Rafael Nadal Admits: 'I Got Scared, Now I Want to Be Ready for Clay' - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Admits: ‘I Got Scared, Now I Want to Be Ready for Clay’

Rafael Nadal talks to the media after retiring from his debut match at the Miami Open. The Spaniard admits getting scared, but is feeling well approaching his favourite part of the season, the clay-court spring.



Rafael Nadal was forced to abandon a match that had already started only for the first time since 2010 when he had to retire from his second round match at the Miami Open against Damir Dzumhur down 3-0 in the third set. Rafael had to call the trainer on court twice, having his pressure checked as the Spaniard kept on saying ”I am not feeling well”.


Speaking to the media after the episode, Rafael admitted he feared for his health, but he is already looking forward to his favorite part of the season.

”Before the match and up until the second set I was feeling well. In the third I started to feel very weird sensations. I wasn’t feeling well at all. I was weak and got scared. I called for the doctor because I wanted to keep playing, but when you feel like this there is nothing you can do about it. I wasn’t feeling safe, the extreme conditions forced me to abandon the match. It had already happened in Australia, even though it is hard to make comparisons. Now I feel good, I hope it was nothing serious” said the former World No.1.

Moving on, Rafael is ready for the clay court season.

I practiced well and the result in Indian Wells is there to show that. If all goes well I am going to be back training in just two days. To me every tournament is an opportunity. When you play well you have chances to win it, when you don’t play well you just don’t have any. My only goal is for me to have a chance at winning the title at every tournament I am going to play” concluded Nadal.

Rafael will start his clay court season on April 10th at the 2016 Monte-Carlo Masters.

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Elena Rybakina’s Coach Blasts The WTA After Player Withdraws From Tokyo



The coach of former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has accused the WTA of failing to communicate their rules regarding performance byes. 


At this week’s Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, a rule is in place where players are awarded a bye in the first round based on their recent results on the Tour instead of their ranking. Therefore Guadalajara Open champion Maria Sakkari and semi-finalist Caroline Garcia have been awarded byes despite being ranked lower than Rybakina who missed out on getting one. 

“Thank you for changing the rules [at the] last moment,” Rybakina recently wrote in an Instagram story on top of a screenshot of the Tokyo draw. “Great decisions as always @wta.”

The use of performance bye’s is nothing new in the sport and they have been in the official rulebook since 2009 when WTA Premier events (now called WTA 1000’s) were introduced. Furthermore, doubles player Nicole Melichar-Martinez has challenged Rybakina’s claim of a last-minute introduction of the policy on X (formerly known as Twitter) by saying that it was outlined in the tournament fact sheet. 

Nevertheless, Rybakina’s mentor has also vented his frustration on social media. Stefano Vukov claims that there is no official definition provided by the governing body of women’s tennis and argues that a player’s ranking should be taken into account regarding performance. Although his player has failed to win back-to-back matches at her two most recent tournaments in Cincinnati and the US Open. 

“Just to make things clear, there is no explanation of what a performance bye is. What does this mean? Do we add byes to help performing players? Or do we take away ranking earned byes? And isn’t ranking itself a sign of performance? Last year we came from a final in Europe and played in Japan 2 days later and performance byes nowhere to be found,” Vukov wrote on Instagram.
“The issue is always the same lack of communication. This will also apply from Tokyo 500 to Beijing 1000 next week. 4 performance byes will be awarded.” He added. 

Vukov, who has coached Rybakina since 2019, has also suggested that players who have secured their place in the WTA Finals are only playing some tournaments because they face the risk of being fined if they chose not to. He also took a swipe at the WTA’s ‘terrible’ marketing department over their decision to post on social media that Rybakina had qualified for the year-end championships days after she had done so. 

“We need transparency. All players need to understand what is going on. Stop blaming players for mistakes made by the system itself,” he concluded. 

Rybakina has since pulled out of playing Tokyo this week but has insisted that her reason for doing so was because of an injury and has noting to do with her recent criticism. 

“The WTA topic is another topic, on which I have my opinions and will clearly voice them in future.” She concluded.

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Maria Sakkari Determined To Silence Her Critics



Maria Sakkari - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Maria Sakkari says she is aware of the social media accounts that have criticized her ability in the sport but she is using those comments as motivation. 


The world No.6 recently ended her four-year title drought in Mexico where she won the biggest title of her career. At the Guadalajara Open, she beat Caroline Dolehide in straight sets to claim her first WTA 1000 title at the age of 28. Throughout the entire tournament, she didn’t drop a set and beat third seed Caroline Garcia in the semi-finals. It is only the second time in her career that she has won a trophy on the women’s Tour. 

Sakkari’s triumph comes during what has been a roller-coaster season. In the Grand Slam tournaments, she has suffered a first round loss in three out of four played. On the other hand, she reached the final of the Citi Open in August. 

The lack of silverware has opened the door for Sakkari to receive criticism on social media from some. She first broke into the top 10 in 2021 which was the season where she also reached the semi-finals of both the French Open and US Open. 

“Social media is a part of our everyday life. You cannot avoid it,” she told WTA Insider. “Coco (Gauff) said she knows the user names. I know them, too. I know the person with a YouTube channel who posts all my semifinal losses, all my final losses. I’m aware.’
“The satisfaction now, I cannot describe it. When you prove all these people wrong, it’s fuel. For me, it worked as fuel. I knew it was going to come, I didn’t know when. Thank you to them. They gave me strength.”

Sakkari says she has drawn inspiration from what Coco Gauff said after winning her maiden major title at the US Open earlier this month. The 19-year-old American is another player who also had to contend with social media criticism. During her post-match press conference in New York, Gauff told reporters that her haters are adding gas to her fire instead of trying to pour water over it. 

Although it isn’t Gauff’s comments about dealing with Criticism that has resonated so much with Sakkari. instead, it is how she deals with losing matches.

“I really liked what Coco said at the US Open, about how other people have bigger problems than we have when we lose a tennis match, and she’s spot on. I kept thinking about that, and that gave me strength.” She said. 
“At the end of the day, it’s just a tennis match. I’m healthy, and that’s the most important thing. Everyone around me, my family, are happy and healthy. Those are the things that I took some time to think about, to remember what’s important in life. Everyone focuses on their own problems, whether they are big, small, important or not important. You forget what’s going on in the rest of the world.”

Sakkari is set to return to action later this week at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo where she is the fourth seed. Granted a bye in the first round, her first match will be against either Petra Martic or Misaki Doi. 

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Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe



Image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe. 


Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5). 

“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”

In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated. 

Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.

“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.

Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players. 

Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem. 

“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”

The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22. 

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