Rafa Roundup: Here’s why Rafael Nadal doesn’t see himself becoming a father anytime soon

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“My life leads me to live things one way, or to do things another. I also have a partner and it is not just me who decides things. You have to adapt to the situations that are happening. I enjoy what I love in tennis, as well as outside of it.

A family? I don’t know; things are not so easy to foresee. At this age, I thought I would be retired and would have a family. To me I think I see a more structured family with a more stable life and that is what I would have liked. The years are going on but it depends on what happens with my tennis and with my career; there will come a time when a decision must be made and when it arrives, it will come without any kind of stress. These are natural things that you go through in life.”

I would take Nadal on Chatrier without hesitation because of his remarkable 86-2 win-loss record. In his 13 appearances at Roland Garros, the Spaniard has won 11 titles, making him a  sure bet. Federer, on the other hand, has won eight Wimbledon titles in his 19 appearances. Though he is considered the best grass-courter of all time, he hasn’t dominated at the All England Club the way the way Nadal has in Paris.

Might Rafa have more Wimbledon titles if the French Open and Wimbledon were not played so close together? —@viralmep11

Interesting. You have a sense that the French—understandably—takes a lot out of him, as much spiritually as physically. In this sense, sure, he could benefit from a longer transition to grass. On the other hand, note that both times Nadal won Wimbledon, he won the French four Sundays prior. And note as well that Nadal reached the Wimbledon finals five times between 2006-2011 (and didn’t play in 2009) and those were the days where there were only two weeks between the two events. With the added week in between, his results have worsened.

“She is one of the best players on the women’s tour,” Nadal told the media after defeating Dominic Thiem to seal his 11th title in Paris. “It is nice that after the final that she lost last year, with so many chances, with breaks in the second and the third, that she was able to win a Grand Slam.”

“She deserves it,” said Nadal. “She is No.1 in the world and she is very hard-working. I like people that work hard and have success because I believe that they deserve it. She is one of them, so I am happy for her.”

Twenty minutes after Rafael Nadal finished dismantling Dominic Thiem in the French Open final on Sunday evening, we were invited to experience more destruction.

Roland Garros was throwing a “Demolition Party,” toasting the last night its 30-year-old media center would be in use. Built into the side of Court Philippe Chatrier, the tournament’s principal stadium, the media center was slated to be torn down, along with most of the rest of the building.

VIDEO: 10 Mind Bending Stats to Celebrate Rafael Nadal’s 11th Roland Garros Title

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Rafa Roundup: What does Rafael Nadal do before a match?

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Q. After so many years and so many victories, what routines do you follow and which have you changed?

I always shower in the same shower stall in the locker room, the one furthest to the right; I also always have the locker 159. I haven’t changed much honestly. I have introduced some new things and what I do now may not be the same as what I did eight years ago. I used to get to training 20 minutes early, wrap my hands with bandages and move around a little and that’s all… now I arrive an hour early, I go to the gym, I warm up a lot more seriously. Routines change depending on what is required.

Criticism of Nadal on these grounds is obviously not valid. While he always peaks for clay, it’s not as if he’s given up on other surfaces. Over the last year and a half. Nadal has played 14 hard-court events, and 10 on clay. Since 2005, he’s missed Wimbledon just twice, and he plans to be there again in two weeks. Like Federer, Nadal has the exemptions he needs to skip every mandatory event if he chooses, but since the start of 2015 he has played 25 of 28 Masters 1000s and 13 of 14 majors. His 67 wins last year, including seven at the US Open, were the most he had in a season since 2013.

No GOAT candidate has ever been as dominant on any surface as Nadal is on clay. However, Nadal also has been successful enough on the other surfaces that he has a strong case as the best tennis player of all time. His success at majors outside of the French Open compares very favorably with anyone in the Open era — including Federer. Nadal is the unquestioned King of Clay, but taken as a whole, he is very likely the King of tennis as a whole. Long live the King.

“You can always improve something, and I think that everyone can improve. There is no limit. You never know where is the limit,” Nadal said. “If you don’t have the will to improve, you don’t understand the sport, because the sport is always about improving. That’s the meaning of sport. It’s playing with the dream of doing something better than what you’re doing before… When you’re not working with passion of doing something better, I think that sports will lose its sense.”

“I remember when he won the first time at Roland Garros, someone said to me ‘Rafa’s going to win a lot more of these trophies.’ It seemed outrageous to think he’d win 10 more after that but I can see how he’s managed to do that. He works as hard as possible; he’s always trying to lift his game to new heights.”

VIDEO: Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem | Roland Garros

Rafa Roundup: ¡A por la Undécima!

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Nadal has never lost after the quarter-finals on the Parisian terre battue, holding a 21-0 record in semi-finals and finals en route to his 10 trophies, which is the most captured by any man at a single major.

But perhaps it is the left-hander’s performance in championship matches that is most striking. The World No. 1 has won 50 per cent of his sets in Roland Garros finals by a margin of 6-3 or greater.

If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he’d have to expand his belief that death and taxes are life’s only certainties and add a third — Rafael Nadal winning the French Open. The Spaniard chases an 11th title at Roland Garros on Sunday and 17th major of his career. He has 85 match wins on Paris’ famous crushed red brick against just two defeats in 13 years.

Yes, the Rafa tennis can fail but at Roland-Garros, it happens once, maybe twice, in a Paris blue moon. For Soderling and Djokovic, can we now read Thiem? Well, Team Thiem can dream but so often it’s the nightmares that grab hold in Nadal’s very own personal chamber of horrors.

The reality is that Nadal is not just greatest and latest in the distinguished line of clay-court titans — he’s probably the last of the breed. Enjoy him while you can, because this king has no successor nor even a kingdom. The dominion he’s had over clay events hides the fact that there’s no longer a subspecies of tennis player worthy of the title “clay-court specialist.”

AUDIO: The Tennis Podcast: Can Thiem Topple Nadal?

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Rafa Roundup: There is no way Rafael Nadal said this about equal prize money!

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This was the ideal result we were looking for. Defeating Del Potro in this manner proves that things have come together and the devised plan is working. Between today’s result and the win over Diego, I’m pleased. The last six sets he has played here are the finest he has played so far.

By now, you get the picture. As Rafael Nadal prepares to return serve, he’s so far back beyond the baseline that he’s almost out of the camera shot. At times, perhaps even into a different area code.

But Nadal summons the strength to return hard and high, pushing his opponents back. By the time they connect with their second shot, Nadal has moved forward onto the baseline ready to attack.

It’s a tactic Nadal has used more and more over the past year, mostly on clay and here at Roland Garros.

We know Thiem can take the rallies to Rafa on clay. But can he push him around in Chatrier, in the Roland Garros final, over best-of-five sets? Thiem says that all of those factors will make this match a very different animal from the ones he won over Rafa in other places, and will make Nadal the obvious favorite.

He’s right. This is a match we want to see, and one that could be very competitive and entertaining. But it’s also one that can only be predicted one way. The most important stat has nothing to do with Thiem; it has to do with Rafa’s record in French Open finals. He’s 10-0. Winner: Nadal

“Being in a final here is something I should rejoice about and be happy about. It may sound easy and logical, but I don’t want it to be. It’s not a routine. I don’t want anyone to think that it’s a routine,” Nadal said. “It’s a day that I should rejoice about, enjoy. And from tomorrow on, I will do what I have to do to get ready for Sunday.”

On a completely different topic, Nadal entered the equal prize-money debate with an opinion that is bound to prove controversial. Speaking to a weekly Italian women’s magazine called IO Donna, Nadal said: “It’s a comparison we shouldn’t even make. Female models earn more than male models and nobody says anything. Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis too, who gathers a larger audience earns more.”

“My body is about 40 years old, but I’m not really focusing on that,” Nadal explained. “I’m just playing tennis. I’m not really interested by all these things, and I don’t think that – you can’t really know the reality of how old your body is.”

“I’m 32, and I’m how I am. I’m happy. I accept my age,” added Nadal. “I try to adapt to all the changes that the body is going through over the years. There are things that are lost and there are other things that are gained, and I’m trying to improve all the time. That’s it. I’m happy for Cristiano that he’s 23, his body is 23.”

“It is almost impossible to beat Rafa. He’s too strong. He’s improving his backhand a lot. That’s why he’s the No 1 and beating all the guys,” said Del Potro.

“He looks fresh. He is healthy. And the strength that he has and the mentality – everything is perfect, works perfect for him playing on clay.”

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Roland Garros Final: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Dominic Thiem?

The final of the men’s singles tournament at Roland Garros 2018 between defending champion Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem will take place on Sunday on Court Philippe Chatrier at Stade Roland Garros.

Date: June 10, 2018

Match time: 3 PM local time / 9 AM EDT –  New York, Montreal / 2 PM BST – United Kingdom / 3 PM  CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy / 11 PM AEDT – Melbourne. To convert to your local time, use this website.

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Rafa on playing Thiem:

He’s an amazing player. He beat me this year in Madrid. He has big power, he’s playing with big confidence. I know I have to play at my best. I believe I can be ready for that final. It’s going to be a tough one.

If I play well, I normally have my chances. If I don’t play well, it will be almost impossible, because I play against a player that’s going too well.

Thiem on playing Rafa:  Continue reading “Roland Garros Final: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Dominic Thiem?”

Rafa Roundup: Are you excited for another practice session between Nadal and Sharapova?

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By recording his 83rd clay-court victory in an astonishing 85 matches at the Grand Slam championship, over Germany’s Maximilian Marterer in the fourth round, Nadal has followed in the footsteps of Jimmy Connors (1,056), Roger Federer (1,149), Ivan Lendl (1,068) and Guillermo Vilas (949).

“I love the spirit that he carries on with, the focus,” said Sharapova. “He only knows how to go at 100 per cent. In Rome, he was practising for three hours a day. He knows that that’s what works for him and he’s going to deliver that no matter his age, no matter the injuries. That’s incredibly admirable, because the older you get in this sport, the more physical it is, the tougher on the body.”

Nadal also has positive memories of his brief hit with Sharapova in Rome. “It was a good practice for me [because] I won the tournament there,” he said with a grin. “Was good fun, yeah. Am ready to do it again any time.”

Diego is super-quick around the court and he’s extremely talented. Even though he lost, he showed his toughness against Rafa at the Australian Open and at the Mutua Madrid Open earlier this year. Rafa will have to be on top of his game because there’s no room for error at this stage. But I know Rafa, and I’m sure he’ll be bringing his best against Diego.

“Everybody thought I practised on clay all my life, and it’s not true. I practiced a lot on hard court when I was a kid. I practised on clay, too, but a lot on hard,” Nadal said. “During all my career, my game adapted very well to this surface and I’ve had amazing success. Honestly, I had success on all the surfaces and I worked hard to be the best player possible on all the surfaces.”

“I played with him at the academy, but I’m never going to invite him again, because every time he comes, he comes out much better,” joked Nadal on Monday.

“I want to play always with him, because now with my ranking, I know if I play against him it’s going to be in the good rounds,” said Schwartzman. “Obviously it’s nice to play against him, he’s my friend, we have a good relationship outside the court and I think many matches against him I have a few chances – not to beat him but to do better matches than I’ve done in the past.” He joked during his press conference when he was asked about his latest visit to the Rafa Nadal Academy: “I took his secrets. He has all the recipes.”

“One time I have a big discussion with Pato Clavet,” Toni begins. “Pato believes it is his job to make sure his player has everything in order to play his best; racquets perfect, water, balls, and like this. And I say, ‘this is not my opinion.’ If Rafa forgets his water, I say, ‘Well, it is your problem, today you don’t drink water.’ My work is not to bring water. Do you want to be a professional coach or a waiter?”

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Rafa Roundup: “After 13 years and 10 titles at Roland Garros, Nadal hasn’t discovered his limit”

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A Better Showing Than Tuesday: This is the norm with Rafa: He starts off slowly at Grand Slams and builds momentum. The first two rounds have been a feeling-out process. He’s not at his best yet, but as the level of competition improves, so will his level of play.

Room For Improvement: Again, the score sheet doesn’t tell the whole story. Nadal was aggressive and played well, but he didn’t dominate throughout, as the final score suggests. He’s settling down, set by set, but he still has a way to go.

“Being 100 per cent honest with you, I think is a good rule, because there is a lot of money on the Slams. For a lot of players, that they are inside the tournament of a Grand Slam and they have a physical problem in that week, just playing tournament helps a lot to save the year,” said Nadal.

“So I believe is fair that if they are inside and they have the chance to retire than keep winning the money is win to win, no? The tournament wins because there is no bad players or sick players playing, and for them, he deserve, because he made the right things to be there and he deserve that prize money so they still get it.”

Noah, the only French man since 1946 to win at Roland Garros when he beat Wilander in the 1983 final, says you have to think outside of the box to beat Nadal.

“I’d serve under arm and I’d hit only drop shots,” he jokes in an interview with Cash for CNN’s Open Court at Roland Garros.

“And if he’s at the net I’d hit it at him. You have to try something.”

Afterward, Rafa was asked in Spanish how an athlete knows what his “limit”—his top level—is.

“I think this famous limit doesn’t exist because we don’t know where it is,” he said.

“But there certainly is a limit, but I can’t think there is one because I don’t know where it is. I don’t know. We can’t decide where it is.”

After 13 years and 10 titles at Roland Garros, Nadal hasn’t discovered his limit. But along the way he’s helped a lot of his opponents including, Pella, find theirs.

While his forehand is explosive and his backhand is relentless, it’s possible Nadal’s greatest advantage is that he turns an element of the game that’s a weakness for so many others into a weapon: the second serve. He has had more success on his second serve than any player in tennis history, and on clay, his prowess here is even more pronounced.

In his career, Nadal has won 56.7 percent of his second-serve points on clay. In the past year, he’s upped that percentage to 66.4 percent. For most pro players, anything better than break-even on second serve is considered good. Nadal has taken the safety net of the sport and turned it into a battle ax.

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