Juan Mata On Why The Rivalry Between Rafael Nadal And Roger Federer Is Special - UBITENNIS
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Juan Mata On Why The Rivalry Between Rafael Nadal And Roger Federer Is Special

The football star opens up about his admiration for the two tennis stars.

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It is one of the most renowned rivalries in tennis with millions of admirers around the world.

 

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have locked horns on the ATP Tour no fewer than 40 occasions since the 2004 Miami Masters. Nadal currently leads their head-to-head 24-16, however, Federer has won six out of their seven most recent meetings (excluding walkovers). Nine of their meetings have taken place in the final of a grand slam tournament.

The rivalry between the two players have been hailed by numerous high-profile athletes in the past with the latest being Juan Mata. Mata is a Spanish international footballer who has played for Manchester United in the Premier League since 2014.

“When you look at Federer and Nadal, they have achieved something that is incredible and almost unique in sport because when they play each other, most of us watching are enjoying the spectacle and appreciate the quality of what we are seeing rather than worrying about who wins,” Mata said during a recent interview with Tennis365.com.
“Normally in sport, we have someone to support and want to see them come out on top, but when it is Federer v Nadal, we are just excited to see something special between two incredible players.”

Mata, who developed a passion for tennis after taking lessons during his youth, describes the duo as ‘all-time greats’ of sport. Federer currently has a record 20 grand slam singles titles to his name, which is just one ahead of his Spanish opponent. He believes that it is the mutual respect between the two which makes their rivalry on the court so special.

“This is a big rivalry, maybe the biggest in tennis, but it is not like other rivalries. Sometimes rivals struggle to get along, but there is so much respect and admiration from both sides of the net in this rivalry that is made for something special.” Mata explains.
“They are examples of how sportsmen can play at the highest level for so long, compete for the same prizes and still have respect for each other. This is why, as the viewers, we have so much respect for both of them. They have been fantastic for tennis as a sport and will be so badly missed when their careers end.” He added.

In the past Mata has met his fellow athletes. Back in 2015 Federer was one of the players he spoke to during a trip to Wimbledon for the men’s semi-finals day with his fellow teammates David De Gea and Ander Herrera. Mata also attended the 2013 ATP Finals and cheered on compatriot Nadal.

Federer will return to action later this week at the Swiss Open in Basel where he will be bidding to win the title for a record 10th time. Meanwhile Nadal, who got married on Saturday, is set to return to the ATP Tour later this month at the Paris Masters.

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Roger Federer admits that the time to retire is getting closer

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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has admitted in an interview to German newspaper Zeit that he is getting closer to retirement from professional tennis, but he still motivated to return to the court and pursue new goals.

 

Federer has not played a match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinal last January. The Swiss legend will be sidelined for the rest of the 2020 season after undergoing two knee surgeries. Federer said that he will miss playing in front of his fans once he retires from tennis.

“In principle I only was concerned with my health, but now I miss the feeling of playing in a full stadium. I know that the time to retire is getting closer and closer and I think I will miss the circuit very much. I must be patient and keep working. It would be easy to have retired at this juncture, but I want to continue giving myself the opportunity to enjoy tennis. I will take some time to get back in good shape”, said Federer.

 Federer talked about his close relationship to his friend and rival Rafael Nadal. The Spanish player leads 24-16 in his 40 head-to-head matches against his Swiss rival. However, Federer beat Nadal in seven of his past eight clashes. They last met at Wimbledon in 2019 when Federer prevailed in four sets 7-6 1-6 6-3 6-4. In 2019 they also met in the Roland Garros semifinal where Nadal won in straight sets.

“When I met him, he surprised me because he was very shy off the court and you saw him compete and the aggressiveness with which he played was incredible. There was a lot of rivalry between us and sometimes it was not easy. We had great duels, but we always had respected each other and knew that we we were references for many people and represented our beloved sport. Our families get along very well, we always congratulate each other on the triumphs”, said Federer.

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Dayana Yastremska Labels Controversial Twitter Photo A ‘Misunderstanding’

The world No.25 has been forced to delete photos from her social media accounts after a gesture to support anti-racism backfired.

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Ukrainian Tennis star Dayana Yastremska has been forced to remove a photo from social media and issue a statement after she was accused of being racially insensitive.

 

The 20-year-old tennis star attracted criticism on Thursday after uploading a photo of herself in different poses with the phrase ‘equality’ assigned to it. However, the images were controversial as they show Yastremska as half white and half back. Black facing, which is where a non-black person darker their skins to represent the race, has recently been under the spotlight in the wake of the Black Live Matter movement. Some episodes from TV shows such as The Mighty Boosh, Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen have been removed from online platforms due to the black facing of characters.

Screen shot of Yastremska’s now deleted Twitter photo

In the aftermath of posting the photo, two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka commented on Instagram ‘Girl I know you didn’t just do blackface,’ with a skull emoji. Osaka, who has a Japanese mother and Haitian father, has spoken publicly about her support for the Black Live Matter movement. Yastremska responded to the comment with a prayer emoji.

Yastremska removed her photos from Twitter and Instagram soon after she received backlash online, however, she insists that she never meant to cause any offence. Posting a statement on Twitter, the world No.25 apologize to those who she offended. Although she insists that her photo has been ‘misunderstood’ and she doesn’t consider it to be a ‘black face.’

“Earlier today I posted pictures that I thought would spread a message of equality. It clearly did not and has been misunderstood,” she wrote on Twitter yesterday.
“I have been warned about the negative impact but I did not — and still don’t — consider it a ‘black face’.
“I did not intend to caricature but to share my feelings about the current situation: we should all be treated as equal.
“I am so disappointed my message has been corrupted. I sincerely apologise to all the people I have offended.”

Former Wimbledon junior finalist Yastremska has won three WTA titles so far in her career and has earned more than $1.8 million in prize money. In January she reached a ranking high of 21st.

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Andrey Rublev, Dominic Thiem and Roberto Bautista Agut secure their spot in the semifinals at Thiem’s 7 tournament

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Andrey Rublev edged Casper Ruud 6-2 3-6 10-4 at the Thiem’s 7 tournament in Kitzbuhel. After losing the first set Ruud came back to win the second set forcing the match to the third set. Rublev won the super tie-break when Ruud made a double fault on the match point. Rublev needed a win from Dominic Thiem against Jan Lennard Struff to secure his spot in the semifinal.

 

Thiem beat Struff 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to score his third consecutive win at this tournament after defeating Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev in the first two days.

The first set went on serve until the 10th game, when Thiem converted on his first break point at 5-4 to clinch the first set in 30 minutes. In the second set Thiem did not convert two break points at 3-2 and another chance at 4-3. It came down to the tie-break. Thiem earned a mini-break to take a 2-1 lead and held on his serve to create three match point at 6-3. The home player converted on his first chance, as Struff’s backhand sailed long. Thiem set up a semifinal clash against Roberto Bautista Agut.

The Spanish player converted five of his six break points and won 73% of the rallies of the rallies in his service game in his 6-0 6-1 win over Dennis Novak to get the second point in his round robin group and secure his spot in the semifinals in the Group B.

Bautista Agut won 5 of the 7 games of the match before Novak earned his only game of the match by holding his first service game in the second set. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games to win the second set 6-1.

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