Will Rafa Nadal regret Indian Wells participation after rib injury? - UBITENNIS
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Will Rafa Nadal regret Indian Wells participation after rib injury?

Will Rafael Nadal regret participating at Indian Wells as he misses the beginning of the clay court season?



Rafael Nadal (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Opinion – James Spencer (Twitter: @jspencer28)

The hottest man in tennis this year in 2022 has no doubt been no other than Rafa Nadal.

Having won four titles in the first two months of the year, the Spaniard has been on a roll.

Wins at the Melbourne Summer Set Cup, a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, from two sets to love down against Daniil Medvedev, and at the Acapulco Open in Mexico have shot Nadal to top of the year end race for Turin.

A venue the 35-year-old is yet to place at for the ATP Tour Finals.

However, after six-months on the injury sidelines with a toe-injury and a bout of Coronavirus, Rafa fans would be forgiven for being worried about the Spaniard overdoing it.

And this was exactly my concern, when I concluded the Acapulco Open and forecasted that Nadal would do the wise thing and skip Indian Wells to further rest his body.

Perhaps, he seemed a little too eager and a little too greedy to win a fourth title of the year, and prolong his record unbeaten start to the year.

This decision has evidently backfired, after a rib injury in the final against home hope Taylor Fritz, has put the Mallorca native out of action for six weeks.


Of course, a 20-match streak is worthy of applause, but that has now been broken.

And yes, the gamble nearly paid off as one more victory would have seen the Spaniard tie Novak Djokovic with a record 37 Masters 1000 titles.

But the point of the matter is that this rib injury is no real surprise.

Nadal pushed his body to the limit. And it looked as though he was cracking (pun not intended) when Sebastian Korda nearly beat him in the opening round.

He then exerted every ounce of energy in the semi-finals just to beat the mirror image of himself, in 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz.

It almost looked as if Nadal had a point to prove and was desperate to win just to exert his influence that he is still present and the number one Spaniard, and that his legacy will be unrivalled, regardless of Alcaraz’ talent.

Pushing it to the limit against the youngster is likely to be what caused this injury, as well as the unnecessary participation in the Californian desert, when prior to this, his body was holding up fine.


Of course, on his day, Nadal beats Fritz hands down, purely with his immense confidence, fitness, decision and shot-making skills.

However, we can’t run from the reality that the eventual outcome was bound to happen.

And now Nadal has potentially jeopardised his chances of winning the French Open with this injury.

It has majorly hampered his clay-court preparation.

He will now miss some of his favourite tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

And now faces a race against time to be fit for the Madrid Masters, another one of his favourites.

Had he skipped Indian Wells, this eventuality could have been avoided.

Some could argue that had Nadal won the final of Indian Wells, survived one more match and not been injured, he should then be playing in Miami to win the Sunshine Double.


It’s obvious that any tournament the Spaniard competes in, he is always amongst the favourites. But protecting his body and prioritising his schedule is more important.

It is sad not to see the record Grand Slam holder not competing on the East Coast, but he should have been mindful that something like this was bound to happen.

Tennis fans all over the world will be hoping that this is not a serious injury and that Nadal’s rapid and successful start to the season is still in full flow, regardless of this interruption.

Madrid in May is when we next expect to see the El Matador. Will he be the bull in the ring of La Caja Mágica or will he be susceptible to injury?

The world will watch on in anticipation.


Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.


Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.


Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.


Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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