Rafael Nadal Talks The Past, Present And Future Following Latest French Open Milestone - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Talks The Past, Present And Future Following Latest French Open Milestone

The world No.1 reflects on his career as he closes in on Roger Federer’s all-time grand slam record.

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

At one point in his career, Rafael Nadal believed that it was inconceivable that he would become a 11-time French Open champion.

 

That all changed on Sunday as he continued his love affair with Roland Garros. A tournament where he has only lost two matches since making his debut back in 2005. Taking on world No.8 Dominic Thiem, the Spaniard overcame some tough resistance to prevail in straight sets. Becoming only the second player on the ATP Tour to win 17 grand slam titles after Roger Federer.

“If you told me seven, eight years ago that I will be here at 32-years-old having this trophy with me again, I would have told you that is something almost impossible, but here we are.” Said Nadal.
It is true that in my career, I achieved much more than what I ever dreamed. But at the same time, it’s true that I went through tough moments, a lot of times in terms of injuries.”

Nadal’s journey to the ‘undecima’ at Roland Garros has been far from smooth. After retiring from the Australian Open in January with a hip problem, he missed two-and-a-half months of the tour. But yet again it was on his beloved clay that rejuvenated his career with titles won in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome prior to Roland Garros.

“Coming back (from injury) and having the chance to win in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, and now especially here, it’s very emotional for me.” He said.
“(Today) was a very special moment and to receive that minute or two minutes of the crowd Supporting (standing ovation), that feeling in that moment was difficult to describe. Very emotional for me.”

The future

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At the age of 32, Nadal joins an elite group. He is one of only four men to have won three or more majors after their 30th birthday. The others are Federer, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall. Despite the growing trend of players playing later into their careers, Nadal knows he will not be on the tour forever. Although he isn’t concerned about the prospect of retirement.

“I am not worried about the future. I always say the same: ‘Tennis is a very important part of my life, without a doubt, but it’s not everything.’ I have a lot of other things that makes me happy, and so I am not much worried about the future.” He stated.

Despite the laid back attitude, there are no signs of the Spaniard easing down. His next mission will be to add the Wimbledon title to his collection. Not since 2010 has Nadal won both the French Open and Wimbledon within the same year.

“I am just trying to keep enjoying, and I’m gonna keep playing until my body resist, and my happiness is still high in playing tennis. When that change, will be a time to do another thing, and I am not worried about this.”

The Federer comparison

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Now with 17 grand slam titles, Nadal is just three adrift from Federer’s all-time record of 20. The two players have won all of the last six major titles between them. Inevitably, some are wondering if Nadal will go on to break his rival’s all-time record given the fact he is four years younger than him.

“I never have been crazy about all this kind of stuff.” Nadal said in reference to Federer’s record. “You can’t always be frustrated, if somebody has more money than you, if somebody has a bigger house than you, if somebody has more Grand Slams than you. You can’t live with that feeling.”

Whilst not fixated on the issue, this doesn’t mean that Nadal’s ambitions to triumph on the biggest stages of the sport have lessened. He has now won 79 ATP titles, which is the fourth highest tally in the Open Era.

“17 (grand slam titles) is an amazing number. I feel very lucky for all of the things that have happened to me. I am enjoying that moment. And that doesn’t mean that I will not keep fighting to give me more chances in the future.” He concluded.
“I play for my happiness, and I know that I had already amazing career. So I’m just gonna keep fighting for things and that’s it.”

According to his schedule, Nadal is set to return to action a week on Monday at the Fever-Tree Championships in London.

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Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo

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World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

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Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

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Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

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Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

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ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

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