Rafael Nadal: “Most important thing when you are coming back is accept all the challenges” - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal: “Most important thing when you are coming back is accept all the challenges”

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 19th of January 2015. R. Nadal d. M. Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. An interview with Rafael Nadal

 

Q. It went easier than you would have thought?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, this is true. Very positive result for me. I think very good start. Very important, no? Always before the first match you always have the doubts, especially in this situation I’m arriving here. Never easy, but it was an important match for me. Every match is very important for me today. Was a comfortable victory that give me some confidence.

Q. When you’re coming back from an injury layoff, how important is the strength in the mindset?

RAFAEL NADAL: At the end you know that you not going to be at your 100%, so most important thing when you are coming back is accept all the challenges, the weeks, months, that you didn’t have the chance to be able to practice, to compete. That you will have for sure. Just accept every situation. Accept that you’re going to be a little slow, a little out of rhythm. You can practice a lot. I did. I practiced I think enough and with the right attitude, but at the end what you need is matches. You practice very well, but you don’t have matches under your shoulders. You cannot play with the right confidence, with the right competitive spirit, because you need to feel that. All the practices, you don’t get that. The only way to get that, you know, is having matches. That’s why this victory today is very important, and every time that I am on court competing is a big help for me to try to be back on the right level that I want to be.

Q. Mikhail says he thinks you can be very dangerous in the second week here. Has today changed your opinion of how far you think you can go here?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. What I say the other day is the real thing. Today is very hard to speak about having chances of nothing. I have one match. That’s better than two days ago. But I need more to feel that I am ready for something very important here, no? So is not the right moment to talk about that. It’s the moment to really give to this victory the right value. That’s very important for me. And try to be ready for after tomorrow.

Q. Is there something you’ve done today on court that you’re especially satisfied with?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think I returned well. My return worked really well. The serve, too. I served, I think, the right way, with only one breakpoint during the whole match. And in general I played with not many mistakes. I didn’t have lot of mistakes, but is true that when I am defending, I can arrive with little bit more confidence and try to hit the ball longer. The only way to have that is winning. And playing this match of tomorrow I will do it better. If I am able to win tomorrow, I will have a chance to do better next time. That’s always the way that you become better and you become confident: winning. The victory is everything in the sport.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your new racquet, if it’s required any adjustments in playing. What sort of information do you find useful after the match?

RAFAEL NADAL: The racquet for me is very similar one to the last one. Didn’t change almost nothing. The new Babolat is a new technology that probably will be the future in our sport. I think is great that Babolat did that. Is a big improvement for everybody who loves our sport, no? For the kids, for the amateurs who plays the sport, who plays tennis, and for professionals. At the end, we are professionals. We arrived here without using this technology, so it’s a little bit more difficult to adapt to this. But is a help, no? When you finish the practice, is a help to see – or a match – how many forehands you played, how many backhands so you know you are doing the right thing. For example, I know to play well I need to play 70% of forehands; 30% of backhands. If I’m not doing that, I know I not doing the right thing on court. That’s a way that you can check these kind of things. Then for amateurs is good to compare after the match where they’re hitting the ball, after practice where they are hitting the ball. They can compare with another thing. At the end is fine for the people who has passion for this sport, for tennis, no? I think is great. I am really sure that in the future everybody will use that.

Q. When you come out onto the court and you sit down on the bench, do you turn it on?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think I did before I start.

Q. Jim Courier was talking about back problems. He said when you’re a back patient, you’re a back patient really for life. It’s something you have to take care of your whole career, your whole life. Is that the case for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know. Last year was tough year with my back because I had problems here, then in Rio, then in Roland Garros, then I didn’t have more because I didn’t play more (smiling). But for the moment, for this year, I am feeling well. The back is not limiting me, so that’s important for the moment, no? I know the back is dangerous. I know the back is a thing that you have to take care about. We are trying to do the right things to be safe with that, but there is things you cannot control.

Q. Your shorts seem a lot shorter this year than before. Is that a decision you’ve made or something that’s come from your sponsor?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. To make the shorts shorter is something that I like. I feel more comfortable this way. We make it shorter already last year, and this year a little bit more. I like. I feel more comfortable here, more fresh. Sometimes is good to have some changes, to try different things. But seriously, I prefer this way.

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Nick Kyrgios Admits Assaulting Former Girlfriend But Avoids Prosecution

The tennis star says he ‘deeply regrets’ how he reacted during an argument with his former partner.

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) playing against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios will not be charged with assault despite pleading guilty to shoving over his former girlfriend following an argument. 

 

The Wimbledon finalist attended court on Friday after he was accused by his former partner, Chiara Passari, of assaulting her during an incident that took place on January 10th 2021. Kyrgios was initially charged following an argument which took place outside of Passari’s apartment in the inner-city Canberra suburb of Kingston. 

At a hearing at the ACT Magistrates Court, it was revealed that Kyrgios’ ex-girlfriend was standing in front of an Uber car door which prevented him from closing it before he pushed her over. When she fell to the ground, he was heard saying ‘seriously.’ In the minutes leading up to what happened, Kyrgios told Passari “leave me the f*** alone” and to “just f***ing piss off” when he was asked to get out of the car and calm down. He had called for an Uber ride following their argument. 

Passari, who didn’t report the incident to the police until 10 months after it happened, suffered a grazed knee and hurt her shoulder as a result of her fall, according to her legal filing. Kyrgios apologized for his actions two days later when the two met at a Canberra cafe. Unknown to him at the time, that conversation was recorded by Passari. The two continued their relationship for some months before breaking up. 

Magistrate Beth Campbell has ruled in Kyrgios’ favour despite him owning up to his actions. In her verdict, Campbell said the seriousness of the matter was ‘low’ and the tennis star was not likely to re-offend again. 

“You acted in the heat of the moment,” she said.
“I am dealing with you in the same way I would deal with any young man in this court. You are a young man who happens to hit a tennis ball particularly well.”

During the hearing, evidence was heard from Kyrgios’ psychologist, Sam Borenstein, who said his mental health issues were ‘recurrent’ and he has suffered from thoughts of self-harm. Although Borestein says his condition has improved in recent times. Furthermore, Kyrgios’ lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith, said there was “a relationship between the mental health and the offending – even though he no longer suffers it to the same extent today.”

In a statement issued following the court’s decision, Kyrgios said he reacted ‘in a way he regretted’ and apologized for his actions. He went on to attribute what happened to his mental health condition at the time. 

“I respect today’s ruling and I am grateful to the court for dismissing the charges without conviction,” he said.
“I was not in a good place when this happened and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret. I know it wasn’t OK and I am sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.
“Mental health is tough. Life can seem overwhelming. But I have found that getting help and working on myself has allowed me to feel better.”

Before his guilty plea, Kyrgios had argued that the charge should be dropped on the grounds of his mental health but that appeal was withdrawn when the court found that he is not currently suffering from a major depressive illness. 

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