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Rafael Nadal is happy to play again after a challenging period

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Rafael Nadal won his first title of the 2022 season at the Melbourne Summer Set with a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 win over US serve and volleyer Maxime Cressy last week. 

 

Nadal has not played a Grand Slam match since he lost to Novak Djokovic in a five-set semifinal at last year’s Roland Garros. Last he 20-time Grand Slam champion was sidelined by a left foot injury and lost to South Africa’s Lloyd Harris in his last competitive match in 2021 at the Citi Open in Washington. Nadal played just 29 matches and won two ATP titles in Barcelona and Rome. He also reached three quarter finals at the Australian Open, Monte-Carlo and Madrid and the semfinal at Roland Garros. 

“Unfortunately, I have gone through the situation a couple of times in my career, but you never know. The day will arrive that a comeback will be impossible. I just want to try again, no ? I want to give my best. I want to give myself a chance to keep enjoying this beautiful sport, to keep fighting for the things that I have been fighting for the last 16 years. Sometimes it’s difficult when you are going through a lot of physical issues. It’s been a very challenging time for me. The last year and a half with my foot, I have been suffering a lot. I think I hold a positive attitude and the working spirit all the time. That’s probably why I am here today”, said Nadal. 

At last year’s edition of the Australian Open Nadal lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 4-6 5-7. The Spanish tennis legend will be aiming to win the 21 Grand Slam title of his career. He won the Australian Open in 2009 and finished runner-up four times in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019. 

Nadal will start his Australian Open campaign against Marcos Giron, who won the NCAA Division I Championships for UCLA in 2014 and reached the third round at Roland Garros in 2021. 

“When you are coming back from injuries and from a period of time that you are not on the ATP Tour, you need to accept that things are not going to be perfect. That’s the main thing for me, accept that you are sometimes moving a little bit slower, sometimes you are going to miss, sometimes things are not coming that quick and that automatic. You need to think more about how to play, about shots, about technical stuff, but it’s about time. You need to forgive yourself the mistakes and be humble enough to accept the process, accept that sometimes things not going to go that way”, said Nadal. 

Nadal is just happy to be playing again after  very challenging period and admitted that he is not expecting too much from himself. 

“I came here just with the clear goal to be back on the tour, that’s the most important thing. Then if I am able to win matches, improving every single day, it’s fantastic. It has been hard at times to keep motivated because of the latest injury. The most important thing is to be healthy, then hold the passion, that sometimes is difficult when you are going through a lot of physical issues”

Last year and a half I have been suffering a lot with my foot. I think I hold the positive attitude and the working spirit all the time. That’s probably why I am here today. In general terms I feel happy. If you tell me that I am going to be in my position today one month ago, of course I will sign without a doubt the paper saying that I will be in this position. I am just enjoying the practices and be back and feel myself again a professional tennis player. I am playing some good tennis. I really believe that I am healthy and if I am able to play weeks in a row on the tour, have more or less a normal calendar, I will have my chances to be in an important position on the tour and give myself chances to keep fighting for important things”.  

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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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