Rafael Nadal jubilant following 16th Grand Slam crown at US Open - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal jubilant following 16th Grand Slam crown at US Open

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Following a dominant 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 final victory over big-serving South African Kevin Anderson, world number one Rafael Nadal expressed his disbelief and joy at winning his 3rd US Open title today in New York City.

 

In a season marked by resurgence and reemergence, it was 31-year-old Rafael Nadal who reigned supreme at the final major of the season in Flushing Meadows. Looking for his 16th Grand Slam title and 3rd US Open trophy, the top-ranked Spaniard served dominantly in his 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 dismantling of Kevin Anderson in the final. Following his second major triumph of 2017 and a monumental first hard court title since January of 2014, Nadal was overjoyed about the new heights he’s reascended to this year.

Asked about how he would reflect on this major triumph in New York, Nadal said, “Very happy, no? Been a great two weeks. Increasing level of tennis, increasing of confidence during that two weeks. Yeah, I have this trophy with me again here in New York. Means a lot to me, no? There is no better way to finish the Grand Slam season for me after a very emotional season in all aspects.”

“So very happy the way that I played, happy the way that I managed the pressure, and the way that I was competing during the whole event, no? Playing better or worse, the competitive spirit have been there in a very positive way all the time,” said a jubilant world number one.

Looking back on what it means to finish 2017 with two Grand Slam wins after two previous seasons filled with confidence crises, poor form, and injury, the 31-year-old Spaniard said, “No, no, no. When you start the season, for all the players is tough to win two Grand Slams. That’s the real thing. For everybody is tough to win at least one Grand Slam. There is only four chances on every year, and there is a lot of players that have chances. There is a lot of tough opponents out there. But somebody have to win Grand Slams too, no?” 

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his 3rd US Open title in New York City/Zimbio/Clive Brunskill

Thinking back on how he came from a heart-wrenching loss to Fabio Fognini here back in 2015, his first ever from two sets to love up at a major, to now two years on claiming another US Open trophy, Nadal reflected on that triumph and disaster along the way saying, “Of course is something difficult to imagine eight months ago or nine months ago that we will be winning two Grand Slams each. But here we are, and just can say thanks to life for that opportunity.”

“I think I did the right work. I believed on the work, on the diary work all the time. I still believe on these things to improve, and I wake up every morning with the passion to go on court and to try to improve things. Probably that’s why I still have chances to compete in this sport and to do it well. That’s all,” concluded a joyful ten-time French Open winner.

Discussing more specifically his struggles on hard courts the last three years, the Spaniard described his first hard court title since Doha in 2014 saying, “For me is important because is the US Open. More than if because is in hard or doesn’t matter the surface. I win one of the most important events of the year. Is true that I was not winning titles on hard for some time, but as I say the other day, is not that I was playing bad on hard. I played the final in Australia. I played the final in Acapulco, final in Miami. Ready to win titles. Didn’t happen, is true.”

“It happened today. So very happy for that, and the US Open is an amazing event. The energy that this city and this court brings to me is unbelievable, no? I feel very connected with them, and I enjoy the passion that I feel in that court,” commented a jubilant Nadal on his 3rd New York City triumph.

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his 3rd US Open with the US Open trophy in New York City/Zimbio/Clive Brunskill

Finally, reflecting back on his 2017 Grand Slam season, Nadal assed it saying, “I think it was, in terms of results, was one of the best seasons of my career, of course. I have been winning titles, playing three finals of Grand Slams, so that’s a lot, no? That’s so difficult. The other slam that I was not in the final, I lost the match 15-13 in the fifth to be in the quarterfinals, no. So was very competitive year for me. And on clay, I won almost every match. Of course is an emotional season because I have been through tough moments in terms of injuries.”

“But that’s like this. I think I always accepted all the challenges that my career present to me. The good news and the negative news, I accepted in some way in a very natural way, and I am a person that I don’t have much up-and-downs. I am a very normal person, and when I am in a negative moment, I don’t go very down. When I am in a positive moment, probably like now, I don’t believe that I am that good, no?”

“So I think I’m a natural person, normal person, and accept the things that life presents me. Try to go forward, no? That’s it. That’s the only way. When you are in a good way, be calm to have the chance to keep improving, and when you are in a negative way, just keep working to try to work on that situations. That’s all,” concluded a very candid and reflective Nadal on what will be one of the most memorable and emotional years of his storied career.

Rafael Nadal poses with the US Open trophy at the Champion’s Photo Shoot in New York City/Zimbio/Clive Brunskill

As for the future, Nadal closes the open-era Grand Slam singles title margin with Federer back to only two majors, with the world number one moving to 16 and the Swiss 35-year-old to 19 trophies after Nadal won in Paris and New York and Federer in Melbourne and London.

Looking into the near future and the final part of the 2017 season, Nadal will next play alongside Federer in two weeks time as part of Team Europe in the new Laver Cup in Prague before the top-ranked Spaniard begins his Asian Swing in Beijing at the China Open before heading to the Shanghai Rolex Masters, where Federer returns to the tour for the final stretch of the season.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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