Rafael Nadal cruises past John Millman into Wimbledon second round - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal cruises past John Millman into Wimbledon second round

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Two-time former champion and fourth seed Rafael Nadal began his Wimbledon campaign in style, easing past Australia’s John Millman 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 into the second round at the All England Club.

 

Coming off an unprecedented tenth French Open title three weeks ago in Paris, fourth seed and 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal marked his return to the grass courts of SW19 in style, brushing away unseeded Australian John Millman 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the second round here at Wimbledon. After being forced to miss the third major of the season last year due to a wrist injury, the Spaniard had question marks surrounding his form on the lawns of the All England Club, but Nadal answered those questions emphatically moving on in an hour and 45 minutes, striking an impressive 33 winners en route to victory on No. 1 Court.

In the opening set, it was a dominant display of power tennis from Nadal on the grass, breaking easily immediately before backing that up with a solid hold of serve off two awry forehand errors from Millman. The Australian saved four break points with some confident play to get on the scoreboard before Nadal resumed rolling, taking care of his serve and then ultimately securing the double break for 4-1 off a strong forehand winner. The two-time champion saved another break point in the sixth game of the set to go ahead 5-1, before closing out a dominant opening set 6-1 with his ninth winner of the match on the forehand side.

Rafael Nadal hits a forehand at Wimbledon in London/Zimbio/Michael Steele

The second set was a slightly more competitive affair with the first three games all going to serve with a 2-1 lead to the fourth seed. In the fourth game of the set, the Spaniard utilized his trademark forehand to inflict more damage upon his 137th ranked opponent, breaking easily to go up 3-1. Despite the routine break the previous game, a sloppy game from Nadal gifted the break back with a pair of backhand errors bringing the scoreline to 3-2. The 15-time Grand Slam champion recovered strongly the following game, once again going up a break for 4-2 courtesy of a few errors off the racquet of the Aussie.

The 15-time Grand Slam champion recovered strongly the following game, once again going up a break for 4-2 courtesy of a few errors off the racquet of the Aussie. Nadal consolidated that advantage with a hold to love for 5-2, putting himself a game from a two-sets-to-love lead over Millman on No. 1 Court at Wimbledon. The unseeded Millman took care of his serve to force Nadal to serve out the second set, something the two-time champion did with ease, closing out the second set 6-3 off a crisp backhand volley winner.

In the third set, it was more one-way traffic from the world number two, breaking the Australian easily to begin the set before backing that up with a comfortable hold finished off with an ace for the 2-0 lead. Nadal kept up his dominance off the Millman serve, securing a double break with ease off another error from the world number 137, consolidating that advantage in the following game for a seemingly insurmountable 4-0 lead.

Despite only being two games from the loss, Millman refused to go down without a fight, taking his first hold of serve in the set before snatching one of the breaks back with a clean backhand winner to lessen the gap to 4-2. That confidence was short lived though for the unseeded Aussie, as the two-time champion broke straight back off another blistering forehand winner to go up 5-2 and give himself the chance to serve out the match. Nadal would not let his opportunity slip, serving out the opening round win to love to advance to the second round 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 here at SW19.

Rafael Nadal hits a forehand return at Wimbledon in London/Zimbio/Michael Steele

Following the match in the post-match interview, Nadal said of his performance, “I’m happy how I finished the match, hitting the forehand again. For all the players it’s so special playing here and the history I have here, five finals in a row, so I’m very, very happy to be back and thanks to the crowd for the support,” commented an exuberant two-time former champion.

“I have been playing good tennis, the clay court season was very emotional and now I have an opportunity to play well on grass,” concluded the fourth seed, who will next play American left-hander Donald Young in the second round on Wednesday.

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Gael Monfils Joins Forces With Former Long-Time Coach Of Dominic Thiem

Will the Frenchman return to his best form with the help of his new mentor?

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Tennis star Gael Monfils will start the 2021 season with a new team setup after confirming the appointment of a new coach.

 

The former US Open semi-finalist has paired up with the renowned Gunther Bresnik who is best known for his time spent working alongside Dominic Thiem for over a decade until their split in 2019. Thiem is now coached by Nicolas Massu. Bresnik is the former Davis Cup captain of Austria and has worked with numerous top names such as Ernests Gulbis, Jerzy Janowicz, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte.

Monfils has been training with Bresnik during the off-season but only now has it been confirmed that the two have formed an agreement to work together. However, over the coming weeks Monfils will be guided by another Austrian. Co-coach Richard Ruckelshausen will work with the world No.11 in Australia and has been appointed as the captain of the French ATP Cup team.

“I’ve known Gaël for a long time,” Bresnik told krone.at on January 9th. “With Ernests Gulbis and Stefan Lochbihler’s son, he worked on his shape here in Spain (during the off-season).”

The 34-year-old will be looking to get back on top form following what was a roller-coaster 2020. Monfils started last year by winning 16 matches within a three-month period. However, following the pause in tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic he struggled to regain that form. Ending the season with three consecutive first round losses.

Monfils had been working with Liam Smith. The upcoming Australian Open will be his 54th appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. He has only reached the quarter-finals at the Melbourne major once which was back in 2016.

So far in his career Monfils has won 10 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as sixth in the world.

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Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia

Andy Murray will miss next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray has made it official, he won’t be making the trip down under after working with Tennis Australia to find a viable solution to make it work.

 

“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”

Murray was scheduled to fly to Australia with one of charter flights but due to a positive Covid test wasn’t able to make the flight and put his tournament in jeopardy.

Although he missed the chartered flights there was still a small chance he would play but had to workout an agreement with Tennis Australia to make it work. However it didn’t work and was gutted with the news.

“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

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‘If I knew, I Wouldn’t Come’ – Victor Troicki Slams Hard Quarantine In Melbourne

Troicki, who will head the Serbian ATP Cup team next month, says his career has been thrown into ‘chaos.’

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Former top 20 player Victor Troicki says his ‘Grand Slam is failing’ after implying that he felt that he was misled about the quarantine rules ahead of the Australian Open.

 

Troicki, who is currently ranked 202nd in the world, is among 72 players who have been placed in a strict quarantine where they are not allowed to leave their room for a 14-day period. Those affected have all been deemed as a ‘close contact’ of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. A series of positive tests was detected on flights en route to the country.

34-year-old Troicki travelled to Australia from Doha after successfully qualifying for the Australian Open with wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Ulises Blanch and Jurij Rodionov. This year’s two qualifying tournament’s took place in the Middle East due to the pandemic.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t come,” Troicki told Sportski Zurnal earlier this week.
“Total chaos, horror as far as everything is concerned. I’m locked up for 14 days, I can’t leave the room. No training, nothing. My Grand Slam is failing, I can’t get ready for five sets in the room.”

In recent days there has been some dispute over whether players knew about the conditions regarding going into a strict quarantine. Carlos Martinez, who is the coach of Daria Kasatkina, told UbiTennis that players were initially under the impression that sections of a plan would have to be isolated if there was a positive case and not the entire plane. Ultimately the decision was up to the Australian health authorities.

“Tennis Australia was doing a great job in my opinion. The only thing that was a bit unclear was about the quarantine when somebody gets infected on the plane. They were talking like they were going to make sections inside the plane so if they found somebody in a section (who tests positive) they would isolate those people,’ said Martinez.
“But in the end the government didn’t want to do this and they preferred to isolate all on the plane because it was safer for everyone.”

Amid the debate over whether Troicki and his peers knew the full story or not, Spain’s Paula Badosa has become the first Australian Open player to contract the virus during quarantine. She had previously criticised the procedure before later apologising.

As for Troicki, he says the current situation is creating ‘chaos’ in his career.

“All preparations are failing,” he said. “Two weeks of lying in bed, it is certain that I will have to get back in shape for the next month and a half. All this is creating chaos in my career.”

Troicki is the team captain of the Serbian ATP Cup team. The tournament will start a week prior to the Australian Open on February 1st.

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