Rafael Nadal Opens Up About 'Magical Year’ On The Tour - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Opens Up About ‘Magical Year’ On The Tour

The King of clay reflects on his latest year on the tour and the prospect of breaking Roger Federer’s grand slam record one day.

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World No.1 Rafael Nadal is drawing positives from the 2019 season despite enduring what he describes as a ‘couple of very hard months.

The 33-year-old has become the oldest year-end No.1 in the history of men’s tennis. This season Nadal has won a total of four titles on the ATP Tour, including both the French Open and the US Open. Overall, he has managed to win 58 out of 65 matches played. However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the Spaniard, who has once again been hindered by injury woes. During the second half of the season he suffered issues with his abdomen and hands. Meanwhile, in March it was a knee injury that briefly sidelined him from the tour.

“It has been a little bit of a magic year because it had been a good start, but then I went through a couple of very hard months in terms of injuries.” Nadal told reporters on Thursday in Abu Dhabi.
“Then I came back and I came back well. I started to play at a very high level again. I enjoyed a lot of great moments on court, very emotional ones, Roland Garros, Rome, then New York, that final was amazing, and then of course ending the season with that Davis Cup title on home soil, so an unforgettable experience to finish that way.”

Despite his roller coaster season, Nadal has been recognized for his achievements. Earlier this week he received the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award for the third time in his career. The honour recognizes players on the tour who have illustrated a high level of ‘fair play, professionalism and integrity on and off the court.’ The winner is always voted for by players.

Now on 19 grand slam titles, Nadal is just one adrift from equalling the all-time record. Which is currently held by rival Roger Federer, who is five years older than him. The king of clay describes the prospect of reaching the milestone as ‘amazing’’ however, he isn’t fixated on achieving the accolade.

“So if that happens, great, if not, I just gave my best all my career to be in the position that I am today. And obviously of course, increase the number of 20, or tying 20 would be something amazing, but I cannot complain at all.” He explained.
“I’m super happy the way I am having my tennis career, I gave my best all the time and I’m proud about the way I worked and the way I enjoyed the tennis during all these years.
“So I just really believe and hope that I can keep having the chance to keep going and keep having fun and keep giving myself chances to compete at the highest level.”

With 2020 fast approaching, Nadal is hoping that he can continue his momentum from last month where he guided Spain to the Davis Cup title. His first test begins on Friday at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. A three-day exhibition event that he has won on four previous occasions. In his opening match, Nadal will take on Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

“I’m always encouraged to play against [Nadal],” Khachanov said following his win over Hyeon Chung on Thursday. “There is always unbelievable intensity, which I like. I really admire him as a hard-working player, and I like his intense shots and movement. We’ve had some good matches with a good level of tennis.”

After playing in the Mubadala event, Nadal will kick-off his 2020 season at the ATP Cup, which will begin on January 3rd.

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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