Rafael Nadal loses to Alexander Zverev at Paris Masters

(AFP) – Rafael Nadal said he had enjoyed a “positive tournament” at the Paris Masters as he gears up for his latest tilt at a first ATP Tour Finals triumph, despite losing to Alexander Zverev on Saturday.

The top seed slumped to a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Zverev in the semi-finals at Bercy Arena, but said his run this week would help him at the season-ending event in London, which starts on November 15.

“It has been a positive tournament for me. Of course not happy about the loss, but that’s part of the game,” said Nadal, who has also never won the Paris Masters.

“I spent hours on court. Of course I wanted to win the tournament, but it’s always difficult. But I had the right attitude during the whole event, I think, fighting in every match. That gave me the chance to play four matches that I think will be helpful for London. I need to adjust a couple of things, but I am doing well on all the important things.”

Rafa has only won one of his 86 ATP titles on indoor hard courts and that success came in Madrid over 15 years ago.

“I need to find a better feeling with the backhand on this surface, because when I hit the ball sometimes I feel that I can miss it,” he admitted.

“To compete at this highest level, sometimes it’s a little bit tougher.”

Source: AFP

90 comments

  1. Rafa and Diego practicing now (half an hour later than scheduled). Live stream on Youtube. I haven’t watched the practice courts for a couple of years, the quality is quite good now. Definitely brightens up a cold, dark, rainy, windy Saturday!

  2. The ATP has now released a statement on domestic abuse. “The ATP fully codemns any form of violence or abuse. We expect all members of the tour to do the same, and to refrain from any conduct that is violent, abusive or puts others at risk. In circumstances where allegations of violence or abuse are made against any member of the Tour, legal authorities investigate and due process is applied, we then review the outcome and decide the appropriate course of action otherwise, we are unable to comment further on specific allegations.”
    Sascha Zverev was asked about the domestic abuse allegations at an ATP Finals press conference and made a pre-prepared statement refuting the allegations.
    There is an interesting discussion on this issue on the Tennis Podcast on Acast (posted 14th November).

    • I don’t think they singled out domestic abuse if the ESPN and Reuters’ articles are correct. Of course, the ATP’s statement most likely was prompted by the Zverev and Basilashvili allegations

      However, I haven’t forgotten the felony battery charge made against Justin Gimelstob who was, at the time, an ATP board of directors member. He plead no contest to attacking Randall Kaplan, a former friend. I didn’t see one article by the ATP acknowledging this. Had the ATP issued a statement at the time, maybe we wouldn’t be faced with seemingly ATP insouciance regarding these two latest alleged incidents of violence.

      What is unclear in their statement is what will guide them in making any decisions about a Tour member against whom allegations are made; the Tour’s investigations or the outcome of a court case. By its statement it seems the ATP is talking about the outcome of a court case for guidance.

      I also noted that the ATP included “…. refrain from any conduct that…. puts others at risk.” Could this mean court behavior? I hope so.

    • There is a link to the ATP rule book on @opencourt after the Pospisil v Sinner post.

      Some pertinent passages (paraphrased) : page 204 A player shall not at any time physically abuse any other person within the precinct of the tournament site.
      Page 199: the tournament site includes player hotels.
      Page 185: The ATP shall make a reasonable investigation.

      They are not following their own rule book for some reason. They do not have to wait for the outcome of a legal investigation.

  3. Rafa on Twitter.

    Nikolaus Fink
    @NikolausFink

    Rafael Nadal before the start of the #NittoATPFinals: “I don’t know how close I was to a perfect preparation. The four matches in Bercy should help and I have two more days to prepare for a tough opening match against Rublev.“

    More from Nadal: “The experience to play the finals in London has been one of the best. It was one of the best events. The ATP did a great job in choosing London. It is not fair to finish the finals without crowd. But an event like this needs to move around the world.

    Rafa also said that the best opportunity to win in London was maybe last year when he was in great form in Paris. Added that he had “he best preparation possible“ and the opening match against Rublev will be key.

    As is his custom before a match, he’s busy practicing and acclimating to the court. There’s a clip of him practicing with Tsitsipas and his academy tweeted that he practiced with ND.

    GOOD LUCK RAFA

  4. The teams look pretty evenly balanced to me. Regardless of who Rafa faces, he needs to be quick out of the starting block.

  5. David, yours @6:52pm

    I see what you mean and it does make sense.
    I’m thinking that they all pose strong threats so I’m not even looking at the rankings. I hope it’s not a failure on my part.

    Isn’t a draw random, though?

    • You are right Margo that it is random except 1. and 2. are placed on opposite teams to begin with. After that there are just six to be assigned randomly. With such a limited number it is not surprising that the random draw matches perfectly with the rankings.

      Go RAFA!

  6. Sunday’s Matches that were posted on Twitter.

    ATP Media Info
    @ATPMediaInfo
    · 11m
    #NittoATPFinals begins Sunday with Group London 2020.

    2 pm: [3] @ThiemDomi vs [6] @StefTsitsipas

    8 pm: [2] @RafaelNadal vs [7] @AndreyRublev97

  7. Projected singles for first matches:

    Group A
    ND vs Diego
    Medvedev vs Zverev

    Group B
    Rafa vs Rublev
    Thiem vs Tsitsipas

    GOOD LUCK 🍀 RAFA

      • Mimiiii
        Finally some excitement here LOL.

        Yes, Rafa better win or I’ll jump ship [joking]😂

        Hoping Diego is rested so he can win his match too.

        GO RAFA
        GO DIEGO

      • I had forgotten how this goes. Looks like one group plays two matches each day for the RR portion of the tournament.

        I thought it was one match from each group per day. Duuuuhhh

  8. ATP FINALS DRAW

    Group Tokyo

    Group Tokyo 1970
    1)
    @DjokerNole

    4)
    @DaniilMedwed

    5)
    @AlexZverev

    8)
    @dieschwartzman

    Group London 2020
    2)
    @RafaelNadal

    3)
    @ThiemDomi

    6)
    @StefTsitsipas

    7)
    @AndreyRublev97

    • WOW
      Looking at this draw, it’s hard to argue that Rafa could have gotten a weaker draw. All are strong.

      GOOD LUCK RAFA

      • Seems to me that the draw followed the rankings almost? entirely, Nole drawing the weaker and Rafa the stronger This is not a complaint; it seems fair but by appearance it is not a random draw after 1. and 2. are placed on opposite sides.

    • I am not wishing or predicting anything, but I recently posted that it’s possible Domi and Stefanos may have some lingering health issues: both players are in his group.

      ROOTING FOR RAFA

      • Mimi, have you seen any updates on Tsitsipas’s leg injury and Domi’s blisters? I hope both the players are all healed because it would be a shame to have them drop out.

        Looking forward to a hot contest among these top 8.

        GOOD LUCK🍀RAFA

        RAFA ROCKS

    • YES. And it looks like Maria Francisca is there with him. She is always such a good luck charm.

      Wishing them all the best for their stay in London. May it be fruitful.

  9. I am sooo looking forward to the Finals draw tomorrow, Friday.

    Following are the safety measures put in place according to Eurosport’s article dated November 10.

    “The tournament will be held behind closed doors and players will be in a strict bubble environment.

    Covid-19 tests will be carried out before entry is granted. Players don’t then have to be tested again during the tournament unless they show Covid-19 symptoms.

    It has been reported that each player will be allowed to bring three team members with them, and nobody will be allowed to leave the hotel, which is opposite the venue. Any breaches will see a player disqualified from the tournament.

    There will also be no line judges at the event to reduce the potential chance of infection, with Hawk-Eye used for all decisions, as it was at the Western & Southern Open in the summer and on the outside courts of the US Open.”

    I would feel a lot more comfortable if everyone were tested at least twice; once at qualification and again on Wednesday or Thursday. To rely solely on symptoms to retest during the tournament ignores possible asymptomatic individuals.

  10. Pauline, yours @8:20pm

    Good is good…glad to know 👍

    Glad you mentioned the #MeToo Movement. I wasn’t surprised about Georgia’s poor record on protecting women from physical abuse. What upset me were the comments made about his ex-wife, Dorokashvili, on the sites I did check. She purportedly destroyed all of NB’s trophies and guys were saying she is the dangerous one. As if she deserved to be physically assaulted. It is not clear to me if the assault was a reaction to the broken trophies. His lawyer claims she has a video proving his innocence.

    A hot-button issue for sure.

    About Adidas, I wouldn’t be surprised if they renew AZ’s contract. He is German and hugely popular. Lets see what happens.

  11. Hi Pauline, re. your comment NOVEMBER 11, 2020 AT 9:00 PM (no reply button for that)

    I’ve seen other issues of depth discussed here, the most recent being covid. But I think some are interested readers, rather than contributors. That’s me too, sometimes. And others may not care for controversial topics; just see this as a place to cheer, as you suggest.

    Practically speaking, I think it’s difficult to maintain layered discussions with the limited messaging functionality this site has.

    On Twitter, the Rafans I know of feel strongly against AZ and the ATP. But Twitter encourages strong feelings and terse expression. They’re probably not representative of Rafans generally.

  12. Hello Margo,

    As it is often said the absence of a comment is in itself a comment. It would be wrong for the ATP to pass judgment or to take sides. Not suggesting that.

    I am speaking of Basilashvili not Zverev as there have been no charges against him. A simple statement of acknowledgment that they are aware of the situation and are monitoring it would be appropriate. They should develop a policy for these situations that’s all. You are free to disagree but please be respectful of other people’s opinions.

    My comment on Zverev at Adria was related to his being with Team8 so the fact that the event was not an ATP one was irrelevant.

    Did you find any companies that sponsor both Rafa and A.Z?

    • Hi Pauline,

      If I was disrespectful to you, you have my sincerest apology. No disrespect meant.

      I didn’t interpret your comment as a push to have the ATP take a stand on NB’s arrest. I was thinking about what the ATP can do legally. Does the governing tennis association for that player’s country issue a statement or is it left up to the ATP to issue a statement.

      I couldn’t find any statement from either the USTA or the ATP about the Sam Querry incident which I find odd but I don’t think their silence signifies agreement about his behavior. For me, the same goes for NB and the ATP.

      I do think that it should be a no brainer for the ATP to issue some kind of neutral statement in cases such as NB’s but, for me, not knowing the inner workings of the ATP or any legal issues that may arise from any statement, I am not qualified to suggest what the ATP should do.

      Getting the ATP to formulate a policy would be great but getting agreement among so many different cultures involved will not be easy.

      I thought that Nike is a Zverev sponsor, not so. He uses Adidas.

      • All is good Margo. 👍

        I know you check fan’s reactions on other sites as I do. Many, many people are dissatisfied at the ATP’s silence in this Me Too era. They interpret it as a lack of caring about women who may have been abused. Some big name tennis journalists e.g. Jon Wertheim are calling for some sort of policy to be instituted. Am unable to address possible legal ramifications but as you say a neutral statement should be a “no brainer”.

        These are very tricky, hot button issues to be sure.

        As for Zverev being outfitted by Adidas have seen that his contract expires this year. Fully expect them to resign him as they are based in Germany.

      • Pauline, I found the following on EssentiallySports, dated “6 months ago” and written by Varun Khanna.

        The quoted material appears to be translations, with errors, but I decided not to attempt any corrections.
        ———————-

        Nikoloz’s lawyer revealed that the couple has not lived together since 2018. Moreover, they officially divorced in August of 2019, and the initiator of divorce was Nikoloz.

        His lawyer also revealed an interesting incident that took place during the 2019 US Open.

        Apparently, Dorokashvili managed to get into the locker room, with false accreditation, where she had a dispute with Nicoloz.

        “The case was organized in such a way that the tournament organizers asked Dorokashvili left the territory. Subsequently, she left the United States at the expense of Basilashvili,” Nikoloz lawyer added.

        “In addition, recently, before the tournaments, she was constantly pressurizing Basilashvili. In the end, Basilashvili conceded the mentioned game to the US Open. It was very difficult for him to maintain the achieved rating,” she continued.

        According to reports, Basilashvili’s lawyer claimed that Novak Djokovic had reached out to Nikoloz. The Serb gave Nikoloz his support as he was aware of the US Open locker room incident.

        ————————

        The mention of Djokovic possibly being involved in the locker-room incident poses some questions. Did he have any influence in keeping the ATP silent. Did he witness the altercation or did he learn about it through hearsay. Is he a possible witness for the defense. Can Djokovic be objective.

        The last court date that I know of was supposed to be October 20, at which time the prosecution was to either decide to go ahead with a trial or to ask for additional evidence.

        Unfortunately what I know is only from translations on the internet which aren’t always reliable.

        What I am concerned about is the possibility of additional damaging evidence being presented against his ex.

        What I will volunteer is that with 1 in 4 females in Georgia believing a male counterpart has the right to assault his wife or partner; if present and possible future allegations against NB’s ex are found to be true, the case could wind up as an acquittal. There would be no crime or criminal record and the court could not retry him for the same crime if the law is like it is in the US.

        You got me started on this case😂 but if you decide you don’t want to continue to follow it let me know. I won’t take it personally. I think it’s a great test for the ATP and for the #Me Too Movement in general.

    • Hello Pauline and Margot,

      I’ve been interested in your exchanges. It seems we share the opinion that a professional body should denounce behaviour that has been proved to be criminal – although what sanctions would be applied at that point is unclear.

      The difference of opinion seems to be whether it is appropriate for a professional body to intervene – or even acknowledge – a situation at the allegation, charge, or trial stage. AZ is at the allegation stage; it may not go beyond that. NB is at the trial stage; it may not end in a conviction.

      Two things to note in the AZ case: i) the accuser says she does not want to put him through a criminal trial (I make no comment on whether “trial by media” is better). ii) there is corroborating evidence of her story (witness accounts, messages, photos)

      We know there is a difference between what actually happens in life, and what can be proved at law. Firstly, legal rules do not cover every type of behaviour, even damaging behaviour. Secondly, criminal law has a high standard of proof, and people can be acquitted on technicalities. I am not criticising those procedural protections. However, I am pointing out that an acquittal is not the same as innocence; it just means that something was not proven at that time.

      Therefore, it is entirely possible that an allegation has enough substance to be concerning to those associated with the accused, including their professional body, even if that allegation does not result in further formal action. The question seems to be whether, and how, the professional organisation would acknowledge that concern. And whether, and how, a professional body would conduct their own independent review of the allegations. This is standard in many industries; whether the accused is an employee, or an independent contractor.

      • Thank you Alex for your excellent summary.

        I do wonder though how other Rafa fans feel about us tackling deep issues such as these on this site.

        Perhaps they would prefer that we not go there and stick to Vamos Rafa and the like?
        If so I am fine with accepting that.

      • Keep in mind that the awkwardness between the ATP and AZ is similar to the weak position of Nole’s so called “Union.” AZ and the other players are free agents, individual contractors. Since this is off the court conduct we’re talking about the only possible enforcement powers the ATP would have depends on the terms of any membership agreement between the player and the ATP. If there are such agreements I doubt that off duty conduct would be covered. Why would a player agree to that?

  13. Here’s hoping that the ATP Finals won’t be soulless like the Paris Masters. To be honest, there’s more atmosphere in my badminton matches at the gym. Anything to inject some excitement and raise Rafa’s level – lively music, canned applause and cheering, PLEASE !!!

  14. Pauline re yours @6:25pm

    According to a report, AZ has hired a crisis PR specialist so it’s possible that Team 8 is waiting to see how things pan out. It’s a she said, he said situation and whatever may have happened did not occur on tournament grounds. AZ is not an ATP employee and the Adria tour was not an ATP event.

    Generally speaking, an ATP rush to judgment may be counter productive. Investigating takes time. Furthermore, it doesn’t appear that either female is looking to take AZ to court, as of now anyway. And as Alex noted, “how much oversight of players’ off-court conduct should the ATP have.” How much more can the ATP do legally without infringing on personal freedoms.

    Notable, too, is that Zverev is sponsored by some of the same companies sponsoring Rafa. Will they drop him, or not.

    As for Basilashvili, as far as I know, it’s another she said, he said. I believe the case is still in litigation.

    I did see an article about B’s case months ago and wondered at the time how many other players could be involved in criminal behavior that we never hear about: my guess is many more.

    Please understand that I am not taking sides on the above.

    • Curious Margo as to which companies sponsor both A.Z. and Rafa? His relationship with Richard Mille has ended. That is the only one I knew of that they shared.

      As for A.Z. not being an ATP employee that is the crux of the matter as all players are technically independent contractors. The ATP however is the banner, if you will, under which they play. That’s why we are discussing what if any actions are appropriate to take. I do believe once a player has been arrested and charged with a crime as in the case of Basilashvili the league not commenting leads to the sense that they are accepting of it.

      • I don’t understand how not
        commenting on AZ or NB’s cases would lead to an objective conclusion that the ATP could be accepting of such behavior because, as you know, there is a process in place to substantiate innocence or guilt. I think the Georgian Tennis Federation said it all.

        “First of all, we would like to state that Georgian Tennis Federation has always condemned any form of violence,” it said in a statement. “The incident involving Nikoloz Basilashvili is currently under police investigation and GFT will refrain from either announcing its position on the matter or making any comments until such investigation is completed.”

        Who knows what the legal ramifications would be if the ATP weighed in, be it neutral or otherwise. I sure don’t.

        I will opine that it’s too soon for anyone to say what actions should or shouldn’t be taken by the ATP, be it a statement, sanctions, or otherwise. I would like to know what a meticulous investigation shows.

        I would like to know what the other ATP players think.

        An arrest is not a verdict in most countries.

  15. The round-robin groups for the singles Finals have been named:

    Group A is called “Tokyo 1970,” in reference to the first edition of the year-end championship that took place in the Japanese capital.

    Group B is named “London 2020” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event and its final stop in Great Britain.

    GOOD LUCK TO RAFA

  16. I noticed that when Rafa met Zverev at the net after the match, the salutation was a racquet-touch, not the body contact (fists, back) he made with his three earlier opponents. That might signify nothing, but I was curious to see how Rafa would interact with Z, considering the serious allegations which had been made against him (which Z is denying).

    I am not here to start a debate about who to believe, or the substance / mode of the allegations. In such a situation, there will naturally be a variety of views, based on personal values and experience.

    What I am wondering about is the ATP. How much oversight should they have over a player’s off-court conduct? They have a general warning to players not to act in a way which brings tennis into disrepute, but how effective is that, and how open to mis/interpretation?

    Would you like to see more specific policies and sanctions from the ATP, or do you think it’s important to keep a separation between the players as individuals and performers?

    It must be difficult for other players to know how to tread when a colleague / competitor has been cast in an unsavoury light. I think it is also confusing for fans.

    • Alex, nothing more than a short mention by the media, here and there, about what the ATP is working on has helped me accumulate at least six subjects that will undoubtedly command their attention:

      The Sam Querry incident,
      How to put in place a fair formula with regard to players’ ranking points during the coronavirus shutdowns,
      How to proceed for the 2021 season,
      Will they negotiate with the PTPA break-off-group players,
      TheA allegations against Zverev,
      Will ND face further sanctions, either monetary or loss of points earned at the USOPEN.

      For number one above, the tournament director has stated it was more than likely a misunderstanding on Querry’s part that led him to flee Russia and he requested that the ATP not impose any harsh penalties. He also said Querry would be welcome any time he wants to play there again.

      I included number six simply because there was an outpouring of condemnation, from fans and non-fans alike, on social media about ND’s behavior which led to his disqualification.

      Fortunately, the ATP have Rafa and Roger to consult with and I cannot imagine they would not be involved with the above subject matters. Depending on how well Andy is, I would guess he, too, has something to contribute.

      I was very pleased when Rafa revealed that he and Roger are keeping in close communication with each other. It was a signal to me, rightly or not, that they would help the ATP resolve these very important and pressing matters. I trust them to lead in the right direction.

      • Explanation; each subject is separated by a comma, the last subject ends with a period. I did number them but the numbers somehow disappeared on my post. Apologies.

      • It is important to remember that A.Z. is represented by Roger’s management Team8. A.Z.’s conduct this year starting with the Adria Tour has not been at all compatible with Roger’s sterling image. When will he comment or act on his client’s behaviour?

        It’s also noteworthy that N. Basilashvili was arrested in May and charged with domestic violence yet the ATP has been silent. He faces three years in prison if found guilty. Was this not serious enough for them to issue a statement?

  17. One thing I am sure of, is that people who are running are non smokers. I remember once when I was working in a luxury Parisian school that the lady in my office used to smoke a lot. That much. I could see clouds of smoke in the office which was under the roofs. I asked her several times if she could go out of the office to smoke. As she refused, I have to open thetinywindow to breathe. When the salesman asked her if she could go out of the office to smoke, she just stood next the door to smoke so that there was no big change.
    As I arrived in the company, she has already managed to make her former colleague leave, who was a friend of a lady working for the school activity. As she did not want me to work anylonger with her, I looked at all my files to try to find mistakes.
    In fact, they tried to make me leave by sending me a letter in which they told me that I arrived late. I answered I have the same arrival time than my colleague. Plus all the time I spent working for the school activity without having been paid.
    Then they said my job position had been suppressed like the one of an American lady working for the company. In fact, my job had been offered to someone else and the boss’ assistant was jealous of the importance of the American woman.
    As the rumours in the company grows that people of our department didnothing, the boss asked me about this. Even if I still don’tknow what my boss and his fellow were actually doing, I said nothingwrong about them. All the people around this lady had been fired but her.

    Once when I was at hospital, she even came to see me and complained to the staff that I was not in my room as she arrived and then the staff decided not to bring me my meal. Such a nice lady.
    Everyone in the company complained about her, but I guess she is still working there, at the same position.

  18. Hi Lorna, I thought of people around him, like staff. Have a nice day. I hope this situation which your country will be better soon.

  19. Rafa has broken a 32-year record.

    “WHY RAFAEL NADAL’S LATEST RECORD COULD BE HIS BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT YET

    Rafael Nadal has won 20 Grand Slam titles and over 1,000 singles matches, but his latest achievement might be his most impressive yet. The 34-year-old has broken the record for the most consecutive weeks spent in the ATP top 10, surpassing Jimmy Connors’ 32-year-old record of 789 weeks. How much does the record add to Nadal’s stats as the GOAT?

    James Walker-Roberts
    BY
    JAMES WALKER-ROBERTS
    4 HOURS AGO | UPDATED 3 HOURS AGO”

    The above is just the headline of a wonderful article on Eurosport.

  20. It’s official. Congratulations to Rafa on becoming the player with the most weeks (790) in the top10, beating Jimmy Connors’ record of 789 weeks. Just amazing!

    • Magali, the last I heard, the ATP Finals was going to be held behind closed doors without fans, so i don’t think anyone will be travelling to London specifically to watch the event.at the O2.
      I was looking forward to going, especially as it’s only a relatively short train ride from where I am in London, but alas, it’s not to be.

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