Kei Nishikori pays tribute to Roger Federer - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori pays tribute to Roger Federer

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Roger Federer (left) and Kei Nishikori (right) during the 2014 ATP Miami Open (image via actusports.fr)

Shortly after his epic three sets win over Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori spoke about the daunting prospect of facing Roger Federer next.

 

Nishikori has played the 17-time Grand Slam champion on five previous occasions, defeating him twice in 2013 (Madrid) and 2014 (Miami). Nishikori is the youngest player participating in this weeks ATP Finals at the O2 Arena. At 8th in the world the Japanese player has won three titles on the ATP Tour this year compared to Federer who has claimed six. Looking ahead to his match against the Swiss second seed, Nishikori spoke about his excitement.

It’s going to be a really big challenge for me to play Roger. It’s always exciting. It’s going to be a really important match for both of us”.  He said.

Nishikori was 9-years-old when Federer won his first Challenger title back in 1999 in Brest, France. Despite the age gap between the two players, Nishikori openly admitted that he doesn’t see the gap when he plays him on the court.

“He doesn’t look his age really, which is 34 I think. He is still improving his-self, playing great tennis at the age of 34. He doesn’t look old for me”. Nishikori explained.
“It’s a great honor to play Roger. Yeah, I actually never think about age on the court”.

34-year-old Federer has been repeatedly asked about his retirement plans, but has refused to set a date as to when he will finally hang up his racket. During a recent interview the former No.1 said that he will keep playing as ‘the love is still very much there’.

At 25-year-old Nishikori is currently the youngest player ranked inside the top ten in the world by three years. Speaking about his experience on the tour, the Japanese player said that he has gained a ‘more confidence and experience’.

“It’s great to play with a lot of support. It’s always have fun on the court. So I’m really enjoying on this tour”. Nishikori ended his press conference saying.

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Gilles Simon To Take Break From Tennis After Montpellier Exit

Gilles Simon looking to take a break from tennis as his ‘heart is no longer’ in the game.

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Gilles Simon (@Welovetennis - Twitter)

After exiting his home tournament in Montpellier earlier in the week, Gilles Simon has decided to to take a break from tennis.

 

The veteran Frenchman crashed out in the opening round to Dennis Novak on Tuesday in Montpellier after a frustrating Australia swing.

Simon went out in the opening round of the Australian Open as well, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas, winning only four games.

So it will come as no surprise that Gilles Simon has decided to take a break from tennis in an attempt to regain some motivation.

Speaking on Twitter Simon said he needed to preserve himself mentally, “My heart is no longer there to travel and play in these conditions,” the Frenchman stated.

“Unfortunately I have to take a break in order to preserve myself mentally. Hoping that morale returns as soon as possible. Thank you to all the faithful for your support. See you soon.”

This news could be the start for more players to do the same with prize money decreasing and a potential freezing of the rankings on the horizon, the motivation to compete may decrease at a rapid rate.

Also, the injury list continues to rise with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Sofia Kenin, Karolina Muchova, Kirsten Flipkens and Donna Vekic just to name a few suffering bad injuries over the Australian swing.

What happens next, remains a mystery but nobody can blame Simon’s decision as the 36 year-old contemplates his tennis future.

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‘Stop Waiting For Them To Retire’ – David Nalbandian Says Belief Is Key To Beating Big Three

The Argentine tennis great shares his thoughts about the stars of men’s tennis.

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Former world No.3 David Nalbandian believes the next generation of players are already capable of defeating members of the Big Three but it is the mental side of their games which are holding them back.

 

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been the largely dominant force in men’s tennis in recent years. Between them they have won 58 Grand Slam titles and spent more than 800 weeks at the top of the world rankings. In the last 16 major tournaments to take place the only player outside of the trio to have won a trophy was Dominic Thiem at the US Open last year. Although in New York both Federer and Nadal were absent. Meanwhile, Djokovic got disqualified in the fourth round.

Nalbandian believes that those set to one take over the reign of the Big Three have already previously shown they have what it takes to beat them on the Tour. Referring to the run of Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Finals last year as proof that it is possible. Between 2020-2021 Medvedev won 12 consecutive matches over top 10 players. His streak ended in the final of the Australian Open where he lost in straight sets to Djokovic.

“That showed that everybody can beat them,” Nalbandian told atptour.com. “Good players can beat them. It is not impossible work. Sometimes it’s good for new players to start believing in themselves. They’re incredible players, but they’re not superheroes. The new generation has to start believing in themselves.”

It is belief which the 39-year-old Argentine believes is the biggest factor for the rising stars of the game. Historically only two players have ever scored five or more wins over each member of the Big Three. The first was Andy Murray followed by Thiem last year.

“Most of the players think that they’re waiting for the Big Three to retire,” he commented. “I say, ‘I was already waiting in my time and they’re still around!’ Let’s stop waiting and beat them.”

Prior to his retirement in 2013, Nalbandian had played each member of the trio on the Tour with his biggest success being against Roger Federer. He achieved a total of eight wins over the Swiss maestro who he beat in the final of the 2005 Masters Cup and the 2007 Madrid Masters.

“It’s incredible the way that they adapt to the new players and their age, because they’re getting older,” Nalbandian said. “They’re still on, they’re still focussed, they’re still inspired to keep going. That’s amazing. That’s why there are only three players who can do that. It’s Roger, Rafa and Nole. The others can’t do that. Nobody.”

As for the player who will end their career with the most major titles, Nalbandian has backed Djokovic to achieve the accolade. The Serbian is currently two major titles away from the all-time record which is jointly-held by his two rivals. He is the youngest player of the three.

Nalbandian is back on the Tour this week but as a coach after agreeing to work alongside world No.41 Miomir Kecmanovic.

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Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Rotterdam Due To Back Injury

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Rotterdam due to ongoing back problems.

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Rafael Nadal (@WeAreTennisITA - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from next week’s ATP 500 event in Rotterdam due to a back injury.

 

The Spaniard’s back problems have started since before the Australian Open which he managed to play the tournament in Melbourne with the problem.

Eventually Nadal lost in his Australian Open quarter-final to Stefanos Tsitsipas from 2 sets to love up.

Despite playing in Melbourne, Nadal’s back problems continue to derail his schedule as he has now withdrawn from Rotterdam.

In a statement on Twitter, Nadal said that after consulting his doctor it was not the best idea to play Rotterdam.

“It is with great sadness that I have to forfeit from Rotterdam. As most of the fans know, I suffered back problems in Australia that started in Adelaide and continued in Melbourne,” Nadal said.

“We found a temporary solution that allowed me to play without pain in the second week of the tournament. Once I got back to Spain I visited my doctor and together with my team they’ve advised not to play this upcoming week.”

Nadal’s 10 year hiatus from the tournament continues as he looks to recover from the problem as soon as possible.

The 20-time grand slam champion’s main priority will be the clay-court swing where he can win a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

Nadal’s next scheduled tournament will be the Miami Masters in late-March.

Meanwhile Nadal could now lose his world number two ranking next week as the top seed which is now Daniil Medvedev could replace him there.

The recent Australian Open finalist will need to reach the final if he wants to become the world number two but will face stiff competition in Holland from the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Milos Raonic.

The tournament will start on the 1st of March.

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