VIDEO: Pre-tournament interview with Rafael Nadal – 2018 Barcelona Open

Watch World No. 1 Rafael Nadal discuss his arrival at the 2018 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and recall what makes the tournament special for him.

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ATP Rankings: Rafael Nadal stays number one with Monte Carlo title win

Rafael Nadal maintained his number one spot in the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals world singles rankings released Monday, with 8,770 points.

Roger Federer remained in the second place, while Alexander Zverev jumped to the third spot. Marin Cilic fell to the fourth spot, ahead of Grigor Dimitrov.

Our champ had to win the Masters 1000 tournament to prevent Federer overtaking him in the rankings. The victory also means that Rafa has begun his 171st week at No. 1 in ATP Rankings, breaking a tie with American John McEnroe (170 weeks).

REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The current ATP rankings and point scores are as follows:

1. Rafael Nadal (Spain) 8,770 points

2. Roger Federer (Switzerland) 8,670

3. Alexander Zverev (Germany) 5,195

4. Marin Cilic (Croatia) 4,985

5. Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 4,950

6. Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) 4,470

7. Dominic Thiem (Austria) 3,755

8. Kevin Anderson (South Africa) 3,390

9. John Isner (USA) 3,125

10. David Goffin (Belgium) 2,930.

Rafa has risen to No. 4 in the latest ATP Race to London standings after winning his 11th Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title.

Rafa is already in Barcelona, where he is a 10-time titlist, having won a career-best 36 consecutive sets on clay.

Sources: ATP World Tour, EFE

Rafa Roundup: Nadal’s greatness is something we are all blessed to be witnessing

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

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“My true feeling is these kind of things are not going to happen forever, so I just try to enjoy them and to play with the full passion and with the full energy and concentration, full love for the sport until I can,” said Nadal. “I know the day to say goodbye is closer than 10 years ago. It is something that I am not worried about, but it is a real thing. So I am just enjoying every day and trying to play with the best attitude possible, to keep being happy playing tennis. That’s all.

In 2017, Nadal gave us the spring of La Décima, when he won his 10th titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and at Roland Garros. Will this be the spring of La Undécima? Has his career just been an elaborate way to teach the world how the Spanish system of ordinal numbers works? By now, his triumphs during the clay season seem pre-ordained; Rafa himself barely felt the need to celebrate after the last point on Sunday. But as we saw when he briefly lost his confidence, winning finals is never as easy as he makes it look. None of Nadal’s victories over the next two months should be taken for granted or passed off as routine. What are the chances we’ll ever witness dominance like this, on any type of tennis court, again?

Overall for the match, Nadal hit 87 (73 per cent) rally backhands and just 33 (27 per cent) run-around forehands. Nadal’s backhand accounted for five winners and just seven errors over two sets. That means he averaged a backhand error one out of every 12 shots. Simply outstanding for a shot that was supposed to be under attack.

Rafael Nadal has 16 Grand Slam titles – including an historic 10 Roland Garros titles – and he’s currently spending his 170th career week at No.1. He’s by far the best left-hander in tennis right now, but is he the best left-hander in sports right now?

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VIDEO: It’s impossible to not smile watching Rafael Nadal celebrating his historic win in Monte Carlo

Rafael Nadal has won an historic 11th title in Monte-Carlo, defeating Kei Nishikori.

Match highlights:

Hot Shot:

Post-match interview:

Rafael Nadal wins his 11th Monte Carlo Masters after beating Kei Nishikori

Rafael Nadal claimed an eleventh Monte Carlo Masters title with victory over Kei Nishikori.

The King of Clay won 6-3, 6-2 and it was his 76th title – his 31st ATP World Tour Masters title and his 54th clay-court crown. He became the first male tennis player in the Open era to win the same title 11 times — 13 years after his first title here.

Nishikori was chasing a first Masters title, but the Japanese player took 11 minutes to hold for 1-1. He got some brief hope, breaking Rafa with a superb passing shot at full stretch to lead 2-1, but meekly surrendered the next four games. The second set was a procession and Rafa won on his first match point with a stinging backhand winner.

 

Rafa:

I want to thank all my team and my family. We had some tough moments during the last five months after a couple of injuries in a row. It’s great to have a group of great people behind me. I can say thank you very much always for being there and supporting me when I really need it.

It’s always special for me to be back here, having this trophy. It’s one of the most important events of the year for me.

I want to congratulate Kei for a great week. It’s always difficult to be back from injury and I’m happy to see you again playing well.

Rafa has now won an ATP World Tour title for the 15th year in a row (since 2004). Ever since making his tour-level debut in 2003, our champ has compiled a 392-35 match record on the dirt – the best winning percentage of any player in the Open Era.

Sources: AP, ATP

Barcelona Open 2018: Rafael Nadal faces tough draw as Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori stand in way of final

The draw for the Barcelona tournament is out.

Top-seeded and ten-time champion Rafael Nadal will start his title defence by playing the winner of a match between countryman Roberto Carballes Baena and Andreas Haider-Maurer.

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Rafa’s potential route to the final:

  • 1st round: Bye
  • 2nd round: Roberto Carballes Baena or Andreas Haider-Maurer
  • 3rd round: Kei Nishikori
  • Quarter-final: Novak Djokovic
  • Semi-final: David Goffin
  • Final: Grigor Dimitrov
If the men play to seed the quarter-final line up will be:
  • Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic
  • David Goffin vs Roberto Bautista Agut
  • Diego Schwartzman vs Dominic Thiem
  • Pablo Carreno Busta vs Grigor Dimitrov

View Singles Draw

For Rafa this will be his 14th participation at the tournament, where he will play for his 11th title. During Rafa’s 13 appearances in the City of Barcelona, he has compiled a 53-3 record.

The action at the Barcelona Open, an ATP 500 event, begins on Monday.

Vamos Rafa!

Monte Carlo Masters Final: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Kei Nishikori?

Rafael Nadal will face Kei Nishikori in Sunday’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final. It will be the 12th meeting between the Japanese and our champ and first of 2018.

Rafa has won nine of their 11 previous meetings, including two clay finals in Madrid (2014) and Barcelona (2016).

Date: April 22, 2018

Match time: 2.30 PM local time / 8.30 AM EDT –  New York, Montreal / 1.30 PM BST – United Kingdom / 2.30 PM  CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy / 10.30 PM AEST – Melbourne. To convert to your local time, use this website.

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Rafa on playing Kei Nishikori:

With Kei, we had a lot of good matches in our career. It’s going to be a tough match. I know I have to play at my best to keep having real chances of success. It is an important match for me tomorrow. But still, to be in the final already after a period outside of the courts is great news for me. Let’s try to be ready for tomorrow. Let’s try to play a great match and give me another chance.

Kei on playing Rafa:

Tomorrow is a different opponent. He’s been dominating like crazy this week. I know it’s going to be tough. For me, I think I’m improving every match. I feel very confident right now.

Rafa has been hitting very, very heavy, especially his forehand. His backhand also. He’s been playing very solid this week. I’m sure there is a way to beat him. But, to see him this week, it looks little bit difficult.

Rafa has dropped only 16 games in four matches this week, including two Top 10 victories over Dimitrov and World No. 7 Dominic Thiem.

This is the sixth time Rafa has not dropped a set en route to the Monte-Carlo final, and he has won this title four times without dropping a set (2008-10 and 2012).

Rafa has improved his lifetime clay-court win-loss record to 395-35 (.919), and is 67-4 at Monte-Carlo, where he now aims for his 11th title in 12 championship match appearances (his only prior final-round loss was to Novak Djokovic in 2013).

The Spaniard is currently tied with Djokovic for the most ATP Masters 1000 titles, with 30 apiece, and is one match-win away from claiming the lead outright with a 31st trophy.

GOOD LUCK & VAMOS RAFA!

Source: ATP World Tour