At Roland Garros 2021, the third career defeat for Rafael Nadal on Parisian clay came. The Spanish phenomenon, who had done everything possible to win his 21st Grand Slam, had to surrender in the semifinals to eternal rival Novak Djokovic.
After winning the first set, the 34-year-old from Manacor was the victim of a physical decline, which allowed the number 1 in the world to overturn the inertia of the challenge and win a comeback. Before the second Slam of the season, Rafa had participated in four events on red and won two (Barcelona and Rome, both with match points canceled along the way).
Already in a press conference after his elimination at the French Open, the Iberian had questioned his presence at Wimbledon. The official announcement arrived on Thursday afternoon. Through a press release on social media, the Majorcan announced that he will not take part in either the Championships or the Tokyo Olympics.
Nadal will therefore enjoy a couple of months off, with the intention of recharging his batteries in view of the swing on American hard court. With Roger Federer far from top form, Wimbledon looms as a golden opportunity for the Next Gen.
Mardy Fish on Nadal’s withdrawal from Wimbledon
Talking about Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from Wimbledon and Olympics, former world number seven Mardy Fish felt that the bubble restrictions are what driving some players to opt out of tournaments.
“Hate this for Rafa. These players are tired of bubbles, reduced prize money, tournaments moving schedules(French Open)…Wimbledon has most strict bubble this year and British Open won’t have a bubble? Hmm Just talkin out loud…”, tweeted Fish.
Rafael Nadal recently took to Twitter to reveal that he is pulling out from the upcoming Wimbledon Championships and Tokyo Olympics. Nadal cited the need to “listen to his body” after a rigorous claycourt season as the reason behind his withdrawal.
“Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Nadal wrote. “It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.
The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at he maximum level of competition,” he added.
Rafael Nadal pointed out how the small gap between Roland Garros and Wimbledon – just two weeks – played a role in his decision.
ROGER FEDERER AND RAFAEL NADAL ARE ‘ALWAYS PERFECTION’ SAYS ALEXANDER ZVEREV AFTER AUSTRALIAN OPEN FIRST-ROUND WIN
“You’re not always going to play your best tennis, except if you’re Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, you always come out and you’re always perfection, but I’m not like them … it was a good match for me to get into the tournament, and hopefully next time it will be better” – Alexander Zverev joked that he’s not as perfect as his rivals as he edged into the second round of the Australian Open.
Alexander Zverev admits he is not like ‘perfect’ Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, and sometimes has to win ugly.
Zverev was speaking after his straight sets 7-6(3), 6-1, 7-6(1) Australian Open first-round win over Daniel Altmaier.
The German world number three battled past his stubborn compatriot, but struggled to find rhythm and needed two tie-breaks to grind out the win.
And Zverev admitted that he knows he won’t always play his best, unlike his two illustrious rivals.
“Not much went to plan today, to be honest, except that I won,” said Zverev. “But that’s how it is sometimes, it’s the first round of hopefully a very long tournament.
YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS GOING TO PLAY YOUR BEST TENNIS, EXCEPT IF YOU’RE ROGER OR RAFA, YOU ALWAYS COME OUT AND YOU’RE ALWAYS PERFECTION, BUT I’M NOT LIKE THEM … IT WAS A GOOD MATCH FOR ME TO GET INTO THE TOURNAMENT, AND HOPEFULLY NEXT TIME WILL BE BETTER.”
But Zverev, just like Federer and Nadal, had the crowd on his side and laughing as he admitted to struggling with the interviewer’s questions in his fourth language.
When asked if the wind made things harder in Melbourne, he said: “It’s very tough to understand what you’re saying, … I am German, with Russian roots, living in Monaco. English is my fourth language, so …”
Zverev will play Australian John Millman in the next round where he may not be on the receiving end of home support.
Nevertheless, he welcomed an exciting tie against a tough opponent.
“I played him a few times,” Zverev added.
“I played him once at the French Open which was five-and-a-half hours, five sets, so … yeah, he’s a very difficult player to beat … hopefully it’ll be another fun one, and I’m looking forward to being back on court.”
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Martina Navratilova compares Naomi Osaka to Serena Williams
Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova suggested Naomi Osaka is all about business as she is focused on making it all the way on the biggest stage.
Osaka, 24, has seven titles in her collection and four of those seven titles came at the Grand Slam level.
“Naomi [Osaka] dominated the majors, particularly the hard courts, but never the little tournaments,” Navratilova told the WTA, as quoted on Tennishead. “Kind of like Serena. I think to leave your mark on the game, you need to dominate all the events, a la Barty, a la Djokovic.
“They concentrate on majors, but you can’t just use the other tournaments as warmups”.
Navratilova thinks Osaka needs to play more
Osaka took a two-month break from tennis after the French Open and she also didn’t play any events in 2021 after the US Open.
“The less you play, the more the pressure builds up and the less feel you have for the game itself,” Navratilova explained. “You need to put in the reps. If [Naomi Osaka] can do that, she has the game to blow anybody off the court because she’s quick, moves well and is strong on both wings.
“And she’s got the massive serve as well. She just needs to play more matches”. Recentl, Osaka opened up about losing the joy for the game. “I started to feel like that power was being taken away from me,” Osaka explained.
“I wasn’t playing to make myself happy and I was more concerned about what would people say about me. “I used to love the competition and just being competitive. Like if I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me.
“And then I just started to feel – recently – the longer it was the more stressed out I became. But I just needed a break to go within myself.”
Happy Memories – Maria Sharapova: “When I won Wimbledon my mother was …”
The last tournament officially played by Maria Sharapova was that of the Australian Open, 2020 edition: out of the top 150 players in the world, the Russian lost in the first round against Croatian Donna Vekic,for 6-3 6-4.
A few days earlier she had also gone out in the first game in Brisbane, this time against Jennifer Brady. Maria triumphed in Melbourne in 2008, winning the final over Ana Ivanovic. Speaking on the Second Life podcast, the beautiful Russian recalled a funny episode that took place more than sixteen years ago, on the occasion of her first and only triumph on the grass of Church Road, when she was still a teenager.
The memory of Maria Sharapova
At that edition of Wimbledon, 17-years-old Sharapova already occupied the 17th seed and was only her second participation in the British Major. Maria quite easily overtook Yuliya Beygelzimer, Anne Keothavong, Daniela Hantuchova and Amy Frazier, qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Here she defeated Ai Sugiyama in a comeback, as did Lindsay Davenport in the next round. In the final, she surpassed the American Serena Williams, holder of the title, with a score of 6-1 6-4. She said: “I remember my mother, at that time, was actually on a plane flight.
It was that time when small televisions on planes started to appear, my mother had one on. He saw me win at a height of 30,000 feet. Then I ran to the court and reached my bag, hugged my father and started to take my cell phone and call my mother, forgetting that it was still flying.”
The Russian will return to the final at Wimbledon one last time in 2011, but losing to Czech Petra Kvitova. Maria also boasts a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics, when she was defeated in the last game by Serena Williams with a clear score of 6-0 6-1.
Unfortunately, the Church Road event was not held this year due to the Covid emergency. Interviewed recently, the former 5-times-Slam-champion answered the question of whether she had picked up the racket again recently, she said: “In the last couple of months I haven’t done it, because I stayed home.
But of course I’ll do it when things calm down a little and there is more flexibility. Tennis is a sport that I love very much and I will certainly be back on the court soon.” Maria said she was aware that the sensations will not be the same as before, since she is no longer a professional tennis player: “It will be a bit strange and bizarre, but that’s okay.
I’ve always been a person who accepts a feeling or a feeling even when I don’t know it completely or don’t feel great, I like to find a solution. So I will also address this feeling when I try it.”