Rafael Nadal Believes He Can Get Even Better - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Believes He Can Get Even Better

The king of clay speaks about his ‘ultimate goal.’

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Only a couple days after winning his 19th grand slam title at the US Open, Rafael Nadal insists that there is still room for improvement.

 

The world No.2 outlasted Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in a five-set epic at Flushing Meadows on Sunday. Moving to just one grand slam title away from drawing level with Roger Federer on the all-time list. It is also the fifth time in his career that he has won multiple major titles within the same season.

Reflecting on his current form during an interview with La Cadena SER, the Spaniard stressed that he is trying to improve further despite his success on the tour. The 33-year-old has won 47 out of 53 matches played so far this season. Besides the US Open, he also won clay-court titles in Rome and at the French Open, as well the Rogers Cup. It was at the Rogers Cup, where he defended a hard court title for the first time in his career.

“I think that the ceiling we have touched, I can continue to improve is something I work for every day.” He said. “I will train with the illusion of being better.”
“I conceive to train with the illusion to improve things and that has always been the ultimate goal.”

2019 has undoubtedly been largely a success for Nadal, who is in with a shot of ending the year as world No.1. However, he is not getting too carried away. Stating that he believes it has not been the best season of his career so far.

“It has not been the best year of my career, it is being one of the best without a doubt, but there have been many very good.” Explained Nadal. “There was one where I won three Grand Slams, a year that I won nine tournaments … it’s (2019) inside of a high category, but there have been others very good.”

Nadal’s career title tally currently stands at 84 on the ATP Tour, which is the fourth highest in the Open Era. Out the 84, a record 59 has taken place on his beloved clay. He has also spent 196 weeks as world No.1 and recorded 169 wins over top 10 opposition.

A member of the formidable Big Three, Nadal is constantly in the limelight. He currently has over 15 million Twitter followers and 14 million Facebook likes. British data analytics firm YouGov currently ranks him as the third most popular tennis player after Federer and Andy Murray.

“It doesn’t overwhelm me so much impact, it’s been many years that I’ve been around the world.” Nadal commented on his popularity.
“Feeling the love and support of so many people is a great satisfaction . I try to live as normally as possible and thus appreciating all the good things that happen to me daily”.

Nadal is set to return to action in just over a week’s time to play in the Laver Cup. Until the end of the year he has no ranking points to defend on the ATP Tour.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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