Five Things To Know About Rafael Nadal's Return To No.1 - UBITENNIS
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Five Things To Know About Rafael Nadal’s Return To No.1

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

After an injury-stricken 2016, Rafael Nadal is once again sitting at the top of the Emirates rankings at the age of 31.

During what has been a stellar first six months of the season for the Spaniard, he has won four titles on the clay. At the French Open he became the first man in history to win the same major for the tenth time. On the hard-courts, Nadal has reached three tournament finals, including the Australian Open. Overall the Manacor-born player has a win-loss record of 47-8 so far this season.

“I’m [having] a great season and I am happy to come back to No. 1, obviously,” Nadal said in Cincinnati last week. “[A lot of things happened] between that time I was in that position [in 2014] and I am going to be again. I had injuries, I had some troubles with my game. But I worked hard, I maintained passion for the game and here I am.”

With the No.1 honours changing from Andy Murray to Nadal, here are five things to know about Nadal’s rise to the top of the men’s game.

1) Has the seventh longest spell as world No.1

This week will be Nadal’s 142nd week as world No.1 and the first time he has been in the position since 2014. So far his career, the Spaniard has reached the pinnacle of the rankings on four separate occasions :-
18/8/2008 – 5/7/2009 (46 weeks)
07/6/2010 – 3/7/2011 (56 weeks)
07/10/2013 – 7/7/2014 (39 weeks)
21/8/2017 – ? (1 week)

If Nadal spends a total of 171 weeks as world No.1, he will overtake sixth place John McEnroe on the all-time list. Roger Federer currently holds the record at 302 weeks.

2) Could achieve a milestone in New York

So far, Nadal has won 194 matches whilst being the world No.1, compared to just 33 losses. At the US Open he could get his 200th win if he wins his semifinal match. The 31-year-old hasn’t gone beyond the semifinals at the tournament since he last won it back in 2013. On the other hand, he has already reached two grand slam finals this season.

3) Spain’s greatest

In the history of the rankings, only three Spanish players have become world No.1. Nadal, Juan Carlo Ferrero and Carlos Moya have all held the position. Overall, Nadal has held the position 14 times longer than his two countryman combined.

No.1 Spanish players
Rafael Nadal (142 weeks)
Juan Carlos Ferrero (8 weeks)
Carlos Moya (2 weeks)

4) Will headline the US Open

For the first time since 2010, Nadal will be the top seed at next week’s final grand slam of the season. He will be bidding to win his sixth major title whilst being No.1 and 16th overall. He will also be seeking his first title of any kind on a hard court since the Qatar Open back in January 2014.

5) Top ten dominance

Despite suffering numerous injury setbacks throughout his career, Nadal has always managed to stay in the world’s top 10 since making his debut in April 2005.

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Daniil Medvedev Suffers Wimbledon Setback In Halle

Daniil Medvedev preparations for Wimbledon suffered a setback in Halle.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Daniil Medvedev has suffered a setback ahead of Wimbledon after he was beaten in the second round in Halle by Zhizhen Zhang.

The world number five entered Halle having lost in the fourth round of Roland Garros to Alex De Minaur.

Medvedev doesn’t have the best record on grass and that once again was the case in his 6-3 2-6 7-6(5) defeat to Zhang.

The third seed broke serve on more occasions than his Chinese opponent but ultimately lacked quality in the final set tiebreak.

After the match Zhang was happy with the way he handled the tiebreak, “A really tough match. Last time I lost a third-set tie-break [in Stuttgart last week]. And today again, a third-set tie-break. I was thinking, ‘Okay, it’s time. The perfect moment to get revenge’,” Zhang explained.

“I’m super happy that today I handled it to the end.”

Now Medvedev heads to Wimbledon, where he had his best result last year losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile Zhang will now face Christopher Eubanks in the quarter-finals after the American knocked out defending champion Alexander Bublik.

The other quarter-final confirmed will see Arthur Fils taking on Alexander Zverev.

Zverev defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 7-6(5) and said the following after his victory, “Extremely happy with my performance,” Zverev told the ATP website.

“I felt like it was good tennis and I’m happy to be in the quarters. I’m enjoying the moments on these beautiful courts, happy to be playing the way I am. Hopefully I can continue building, continue playing better.”

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Former Champion Ash Barty To Make Wimbledon Return In Invitational Doubles

Ash Barty is set to return to tennis at Wimbledon.

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Former Wimbledon champion Ash Barty will return to the tennis court at SW19.

The Australian hasn’t played tennis since announcing her retirement from the sport after winning the Australian Open in 2022.

Barty defeated Danielle Collins in the final and stunningly announced that she would retire from competitive tennis at 25 years old.

Since then the former world number one has had a child as well as competing in exhibition golf tournaments.

However, it now seems like Barty is ready to phase herself back into the tennis world as it has now been announced that she will return to Wimbledon to play the invitational doubles.

It’s unclear who her partner will be at this point but it will be the Australian’s first appearance at SW19 since winning the Wimbledon title in 2021.

Fans will be hoping that this could lead to a potential return to the tour just like Caroline Wozniacki did at last year’s Wimbledon before returning a few months later.

That does look unlikely though given Barty’s mindset and comfortability with her current lifestyle.

Furthermore, Barty will also be joining BBC’s punditry team for the actual Championships.

The main tournament will start on the first of July with the invitational doubles starting on Tuesday 9th of July.

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Andy Murray Retires against Thompson; Third Seed Dimitrov Also Out at Queens

Andy Murray suffered a heart-breaking exit. Taylor Fritz downs Raonic, while Rinky Hijikata also progresses to last eight.

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Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray retired after just five games against Australian Jordan Thompson with a back injury that has been niggling him for the last few weeks.

He had been trying his best to manage it, but ultimately succumbed to a loss of strength and coordination and control in his right leg.

The 37-year-old Scot has been on the tour for eighteen years and completed his 1,000th match in the round before, but it was evident during his warm up that something was off. He was not stretching up fully when practising serves, whilst also landed tentatively on his feet.

In fact, former five-time champion Murray looked in some difficulty even walking down the steps walking towards the court. “When I walked up the stairs before going out, and in the pre-match warm up, my back was uncomfortable,” said Murray in a BBC interview afterwards. “I don’t know exactly what the problem is. I hadn’t experienced that before. I have no idea how long it will take to get better and what the treatment options are.”

It was clear that Murray regretted choosing to play today. “The atmosphere was pretty awkward on court; everyone can see there is a problem I don’t know whether I should play or stop. It’s disappointing for the crowd and everyone who has paid to come and watch. In hindsight I wish I hadn’t gone out.”

The pair had met once before back in 2017, also at Queens. But Murray had won Wimbledon the year before; his body was seven years younger than now and far less battered and bruised. It remains to be seen whether the former world number one can be fit in time for this year’s Championships.

Meanwhile Sebastian Korda put in a gritty display to overcome an under-par Grigor Dimitrov in three tough sets 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

In a very even match with winners and unforced errors almost equal, it was former champion Dimitrov who was regularly under pressure in his service games and offered 14 breakpoints in total. He was behind in numerous baseline duels dropping the ball short many times, enabling Korda, who reached the semi-finals last year, to come in and attack first. The American was also very solid from the forecourt winning 73% at net, as well as winning 83% of points behind his first serve.

The third set looked like it was heading to a tie-break but Korda hit a razor-sharp forehand down the line winner at 30-30 in the final game before world number ten Dimitrov overcooked a forehand to hand the victory to his younger opponent.

“It was a big struggle,” said Korda on court afterwards. “We were both serving really well and holding serve and waiting for our chances. There weren’t many but the ones that came, we tried to get one.”

He downplayed his recent wrist injury and instead was grateful to be playing on the centre court grass: “it’s incredible to play at Queens, definitely one of my favourite tournaments to come to, everything is so amazing. I’m very happy with how it’s going so far. I am super happy. Hopefully I can keep playing some good tennis this week and leading into Wimbledon as well.”

In today’s opening match, qualifier Rinky Hijikata squeezed past Matteo Arnaldi 7-6 (7-0), 7-6 (9-7). While the Italian blasted 37 winners, Hijikata remarkably only offered five unforced errors throughout the two sets. The Australian cruised through the opening breaker without losing a point. However, the second set decider was far closer.

Hijikata squandered five match points and a 6-3 lead in the second set tie-break. A wild forehand miss meant the players crossed at six points each and another put him set point down. But he regrouped after a tremendous rally and won the final three points to reach the quarter finals on his debut at Queens.

“I was pretty nervous,” said Hijikata after the win. “I definitely made it tough for myself today but Matteo was coming up with some really good stuff under pressure and he is a quality player and pretty tricky to put away, but I’m glad to get through today. It’s pretty sweet playing on this court, so thank you to everyone for coming out today.”

Hijikata has been struggling for match wins of late and highlighted his resilience and also gave thanks to his coach: “It’s been a tricky couple of months but I’ve been trying to persevere and keep working hard with my coach, so a lot of the credit goes to him. It hasn’t been easy but a week like this makes it all worthwhile. I was looking forward to the grass swing for the last few months and I always love playing on this surface at a tournament like this, let’s see what I can do for the rest of the grass court season.”

In the last match of the day, American Taylor Fritz defeated Milos Raonic, who had smashed 47 aces in the round before, in straight sets 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. There were no breaks of serve in the first set, lasting 44 minutes, while fourth seed Fritz broke to go 5-4 up in the second and then served out a love game and faces Thompson for a place in the semi-finals.

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