Rafa Nadal vs Daniil Medvedev, UBI writers’ Australian Open men’s final Predictions - UBITENNIS
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Rafa Nadal vs Daniil Medvedev, UBI writers’ Australian Open men’s final Predictions

According to our writers, Sunday’s final should be a war attrition as history beckons for Rafael Nadal or Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final.

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Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev (@marioboc17 - Twitter)

On Sunday, either one man will be the first person in the history of tennis to win 21 Grand Slam titles, or there will be a new world number one in the sport.

 

There can only be two outcomes.

History is indeed on the line.

For Rafa Nadal, often the people’s champion, alongside Roger Federer, his popularity with the fans runs deep. And the Spaniard has often battled adversity in his career, but possibly making the final after being out of the sport for 6 months with a foot injury and COVID, is another remarkable achievement.

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Novak Djokovic and Federer spurned both their opportunities, Wimbledon 2019 and the 2021 US Open to win a 21st Grand Slam.

Will Nadal make the same mistake?

Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev is seen as the most in-form player in the world right now.

After winning last year’s US Open, he is into consecutive Grand Slam finals and back-to-back Australian Open finals, making it his fourth major final.

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Although, he can be considered fortunate to still be in Melbourne after being thoroughly outplayed by Felix Auger Aliassime for most of the match, down two sets to love, and a match point.

Medvedev has been unpopular this tournament, with his irate reaction to the crowd after his win over Nick Kyrgios, whilst also complaining about not being on Rod Laver Arena, after his win over American Maxime Cressy.

He also mouthed off at the umpire during his semi-final win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

It’s clear there are often theatrics with Medvedev, who might be temperamental, but none of these things will deter him on Sunday when it comes to playing Nadal on the big stage.

I caught up with our writers to see what the lowdown was on who they think will be victorious in Melbourne.

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Tony Fairbairn:

Rafael Nadal has done well in this tournament with his serve and being clutch in crucial moments.

But he will need to ensure the points are short if he is to stand a chance of winning this one.

The longer the match goes on the more it will favour Daniil Medvedev, as his ability to outlast opponents and create space on the court has been on another level.

Although Nadal had the tactical advantage, Medvedev will have the physical advantage, as history beckons for both.

Prediction: Medvedev in five sets.

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Diego Sampaolo

Daniil Medvedev has lived up to his favourite role so far by showing his ability to win hard-fought matches at this year’s Australian Open.

But Nadal is able to play his best tennis in big finals.

If Nadal manages to win a record 21st Grand Slam title, he could make a major comeback like Roger Federer in 2017.

Prediction: I predict that Medvedev will win the final showdown in five sets after a big battle.

This is such a tough one to call. The heart wants Rafa to win as he has had such a hard time in Australian Open finals, he finally deserves some luck in the twilight of his career to win again Down Under for the first time since 2009.

In 2014, he was injured, otherwise he would have most certainly beaten Stan Wawrinka. And against Federer in 2017, he was 3-1 up in the fifth against his rival and good friend.

Nadal seems like a man reborn though. Free of pressure. He is the underdog in this one and I think he knows that.

As he has said in his post-match interviews, he feels fortunate just to be playing tennis again.

It would be some comeback if he wins on Sunday after everything that has happened to him. But the head says Medvedev, simply because he is young and hungry.

He is often unpopular but he doesn’t care and he wants to be the best in the sport.

I think this match will go the distance, like it did in New York in 2019, where the Spaniard came out on top.

Prediction: It would be nice for Nadal to win after his injury woes but I’m going to say Medvedev in five.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev And Taylor Fritz Looking Forward To Diriyah Cup

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz will start their Australian preparations in Saudi Arabia next week.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (@WeAreTennisTR - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz are looking forward to boosting their Australian Open preparations when they compete in the Diriyah Cup in Saudi Arabia.

 

The tournament takes place from the 8th-10th of December with the 12 player tournament offering the perfect preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year.

As well as Tsitsipas, Rublev and Fritz, the field includes some of the world’s best players including Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Cameron Norrie, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka.

Speaking ahead of the event Tsitsipas claimed that the event will be very good preparation ahead of the Australian Open which starts on the 16th of January, “This is going to be very good preparation for me,” Tsitsipas told The National.

“Most players choose to have an off period from tennis but for me, it’s very important to get matches in before I travel to Australia. So having good competitors to compete against (top players), this is the best preparation that I can have before starting the 2023 season.

“I know that the people in Saudi Arabia may not have the opportunity to see tennis players like us very often. So, for sure, I’m going to give it my best. I’m going to have a good time.”

Saudi Arabia has held a whole host of events including formula one and Golf events with there being more and more concerns from fans over sports-washing given the country’s human rights record.

However the Greek isn’t too concerned about that and is looking forward to exploring the country’s culture:

“I’m happy they’re introducing a big event like this, and in the heart of Saudi Arabia to give opportunities to citizens from all over the world to explore this beautiful country, through its sports, through its very rich heritage and culture, and through other activities that are available within the country.”

As for Fritz, the American is coming off a career best season having won his maiden Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells as well as reaching the semi-finals at the ATP Finals.

The 25 year-old said that playing against the best players in the world will only help his preparations for the Australian Open, “I think it’s going to help prepare for the Australian Open and for the rest of the year because I can start out by playing against the best players in the world,” Fritz claimed.

“The field is so strong, so it’s always great to surround yourself with a lot of great players. People should come to support because hopefully it’ll be a lot of good tennis.

“Hopefully they’ll be cheering for me to win. They can expect a lot of big hitting, big serving, and hopefully some nice shot-making.”

Finally Rublev said that competing in Saudi Arabia will help find his level with the Russian having an inconsistent end to the season at the ATP Finals.

Rublev is looking to break more ground in 2023 as he searches for his Grand Slam breakthrough, “I think it’s really great because sometimes when you finish the season and you have eight weeks of not playing tournaments, you start to feel a bit stressed or nervous because you can’t tell if you’re improving or not,” Rublev admitted.

“So these kind of events help to check how your level is at the moment because you compete against other great players.”

The tournament begins on Thursday and will last for three days.

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.

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(@HeartThamesNews - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.

 

The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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Fernando Verdasco Given Two Month Doping Ban

Fernando Verdasco has been banned from tennis until the 8th of January.

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Fernando Verdasco (@UniversTennis - Twitter)

Fernando Verdasco will miss the first week of the 2023 season after being provisionally suspended for two months after testing positive for the drug methylphenidate.

 

The former world number seven tested positive for the drug at the Challenger event in Rio De Janeiro and has accepted a voluntary ban until the 8th of January.

As well as testing positive for the drug methylphenidate, Verdasco had also forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption despite the Spaniard admitting that he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a statement published today the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), explained why his ban has been shortened from two years to two months, “The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” they said in a statement on his website.

“In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of fault the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.”

The 39 year-old will as a result miss the first week of the new season with the Spaniard being currently ranked at world number 125.

In 2022, Verdasco’s best results on the ATP tour were quarter-final performances in Buenos Aires and Estoril while he also won a challenger title in Monterrey in March.

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