Rafael Nadal Speaks Out About His On-Court Rituals - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Speaks Out About His On-Court Rituals

The 20-time Grand Slam winner has insisted that he is not a ‘slave to his routine’ as he remembers once being told at the age of 19 he may not be able to play tennis any more.




They say tennis players are creatures of habit but Rafael Nadal believes it is no big deal when it comes to him.


The world No.2 is known for repeatedly cleaning the baseline before receiving his towel from the ball kids during matches on the clay, taking sips of water from two bottles and seemingly placing them in a particular position on the ground. Over the years, it has been debated if the rituals are just a habit or something more than that with some going as far as suggesting a form of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Something Nadal has never been diagnosed with just to clarify.

Nevertheless, the King of clay has stated that he is not superstitious or what he describes as a ‘slave to his routine’ during an extensive interview with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.

“I’m not superstitious; otherwise I would change the ritual with each defeat,” he said.
“I’m not even a slave to routine: my life changes constantly, always around; and competing is very different from training.’
“What you (the interviewer) call tics are a way of putting my head in order, for me who are normally very messy. They are the way to concentrate and silence the voices within. In order not to listen to the voice that tells me that I will lose, nor that, even more dangerous, that tells me that I will win.”

Nadal is set to return to action next week at the Paris Masters in what will be his first event since the French Open. At Roland Garros he defeated Novak Djokovic in the final to claim an historic 13th title there and 20th at Grand Slam level. Drawing level with Roger Federer for the most major titles won by a male player. Nadal’s dominance at the French Open has seen him lose just two matches which is even more remarkable considering what he was once told at a young age.

“At nineteen, I had just won my first Roland Garros, they told me that I would no longer be able to play, due to a deformity in my left foot.” He revelled.
“The pain was so great that I trained to hit the ball sitting on a chair in the middle of the court. Then I recovered, thanks to an insole that changed the position of the foot, but inflamed my knees… “

Fortunately the initial bleak outlook was overcome which enabled the Spaniard to enjoy one of the most successful careers in tennis history. His current resume includes 86 ATP titles and 209 weeks as world No.1. Reflecting on his achievements, Nadal believes the mental side has played as much of a crucial part as the physical side.

“With a positive mentality. By transforming the fragility of the body into moral strength. Sooner or later things will fall into place. We must equip ourselves to resist. Because there is no other solution than to resist.”

At the age of 34, Nadal reiterates that he hasn’t thought about walking away from the sport just yet. Although he intends to work more on his own foundation which supports children who are at risk of social exclusion when he does eventually retire.

As for the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) debate that Nadal is also a part of he refuses to get involved. Although he does take a more philosophical view when it comes to deciding which player is better than the other.

“What is talent? Each of us has his own talent. To some it all comes easy; others know how to last longer in the field. You can have the talent to write a good article in half an hour; but if a colleague of yours can work for six hours straight and come up with an excellent article, he will be a more talented journalist than you,” he concluded.

Nadal, who has a bye in the first round, will start his campaign at the Paris Masters against either Feliciano Lopez or Filip Krajinovic.


Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.




Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.


The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag




Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 


Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.




Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.


The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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