Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic cancel planned exhibition match in Saudi Arabia

A planned exhibition match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in Saudi Arabia has been called off.

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Rafa and Nole were due to take part in a one-off exhibition contest in Jeddah on December 22. They committed to the event over a year ago and were under pressure to pull out after Amnesty International condemned the plans following the recent death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Serb told BBC Sport on Friday:

Nadal is injured, so the match is not happening this year.

Thankfully, the exhibition match is finally cancelled. And let’s be honest we all know it’s not just because of Rafa’s injury and Nole is likely to face more questions about the situation in the coming days. Anyway, it was a safe excuse to do the right thing.

Source: BBC

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Rafael Nadal Wins Sportsmanship Award

Rafael Nadal has won the ATP tour’s Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the second time, ending Roger Federer’s streak of seven in a row.

The ATP announced earlier today:

Fellow players voted Nadal as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a second time, recognising the Spaniard for his fair play, professionalism and integrity on and off the court. Nadal also received this honour in 2010. This season, the 32-year-old Spaniard spent 36 weeks atop the ATP Rankings and won five titles, including record 11th titles at Roland Garros, Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Off the court, Nadal supported flood relief efforts in Mallorca.

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Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Kevin Anderson were the others nominated for the award.

ATP Awards:

Comeback of the year: Novak Djokovic

Most improved player: Stefanos Tsitsipas

Newcomer of the year: Alex de Minaur

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: Rafael Nadal

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award: Tommy Robredo

Coach of the year: Marian Vajda

Fans’ favourite singles player: Roger Federer

Fans’ favourite doubles team: Mike Bryan/Jack Sock

ATP Masters 1000 event of the year: Indian Wells

ATP 500 event of the year: Queen’s

ATP 250 event of the year: Stockholm

Source: ATP World Tour

Rafael Nadal injury latest: Ankle surgery went well

Rafael Nadal’s ankle operation that forced his withdrawal from the ATP Finals in London went well, he confirmed earlier today:

Hello everyone, thank you for the messages I received. The ankle surgery went well and from home I am informing you that we postpone the exhibition party planned for the victims in Llevant de Mallorca.

Rafa spotted leaving hospital with his right ankle in a bandage following surgery on Monday. He supported himself of crutches.

His surgery was carried out in Barcelona by doctors Jaume Vilaro and Angel Ruiz-Cotorro.

Dr Ruiz-Cotorro said of Rafa’s recovery:

Now there is a process of progressive recovery ahead of us.

It will be 48 hours very quiet, to see how it evolves, and then start moving the ankle and work a lot in the pool.

When a longer period has elapsed, we will start with charges and supports.

We will go at the right speed within what common sense allows us. Without hurry, but without pause.

I think we will reach the new season if everything goes according to plan. We are convinced that 2019 can begin normally.

Sources: El Espanol, Daily Express

Injured Rafael Nadal withdraws from ATP World Tour Finals

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the season-ending ATP Finals due to a persistent abdominal injury and will take the time off to have ankle surgery.

He lost his place as world number one last week when injury forced him to pull out of the Paris Masters, with Novak Djokovic moving to the top of the rankings.

And Rafa will not get the opportunity to end the year on a high as he will not play in London, citing both last week’s abdominal issue and a long-standing ankle problem for his absence.

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“It has been a complicated year — very good at the tennis level when I have been able to play and, at the same time, very bad as far as injuries are concerned,” Rafa wrote in a series of messages on his Twitter page. “I have done everything possible to get to the end of the season in good condition, both to Paris and to London, doing things well, and I really wanted to play.

“Unfortunately I had the abdominal problem in Paris last week and I also have a free body in the ankle joint that has to be removed in the operating room today.”

“It is true that we had detected for some time and occasionally bothered me. However, since the problem in the abdominal muscle also prevents me from playing in London, we take the time to remove the free body and avoid future problems. This way I hope to be in full condition for next season.”

Get well soon, Rafa!

Rafael Nadal: I don’t know if we can talk about a real injury

(Reuters) – Top seed Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Paris Masters shortly before his opening match against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday, and as a result will lose the ATP No. 1 ranking to Novak Djokovic.

Rafa, who has not played since retiring injured in the US Open semifinals in September, cited an abdominal injury.

He said that he still feels fit to play, but doctors were concerned enough about the abdomen problem could become progressively worse if he was to play in Paris this week.

I decided I’m happy to be here and it has been a positive few days for my mental part too to be here again practicing with the guys. I enjoy that and I feel myself competitive but… I just can follow the recommendations of the doctor. I can’t go against that, in my opinion today especially before the tournament has started.

I don’t know if we can talk about a real injury. I can talk about a pain that bothers me overtime that I serve. It will not be fair to say it’s a real injury today but what is sure that if I continue then it will be a real injury.

Our champ needed to beat Verdasco to hold Djokovic at bay, but the Serb will now return to the No. 1 spot regardless of how far he goes in Paris.

Paris Masters R2: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Fernando Verdasco?

After nearly two months out with a knee injury, Rafael Nadal returns to action with a tough opening test in Paris against last year’s quarter-finalist Fernando Verdasco, who beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4.

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Date: October 31, 2018

Match time: Rafa is fourth match on Center Court. Around 4 PM local time / 11 AM EDT –  New York, Montreal / 3 PM GMT – United Kingdom / 4 PM  CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy / 2 AM AEDT – Melbourne. To convert to your local time, use this website.

This will be the 20th tour-level meeting between Rafa and Fer in a head-to-head. Our champ leads 16-3, but the last six matches have been split.

GOOD LUCK & VAMOS RAFA!

Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal yet to decide on playing Saudi Arabia exhibition

Photo via Paris Masters

ARTICLES:

“I slow down a little bit the intensity of course… I stopped [practising] for a while after the US Open so then I started to practise slowly, step-by-step,” Nadal said. “It’s nothing new for me. It’s something that happened in my career a couple of times. So more or less we know the process, and we know the thing that works good to us, things that don’t work good.”

“I just go day by day, no? I am happy to be here. I am having better feelings on court. I am practising a little bit more every day. And, yeah, trying to improve the positive feelings. That’s all what I can say today, no?” Nadal said.

Nadal, who was won 17 major titles to Djokovic’s 14, added that the match had been agreed over a year ago, a long time before the recent controversy surrounding the regime emerged.

“It’s terrible that one journalist lost his life. I know something very bad happened inside there,” Nadal said.

“We are looking about how the situation evolves and I hope things will be clarified as soon as possible.”

The pair will enter the main draw on Monday with Nadal just 35 points ahead of his Serbian rival in the ATP rankings – 7,480 to 7,445 – and the equation is simple enough; whoever lasts longer in Paris will be the number one by the end of the week. So if they both get knocked out in the same round, then Nadal will hold on to the top spot going into the Nitto ATP finals in London but if the Spaniard loses in any round that the Serb successfully negotiates, then Djokovic will take over. And if they both progress to a final showdown in Paris? Well, then we really will have a sensational, winner-takes-all finale!

VIDEOS:

Rafa returns to the ATP World Tour at the Rolex Paris Masters and discusses his year-end No. 1 battle with Novak Djokovic.