have had success at in the past.” Murray said in a statement.
“Thanks to the tournament for a wild card, it’s great to be able to continue my comeback and play more tennis in China. Shanghai is a great city; I feel comfortable there and the fans are always supportive.”
Murray is continuing his return to the tour after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery earlier this season. The second operation he has had on his hip in as many years. So far in his singles comeback, the 32-year-old has lost his opening matches in Cincinnati (to Richard Gasquet) and Winston-Salem (to Tennys Sandgren). He is currently ranked 415th in the world.
“We are delighted to have Andy return to the tournament where he has been so successful,” Shanghai tournament director Michael Luevano said. “He is incredibly popular with our fans and we are all thrilled to see him back on the courts and heading to Shanghai.’
“He has been through a lot physically in recent times so to see him back doing what he loves is very rewarding for everyone in tennis.”
The addition of Shanghai to his schedule means Murray will play four tournaments in four weeks across two continents. He will also play at events in Zhuhai (ATP 250) and Beijing (ATP 500) prior to the Masters tournament. Then the week after, he will return to Europe to play at the European Open (ATP 250) in Antwerp, Belgium.
Murray is hoping to return back to his top form. So far in his career, he has won 45 titles on the ATP Tour and spent 41 consecutive weeks as world No.1.
Borna Coric Opens Up About Split With Coach
The Croatian No.1 has criticised his ex-mentor for working with Maria Sharapova earlier this year.
Borna Coric has said he had differences of opinion with his former coach ‘for some time’ before they decided to go their separate ways.
The world No.15 has shed light on the reasons behind his decision to part ways with Riccardo Piatti earlier this month. The two have worked together since 2017. Under Piatti’s guidance, Coric won the biggest title of his career in Halle last year. However, he hasn’t won any more silverware since then.
“There have been differences for some time, since the beginning of the year.” Coric said earlier this week.
“They reached the pinnacle at the US Open, after which we all sat around a table and decided to interrupt the collaboration.”
Piatti is a renowned coach in the world of men’s tennis and has worked with many top names. Including Novak Djokovic, Richard Gasquet and Milos Raonic. He also has his own academy in Italy, where he spent some time with Maria Sharapova during the summer and supported her during the US Open. Something that has been criticised by Coric.
“We can say that, it certainly did not help to resolve the differences and made the situation worse.” He commented on Piatti’s work with Sharapova.
“This was one of the main reasons. He is following several projects and could no longer focus fully on me. Given this and the previous divergences, we assessed that the separation was the best option.” Coric added.
The 22-year-old is hoping to end the year on a high after another injury setback. At the US Open he was forced to withdraw from the second round due to a back injury. His win-loss for the season currently stands at 23-15. Coric’s best runs so far in 2019 were at Doha and s-Hertogenbosch where he reached the semi-finals of both tournaments.
Coric is set to return to action next week in St. Petersburg, where he will be the fourth seed.
“Regardless of the situation, I have to try to make the most of this season . I am working hard in anticipation of the return to the field in St. Petersburg.” He concluded.
For the rest of the season Coric will be coached by Antonio Veic. Although there is a chance that more members will be added to his team in the near future.
Gerard Pique Sheds Light On Chances of Roger Federer Returning To Davis Cup
The Swiss maestro is the only member of the Big Three not to feature in the revamped event later this year.
There is a 50/50 chance that Roger Federer could play in next year’s Davis Cup finals, according to Kosmos founder Gerard Pique.
The Barcelona F.C. player has confirmed that talks are ongoing about the former world No.1 featuring in the historic event, which has been revamped this year. For the first time in it’s 119-year history, the finals will take place over a week and feature 18 teams taking part in a round-robin format. The change has split opinion in the sport, but was given the green light at the ITF’s annual AGM meeting last year. Pique’s investment company Kosmos is a key financial backer of the changes.
One notable absence from this year’s finals, which will be held in Madrid, is Federer. The former world No.1 has in the past been a critic of the new format. Once saying the tournament has been designed for ‘the future generation of players,’ but not him. He has also warned against the team competition being turned into the ‘Pique Cup.’ A term the Spaniard is not a fan of.
“I wanted since the first moment I arrived in the tennis world, is to try to help this sport.” Pique said during an interview with Sport Business.
“Switzerland has not qualified for November so even if Roger wants to play in this event, he cannot, but we are talking with him and his agent to discuss the possibility to play in 2020.”
As is currently stands, Federer is the only member of the big three not to be playing. Rafael Nadal has vowed to play if healthy and Novak Djokovic announced his attendance on the eve of the US Open. The Serbian had previously expressed his reservations over participating due to its close proximity to the ATP Cup, another team event that will kick-off in January.
“I just feel like the date of the Davis Cup is really bad, especially for the top players. Between the two, I will prioritize the World Team Cup because that’s a competition of ATP.” The world No.1 said last year.
So why has Djokovic decided to play in Madrid? When asked in Flushing Meadows he said he wanted to represent his country. However, Pique believes there is more to it than that. Saying that he had managed to persuade the Serbian following conversations between the two.
“I said to him, ‘I know you are an ATP player but at the same time you represent the federation of Serbia, which is part of the ITF which invests in young talent and the future of tennis. I think it makes total sense that you participate in both competitions because it is a message that at the end of the day that you want [for the ATP and ITF] to work together.”
One criticism of the event is the timing of the finals. They will take place between November 18-24, the week after the ATP Finals in London. Partly eating into what is already a relatively short off-season for many players on the tour.
ITF President David Haggerty is hoping that negotiations over a potential change in dates can be made in the future with the new leader of the ATP. Current CEO Chris Kermode will be leaving his position later this year after failing to receive enough backing in a ATP board meeting.
“There is leadership change coming and once that’s completed we will continue discussions to see what’s the best date.” Haggerty outlined.
“We need to have the first Davis Cup finals in November and the ATP Cup will be in January and then we will have more facts and have a good discussion.”
The inaugural Davis Cup finals will be held at the Caja Magica. The same venue as the Madrid Open, which takes place annually in May.
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