How Maria Sharapova Ended Up Hitting With Rafael Nadal - UBITENNIS
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How Maria Sharapova Ended Up Hitting With Rafael Nadal

The five-time grand slam champion explains how she managed to practice against the king of clay in Rome.

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Maria Sharapova (zimbio.com)

Earlier this week a video surfaced of former world No.1s Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal practising together at the Italian Open.

 

The two players have a combined grand slam tally of 21 titles and have earned millions in prize money. Sharapova currently has $37,389,452 in earnings compared to Nadal’s $96,884,842. Hitting a lengthy rally on a court at the Foro Italico, some are wondering how the session came about.

On Tuesday Sharapova spoke about how it occurred following her first round win. The Russian world No.40 dismissed 16th seed Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2. Setting up a showdown with former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova. A player she hasn’t faced on the tour since 2014.

“I saw he was practising on the court right before me,” Sharapova said during her press conference.
“And I said to my team ‘wouldn’t it be amazing if I just came up to Rafa and said ‘would you hit a couple balls with me?’
“And they’re like, yeah, what’s wrong with that? And I was like, a lot of things. There’s a lot of things wrong with just coming up to Rafa.
“They’re like, no, you should. It’s not like you’re asking him to go on a date. And so I did.
“He probably thought I was really weird. I think he still thinks I’m really weird.”

https://twitter.com/MariaSharapova/status/995995610720489472

The video of the two has since exploded on Twitter. As of Wednesday morning, it has been retweeted more than 6300 times and has have received over 729,000 views. According to socialbearing.com, it is the most successful tweet of all-time (in terms of favourites and retweets) created on Sharapova’s Twitter account.

Now her session with Nadal has been ticked off on her bucket list, does Sharapova have any other players in mind that she want to hit with? One potential name mentioned is 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer. The Swiss player is currently absent from the clay season as he prepares for the grass.

“I don’t know. Who knows? I don’t know whether I’ll get the confidence to do it or I’ll just be shy.” She replied when asked if she would ask Federer to hit with her in the future.

In the past Sharapova has been on the same court as Federer, but playing with him and not against him. In 2011 the pair teamed up to play in the Nike Clash of The Champions. Taking on Nadal and Victoria Azarenka.

Sharapova will play her second round match at the Italian Open on Wednesday afternoon. Her head-to-head record against Cibulkova stands at 3-3.

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France’s Lucas Pouille To Undergo Surgery

The 26-year-old has suffered another setback to his plans for a return to the Tour.

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Lucas Pouille (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Lucas Pouille says he is hopeful that he will be able to play tennis again this season after announcing plans to undergo surgery.

 

The world No.58 confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will be having an operation on his right elbow later this month in Paris. Pouille has only managed to play one match this year on the ATP Tour due to the injury, which was at the Indian Wells Challenger tournament where he lost in straight sets to Noah Rubin.  The issue has been bothering the Frenchman since last October when he shut down his season early after the Shanghai Masters.

“It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free. I still hope to play before the end of the season.” Pouille said in a statement.

Pouille initially looked to be on track to making a return to action after participating in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in June. An exhibition tournament created by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou. However, he lost two matches to Feliciano Lopez and Elliot Benchetrit before being forced to withdraw from the competition due to his elbow.

In recent days the coach of the former world No.10,  Loic Courteau, said they will not be travelling to the US Open next month. Although it is unclear if Courteau’s comments were made before or after the decision to undergo surgery was made.

“I will not be in New York, for the good reason that Lucas… is not going to play the tournament,” he told French television.

Pouille has won five ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $7 million in prize money. He is currently the eighth highest ranked French player on the ATP Tour.

Pouille’s ATP titles breakdown

2018 1 Montpellier (Indoor/Hard)
2017 3 Vienna (Indoor/Hard)
Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass)
Budapest (Outdoor/Clay)
2016 1 Metz (Indoor/Hard)

 

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Jannik Sinner and Roberto Bautista Agut start their campaign with convincing wins in Berlin

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Last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner beat German veteran Tommy Haas 6-4 3-6 10-8 in the opening match at the Bett1 Aces, a grass exhibition tournament at the Steffi Graf Stadium. This event features ATP and WTA players and is played in front of a limited number of fans.

 

Sinner converted his only break point in the fifth game of the first set with two return winners and held on his service games to win the first set 6-4. Sinner converted his third break point to take a 3-2 lead in the first set. Haas broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. The German player broke for the second time in a row and won 12 of his 16 rallies to win the second set 6-3. Sinner bounced back in the match tie-break and raced out to a 5-2 lead. Haas clawed his way back to 7-8, but Sinner earned two match points with a forehand passing shot. The young Italian player sealed the match tie-break 10-8 on his second match point setting up a semifinal against Dominic Thiem.

Roberto Bautista Agut battled past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 3-6 10-7. In the first set Bautista dropped his serve to go down 0-2 in the opening game and faced two break points on his serve, but he came back by breaking serve twice in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-3.

Struff won the second set with a break in the sixth game, but Bautista Agut took the 10-7 edge to win the match tie-break 10-7. Bautista Agut set up a semifinal against Matteo Berrettini.

Anastasja Sevastova was leading 6-4 4-3, as Julia Goerges was forced to retire injured from the match in the seventh game of the second set.  Sevastova got two breaks in the third and ninth games to win the first set 6-3.

In the final match of the day two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova cruised past Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-1. Kvitova earned the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Petkovic broke straight back in the fifth game for 2-3. Kvitova converted his second break point in the 10th game to win the second set 6-4. Kvitova broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the second set 6-1.

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Jannik Sinner dreams to win the US Open and beat Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon

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Last year’s Next Gen Finals champion Jannik Sinner revealed that his dream would be to beat 20-time Grand Slam champion and eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer on the Centre Court at the All England Club at Wimbledon.

 

Sinner was bidding to make his debut at Wimbledon last year, but he lost in the first round of the qualifying round.

Many fans predict that Sinner has the chance to win a Grand Slam title and become world number 1.

Sinner advanced to Antwerp ATP 250 semifinals last October at the age of 18 after beating Gael Monfils. He became the youngest ATP Tour semifinal since Borna Coric, who reached this stage in Basel at the age of 17. He saved one match point against Steve Johnson in Masters 1000 debut in Rome. He got through to the qualifying round to reach the main draw at the US Open before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

This year Sinner beat world number 10 David Goffin in Rotterdam second round for the biggest win of his career. The Italian teenager coached by Riccardo Piatti earned his first Grand Slam main draw win at the Australian Open before losing to Marton Fucsovics.

“I know that I am only 18, but I like to play. The more I play, the more I like it. My goal is to win the US Open but I have the dream of beating Roger Federer on the Centre Court at Wimbledon”, said Sinner.

Federer underwent second arthostocopic knee surgery and announced that he will make his comeback in 2021. The Swiss player was sidelined by injury for six months in 2016 and made a successful return in January 2017 by winning an epic five-set Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal. He went on to win Wimbledon later that year and another Australian Open trophy in 2018.

“I hope Roger will play again next season”, said Sinner.

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