Pat Cash Exclusive: Novak Djokovic Is Better Than Nadal and Federer - UBITENNIS
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Pat Cash Exclusive: Novak Djokovic Is Better Than Nadal and Federer

The 1987 Wimbledon champion talks about his famous climb in the stands, and reminisces on the glory days of the Davis Cup. Also: the match point against Lendl in New York and that Swedish teenager who never missed; what makes the Big Three stand out and how his body would have coped in today’s game; his stance on vaccines, similar to Nole’s.

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UbiTennis brings you one more exclusive interview during the tours’ hiatus, and, as usual, Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink joins the party.

 

This time, our guest is none other than Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion. Now 55 years old (his birthday was six days ago), the Aussie’s best results in the other Slams are two finals at his home tournament (in 1987 and 1988, on two different surfaces), a semi-final at the US Open (in 1984), and a fourth round at the French Open (in 1988). Throughout his career, he won seven titles in singles, twelve in doubles, and two Junior Slams (Wimbledon and the US Open, both in 1982 as a 17-year-old). He also reached the fourth spot in the rankings in May of 1988 and was a member of two Davis Cup-winning teams, in 1983 and in 1986. He now coaches an 18-year-old American, Brandon Nakashima, currently ranked 220th in the world, the second-best among those born in 2001.

Minute 01 – Introduction

04 – Pat Cash recalls training in Milan with an unknown Swede: “He didn’t miss a shot for 20 minutes, I got scared because I thought my level wasn’t good enough. Turns out that his name was Mats Wilander.” 

06 – However, Pat actually beat Wilander five times out of nine meetings (four while he was a Top 10 player), so Steve asked him why he felt so comfortable against him. 

11 – “I knew I’d lose that final against him in Melbourne as soon as I opened the ball cans…” Would Wilander agree? 

12 – The other loss in an Australian Open final, the year before against another Swede, Stefan Edberg. “We ran into each other during the night…” 

15 – “It’s sad to walk through Melbourne Park’s hallways and look at the pictures of every Australian Open champion without seeing myself among them…” 

16 – Cash suffered countless injuries – would he have fared better today? “I never thought Nadal would make it past the age of 28…” 

22 – That 1984 US Open semifinal, perhaps the best Super Saturday ever. He lost after failing to convert a match point against Lendl: “I just copied Mac’s tactics!” 

25 – McEnroe himself had something to say to Pat the day after… 

27 – The kerfuffle with a journalist who asked him about waving his middle finger during the Lendl match… 

29 – The 1987 Championships – one set lost against Schapers before steamrolling past Forget, Wilander, Connors and Lendl. 

31 – “I never felt as much as pressure as I did in the Davis Cup…” 

34 – Wimbledon again. “Borg and Connors were the only ones who could win the Championship from the baseline, Lendl and Wilander just didn’t have my serve-and-volley skills.” The post-winning banter of his friends…  

36 – “I had a good psychologist… the grass was replanted for the final, I had never played on such a slippery surface, but it’s important to be able to adapt, and I was more agile than Ivan.” 

38 – His famous climb in the stands on Centre Court, the first ever. 

44 – Davis Cup vs ATP Cup vs Laver Cup. “Agassi and Sampras ruined the Davis Cup. Madrid was the wrong city for the finals, in Australia would have packed the arena!” “The Laver Cup is an exhibition but it somehow got the best available week…” 

58 – The Coronavirus. “My girlfriend and my son had it, I didn’t have any symptoms…” Vaccination or not? 

1:05 –Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. “They’re not normal people! Federer would have been exceptional in every era, while Rafa and Novak…” Federer is the most entertaining to watch, but who is the best? Can you be the best ever if you’re not the best in your time?

1:10  “The Slams are not everything!” The case for Laver and Rosewall. 

1:12 – Tennis and technology. “Nadal took the game to a whole new level with his topspin and endurance. Djokovic has no flaws; he’s even become good at the net!” 

1:13 – Who would he pay to watch among the Fab Four? His favourite player is a certain hot-headed Italian… 

1:14 – Federer’s head-to-head with Rafa, and the Swiss’s incredible streaks in the Slams. “You can’t learn to play like him!” 

1:17 – Who’s the best musician among himself, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Yannick Noah? “Noah is a professional, you can’t really compare! However, the real rockstar was Vitas Gerulaitis.” Partying with the Stones… 

1:19 – How’s coaching? Pat tells us about his Academies all over the planet. “My way of thinking about the game is different now, and some of my strokes are better than they were in ’87!” 

1:24 – The differences in coaching men and women. What to tell them after a defeat, and who needs more support. His new protégé, Brandon Nakashima. 

1:30 – The 109 titles won by Connors, as compared to Federer’s and Laver’s. The WCT Finals, and partying with Gerulaitis.

Translated by Tommaso Villa

 

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Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?

Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)

 

It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.

The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”

Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.

”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.

Three failures

This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?

Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.

There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.

Time for Iga

Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.

It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.

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Rafael Nadal Returns To Cincinnati With Shot At No.1 Ranking

This is what the king of clay has to do to reclaim the top position.

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ATP RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

It has been over a month since Rafael Nadal last played a match on the Tour but in the coming days, he will have a chance to return to the top of the ATP rankings.

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from action ever since pulling out of his semi-final match at Wimbledon due to an abdominal tear. He was set to play at this week’s National Bank Open in Montreal but withdrew after feeling a ‘slight bother’ in his abdominal region following training. Nadal decided not to play after consulting with his doctor.

Instead, the Spaniard will return next week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. He confirmed his return in an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Very happy to play again in Cincy. Flying there tomorrow (Thursday).”

Whilst the Spaniard will be finding his feet in the coming days, in Cincinnati he has a chance to dethrone Daniil Medvedev from the world No.1 position. Medvedev lost his opening match in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. To do this he would need to win the Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career and hope that Medvedev doesn’t make the quarter-finals. Nadal won Cincinnati back in 2013 after defeating John Isner in the final.

So far in his career, Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No.1 with his longest streak being 56 weeks in a row (2010-2011). In total, he has been at the top of the rankings for eight separate periods and last held the position in February 2020.

Nadal’s No.1 stints
-Aug 18 2008 – Jul 5th 2009 (46 weeks)
-Jun 7 2010 – Jul 3rd 2011 (56 weeks)
-Oct 7th 2013 – Jul 6th 2014 (39 weeks)
-Aug 21 2017 – Feb 18 2018 (26 weeks)
-Apr 2nd 2018 – May 13th 2018 (6 weeks)
-May 21st 2018 – Jun 17th 2018 (4 weeks)
-Jun 25th 2018 – Nov 4th 2018 (19 weeks)
-Nov 4th 2019 – Feb 2nd 2020 (13 weeks)

At present nine out of the world’s top 10 players will participate in the Western and Southern Open. The only exception is Novak Djokovic who is currently banned from entering America because he isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career

The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.

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Image via https://twitter.com/OBNmontreal/

British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.

 

The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.

Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.

Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.

Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).

Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.

According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.

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