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Eugenie Bouchard’s return to the tour ends abruptly

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Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard’s comeback to the tour since receiving a concussion has ended in disappointment as the Canadian was forced to retire due to lingering effects of the injury.

The Canadian hasn’t played a match since the US Open where she fell over in the locker room, hitting her head on the floor. Due to the impacted of the concussion, she was advised to pull out of the tournament and was also forced to withdraw from Wuhan last week due to the symptoms returning.

Facing Andrea Petkovic in the first round of the China Open, Bouchard was trailing 2-6,1-1, before stopping the match during the third game of the second set. She began to look slightly disorientated as she returned to the chair. The on court doctor went to treat Bouchard but there was little that he could do as a visibly upset Bouchard was forced to retire.

Despite Petkovic winning, she went to the other side of the net for a sympathetic talk with the 21-year-old, displaying a great example of sportsmanship.

In the second round Petkovic will play two-time Grand Slam champion Sam Stosur. The Australian defeated Romania’s Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-2. Petkovic has played Stosur three times before, all in the Fed Cup. Earlier this year she battled past the Australian in a marathon match, taking the final set 12-10.

See also – Eugenie Bouchard’s Troubles: How long can a concussion affect a player?

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Juan Carlos Ferrero Remaining Positive Despite Carlos Alcaraz’s Poor Form

Juan Carlos Ferrero remains confident of Carlos Alcaraz’s abilities despite his poor form.

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Juan Carlos Ferrero is looking on the positive side despite Carlos Alcaraz’s poor form.

After winning Wimbledon last year, many people thought that Carlos Alcaraz would dominate the ATP tour over the next year.

However since then, Alcaraz has lost his world number one ranking with the Spaniard not winning a trophy since capturing his second Grand Slam title at SW19.

There are concerns that Alcaraz’s form is dipping with Jannik Sinner potentially overtaking him in potential to challenge Novak Djokovic at the big events.

Despite the lack of titles to Alcaraz’s name, there is no reason to worry for coach Juan Carlos Ferrero as he is confident that the Spaniard’s lack of form is normal, “He has been achieving good results,” Ferrero claimed in an interview with Marca.

“The Cincinnati tournament was a shame because we were one point away. At the US Open, he made the semi-finals. When you play with such good people, it is difficult to win every tournament.

“For any player, not winning tournaments can affect your confidence level. For very good players, it is important to achieve the results that one sets in their path. Of course Carlos wants to win, but I see him well, I don’t see him with any type of desire, and that is very important.

“He doesn’t have the stress of I want to win, I want to win. He wants to do things well and wants to improve in every aspect that he can, and at 20 years of age there are many. The objectives are there. Every tournament that goes, the objective is to achieve a good result.

“And if he is physically well, a great result for him is to win. When you have that level and that potential, it is not bad to think that. Then, when you don’t get it, you have to know how to manage it and come out just as motivated.”

Ferrero brings a great level of experience and composure to the Alcaraz team having been in the Spaniard’s position many times when he was a player.

The Spaniard’s experience is evident as he claimed that failure isn’t a bad thing for Alcaraz to go through, “Not every year you can win six or seven tournaments and that doesn’t mean it will be a failure,” Ferrero was quoted by tennis 365 as saying.

“[Michael] Jordan and Tiger [Woods] didn’t win every Grand Slam and every ring every year. We cannot call that a failure. There are many positive things in a year even if you have earned less.

“You may have evolved in aspects that can be useful for the future. That’s where we are. The most important thing is that he is happy, that he trains well, that traveling makes him happy and from there he generates good tennis, which is what he loves. We all agree on that.”

Alcaraz will look to return to his best when he looks to defend his title in Indian Wells which starts on the sixth of March.

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Rafael Nadal Unsure Of Fitness Ahead Of Return

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Rafa Nadal - Brisbane 2024 (X @BrisbaneTennis)

Rafael Nadal has admitted that he doesn’t know what sort of form he is currently in ahead of his return to competitive tennis in Indian Wells. 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has only been able to play one event so far this year, which was at the Brisbane International where he beat Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler to reach the quarter-finals. The event was the first he had played for almost a year after missing almost all of the 2023 season due to a hip injury. More recently, Nadal has suffered another minor injury setback with a ‘micro tear’ in one of his muscles which ruled him out of the Australian Open. 

Ahead of his latest comeback bid, Nadal will participate in a multi-million dollar exhibition event in Las Vegas against Carlos Alcaraz. The Netflix slam is being held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, the exhibition is the second-best-selling tennis event of the past year after the US Open. 

Speaking to reporters ahead of his clash with Alcaraz, Nadal provided a candid assessment about where he thinks his current form is. 

“I don’t know how I am,” Marca quoted Nadal as saying when asked about his current fitness. 
“I haven’t played a set since Brisbane. I’ve had better and worse moments. The most important thing for me is that I’m here (in America). If I’m here it’s already good news. Two weeks ago, beyond the results, the goal was to play Las Vegas and Indian Wells and I’m closer to achieving it.
“I don’t know what level I’ll be at in Indian Wells, but it is the least important thing today. For me, it is important to spend a few days in Indian Wells and train with professionals.”

Las Vegas will serve as a warm-up for Nadal ahead of Indian Wells which is the first Masters 1000 event of the season. It will be the first time he has played at the tournament since 2022 when he reached the final before losing to Taylor Fritz. 

“The preparation for Indian Wells has been bad and for Brisbane had been good. I hope to play a set between this Sunday’s match and the three days I have left before the debut.” He explained.
“For me, the priority is to try to get out of Indian Wells unscathed. Whatever has to be left, leave it in the clay season, which may or may not be the last (of my career), I have not decided 100 per cent. At the moment things are going that way.”

It is not the first time the 37-year-old has implied that this season could be the last of his career. However, he appears to still be unsure when asked directly about his future.

“I’m not saying goodbye because then I’d say I’m not playing anymore. This is an important point and I don’t want to say it because I’m not 100% clear about it.” He said.
“In the last two years, I haven’t been able to play. Life is showing you the path. How did I imagine my farewell? At first, I didn’t imagine it because when you start to imagine something, it means that the closer you are to it. It wasn’t something I had in mind.
“I would like to say goodbye well, being competitive and enjoying myself on the court. Whether that can be or not, time will tell.”

The Netflix Slam will get underway on Sunday at 22:00 CET. Nadal is then scheduled to play his first match in Indian Wells on Thursday. 

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Alex De Minaur Defends Mexican Open Title To Stay In World’s Top 10

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Alex de Minaur - Australian Open 2024 (foto X @ATPTour_ES)

Alex de Minaur has become the first player in over a decade to win consecutive titles at the Mexican Open after beating Casper Ruud in straight sets. 

The Australian world No.9 dropped his serve only once en route to a 6-4, 6-4, victory over the three-time Grand Slam finalist. De Minaur managed to take control of the final with the help of 28 winners which was more than three times that of his opponent (eight). He also won 67% of his first service points and broke Ruud three times. 

“It’s been an amazing week,” said De Minaur, who also beat Jack Draper and Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the tournament. “Probably a week I didn’t really expect if I’m honest. I came into Mexico not feeling my best and just kept on telling myself to keep giving myself chances. I think today I played my best match of the tournament, so I’m extremely happy with that.” 

It is the first time the 25-year-old has defended a title on the ATP Tour. The triumph has ensured that he will remain in the ATP top 10 on Monday when the standings are updated. He is also the first player to have won the Mexican Open in consecutive years since its surface was changed from clay to hardcourt in 2014. 

“Acapulco has been a very good place to me for my tennis career,” he said. “The first time I won a 500, and [now] the first time I’ve defended a title in my career. I feel at home here and it’s a great place to be.” 

De Minaur enters the upcoming North American swing having won 15 out of 19 matches played so far this season. He is the only player in 2024 to have reached multiple ATP 500 finals after Rotterdam, where he lost in the title match to Jannik Sinner. 

Meanwhile, Ruud’s hunt for his first 500 title goes on. Despite being a former world No.2 and Grand Slam runner-up, the Norweigan is yet to win a tournament about 250 level. 

“Fantastic playing all week, too good tonight, too good every night,” Ruud said to De Minaur during the trophy ceremony. “It seems like you are playing in Acapulco quite well and I guess you will come back next year. I hope not, but I’m sure you will!” 

De Minaur has now won eight ATP titles so far in his career with seven of those being on a hardcourt. 

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