'Things Are Going To Be Difficult' - Rafael Nadal Wary Of Comeback Challenge - UBITENNIS
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‘Things Are Going To Be Difficult’ – Rafael Nadal Wary Of Comeback Challenge



Rafael Nadal - Parigi-Bercy 2022 (Twitter @RolexPMasters)

Rafael Nadal says he has low expectations about his return to professional tennis but is hopeful that he will gain momentum.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner hasn’t played on the Tour since his second round exit from the Australian Open due to a hip injury which he underwent surgery on during the summer. As a consequence, the Spaniard has fallen down the rankings to outside the top 600 for the first time since 2002 and will be unseeded for the next Australian Open. 

Nadal is set to kick off his comeback at the Brisbane International during the first week of January. An ATP 500 event which will also feature the likes of Holger Rune, Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov. In. the past he has staged successful comebacks with one of the most notable occurring at the start of the 2022 season where he won his 21st major title in Melbourne after a six-month absence due to a chronic foot problem. 

However, this time round the 37-year-old is more cautious about how he will fair on the tour. 

“It’s been a long time, so I hope, first of all, to feel again those nerves, that expectancy, those fears, those doubts,” Nadal said in a video published on his social media account.
“I expect from myself not to expect anything. This is the truth. To have the ability not to demand of myself what I have demanded of myself throughout my career. I believe I’m in a different moment, in a different situation, in uncharted territory.”

So far in his career, Nadal has won 92 ATP titles, spent 209 weeks as world No.1 and earned more than £134M in prize money. He is the first player to have completed a career Grand Slam twice and win 2 Olympic gold medals. 

“I have internalised what I’ve had throughout my life, which is to demand the maximum of myself,” he continued.
“And right now what I really hope is to be able to not do that, to not demand the maximum from myself, to accept that things are going to be very difficult at the beginning and to give myself the necessary time and to forgive myself if things go wrong at the beginning, which is a very big possibility.
“But knowing that there may be a not-too-distant future where things can change, if I keep the dream and the spirit of work and my body responds, no doubt.”

Nadal’s low expectations come amid speculation that 2024 could be the final season of his career. He has previously mentioned the possibility of retiring in the new year but has yet to make a final decision. How his body will fair over the coming weeks will play a key role in his decision to continue playing or not. 

The Brisbane International will begin on December 31st.


Rafael Nadal Boosts Olympic Preparations With Norrie Victory, Advances To Maiden 2024 Quarter-Final

Rafael Nadal reached his first ATP quarter-final in Bastad.



(@rnadalacademy - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal boosted his preparations for the Olympics with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Cameron Norrie in Bastad.

The win means that Nadal is into his first ATP quarter-final of the season with an impressive straight sets win.

It didn’t all go Nadal’s way as the Spaniard was tested in the opening set with Norrie producing some consistent and attacking play.

The British number two managed to create some tough moments for Nadal but ultimately Norrie lacked that killer instinct to make it count.

That was the difference between him and Nadal as the Spaniard used the forehand to move Norrie out of position, therefore finishing the points off with ease.

A break in the seventh game put Nadal in control but the former champion in Bastad had to work hard to close out the opening set with Norrie pushing for the break.

However, Nadal did secure the opening set 6-4 with some incredible hitting.

As expected though Nadal’s level dropped in the second set as he still hasn’t managed to find his consistent level.

A sensational passing shot at the net saw Norrie break before consolidating to take a 4-1 lead.

It was an incredible turnaround for the Brit but a lack of composure and concentration allowed Nadal a chance to get back in the match.

Get back in the match Nadal did as he managed to sustain a high level of play throughout the next period of the match, securing five games in a row to claim the win.

After the match Nadal spoke about how crucial it was for him to improve his rhythm, “I think I played in some moments good tennis, in some moments I need to play a little bit more aggressive, but that is part of the journey today,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“Great feelings. I’ve been a while without playing on the Tour, since Roland Garros.  To have the chance to compete well against a great player like Cameron is a great feeling.

“I haven’t been competing very often, so matches and victories like today help. To be in rhythm the whole match and hold the pressure on the opponent the whole match, that’s something that I need to improve, because I didn’t play enough.”

Nadal will now aim for a tenth win of the season when he plays fourth seed Mariano Navone on Friday.

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2024 BNP Paribas Open Added Nearly $1bn To Local Economy, Says Study



The total gross economic impact of this year’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was more than 50% greater than that of 2022, according to a study published by George Washington University. 

There was a total gross economic impact of over $852 million on the Coachella Valley regional economy, which is significantly higher than the $565 million that was generated in 2022. 2022 was the last time the study was conducted.

The economic impact figures are calculated by the direct ($568,988,608) and indirect and induced ($247,822,499) economic impacts and then adding them together. Direct spending includes money spent by out-of-town visitors and indirect includes re-spending of this money by the regional businesses in the regional economy.

According to a press release provided by the tennis tournament, this year’s BNP Paribas Open generated an attendance of 493,440 visitors over a two-week period which is a new record. On average each visitor to the event spent 3.18 days there. It is also estimated that there were 44,000 more out-of-town visitors to Indian Wells than two years ago. 

“The BNP Paribas Open continues to deliver a positive impact on the Coachella Valley economy,” said Philippe Dore, Chief Marketing Officer of the BNP Paribas Open. “With nearly $1 billion in total impact this year and a 51 percent increase compared to 2022, we remain poised for sustained success and growth in the community for years to come.”

To put the figures into perspective, a study conducted in 2023 by Researchers at the sports industry research centre at Sheffield Hallam University estimated that Wimbledon provides an estimated £200M ($259,675,000*) boost to the London economy. Meanwhile, in June 2024 Nielsen Sports reported that the Australian Open has generated AUS$3.14bn ($2,115bn*) in economic benefits to the Australian state of Victoria, where the event is hosted, over the past decade. 

George Washington University has calculated the findings by estimating the direct and indirect input based on ‘industry standard methodology, visitor survey results, and the data provided by Indian Wells organizers and sponsors.”

Indian Wells is a combined event that is categorised as a Masters 1000 for men and as a WTA 1000 for women. This year Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek captured the titles with each of them earning $1,100,000 in prize money.

*Figures are rough estimates based on the current exchange rate. 

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Reilly Opelka Reaches First ATP Quarter-Final Since Surgeries On Wrist, Tumorous Growth



Reilly Opelka is enjoying a fairytale return to professional tennis at this week’s Hall Of Fame Open in Newport where he has knocked the top seed out of the tournament. 

The former world No.17 is playing in his first ATP Tour event since August 2022 after being sidelined from the sport due to various injury setbacks. On Monday he defeated France’s Constant Lestienne in three sets before upsetting world No.25 and defending champion Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. In his latest match, Opelka fired 19 aces and won 42 out of 48 points behind his first serve. 

“It was a little ugly, tough conditions,” he said after his latest win“He’s (Mannarino) a tricky left-handed player too, hedoes things different. The way that he builds up and constructs his points, the patterns that he gets into. He has a really short backswing — he keeps the ball flat, really low.”

Opelka has experienced a roller-coaster journey back to the Tour and at one stage contemplated retirement from the sport. Over the past two years, he has undergone a duo of surgeries on his wrist. On top of that he also underwent a separate procedure on his hip to remove what he describes as ‘a tumorous growth‘ which was benign. Besides those surgeries, he was also hospitalised with an infection. 

“I felt good about two months after the hip surgery, but there was some doubt about making a comeback after the wrist surgery then it got infected and I was on antibiotics. I was in the hospital, it was a disaster.” He said. 

The 26-year-old has won four ATP trophies so far in his career with three of those titles being on hardcourts and another on the clay. Although he is yet to win a Tour event outside of his native America. In the Grand Slams, his best run was to the fourth round of the 2021 US Open. 

“I just want to play matches, I’m still a bit rusty. Grass is a tough surface to come back on too — that’s the beauty of playing this tournament. Grass is not the best place to start my comeback, but this is a road to recovery.” He commented. 

Opelka will next play Mackenzie McDonald in the quarter-finals at Newport. 

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