Toni Nadal Believes Roger Federer Will Not Win Another Grand Slam - UBITENNIS
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Toni Nadal Believes Roger Federer Will Not Win Another Grand Slam

The former coach of Rafael Nadal has shared his opinion on the future of men’s tennis and what to expect in 2019.

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The former coach and uncle of Rafael Nadal believes it will be ‘difficult’ for Roger Federer to win another grand slam title in 2019.

 

Toni Nadal, who was the key coach of Rafael during the majority of his career, believes the glittering career of the Swiss star in the majors is coming to an end. Federer has won a record 20 grand slam titles with his last occurring in January at the Australian Open. However, more recently, he has suffered disappointment in the big tournaments. At Wimbledon he fell in the quarter-finals to Kevin Anderson. Then at the US Open he lost in the fourth round to Australian underdog John Millman. It is the first year Federer has managed to reach the semifinals at only one out of the four grand slams since 2013.

“I’m not sure what we can expect from 2019, but it seems difficult for us to see Federer lifting another Grand Slam trophy,” Toni Nadal wrote in his weekly column for El Pais.
“I have to confess, though, that I have said this on other occasions about him and he has repeatedly surprised me.”

Federer is currently the oldest player in the top 100 at the age of 37. Nevertheless, the world No.3 is showing no signs of retiring from the sport soon as he outlines his goals for the off-season after a mixed second half of 2018. Prior to his last tournament of the year, Federer had only won two out of six matches against top 10 players. On the other hand, he has won four titles this year with the last occurring in October at the Swiss Indoors.

“As far as tennis is concerned, I would like to find my way back to the net more often,” he told Tages-Anzeiger about his plans for the off-season.
“And of course I want to whip the forehand right again.
“Then there is the condition training with Pierre (Paganini).
“Of course, deciding whether to play on clay or not has an impact on the training program.”

Federer will return back to the tour at the start of January in the Hopman Cup, where he will be teaming up with Belinda Bencic.

The rise of the Next Gen

Elsewhere is his column for El Pais, uncle Toni has also noted that there has been a momentum shift among the next generation following the ATP Finals. At the event Alexander Zverev scored back-to-back wins over Federer and Novak Djokovic to claim the biggest title of his career. The German is one of three players to have defeated Djokovic since Wimbledon, along with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov. All three of those players are under the age of 22.

“For some time I had my doubts about whether the youngsters would be able to overcome the game of Federer on grass, the one of Djokovic on the fast courts and the one of Rafael on clay. The final in London has made me think about it,” he wrote.
“I think we’ve seen, at last, a quality leap in the Next Gen game.”

Looking ahead to 2019 Toni expects the rising stars to figure more prominently on the tour along with a a ‘fully fit’ Nadal. The 11-time French Open champion hasn’t played since the US Open due to injury issues concerning his abdomen and knee. He also recently underwent surgery to fix a minor issue with his ankle.

“For the coming year, I trust in the full physical recovery of Rafael, I feel new episodes of his rivalry with Djokovic will occur and, in general, a more open panorama (of the men’s tour) with the incorporation of the new generation.”

Zverev, who has won four titles in 2018, is the only member of the Next Gen to finish the season in the top 10. The second highest is 20-year-old Tsitsipas at 15th.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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Alexander Zverev and Tim Puetz reach the semifinals in the doubles tournament in Madrid

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Alexander Zverev followed up his win against Rafael Nadal in the singles quarter final with a 6-4 3-6 10-5 win alongside his teammate Tim Puetz against Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna. 

 

On Saturday Zverev and Puetz will take on Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who beat Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (7-3) 6-2. 

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic battled past Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 10-7. Mektic and Pavic are bidding for their sixth title in 2021 and their Masters 1000 trophy after winning in Miami and Monte-Carlo. The Croatian team set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Munich BMW Open finalists and Singapore Open champions Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, who edged past Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 6-3 3-6 10-5.

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Five Takeaways From Men’s And Women’s Rome Draws

Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu all return to Rome next week.

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Novak Djokovic (@usopen - Twitter)

Here are five things to take away from Men’s and Women’s singles draw from Rome.

 

Next week is the start of the next stop on the road to Roland Garros as the ATP and WTA tour heads to Rome next week.

The Italian capital will host a star-studded line-up as Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep look to defend their titles.

With another week of stacked ATP and WTA draws here, let us take a look at the five key points to take from this week’s draws:

  • Nadal Set For Zverev Rematch

Rafael Nadal could have a rematch with Alexander Zverev again in Rome next week as has already faced a mixed start to the clay court season. A quarter-final defeat to Andrey Rublev in Monaco was followed by a Barcelona title before losing to Zverev in the Madrid quarter-finals this week. It looks set to be another week where Nadal could face the tall German, whom he has lost on three consecutive occasions to. Before Nadal can get to Zverev, Nadal may have to overcome Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud, two rising stars who are capable on this surface.

  • Serena Handed Good Draw On Tennis Return

Next week will see Serena Williams return to a tennis court for the first time since her Australian Open semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka. Having had her physical struggles since the end of last season, Serena now competes in a limited schedule but will be keen to boost her Roland Garros chances next week in Rome. The 23-time grand slam champion could face Roland Garros semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska in her first match before Belinda Bencic stands in her way of a rematch with Osaka in the last eight.

  • Djokovic Looks To Avenge Recent Clay Losses

After winning the Australian Open in January, Novak Djokovic would have wanted a better clay-court season than he has had after being knocked out by Dan Evans in the third round in Monaco and an epic semi-final loss to Aslan Karatsev in Belgrade. After taking Madrid off, Djokovic looks to build momentum and may have to face Dan Evans again this week in his first match. The likes of Grigor Dimitrov and Stefanos Tsitsipas await Djokovic en route to the last four where Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev will wait for the Serb.

  • The Barty Party Looks To Roll On

Ash Barty is silencing the critics week by week and proving why she deserves her world number one ranking after winning Miami, Stuttgart and reaching the final in Madrid. In two of those three tournaments mentioned Barty would have played Aryna Sabalenka in the final. Although that won’t be happening in the final, she could face the Belarusian in the quarter-finals in Italy as a fairly comfortable draw has presented itself for the Australian. Barty’s first opponent will be either Martina Trevisan or Yaroslava Shvedova.

  • Bianca Andreescu Returns

After suffering an injury in the Miami final and testing positive for COVID-19 in Madrid, Bianca Andreescu looks to finally settle into a clay-court season as she returns in Rome. The tricky Canadian will start off against Anastasija Sevastova or Jil Teichmann before facing Petra Kvitova. If Andreescu can negotiate the first two rounds then a dream match with Simona Halep could await in the last eight. As for Halep her Rome campaign could start against Angelique Kerber.

Here is the full ATP and WTA draw:

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