Rafael Nadal took advantage of the lull in the season, returning to Spain for a relaxing trip on his yacht Beethoven. The Daily Mail posted paparazzi shots of our champ who was joined by his friends in Ibiza.
Watch highlights of the epic semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as the Serb won 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 10-8 to reach the Wimbledon final.
Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after his 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-8 defeat against Novak Djokovic.
Q. You’ve played so many brilliant matches against Novak. Where does that rank?
RAFAEL NADAL: Being honest, I didn’t have the chance to analyze where rank. I don’t remember all the matches.
Have been a great match. I think a fantastic level of tennis for both of us. I think I was not a spectator, but I think was a great show for the fans.
Of course, not happy with the final result. Of course, happy about being part of this match that have been a great one.
Q. When you play him, what is the biggest challenge and what is the level of respect that you have for him?
RAFAEL NADAL: Biggest challenge is I am playing against one of the best players of the history. Probably for him is something similar.
And the respect? The respect is very high because is an opponent that we played a lot of times. We played in the greatest stadiums, greatest moments for both of us. We shared on court a lot of big moments for both of us, no?
Is a great rival. Today was another battle that stays there for the — I don’t know. Stays there.
Q. You had five breakpoints. In the first four, in my opinion, you couldn’t do much. The fifth was when you went to the net maybe with a little impatience. Is that maybe the key point, the one point that could have gone another way?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course, if I have the break, I win the next game, I am here with the victory. That’s 100% like this.
But ‘impatient’? I came back from a defensive position. I hit a great backhand across. I decided to go inside. Worked very well a lot of times hitting backhands and go to the net. Continue reading “VIDEO: Rafael Nadal semi-final press conference | Wimbledon 2018”
(AP) – Rafael Nadal’s quest for a third Wimbledon singles title ended in remarkable fashion in London on Saturday as the world No. 1 was beaten 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-3, 10-8 by Novak Djokovic.
As intense as any athletes in any sport, these two didn’t exactly slowly ramp things up when they returned to Centre Court about 14 hours after they’d departed. Having the roof shut meant every sound was amplified as it ricocheted off the dome — the thwack of ball off racket, the players’ grunts, the spectators’ applause.
This was high-decibel, high-stakes, high-quality tennis between two of the greats right from the get-go, beginning with an 18-point, six-deuce game that last 15 minutes and felt truly pivotal. It included a 23-stroke exchange and three others of at least 11. Rafa saved two break points and when he finally held, the owner 17 major championships, two at Wimbledon, punched the air and yelled as if he’d won the match, not a solitary game.
When Rafa broke in Saturday’s second game, a dismayed Djokovic grabbed a spare ball and whacked it with his racket against the wall behind the baseline. Fortunately, he was at the end of the court farthest from the Royal Box, where the pair of visiting Duchesses, Kate and the newly married Meghan, sat in the front row.
There were other such displays of emotion from Djokovic, who is prone to yelling at himself or at his coach. He reacted by getting broken again to trail 5-3 in that set by raising his left shoe and violently pounding his racket against it — one, two, three, four times. Moments later, he got to love-40 before Rafa took five points in a row to serve out the set.
But it was Djokovic who tended to be better down the stretch in his 52nd career meeting against Rafa in a contest that seemed as if it should be worth a trophy.
(AP) – It was the kind of tennis that Wimbledon’s Centre Court crowd would gladly have watched all night long.
The show being put on by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was so good it could have been an instant classic had they been able to finish their semifinal before the tournament’s 11 p.m. curfew.
Instead, the two players — and a disappointed audience — were sent home after the third set on Friday with Djokovic leading 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9) following a tense tiebreaker that had more entertaining rallies than some entire matches.
The two players didn’t even get onto the court until after 8 p.m. because of an earlier marathon semifinal won by Kevin Anderson and when Djokovic converted his second set point in the tiebreaker — having saved three of Nadal’s — the clock had ticked a couple of minutes past 11. That left organizers no choice but to call it a night, although the announcement from the chair umpire led to a scattering of boos from some fans who clearly wanted more.
Most of them will have to watch the rest on TV.
The match will resume at 1 p.m. local time on Saturday, before the women’s final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber. At stake is a place in Sunday’s men’s final against the man who was partly at fault for keeping Nadal and Djokovic out there so late. Anderson’s win over John Isner lasted 6 ½ hours and went to 26-24 in the fifth set.
Djokovic-Nadal had clearly been the headline act of the day — they have five Wimbledon titles between them and met in the 2011 final while Anderson and Isner had never made the semifinals before — and their tennis was at another level from the earlier match. Even Anderson said he could feel during his match that the crowd would rather be watching the next one.
“They’ve paid to see two matches, and they came pretty close to only seeing one match,” Anderson said. “I can feel the crowd (get) pretty antsy for us to get off the court. They’ve been watching us for over six hours.”
While Anderson-Isner was mostly a serving duel with a few longer rallies thrown in, Djokovic and Nadal repeatedly slugged it out from the baseline, chasing each other around the court and coming up with spectacular winners from every corner.
Many of the best points came in the tiebreaker, including a 23-shot rally that Nadal finished off with a forehand half-volley drop shot to set up his first set point.
It was one of three successful drop shots from the Spaniard in the tiebreaker alone, but Djokovic answered with one of his own to save the second set point at 7-6.
He eventually went up 10-9 with the help of a backhand passing shot and an errant shot into the net by Nadal brought the entertainment to an end — for now.
It led to the unusual situation of both players leaving the court to a huge ovation — and applauding the fans in return — but without there being a clear winner or loser.
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be facing each other for the 52nd time in their careers when they meet in the semifinals of Wimbledon on Friday.
Date: July 13, 2018
Match time: Rafa is second match on Center Court. Around 3 PM local time / 10 AM EDT – New York, Montreal / 3 PM BST – United Kingdom / 4 PM CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy / midnight AEDT – Melbourne. To convert to your local time, use this website.
The pair have faced each other 51 times with Djokovic edging the overall head to head 26-25. They last met at Wimbledon in the 2011 final, when Djokovic won in four sets, while Rafa triumphed in their last meeting at the Rome Masters in May.
Rafa on playing Nole:
There is no one other match in the history of tennis that has been played more than our match. That’s a big thing. We always played in important stages, important places.
It is always a big challenge facing Novak. He is one of the more complex players that I ever saw in our sport. It is always a big test. You know that you can’t win against him if you don’t play very well.
I’m really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favourite.
I just try to build the momentum. Obviously I’ve been very pleased with the way I’ve played so far on the grass court season.
GOOD LUCK & VAMOS RAFA!
Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after his win over Juan Martin del Potro.