Rafael Nadal Disputes Tsitsipas’ Claim He Hates Losing More Than Anybody Else - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Disputes Tsitsipas’ Claim He Hates Losing More Than Anybody Else

A remark from the Greek world No.5 has prompted a response from the king of clay.

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 25: Rafael Nadal of Spain. ATP Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona on April 25, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images)

Spain’s Rafael Nadal is no stranger to breaking records in men’s tennis and on Sunday at the Barcelona Open he continued that trend.

 

The 20-time Grand Slam champion saved match point en route to edging out Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-5, in what was a marathon encounter. The clash between the two lasted three hours and 38 minutes to make it the longest best-of-three ATP Tour final since statistics started being tracked back in 1991. It has also rewarded Nadal with his 12th Barcelona trophy in what is another historic milestone for the Spaniard.

Following their battle, a disappointed Tsitsipas says it was the fighting spirit of his rival which got him over the finish line. He now trails their head-to-head 2-7.

“He’s a real competitor on the court,” the world No.5 said of Nadal. “He hates to lose. He hates to lose more than anyone else.
“I haven’t seen anyone fight like this. He makes my life really difficult on court.
“I’m there to accept those terms and play based on his desire to fight. It also makes me a better player and I can see myself reaching my limits.
“It’s definitely something good to have for my personal development and growth.”

Tsitsipas’ claim that Nadal hates losing more than anybody else on the Tour has been rejected by his rival who insists that his main focus is always being as competitive as he can be on the court. This year Nadal has had a roller-coaster run to the Barcelona title after dropping a set in the first two rounds against Ilya Ivashka and Kei Nishikori. On the other hand, he enjoyed more convincing wins over both Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta prior to facing Tsitsipas.

“I don’t hate losing, but I like winning and competing more than anything else,” he explained during his press conference. “I like to make an effort to try to achieve the objectives and, if I do not achieve them, to leave with the peace of mind that I have tried. If you don’t fight in a final, when do you fight?’
“It is a daily attitude in life. In my career I have always respected any rival and the essence of the sport, which is to do your best every day. If you can reach 100, fantastic, but if it is not about reaching the maximum possible at all times.”

The 34-year-old is hoping that his recent triumph will act as a springboard for him to improve further in the coming weeks heading into the French Open. A tournament which he has already won 13 times in his career. Due to a back injury earlier in the season, he has only played three tournaments (13 matches) so far in 2021.

“I really believe I can play better than what I’m doing on clay and I hope that the victory is going to help me to raise a little bit my level that I need to fight for the next couple of events that I’m going to play.” He stated.

Nadal is set to return to action next week at the Madrid Masters. He has risen back up the rankings into second spot.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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Alexander Zverev eases past Hugo Dellien to set up a third round match clash against Kei Nishikori in Rome

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This year’s Madrid Mutua Open champion Alexander Zverev cruised past qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 on Nicola Pietrangeli Court to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Zverev fired 27 winners and fended off all six of the break points he faced. The German won five consecutive games from 0-1 down with a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead and served out the opening set at 15 in the eighth game. 

Zverev went up a break in the third game to take a 2-1, but he had to save six break points in a 12-game fourth game. Zverev managed to hold serve after seven deuces before breaking serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The German served out the win on on his second match point in the eighth game. 

The  German star will face Kei Nishikori for the second time in two weeks. He beat Nishikori, Dan Evans, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini last week at the Madrid Mutua Open en route to the fourth ATP Masters 1000 title of his career after claiming three previous trophies in Rome and Canada in 2017 and Madrid in 2018.  

Federico Delbonis didn’t face a break point and converted four of his nine break points in his 6-2 6-1 win over David Goffin. The Argentine player will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who cruised past last year’s Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3. 

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Aslan Karatsev beats Danil Medvedev in all-Russian clash in Rome

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Aslan Karatsev beat his compatriot Danil Medvedev 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 18 minutes in an all-Russian match to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Karatsev has scored his fifth career win against top 10 opponents.

 

Karatsev has improved his win-loss record to 21-6 in his 27 matches this year, including the ATP 500 title in Dubai, the semifinal at the Australian Open and the final at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. 

Karatsev has scored his second top 5 win in the past month after taking an upset win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in Belgrade. 

Karatsev earned a double break in the fifth and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead. The 27-year-old Russian player earned another break in the seventh game with a volley to take a 4-3 lead. He never looked back and served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game. 

Karatsev won 90% of his first serve points and saved just one break point. 

Karatsev faced Medvedev for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour. They teamed up with Andrey Rublev at the ATP Cup in Melbourne last winter helping Russia win the final against Italy. 

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