Rafael Nadal: “When I am playing the match today, I am not thinking about the match two years ago” - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal: “When I am playing the match today, I am not thinking about the match two years ago”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 26th of June. R. Nadal d L. Rosol 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. AN interview with Rafael Nadal

Q. You came through in the end.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. Every match is so difficult here. Especially when you play against players that they, yeah, really decided to play every shot full power, with serve, with the forehand, with the backhand.

So when that happens you are in trouble if the inspiration is there for the opponent, no?

I played a bad game in the 4-All and I lost the first set. I think until that moment I was playing better than him, but didn’t have my chances on the return because he was serving well.

I was confident with my serve, but I lost that game. Then he start to hit every ball full power, every serve serving unbelievable. I feel that was very important the second set when I had the break back in the 4b#3 I played an unbelievable game, I think. Great returns.

So very happy. Is a very important victory for me. To be in the third round here again after two, three years is very positive news and I think I finished the match playing at a very high level.

 

Q. What were the biggest differences, besides the result, from the last time you played him here until now?

RAFAEL NADAL: The difference maybe is one point. Maybe if I lose that set point in the second set, if that forehand down the line went out, maybe will be here with a lose.

But that’s the sport. That forehand was a perfect forehand for that moment. Is true that even if I was losing, I was fighting for every ball. I was fighting mentally, physically. Positive thing about tennis, I was able to find solutions through the whole match. At the same time my physical performance was different today than a few years ago.

 

RAFAEL NADAL: I said other day, no, when I am playing the match today, I am not thinking about the match two years ago. I am thinking what I have to do to win the next point in that match.

What happened happened. That’s it. We already congratulate him for what happened two years ago.

Today is another history, another story. I needed to find the solution. Finally I did. That’s the most important thing.

I think I played with fantastic energy during the last three sets. Very positive. Very quick with my legs. You know, very quick mentally. I was returning great last three sets. I was able to have more breaks.

But he was serving well, hitting the ball well. When I had the chance to touch the ball with the return, every return was in, and a good one. So I am very pleased the way that I played

 

Q. How much confidence does that give you now, playing as well as you did? How much confidence do you have going forward?

RAFAEL NADAL: Every day is different. Is true, as I said before, is an important victory for me. Every victory will mean a lot to me here in Wimbledon. Always very dangerous surface. Every opponent is tough.

My draw was difficult from the beginning because two players that can hit the ball very strong, good serve. You will have the chance that you will not be able to get some rhythm from the beginning. Especially in my case that I didn’t play many matches for the last three years on grass.

So is difficult to start. But as I say before, I arrived here after winning Roland Garros, less pressure. So more confidence. I said before the tournament that this year I feel myself little bit better physically. So I tried my best in every single practice, in every match that I played on the practice courts.

I was trying everything to be able to compete well again. I was practicing with a different energy than the last two years because my knees works better.

 

Q. It looks like the rain is coming. If it does go indoors the next couple days, do you have to change anything the way you play?

RAFAEL NADAL: I would love but I am not that good.

I prefer to play outdoors. Is obvious. If we have to play indoors, we play indoors.

 

Q. How easy do you find it to switch off between matches? Any particular places you like to go out to eat when you’re here at Wimbledon? Anything you particularly like to do?

RAFAEL NADAL: I am here in a house. The easier is World Cup year. Germany/United States starts in 15 minutes, so…

We are in a nice house. I have my coaches here. I have Marc Lopez with me at the house. I have my team. We play little bit of different games. Maybe one day we go out.

But seriously we go to restaurants every single day of the rest of the year. So when we are here I like to cook, I like to be a little bit more relaxed at home and see the World Cup. I love football.

 

Q. Was there a moment in that match today where you thought you could lose? If so, does that inspire you to come back?

RAFAEL NADAL: My inspiration is the motivation to play Wimbledon. That’s my motivation and that’s my inspiration.

Talking about if I thought that I can lose that match, during the match I thought that I can lose before the match, during the match. Now that the match finished, I really know that I had the chance to lose the match.

But I didn’t today. That’s the positive thing. Very happy for that.

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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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