Rafael Nadal Admits Illness Remains A Problem In Bid For Sixth Madrid Title - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Admits Illness Remains A Problem In Bid For Sixth Madrid Title

The world No.2 has given an update on his health and his expectations at the Madrid Open.

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MADRID: On the eve of the start of his 2019 campaign at the Madrid Open, a frank-speaking Rafael Nadal admits that he still has ‘a strange feeling’ after being hampered by illness.

 

Nadal, who is bidding to win his first title of the season this week, has been forced to reduce his practice schedule at the tournament. Canceling one session on Sunday. It is the latest setback for the Spaniard, who has been hampered with injury problems in recent months. The most recent of which was a knee problem that forced him out of Indian Wells and Miami.

“Sunday I woke up not very well with a stomach virus. Yesterday I trained a little bit and today I trained a little bit more.” Nadal said during a press conference. “I’m not going to lie I still have a strange feeling.’
“The positive side is that I have been able to train for at least 1.5 hours.”

Whilst the recovery signs are promising, there are still concerns coming from the Spaniard and his team. This week he has been monitored by Dr. Angel Ruiz Cotorro. His first match in the Spanish capital will be against rising star Felix-Auger Aliassime. A player who has climbed more than 70 places in the ATP rankings since the start of the year to 30th.

“It’s true when you have a stomach virus the body is a bit weaker at the beginning, the body is more prone to injury.” He admits.
“Hopefully this will not affect my performance or how I will play.”
“He’s going to be a difficult opponent. For him, things are a bit more even with the altitude and condition.”

Despite his turbulent run in recent time on the tour, the 32-year-old is confident that he is on the right path to reaching his peak once again. The clay season is critical for Nadal’s ranking as he has more points to defend than anybody else. At the French Open, he will bid to win the title for a record 12th time.

During his conference, the Spaniard has hinted that he has been dealing with a variety of issues both on the court and in his personal life. However, he refrained from going into detail about what those were.

“I would have liked to come here with four titles, (but) there’s no more pressure,” Nadal explained. “There has been a lot of issues that have happened over the past 18 months. Some things you (the media) know, some things you don’t.”
“I think I’m on the right path, whatever my path is tomorrow we will see. I think I have more confidence in my body and I am building up my confidence”

It is evident how much Nadal values his privacy. In recent months there has been speculation about his current deal with Nike and if he has renewed his contract. Last year Roger Federer separated from the company to join Uniqlo. As for Nadal, he is giving nothing away.

“I’ve never spoken about this in public. The contract is private for me and I’m not going to share the details. It’s something between me and Nike and that’s it – period.”

Nadal’s clash with Auger-Aliassime is set to take place on Wednesday. Nicknamed the king of clay he has been labeled as the favourite to win the title by some of his rivals. Including world No.1 and 15-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic. However, he has his own interpretation.

“I’m nearly 33. I’ve been here (in Madrid) since I was 18. I hear the same story. Sometimes things work out, sometimes it doesn’t. The favourite player is the one who is going to win the trophy on Sunday.” He said.
“In the past, I have had some really good results on the clay, but the past is the past. Now I will just try to win matches.”

So far in his career, Nadal has won $6,094,606 in prize money at the Madrid Open (excluding 2019). A figure that would place him 131st on the all-time prize money earners.

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Novak Djokovic battles past Diego Schwartzman to set up a blockbuster final against Rafael Nadal in Rome

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Novak Djokovic battled past Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 in the semifinal of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia setting up a blockbuster final against Rafael Nadal.

 

In their previous head-to-head match Djokovic recovered from 2 sets to one down to win in five sets at 2017 Roland Garros.

Both players played a good match, but Djokovic raised his level in the most decisive moments of the match. Djokovic was not affected by his 3-hour marathon match against Juan Martin Del Potro, where he saved two match points.

Djokovic won another thrilling match after 2 hours and 31 minutes against Schwartzman reaching his 9th final in Rome and his 49th title match at Masters 1000 level.

Djokovic converted four of his five break points and dropped his serve twice.

Djokovic got his first break in the eighth game, when Schwartzman netted a backhand. Djokovic held his serve with three winners in the ninth game to close out the opening set 6-3 after 38 minutes.

Djokovic and Schwartzman traded four consecutive breaks from 3-2 in the second set. Schwartzman went up a break twice at 4-2 and 5-3, but Djokovic broke back both times in the seventh and ninth games to draw level to 5-5 setting up a tie-break. Schwartzman took two mini-breaks and won all points on serve to win the tie-break 7-2 forcing the match to the third set.

In the third set they traded five service games before Djokovic earned the decisive break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, when Schwartzman made a backhand error. The Serbian player held serve in the ninth game to secure his spot in the final.

Djokovic and Nadal will meet for the 54th time. The Serbian player leads 28-25 in his head-to-head matches against the Spaniard. Both players hold the record of 33 Masters 1000 titles.

“He keeps on showing to the world why Nadal is one of the biggest legends of tennis history. I have the greatest respect for him. He is my greatest of all time. Every time we get to play each other, it’s a thrill. It’s the ultimate challenge”, said Djokovic.  

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Novak Djokovic Keeps Faith Ahead Of Schwartzman Semi-Final In Rome

Novak Djokovic is keeping the faith as he looks forward to a semi-final match with Diego Schwartzman in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

World number one Novak Djokovic is keeping the faith ahead of his Rome semi-final against Diego Schwartzman. 

 

The four-time champion survived a massive test late last night as he battled past Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4 in just over three hours.

After saving two match points the Serb proved to be too clinical as he clinched victory at about 1am in the morning on Saturday.

In a short interview after his match Djokovic said that keeping faith was important in his quarter-final victory, I never lost faith I could come back to the match,” Djokovic explained.

“One break of serve, mini break in the tiebreak when he was 6-4, more or less open forehand that he was making the entire match, that’s all it took for me to come back. I’m just really pleased to overcome.”

In addition to keeping mentally strong, Djokovic also praised Del Potro’s performance as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, “He was playing really good. I tried my best obviously all the way till the end,” Djokovic said.

I lost probably the positioning of the court over him. Towards the end of the first he just started hitting the ball really well from both corners. Also backhand side, backhand down the line. He was playing really well. Gave me a lot of trouble.”

Next up for Djokovic is Diego Schwartzman who is into his first ever masters 1000 semi-final and is yet to drop a set this week.

The Serb leads the head-to-head 2-0 although their last match went to five sets at Roland Garros a couple of years ago. It should be a fascinating match which takes place at 8pm local time as Djokovic looks to keep the faith heading into the French Open.

 

 

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Novak Djokovic fends off two match points to win a dramatic quarter final match against Juan Martin Del Potro in Rome

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Four-time Rome champion Novak Djokovic fended off two match pointsto knok out Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 3 hours and 2 minutes in one of the most exciting matches of this edition of the Intenazionali d’Italia in Rome.

 

Djokovic won just five points than Del Potro and hit 43 winners to 34 unforced errors.

Del Potro saved six break points in the fourth, sixth and eighth games of the opening set and got his break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead.

The Argentine saved three break points in the tenth game to close out the first set with a backhand down the line winner.

Del Potro hit an ace to save a break point in the second game of the second set. Djokovic broke serve in the sixth game with a backhand winner.

The world number 1 fended off a set point on the return in the eighth game. Del Potro broke back at 15 in the ninth game after a loose backhand from Djokovic, when he was serving out the set at 5-3.

Del Potro earned two match points at 6-4 in the tie-break. Djokovic reeled off four consecutive points to win the tie-break 8-6, when Del Potro sent a backhand long forcing the match to the third set.

Djokovic fended off three break points in the fourth game of the decider before breaking serve in the fifth game, as Del Potro netted a forehand. The Serb served well in the next games and closed out the match with a hold of serve setting up a semifinal clash against Diego Schwartzman.

“I have never lost faith I could come back to the match. One break of serve, mini-break of the tie-break when he was 6-4 in the tie-break, more or less open forehand that he was making the entire match, that’s all it took for me to come back. He missed a crucial point in the tie-break. Also in the break point of the third set, quite easy forehand. That’s what happens. That’s sport. I am just really pleased to overcome. I am happy that Del Potro is back to his best form after the injury”, said Djokovic.

 

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