Rafael Nadal feeling positive ahead of clay court season

(AFP) – Rafael Nadal said on Sunday that he is fit and ready to defend his Monte Carlo Masters title and the number-one ranking this week, as he returns to the ATP Tour after injury.

“I feel that I’m playing well. I had some good days of practice here, playing some good sets,” Rafa said ahead of the start of the claycourt season.

“That helps me. I love this event. I always feel comfortable here.

“I’m enjoying being here in Monte Carlo in an event that always brings me to the best feelings possible.

“It’s hopefully going to be my first event of the year that I can finish. And I’m excited about that.”

The 16-time Grand Slam champion is bidding for an incredible 11th title in Monaco and his third in a row, but knows that anything less than that would see him lose the number-one spot to the absent Federer.

Rafa had been due to return at Acapulco in February, but was forced to withdraw before his opening match and admitted that it was tough to miss the American hardcourt season.

“I knew when I was going to be ready. The problem is that it takes time.

“Australia was a tough moment, of course, being in that quarter-final, winning the match and having that problem, having a good chance.

“But I took the right time to have the right rest. I did all the things that the doctors told me. Then I felt great practising in Acapulco, playing very well, but then just the day before… I felt it again. So that’s the real thing.

“For me mentally the second one was even harder than what happened in Australia, even if Australia was a Grand Slam and was an opportunity lost.

“The second one was frustrating because I did all the things the right way.”

Ahead of a possible string of physically demanding claycourt matches, Nadal admitted another injury setback is always a possibility.

“Well it happened twice so you never know,” he said.

“Being honest, I am not practising thinking about if that comes back or not.

“I had injuries in my life, as you know, more than what I expected, but the good thing is that when I came back I was not afraid about what was going on.”

Source: AFP

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Is Rafael Nadal a fan of the new Davis Cup ideas?

The Davis Cup could be transformed into a one-week, one-location, 18-nation World Cup of Tennis in a major overhaul aimed at enticing the best men’s players to play.

Photo: Davis Cup

Reaction to the plans has been mixed, but here’s what Rafael Nadal told Spanish media in Valencia:

The change that arises, whether it goes well or not, is good to be considered. If there is a change, there will always be positive and negative things.

If it is approved, the option to play at home is taken away and it is a pity. The revenues of our Federation are the majority of the Davis Cup.

With a new competition, you have already guaranteed annual money. The best players compete every year and we are all involved.

I think it would be nice but not perfect because there is nothing perfect. This competition deserves an injection of energy.

The proposal will be put to a vote at the ITF annual general meeting scheduled to take place in Orlando in August.

Sources: Marca.com, ubitennis.net

Rafael Nadal plans to play against France in Davis Cup semifinals

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has said he will be available for Spain for September’s Davis Cup semi-finals clash with France.

Spain confirmed a spot in this year’s last-four by defeating Germany 3-2 last weekend in Valencia. France, meanwhile, defeated Italy 3-1.

Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Rafa:

I am available for the upcoming Davis Cup matches until the end of this year. I have a strong will to play, plus the next tie is after the last Grand Slam of the season.

The semis take place in France between September 14th and 16th. The tie begins only five days after the US Open in New York City.

Rafael Nadal beats Alexander Zverev to level Spain-Germany Davis Cup tie

Spain will play off for a Davis Cup semifinal berth in a live fifth rubber after Rafael Nadal levelled the tie against Germany at 2-2 on Sunday.

Rafa won 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to improve his career record against Alexander Zverev to 4-0.

After the match, Rafa said:

It was never going to be easy so I’m very happy to get an important victory for me and the team.

I’m very happy with my level, the first set was fantastic in such an important match.

It’s a great feeling and very unique to play here in front of my people. It was a great match for me in an unbelievable atmosphere.

He has now won 104 of 106 best-of-five matches on clay and again set the record for the longest Davis Cup winning streak in combined singles and doubles rubbers with 24 matches in a row under his belt.

He has not lost a Davis Cup rubber since losing the doubles rubber in Spain’s 3-2 victory against Italy in the 2005 World Group play-offs. Also, Rafa hasn’t lost a Davis Cup singles rubber since defeat on debut in the competition to Jiri Novak in Spain’s 3-2 victory over Czech Republic in the 2004 World Group first round.

The fifth and deciding rubber to see which country advances to the semifinals of World Group will be between David Ferrer and Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Source: Davis Cup

Davis Cup: Rafael Nadal levels for Spain after Alexander Zverev victory

Rafael Nadal leveled Spain’s World Group quarterfinal match against Germany in Valencia with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The world one extended his dominance over Kohlschreiber to 15 wins in 16 matches to keep Spain’s hopes very much alive.

After the match, Rafa said:

It’s positive of course, winning in straight sets, it was a solid match. I feel comfortable back on the clay.

It’s always special to play at home at a Bullring Stadium, it’s very unique.

It’s a great feeling to be back, coming back from injuries is always difficult, but it’s great to be in front of my crowd on a very memorable day. I’m very happy with the match.

Rafa hasn’t lost a Davis Cup singles rubber since defeat on debut in the competition to Jiri Novak in Spain’s 3-2 victory over Czech Republic in the 2004 World Group first round.

Alexander Zverev had earlier beaten David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in Friday’s opening singles match.

The best-of-five tie will continue with the doubles on Saturday followed by the reverse singles on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal comments on Cristiano Ronaldo incredible bicycle kick goal against Juventus

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the greatest goals in Champions League history in Turin on Tuesday night.

People are still talking about his overhead kick goal so there is no surprise that reporters in Valencia asked Rafael Nadal to comment it.

Nike Football

Here’s what our champ had to say:

It was spectacular, but we are talking a lot about football almost every day. This is a tennis event so let’s focus on this sport.

Good answer, Rafa! 🙂

Davis Cup: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Philipp Kohlschreiber?

The draw has been made in Valencia and Friday’s opening singles rubbers will be contested David Ferrer against Alexander Zverev (11.30 AM local time).

The second rubber of the day sees world No. 1 Rafael Nadal take on Philipp Kohlschreiber, a player he has played 15 times and won 14 times on the tour. Their last encounter on clay saw our champ win 6-3, 6-3 at the Rome Masters.

Date: April 6, 2018

Match time: Around 2 PM local time / 8 AM EDT –  New York, Montreal / 1 PM BST – United Kingdom / 2 PM  CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy / 10 PM AEST – Melbourne. To convert to your local time, use this website.

MANUEL BRUQUE (EFE)

Earlier today, Pablo Carreno Busta has been forced to withdraw with a thumb injury and has been replaced by Marc Lopez.

Rafa:

Tomorrow is an important day for the tie and hopefully we can start off on the right foot. I came here and I have done what I could. Physically, I am fine and I hope to be ready.

Spain vs Germany draw:

  • Friday:

R1: David Ferrer (ESP) v Alexander Zverev (GER) 

R2: Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

  • Saturday:

R3: Feliciano Lopez/ Marc Lopez (ESP) v Tim Puetz/ Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)

  • Sunday:

R4: Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Alexander Zverev (GER) – 11 AM local time

R5: David Ferrer (ESP) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

Rafa is bidding to win his 23rd straight rubber this weekend and set the record for the longest Davis Cup winning streak in combined singles and doubles rubbers.  He has not lost a Davis Cup rubber since losing the doubles rubber in Spain’s 3-2 victory against Italy in the 2005 World Group play-offs.

Remarkably, the 16-time Grand Slam champion has not lost a Davis Cup singles rubber since he lost on his debut in the competition to Jiri Novak in Spain’s 3-2 triumph over Czech Republic in the 2004.

Source: Davis Cup