Rafael Nadal has been out since August due to a chronic foot injury that resurfaced during the Roland Garros. The Spanish champion, who was chasing his 14th title in the French capital, had to surrender to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
Overall, it wasn’t an unforgettable season for the 20-time Grand Slam champion. The Majorcan has in fact played the misery of seven official tournaments, still managing to put a couple of trophies on the bulletin board.
The former world number 1 was forced to miss Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open, before announcing the early closure of his 2021. After undergoing a minor foot treatment, the 35-year-old from Manacor has already recovered.
to train and hopes to get back in good shape for the 2022 Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal’s first electric car!
During the launch of the new KIA Crossover EV6 – a brand of which he is testimonial – Nadal illustrated how discipline and the desire to excel have accompanied him since he was a child.
We recall that Miguel Angel Nadal – one of Rafa’s uncles – was captain of the Spanish national football team and took part in three editions of the FIFA World Cup. “In my family there were many points of reference on a sporting level, from which I drew great inspiration.
I do nothing without giving my best, it is a principle that has dominated my whole life. My goal is to try to improve every single day,” Nadal added to MARCA’s microphones. The Spanish champion also talked about his long collaboration with KIA: “They made me sign my first contract when I didn’t have a driving license yet.
I hope our partnership will last for many more years. They gave me an electric car, it’s my first ever. I had a strange feeling, because you pick up speed without even realizing it.” Unlike his eternal rival Roger Federer, Rafa will retain his place in the Top 10 despite the few tournaments played.
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.”