Rafael Nadal is the first star confirmed for the Barcelona Open - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal is the first star confirmed for the Barcelona Open

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Reigning champion Rafael Nadal is the first confirmed for the next edition of the Barcelona Open Sabadell from 20 to 28 April 2019.

 

Nadal will take part at the Barcelona Open for the 15th time in his career and will be bidding to win this prestigious tournament for the 12th time.

Nadal was forced to retire from the US Open semifinal against Juan Martin Del Potro due to injury and has not played since then.

The current world number 2 lived up once again as the “King of Clay” with record 11th titles in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros. The Mallorcan player also won the Internazionali d’Italia in Rome for the 8th time in his career beating Alexander Zverev in a three-set final clinching the 78th career title and his 32th Masters 1000 title. He dropped just one set en route to his 11th triumph at the French Open, where he beat Dominic Thiem in a three-set final.

During the summer he showed good form on other surfaces reaching the semifinal at Wimbledon on grass and won his first Masters 1000 title on hard-court since 2013 beating Stefanos Tsitsipas i6-2 6-1 n the final.

At the US Open he beat Dominic Thiem in an epic quarter final by the scoreline of 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) in a match which ended at 2 am local time. Unfortunately Nadal withdrew from the semifinal match against Juan Martin Del Potro due to a knee injury after losing the second set.

Nadal won 58 matches and lost just three matches in Barcelona in 2003, when he was beaten by Alex Corretja in the second round as a 16-year-old, in 2014 by Nicolas Almagro in the quarter final and in 2015 by Fabio Fognini in the third round.

“Once again I would like to announce my participation in the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. This will be a special year for me given that it is my fifteenth participation. See you in Barcelona next April”,said Nadal.

The 2018 edition was highlighted by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin, Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov.

Tournament director Albert Costa expect another great tournament next April, which lives up to the strong tradition of this event. Four or five players in the top 10 are expected to take part in the Barcelona Open next year. In 2018 a total of 101.467 fans attended the seven days of competition, an absolute record in the history of the tournament.

“The last edition was the best that was held. The fact that Rafa comes to Barcelona is great news even if it seems normal to the fans. Having Nada year after year is not something granted as he is getting older and he is potentially tired. It will be his 15th participation since he debuted in 2003. He is at home in his club and appreciates all our work in the tournament. It is a pride to be able to count on the best player in history on clay. Surely nobody will want to miss it”,said Albert Costa.

 

 

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Angelique Kerber: “I am heavy-hearted about the cancellation of the grass season”

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Former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber has posted her thought on the Wimbledon cancellation.

 

“The thought of playing at Wimbledon has always been the biggest source of my motivation. It goes without saying that I I am heavy hearted that the cancellation of the grass court season also means that I won’t be able to play in front of my home crowd in sport unites, in good and bad times. Once this has passed, it may even help us appreciate our everydayday routines and the beauty of our sport even more than before. Thanks to everyone who is working 24/7 to get us through this uncertain time”.

The German player of Polish origin won three Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and at the US Open in 2016 and at Wimbledon in 2018. She won the Olympic singles silver medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016 losing in the final to Monica Puig.

Kerber lost to Samantha Stosur in the first round in Brisbane. Kerber beat Wang Qiang in straight sets in the first round before retiring from her second round match against Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska due to a left harmstring injury, after the German player was down a set and a break.

At the Australian Open Kerber beat Elisabetta Cocciaretto, Priscilla Hon, Camila Giorgi before losing to Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova. She is currently ranked world number 21 in the WTA Ranking.

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Tour Suspension Will Benefit Novak Djokovic More Than Nadal And Federer, Claims Woodbridge

The former world No.1 doubles player explains why he thinks Djokovic will benefit more than his rivals.

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Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge believes the current suspension of tennis could have a silver lining for Novak Djokovic and his bid to claim the greatest of all time honour.

 

On Wednesday it was confirmed that all professional tennis tournaments have been suspended until at least July due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision came shortly after Wimbledon was forced to axe their event for the first time since 1945. Prior to the suspension, Djokovic started 2020 unbeaten by winning 18 matches in a row. During that period he guided Serbia to the ATP Cup title, won a record eighth Australian Open title and triumphed at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Now with the tour being brought to a halt, some are speculating as to what the implications could be on the prestigious Big Three. A trio featuring Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Between them they have won 52 out of the last 60 grand slam tournaments.

Woodbridge believes Djokovic is in the best situation because of his age. At the age of 32 he is younger than both Nadal (33) and Federer (38). Although neither of those players are planning to retire from the sport just yet.

“Because of the uncertainty, it makes it hard to see how the three can dominate when they come back because of the age of Roger and Rafa,” Woodbridge told Yahoo Sport Australia.
“It also puts more pressure on Rafa and it changes all of those storylines that were on the table for 2020.
“For Novak, it may come at a good time in his career to actually rejuvenate him again, give him another big burst.
“So if anything, this period helps him the most.”

The biggest question mark surrounds Federer, who recently underwent knee surgery and will turn 39 in August. However, the Swiss Maestro has recently confirmed that he intends to play the 2021 season after pledging to return to the court in Halle. One of the grass-court tournaments that has been cancelled this year.

“We experience difficult times, however, we will arise from it strengthened. Already today I am glad and excited about my return to Halle next year.” He said.

Although Woodbridge believes the suspension will hinder Federer’s dream of extending his record-breaking grand slam tally of 20 titles. He last won a major at the 2018 Australian Open. However, since then Federer has only reached a grand slam final in one out of seven attempts.

“The less match play that you get in this period at that age, it’s so much harder to come back and recover once you start again.” Woodbridge explained.
“So I really think that post-2020 will be a new era of people trying to create records because it’ll have really have broken up a great period in tennis.
“It has stopped the potential, I think, of Federer winning one or two more.
“It becomes very highly unlikely for him.”

Djokovic heads the world rankings with a 370-point lead over second place Nadal. Federer is currently in fourth position behind Dominic Thiem.

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Dominic Thiem Denies Allegation He ‘Misled’ Former Coach

A war of words has broken out between the world No.3 and his former long-time mentor Gunther Bresnik.

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Dominic Thiem - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

Dominic Thiem has stated that he has no intention to publicly disclose the reason as to why he stopped working with his former coach despite recently coming under fire from him.

 

The three-time grand slam finalist has been criticised by Gunther Bresnik, who claims he was ‘misled’ by the world No.3. Bresnik was a key figure in Thiem’s team until last year. Coaching the Austrian throughout his junior and professional career for a 15-year period. He was replaced last April by former Olympic champion Nicolas Massu.

It is unclear as to what was the decisive factor behind the split of a partnership that at one staged looked solid. Thiem met Bresnik at the age of eight when his father applied to work at his academy in Vienna. Under his guidance, he won 11 out of his 15 ATP titles so far in his career.

“Becomes clearer to me with time how things went. It doesn’t make it more aesthetic. There are things I totally don’t understand: honesty, loyalty, values…there was not much left.” Journalist Jannik Schneider quoted Bresnik as saying.
“I have no big problem with it besides the fact that I was misled. You can’t do that to someone that you owe everything. His dad would be a club coach and Dominic a futures player without me.”

The comment has triggered a response from Thiem, who has blasted Bresnik’s suggestion that he wouldn’t have been able to reach the top of the sport without his help. In a statement issued to the Austrian Press Agency (APA), the 26-year-old questioned if his former coach has developed ‘delusions of grandeur.’ A term loosely used to describe a person who believes they are greater than they actually are.

“When he complains about a lack of respect, and says that I owe it all to him, and seriously suggests that I would have been a futures player without him, I have to ask whether he has developed delusions of grandeur.” Said Thiem.

As to the root of the fallout between the two, Thiem is refusing to speak publicly about what happened. Although he denied that Bresnik has been misled in any way.

“I did not part ways with him without a reason,” he stated. “Bresnik knows the reasons and at this time I won’t make them public.”

Since pairing up with Massu, Thiem has enjoyed further success of the tour. During the early stages of their collaboration he won his first Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells last year. Since then, he has gone on to claim another four ATP titles and was runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January.

Thiem is the first player from his country to break into the world’s top three since Thomas Muster back in 1997.

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