Rafael Nadal Gives His Verdict On Bid To Break Federer’s Grand Slam Record - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Gives His Verdict On Bid To Break Federer’s Grand Slam Record

The world No.2 evaluates his chances of becoming the most decorated player of all time in the majors.

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Rafael Nadal (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

French Open champion Rafael Nadal has said he is not fixated on the prospect of overtaking Roger Federer for most grand slam titles following his latest triumph in Paris.

 

The world No.2 defeated Dominic Thiem in four sets on Sunday to win a record 12th title at Roland Garros. A milestone that has been achieved by no other player at any other major in the history of the sport. Nadal’s overall grand slam trophy tally now stands at 18. Two adrift from that of Federer, who lost to Nadal in the semi-finals.

“It’s a motivation, but it’s not my obsession. If you ask me whether I would like it, of course.” Nadal told Spanish speaking press. “Is that’s a goal in my career, no. It’s not what makes me get up every morning or go and train and play. It’s not the way in which I view the sport, and it’s not the way in which I consider my sports career.”
“I don’t think my future will be worth any more if I equal Federer’s record or if I do something like Djokovic or whatever. I consider that I’m going much further than I dreamt about in my career.” He added.

At the age of 33, Nadal is four years younger than Federer. However, he isn’t the only player with a shot of breaking Federer’s record. Novak Djokovic, who has won three of the past four grand slam tournaments, is currently on 15. Out of the three players, Nadal has won the fewest matches at the four major tournaments. His total currently stands at 260, compared to 270 for Djokovic and 347 for Federer.

“You can’t be frustrated all the time because the neighbour has a bigger house than you or a bigger TV or better garden. That’s not the way that I see life.” He said.
“I just try to do it my way. I feel very lucky about all the things that are happening to me. And if, at the end of my career, I am able to win a couple of more Grand Slams and be closer to Roger, it will be unbelievable. If not, for me, it will still be unbelievable.”

A difficult year

Besides looking at what may happen in the future, he is relishing the latest achievement of his career after what has been turbulent past few months. During an injury-stricken 2018 season, he was only able to contest seven tournaments. Five of which were on the clay. Heading into this year, knee problems cut short his bid in Indian Wells and forced him out of the Miami Masters.

“I was not enjoying it too much, I was worried about my health. I was down mentally and physically after Indian Wells,” said Nadal.
“I was too negative. After Madrid and Barcelona, I was thinking about what I needed to do. I could stop for a while and recover or change my attitude and recover.”

Embarking upon this season’s clay season in mixed form, Nadal credits his turnaround to taking ‘baby steps.’ Something that was triggered during the Barcelona Open when he locked himself away and reflected on where his season was heading. Since April has has reached three consecutive semi-finals in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. Following on from that, he won the Italian Open before his latest victory in Paris.

“I don’t think that making drastic changes or drastic improvements are a good thing. It’s better to take small steps that you can consolidate. And I feel that I have been able to do that over the past four weeks, every week a little bit better, every match a little bit better.”

Wimbledon next

The focus of the tour has now switched to the grass with Wimbledon starting in less than a month. A tournament Nadal hasn’t won since 2010. Out of the four majors, it is his worst performing grand slam in terms of wins. However, he has missed playing at the All England Club three times in 2004, 2009 and 2016.

“As everybody knows, I love to play on grass. And as everybody knows, I am not able to play so many weeks in a row like I did ten years ago, eight years ago. So I have to do my schedule.” The 33-year-old explained.
“Honestly, the last two years that I played at Wimbledon, I felt close (to my best) again. Even if the first year was that match against (Gilles) Muller, I played great tennis there too. I was very close to being in the quarter-finals, and last year I was one point away to that final.”

Nadal has confirmed that he will not play any warm-up events on the grass. Something he has done for the past two years. The last time the Spaniard played on the surface outside of a major was back in 2015 at Queen’s. He has won 82 titles so far in his professional career, but only four of those have been on the grass.

Following his latest win, Nadal has achieved 950 victories on the ATP Tour. The fourth highest of all time.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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