Rafael Nadal Credits ‘Disastrous’ Barcelona Match For Latest Resurgence On The Clay - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Credits ‘Disastrous’ Barcelona Match For Latest Resurgence On The Clay

The Italian Open champion looks back on his start to 2019.

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Rafael Nadal (photo by @Gianni Ciaccia)

11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal has returned back to the winner’s circle after what has been a turbulent past few months on the tour.

 

Prior to this week, the 32-year-old was yet to win a trophy in 2019. A rare occurrence for a player who has won more ATP titles on the clay than anybody else in the Open Era. Injury problems have hindered his preparation and a series of disappointing losses hampered his momentum.

Nadal’s title drought came to an end on Sunday in Rome. Taking on a lacklustre Novak Djokovic, the king of clay prevailed in three sets. Narrowing their head-to-head to 28-26 in Djokovic’s favour. Prior to the final, the Spaniard didn’t drop a set in four matches played.

“Finally, I have a title. For me, the most important thing is feeling myself playing well and feeling healthy, with the energy that I need. If that happens, experience is that I am going to fight for titles sooner or later.” Nadal said during his press conference on Sunday.

It hasn’t been a completely disastrous start to the clay season for the Spaniard. Prior to Rome, he reached the semi-finals at three consecutive tournaments. Nevertheless, perfectionist Nadal was far from contempt with his performances.

The turning point occurred back in April at the Barcelona Open. A tournament where their main stadium is named in Nadal’s honour. In his opening match, he narrowly avoided a shock loss to Leonardo Mayer. Coming through in three sets. Nadal was eventually knocked out of the tournament by Dominic Thiem.

“The first round in Barcelona, that was a disaster.” Nadal reflected. “The first match of Barcelona tournament was probably personally the match with less energy I played in my career. After that I came back to the hotel and just tried to think what’s going on and try to fix it inside me.’
“I woke up the next morning with a different energy. That’s what happened. After that moment I think I improved.”

Whilst gaining in confidence, 2019 has still been a very different clay-court season compared to others. At the most, Nadal will win two titles on the surface if he defends his title at Roland Garros. The lowest tally for him since 2016. The last time he didn’t win multiple ATP titles on the clay within a season was back in 2004.

The timing of Nadal’s latest triumph occurs exactly a week before the start of the French Open. A grand slam Nadal has dominated throughout the majority of his career. Whilst he is staying grounded about his chances, others has labelled him as the player to beat. Including rival Djokovic.

“Nadal, number one favourite, without a doubt, than everyone else.” Djokovic said with a grin in Rome.

Looking at the bigger picture, another major title may not be the biggest achievement for the world No.2 this year. For him it is his ability to return back to competing at the top of the men’s tour once again after being sidelined by injury.

“I worked hard to be where I am, mentally and physically, and in terms of tennis, too. That’s the victory. It is the work of every day, more than winning titles. The most important victory is the daily work and the motivation to be back.” He concluded.

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Cameron Norrie ‘Happy’ With Performance After Extending Winning Run Against Kyrgios

Cameron Norrie spoke about his confidence after reaching the last eight in Atlanta.

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Cameron Norrie (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Cameron Norrie is satisfied with his recent performances after reaching the Atlanta quarter-finals.

 

The in-form Brit extended his winning streak to five matches after defeating Nick Kyrgios in Atlanta.

Norrie eased to victory with a 6-1 6-4 win in a match which saw three breaks of serve from the Brit to make the last eight.

After winning his maiden title in Los Cabos, Norrie now is starting to feel confident in his game.

In his post-match interview the world number 29 insists that he is happy with his level as he continues his great season, “It’s very nice to be back here in Atlanta,” Norrie explained.

“It’s good to have Nick back… really enjoyed the match and really happy with my level. It’s cool to be playing at this level and [I am] happy and satisfied to be getting some wins. I’m enjoying my tennis.”

Next for Norrie will be Emil Ruusuvuori as he looks to continue his momentum and solidify his status as the man to beat in US hard court swing.

The other quarter-finals will see Los Cabos finalist Brandon Nakashima take on Jordan Thompson, Taylor Fritz will face fellow American Reilly Opelka.

While five-time champion John Isner will face Christopher O’Connell in the last eight with the American serving 49 aces in two matches so far.

Play will begin at 17:00 BST while Norrie’s match will likely take place at 20:00 BST.

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‘Probably Gonna Quit’ – Tennys Sandgren Blasts Performance After missing Out On Olympic Medal

The tennis star described his fourth place finish as ‘dog s**t.”

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Former Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren said he is close to retiring from tennis after missing out on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Sandgren and doubles partner Austin Krajicek fell in straight sets to the New Zealand pairing of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell, who are the first tennis players from their country in over 100 years to win a medal. The loss is a frustrating outcome for the American who wasn’t afraid to express how he felt after the match. Tokyo was the ninth doubles tournament Sandgren has played in this year.

“I mean, who f*ing cares you know, what do I have to show for it? We have a good week and fourth place is dog s**t.” He told the Olympic News Service.

Speaking straight after his loss, the highly emotional 30-year-old then cast doubt on his future in the sport. He is currently ranked 82nd in the world and has a win-loss record of 6-14 so far this year. However, he is yet to reach a quarter-final in singles.

I’m probably gonna quit. That might be my last match. I’m close, yeah, I’m close.” He replied when asked about his career.

As for if he would have done anything different in the bronze medal match, Sandgren replied ‘not to have been so bad.’ He also expressed disappointment that the tennis tournament took place behind closed doors. Prior to the Olympics, organisers decided to hold all events in Tokyo without fans due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“It would have been a great event with fans,” he via via teamusa.org. “Playing on an outside court without fans, I mean, you might as well be playing in Idaho in the middle of nowhere.”

Sandgren and Krajicek were America’s last chance to win a medal in the tennis competition. It is the first time the country has failed to win any medal since tennis returned as an Olympic event in 1988.

“There’s not much you can say about that except it’s pretty, pretty devastating to lose that one. You know, give yourself a chance to get a medal and then to lose those two (matches – including the men’s doubles semifinal) is tough, but you have to give those guys credit today. They played well.” Krajicek concluded.

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Updated Entry List For Washington

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photo by atptour.com

The US Open Series is ready to get to the heart, with the historic tournament of Washington D.C.

 

The Citi Open in Washington, the only ATP tournament to be contested next week, will follow Atlanta in the American summer tour. The event has been taking place on hard-courts since 1969, when Thomaz Koch from Brazil won the first edition defeating Arthur Ashe in the final.

Rafael Nadal, who has received a Wild-Card, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex De Minaur will be the first three seeded players. Jannik Sinner, Aslan Karatsev, Karen Khachanov and the defending champion Nick Kyrgios are committed to play as well, while Milos Raonic and John Isner have withdrawn. Denis Kudla, Brandon Nakashima and Feliciano Lopez will play with a Wild-Card.

NEWS: Karen Khachanov (who is playing the Olympics) has pulled out from the tournament; Mackenzie McDonald takes his place in the main draw.

NEWS: Aslan Karatsev has withdrawn, he has been replaced by Colombia’s Daniel-Elahi Galan.


ATP 500 Washington (DC, USA), entry list:
OUT Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
OUT Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
OUT Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
OUT Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
OUT Isner, John (USA)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Fritz, Taylor (USA)
Millman, John (AUS)
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Korda, Sebastian (USA)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Nishikori, Kei (JPN)
Querrey, Sam (USA)
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
OUT Pella, Guido (ARG)
Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
OUT Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
OUT Munar, Jaume (ESP)
OUT Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
(SE)
WC Nadal, Rafael (ESP)
WC Sock, Jack (USA)
WC Nakashima, Brandon (USA)
WC Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
(WC)
OUT (WC)
Alternates:
IN Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
IN Johnson, Steve (USA)
IN Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
IN Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
IN Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
IN Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
OUT Monteiro, Thiago (BRA)
IN Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
IN Duckworth, James (AUS)

IN Anderson, Kevin (RSA)
OUT Daniel, Taro (JPN)
OUT Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)

OUT Martinez, Pedro (ESP)
IN McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
IN Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
IN Kudla, Denis (USA)

Alt.1 Uchiyama, Yasutaka (JPN)
Alt.2 Bonzi, Benjamin (FRA)
Alt.3 Sousa, Joao (POR)
Alt.4 Zapata Miralles, Bernabe (ESP)
Alt.5 Seyboth Wild, Thiago (BRA)


ATP 500 Washington, qualifying:
OUT Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
OUT Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
OUT Duckworth, James (AUS)

OUT Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
OUT Johnson, Steve (USA)
OUT Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
OUT Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
OUT Ymer, Mikael (SWE)

OUT McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
OUT Kudla, Denis (USA)
OUT Daniel, Taro (JPN)

OUT Bonzi, Benjamin (FRA)
OUT Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
OUT Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
OUT Anderson, Kevin (RSA)

Uchiyama, Yasutaka (JPN)
Wolf, J.J. (PR, USA)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)
IN Broady, Liam (GBR)
IN Donskoy, Evgeny (RUS)
IN Brooksby, Jenson (USA)
IN Gunneswaran, Prajnesh (IND)
IN Cressy, Maxime (USA)
IN Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
IN Gomez, Emilio (ECU)
IN Jung, Jason (TPE)
IN Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)
IN Ymer, Elias (SWE)
IN Soeda, Go (JPN)
IN Mmoh, Michael (USA)
IN Escobedo, Ernesto (USA)
IN Kokkinakis, Thanasi (AUS)
IN Fratangelo, Bjorn (USA)
IN Krueger, Mitchell (USA)

IN Ito, Tatsuma (PR, JPN)
Alt.1 Eubanks, Christopher (USA)
Alt.2 Ramanathan, Ramkumar (IND)
Alt.3 Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN)
OUT Sock, Jack (USA)
Alt.4 Purcell, Max (AUS)
Alt.5 Ebden, Matthew (AUS)

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