Rare Calendar Slam A Realistic Goal For Rafael Nadal, Says Coach - UBITENNIS
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Rare Calendar Slam A Realistic Goal For Rafael Nadal, Says Coach

Carlos Moya also provides an update about Nadal’s current fitness heading into Wimbledon next week.

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RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

Rafael Nadal can win all four Grand Slam tournaments this season but he is not fixated on achieving the milestone, according to his coach.

The former world No.1 is currently on course to become only the second man in the Open Era to achieve a Calendar Slam after Rod Laver did so back in the 1960s. Earlier in the season the Spaniard triumphed at both the Australian Open and French Open. It is the first time the 36-year-old has ever won both of those events within the same year.

Nadal’s next target is next week’s Wimbledon championships where he will be making his 15th main draw appearance. Seeded second in this year’s draw behind defending champion Novak Djokovic, he is seeking to win the title for the third time in his career and the first since 2010. Nadal hasn’t played at Wimbledon since 2019 after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic and in 2021 he was sidelined by a foot injury.

Looking ahead to this year’s tournament, Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya weighed up his chances of achieving the Calendar Slam during an interview with Eurosport.

“It is a realistic goal, right now he is the only one that can achieve it this year,” Moya said. “It is the first time in his career that he is in a position to achieve it, but we see it as something far away, it is only halfway.
“At the moment he doesn’t lose sleep, as a team few things keep us up at night and this is not one of them. We have to go little by little, it is not something that we talk about, it is not a primary objective, although we are not going to give up on it.”

Recently Nadal underwent pulsed radiofrequency stimulation to treat his long-term foot condition. He suffers from Mueller-Weiss syndrome, a rare degenerative condition that affects bones in the feet. During the French Open, he revealed he only managed to play with the help of injections into his foot. Something he said he is not prepared to do again at another major.

He has not featured on the ATP Tour since Paris but Moya is confident Nadal is heading in the right direction. On Wednesday he played his first match at the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic exhibition event held at the Hurlingham Club. Impressively Nadal dropped just five games during his 6-2, 6-3, win over Stan Wawrinka.

We had a pretty good week of training in Mallorca, although the grass there is a bit different from London, maybe that’s why it’s taking a little bit for him to adapt to the grass in England,” Moya explained.
“Right now, the important thing is that he spends time on the court and that his foot is fine, little by little he will pick up the pace, we also hope that the draw will help, especially in the first games.
“At Wimbledon there can always be more surprises. Regardless of the player you get in those first rounds, what is dangerous is the type of opponent you get, you have to be careful with the sluggers.”

Nadal is scheduled to play Felix Auger-Aliassime later this week in Hurlingham who he defeated in five sets at the French Open earlier this year.

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

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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

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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.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

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.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ 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.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

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

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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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