Rafael Nadal Reflects On Queen’s Absence, First Wimbledon Title - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Reflects On Queen’s Absence, First Wimbledon Title

The 10-time French Open champion was in a sentimental mood during media day at Wimbledon on Saturday.

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

World No.1 Rafael Nadal has said his decision to not play in any grass court tournaments prior to Wimbledon was necessary to protect his body from injury.

 

Earlier this month the French Open champion pulled out of the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s. Saying that he was advised by doctors to rest after winning his 11th title at Roland Garros. During the European clay-court season, Nadal won 24 out of 25 matches played. Claiming titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Paris. His only loss was to Dominic Thiem at The Madrid Open.

“It was not positive for me to not play Queen’s. I was sad to not have the chance to be there. On the other hand, I didn’t go there because I played a lot on clay. So I was very happy.” Nadal told reporters on Saturday.
“I am not 20 any more. I have to take decisions with the schedule sometimes. I decided to not play Queen’s because after a long clay court season, the body needed a rest, needed a slow adaptation to adapt to the grass. That’s what I did.”

Few can blame Nadal for his cautious approach to the upcoming grand slam given his injury history. Especially when it comes to his problematic knees on the grass. At the end of 2017 he pulled out of the ATP Finals due to an occurrence of a knee injury. Then earlier this year, he missed two-and-a-half months of competitive tennis due to a leg problem.

“I am taking care of my body. You cannot predict injuries.” He said. “I don’t know if it’s unlucky or not, but I got injured more than the others, especially my rivals. That’s it.”
“I just have to accept and keep going, try to do the things the better way possible to be less injured. But it is something that you cannot control.”

The 2008 final

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Nadal’s first triumph at Wimbledon. Back in 2008 he defeated Roger Federer in a match lasting almost five hours to win his maiden title at The All-England Club. Prevailing 9-7 in the fifth set. An achievement he describes as ‘one of the most emotional matches of his career.’ Asked what has changed since then, Nadal joked about the wear and tear on his body.

“I’m older, more kilometres under my legs. In general terms, important things in life didn’t change much. That’s the real thing.” He replied.
“In terms of tennis, of course I had to adapt a little bit my game during that period of time.
“Today I see that final like a long time ago. But the good thing is I still here. I am happy for that.”

Since that magical moment Nadal also won the trophy in 2010, but has been less fortunate in recent time. It has almost been seven years since the Spaniard reached the last eight of the tournament. Despite his recent lack of success at Wimbledon, the 31-year-old is still aiming high.

“My expectations are always high. I am not here to play the tournament; I am here to try to have a good results.” Nadal stated.
“I know to be there I have to play very well in the conditions at the beginning of the tournament because here there is no one easy match. All the matches are difficult. I need to be ready from the beginning. I am looking forward to have the best preparation possible the next two days that I still have and just be ready.”

Nadal is seeded second in this year’s draw. He will play Dudi Sela of Israel in the first round on Tuesday.

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Auger Aliassime overcomes slow start to beat Seppi in Washington

The Canadian looked down and out early in the match but bounced back to avenge a loss he suffered at the French Open in June.

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Second seed Felix Auger Aliassime survived a huge scare in his opening match at the Citi Open in Washington.

The Canadian was on the verge of being upset by the Italian Andreas Seppi but battled back to beat him 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 59 minutes. Blasting a total of 25 winners and nine aces in the win.

 

“In my mind, I wanted to find a way to come back. To get that early break in the second really helped me a lot and I think I served a little bit better and I put more volume and height on my shot,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I was more patient and in the first set I was missing too quickly in the rallies so digging deep physically and mentally allowed me to come back nicely in the match and to finish strong in the third set. I am happy with the way things turned around for me today”.

It was the world number 88 with the better start to the match and after both players held their opening service games he had two chances to get the early break and took a 2-1 lead. After consolidating the break, the Italian set up another breakpoint with a stunning forehand winner, broke again for a 4-1 lead, and served out the first set.

Auger-Aliassime was keen on getting back into the match and wanted to avoid a second straight upset loss to the Italian. After holding serve in the first game of the second set he had two chances to take an early lead and broke for the 2-0 lead with a forehand up the line of his very own on breakpoint. That was enough for him to serve out the second set and send the match into a decisive third set to decide the winner.

It was the Canadian who repeated what he did in the second set holding the opening service game and breaking Seppi’s serve with a sublime passing shot. The Italian responded the next game by breaking right back but failed to consolidate the break as the world number 15 broke again with his powerful backhand winner.

At 5-2, the Auger-Aliassime found himself at match point and it took him five attempts before being able to convert and seal the match. Avenging a loss he suffered at Roland Garros.

After the match in his post-match press conference, the Canadian was asked if he had the loss to Seppi at the French Open in the back of his mind during the match.

” In a way yes of course because we played once and he beat me and as a player, you never want to go down twice in a row against a player but it happens but in my case, I really wanted to find a way to win that match and get revenge just for myself to try and get the win”. he said.

Auger Aliassime will now face the winner of the second-round match between Jenson Brooksby or Frances Tiafoe in the third round.

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Vasek Pospisil survives scare at Citi Open

The Canadian battled back from a set down in what was a tricky opening encounter.

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Vasek Pospisil was pushed to limits by qualifier Emilio Gomez in his opening match at the Citi Open.

The Canadian required three sets to beat the Ecuadorian qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 11 minutes of play. He hit a total of 10 aces en route to the second round.

 

” It’s always good to get through a tough one and I felt dialed in during the second set,” said Pospisil. “I was a little bit distracted during the first set but I am glad to get match play and getting the win is important so I am happy I got it done”.

The first three games of the opener went on serve and at 2-1 the Canadian had three chances to take an early break but the world number 165 saved all three and held serve. At 3-3, Pospisil played a poor service game and Gomez took full advantage by breaking him at love. That one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The Canadian was determined to stay alive in the second and broke the Ecuadorian early to take a 2-0 lead and managed to turn it into a double break for a commanding 4-0 lead. Gomez got one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the world number 61 would serve out the second set to force a decider.

The third set started with three breaks of serve but it was the Canadian that was finally able to hold serve and consolidate a break. That break was enough for him to serve out the match and complete the comeback.

Pospisil will next face the young American Sebastien Korda in the third round who is the 12th seed this week in the American capital.

” It’s going to be a tough one because he is playing some great tennis this year and he is an up and comer and a great player,” he said of Korda. “I will have to play really well to win that one because he is a dangerous player so I will have to serve well and return well”.

Other results

It was a busy day one at the Citi Open being held at Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC with some thrilling matches. Kei Nishikori beat Sam Querrey in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and Marcus Giron pulled a three-set comeback against Ilya Marchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

In the battle of the Belorussians, Ilya Ivashka beat Egor Gerasimov in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. Meanwhile, Jenson Brooksby avenged a loss to the South African Kevin Anderson by beating him in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

Andreas Seppi needed three sets to dispatch Yasutka Uchiyama of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, Ricardas Berankis beat the American qualifier Mitchell Kreuger in straight sets 7-6, 6-2, and Daniel Elahi Galan beat another American Tommy Paul in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Finally, in the last match of the day an American favourite, Jack Sock advanced to round two after his Japanese opponent Yoshito Nishioka was forced to retire due to injury during their match.

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John Isner Wins 16th ATP Title In Atlanta

The 6ft 10 American got revenge on his American opponent for the loss he suffered last week in Los Cabos.

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John Isner has continued his love affair with the Atlanta Open by ousting Brandon Nakashima to win the tournament for a record sixth time.

 

The sixth seed beat the American teenager 7-6, 7-5 in one hour and 57 minutes. Firing a total of 21 aces and winning 81% of his first-serve points en route to the victory.

“I think if you count the last two weeks playing singles and doubles I played 12 matches in about 10 or 11 days so I have played a lot which is exactly what I need,” Isner said following his win. “Hopefully I can take this and go forward and build some momentum for tournaments ahead.’
This tournament has meant everything to my career it’s amazing”. He added.

The first set was extremely tight and neither player gave an inch in their respective service games. The opener was decided by a tiebreaker which Isner is accustomed to. Whilst the first set was tight, the tiebreaker was an even tighter affair Isner squeezing out a 10-8 win to take the first set 7-6.

Again the second set was competitive and again neither player got an edge on their return game. It was only at 5-4 that the Dallas, Texas native found himself at triple match point but the world number 115 saved all three.

Nakashima would save a fourth before holding serve and at 6-5, the world number 35 earned a fifth match point. That’s where he closed out the match and sealed the win and the title.

After the match, Isner was asked about his history of playing numerous tiebreakers throughout his career.

” I play a lot of those and it’s a situation I am comfortable in since I have been on tour forever,” he explained. “Honestly I think today (Sunday) I was just a little bit luckier and that’s what It really came down to. It’s amazing to be out here again playing on a Sunday and it was awesome”.

Isner confirmed that he will not be making the trip to Washington, DC for the Citi Open and instead he will take a week off after playing back-to-back tournaments in Los Cabos and Atlanta. He is next scheduled to be in Toronto for the National Bank Open.

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