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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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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