Rafael Nadal To Focus On His Health, Not The Battle For No.1 - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal To Focus On His Health, Not The Battle For No.1

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10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal has played down the prospect of battling for the No.1 position this season ahead of his return to the tour.

 

The Spaniard hasn’t played a competitive match since retiring from the Australian Open. In the quarter-finals of the event, Nadal picked up an upper leg muscle injury. It was only the second time in his career that he had retired during a grand slam match. The setback was a bitter pill for Nadal to swallow, who criticised schedule of the tour shortly after his withdrawal.

“It’s not the first time, of course it is tough. Especially at this point when you feel ready to compete well.” He told atpworldtour.com on Monday. “I can’t complain. I have to keep going, keep working and that’s what I did.”

Nadal will return to action this week at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, where he will be the top seed. He is a two-time winner of the tournament, last triumphing in 2013 when the event was played on clay. Last year he finished runner-up to Sam Querrey.

“I’m happy to be here (in Acapulco). I feel recovered from what happened in Melbourne. I took a couple of weeks to rest and worked hard on my rehabilitation. Last week I started practicing hard again and I feel great. “ Nadal explained.

This year’s draw in Acapulco has one of the strongest the tournament has ever had. Six out of the eight seeded players are currently ranked in the top 10. Other entrants include Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Jack Sock, Kevin Anderson and Juan Martin del Potro.

The race for No.1

During his absence from the tour, Roger Federer dethroned Nadal from the top of the ATP Emirates rankings. The Swiss currently leads the second place Spaniard by 345 points. Setting the scene for a potentially gripping battle between the two for the top spot. The only thing is that returning back to No.1 is not the main priority for Nadal.

“The important thing is to be healthy. To work that way I want to work.” He stated.
“I don’t want to fight for that (No.1 place). I am going to do my calendar and then see what is going on.”

The Spaniard has hailed the achievements of his rival at the age of 36. Federer, who recently withdrew from the Dubai Tennis Championships, is spending his 801st week in the top 10. The second longest in history after Jimmy Connors (817 weeks).

“It’s great to see him back at world No.1. Just congrats to him, he has done so well the past year. He deserves it.” He said of Federer.

Nadal will take on Feliciano Lopez in the first round at Acapulco.

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(VIDEO) Australian Open Day Seven: Roger Federer Fights Back Once Again

Ubaldo Scanagatta analysis the key matches that took place in Melbourne on Sunday, which includes the roller-coaster win of the Swiss Maestro.

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Sunday in Australia saw two of the big favourites in the men’s draw progress, but it was far from straightforward for one. Roger Federer had to battle back from a set down to edge out Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics. Setting him up with a clash against world No.100 Tennys Sandgren. Meanwhile, defending champion Novak Djokovic is rapidly gaining in momentum following his triumph over Diego Schwartzman.

 

In the women’s draw, Ash Barty has given herself a shot of revenge after setting up a quarter-final meeting with Petra Kvitova. The same player who beat her in the last eight of the tournament 12 months ago.

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ATP

Thomas Musters Hints At Conflict With Thiem After Sudden Axe From Team

The unexpected move by Thiem has left more questions than answers.

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Australian tennis legend Thomas Muster has seemingly suggested that a difference in opinion was behind his sudden departure from Dominic Thiem’s team after just two weeks.

 

On Saturday the world No.5 unexpectedly confirmed that the former French Open champion has left his team. Exactly 18 days after Thiem said during a press conference at the ATP Cup that the two have arranged a ‘working relationship.’ The announcement followed Thiem’s four-set win over Taylor Fritz in the third round of the Australian Open.

“We ended our working relationship,” He told Austrian reporters in Melbourne. “It did not fit. It’s easy like that. It is just about work. We get along well personally, and we said in the beginning, if anything is not all right we will tell each other.”

Questions are left remaining about what the exact reason for the two to go their separate ways. Especially given their short period spent working together. Both have been coy on the subject, but Muster has shed some light during an interview with Eurosport.

Speaking with fellow former world No.1 Becker, Muster said he was initially expecting to be working with Thiem for a two-year period. Adding to the mystery, the 52-year-old fuelled further speculation when he gave a cryptic insight about the two-time French Open finalist. Who had previously said that his career was to emulate and surpass Muster’s career achievements.

“To be honest, I have seen myself in this role for the next two years.” He told Becker.
“Why he chose differently…l I know why, but I don’t want to say the details.’
“It’s like this. There are houses which look nice from the outside, wonderfully from the outside, but you rarely know who lives inside.”

Speaking about Thiem’s performance on the court, Muster believes there are still areas of his game that requires further improvement. Last year the 26-year-old won five titles on the ATP Tour, including his first at Masters level. Something that was only matched by Novak Djokovic.

“He’s a fine guy and likes to learn a lot,” he told Eurosport.
“But he has also got some shortcomings, he has to work on if he wants to be at the top. He has improved a lot, but he to catch up in the technical, physical and foremost in the mental area.”

Muster isn’t the only former professional with a view that Thiem needs to improve. Mats Wilander recently called on the tennis star to improve his attitude on the court.

Thiem will play fifth seed Gael Monfils in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday.

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Injury-Stricken Juan Martin Del Potro Suffers New Blow And An Uncertain Future

There is more bad news for fans of the former world No.3 and his hopes of a return to tennis.

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Hopes of Juan Martin del Potro returning to the tour in the coming weeks have ended after it was announced that he will undergo further surgery on Monday.

 

The former US Open champion hasn’t played a competitive match since June after fracturing his right kneecap at the Fever-Tree Championships in London. The same one he also hurt towards the end of the 2018 season. Shortly after his mishap the Argentine underwent surgery in Barcelona in an attempt to fix the issue and have been undergoing rehabilitation ever since.

Unfortunately for the former top-five player, the surgery hasn’t been a success with him continuing to have pain in the region. In an official press release published on Sunday, it was confirmed that the issue is affecting the Argentine in everyday tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs. As a consequence, Del Potro will have yet another operation on his knee in Miami.

“We want to update you that after long weeks of inter consultations in Argentina, Europe and the United States, most doctors have come to the conclusion that a new intervention in the right knee of Juan Martin del Potro is necessary.” A statement reads.
“After analyzing the options, Delpo trusted Dr. Lee Kaplan to perform the surgery scheduled for Monday, January 27th in Miami.”
“We hope that this is the definitive solution to eliminate the pain that not only has prevented Delpo from playing tennis, but also making it difficult for him to perform daily activities.”

Speculation over the future intentions of the 31-year-old started earlier this week when he withdrew from the Delray Beach Open. The tournament were where he was set to make his comeback next month.

During his rehabilitation, Del Potro has sought various treatments. Including types of diets, training and trips to specialists. All of which failed to deliver the desired outcome and forced him to undergo surgery.

“Thank you for your patience and for understanding that these past weeks we have taken our time before communicating his next steps. The situation is never easy when it comes to the physique of an athlete and, more importantly, the health of a person.” Team del Potro said.

The latest revelation has cast concerns over Del Potro’s future career. Who at one stage said he was unsure if he would be able to continue playing due to his knee injury (prior to his first surgery). It is the latest setback for the injury-stricken player who have also been forced to undergo four wrist surgeries.

So far in his career, Del Potro has won 22 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world last year.

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