Rafael Nadal: “I was able to try to find some solutions, some changes during the match” - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal: “I was able to try to find some solutions, some changes during the match”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 24th of June. R. Nadal d. M. Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. An interview with Rafael Nadal

Q. How would you describe your transition to the grass this time around?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, was a positive match for me. First thing because I won. That’s the most important thing. 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. After the first set was even more difficult. So I was able to fight. I was able to try to find some solutions, some changes during the match. I think I can do it better than what I did today, but at the same time I know I will not play today at my 100%. I will not play perfect today after not playing in grass for a while.

So you need to find the routines again. You need to find the confidence on some shots. The only way to find that things that comes automatic, the only way is play matches.

 

Q. You had two early exits here the last two years. How much was that on your mind going into the match? How determined has that made you to succeed this time around?

RAFAEL NADAL: That’s part of the sport, no? Grass is a difficult surface, a surface that I played so good during a part of my career. So is a surface that I really have positive result and have in my heart because here was one of the most important tournaments of my career.

So I am excited to be back here, to win again a match in Wimbledon, in the Centre Court. When you go on court and you lost last year in the first round, the year before in the second round, no, I don’t going to lie nobody, sure, it stays in your mind.

But in the end is a tennis match. And winning Roland Garros, you are able to go on court with a little bit less pressure than if you don’t really win there, and that helps.

 

Q. When you went the first set down, did it creep into your mind what happened the last two years or did it make you more determined to get back into the game as quickly as possible?

RAFAEL NADAL: When you are on the match, you are not thinking about what happened last year, two years ago, five years ago. When you are on the match, you’re thinking about the next point, you’re thinking about finding a solution for that match.

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. What was happening in the match is I lost the first set having some chances in the first set. But I played a bad game there in the 4-All. Then I make two mistakes in the next game because I had Love-30 again and I lose the set.

The second set was very important because he had some chances at the beginning. I was able to save that ones, so that was very, very important for me.

 

Q. That first set, you’ve given a few of your opponents a chance at dropping the first set, the semis at Roland Garros as well as the final, but you always come back winning three straight sets. Does it spur you on or do you feel you’re giving too much of a chance to your opponent early on?

RAFAEL NADAL: I try my best in every moment. When I lose the first, I try to win the second. If I win the second, I try to win the third and then the fourth. That’s the tennis, no?

I want to win the first game, the first set with the same intensity as the second. It’s not something that losing the first helped me to be back on the match. I prefer to win the first and then you play with a little bit more calm. But the opponent plays, too. I’m not the only one on court. The opponents are good. The opponents want to wins.

Today he was able to play aggressive. The first match, the opponents try to play very aggressive. The court is a little bit more slippery. In the beginning of the tournament, is a little bit more difficult the movement.

As I said before, you need to find the automatic things that gives you the matches on the surface. When I am playing on clay, I don’t have to think a lot about what I have to do when I am in semifinals of Roland Garros because I have all the things comes together and automatic, no? I just think about how I want to play that match.

Here, you know, you need to adjust the movement. You need to adjust the rhythm. You need to find the right feeling on the speed of the ball. You need to find the right places to serve because the serve is so important.

So all the things that you need to keep doing, and at the beginning the things are not going that easy, after a few matches you are able to win and play with the right tactic.

 

Q. Next up Rosol, of course. Do you take many lessons from last year’s match?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I lost. I lost because he’s a good player. 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. That’s what I going to try. If not, I don’t have chances to be in the third round. But I going to fight for it.

 

Q. Is winning back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles the toughest beat in tennis, do you think? Is that the hardest thing in the sport to do?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think so. I am not sure on that because if we are thinking about our era, I don’t see a big difference of winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon because in the end if you’re in the final, you really make the same adjustment. You were able to play very well on grass, too.

I was able to do that five times. Djokovic was able to play the final in Roland Garros or semifinals and then win here. So that match will not make a difference.

I don’t see that win Roland Garros and Wimbledon is so difficult one tournament by itself. The tough thing today is at the end mentally and physically you play a long clay court season. Not only the clay court season. You are coming from American hard court season. So one month in America, then one-month-and-a-half or two months in Europe playing on clay. Then mentally if you are able to win Roland Garros, you already played a lot of your time at your top mentally and physically. Is normal you go down little bit.

The real thing is you don’t have lot of time to prepare and to play matches on grass. But the best players were able to do it very well the last couple of years, the transition.

 

Q. Next year we go one week later, which will give you more time to prepare. What would you like to do between Roland Garros and Wimbledon with this extra week?

RAFAEL NADAL: That’s great for the grass court at the end because is a historic surface. The grass deserve to have one more week. That’s the real thing.

For the players who are able to play very well and long on clay have this extra week that you don’t have to play, for example, Halle, Queen’s, that week to prepare Wimbledon. Helps. Physically you are always a little bit more dangerous when you are finishing Roland Garros on Sunday and you have to play Wednesday. You are dangerous a little bit more physically. Is tough to help make the right preparation for the tournament.

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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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