The former coach of world No.2 Rafael Nadal has said there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to taking part in this year’s US Open following the high-profile withdrawal of the Spaniard.
Toni Nadal has jumped to the defence of his nephew and others who have pulled out of New York amid concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nadal is the only member of the top 10 on the ATP Tour set to miss the event due to these concerns. However, three top 10 players on the WTA Tour have already pulled out.
“The US Open dispute by Djokovic, Tsitsipas or Thiem seems to me as understandable as the resignation of Nadal, Federer or Wawrinka,” Toni wrote in his column for El Pais. “We must understand the apprehension about taking different flights and leaving home when things continue to be so uncertain.”
This year’s US Open is taking place under strict protocols with players being limited to where they can travel in the city and subjected to regular tests for COVID-19. Players have also been asked to sign a waiver which states that they cannot sue the US Open or related parties if they contract the virus whilst there. Even if there is a degree of negligence by the tournament. Those wishing to stay in private accommodation are also expected to pay for 24-hour security to monitor their movement and ensure they are sticking to tournament rules.
Whilst supporting Nadal’s decision not to play the event, uncle Toni has expressed concern that a lack of match play could have a negative effect on his French Open campaign. Nadal last played a tournament back in February at the Acapulco Open in Mexico, which he won. The only top clay-court event set to take place in the build up to Roland Garros will be in Italy after the Madrid Open got cancelled.
“I just hope that, in Rafa’s case, his results at Roland Garros are not compromised by an inactivity of so many months,” Toni commented.
This year, Nadal could achieve a duo of milestones should he win once again in Paris. Victory would place him on level ground with Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam titles ever won by a male player. He would also become the first player, male or female, to have won the same Grand Slam for a 13th time.
Besides his nephew, uncle Toni admits there is one thing he can’t get used to at this year’s US Open which is the loss of a crowd. A decision that was taken due to the risk posed by the pandemic.
“I find it difficult to accept and imagine the presence of the public in the stands. There are many occasions in which I have heard my nephew, like other tennis players, personally address the spectators to thank their support and the important role they have played,” he said.
“In order to lift a trophy. I can assure you that these are not empty words or set phrases. The shouts of the public after a great exchange, the emotion they show in the face of a victory and the disappointment in a defeat: that, to a large extent, it is what gives meaning to this sport and feeds the adrenaline of the tennis player.”
The US Open will get underway on August 31st.
John Isner upsets Andrey Rublev to reach quarterfinals in Madrid
John Isner is into the Madrid quarter-finals after a last set tiebreak win over Andrey Rublev.
The American once again needed three sets and two tiebreakers to earn a top 10 scalp.
John Isner booked his spot in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open by upsetting the number six seed Andrey Rublev 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and five minutes hitting 43 winners and 29 aces in the win.
“I’ve always served well, the conditions for the server are fantastic, physically I was heavy-legged today, I finished late last night, the good thing is I finished a bit earlier today and I should be ready to go tomorrow, I’m going to need all of my legs tomorrow against Dominic (Thiem) and I’m looking forward to it for sure”.
The first set was pretty routine and we didn’t see a single break of serve the entire set as the first set would be decided by a tiebreaker. That’s where the American ran away with it jumping out to a 4-0 lead playing some great tennis and he would take it 7-4 to win the first set 7-6.
The Russian was keen to get back in the match in the second set and earned the first two breakpoints of the match at 1-1 and broke to take an early 2-1 lead. That break was all the number six seed needed to serve out the second set taking it 6-3 and setting up a deciding third set.
The number six seed once again had the first break opportunity of the third set but it was immediately saved with the big booming serve from the Greensboro, North Carolina native. That was the only breakpoint of the set and once again the match would be decided by a tiebreaker.
This one was much more closer and we didn’t see a break of serve until 4-3 when the American returned the Russian serve with a powerful forehand to take a 5-3 lead.
He would go on to serve it out to win the match and set up a quarterfinal encounter with the Austrian Domenic Them and he spoke about the matchup in his post-match press conference.
“He’s fresh, he’s won two matches and I think he is the second-best clay courter right now so it’s going to be a very tough task for me tomorrow especially on this court because he hits the ball so big and pretty fast and he does so many things well and I am going to have to play extremely well if I want any chance to beat him”
Theim currently holds a 2-1 lead in the head to head and their most recent meeting was back in 2017 in Laver Cup on an indoor hardcourt when the Austrian won in three sets.
Christian Garin reaches his second career Masters 1000 quarter final in Madrid
Chile’s Christian Garin has reached his second Masters 1000 quarter final with a 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 win over world number 3 Danil Medvedev at the Madrid Mutua Open.
Garin earned an early break after a loose service game from Medvedev at 1-1. The second set went on serve with no breaks of serve en route to the tie-break. Medvedev cruised through to a 7-3 win with two mini-breaks. Garin broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to claim the third set 6-1.
Garin will face either this year’s Serbian Open champion Matteo Berrettini or Federico Delbonis. The Chilean player is tied at 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Berrettini and won his only previous match against Delbonis en route to last year’s title at the Rio Open. Garin won all his five titles on clay in Houston and Munich in 2019, Rio de Janeiro and Cordoba in 2020 and Santiago de Chile in 2021.
Jannik Sinner Vows To ‘Come Back Stronger’ After Madrid Misfortune
The 19-year-old believes his latest loss will help him grow as a player.
Italian rising star Jannik Sinner has revealed that he was suffering from an allergy during his latest match at the Madrid Open but has insisted it wasn’t the reason for his loss.
The world No.18 crashed out of the tournament in straight sets on Wednesday to Australia’s Alexi Popyrin. A player ranked 57 places lower than him who has reached the third round of a Masters tournament for only the second time in his career. The Italian struggled behind his second serve where he won just 41% of the points. A frustrating outcome for Sinner who led the match 5-3 before losing 6-7(5), 2-6.
“I suffer from allergy and here there is a lot of pollen, I also play with contact lenses and everything. This bothered me a lot,” said Sinner who was coughing throughout the match.
“I suffered more because there was more sun and in that field (court) he entered easily, but I did not lose for this (reason). He played better than me.”
The 19-year-old has recently broken into the world’s top 20 following what has been a solid start to the season. At the Miami Open he became only the fourth teenager in history to reach the final after Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. On the clay he recently reached the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Despite his disappointment in Madrid, Sinner is hoping that it will help him become an even better playing in the coming weeks heading into the French Open. A Grand Slam which he reached the quarter-finals at on his debut last year.
“This defeat helps me to grow, now I go to the court to work to be at the top for the next match. I’ll come back stronger than before,” he stated.
Sinner will be hoping to get back on track next week when plays his home tournament at the Italian Open. He made his Rome debut back in 2019 where he defeated Steve Johnson in the first round before going out. A year later he reached the third round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov in three sets.
As for Popyrin, he will face a showdown against top seed Rafael Nadal in Thursday.
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