Rafael Nadal: “After the second set I think David play with more mistakes than usual, and I continue playing with my forehand” - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal: “After the second set I think David play with more mistakes than usual, and I continue playing with my forehand”

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TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 4th of June. R. Nadal d. D. Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1. An interview with Rafael Nadal

 

Q. The match changed totally after the first two sets. How did you see it, and what did you see make it change so fast?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think at the beginning David was playing with a higher intensity than me. Is true that I started first two points playing well, but then I make a lot of mistakes with my backhand. Amazing with how much mistakes I had with my backhand today.

Difficult to understand, because last two days I was practicing the best that I practiced since a long time ago in terms of feeling with my forehand, with my backhand.

I went on court relaxed. Not relaxed thinking that I’m going to win, but relaxed thinking I’m going to play well. I really felt the ball better than probably during the whole year.

So I don’t know. Windy day, too. I get a little bit block mentally with my backhand, and was a little bit difficult for me to change the dynamic of the match.

I needed to hit more forehands to change that dynamic, and I was not able to do it in the first set. I was hitting the backhand that bad that I couldn’t put David away from a good position and then let him play in not a good position I had the chance to hit with my forehand, no?

Then when I was hitting my forehand I tried to go too much for the points in the first set, because I know if I hit, he has that option to play against my backhand and then he will have that advantage again.

So it was tough the first set mentally. I decide to go more inside to return in the second set, and I decided to play much more times with my forehand.

I did, I think: When I did, I think the dynamic of the match changed. Even if the match was close in the second, even if he had some break points to break back to me, the dynamic was better for me I thought in that moment of the match.

I was able to make that change. That’s important and very positive.

And then after the second set, I don’t know, I think David play with more mistakes than usual, and I continue playing with my forehand.

Is true after that second set I relaxed and I was hitting the backhand   probably not perfect, not as I would like to do, because as I told you before my feeling before the match was unbelievable with the shots   but I was playing with no mistakes.

So that was very important.

 

Q. At some point you won like 10 games in a row. Was the fact that it was getting darker maybe helping you think that you want to be more aggressive and play faster and try to finish it tonight?

RAFAEL NADAL: Would be real arrogance if I said yes to that. When you play a match of quarterfinals of Roland Garros against a big player like David Ferrer, you think about point by point and try to be an advantage.

But not winning faster because can finish the day. No, no, no, you can think that when you are 4 1 in the fourth. No, not when you are 2 0 in the third, because you know how tough is David. You have to take your own time.

 

Q. Mats Wilander said he was very impressed with the way Andy was playing on clay. He described him as a tactic genius, and he’s a threat to all the top players.Are you impressed as well about the way he’s playing on clay, or…

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I’m not impressed the way he’s playing on clay. I am not answering in a bad way. I’m saying in a good way. He can play very well on all the surfaces. It’s nothing new that he plays very well on clay.

I always say he’s able to play well on all surfaces if I really wants to do it. Is not the first time he’s in semifinals of Roland Garros.

I remember amazing match in semifinals against Novak when Novak was playing unbelievable in 2011, and he was very close to beat him. And it was on clay.

No, no, not surprised Andy is in semifinals. He’s a candidate to win Roland Garros. Before the tournament he was a candidate to win Roland Garros for me, so it’s not a surprise.

 

Q. David said he made many mistakes during the match. I would like to know if you are satisfied with your match.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, during these past two days I practiced a lot. I think that I managed to hit the balls a lot better, a lot better than in the past year, so I felt good really before I stepped in onto the court.

But then at the beginning of the match my backhand was appalling. I made so many mistakes with my backhand; therefore, I tried with my forehand, doing more with my forehand, but I was making mistakes.

But then on my backhand my shots were not long enough, not deep enough, not across the court, so I had to try and use my forehand; therefore, this was the battle.

The battle for me was with my backhand to try and overcome this endless spiral I was trapped in to at last have a good forehand shot. When the balls were high and deep, I couldn’t play on my backhand. This is what happened throughout the first set.

No, I couldn’t manage with my backhand. I thought, Play more with your forehand. Then, during the second set, I managed to do this. During the first one, I couldn’t.

Then I decided to turn around the ball, to hit the ball with my forehand quite often. I was surprised to see that I couldn’t play my backhand shots, even though I practiced and I was feeling the ball really well before the match.

Well, this is what I remember from the match. My memories are awful. So at the end of the day, I am rather happy to have been able to turn the situation around. I managed to pull through. Even though it was complicated, I managed to find solutions during the second set.

Then at the end of the match I think he made many more mistakes. I changed the rhythm of the match. I played more on his forehand; therefore, I got more shots on my forehand.

This is a turnaround as well, because my back was not really hurting today. It was okay. I didn’t put too much stress on my back.

At the beginning, I really wanted to be very careful with my backhand shots. At the same time, I didn’t want to hit too strongly because I wanted to protect my back.

You know, he was returning the points flat on my backhand, deep and flat. That was a problem for me. Then when I managed to react it was a lot better.

When I improved with my forehand I took control. I made fewer mistakes. This is what I was saying in English before. I was saying, now, given the last two sets, the third and the fourth set, it really shows that David didn’t really play well during these sets.

The score shows that I played well, but also he made mistakes.

 

Q. Now, what about these eight hours when you had to wait for the match to start? How did you experience this? Last year this match was a final. What about this one?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, we were in the locker rooms with Carlos, Albert, Toni, and we were enjoying ourselves. But I was a bit surprised I was not to be playing on the central court. I think I would have liked to play on the central court a lot better than the Suzanne Lenglen Court.

There were probably reasons, which of course I understand. But to be frank, I wanted to play on the central court.

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‘He Did Everything I did, Only Better’ – Pat Rafter Names The Toughest Rival Of His Career

The two-time grand slam champion opens up about his toughest rivalry as he predicts a bleak outlook for the 2020 tennis season.

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Former world No.1 Pat Rafter has named an American tennis legend as the player who he struggled the most against throughout his professional career.

 

The 47-year-old was a star of Australian tennis during his playing days after achieving a series of milestones. His accolades include becoming the first player from his country in 28 years to reach the top of the ATP rankings in 1999 and becoming the first man to win the Rogers Cup, Cincinnati Masters and US Open within the same year. Rafter is also the last player outside of the Big Three to have won back-to-back US Open titles after triumphing in 1997 and 1998.

Despite his successes, there was one player that caused him difficulty. Rafter played Pete Sampras 16 times on the ATP Tour, but could only win four of those encounters. At one stage he lost to the 14-time grand slam champion eight times in a row.

“The toughest player I played against was definitely Pete Sampras – he did everything I did, only better.” Rafter told Eurosport.
“His record was the best so there’s no doubt about it Sampras the stand-out. I enjoyed playing Andre Agassi the most – I thought we had a really good battle, I really enjoyed playing him.”

The rivalry between the two was tense at times. Highlighted best by their encounter in the 1998 US Open semifinals. Sampras complained of a quadriceps injury following his loss to the Australian. Prompting Rafter to famously say ‘he’s becoming a bit of a crybaby.’ A few months before that comment, he admitted that his relationship with the American wasn’t solid by saying ‘We’re not the best of mates. I wouldn’t go out for a beer with him, put it that way.’

22 years on from the verbal exchange between the two, Rafter now describes it as a thing of the past. Insisting that his rival never took what he said to him ‘personally.’

“I can’t remember the exact words, but we had a run-in in Cincinnati one year – I probably told him to grow up.” He recounted.
“He cracked it when I beat him one time. But that was back in the old days, emotions were running high and don’t take it personally. It’s all good.”

No tennis in 2020

Besides reminiscing about his playing career with Eurosport, Rafter has also predicted a bleak outlook for this year’s tour. All professional tournaments have been suspended until July 13th due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time since 1945 Wimbledon has been cancelled due to the situation.

Many are now speculating as to when it will be possible for the tour to resume. The US Open is still optimistic that they can hold their tournament as scheduled later this summer. Meanwhile, the French Open is set to be played during the later part of September. However, Rafter doubts that either of those tournaments will happen.

“No, I think this (the virus) is going to be around for a long time.” Rafter commented on the chances of the 2020 season resuming. “Until they get a vaccine I can’t see how anyone is going to be playing.’
“Personally, I think it’ll be like the flu and we’ll have to get used to it.”

Potentially one solution for the tournaments would be to host matches without spectators. In order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. An approach that has already been taken by other sports such as football. However, Wimbledon refused to consider that option this year.

“I think they could. No spectators. Sure. No ball-boys – I’d love to see the players pick up the balls themselves!” he concluded.

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‘Don’t Be Afraid’ – Nick Kyrgios Offers Support To Those Struggling During Covid-19 Pandemic

The bad boy of tennis says he will support those in need by delivering essential supplies.

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Former top 20 player Nick Kyrgios has urged members of the public to reach out to him if they require any help during the covid-19 pandemic in a social media post.

 

The two-time grand slam quarter-finalist has offered to deliver food to those who are struggling during the current crises, which has suspended the ATP and WTA Tours until at least July. It is estimated by economists that more than 500,000 people in Kyrgios’ home country of Australia will lose their jobs due to the outbreak. There have been more than one million cases of the coronavirus worldwide with many countries currently placed in a lockdown in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

‘If ANYONE is not working/not getting an income and runs out of food, or times are just tough… please don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach,’ Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.
‘Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message. I will be more than happy to share whatever I have.
‘Even just for a box of noodles, a loaf of bread or some milk. I will drop it off at your doorstep, no questions asked.’

In Australia there have been 5687 cases of Coronavirus as of Sunday which has resulted in 34 deaths. This is according to figures provided by chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy.

It is not the first time Kyrgios has offered to support those in need. Earlier this year he was an instrumental figure in helping raising money for the Australian bushfire appeal. Donating AUS$200 for every ace produced during the first month of the season and participating in a series of exhibition matches. According to 7 News, Kyrgios raised in the region of AUS$100,000 for the bushfire fund.

Kyrgios is currently ranked 40th in the world and has won six out of his nine matches played earlier this season. At the Australian Open he reached the fourth round before falling in four sets to Rafael Nadal.

 

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Diego Schwartzman On Playing The Big Three And Who He Believes Is The Best

The top-20 player pays tribute to the three tennis legends as he cast his vote in the greatest of all time debate.

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When it comes to taking on the Big Three in tennis, Diego Schwartzman is perhaps one of the best players to provide an insight into how frustrating it can be.

 

The Argentine world No.13 has played a member of the illustrious trio no less than 18 times in his career, but is yet to gain a single victory to his name. Consisting of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the big three have dominated men’s tennis in recent years. Between them, they have won the last 13 grand slams and at least one of them has featured in 58 out of the past 60 major finals. Since February 2004, Andy Murray is the only player outside of the group to have held the No.1 position.

Schwzrtman’s record against the big guns has seen him lose to Nadal nine times as well as succumbing to both Djokovic and Federer on four occasions. Nevertheless, the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist isn’t bitter as he hails their achievements in the sport.

“Against Nadal you always come in hope of giving him a fight on any day and on any surface, but you quickly realize that it is almost impossible to defeat him.” Schwartzman said during an Instagram live chat with journalist Danny Miche.
“Djokovic makes me feel that in the second game of service I no longer have lungs. It’s unbelievable.’
“Federer gives you more air (time), but you don’t seem to know how to play tennis. It’s amazing how he hits the ball.’
“The three are unbelievable, in different ways.”

There is also the ongoing debate as to who should be named the greatest of all time. Each player has their own credentials. Federer currently has the all-time lead for most grand slam titles at 20. Nadal has won more ATP tournaments on the clay than any other player in history. Meanwhile, current world No.1 Djokovic has won more prize money in the sport than any other player – male or female.

Weighing on the debate, Schwartzman has given the edge to Djokovic. Prior to the suspension of the tour due to covid-19, Djokovic started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row. Claiming titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships.

“At his best, Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal many times on the clay and Roger Federer many times on the grass. So maybe I would say that he is slightly above the other two.” He explained.
“Let’s see if you can reach the records, now it was packed and saw that pace being broken. But Djokovic knows that he has to keep the level, because if he doesn’t win he will win the other two.”

Schwartzman started the year by winning nine out of 14 matches played. His best performance of the season so far took place on home territory when he reached the final of the Cordoba Open before losing to Christian Garin.

The Big Three head-to-head

Djokovic

Nadal

Federer

Djokovic

N/A

29-26

27-23

Nadal

26-29

N/A

24-16

Federer

23-27

16-26

N/A

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