Pablo Carreno Busta Discusses Playing In The Shadows Of Nadal - UBITENNIS
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Pablo Carreno Busta Discusses Playing In The Shadows Of Nadal

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Rafael Nadal (L) and Pablo Carreno Busta (zimbio.com)

Pablo Carreno Busta will be embarking upon new territory when he plays his US Open semifinal match on Thursday, but it is compatriot Rafael Nadal that continues to dominate the headlines.

 

The 26-year-old is the only player remaining in the draw that has not dropped a set at the US Open. His path has featured clashes with four consecutive qualifiers, something that has never previously happened in grand slam tennis during the open era. Then in only his second major quarter-final, Carreno Busta dropped just ten games to seal the win.

It is an achievement that many on the tour would dream to do. Yet ten-time French Open champion Nadal remains the hot topic in Spain. In August 2016, a study conducted by professor Francesc Pujol from the University of Navarra found Nadal to be the most popular athlete in the entire Spanish Olympic team at the Rio Games. The study measured athlete’s popularity on the internet and their social media accounts.

“If you speak with some Spanish people about tennis, everybody knows Rafa. It’s true that Rafa is an incredible tennis player. He is one of the best ever.” Carreno Busta said after his quarter-final win.

Living in the shadows of another player is not always a fun experience. Roberto Bautista Agut once said that he would ‘have more popularity as a tennis player if he was not Spanish.’ The world No.19 finds himself in the same position, but he refuses to let it deter him. Insisting that his achievement at the US Open matches those of Nadal.

“There are a lot of Spanish players, good Spanish players. And now I am in the semifinals of the Grand Slam of US Open, and I think this is as important as if Rafa moved into to semifinals.”

There are also positives to having a underdog status. The expectations and pressure applied is far less. During Nadal’s clash with Taro Daniel last week, the world No.1 admitted to feeling nervous.

In the last four Carreno Busta will face Kevin Anderson. A semifinal that will almost certainly be overshadowed if Nadal manages to set up a historic clash with Roger Federer. Playing him in Flushing Meadows for the first time.

“Maybe it’s just easier when, in your country, Rafa has all the attention and you are very without this pressure, no?” The world No.19 explained.
“I don’t know. Sometimes is good; sometimes is not good.”

Nadal will play his quarter-final match later on Wednesday when he takes on Russian teenager Andrey Rublev.

ATP

Alexander Zverev Denies Using Phone During Match At ATP Finals

The world No.7 has insisted that he didn’t break any rules at the season-ending event.

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LONDON: Reigning ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev has denied allegations that he was swiping through his phone during a sit down in his latest match in London

 

A series of Twitter users posted footage of the German placing his hand in his bag. It appeared as if he was using a phone or some sort of electronic device. Using his thumb to either press a button or swipe something. Despite the allegations, Zverev has denied any wrongdoing. 

“My phone was in the locker room. I always leave it there. I don’t know what they saw, but it was definitely not a phone.” Zverev replied when quizzed in his press conference. 

Under rules set out by the ATP, it is an offence for players to use their phones during matches and they could potentially be penalised. The rule is in place as part of fight against match-fixing in the sport. 

“A player is not allowed to use any electronic devices (e.g. CD players, mobile phones, etc.) during matches, unless approved by the Supervisor.” The 2019 ATP rulebook states. 

Despite the 22-year-old stating his innocence, questions remain about what he was looking at inside his bag. Which is located next up the chair of the match umpire. Asked to explain, he said it might have been ‘an empty water bottle.’ 

 

Zverev will play his final match of the round-robin stage at the ATP Finals against Daniil Medvedev. He is currently 1-1 in the group after defeating Rafael Nadal before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday. 

“Days like this happen. It’s just how it is in sports.” Said Zverev after his latest loss. “Against Rafa, I played a great match. Today I didn’t. This is just how it is sometimes, even though I have to give credit to him. He played really well.”
“There are a lot of things that I did not do great, and I have to change that to have a chance on Friday.”

There are three possible scenarios in which Zverev can qualify for the semi-finals. The most simple is that if both he and Nadal or Tsitsipas win their next matches. He can also qualify if he loses to Medvedev in three sets and Tsitsipas wins. 

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ATP

ATP Finals Comeback The Wrong Example To Focus On, Insists Rafael Nadal

The world No.1 spoke bluntly about his latest performance at the ATP Finals in London.

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LONDON: Relieved, but not complacent is the best way to describe Rafael Nadal’s feelings following his turbulent win at the ATP Finals on Wednesday afternoon.

 

In what was a rematch of the US Open final, the Spaniard hit back at Daniil Medvedev to clinch a critical win. Coming back from a set behind and then a 1-5 deficit in the decider. The win was his first victory on the tour since withdrawing from the Paris Masters due to an abdominal injury.

“It was not one of the best performances of my career. Not at all. I really hope that I can play better.” The 33-year-old reflected after.
“I was better than the other day, of course. I have been playing a better level of tennis than the first day in general terms. To win this match was a combination of a lot of things: luck, some mistakes by Daniil and some good moments from myself at the end.”

It is understandable as to why a perfectionist like Nadal was far from pleased with his latest win. Despite it reviving his chances of winning the season-ending tournament for the first time in his career. His 26 winners were canceled out by 27 unforced errors. Furthermore, his second service winning rate dropped at the match progressed from 62% in the first set to 45% in the second.

“In general terms, knowing that I was not able to practice the way that I would like before the tournament, to be able to increase the level since two days ago to today like this is a very positive thing and I’m very happy with this.” The Spaniard affirms.
“Winning or losing is another thing.” He added.

The implications of Nadal’s win not only means that he extends his perfect record of winning the decisive tiebreakers at the ATP Finals (3-0), his quest to end the season as world No.1 has also been helped. Although a certain Novak Djokovic could spoil the party if he wins the tournament this week.

The 19-time grand slam champion has been praised numerous times for his fighting spirit displayed on the court. Illustrated by his latest win on the tour. However, he believes this shouldn’t be the example for rising stars of the game should focus on.

“The example is not the comeback. The example, in my opinion, is not breaking a racquet when you are 5-1 (down) in the third or not lose your self-control when things are not going the right way.” Nadal explained.
“Just staying positive, staying on the court, accepting that the opponent is playing a little bit better than you and accepting that you are not that good. That’s the only example.”

Nadal will next play Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday. He has now won 52 matches on the tour this season.

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ATP

Relentless Rafael Nadal Fights Back From The Brink In ATP Finals Thriller

The king of clay is back on track in London after staging an audatious comeback.

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LONDON: Rafael Nadal staged a dramatic last-minute comeback to defeat Daniil Medvedev in a three-set roller-coaster at the ATP Finals.

The world No.1 struggled with his rhythm at times and looked to be on the verge of a loss after going down 0-4 in the decisive set. However, an emphatic fight back saw the Spaniard prevailed 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-6(4), after more than two-and-a-half hours of action. Providing a much-needed boost to his chances of qualifying for the semi-final stage. 

 

“Honestly, I have been super lucky. That’s the real thing.” Said Nadal, who also saved a match point. “I feel sorry for Daniil, that is a tough loss for him. He was playing much better than me in the third (set) and today was one out of 1000 that you win. It happened to me today.”

Wednesday’s meeting at The O2 was the first clash between the two since their memorable battle at the US Open. On that day, Medvedev came back from two sets down before being edged out in the decider during what was a marathon encounter. Like New York, the two were once again locked in a roller-coaster battle. Illustrated best by the fact that Nadal only won three more points than Medvedev (108-105).

A series of gut-busting rallies saw the world No.1 being placed constantly under pressure by his Russian nemesis. A 54-minute opening set saw just one break point opportunity arising in 12 games played. That was when Medvedev had a chance to nudge ahead to 4-3 due to some tentative play from his opponent, but the Spaniard battled back once again.

It would be in the tiebreak when Medvedev secured the breakthrough he sought. A deep return forced Nadal to produced a costly error to elevate the world No.4 to a 5-3 lead. Then another tight-looking forward from the Spaniard followed to hand Medvedev two set point chances. He converted on his first with the help of a 131mph serve out wide.

Sensing the possibility that he could lose a second consecutive round-robin match in the tournament for the first time since 2009, Nadal responded valiantly. Displaying the emphatic fighting spirit that has won him many fans over the years. A break at the start of the second set revived his winning hopes. Rapidly gaining in momentum, he soon leveled the match at a set apiece after a Medvedev forehand drifted wide.

Despite Nadal’s best efforts, it looked like he was down and out once again. A lull in his form saw the 19-time grand slam champion go behind 1-5. However, he refused to be complacent with a loss. Some tentative play from Medvedev opened the door for him to hit back and level 5-5. Sending the crowd into hysterics. He would then go on to prevail in the tiebreaker after a hawk-eye call declared a Medvedev shot out on match point.

“When you have the first break at 5-3 then you are only one break away. I know from my experience how tough it is to close the match.” Nadal commented on how he managed to come back into the match.
“Especially when you are two breaks in front and you lose the first one. At that moment I thought I had a chance. I think I played a bit better towards the end.”

The triumph has done Stefanos Tsitsipas a huge favor, who Nadal will play on Friday. The Greek can secure his place in the semi-finals if he beats Alexander Zverev in straight sets later today.

“He is a great player. He has a lot of energy – very young. He is having an amazing season so it will be a very tough one.” Nadal said of Tsitsipas. “I hope to be ready for that. Let’s try to make that happen.”

Nadal’s win also has significance on the race for the year-end top spot. Novak Djokovic is now required to win the tournament if he wants to clinch the position.

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