Fast Courts A Problem For Rafael Nadal At Australian Open, Says Wilander - UBITENNIS
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Fast Courts A Problem For Rafael Nadal At Australian Open, Says Wilander

The Swedish tennis great picks his favourite for the men’s title this year.

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Former world No.1 Mats Wilander believes the speed of the court could be an issue for Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open after labelling the Spaniard as the second favourite to win the title.

 

Wilander, who won the Melbourne major three times during the 1980s, believes playing on a fast court is Nadal’s worst surface. The Spaniard is seeking to win his second title in Australia and his first since 2009. It is the only major tournament in his career that he hasn’t won on multiple occasions. He reached the final last year before suffering a comprehensive loss to Novak Djokovic.

“I really think that the Australian Open has become a little bit of a problem for Rafa,” said Wilander.
“The main reason why it is a small problem for Rafa is that the courts are playing very fast.
“I would say it is the fastest hard courts that they play on the whole year and I think for Rafa he has improved on every different surface, of course, he has, but when it comes to playing on a fast hard court to me it’s his worst surface.”

Whilst raising concerns about the surface, Melbourne isn’t Nadal’s worst performing grand slam in terms of matches won. At Wimbledon he has won 53 out of 65 matches played, but did win the tournament twice. In comparison, at the Australian Open he has won 61 out of 74 played. Nadal has featured in the main draw of both grand slams 14 times so far in his career.

“I think Rafa is the second favourite because of doing well in Davis Cup and now he is playing well in ATP Cup. He hasn’t really taken a break at the end of the year so I don’t think we will see a reaction from Rafa until after the Australian Open.” Wilander previewed.

As to who is the frontrunner this year, the Swede has lent his backing behind defending champion Novak Djokovic. The Serbian is the most decorated men’s singles champion in the history of the tournament with seven titles. One ahead of rival Roger Federer. Djokovic began his season by guiding his country the ATP Cup title. During the final tie, he downed Nadal in straight sets.

“So for the Australian Open I think that Novak is the slight favourite ahead of Nadal and then I think Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas and other players like Daniil Medvedev are in the mix, but I would say Novak is the big favourite for sure.” Wilander concludes.

The Australian Open will begin on Monday. Nadal starts against Bolivia’s Hugo Dellian and Djokovic faces Jan-Lennard Struff.

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‘Probably Gonna Quit’ – Tennys Sandgren Blasts Performance After missing Out On Olympic Medal

The tennis star described his fourth place finish as ‘dog s**t.”

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Former Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren said he is close to retiring from tennis after missing out on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Sandgren and doubles partner Austin Krajicek fell in straight sets to the New Zealand pairing of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell, who are the first tennis players from their country in over 100 years to win a medal. The loss is a frustrating outcome for the American who wasn’t afraid to express how he felt after the match. Tokyo was the ninth doubles tournament Sandgren has played in this year.

“I mean, who f*ing cares you know, what do I have to show for it? We have a good week and fourth place is dog s**t.” He told the Olympic News Service.

Speaking straight after his loss, the highly emotional 30-year-old then cast doubt on his future in the sport. He is currently ranked 82nd in the world and has a win-loss record of 6-14 so far this year. However, he is yet to reach a quarter-final in singles.

I’m probably gonna quit. That might be my last match. I’m close, yeah, I’m close.” He replied when asked about his career.

As for if he would have done anything different in the bronze medal match, Sandgren replied ‘not to have been so bad.’ He also expressed disappointment that the tennis tournament took place behind closed doors. Prior to the Olympics, organisers decided to hold all events in Tokyo without fans due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“It would have been a great event with fans,” he via via teamusa.org. “Playing on an outside court without fans, I mean, you might as well be playing in Idaho in the middle of nowhere.”

Sandgren and Krajicek were America’s last chance to win a medal in the tennis competition. It is the first time the country has failed to win any medal since tennis returned as an Olympic event in 1988.

“There’s not much you can say about that except it’s pretty, pretty devastating to lose that one. You know, give yourself a chance to get a medal and then to lose those two (matches – including the men’s doubles semifinal) is tough, but you have to give those guys credit today. They played well.” Krajicek concluded.

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Updated Entry List For Washington

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photo by atptour.com

The US Open Series is ready to get to the heart, with the historic tournament of Washington D.C.

 

The Citi Open in Washington, the only ATP tournament to be contested next week, will follow Atlanta in the American summer tour. The event has been taking place on hard-courts since 1969, when Thomaz Koch from Brazil won the first edition defeating Arthur Ashe in the final.

Rafael Nadal, who has received a Wild-Card, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex De Minaur will be the first three seeded players. Jannik Sinner, Aslan Karatsev, Karen Khachanov and the defending champion Nick Kyrgios are committed to play as well, while Milos Raonic and John Isner have withdrawn. Denis Kudla, Brandon Nakashima and Feliciano Lopez will play with a Wild-Card.


ATP 500 Washington (DC, USA), entry list:
OUT Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
OUT Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
OUT Isner, John (USA)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Fritz, Taylor (USA)
Millman, John (AUS)
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Korda, Sebastian (USA)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Nishikori, Kei (JPN)
Querrey, Sam (USA)
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
OUT Pella, Guido (ARG)
Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
OUT Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Munar, Jaume (ESP)
Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
(SE)
WC Nadal, Rafael (ESP)
WC Kudla, Denis (USA)
WC Nakashima, Brandon (USA)
WC Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
IN Johnson, Steve (USA)
IN Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
IN Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
IN Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
IN Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
OUT Monteiro, Thiago (BRA)
IN Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
IN Duckworth, James (AUS)

Alt.1 Daniel, Taro (JPN)
Alt.2 Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)
Alt.3 Martinez, Pedro (ESP)
Alt.4 McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
Alt.5 Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)


ATP 500 Washington, qualifying:
OUT Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
OUT Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
OUT Duckworth, James (AUS)

OUT Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
OUT Johnson, Steve (USA)
OUT Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
OUT Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
OUT Ymer, Mikael (SWE)

McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
OUT Kudla, Denis (USA)
OUT Daniel, Taro (JPN)

Bonzi, Benjamin (FRA)
Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
OUT Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
OUT Anderson, Kevin (RSA)

Uchiyama, Yasutaka (JPN)
Wolf, J.J. (PR, USA)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)
IN Broady, Liam (GBR)
IN Donskoy, Evgeny (RUS)
IN Brooksby, Jenson (USA)
IN Gunneswaran, Prajnesh (IND)
IN Cressy, Maxime (USA)
IN Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
IN Gomez, Emilio (ECU)
IN Jung, Jason (TPE)
IN Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)
IN Ymer, Elias (SWE)
IN Soeda, Go (JPN)
IN Mmoh, Michael (USA)
IN Escobedo, Ernesto (USA)
IN Kokkinakis, Thanasi (AUS)

Alt.1 Fratangelo, Bjorn (USA)
Alt.2 Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
Alt.3 Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
Alt.4 Eubanks, Christopher (USA)
Alt.5 Ramanathan, Ramkumar (IND)

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Fabio Fognini Apologises For Use Of Homophobic Slur During Olympic Match

The Italian says he regrets using the ‘stupid expression’ during his third round clash.

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Fabio Fognini said the heat got to him during his third round clash with Daniil Medvedev at the Tokyo Olympics after he was caught saying a homophobic slur at himself.

 

The world No.31 lost to Medvedev in three sets during what was incredibly hot and humid conditions with both players taking a 10-minute break after the second set under the extreme weather policy. Frustrated with how his match was going, Fognini was caught by broadcasters saying the word ‘frocio’ which is an anti-gay term in his native language. The exact phrase he used was ‘Frocio, sei un frocio’ which was directed towards himself only.

Following his Olympic exit, the 34-year-old issued a statement on social media in which he apologised for making those remarks during his match. In a post uploaded onto his Instagram story which had a rainbow theme background, Fognini reiterated that he supports the LGBT community and the use of the slur was done in the heat of the moment.

The heat got to my head!” Fognini wrote.
“In today’s (Wednesday’s) match I used a really stupid expression towards myself. Obviously I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities.
“I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”

It is not the first time a player has been caught using a homophobic term during a tennis match this year. Earlier in the season Denmark’s Holger Rune was fined for a term he used during a Challenger match. The former world No.1 junior player later apologised for those comments.

Unlike the women’s Tour, there are currently no publicly out players in men’s tennis and only a select few have come out in the past. In June former top 100 player Brain Vahaly, who came out as gay after retiring from the sport, spoke to UbiTennis about his experience.

Despite his loss, Fognini was the only player from his country to reach the third round of the men’s draw in Tokyo. Lorenzo Sonego, who was seeded two places higher than him, lost in the second round to Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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