Rafael Nadal's Return To Grand Slam Tennis Still A Concern For Coach Moya - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal’s Return To Grand Slam Tennis Still A Concern For Coach Moya

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Rafael Nadal pictured at the 2020 ATP Cup (image via Twitter)

The coach of Rafael Nadal admits he still has reservations about how the former world No.1 will fair at the Australian Open which will get underway next month. 

Nadal, who has won 22 major titles so far in his career, hasn’t played a competitive match in almost a year due to a hip injury which he underwent surgery on during the summer. As a result of his absence from the Tour, he is currently ranked outside the world’s top 600 but will be able to play in a series of events with the use of his protected ranking, as well as wildcards. The Spaniard has also admitted that 2024 could be the final season of his career depending on how his body fairs during his comeback. 

Overseeing’s Nadal rehabilitation process is coach Carlos Moya who joined his team in 2016. Moya, who won the 1998 French Open, says his ‘biggest fear’ about the upcoming comeback is how his compatriot will cope with the difference between training and playing matches. 

“Rafa is going to go from training, which he is doing very well, to competing. And it is impossible to have the same conditions in training as in a match.” Moya said during an interview with the ATP.
“Playing the best of five sets, win, rest, return to the court two days later… That is the doubt I have right now, especially for a Grand Slam. But we have time. If the Australian Open started tomorrow, it would be a real fear.’
“There is still a month left, a tournament before in Brisbane, demanding training… I think all of this will put him in a position to be able to endure it. But right now that’s my fear.”

Another factor for Nadal is that he will be unseeded at the Australian Open which means he could be drawn against a top 10 player in his first round match. Only twice in 67 appearances has he lost his opening match at a Grand Slam tournament. That was at Wimbledon in 2013 and the 2016 Australian Open.

“Although he can play using the protected ranking in his first nine tournaments upon his return, that will not prevent him from being able to play against very strong opponents from the first round…” Moya commented.
“It is clear that the draws are going to play an important role in the return, especially because we want him to play games. I have never been of the thought that Rafa needs rhythm because he is too good for that, but now the situation is different. We are interested in him playing games, that he can win them to complete that level.”

As for what the future has in store, Moya admits that he doesn’t know what might happen as he draws parallels to when he retired from the sport back in 2015 at the age of 34 which is three years younger than Nadal’s current age. He decided to do so due to a persistent foot injury. 

“Leaving a sport that you’ve done all your life, that gets you hooked by that special adrenaline, is very complicated.” He explained.
“He (Nadal) doesn’t want to close the door. If everything goes well, and he endures, why not continue? If he enjoys it, has a good time and it’s what he likes to do, why not? But there are too many unknowns right now to say where we will be in a year. Anything can happen.”

Nadal will return to action during the first week of January at the Brisbane International. 

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Simona Halep Provides Injury Update On Knee Ahead Of US Open

The return of Simona Halep looks a long way away from happening as a knee injury continues to bother the Romanian.

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Simona Halep has provided an update on her knee injury as she faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open.

The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion’s comeback has not gone according to plan so far as she returned from a doping ban in Miami earlier this year.

However playing time has been limited for the Romanian as her second tournament of the year ended in a first round retirement at a Challenger event in Paris.

As a result of her retirement Halep was forced to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon as she looked to recover from a knee injury.

The injury is more serious than meets the eye though as Halep provided an update on her knee injury and revealed it’s an injury that has been occurring for the last few months, “I wanted to provide a little health update since I have been away from the court lately. It is not the best news, but I wanted to share all the same,” Halep revealed on Instagram.

“For a few months now, I have been struggling with a knee injury. It’s an injury I have never had before and it has been a tough one to manage, with the pain persisting. It has been a very difficult period (almost two years) mentally and emotionally for me and struggling physically on top of that definitely doesn’t help.

“I have decided to take the time needed to recover properly, rather than training and playing through pain. My instinct has always been to try to come back as soon as possible, but I am not a machine, I am a human being and I need time to recover from everything I have gone through.

“I’ll keep you posted and, as always, want to thank you for your permanent support. I hope to be back on court very soon.”

Halep now faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open which starts on the 26th of August.

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Alexander Zverev Commits To Olympics, Speaks About Miscommunication Between Olympics And ATP

Alexander Zverev is preparing for his Olympic title defence.

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Alexander Zverev has spoken out on the miscommunication between the Olympics and the ATP tour with tennis’ top stars set to miss some big events on the tour.

The German is getting ready to defend his Olympic title that he won in Tokyo as Zverev heads to Paris.

After narrowly missing out on Roland Garros glory, Zverev now has an opportunity at redemption as he aims for a second consecutive gold medal at the Olympics.

However there is a dilemma for big players this year as the same week as the tennis event at the Olympics at the ATP 500 event in Washington.

This is an event that Zverev usually plays but will have to miss it due to playing in Paris.

Speaking out on the miscommunication, Zverev said it’s no secret that the ATP are not best friends on the Olympics but has committed to the historic event, “The ITF or the Olympics are not best friends with the ATP, that’s not a secret,” Zverev was quoted by Tennis Infinity as saying.

Everybody continues their own tour. Yes, the Olympics is one of the, if not the, most important events we have in sports. So, the best players in the world are always going to play the Olympics over anything else, over points and over prize money.

All the top players went to Wimbledon a few years back, despite having no points on the line. It’s about prestige, it’s not about points or money. It’s about winning these kinds of titles and having medals for your country.

That’s what it’s about. I would never choose to play a 500 event over the Olympics. There are no thoughts on that, and I think Washington is going to be quite an interesting 500 event, I would say.

The ATP 500 event in Washington will be headlined by Grigor Dimitrov, Ben Shelton, Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe as they are among those that have chosen ranking points over the Olympic experience.

As for Zverev he is continuing his Olympic preparations in Hamburg where he will face Pedro Martinez in the semi-finals.

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Rafael Nadal Reveals Delight At Setting Up Ajdukovic Semi-Final After Four Hour Victory

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the Bastad semi-finals after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the semi-finals in Bastad after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion prevailed in a marathon 6-7(2) 7-5 7-5 victory to reach his first semi-final since Wimbledon 2022.

The Spaniard converted ten of his 21 break point opportunities as he reached the semi-finals.

After the match Nadal revealed his delight at reaching the last four and prevailed Navone for his resilient display, “I lost for some moments my concentration, but I was able to hold physically until the end,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“That is so important for me. Let’s see how I am tomorrow, but today I am alive and in the semi-finals, so that’s very important. There were a lot of changing dynamics in every single set. For moments, he was in control. For moments, I was in control. But at the end, no one was in control! That’s true, and I had a good chance in the second with 3-0. Then I was very close to losing the match in the second set.

“In the third [I was ahead] again with 5-2, but he’s a great fighter and he played a great match. I wish him all the very best for the rest of the season.”

Nadal will now play Duje Ajdukovic in the semi-finals as he aims to continue his eight match winning streak in Bastad with this being his first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2005.

The other semi-final will be Nuno Borges against Thiago Agustin Tirante with both players reaching their maiden ATP tour semi-final.

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