Daniil Medvedev Hopes Injury-Stricken Nadal Will Continue His Career - UBITENNIS
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Daniil Medvedev Hopes Injury-Stricken Nadal Will Continue His Career

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Daniil Medvedev believes Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from the French Open will change things for this year’s tournament and has potentially opened the door for more players to claim the title.

Nadal, who has won Roland Garros a record 14 times, announced in a press conference on Thursday that he will not be playing at the Grand Slam due to an ongoing hip injury which has sidelined him from the Tour since January. It is the first time in 19 years that the Spaniard will not be featured in the tournament where he has won 112 out of 115 matches played. Speaking to reporters, the former world No.1 confirmed he was unsure about when he will return to competitive tennis but one possibility could be the Davis Cup which takes place at the end of this season.

“I think it’s bad news because you never want to see anyone injured, or withdrawing, especially someone like Rafa,” Medvedev said following his quarter-final win at the Italian Open. 
“At the same time if we talk about favourites (for the French Open title) for sure it changes. If he would announce that he’s going to say I’m not 100% but I’m going to play, he’s the favourite because he’s winning there 95% of the time he’s playing probably.”

Medvedev has a somewhat rollercoaster relationship with the clay. Only once has he reached the final of an ATP Tour event on the surface which was at the 2019 Barcelona Open and he has won fewer matches at the French Open than any other major event. However, the Russian is starting to find his form with a strong run in Rome. Furthermore, recent surprise losses for Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz on the Tour could potentially open the door for him in Paris. 

Regardless of how he fares over the coming weeks, Medvedev hopes that Nadal will once again be able to resume his career. Nadal has hinted that 2024 could be his last year as a professional player but his rival is hoping he will continue playing for longer. 

“I’m happy to hear that he’s going to try to come back. I heard he said he doesn’t know when he’s going to come back on the practice court, but he wants to come back at least next year,” Medvedev commented. 
“I think we all want to see him back on the court playing. That’s the most important. I just wish that we are going to see him for a couple more years till he decides to stop.”

The two have played against each other six times on the Tour with Medvedev’s sole victory being at the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals. Their most memorable meeting without a doubt took place at last year’s Australian Open where Nadal battled back from two sets down in the final to win the title. 

When asked if Nadal’s French Open success is the ‘most impressive record’ of the sport, Medvedev points out that there is another player who potentially could match his tally but at another major event. 

“In tennis, for sure,” he said. “I think Novak won Australia, what, nine times, 10 this year? Still, Rafa won 14. Maybe Novak, if he makes 14 in Australia, then we going to have more talking…
“For the moment, Rafa on clay in general, but especially in Roland Garros, is just unreal. I honestly don’t know how this is possible. I feel like I’m a good tennis player, but you can always have a bad day, or your opponent has a very good day. Like in Madrid I felt like I was not playing that bad against Karatsev. But I lost, and after the match I was like, ‘He played well. Okay, that’s it.’
“Rafa didn’t have these matches in Roland Garros, except maybe the match with Soderling where Robin played the match of his life and managed to win. This is unbelievable. I think in tennis, at least for the moment, there is no comparison.” 

Medvedev will return to action on Saturday in Rome where he will play Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals. 

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World No.32 Davidovich Fokina Replaces Long-Time Coach With Verdasco

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Fernando Verdasco was spotted earlier this week briefly watching Ons Jabeur play at the French Open but his focus this year is on another player.

The former top 10 player has landed a new coaching job after being hired by compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Somebody who he once played a Tour-level doubles match alongside back in 2020. Fokina has opted to stop working with Jorge Aguirre, who has been his mentor since he was a child.

The change comes after what has been a mixed start to the season for Fokina who has only managed to win back-to-back matches in two out of 11 tournaments played before the start of Roland Garros. His sole win over a top 20 player occurred at the start of 2024 when he beat Hubert Hurkacz at the United Cup.  

“I will be very brief. I have left it with Jorge (Aguirre) and I start with Verdasco, with whom I have had a good relationship for years. He has not officially retired, but I knew that he was training other players and it was time,” Fokina told reporters after beating Valentin Vacherot in the first round of the French Open.
“It was time to close a stage and start a new one. With his experience, Verdasco can help me a lot to face the games, to assume that pressure and tension of the competition.”

Verdasco has won seven ATP titles during his career and reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Australian Open. At this year’s Madrid Open, he briefly helped Jabeur whose main coach Issam Jellali was unable to attend the tournament. 

Fokina will next play Casper Ruud in Roland Garros.

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Roland Garros 2024: Casper Ruud Explains Geneva Decision, Martin Etcheverry Talks Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Two-time finalist Casper Ruud is into the second round with a straight sets win over Felipe Meligeni Alves.

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Casper Ruud has explained the decision behind playing in Geneva last week after he defeated Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3 6-4 6-3.

The world number seven is into the second round after a straight sets win over the Brazilian qualifier.

Ruud has reached the final the past two occasions here having lost to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in those respective finals.

Now the Norwegian is targeting more success in Paris this year and spoke about his opening round performance after the match, “Yeah, I was honestly very happy. I think it was a good start,” Ruud stated in his press conference.

“I think Felipe is a dangerous player, and obviously I didn’t know him so well. So not easy to know what’s going to come out of his racquet. I think he was firing pretty good serves and forehands.

“Overall, I think it was a pretty high-quality match and happy to be through in straight sets. That’s just what I was kind of hoping and looking for. Yeah, I’m very happy to be through.”

Given Ruud’s history at Roland Garros, there would be no reason to suggest that the Norwegian would need to play his way into form.

However that’s exactly what he did in Geneva the week before Roland Garros as he won the title in Switzerland.

After his opening round match Ruud was asked about why he always plays in Geneva instead of practicing on-site in Paris, “No, I decide based on the fact that I enter the tournament, and with the purpose of going. But of course, if you do super well in Madrid and Rome and you play, let’s say, 10 matches or more within those two weeks or the two tournaments, maybe, depending on how your body feels, it’s kind of easier to skip it,” Ruud explained.

“But that wasn’t the case for me in Madrid and Rome. I played only four matches there. I lost early in Rome. If I didn’t play Geneva I would have had 17 or 18 days since I lost in Rome until starting in Roland Garros, which in my eyes, my feeling, is just a bit too much. For some players, they don’t think it’s too much. They don’t have a problem with it.

“But for me I like going into tournament kind of mode and feeling in the zone when you’re playing an official match. That’s why I like playing. It gives me kind of confidence and match feeling going into a Grand Slam, which is the Grand Slam that I personally feel like I have the most chances to do well in.”

Ruud will aim to continue his good run of form when he takes on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round.

Martin Etcheverry Speaks On Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Finally Tomas Martin Etcheverry defeated Arthur Cazaux in four sets to seal his place in the second round.

The Argentinian is a big Novak Djokovic fan and after the match spoke about his love for Roland Garros and has tipped Djokovic to win this year’s tournament, “I think it’s my favorite tournament since I was a child, and I always want to play here,” Martin Etcheverry explained.

“This is a moment of the year that I want to be here and try to play my best tennis because I want to get a good result here.

“Yeah, is he my idol, and he is the No. 1 of the world. I don’t know, like six years right now. Yeah, I always try to watch him, trying to improve the game. I always trying to saw him. Yeah, I think he’s going to be No. 1 a lot of time. I don’t know if they have a good year this year, but I think it’s Novak Djokovic. Maybe he can win this tournament.”

Martin Etcheverry will play another Frenchman in the form of Arthur Rinderknech in the second round with Ruud being the potential third round opponent.

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Grand Slam Quarter-Finalist Van De Zandschulp Pondering Retirement After French Open Exit

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image via https://x.com/Boticvdz/

Botic van de Zandschulp has revealed he is losing his passion for tennis and is considering retiring from the sport following his exit from the French Open on Monday.

The 29-year-old was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by Fabio Fognini, who eased his way to a 6-1, 6-1, 7-5, victory. It is the second Grand Slam in a row where he has fallen at the first hurdle with the 2022 Wimbledon championships being the last major event where he won back-to-back matches.   

“I don’t look forward to competitions at all anymore,” Zandschulp told Dutch media.
“I have been asking myself more and more lately whether I want to continue.
“You have to do work that you enjoy. Everyone has a bad day every now and then. But if there are too many, then you have to ask yourself whether you want to continue.” 

Zandschulp has been the top-ranked player in his country with his most notable achievement being a run to the quarter-finals of the 2021 US Open. The former world No.22 is a two-time runner-up at the Munich Open but is yet to win an ATP Tour title. He has registered a total of six wins over top 10 players, including Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev. 

However, recent difficulties on the Tour have left the Dutchman questioning if he wants to continue playing.  

“I like the training. Those are great days. But when I get up in the morning, I no longer look forward to the matches at all.” He commented.

Zandschulp’s remarks could be a reaction to his frustrating loss to Fognini. However, he confirmed that he has been considering retiring for a long time. 

“It was the worst match I have played in my life,” he said. 
“Of course, it is now fresh after the match. That plays a role in my mind, but the thoughts of quitting have been there for a long time. It is not an easy life as a tennis player. You really live your life, play thirty weeks a year and travel from pillar to post.
“If you don’t play, someone else will pass you by (in the rankings). That’s why I now play extra tournaments instead of charging myself at home.”

Zandschulp is currently ranked 102nd in the world and is scheduled to play in the French Open doubles event on Tuesday.

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