Rafael Nadal Speaks Out On Chasing Federer’s All-Time Grand Slam Record - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Speaks Out On Chasing Federer’s All-Time Grand Slam Record

It is love, not records motivating the Spaniard to continue his illustrious career.

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Rafael Nadal with the 2019 US Open trophy (image via Luigi Serra )

Newly crowned US Open champion Rafael Nadal has insisted that it is his love for tennis which is driving him to continue his career and not the prospect of breaking a record currently held by nemesis Roger Federer.

 

Nadal defeated Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller on Sunday that lasted just shy of the five-hour mark. The achievement was his 19th triumph at a major event since 2005. He is now just one away from levelling with Federer for the most grand slam singles title ever won by a man. A hotly contested battle that also involves Novak Djokovic, who has 16 major titles so far in his career.

“I don’t look it that way. I always say the same: I would love to be the one who win the most (grand slams), but I am not thinking and I not going to practice every day or not playing tennis for it. I am playing tennis because I love to play tennis.” Said Nadal.
“I can’t just think about Grand Slams. Tennis is more than Grand Slams. I need to think about the rest of the things.”

Nadal’s grand slam tally include a record 12 French Open titles, four at the US Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open. Overall, he has won 88% of his matches played at major tournaments so far in his career (271 out of 309).

“All the things that I achieved in my career are much more than what I ever thought and what I ever dream,” he said.
“I would love to be the one who has more. But I really believe that I will not be happier or less happy if that happens or not happen.
“What gives you the happiness is the personal satisfaction that you gave your best. In that way I am very, very calm, very pleased with myself.”

The Spaniard is now within a shot of ending the season as world No.1 for the fifth time in his career. An achievement that has only been accomplished by four other men in the Open Era. He is currently 640 points adrift from Novak Djokovic. However, he has no ranking points to defeat for the rest of the season.

Whilst closing in on a return back to the top of the rankings, the 33-year-old has insisted that there are more important things for him to focus on. Putting his health ahead of everything else. Nadal has been troubled by numerous injury problems throughout his career.

“If I am able to be No.1, great.” He explained.
“ Of course, it is great to be in that fight. But for me personally, is not really a fight. I just try be competitive the weeks that I need to compete, or the weeks that I want to compete.’
“With my age and with my goals, I cannot lose energy or time to follow the No. 1. I need to think about my career in a different way.”
“My main goal is play as long as possible and compete, being competitive. Sometimes if you need to follow the No. 1, you going to lose years of your career.”

Nadal is currently the 11th oldest player in the top 100.

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Jannik Sinner beats Norbert Gombos to set up second round clash against Danil Medvedev in Marseille

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Last year’s Next Gen Finals champion and world number 68 Jannik Sinner beat Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos 6-4 7-6 (7-5) at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Sinner went down 1-4 in the tie-break of the second set. The Italian player saved all six break points he faced and did not face any break points in the 2-hour and nine-minute match.

Last week Sinner scored his first top 10 win against David Goffin in Rotterdam to reach his maiden ATP 500 quarter final.

The first set went on serve until the 10th game, when Sinner earned three consecutive set points with a backhand lob and sealed the opening set 6-4 with a break at love.

Sinner saved a break point in the first game of the second set with an ace. He saved another break point with an ace. Gombos earned two two more break points, but Sinner saved them with a forehand and and an ace. Sinner saved two break points to force to set up a tie-break. Gombos went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Sinner came back by winning six of the next seven games to win the tie-break 7-5.

Sinner set up a second round match against 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev, who reached the quarter finals on his tournament debut in 2017.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz cruised past France’s Antoine Hoang 6-4 6-1 in just 64 minutes. Hurkacz dropped just points on his first serve to set up a second round match against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.

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Mikael Ymer overcomes Richard Gasquet to advance to the second round in Marseille

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Swedish 21-year-old Next Gen player Mikael Ymer edged past Richard Gasquet 6-3 3-6 7-5 after 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach the second round at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Ymer fended off 7 of the 10  break points he faced and broke serve in the third match point in a marathon third game setting up a second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ymer raced out to a 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks. Gasquet pulled back one break in the seventh game to close the gap to 2-5, but Ymer served out the first set in the ninth game with an ace.

Ymer saved three break points in the sixth game, but Gasquet earned the break on his third chance in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3.

Ymer got an early break in the second game of the third set to open up a 3-0 lead. Gasquet broke back in the ninth game and held serve to draw level to 5-5. Ymer converted his third break point at deuce to seal the third set 7-5 in the 12th game.

Benoit Paire beat Gregoire Barrere 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the all-French match. Paire earned his only break of the match in the third game of the opening set. He saved two break points in the fourth game of the second set. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Paire cruised through to a 7-1 win.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-1 3-6 6-4. Ivashka broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Popyrin earned one break in the fourth game to clinch the second set 6-3. Popyrin got an early break at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Ivashka sealed the win with a break.

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Alexander Zverev Going In The Right Direction, Says Becker

The German tennis legend gives his verdict on Zverev’s current form following his grand slam breakthrough.

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Former world No.1 Boris Becker believes Alexander Zverev’s recent run at the Australian Open was confirmation that he belongs at the top of men’s tennis.

 

Last month the 22-year-old achieved his best ever grand slam performance by reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne Park before losing to Dominic Thiem. At the tournament he scored wins over Andrey Rublev, who won two consecutive titles prior to the event, and former champion Stan Wawrinka. Zverev has been tipped as a future world No.1 in recent years and remains the only active player outside of the Big Four to have won three or more Masters trophies. Although he has previously struggled to shine in the biggest events of the sport.

“Alexander Zverev has made a great step forward with his first participation in a grand slam semi-final.” Becker told reporters in Berlin on Sunday. “Although he had difficult weeks before, for which there were reasons.”

At the start of the year it looked as if the world No.7 was in trouble. At the ATP Cup he lost all three of his matches played. A performance Becker blames on his off-season training. During November and December Zverev played a series of exhibition matches with Roger Federer across South America and China.

“He didn’t train enough during the winter break and came to Brisbane unprepared.” He said.
“We exchanged some serious words off the court and he took them to heart.’
“Of course I’m happy he had such success. This is also a confirmation for him that he belongs at the top of the world (in tennis).”
“But the competitors never sleep, that’s a never ending story. He has to confirm this again and again.”

So far in his career, Zverev has won 11 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world. His biggest triumph occurred towards the end of 2018 when he won the ATP Finals in London.

Reflecting on his Melbourne run last month, Zverev believes he managed to achieve the milestone thanks to a new approach he took to the event. Instead of looking at the whole tournament, he narrowed his focus to match-by-match.

“I went here in a different way. I went match by match. Didn’t look very far. I just knew I had opponents in front of me. I had to play well to beat them. That was it.” He said last month. “Whenever I won, I’d sit down in the locker room and somebody told me who I’m playing next.’
“I went step by step, match by match. Usually I [haven’t done] that in Grand Slams.”

Zverev will return to action next week at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. A tournament where he finished runner-up 12 months ago. Becker believes his compatriot could do some damage on the hard courts over the coming weeks with two prestigious North American events taking place next month in Indian Wells and Miami.

“The next tournaments are on hard courts in America. He will play there as well. There he can take a lot of points.” Becker concluded.

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