Rafael Nadal sends message to Australian Open rivals with very good display at Tie Break Tens

After demolishing French No. 18 Lucas Pouille 10-1, Rafael Nadal had to save a match point to defeat Lleyton Hewitt in a wild 13-11 tiebreak.

The final against Tomas Berdych was tight early on before the sweet-swinging Czech overpowered Rafa in the latter stages of the match, a perfectly executed wide serve followed up by a volley to the open court establishing a 6-3 lead that Rafa was unable to pull back. Rafa saved one match point at 9-4 but a double-handed backhand on the next point sailed just wide for Berdych to claim the win at the Tie Break Tens tournament in Melbourne.

Rafa’s court coverage and powerful ground strokes look ready for another lengthy Melbourne Park campaign when the year’s first Grand Slam commences on Monday.

Quarter-finals
Lleyton Hewitt 10-6 Novak Djokovic
Lucas Pouille 1-10 Rafael Nadal
Tomas Berdych 10-8 Nick Kyrgios
Milos Raonic 10-7 Dominic Thiem

Semi-finals
Lleyton Hewitt 11-13 Rafael Nadal
Tomas Berdych 11-9 Milos Raonic

Final
Rafael Nadal 5-10 Tomas Berdych

Source: news.com.au

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Rafael Nadal losses to Richard Gasquet at Kooyong Classic

(AAP) – Rafael Nadal appears to have passed his Australian Open fitness test with flying colours despite losing his practice match at the Kooyong Classic.

The world No.1 fell to Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-5 in their exhibition match in Melbourne on Tuesday but, more importantly, Rafa looked to be moving freely on his troublesome knee.

It was a good test for me and good practice.

I’m good and I am here so that’s good news and my idea is just to keep practicing the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open.

It was a long year last year so I started my preparation a little bit later than usual. It’s good to start having the feelings of playing a match even if it’s not official.

It was Rafa’s first match in almost three months and first since withdrawing from the ATP Tour Finals in mid-November after an opening three-set loss to David Goffin.

He downplayed any concerns about his knee, saying:

If I’m not feeling good, probably I will not be here. So that’s the good news.

Rafa looked rusty with some erratic forehands but it was a big step forward as he targets a second Australian Open title. He trailed Gasquet 3-0 in the second set after going down a double break but clawed his way back to lead 5-4 only to lose his serve again.

Source: AAP

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev speak after winning Laver Cup

Julian Finney/Getty Images

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Roger, it doesn’t get any closer than that in a way to finish the inaugural championship.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. (Laughter.)

You need more? More sound bytes? Shall I stretch it?

Yes, you’re right. No, like I said on court, I was getting ready for the doubles mentally, but kind of felt good going into the breaker.

It was a wonderful week, wonderful week to spend time with the guys. You know, in a perfect world you want to stay home and be with your friends and families and all that, but there is another life that we have which is on tour. To spend it this way was an incredible journey, really. It was way better than I ever thought it was going to be.

To see the smiling faces and the happiness in everybody winning and holding the trophy and winning that match point, and also the feeling I had on the inside felt like winning some of the biggest matches in my life.

It’s nice it is this way, and it was extremely close. It was like a fairy tale for all of us, or for me, at least, at the end. I’m happy I could deliver the crucial three points at the end for Team Europe.

Q. You’re part of making this thing happen and part of designing it from the beginning. Does that change the feeling when you’re out there playing it, knowing you’re part owner in a way?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, look, I was really focused on having a good time. I feel like I get more credit than I deserve, just because, you know, a lot of people put in heroic efforts, and I’d like to thank all of them. The people who were behind this event from the get-go believed in it and the vision and the dream.

So to see it all come alive and at the end the team showing up, playing well, Team World coming up and putting on an unbelievable show and playing their absolute best because they had to, because our team was stacked with world-class players, Top 10 players, it was always going to be tough for them.

It was indoors, a faster court to play on if you serve well. That’s why it was a nail biter at the end.

For me, personally, it’s a dream scenario. I’d like to thank each one of them for their efforts. Rafa was the first to sign up. He was there from the start. I can’t thank him enough. Björn and John, to accept their role as captains and honor the great man in Rod Laver, it all worked out. It’s really a dream.

Q. Obviously this event, there has been quite a lot, you have been very identified with it, quite a lot riding on it for you. Not everyone in the game has kind of recognized it. Do you feel that the very obvious success of this initial event, in some way, you’ve kind of proved a point?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yes, I mean, there is pressure having to prove that it’s successful. The only way it was ever going to be successful is if the players cared. And they did. I think you see it. I think you see the happiness. The Laver Cup trophy is still sprayed with champagne, so that means we have already been celebrating.

It’s been a wonderful journey. I just hope to, you know, to leave a legacy behind, not for me personally but just for the game, because it deserves it. It deserves the players, and the legends of this game deserve the recognition they deserve. The future players deserve a massive platform to play tennis in.

And the likes of our team, the young guys, Dominic and Sascha, and on the World Team all the young guys there, they will hopefully play for years and decades to come this competition. For me, as an older guy, and Rafa and other guys on the team, it was a pleasure taking part in the very first one.

Q. Rafa, you looked really nervous.
ROGER FEDERER: Why were you nervous? Explain me this (laughter).

Q. Do you often feel like that? I haven’t seen you look quite so much in agony at the side of the court before.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, very close, no? We know that the way that the competition works, Sunday is crucial, so anything could happen.

And we were lucky that — well, lucky. I don’t know if lucky or not, but we are lucky to be 9-3 before today, no? Every match have been so close.  Continue reading “Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev speak after winning Laver Cup”

Laver Cup 2017: Highlights and best bits [VIDEO]

On court highlights from the Laver Cup.

VIDEO: Here’s what winning the Laver Cup means to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Three days of thrilling matches in an electric atmosphere come to an end in Prague as Team Europe wins the inaugural Laver Cup.

Funny snippets from day 3 of the inaugural Laver Cup…

Rafael Nadal after winning Laver Cup: “It’s been an unforgettable three days” [PHOTOS]

Team Europe have defeated Team World 15-9 to win the inaugural Laver Cup. Roger Federer got the decisive win over Nick Kyrgios in Prague, coming from a set down and saving a match point to prevail 4-6 7-6 (8/6) 11-9 in a thrilling three-set match.

Rafa couldn’t be more happier for Roger and he was in high spirits during the match, cheering very loud with Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, Tomas Berdych and Fernando Verdasco from the bench.

Rafa Nadal:

Of course if the captain wanted me there, I was ready [to play in the final doubles clash]. But I didn’t want to play and thanks to Roger and the rest of the team that we avoid that situation!

It’s been an unforgettable three days, everyone knows I love a team competition. We had great team spirit and it’s been one of the nicest weeks we’ve had. Well done Team World for a great fight – I’m already looking forward to next year.

The Laver Cup, in its first year, featured excellent tennis and very close matches in Prague. Chicago will host it in 2018.

Congrats to Rafa and his teammates! Well done, Team Europe!

Sources:  Laver Cup, The Independent, metro.co.uk

Laver Cup 2017: Rafael Nadal loses to John Isner, Fedal could play doubles tonight in shock match

The Laver Cup will go down to the final match after John Isner beat Rafael Nadal for the first time in his career, 7-5, 7-6 (1). Isner’s win made the overall score 12-9 to Europe with just one rubber (Roger Federer v Nick Kyrgios) to play.

Team Europe can lift the trophy if Roger beats Kyrgios, but if it doesn’t happen then we might see Fedal playing doubles together again in Prague to decide the winner of the Laver Cup.