Rafael Nadal Shows Promising Signs Ahead Of The Rio Olympics - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Shows Promising Signs Ahead Of The Rio Olympics

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Rafael Nadal (image via Zimbio.com)

Rafael Nadal is on course to be ready for the Rio Olympics, according to his uncle and coach Toni Nadal.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a match on the tour since the French Open after being sidelined due to a damaged tendon in his wrist. Nadal was scheduled to return to action at this week’s Rogers Cup before pulling out because ‘he wasn’t ready’.

Nadal is currently recovering from the injury in his home town of Mallorca, where he is undergoing a tough fitness regime to get back into shape. The Spaniard is not the only star player training in Mallorca. Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is also working at the same venue ahead of the Olympics.  The two men have practice together and the signs are good for Nadal according to his coach Toni.

“We began to intensify his training in order to be ready in time for the first round.” Uncle Toni told Cadena Ser.
“Training with Andy Murray was a really hard first time with another top player and we are happy. Things worked out well.”

In Rio de Janeiro Nadal will be hoping to replicate his heroics from the 2008 Olympics, when he won a gold medal in the men’s singles. This time round, he is scheduled to play in three disciplines (singles, men’s doubles and the mixed doubles). The packed schedule is a big ask for the 30-year-old, who hasn’t played a competitive match for almost two months. Speaking about his nephews current form, coach Toni has admitted that he has his own doubts.

“In Rio, we will start training with the maximum-level players and see how Rafael will respond to the difficulty of the competition.” he said.
“There are doubts about his game. I believe that is normal – these are the same questions we’ve always had after a period of inactivity. Starting with the Olympics is not easy, but if we are lucky in the draw, he can improve step by step.”

Recent rumours have suggested that Nadal may skip the singles competition, but this has not been confirmed by his team. He is expected to travel to Rio on Sunday with fellow player David Ferrer.  In the opening ceremony Nadal will carry his country’s flag.

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Carlos Alcaraz is following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal

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Carlos Alcaraz Garfia grabbed the headlines in April 2019 when he beat Jannik Sinner in Alicante becoming the first player born in 2003 to win an ATP Challenger tournament in his first event at this level. Alcaraz broke Sinner’s winning streak of 16 consecutive matches before losing to Lukas Rosol in the next round.

 

The 16-year-old Spanish player won his first ATP Tour debut match beating his compatriot Alberto Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 7-6 (7-2) in a first-round match that finished at 3.00 am after 3 hours and 37 minutes. He became the first player born in 2003 to win at ATP 500 match.

Alcaraz is coached by former world number 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero at the Equelite academy since the age of 15 and started playing at the age of four thanks to his father. His idol growing up is Nadal.

Ferrero spoke about the Spanish rising star, his tennis style in an interview to ATP Tour.com.

“Alcaraz likes to be aggressive all the time. He likes to play close to the baseline. He is not the typical player who only plays on clay courts. He likes to play on hard courts and he loves to play on grass. He played last year for the first time on grass and he loved it. He likes to finish points at the net. At the beginning I was almost sure that his best level was on clay, when I first met him. He is now improving so much on hard court and I think he can even give a little bit more level on hard court. He is playing very aggressive from the baseline and he needs to improve a little bit his serve. At 16 he is serving well. If I have to say someone that I can compare him to, it’s the game of Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer”.

Ferrero spoke about how and when he got to know Alcaraz for the first time.

“I saw him here at the JT Ferrero Equelite Sports Academy playing a tournament. We have a lot of tournaments here at the academy. I saw him for the first time playing a tournament and it helps that he lives very close to the academy in Murcia, just an hour from here. It was very easy seeing him play some matches. I remember him playing a Futures when he was 14 and got his first ATP Ranking point. I went to see some matches and I heard about this little boy who was playing at such a good level at the age of 14, so I drove over there to watch him. He was always competing against people older than him. Even the match against Albert Ramos Vinolas in Rio, the guy was 32 and Alcaraz is 16. The most important thing for him is that he improved physically very much. That’s why he can stay in the match for three and a half years and he can play against guys who are older than him”.

 The Spanish teenager has been compared to his illustrious compatriot Rafael Nadal.

“Usually he hears people who say he is going to be the next Rafael Nadal. It’s going to be difficult to keep things normal and stay calm and not tell me: Why are they saying this to me. He is a little bit used to it, because most of the people here in Spain. It’s been a long time that we haven’t had anyone at the age of 16 or 17 playing this kind of level. The team that is around him, we have to try to keep a circle around him try to put this pressure away, to make him calm, to keep thing normal, so he can go his own way”, said Ferrero.

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Andrey Rublev: “It was hard to accept the news about the Olympic Games but we can’t do anything about that”

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Andrey Rublev will have to wait until 2021 to represent Russia in Tokyo after coronavirus forced the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Olympic Games until 2021.

 

Rublev said that he was prepared to the prospect to wait another year and there was no alternative solution, but he expressed his disappointment when he heard the news.

“It was hard to accept the news about the Olympic Games because I always want to participate in such an event. I have never been at the Olympic Games before and this would have been my first experience there. Of course I was upset but we can’t do anything about that. The situation is not looking good but everyone is trying to stay positive. The Olympcs were postponed only only to the next year and that time should pass quickly, let’s hope for the best”, said Rublev.

The 22-year-old Moscow native player enjoyed a solid second half of the 2019 season in which he finished runner-up to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Hamburg final. He went on to beat Roger Federer en route to reaching the quarter final in Cincinnati before qualifying for the fourth round at the US Open. Rublev won the Kremlin Cup title in Moscow in front of his home fans on his 22nd birthday and capped last season with four wins for Russia at the Davis Cups Finals at the Davis Cup in Madrid. He earned career-high 38 wins and reached his career-high number 22 in the ATP Ranking on 21st October 2019.

Rublev won two consecutive ATP titles in Doha and Adelaide becoming the first player since 2004 to win two back-to-back tournaments in the first two weeks of the year. He broke into top 20 on 13th January, joining Danil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov as first Russian trio in top 20 since Marat Safin, Nikolay Davydenko and Mikhail Youzhny in March 2005.

Rublev lost to Alexander Zverev in the fourth round at last January’s Australian Open. Last February Rublev reaching two quarter finals in Rotterdam and in Dubai losing to Filip Krajinovic and Daniel Evans respectively.

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Tennis Australia Chief Cast Doubts Over Tennis Resuming In 2020

Will there be another grand slam this year?

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The head of the Australian Tennis Association believes it will be ‘tough’ for tennis to resume in the coming weeks due to the global nature of the sport.

 

Craig Tiley, who is also the tournament director of the Australian Open, has told The Sydney Morning Herald that he was unsure if another grand slam tournament could be played this year. Both the ATP and WTA Tours have been suspended until June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A period that is likely to be extended with Wimbledon reportedly set to announce that their tournament will be cancelled on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, both the ATP and WTA are reconstructing their calendars to see when they will be able to resume play again and what tournaments will be included. Recently the French Tennis Federation (FFT) moved the French Open to the week after the US Open. A move that has prompted criticism from many.

However Tiley is sceptical as to if either major event could take place later this year due to the worldwide travel restrictions. The heads of the men’s and women’s tour have recently said they were hopeful but unsure as to when tournaments will get underway again.

“My personal view is I think for tennis to come back this year is going to be tough,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It relies on global travel, and I think that’s probably the last thing that’s going to come back. I think sports that have a domestic focus are in a strong position and sports that have a global focus are more challenged.”

Despite the bleak outlook, Tiley is optimistic that the Australian Open will be able to get underway on time. The major is set to take place during January 18-31. The last time the Australian Open didn’t take place was back in 1986 due to the changing of dates. The event moved from their December slot to January.

“We’re looking at that right now,” he said. “But we’re planning running the AO 2021 and planning on having a great season.
“We’ve got to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Tomorrow morning we [could] wake up and there is some miracle cure or some concoction of drugs that really helps, or they’re on a path to a vaccine. [But] from all the literature you read, it doesn’t seem likely in the immediate future.
“What I want to do as an organisation [is] I want to plan for it being really difficult for people to be travelling this year from country to country. I think within the country will be fine. [When] you can travel globally is when tennis can come back, from a pro level. From a local level, we can start right away and that’s what we would be focused on at the beginning.”

Tiley has been the head of Tennis Australia since 2013.

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