Strong Draw For Rafael Nadal As Federer And Djokovic Face Australian Open Tests - UBITENNIS
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Strong Draw For Rafael Nadal As Federer And Djokovic Face Australian Open Tests

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Top seed Rafael Nadal will get his Australian Open campaign underway against world No.81 Víctor Estrella Burgos in what is a favourable draw for the Spaniard.

The world No.1 has been drawn in a section with just one other player seeded in the top 25 (John Isner at 16th). Nadal is yet to play a competitive tournament in 2018 after delaying the start to his season due to his knee. Although he is expected to ease past Estrella Burgos, a player who has only reached the second round in Melbourne on one previous occasion. Following on from the opening round, he could play either Nicolas Jarry or Leonardo Mayer.

It isn’t until the third round where Nadal is expected to face his first test. Should it all go according to the rankings, Damir Dzumhur or Borna Coric awaits him. Both players have defeated the Spaniard before, but not since 2016. Coric has got the better of Nadal twice before, but Dzumhur’s triumph was due to a Nadal retirement. Following on from that, a potentially tricky clash with the fast-serving Isner awaits in the fourth round.

Reigning champion Roger Federer will be aiming to successfully defend a grand slam title for the first time since the 2008 US Open. He will start against Aljaz Bedene in what will be their first meeting. In Federer’s quarter, he could be in for an intriguing third round encounter against Richard Gasquet, a player who he leads 16-2 in their head-to-head. Then similar to Nadal, he may have to contend with another big server as both Milos Raonic and Sam Querrey loom as last-16 opponents.

Djokovic set for the ultimate test in killer quarter

Recently casting uncertainty over his Australian Open plans, Novak Djokovic will not be comforted by his draw. Seeded 14th, his lowest position in the tournament since 2007, the Serbian is set to be challenge from the onset. He will open against Donald Young, who reached the third round of the event back in 2014. From then on, it could only get harder for the six-time champion. Gael Monfils beckons in the second round. The Frenchman is fresh in confidence after winning the Doha Open last week.

A repeat of last year’s Italian Masters final could occur in the fourth round of the tournament. Positioned in the same section as fourth seed Alexander Zverev, the two are on course to clash. Zverev, who will start his campaign against Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, is bidding to reach the second week of a grand slam for the first time in his career.

There is also a possibility that if Zverev and Djokovic face off, the winner could take on either Dominic Thiem or Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals. Although recent doubts has been cast over Wawrinka’s current fitness level.

The other contenders

Grigor Dimitrov will be hoping to replicate his run at Melbourne Park from 12 months ago. A semifinalist in 2017, the ATP Finals champion will start against a yet to be confirmed qualifier. Later on in the draw he could play Andrey Rublev in the third round followed by either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Nick Kyrgios.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic has received a boost in his draw. The Croat will not play a top 30 seed until at least the fourth round. Pablo Carreno Busta lurks as a potential fourth round opponent.

Finally, David Goffin could be on course for a fourth round meeting with Juan Martin del Potro. Goffin will start against a qualifier and Del Potro will take on Frances Tiafoe.

The full breakdown

Men’s draw

Key R1 matches to follow

Projected quarter-finals

Men’s seeds
1 Rafael Nadal (ESP)
2 Roger Federer (SUI)
3 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
4 Alexander Zverev (GER)
5 Dominic Thiem (AUT)
6 Marin Cilic (CRO)
7 David Goffin (BEL)
8 Jack Sock (USA)
9 Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
10 Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)
11 Kevin Anderson (RSA)
12 Juan Martín del Potro (ARG)
13 Sam Querrey (USA)
14 Novak Djokovic (SRB)
15 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
16 John Isner (USA)
17 Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
18 Lucas Pouille (FRA)
19 Tomas Berdych (CZE)
20 Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
22 Milos Raonic (CAN)
23 Gilles Muller (LUX)
24 Diego Schwartzman (ARG)
25 Fabio Fognini (ITA)
26 Adrian Mannarino (FRA)
27 Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
28 Damir Dzumhur (BIH)
29 Richard Gasquet (FRA)
30 Andrey Rublev (RUS)
31 Pablo Cuevas (URU)
32 Mischa Zverev (GER)

 

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Jack Draper Points To Mental Fatigue As Reason For Queen’s Club Exit

Jack Draper is aiming for a big Wimbledon result despite recent mental fatigue.

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Jack Draper has revealed mental fatigue has caught up to him after his Queen’s Club exit against Tommy Paul.

The Brit was a bit flat-footed as he lost 6-3 5-7 6-4 to the American in his quarter-final match.

It was a tiring performance in what has been an action-packed last week for Draper having won his first ATP title in Stuttgart which was followed by a career-best win against Carlos Alcaraz at Queen’s Club.

However, Draper revealed after the match that the recent success has had a price in the form of mental fatigue, “It was tough to play the tennis I wanted to play, but we have to deal with that. It’s part of the game. I felt like I was having to really get myself going. Maybe because the last couple of weeks are catching up with me a little bit,” Draper was quoted by The Independent as saying.

“Physically, I felt good, my body has been great. It just becomes mentally quite taxing having to go day after day. I finished Stuttgart on Sunday, I got here very, very late on Sunday. I was training and then went in again on Tuesday. Then the match yesterday, it felt like there was quite a lot of emotional energy invested in that.

“I’m definitely having to pick myself up, I felt quite flat at times, and I think that showed in my decision-making at times in the match. I played a few more sloppy shots than I wanted to. But if I want to be one of the best players in the world, then I have to keep backing up my performances and get used to going deep every week. That’s what I want to do and what was disappointing about this one.”

It was still a positive tournament for Draper who will now enter the world’s top 30 in the rankings next week.

Now Draper will head into Wimbledon as a seeded player and the last few weeks have been a stern reminder as to the work it takes to succeed at the highest level, “If you want to be a top, top player in the world, you have to back up results week by week, day by day. You know you are in a great place and are one of the best in the world when you are able to do that,” Draper explained.

“Every day we are facing amazing tennis players who can beat you. If you are not quite on your game, for instance today, you lose the match. That is the next stage for me now. I want to try to go deep in tournaments and back it up every week.

“My body is in a good place, these are just things I have to get used to at the highest level and learn. I’m still young so I’m trying to piece a lot of things together. It was my first title last week, I’ve done it at Challengers and Futures, but it’s very different on the main tour so I probably need a bit more time.”

Draper will look for his best ever Wimbledon result when he competes in the third Grand Slam of the season, which starts on the 1st of July.

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Karolina Muchova Ready For Tennis Return, Aiming For Olympic Debut

Karolina Muchova is looking forward to the Olympics as she prepares to make her return to tennis in Eastbourne.

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Karolina Muchova is ready for her long awaited return to tennis with Wimbledon and the Olympics being her main goals.

The Czech Republican has not played since reaching the semi-finals at the US Open last year with the result in New York capping off a brilliant 2023 for Muchova.

Before that run at the US Open, Muchova also reached the final at Roland Garros and Cincinnati.

However, since then Muchova has struggled with a wrist injury as she detailed in a recent interview with Czech Republican TV, “The operation fixed a loose tendon in the right wrist,” Muchova was quoted by the WTA website as saying.

“After the operation, I had my arm in a solid splint for six weeks, then two or three weeks in a wrist brace, and then I slowly started with rehabilitation and training. My wrist was very stiff. At the start, I wasn’t even able to hold a fork, so I was asking myself how it would be possible to play a forehand or hold a racquet.

“I didn’t have that much free time because the rehabilitation process takes up much more time than you think, compared to when I train and travel to tournaments.

“Apart from the first few weeks when my arm was in a splint, I didn’t have much spare time. I went abroad from the Czech Republic one weekend, and to my family in Moravia, but otherwise it was work, morning to evening.”

A long process for Muchova to overcome as she will hope the injuries behind her and she can focus on being a threat at the top of the women’s game again.

Next up for the Czech Republican is Eastbourne in her comeback tournament as she will face a qualifier in round one.

That will be followed by playing Wimbledon as well as her first Olympic games at Roland Garros.

In particular, the Olympics is something that excites her as she has always wanted to play on the biggest stage, “At the end of this week, I’ll fly to Eastbourne with the team, where we’ll finally try to play some matches in preparation ahead of Wimbledon,” Muchova explained.

“After Wimbledon I’ll return back to the clay, maybe play a tournament, or straight to the Olympics. I’m really excited for the Olympics. I’ve never been to one, and it’s around the corner in Paris, so I can’t be more excited.

“Representing my country is definitely a huge honor. I’ve signed up to play doubles with Maky [Voundrousova], and I hope it goes well for us.”

Wimbledon starts on the first of July while the Olympics will take place on the 27th of July.

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Andy Murray Faces Race Against Time For Wimbledon After Back Procedure

Andy Murray faces a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon.

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Andy Murray faces a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon as he undergoes a back procedure on Saturday.

The procedure comes after seeing a specialist on Thursday after suffering an injury against Jordan Thompson at Queen’s Club.

It was in the warm-up, Murray suffered the injury before the five-time champion eventually retired after five games.

A bitter blow for Murray, who has given strong hints that this may be his last Wimbledon and may also retire after the summer.

There is also the Olympics for Murray as it would be a fitting end to his career given he has won two gold medals in his career.

However, this year’s Olympics is at Roland Garros and that may mean that Murray would be less eager to play in Paris.

As for Wimbledon, Murray has won the event on two different occasions and his potential appearance at SW19 will be the 16th time he takes to court at Wimbledon.

The third Grand Slam of the season takes place on the 1st of July.

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