Rafael Nadal Survives Tsitsipas Marathon To Win Barcelona Again - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Survives Tsitsipas Marathon To Win Barcelona Again

The king of clay will climb back to No.2 in the world rankings on Monday following his latest triumph.




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 Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images)

Rafael Nadal has won his 12th Barcelona title after beating the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in a epic three set encounter.

The world No.3 held his nerve to prevail 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in a final that lasted three hours and 38 minutes which is the longest best-of-three match of 2021. Nadal hit 36 winners en route to the win while Tsitsipas hit 39 unforced errors.


“I never played a final like this in this tournament against a player like him, he won the title in Monte Carlo and went all the way to the final here without losing a set so it’s an important victory for me,” said Nadal.
I think I have been increasing my level the whole week and this victory confirms it so that’s important. To have the trophy with me at home means a lot but at the same time for the future”

World number five Tsitsipas got off to a good start earning the first breakpoint of the match and breaking to take an early 3-1 lead. On the Spaniard next service game he was forced to save two more breakpoints amid intense pressure from the Greek.

At 4-3 Nadal started applying pressure on the world number five and managed to earn two breakpoints of his very own. Breaking to send the match back on serve at 4-4.

The next game Tsitsipas had two chances to break once again to regain the lead but the Mallorca native would once again come up big, saving both to hold serve. The world number three than went on the offensive getting a look at two set points on his opponent’s serve and managed to break once again to take the first set and win four straight games in the process.

The second set was more of the same with a see-saw battle between both players and it was the Greek once again with the first chance to break and he took full advantage breaking once again to take a 2-1 lead.

At 3-2 the Spaniard pulled off another comeback earning three chances to break to send the set back on serve and it took until his third look to get the break back. With the world number five serving to stay in the match the Spaniard earned two match points but the Greek would save both.

The next game Tsitsipas had three more chances to break but Nadal would save all and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker. It stayed on serve until 5-4 when the Greek broke to set up two set points at 6-4 but the world number three would win the next two points. Tsitsipas would earn a set point off an untimely double fault from the Spaniard and he would take the second set to force a third and deciding set for the title.

The third set surprisingly stayed on serve until 5-4 when the world number five earned a match point but Nadal was able to save it and hold serve. The very next game the Spaniard had four chances to break and it took him till the fourth one to finally break and serve the match out.

After the match in his post match press conference Tsitsipas spoke out about what positives he can take from the last two weeks winning the title in Monte Carlo and making the final in Barcelona and pushing Nadal to three sets on clay.

“That’s great stuff but I was looking for a win and I felt there was opportunities that I had and for some reason, I didn’t take (it),” he said, “I felt I could have pulled off better tennis but I’m happy that I brought him (Nadal) so close. I was a match point up, that ball was literally two centimetres from winning that match point”

Nadal on the other hand was pleased with the fact he won another title in his home country and was asked how he is able to still compete year after year on such a hard tour.

“It means a lot to me, it’s difficult to manage something like this 10 or 15 years ago but here we are,” he said. “I mean I went through some tough moments in my career with injuries but I always hold the passion and the love for the sport to keep going with a great team and a great family that have been so important for holding the passion and the motivation to help me in those low moments. I am super happy to be where I am today and it’s an important achievement for me”

Nadal will move up to number two in the world on Monday with the win which is also his 12th title in Barcelona.


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.




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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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.




Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.


The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.




Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.


In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

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