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The US Open Men’s Final: Five Facts You Need To Know

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

Regardless of the outcome history will be made when Rafael Nadal takes on Kevin Anderson in the final of the US Open on Sunday. On one side there is world No.1 Nadal bidding to become only the second man in history to win a 16th major title. On the other is underdog Anderson, seeking to be South Africa’s first ever US Open champion.

 

With so much at stake for both men, here are five key facts to take note of.

The clash of the over 30’s

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For the first time in 15 years a US Open final will feature two players over the age of 30. Both are 31-year-old and will be seeking new milestones. For Nadal he has a chance to become only the seventh player in the Open era to win multiple grand slam titles over the age of 30. Meanwhile, Anderson has a chance to win his maiden grand slam title on his 34th attempt. Only Stan Wawrinka and Gordan Ivanisevic have played more grand slams before winning their first title.

The last 30 and over final at Flushing Meadows was in 2002 when Pete Sampras defeated Andre Agassi in four sets. That was also the last time an all-American men’s final occurred in New York.

Anderson’s bid to join a prestigious club

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Should Anderson win, he would achieve something that only three other players have managed to do in the past 50 grand slam tournaments. The big four (Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) has won 45 out of the past 50 major titles. Coincidentally, all of those players to triumph endured success at the US Open:-

Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open)
Marin Cilic (2014 US Open)
Stan Wawrinka (2014 Australian Open, 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open).

Nadal’s hard court drought

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The world No.1 currently has 73 ATP titles to his name. Although, only 22% of them (16/73) has occurred on a hard court. Nadal’s last triumph on the surface was in January 2014 when he defeated Gael Monfils at the Qatar Open. Since then, he has played in 34 hard court tournaments, settling for runner-up in eight of those.

Nadal’s best performances on hard courts (post Qatar 2014)
2014 Australian Open – lost to Stan Wawrinka
2014 Miami Masters – lost to Novak Djokovic
2015 China Open – lost to Novak Djokovic
2015 Swiss Indoors – lost to Roger Federer
2016 Qatar Open – lost to Novak Djokovic
2017 Australian Open – lost to Roger Federer
2017 Mexican Open – lost to Sam Querrey
2017 Miami Open – loss to Roger Federer

South African history making

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1965 was the last time a South African man reached the final of the US Open when Cliff Drysdale lost to Manuel Santana. Out of all four grand slam events, Anderson is the first finalist from his country since the 1984 Australian Open (Kevin Curren).

“My biggest hope is that I’m able to inspire kids to play the sport. It’s very tough coming from South Africa, far from the scene. I take a lot of — it makes me feel good that I can hopefully fly a flag and show kids that if you work hard you can get there.” He said earlier in the week.

Anderson is the lowest-ranked US Open finalist since the creation of the ATP rankings in 1973.

Rafa’s sweet 16

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Success would narrow the gap between the two most decorated male players in tennis history. Should Nadal win on Sunday, he would claim a 16th major trophy, just three behind Federer’s record. The Spaniard is already the first player in history to win the same grand slam ten times at the French Open.

“For me what is more important, more than winning Slams is to be happy.” Said Nadal. “I am happy if I am healthy and happy, if I feel competitive in the most of the weeks that I am playing, and that’s what has happened this year.”

Nadal’s grand slam record
Australian Open – champion 2009
French Open champion – 2005-2008, 2010-2014 and 2017
Wimbledon – champion 2008 and 2010
US Open – champion 2010 and 2013

 

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Angelique Kerber Targets Olympic Dream Ahead Of Tennis Comeback

Angelique Kerber spoke about the possibility of playing the Olympics ahead of her tennis comeback.

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(@WeAreTennisFR - Twitter)

Angelique Kerber is targeting a place at this year’s Olympics in Paris as she prepares for her tennis comeback.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion is preparing to return to the WTA tour after an 18 month absence after giving birth in February.

Kerber’s last match was at Wimbledon in 2022 when she lost to Elise Mertens in the fourth round.

Now after a long absence Kerber is looking forward to making her return but admits it will be a tough start to the season in Australia, “I’ve done everything, I feel good, we’re right on schedule,” Kerber was quoted by tennishead.

“But it’s too early to make a prediction. In plain language: I have a really cold start in Australia and the most difficult one I’ve had so far. But that’s exactly what motivates me.”

The former Australian Open champion will be hoping for a successful return to Melbourne as she seeks to win a fourth Grand Slam title.

However first for the 35 year-old, it’s the United Cup as Kerber prepares to represent Germany and could have a glimpse of an Olympics preview as she could team up with Alexander Zverev.

The duo are former Hopman Cup finalists and Kerber spoke about the possibility of teaming up with Zverev at the Olympics, “When we meet in Australia, we will definitely talk about it,” Kerber revealed.

“It would make me very happy. The Olympics in Paris are the highlight and playing for Germany is always an honour.”

Kerber is a former silver medallist at the Olympics having lost the 2016 final in Rio De Janeiro to Monica Puig.

Before the Olympics, Kerber will start the season on the 30th December against Jasmine Paolini before Germany face France in their final group match.

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Rafael Nadal Announces First Tournament Since Injury

Rafael Nadal will make his ATP tour comeback in Brisbane.

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Rafael Nadal (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal has confirmed the date for his comeback to the ATP tour as he looks to add more Grand Slam titles to his collection before his potential retirement.

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has announced that his comeback will take place on the first week of the calendar as he will play the ATP 250 tournament in Brisbane which starts on the 31st of December.

It will be Nadal’s first tournament since last year’s Australian Open after he suffered a hip injury at the event.

In a video on social media Nadal announced his return to the tour as he looks to make an impact in Brisbane, “After a year away from competition, it’s time to come back. It will be in Brisbane the first week of January,” Nadal stated.

https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal/status/1730557525097885909

January’s event will be a welcome sight to Nadal as he had initially been expected to return during the clay court season but the hip injury was much worse than expected.

That lead to Nadal doing a press conference in Mallorca where he not only said that he was withdrawing from Roland Garros but also hinted that 2024 could be his last year, “My idea and my motivation is to try to enjoy and try to say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important for me in my tennis career during [next] year, and just try to enjoy that, being competitive and enjoying being on the court, something that today is not possible,” Nadal was quoted by The News as saying.

There is a high level of motivation for Nadal next year as he will want to win the Olympics at Roland Garros in Paris.

However before Nadal can think about the end of his career, the Spaniard will be determined to make an impact in Australia as he looks to stop Novak Djokovic’s dominance.

The tournament in Brisbane starts on the 31st of December while the Australian Open takes place on the 14th of January.

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Nick Kyrgios Opens Up About His Self-Harm Battle And Murray’s Support

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) playing against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios says he became addicted to pain during his battle with self-harm that lasted between 18 and 24 months.

 

In an exclusive interview with Piers Morgan Uncensored on TalkTV, the former Wimbledon finalist spoke about his mental health issues. Kyrgios has previously spoken publically about the topic but has now revealed further details about the extent he went through and the role Andy Murray played in supporting him. He was admitted to a psychiatric ward in London and contemplated suicide following the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

“It was pretty dark to be honest,” Kyrgios told Morgan. “I won tournaments on the professional tour, drinking every night, self-harming, burning things on my arm, cutting myself for fun. It became an addiction of pain. I hated myself. I hated waking up and being Nick Kyrgios.”

One of those who tried to help the Australian address his self-harm problem was three-time Grand Slam champion Murray who noticed cuts on Kyrgios’ arms during one of their practice sessions four years ago. According to The Times, the former world No.1 then alerted Kyrgios’ manager John Morris about the cuts.

Paying tribute to the Brit, Kyrgios says Murray has supported him throughout his career. The 28-year-old has been ranked as high as 13th in the world and has won seven ATP titles. Besides his run to the Wimbledon final last year, he has also reached the quarter-final stage of a major on three other occasions.

“Andy was always a big supporter of me,” Kyrgios said. “As soon as I came on the tour, he kind of saw a work in progress and took me under his wing. Then he realised later in my career that I don’t think I was coachable or I was on my own path, but he was always someone that was looking out for me.
“He saw it [the self-harm] and he said, ‘What’s that on your arm?’ It was pretty bad at that stage. Andy obviously was trying to give me advice on it. But I was just so stuck in my ways at that time that I didn’t listen. Obviously I’m very thankful. I thank him a lot.”

Kyrgios, who has only played one match on the Tour this season due to injury, hopes that he can help others by speaking publicly about his mental health battle. Something he describes as ‘the most powerful thing in his career.’

“I feel like I’ve helped so many people after I opened up about it and put it on social media,” Kyrgios said.
“I’ve almost been a beacon for people who are struggling. When they feel like they’re overwhelmed and they’re going towards drinking, drugs and stuff, they open up and they feel like I’m relatable.
“That’s been the most powerful thing in my career; people coming to me with genuine issues.
“They send me photos in my Instagram, direct messages, self-harming and genuinely wanting to commit suicide.
“I have conversations with these people. Sometimes I’ve had phone calls with these people. That’s making a real difference and I’m just really proud.”

Kyrgios recently had a stint in broadcasting after working for The Tennis channel during the ATP Finals in Milan. He is continuing his rehab from injury but it is unclear as to when he will make his return to professional tennis.

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