‘Exhausted’ Rafael Nadal Taking A Break To Avoid Mental Fatigue, Says Coach Moya - UBITENNIS
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‘Exhausted’ Rafael Nadal Taking A Break To Avoid Mental Fatigue, Says Coach Moya

One of Rafael Nadal’s mentors has shed some light on his recent decision.

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A combination of mental tiredness and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to Rafael Nadal’s decision to take a break from the sport, according to one of his coaches.

 

Last week the 20-time Grand Slam champion announced that he would be skipping both Wimbledon and the Olympics with the goal of preserving his health. In a statement 34-year-old Nadal said the decision has been made in order to help prolong his career on the Tour and help him ‘recuperate after a long clay-court season’.

“It’s never an easy decision but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team I understand that it is the right decision,” said Nadal.
“The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy.”

Speaking to RTVE earlier this week, coach Carlos Moya said Nadal’s break from tennis is also linked to him feeling mentally tired following the past few weeks on the Tour. The Spaniard has won titles in Barcelona and Rome but fell short at his beloved French Open. At Roland Garros Nadal was ousted in four sets by Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. Making it only the third time in history he has ever been defeated at the Grand Slam. He also lost to Djokovic in 2015 and Robin Soderling in 2009.

The clay court tour was very tough, with a lot of physical and mental pressure. Rafa finished exhausted.” Said Moya.
“He is going to take a well-deserved rest, this is a marathon, a long-distance race in which hard decisions have to be made and he has considered that the best thing is to stop to come back full of strength.”

Moya, who won the 1998 French Open, has been a member of Nadal’s coaching team since December 2016. He says the king of clay was on the verge of suffering from ‘mental fatigue’ in recent months similar to 2019 when he struggled at times with his form on court. Although during that year he did win the French Open and then reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

“Rafa two years ago reached a point of great mental fatigue that was very difficult to get out of and now he has interpreted that he was close to that again. He cannot afford a Grand Slam if he is not at 100%, for all that his image implies, for prestige and for how he is.” Moya explained.

Besides the mental aspect, Moya also admits the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions have been difficult. Despite Wimbledon welcoming fans this year, players will be within a bubble which restricts their movement. Even those who have houses in London will not be allowed to stay there during the tournament and instead have to stay at the player’s hotel.

“The (French Open) defeat has not affected as much as the fact that there is a week less than usual to prepare for Wimbledon, as well as the context in which we are with the pandemic. It is difficult on a mental level to face the confinements prior to a great match, to play with little public, etc. This affects Rafa, he is a person who has a great connection with people and it was hard to go to London with a quarantine in between, ” he said.

As it currently stands, Nadal is set to play both the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati Masters later this year ahead of the US Open.

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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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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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