Nadal earns his 700th match win in Wimbledon Opener - UBITENNIS
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Nadal earns his 700th match win in Wimbledon Opener

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – In recent years, the two-time former champion, Rafael Nadal has struggled to find his footing on the grass courts of Wimbledon. He has won a single match in the last two years here at these championships. Today he overcame Martin Klizan to win in 4 sets. There is also the added prize with this rare grass court victory that Nadal recorded his 700th career victory on the professional tour level; 11th on the all-time list. Cordell Hackshaw

Results, Order of Play, Draws and Interviews from The Championships

In recent years, the two-time former champion, Rafael Nadal (2) has struggled to find his footing on the grass courts of Wimbledon. He has won a single match in the last two years here at these championships. Two weeks ago, he was dismissed in the 2nd round of Halle by Dustin Brown. Thus it is hardly surprising that the Wimbledon committee placed the world’s number one second behind Novak Djokovic. While speaking on the matter, Nadal remarked, “What is past is past. What happened, happened. We don’t want to change that. The only way to try something is try to change what’s happening right now.” Change is exactly what he did on Centre Court as he overcame the obstacles presented by Martin Klizan to win in 4 sets 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3. There is also the added prize with this rare grass court victory that Nadal recorded his 700th career victory on the professional tour level; 11th on the all-time list.

Nadal was facing an uphill battle from the beginning as he faced triple break points in his opening service game. Klizan was showing some very nice aggression on the court but no sooner did he earn those break points than he committed five successive errors to hand Nadal the game. However, he was not deterred. He continued to pressure the Nadal serve every chance he got whilst holding his own. Klizan was finally rewarded in the 9th game of the set when the Nadal forehand went long. Klizan was able to serve it out for 6-4 in the 1st set. Despite dropping the opening set, Nadal remained calm and fought off early break points in the 2nd set. He broke Klizan for the first time in the match in the 6th game. This was all the momentum that Nadal would need as Klizan never led again at the any stage of the match.

Nadal closed out the 2nd set 6-3 having fought off more break points from Klizan. The Spaniard gave himself the double insurance breaks at 3-0 in the 3rd set. Klizan broke back in the 4th game and maintained the one break deficit for several games. He was making some inroads into the Nadal service game by getting himself to 0-30 several times but unable to produce the necessary plays to secure the much needed break. Nadal was more steady on his return game as he broke Klizan again in the 9th game and took a 2-1 sets lead 4-6 6-3 6-3. In the 4th set things proved to be interesting. Nadal broke Klizan in the 4th game and etched ahead 4-1. Klizan broke back in the 7th game to get back on serve. A fifth set looked possible but Klizan could not hold serve to even things at 4-4. Instead, Nadal served for the match at 5-3. Klizan unable to keep the ball in play on the final point saw Nadal take the match 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3. Interestingly enough, they met last year at the French Open in the 2nd round and the scoreline was the same.

After the match, Nadal had this to say, “Well, was a positive match for me. First thing because I won … I didn’t play much on grass for the last three years. So always is like you restart. So happy for the victory. In the end the match was difficult … I was able to try to find some solutions, some changes during the match.” Nadal added that he felt that he could play better, which most would agree with. He was winning 72% of his first serve points but only 41% on his 2nd serve, an area he will need to improve if he wants to lift the trophy for a 3rd time. Nadal will face in the 2nd round the man who took him out of Wimbledon at this same stage in 2012, Lukas Rosol. Of the match up, Nadal said, “He’s a player that can play very well on this surface. He’s aggressive player. Will be a tough match again.  I know if I want to have chances to win, I need to play very well … If not, I don’t have chances to be in the third round. But I going to fight for it.”

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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