Rafael Nadal Is The ‘Greatest Spanish Athlete In History,’ Says Former Grand Slam Finalist - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Is The ‘Greatest Spanish Athlete In History,’ Says Former Grand Slam Finalist

A former world No.2 player has made a bold claim about the king of clay.




Rafael Nadal (image via US Open Twitter)

19-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal is used to receiving flattering comments given the records he has set on the court, but even he would be taken back by the latest one.


The achievements of the world No.1 has been hailed by former player and Eurosport pundit Alex Corretja. A former world No.2 who is best known for reaching the final of the French Open twice. Following Spain’s triumph in the Davis Cup, Corretja said he believes the king of clay is the best athlete of all time in Spain. Nadal played in eight matches during the Davis Cup finals with five of those being in the singles competition. Overall, he dropped only one set in his doubles match against Russia. It was his win over Denis Shapovalov that clinched Spain their first title since 2011.

“For me he is the best athlete in the history of Spain and I would begin to place him as one of the best worldwide.” Corretja told Eurosport.es.
“For all that Rafa entails, for all that he gets, for how he manages it, I think that as there are few (who does it like him).”
“It’s not because we are Spanish that we emphasize him because everywhere he goes, everybody does it. He is a machine, he will continue fighting until the end, giving his best and I wish he lasts a long time because it’s impossible to see someone like him again.” He added.

Nadal has already established himself as his country’s most successful tennis player of all-time. He has won 84 titles on the men’s tour so far in his career with 19 at those occurring at major tournaments. One adrift from Roger Federer’s all-time record. On Monday he became the sixth male tennis player in history to reach 200 weeks as world No.1. Only two other Spanish men have been world No.1 since the ranking system was introduced. Juan Carlos Ferrero held the spot for eight weeks in 2003 and Carlos Moya for two weeks in 1999.

Branding the 13-time French Open winner as Spain’s greatest ever athlete is of course subjective. Especially for a country that boasts some of the world’s most successful football teams. Although Nadal is undoubtedly an influential figure. One study of the 2016 Spanish Olympic team concluded that he was the most popular athlete. The findings were based on internet popularity and social media presence.

33-year-old Nadal has become the oldest player in the Open Era to finish the season at the top of the ATP rankings. This fifth time he has done so in his career. This year he has won four titles, including two grand slam trophies at the French Open and the US Open. Overall, he has won 58 out of 65 matches played and reached the semifinals or better in 11 out of 13 tournaments.

“I said during the whole time No. 1 was not the main goal for me,” Nadal told reporters at the ATP Finals in London.
“I was not following the No.1 (ranking). I’m doing my normal calendar because you have to make decisions to try to play as long as possible or to try to fight for No. 1.”
“My decision or our (my team) decision was to try to do things to play as long as possible, so that’s why I tried to do the conservative calendar in terms of saving the body and everything.”

Nadal will return to action next month at the The Mubadala World Tennis Championship. A three-day exhibition event that will get underway on December 19th.


Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.




Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.


Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.




Novak Djokovic (@atptour - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.


The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome




Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 


Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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