Rafael Nadal chases his first ATP Finals title in London - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal chases his first ATP Finals title in London

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Rafael Nadal is chasing the first Nitto ATP Finals title of his legendary career at the end-of-year tournament at the O2 Arena in London. 

 

Nadal played in two title matches at the ATP Finals in 2010 and 2013 and won just two indoor titles in Madrid 2005 (after coming back from two sets down against Ivan Ljubicic) and Sao Paulo in 2013 (when the tournament was held on indoor clay surface). In 2010 he lost the final against Roger Federer 6-3 3-6 6-1. Three years later he was beaten by Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-4. The Spanish legend has claimed 86 ATP Tour titles and claimed his 13th Roland Garros trophy equalling Roger Federer’s Grand Slam titles record with his 20th Major title. 

“We can find excuses or reasons, but at the end of the day, the numbers are the numbers. I think I played less indoors than on the other surfaces, without a doubt. The indoor surfaces have not been the ideal surfaces for my tennis game since the beginning of my career. I think I am able to play a little better in the past couple of years indoors than I did at the beginning of my tennis career without a doubt, but these are the numbers. I can’t say something different. I hope to change that this week”, said Nadal. 

Nadal still hopes that the surface of the tournament could change one day.

“One day there will be a moment in history when the tournament surface could change”.

Nadal has qualified for the ATP Finals for a record consecutive 16th time in his career but he was able to play this tournament ten times. He has been forced to skip the ATP Finals four times, when the tournament was held in London. He often cited fatigue after a long season.

The world number 2 player beat Feliciano Lopez, Jordan Thompson and Pablo Carreno Busta to get through to his fifth semifinal in eight appearances at the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 tournament in his only indoor tournament of the season. Nadal secured the 1000th Tour-level win of his career, becoming the fourth man to reach this milestone with a come-back three-set win over Feliciano Lopez in Paris Bercy second round. 

Nadal has been drawn in the London 2020 group with 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2020 five-time ATP Tour champion Andrey Rublev, who won titles in Doha, Acapulco, Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna. 

Nadal is grateful that the ATP Finals are held despite the disappointment of playing without spectators due to the pandemic. 

“We are in the hotel next to the O2, different conditions. We cannot even walk from the hotel which is 200 metres away so we are very lucky to be able to keep playing our sport, that’s the only thing I can say. I cannot be negative. I say thanks to the ATP, thanks to the tournaments, thanks to the Grand Slams to make that happen. I think that these are very challenging conditions of course especially playing with no crowd in this amazing stadium. It’s something that is not perfect but we can play tennis, so we cannot complain at all, we are very lucky”. 

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ATP Cup Draw Ceremony to be held on Friday in Melbourne

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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be in the spotlight at the second edition of the ATP Cup from 1 to 5 February 2021. The Draw Ceremony of the second edition of the ATP Cup will be held on Friday 22 January 2021 at 12 pm AEDT. 

 

The other stars will be Andrey Rublev (five-time titlist on the ATP Tour in 2020), the winners of the past three editions of the ATP Finals (Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Danil Medvedev), 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini and Denis Shapovalov. The 2021 ATP Cup will feature 14 of the top 15 players in the ATP Ranking.  

Todd Woodbridge (winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles), Mark Philippousis (former Wimbledon and US Open finalist) and John Fitzgerald will conduct the draw ceremony. 

The draw will be broadcast on the ATP Cup’s official Facebook page. Fans will be able to follow the ceremony from around the world. Commentators Jim Courier and Mark Petchey will also feature. Official Martin Oosthuysen and ATP Cup Tournament Director Tom Larner wlll oversse proceedings.

The 12 teams will be divided into four round-robin groups of three each. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals. 

Each tie will be comprised of two singles matches and one doubles match. The country that wins two matches will take the tie. Singles will be the best of three tie-break sets. Doubles will feature No-Ad scoring and a Match Tie-break instead of a third set.

The number 1 players and the team captains: 

Serbia: Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki

Spain: Rafael Nadal, Pepe Vendrell

Austria: Dominic Thiem, Wolfgang Thiem

Russia: Danil Medvedev, Evgeny Donskoy

Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Apostolos Tsitsipas

Germany: Alexander Zverev, Misha Zverev

Argentina: Diego Schwartzman 

Italy: Matteo Berrettini, Vincenzo Santopadre

Japan: Kei Nishikori, Max Mirnyi

France: Gael Monfils, Richard Ruckelshausen

Canada: Denis Shapovalov, Peter Polansky

Australia: Alex De Minaur, Lleyton Hewitt

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Ashleigh Barty and Jannik Sinner join super field at “A Day at the Drive” exhibition event in Adelaide

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World number 1 Ashleigh Barty and 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner have joined a star-studded field at the exhibition tournament named “A Day at the Drive”, which will be held at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre in Adelaide on Friday 29 January 2021.

 

The Adelaide event will feature 2020 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem, three-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and 23-time Grand Slam legend Serena Williams, who are spending their mandatory 14-day quarantine in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open. 

Adelaide will launch the Australian summer of tennis before the ATP Cup and the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

Barty has not played an official match since losing her semifinal against Petra Kvitova in Doha last February shortly before the outbreak of the global pandemic. The Australian star won the title at the inaugural edition of the Adelaide WTA tournament last year. 

“I am looking forward to playing my first match of the 2021 season in Adelaide. I have fond memories from the Adelaide International last year and i twill be great to get back on court here for “A Day at the Drive”, said Ashleigh Barty. The Australian Open has been delayed until 8 February 2021. The Melbourne Park will host warm-events one week before the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. 

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Roger Federer should make his come-back in Doha, according to Richard Krajicek

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Roger Federer is expected to make his come-back at the Qatar Exxon Mobil tournment on outdoor hardcourts in Doha from 8 to 13 March 2021, according to Rotterdam Tournament Director Richard Krajicek. 

 

Federer is currently training in Dubai, which is only 235 miles from Doha. The 20-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from the Australian Open last month. 

“As far as I know, Roger will play in Doha, the week after Rotterdam. If he is fit and ready, we will hear from him”, said Krajicek. 

Krajicek announced that Rafael Nadal will play in Rotterdam for the third time in his career next March. The former Dutch star still hopes to invite Federer, who claimed three titles in Rotterdam. 

Three years ago Federer became the oldest world number 1 at 36 after beating Robin Haase in the quarter final of the Rotterdam tournament and went on to win his 97th ATP Tour title by beating Grigor Dimitrov in the final. After undergoing the second knee surgery last May Federer decided to skip the rest of the 2020 season and returned to the court to train. He moved to Dubai to train in good weather conditions under the guidance of his coach Ivan Ljubicic, who was a former world number 3 player.

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