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Rafael Nadal: “I think was a dangerous match, dangerous opponent today. I played well”

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TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 29th of May 2014. R. Nadal d. D. Thiem 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. An interview with Rafael Nadal

 

Q. You must be fairly pleased with the way you played today because you brought a lot of power and aggression to the match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you very much. Yes. Sure, happy. No, I think was a dangerous match, dangerous opponent today. I played well, yeah. I played the way that I would like to play. I resist when he was going for the shots playing    he has very powerful shots, very powerful forehand and good backhand, too.

I am happy that the way I resisted. When I had to play long points I did well. When I had to attack and move him, I think I did well. I went to the net a few times. I’m happy that the way I returned today.

 

Q. You have such a great history here, you’re such an icon here. These young guys who are really talented and maybe aren’t afraid like some other guys, they must really look forward to playing with you. Is this an advantage or a disadvantage for them?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think    I don’t see him afraid, no. That’s my feeling.

No, no, I saw him going for the points, going for the shots. It’s true sometimes he make a few mistakes, but at the same time is always normal, no?

This court is always difficult. It’s difficult to find the positive feelings when you are not used to it. The court is so big and always, even today, was not a really difficult day, because always can be very windy here. Always the wind moves around a little bit and makes the sensation, the feeling not perfect, no, for the people who is not used to play.

But in general, I think he has a lot of positive things to be a very good player.

 

Q. You played Dominic Thiem for the very first time. He’s Austria’s big hope. What do you think the future can bring for him?

RAFAEL NADAL: It’s always the same, no? For everybody is the same. For me it was the same when I had 17 or 16. I will have my chance at that age to be in the top position if I am able to keep improving.

And is true that in my opinion for him is a little bit easier than what it was for me, because he already has a very good serve. For me, at the age of 17, I know he has 20, but today he’s talking, making the right comparation, because today the people is coming inside the tour later. At the age of 20 you are very young today.

Was similar when I was in and I was 17. He already has positive serves, a lot of power with his forehand, with his backhand.

I didn’t have that serve at the age of 17. I didn’t have the backhand, I didn’t have that power.

So always is question of keep improving, make the normal evolution, be enough humble to keep practicing as hard as you did before. I am not lying, seriously.

I have almost 28. Djokovic and Andy has 27. Federer has, I don’t know, 32. The new generation, new players, have to come. We not gonna be here for 10 more years (laughter).

The normal thing is Dominic will be there in a short period of time, and he will have his chances to become top star and fight for these tournaments.

 

Q. But people talk about that inspiration that you have, not just year to year or tournament to tournament, but even point to point, always fighting, giving everything. Where do you think that comes from? Did you have it from the beginning? Did Toni help? Where does that come from?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think that comes from the practice. That comes from the education.

At the end, you can practice everything. Mental part, you can practice. The character, you can practice your character, you need to work on it.

I don’t know another way to practice on it that when you are practicing, try and try and try and try every day. That’s the education that I received, and probably that really help with me to be able to come back after injuries, to come back after tough situations on matches.

So all that things that probably my uncle, my family give it to me, and my parents doing, especially when you are a kid, and not only the words, the words are always say the same, but it’s the true, no? If I see my father that told me you have to fight until the last ball, you need to work every day, and I see my father watching the TV at 11:00 in the morning, probably the word was the real one, but the example was not the positive one, no?

But I see my father all my life working so hard every single day and doing as much as he can for everything. That was a great inspiration for me.

 

Q. Would you say that you feel safer today, I mean, against a one handed backhand player, versus the two handed backhand player?

RAFAEL NADAL: I never feel that much of confidence. I feel confidence when I play well, irrespective of these backhand shots, one handed or two handed. If I hit the balls and the points, I don’t really care about the backhand of my opponent.

I think that I can really hurt people when I play one handed backhands or two handed backhands. Now, with my crossed forehand I play a good shot, even though, for me, it’s a two handed backhand, I know what it means to give spin to the balls is not something easy.

I think that my two handed backhand is not that bad. But the most important thing is that it’s the spin you give to the balls that counts. And then you’ll see the trajectory of these balls.

You know, if it’s a two handed backhand, well, it very much depends on their footwork and where you are exactly on the court. But some opponents play with one hand; others with two hands. Anyway, they can be difficult.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted

The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.

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Daniil Medvedev (RUS) in action against Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.

 

At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.

The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.

Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.

“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”

The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.

“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.

Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.

During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.

“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”

Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.

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Conquering the world: Carlos Alcaraz beats Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic to cement Barcelona-Madrid titles (Part Two)

Carlos Alcaraz will now look to translate his success from the ATP Tour to Roland Garros.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@MutuaMadridOpen)

In part one, I assessed how Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz continues to take the tennis world by storm after his victory in Barcelona.

 

Now I turn my attentions to his success in another famous Spanish city.

Madrid Masters victory

Alcaraz again began his Madrid Masters campaign in style, beating the dangerous Georgian Nicoloz Basilashvili in straight sets.

A stern test came in the form of Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who pushed the birthday boy that day to three sets.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdMSI6uKJZB/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

Alcaraz moving through 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 to set up a blockbuster quarter-final clash with his idol Rafa Nadal.

Now, some context is needed that the 21-time Grand Slam was appearing in his first tournament back since recovering from a rib injury.

An opening round win against Serbian Miomir Kecmanović was backed up with a tight three-set triumph over Belgian David Goffin, with the veteran Spaniard saving four match points.

To his credit, Nadal pushed his young apprentice all the way, before going down 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, with the second set showing his obvious quality, despite being partially fit.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdOP5Jtg2Pn/

If this moment was a changing of the guard in Spanish tennis, then Alcaraz’s impressive win over Novak Djokovic could point to the man who may dominant the future of tennis.

The world number one was fortunate to play a match less, after the shock withdrawal of old rival Murray in the third-round.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CdRFDuFgIHv/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

But he was no match for the imperious Alcaraz who triumphed at front of the delighted home support, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).

The first player ever to beat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back on a clay court in the history of tennis.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdQ4yADqinS/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

And Alcaraz made it a highly commendable 5-0 in finals, destroying Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-1, with little challenge unlike the previous encounters with Norrie, Nadal and Djokovic.

James Spencer (Twitter: @jspencer28) – Alcaraz Verdict

In truth, I had a sneaky feeling that Alcaraz would triumph in Barcelona.

The way he is playing with such finesse and confidence, particularly against the Monte Carlo Masters champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas, was incredible to see.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdQ4yADqinS/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

Saving match points against Alex de Minaur, also showed his mettle.

He also has an unbelievable shot selection and fitness levels.

Beating Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back is no easy feat.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdRGhGyq64J/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

Often just one win knocks the stuffing out of you, mentally and physically, but not for this kid.

Alcaraz doesn’t get carried away. And this has been shown consistently this season.

Winning the Miami Masters could have led to a drop in motivation, yet he has looked even more motivated if anything.

He’s performed on hard-court and clay court surfaces with an assuring dominance.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdRDN0Hq_zY/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

In fact, he is unbeaten on clay this season, losing three times in total all season.

Matteo Berrettini in five at the Australian Open.

Nadal in the semis of Indian Wells in a tight three sets, that ultimately injured the elder Spaniard, which could have ramifications on his entire fitness this season, and the destination of the French Open trophy.

And a close three-set defeat to up and coming youngster Sebastian Korda in Monte Carlo.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdTpZI6o1kX/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

The new world number six must surely be the new favourite to WIN the French Open later this month.

Skipping the Italian Open should help the 19-year-old heal any niggling injuries.

If he does win in Paris, he will be the youngest Grand Slam champion since you guessed it, Nadal.

Only time will tell.

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