Rafael Nadal is eager to work hard during the off-season and get ready to a strong start to the 2021 season - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal is eager to work hard during the off-season and get ready to a strong start to the 2021 season

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Rafael Nadal claimed his 13th Roland Garros title and his 20th Grand Slam trophy tying Rpger Federer’s record for most Grand Slam titles. For the 12th time in his career Nadal finished the year in the top-2. 

 

Nadal took part in just two tournaments this year due to the covid-19 pandemic winning two titles in Acapulco and at the French Open. 

Nadal started the 2020 seaosn at the ATP Cup, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final. The Mallorcan player reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the 12th time in his career, before losing to Dominic Thiem in four sets 6-7 (3-7) 6-7 (4-7). 

Nadal won his first title of the year in Acapulco after beating all his five rivals (Pablo Andujar, Miomir Kecmanovic, Soonwoo Kwon, Grigor Dimitrov and Taylor Fritz) in straight sets. During the lockdown he spent six and a half months in Mallorca. 

After skipping the Western and Southern Open tournaments Nadal made his come-back at the Rome Masters 1000 tournament, where he lost to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter finals. Nadal travelled to Paris Roland Garros with three matches since March. 

Nadal did not drop a set en route to his 13th Roland Garros title for the fourth time after 2008, 2010 and 2017. His win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in Roland Garros final marked the 999th win of his career and his 100th win at this tournament. 

“I played a very good final when I needed to play at my highest level, so something I am very proud of. I would love to finish my career being the player with more Grand Slams. I am a big fan of the history of sport. I respect that a lot. It means a lot to share this number with Roger”, said Nadal. 

The Spanish legend returned to Paris to take part at the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 tournament, where he lost to Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the semifinal. 

Nadal reached his first semifinal at the ATP Finals since 2015. After a straight set win over Andrey Rublev, Nadal lost to Dominic Thiem after two tie-breaks in the best match of this year’s edition of the ATP FInals. Nadal edged Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets in the deciding round-robin match to advance the semifinal. Nadal lost to Danil Medvedev 3-6 7-6 6-3 in the semifinal. Medvedev pulled the break back the second set, before winning four consecutive games in the third set to beat Nadal for the first time in his career. 

“At the second set I was playing a little bit better than him. Then at 5-4 I think he played a good game and I didn’t. I played a bad game. That’s it, but I had a big opportunity and I lost it”. 

Nadal is eager to start his preparation for the 2021 season. 

“My goals remain the same. They are not easier or harder. I want to give 100% and every tournament and have a chance to fight for the title. My goals have always been the same. They are not easier or harder. I want to give 100% and every tournament and have a chance to fight for the title. My motivation has always been the same, year after year. The 2021 season will be very important, and I want to be ready for things I want to fight for. I will work hard during the off-season and get ready for a strong start”, said Nadal. 

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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