Tagged in: Rafael Nadal

Tennis club apologizes for letting Djokovic train

The tennis club where Novak Djokovic broke confinement rules in Spain stated Tuesday it mistakenly let the top-ranked Serb to practice and apologized for the error.

Djokovic released a video of him training on Monday in apparent violation of Spain’s current rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The video posted on Instagram showed Djokovic exchanging shots with another man at the club in the coastal city of Marbella, where the Serb has been staying for the past several weeks.

Djokovic filmed the video while hitting shots and wrote he was “so happy to play on clay .. well, just for a bit with my phone in the hands.”

Spain has eased some of the lockdown measures that had been in place since mid-March, allowing professional athletes to return to practice, but most training centers and sports facilities must stay closed until next week.

“We are sorry that our interpretation of the regulation could have been erroneous, and this could have inconvenienced Mr. Djokovic or any other citizen acting in good faith,” the Puente Romano Marbella Tennis Club said in a statement.

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The statement, which was relayed by Djokovic’s management team, said the club got a request from the player to practice and gave him the go-ahead with the “understanding that from May 4 all professional sports players were authorized to train.” The club said it therefore believed he was “permitted to train in our facilities.”

It said it later received a “clarification” from the Spanish tennis federation and “both parties have agreed that training should resume” only next week.

Rafael Nadal stated he also went to train on a court this week, but he did it on private property because the rules weren’t fully clear to him.

Soccer players were among the exceptions who could start training inside sports facilities beginning this week.

Spain has been one of the countries most affected by the pandemic but it started loosening some of its restrictions on movement as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 started to go down recently. The nation went into a lockdown on March 14.

Djokovic recently stated he was against taking a vaccine for the coronavirus if it became mandatory to travel once the pandemic subsides, though he later said he was open to changing his mind.

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Nadal dominates Fritz for 3rd Mexican Open Title

World number two Rafael Nadal captured his first ATP Tour title of 2020, easily defeating unseeded Taylor Fritz in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, in the final of the Mexico Open on Saturday.

The 33-year-old Nadal, playing in his first tournament since losing in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open last month, didn’t drop a set all week and improved to 19-2 all-time at this event.

He nabbed his third Mexico Open title to go with victories in 2013 and 2005. “I couldn’t be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end,” Rafael Nadal said.

“Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing.

“I can’t thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time.”

Nadal wasted no time figuring out Fritz’s game in the first career meeting between the two. The 19-time Grand Slam winner made eight unforced errors and needed just one ace but it came in the final match of the second set to get to championship point.

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Nadal closed it out with a blistering serve that handcuffed Fritz and gave Nadal his 85th career title.

Nadal ceded the world number one ranking to Novak Djokovic after the Australian Open, where the Serb conquered a record eighth title.

Nadal could have regained the top spot with a win in Acapulco, but he also needed Djokovic to fail to reach the final in this week’s Dubai event.

Djokovic extended his win streak to 21 matches by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 earlier Saturday to lift the Dubai trophy.

Nadal won the final eight points to take the first set. He seized control by breaking Fritz’s serve in the ninth game to go up 5-4. He then served for the set, winning four straight points.

On set point he hammered a serve which Fritz barely got back. That set up an overhead smash for Nadal which he put away nicely.

Nadal broke Fritz twice in the second set, including the fifth match to go up 3-2. He broke Fritz again to take a 5-4 lead and then served out the match. Nadal has now won a title 17 straight years.

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Nadal needs 4th-set tiebreak to beat Kyrgios

Rafael Nadal battled his way into the quarter-finals of the 2020 Australian Open on Monday, overcoming home favorite Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) in a gruelling matchup. 

The two men shared the first two sets, before Nadal was able to edge an attritional third through a nervy tiebreak.

Nadal controlled long spells of the fourth set but spurned the chance to serve for the match, with Kyrgios doing brilliantly to cling on. The top seed got a second chance in another tiebreaker and eventually found a way past his battling opponent.

The victory for Nadal means he will face fifth seed Dominic Thiem in the last eight as he goes in search of his 20th Grand Slam title overall and his first win at this event since 2009.

When the tennis got started, the home player was given raucous backing by the Melbourne crowd. However, the atmosphere didn’t daunt Nadal, who was able to quickly settle into an ominous groove.

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The top seed was able to conjure this magical forehand down the line early on and grab a break of serve.

By contrast, Kyrgios was unable make a dent in his opponent’s serve and was powerless to prevent the 19-time Grand Slam champion from clinching the first set.

After being comprehensively outplayed early on, it was imperative Kyrgios started the second set well.

He had to dig deep to hold serve against a Nadal barrage, and that appeared to fill the Australian with confidence.

Kyrgios then broke to move 3-1 in front and behind his booming serve he was able to do enough to level things up with the second set.

In the third set, both players settled in behind their serve and there was just one break point carved out between the pair; that was for Nadal, although Kyrgios was able to hold.

However, even with that impetus, Kyrgios couldn’t force a fifth.

In the tiebreak, Nadal was able to show more match awareness and discipline on the crucial points, ensuring he eventually finished a draining affair in four sets.

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Zverev defeats error-prone Nadal at ATP Finals

After being thoroughly outplayed by defending champion Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals, Rafael Nadal declined to make any excuses.

The top-ranked Spaniard wouldn’t blame the abdominal issue that forced him to pull out of the Paris Masters semifinals just nine days earlier, or a hand injury that kept him sidelined before that. And he bristled at the notion that his recent marriage could be a factor in a sub-par performance.

Something was clearly off for Nadal, though, who lost 6-2, 6-4 to a player he had a perfect 5-0 record versus before Monday’s match at the O2 Arena.

Nadal dropped his serve three straight times, didn’t force a single break point, and his normally powerful forehand was responsible for more than four times as many unforced errors (13) as winners (3). Still, Nadal insisted there was nothing wrong with him physically.

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”I did not feel pain in the abdominal at all”, he said. ”So the physical issue was not an excuse at all. The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight”.

Nadal hasn’t finished a tournament since winning the U.S. Open in August, also pulling out of Shanghai because of a hand injury.

That lack of playing time certainly isn’t helpful coming into an event featuring only the top eight players in the world, rather than lower-ranked early opponents.

He still has to face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev in round-robin play, and probably has to defeat both in order to reach the semifinals.

For Zverev, this latest victory means he has defeated each of tennis’ Big Three in his last three matches at the O2.

The German defeated six-time champion Roger Federer in last year’s semifinals and then five-time winner Novak Djokovic in the final. “It’s definitely a place and a court that I love, and that brings maybe the best out of me,” the seventh-seeded German said.

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Nadal out of Shangahai Masters with hand injury

The ATP said Friday that Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from next week’s Shanghai Masters due to a left hand injury.

Nadal is a two-time finalist in Shanghai — 2009 and 2017 — and was looking to extend an 11-match winning streak. He pulled out of his final match at the Laver Cup with a left wrist injury two weeks ago.

He has also won 28 of his last 29 matches, a run that contains his fourth U.S. Open title and 12th Roland Garros championship in addition to Masters 1000 crowns in Montreal and Rome.

Defending Shanghai champion Novak Djokovic will have a chance to close the gap on Nadal in the battle to finish as the year-end No. 1.

Djokovic trails Nadal by 1,960 points in the ATP Race to London. Djokovic could earn 500 points if he wins the Tokyo title this weekend and another 1,000 points by winning Shanghai.

Nadal said on shanghairolexmasters.com: ‘I am very sad to announce that I won’t be able to play in Shanghai this year.

‘As you all probably know, I had an inflammation on my left wrist during the Laver Cup and I haven’t had the time to recover and practice to be ready for this amazing event.  ‘I hope to be back in Shanghai for the 2020 tournament.’

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The injury is in many ways timely given Nadal’s wedding to his long-time girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello is later this month.

And at the time he said: ““It is not my wrist by the way, it is my hand.

“My hand is a little bit inflamed. After New York I had a little bit of an issue probably after the final.

“I felt a little bit, the first day here, then a little bit more every day.”

However it is not all doom and gloom for the Spaniard as he can still return to the top of the world rankings next week.

Nadal is 640 points behind Djokovic in the standings but the world No 1 is the defending champion in Shanghai.

That means the Serbian needs to win the title again to retain 1000 points so an early loss could see him drop to second.

He is scheduled to return to action at the Paris Masters beginning on October 28.

The Spaniard has never won the Shanghai Masters but reached the final twice, in 2009 and 2017. 

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Rafael Nadal vs Lukas Rosol

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Spanish pro tennis star Rafael Nadal assured reporters Tuesday that he is in the best time of his competitive career, after a season with a lot of doubts, and some ups and downs on his perfect form when playing.

Nadal stressed that he currently does not have those nerves during the season, so now it feels good in matches and training, and that is his thought, facing the Masters in London.

Although he has never been the winner of a Grand Slam tournament, the Spanish, world number six, failed to qualify for the season-ending 15 to 22 November.

Nadal believes he has regained a competitive practically acceptable level, although not yet reached the courts that led him to dominate the sport in the last decade by the Swiss Roger Federer.

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Nadal will make a debut in Paris Wednesday, against the winner of the match between Czech Lukas Rosol and Spanish Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Lukas Rosol is a foe who must have haunted many of the Spaniard’s nightmares over the three years since Wimbledon 2012. In the second round of the tournament, the then-world no. 100 seemed almost possessed as he unleashed killer groundstrokes, untouchable serves and lethal winners en route to a five set victory over the Majorcan. And Nadal does not take any defeat – let alone early Slam defeat, at a tournament he cherishes – lightly.

In the years since, Rafael Nadal has not fallen to this same opponent again – over two meeting in 2014, and another just last week. He now leads their head-to-head record by 3 wins to 1. But that almost wasn’t the case. As the lefty competed his first tournament on indoor hard-courts just last week at the Swiss Indoors Basel, he had the misfortune of drawing Rosol first round: A player with a legendary win over him, and the flat, sharp game that loves the enclosed atmosphere. The world no. 6 had lost the first set 6-1, and Lukas Rosol was serving for victory at 5-4 in the second set before the 29-year-old produced a stunning comeback. Breaking his foe at a pivotal moment, he went on to close out a 7-5 set, before eventually clinching victory in a final set tiebreak. It was all the more phenomenal when you consider the mental issues that have plagued the Grand Slam champion in many a big moment during this year of trial.

As the pair meet for the fifth time on Wednesday – barely a week after their most recent encounter – Rafael Nadal will surely take confidence and insight from the events of several days ago. But Lukas Rosol, too, has much to be upbeat about. Inches away from upending the eventual runner-up in Basel, the Czech can be in no doubt about what he must do to achieve victory over him in Paris.

And while Nadal has the benefit of the first round bye that top seeded players receive here, the situation may actually work out in Rosol’s favour. A qualifier into the event, the world no. 76 has multiple match wins under his belt on these courts, and is coming off a win over another Spaniard: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. A 6-2 2-6 6-3 scoreline may not sound convincing, but it is a win all the same – and over a tricky opponent, at that. To have come out on the right end of a tough duel the round before Nadal can only be a positive.

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