Rafael Nadal Criticises Serve After Crashing Out In Monte-Carlo Quarters - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Criticises Serve After Crashing Out In Monte-Carlo Quarters

Rafael Nadal was disappointed in his serve as he was beaten by Andrey Rublev in Monte-Carlo.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal criticised his serve after being knocked out of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters by Andrey Rublev.

 

The 11-time champion had a bad day in the office after losing to the in-form Russian 6-2 4-6 6-2 in 2 hours and 33 minutes.

Nadal came back from a set and a break down to level the match at one set all before Rublev displayed some crucial shot-making to dominate the final set.

It is now the second time in a row in Monte-Carlo that Nadal has failed to make the final as he is still looking to rebuild his form and physicality as this is the first tournament since the Australian Open he has competed in.

Speaking in his press conference after the match the world number three found it very easy to analyse the problems of his defeat, “When you face a great player like him and you don’t play well, you should lose, no? That’s easy to analyse,” Nadal admitted.

“For some reason I had problems with my serve. I don’t understand why because I was not having problems on the practices at all. But today was one of these that my serve was a disaster.

“Serving like this, the serve creates an impact on the rest of the game. When you serve with no confidence, you just focus on try to serve, not think how to play the ball. You just think about what you have to do with the serve to put the ball in. Then you have problems continue and prepare the point the right way.”

It was obvious that if one thing was to let Nadal down then it would be his serve especially with the amount of back problems that the Spaniard has had in the first part of the season.

Although Nadal admits he missed a big opportunity this week, the reigning Roland Garros champion is determined to solve things immediately, “I missed an opportunity to start the clay court season in the right way,” Nadal said.

“But that’s it. I can’t complain. It’s not the moment to complain. The only thing that I can do is go to Barcelona and keep practicing, try to fix things that didn’t work well.”

The 33 year-old will head to Barcelona next week and Madrid on the 3rd of May, knowing that he can build his confidence and momentum.

Although Nadal won’t be panicking at today’s loss, the Spaniard sets high standards and knows that only titles will satisfy the greatest clay-courter of all time.

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

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

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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

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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.

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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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