Rafael Nadal Hails ‘Great’ ATP Cup, But Insists Merger With Davis Cup Is Required - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Hails ‘Great’ ATP Cup, But Insists Merger With Davis Cup Is Required

The world No.1 explains why he thinks two team events shouldn’t be occurring during the same year.

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World No.1 Rafael Nadal has reiterated calls for a re-evaluation of the two principal men’s team competitions following Spain’s loss to Serbia in the final of the ATP Cup.

 

The 19-time grand slam champion lost his singles match on Sunday to Novak Djokovic in straight sets. His ninth consecutive defeat to his rival on a hard court. Nadal has endured a mixed time at the new event, which offers both ranking points and prize money. He also lost to Belgium’s David Goffin the quarter-finals. Prior to this year, Nadal had only ever lost one singles match when representing his country in a team event.

Branding the ATP Cup as a ‘long competition,’ Nadal has echoed previous comments that there should be a merger of the two principal events. At the end of November the Spaniard also took part in the newly revamped Davis Cup finals, which took place over seven days. Under the current calendar, just over a month separates the two events. A situation Nadal argue is not plausible in the long term.

“I think is a great competition, but at the same time I can’t change my mind that two World Cups in one month is not real.” Nadal said during his press conference.
“We need to find a way to fix it and we need to find a way to make a big deal with the ITF and ATP to create a big World Team Cup competition, not two World Cups in one month.’
“I think that’s a confusion for the spectators, and we need to be clear in our sport .And for the health of our sport and for the benefit of our sport is, in my opinion, mandatory that we fix it.”

Unlike the Australian tournament, the Davis Cup is run by the International Tennis Federation. It has been given a hefty injection of money following a 25-year investment from Kosmos. Which was founded by Barcelona football player Gerard Pique. The ITF is reluctant to end their historic competition, which dates back to 1900. Meanwhile, the ATP are unlikely to ditch their newly launch event that attracted a total of 220,219 fans this week.

Lending his support behind a ‘super cup’ of men’s tennis, Nadal was reluctant to go into full details about his views on Sunday. When asked when he believed the best time would be for the event to take place, the Spaniard sidestepped the question.

“I can’t tell you my real opinion,because will not make sense today. And it’s not that easy. Is a little bit longer conversation.” He stated.

Nadal, who is a member of the prestigious ATP Player Council, is not alone in his calls for a merger. Both Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov have echoed similar sentiments in the past.

There are no signs of an agreement for a merger anytime soon. However, Kosmos founder Pique has previously said that he was hopeful that a compromise can be reached in the future. Hoping to find an agreement with new ATP CEO Andrea Gaudenzi, who has taken over from Chris Kermode.

“They [Nadal and Djokovic] want a two-week super-event and we are totally in favour of it because we would relax and we could put 24 teams instead of 18.” Pique told as.com in November.
“To do this we have to reach an agreement with the ATP and take the competition in September or October, after the US Open.
“There they would arrive with less ware. Nole and Rafa have said it and we agree.
“We’ve been trying to talk to the ATP for a year, but Chris Kermode was going to leave the presidency and it hasn’t been easy.
“With the new (Italian Andrea Gaudenci) we are convinced that we can reach an agreement in the coming months.”

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Nick Kyrgios claims five-set thriller to set up a blockbuster fourth-round clash against Rafael Nadal in Melbourne

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Nick Kyrgios battled past Karen Khachanov 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) after 4 hours and 26 minutes to set up a blockbuster fourth round clash against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open.

 

Khachanov saved match points in both the third and fourth set tie-breaks before losing the decisive tie-break. Kyrgios converted on three of her six break point chances and dropped her serve only once in the entire match.

Kyrgios served well in the opening set and earned two consecutive breaks to cruise through to a 6-2 win. Both players wasted a break point chance to set up a tie-break in the second set. Kyrgios earned two mini-breaks to claim the tie-break 7-5 with a serve up the T.

Kyrgios went up a 4-2 lead in the third set with a break, when Khachanov made two double faults. Khachanov broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Khachanov fended off a match point at 5-6 in the tie-break with a powerful serve and won the final three points to clinch the third set 8-6, as Kyrgios misfired a crosscourt forehand.

Kyrgios saved two break points in the seventh game and earned another match point in the seventh game of the fourth set. Khachanov saved it before winning the tie-break 9-7 forcing the match to the fifth set.

Both players held their serve in the fifth set with no break points setting up the decisive match tie-break. Kyrgios claimed an early mini-break to open up a a 3-0. Khachanov pulled back the mini-break and earned a match point at 8-7, but Kyrgios reeled off the final three points to clinch a thrilling win to the delight of the home fans.

“This is just epic match. I don’t even know what’s going on. Honestly, my legs feel about 40 kilos each. It’s emotional. I haven’t had a moment like that for four, five years, since I last played here against Seppi”, said Kyrgios.

 

 

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Danil Medvedev sets fourth round clash against Stan Wawrinka in Melbourne

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Danil Medvedev beat Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-3 6-2 to set up a fourth round match against Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open.

 

Medvedev earned the first break in the second game of the opening set. Popyrin broke straight back in the next game to draw level to 1-1, but Medvedev earned his second break to take a 2-1 lead. The 2019 US Open finalist held his serve in a hard-fought eighth game after saving a break point and sealed the first set 6-4 on his second set point.

Medvedev broke serve at love in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Popyrin held his serve in the fifth game after saving two break points to claw his way back to 2-3. Medvedev sealed the second set with his second break at 15.

Medvedev got an early break at 15 in the second game of the third set. Kyrgios converted his fourth break-back point chance in the sixth game. Medvedev closed it out on his second match point.

“I am happy to win it in straight sets. I have good memories from last year, which was my first time in the second week of a Grand Slam and hopefully I can make it even further this year. I just try to win as many matches as I can. Hopefully I can win seven here”,said Medvedev.

Medvedev set up a fourth round match against Stan Wawrinka, who reached the fourth round, when US John Isner withdrew from the match due to a foot injury, when the Lausanne player was leading 6-4 4-1.

“You never want your opponent to pull out. I was playing well again today. I was really happy the way I was playing. That’s very positive. It’s great to be back in the second week, that’s for sure. Feeling way better. It’s positive to have a good practice tomorrow and to be ready for the next one”,said Wawrinka.

Medvedev won both his previous head-to-head matches against Wawrinka at 2017 Wimbledon and in the quarter final of the 2019 US Open.

“Stan is a very tough opponent. He has won three majors and has gone deep a lot of times. It’s never going to be an easy match against Stan. I will have to show my best game to have a chance”, said Medvedev.

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Dominic Thiem beats Taylor Fritz to set fourth-round clash against Gael Monfils in Melbourne

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Fifth seed and 2019 Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem beat Taylor Fritz 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 on a warm afternoon to advance to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the third time in his career.

 

Thiem fended off six of the seven break points he faced and broke three times to take a 2-0 lead before Fritz took the edge 7-5 in the tie-break of the third set. The Austrian player sealed the win with a break in the 10th game of the fourth set.

“I also have to say honestly, that I got pretty lucky in the three meetings against him. I remember that at the US Open and today that, I think especially in the second set, I saved six break points. Somehow in the meetings so far, the US Open and here, I pulled myself out of very close situations. In the Laver Cup he turned the tables. He is serving great. You have to expect close matches against him. That was again the case”,said Thiem.

Thiem will face Gael Monfils, who beat Latvian qualifier and 2014 Roland Garros semifinalist Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 after 2 hours and 27 minutes. The French player reached the second week in Melbourne for the fourth time, and the first since 2017. Monfils has beaten Gulbis all the three times they have met on the ATP Tour, including in the second round match at 2013 Roland Garros. Gulbis earned the first break after two deuces to take a 2-1 lead. Monfils broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Both players held their next service games en route to the tie-break. Monfils converted the first of his four set points to win the tie-break 7-2.

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Monfils converted his second break point in the third game to take a 2-1 lead and held his next three service games at deuce. The 33-year-old Frenchman closed it out on his first set point.

The third set went on serve until the sixth game before Monfils broke twice in a row in the seventh and ninth games to win the third set 6-3.

Monfils is bidding to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the second time in his career. Monfils converted nine of his nine break points.

“Gael and I have had great matches, I have always had great rallies against him. It’s nice on court when you play him to see his show”, said Thiem.

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