Milos Raonic ‘Inspired’ By Nadal’s Dominance On The Clay - UBITENNIS
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Milos Raonic ‘Inspired’ By Nadal’s Dominance On The Clay

The former Wimbledon finalist speaks about his rivals record on the dirt

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Milos Raonic (zimbio.com)

MADRID: Playing on the tour alongside Rafael Nadal can be a frustrating experience, but for Milos Raonic it is one that he relishes.

 

The Spanish king of clay is currently on a 10-match winning streak after triumphing in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. On the surface Nadal last lost a set nearly 12 months ago to Dominic Thiem at the Italian Open. The performance of the Spaniard is one that draws admiration from his Canadian rival. Who trails 2-7 to him in their head-to-head.

“I find it quite inspiring to see what he has done on numerous counts throughout numerous years. Stopping and starting with numerous injuries.” Said Raonic.
“It’s incredible what he’s done and I think it is one of the biggest feats in tennis.
“He’s the man to beat on this surface, but there is a lot of other guys who gotta play as well.”

Similar to Nadal, the Canadian has also experienced his own fair share of injury issues. His latest is a right knee problem, which forced him out of the Monte Carlo Masters. The exact issue is related to his meniscus. A piece of cartridge which acts as a shock absorber between the thigh-bone and shin-bone. He has experienced the injury before, but this time it is to a ‘lesser degree.’

“We (my team) are managing it as best as we can. It is what it is. I’m just trying to deal with it the best way and smartest way possible.” He explained.

Raonic’s compliments towards Nadal followed his marathon win over Grigor Dimitrov at the Madrid Open on Tuesday. He knocked out the third seed 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, with the help of 12 aces and lost his serve only once during the match. Recording his first win over a top 10 player this season.

‘I can compete on any surface’

The triumph occurs at a tournament where Raonic is a two-time quarter-finalist at. The high altitude in Madrid enhances his service speed. Making him a tough player to break during matches. Although Raonic stresses that he can play on the clay elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

“I have also made a couple quarter-finals in Monaco and also made the semis in Rome.” He points out. “I played OK in all of them. I think this one (Madrid) come to me more naturally because it plays a little bit quicker and the ball bounces a little bit higher. But as long as I am heavy I feel like I can compete on any surface.”

In the last 16 Raonic will take on his Davis Cup team mate Denis Shapovalov, who defeated Benoit Paire in three sets. It will be the first time that the two will lock horns on the tour.

“I think he is incredibly talented. Very explosive. Can do a lot of incredible things. He has been playing great on tour since the Roger Cup in Montreal last year. He has had some great wins.” Raonic commented about his opponent.
“It is going to be a very difficult match.”

Raonic is currently ranked 24th  in the world.

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Dominic Thiem reaches the final in Kitzbuhel

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Dominic Thiem came back from losing the first set to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 en route to reaching the final at the Thiem’s 7 tournament in Kitzbuhel.

 

Thiem earned two breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 4-1 lead. Bautista Agut got both breaks back in the sixth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4 forcing the match to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-5 to take the opening set.

Thiem slowly found his rhythm again in the second set and earned two break points in the fourth game but he was not able to convert them. The home star dropped only two points on his serve until the end of the second set and converted two of the three break points to clinch the second set 6-2.

Thiem earned a break in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and held on his next service games. The tournament organizer sealed the third set 6-2 with his double break with a blistering return on the match point in the eighth game securing his spot in the final. Thiem will face either Andrey Rublev or Matteo Berrettini in the final.

The second semifinal between Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini was stopped several times before being called off due to rain, when Rublev was leading 6-4 2-1 in the second set.

Both players went on serve until the 10th game, when Rublev earned the break at 30 to win the first set 6-4. The match was interrupted after three games in the second set and will resume on Saturday.

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Corrado Barazzutti: “Fabio Fognini is not ready to play at the US Open,but he will prepare for the European clay tournaments”

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Italian Davis Cup captain Corrado Barazzutti talked about Fabio Fognini’s recovery from surgery and the goal to reach the ATP Finals in London during an interview to Italian tennis television channel Supertennis.

 

Fabio Fognini underwent surgery on both ankles at the end of May to get rid of the injury problems, which have affected his preparation for a long time. Barazzutti, who coaches Fognini said that Fabio will not play at the US Open and the US hard-court season and doubts that the US tournaments will take place.

“There is no time enough to play at the US Open. If I can express my opinion, I don’t think that US Open will be held this year. The situation in the US is too serious and I doubt that it will improve in a short period of time. As there is no strict lockdown in the USA, the number of coronavirus cases will continue to be high. They will not be able to hold the US Open. A final decision will be taken in mid July. It is too complicated to go to the USA. Players do not want to go there. It’s still too complicated to play in a country, which is still hit hard by covid-19”, said Barazzutti.

The ATP recently announced that the ATP Ranking will now cover a period of 22 months from March 2019 to December 2020 to provide flexibility and fairness across all levels in parallel with the condensed number of points available as part of the revised provisional 2020 calendar.

Following the changes to the ATP Ranking Fognini will focus on the European clay season, which includes two Masters 1000 in Madrid and Rome and the French Open without the fear to lose the points he won last year. Fognini achieved his best results in Monte-Carlo, Canadian Open and Shanghai, which will not take place this year or are in doubt. This means that Fognini will not lose the points from this tournament and has a good chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London.

“We prepare for the clay season hoping that Madrid, Rome and Paris will be held. Fabio could continue with the European indoor season with the goal to qualify for the ATP Finals. Let’s see if the coronavirus will allow us to continue this plan. Fabio will resume training gradually from Monday. Fabio is in good shape and sped up his recovery after surgery. We are very confident”, continued Barazzutti.

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Roger Federer admits that the time to retire is getting closer

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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has admitted in an interview to German newspaper Zeit that he is getting closer to retirement from professional tennis, but he still motivated to return to the court and pursue new goals.

 

Federer has not played a match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinal last January. The Swiss legend will be sidelined for the rest of the 2020 season after undergoing two knee surgeries. Federer said that he will miss playing in front of his fans once he retires from tennis.

“In principle I only was concerned with my health, but now I miss the feeling of playing in a full stadium. I know that the time to retire is getting closer and closer and I think I will miss the circuit very much. I must be patient and keep working. It would be easy to have retired at this juncture, but I want to continue giving myself the opportunity to enjoy tennis. I will take some time to get back in good shape”, said Federer.

 Federer talked about his close relationship to his friend and rival Rafael Nadal. The Spanish player leads 24-16 in his 40 head-to-head matches against his Swiss rival. However, Federer beat Nadal in seven of his past eight clashes. They last met at Wimbledon in 2019 when Federer prevailed in four sets 7-6 1-6 6-3 6-4. In 2019 they also met in the Roland Garros semifinal where Nadal won in straight sets.

“When I met him, he surprised me because he was very shy off the court and you saw him compete and the aggressiveness with which he played was incredible. There was a lot of rivalry between us and sometimes it was not easy. We had great duels, but we always had respected each other and knew that we we were references for many people and represented our beloved sport. Our families get along very well, we always congratulate each other on the triumphs”, said Federer.

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