Rafael Nadal's Words Of Encouragement To Argentina After World Cup Shocker - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal’s Words Of Encouragement To Argentina After World Cup Shocker

The former world No.1 spoke to reporters before taking to the court to play a singles and mixed doubles match at an exhibition event held at the Parque Roca stadium in Buenos Aires. 

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Nadal RG 2022 by Night (foto @RolandGarros)

Battling against the odds is something Rafael Nadal knows a lot about as he backs the Argentine football team to bounce back following their shock loss at the World Cup earlier this week. 

 

Nadal had been in Buenos Aires this week where he played an exhibition match against Casper Ruud on Wednesday evening. Although the main spotting topic in the nation is their country’s unexpected 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. Argentina entered the World Cup on a 36-match unbeaten run and hadn’t been beaten by a country since Brazil in 2019. 

Quizzed by reporters about his reaction to that match, Nadal believes the South American team have no reason to lose confidence due to the blip and they still can go far in the tournament. Argentina is bidding to win the trophy for the third time in history and their first since 1986. 

“I’m not one for extremes, neither too much euphoria nor too much catastrophe,” Reuters news agency quoted Nadal as saying.
“The world hasn’t changed… They simply lost a game and there are two to go. The least they deserve is confidence and respect.
“They come from being champions of America, from having one of the best winning streaks in history, so why lose confidence? I still think Argentina is a clear candidate to go far.”

Nadal also paid tribute to football superstar Lionel Messi who played in the Spanish LaLiga for FC Barcelona between 2004-2021. The same team his uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, played for during the 1990s. 

“Messi took things away from Real (Madrid) for years but in the end, as a sports lover, you appreciate someone so special,” he commented. “In LaLiga we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy him in the best years of his sporting career.
“He has given us special moments in the world of sport, he’s one of the top players in the history of football and sport”.

Argentine will next play Mexico on Saturday at the World Cup. 

Sabatini features In Parque Roca exhibition 

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On the court, Nadal prevailed in his exhibition match against ATP Finals runner-up Ruud, winning 7-6(8), 6-2. Both players were greeted by cheers from onlookers in the crowd but La Nacion newspaper said the venue wasn’t completely sold out. Something they attribute to the World Cup and high ticket prices for the event. 

“I am happy to have been able to share these moments with the Argentine public, who are very passionate and knowledgeable about the sport. They have always treated me in the best possible way and I get an injection of positive energy,” Nadal said on court.

Nadal and Ruud also took part in a doubles match which involved two former heavyweights of Argentine women’s tennis – 1990 US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini and former world No.1 doubles player Gisela Dulko. 

Sabatini, who was partnering with Nadal in the one-set match, had not played an exhibition event in her home country since 2009. The duo won the showdown 6-4. 

“Having the opportunity to play with Casper, who is a great player, number 3 in the world, a good friend and an excellent person…, and also playing with Gisela and Gaby, two leaders of Argentine and Latin tennis in the last 20 years, it was a pleasure.” The 22-time Grand Slam champion concluded. 

Buenos Aires is the first of six exhibition events Nadal will play across South America during the off-season. 

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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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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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‘I Hope I Can Keep Up’ – Alexander Zverev Speaks Out Ahead Of Return From Injury

After suffering a horrific accident at the French Open, the German is once again raring to go. 

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Alexander Zverev - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Alexander Zverev says he has missed his fellow rivals as he prepares to return to the court at an exhibition event in Saudi Arabia in just over a week. 

 

The former world No.2 has been absent from the sport since June after badly injuring his ankle in his semi-final match against Rafael Nadal at the French Open. A scan later revealed he had torn various ligaments in his foot and he was later diagnosed with bone edema which is where there is an abnormal amount of fluid around the bone area. He had originally hoped to return to action earlier in the season but was unable to recover in time. 

Instead, Zverev’s first taste of competitive tennis in his comeback will be at the extravagant Diriyah Tennis Cup which features 12 players with the singles champion winning $1M in prize money. 

“I’m just looking forward to being back on court and being back on a competitive court because it’s been a very long time for me,” Zverev said during an interview for the event. “The best players in the world are there so it’s gonna be a high level tournament and I think everybody’s in form because they’re still either coming from Davis Cup or they just came from the ATP Finals so everybody will still be playing great tennis and I hope I can keep up with them.”

Also playing at the event will be Stefanos Tsitsipas, Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios and Daniil Medvedev. It will be far from an easy return to action for Zverev after his lengthy absence from the sport. However, he is looking forward to being reunited with his peers. 

“I’ve also missed those guys to be honest even though we’re competitors but I have great friends there as well. You know, I missed seeing those guys on tour,” he said.
“I feel like me and Dominic (Thiem), we haven’t seen each other for almost two years now because he was injured in 2021 And I was injured in 2022. So we missed each other in a way. Yeah, so I’m just looking forward to being back on tour and I’m just looking forward to getting matches.”

Prior to his injury setback, the 25-year-old has won 29 out of 39 matches played this season with his best run being to the finals of events in Montpellier and Madrid. Out of those 29 wins, only three were against top-10 opposition.

Explaining his decision to play in Saudi Arabia, Zverev said it was important for him to play matches against the best in the world ahead of the new season. Some players have been criticized for playing in the country due to its human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of sportswashing which is the process of staging sports events to improve the image of a country which has been tarnished by wrongdoing. 

“You don’t want your first event to be back in Australia, because you then feel like okay, you may be fit physically, you may be in the best shape of your life, but if you haven’t played matches in seven months, it’s still a different fitness level it is still a different, mental stress as well,” Zverev explained. 
“So you want to play before the Australian Open and I think that’s why Saudi Arabia fits in so well this year.” 

The Diriyah Tennis Cup will begin on December 8th. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaCyGMghDMM

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