Rafa Roundup: Will Nadal and Djokovic cancel their exhibition match in Saudi Arabia?

EFE/Juan Carlos Hidalgo


The Barcelona defender, who spearheads the company behind the new format of the Davis Cup, said Wednesday that Nadal has told him he will play as long as he is not injured.

”If the No. 1 in the world is playing, that’s more than enough,” Pique said in the official presentation of Madrid as host of the Davis Cup finals for the next two years. ”Rafa is very positive about this event, especially because it is taking place in Madrid.”

While Rafael Nadal has been recuperating – and helping with the flood-relief effort – in Mallorca, Djokovic has settled back into that familiar metronomic rhythm of clinically dismantling opponents and hoovering up titles.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, men of conscience and integrity, continue to risk their good name by accepting an invitation to play in a meaningless exhibition in Saudi Arabia, a regime under critical scrutiny for the disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The kidnap-and-murder story has led news bulletins around the world – alongside Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the conflict that has contributed to the famine engulfing Yemen – yet efforts this week by the Guardian to elicit a response from either player over playing in Jeddah on 22 December have proved fruitless.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, two incredibly popular athletes who don’t need to consult with teammates or colleagues in order to make a decision about their participation, are in the ideal position to pull out of the match and make a statement about how the world should view Saudi Arabia’s pattern of state-sanctioned killing. The question is if they mind being shiny baubles, dangled in front of the country to distract from a murderous regime, or not.

The world No 1 was the first player to mathematically secure his space in London with victory over Marin Cilic in the Rogers Cup quarter-finals on August 11.

“I know how important Majorca is to Rafa and I have been in touch with him to see if I can help with anything,” Federer said in a video message recorded in Shanghai where he is currently competing.

“I have seen him helping in the village where he comes from and to see that is super-inspiring. Rafa, you have our support. We are thinking of all the people in Majorca. We wish you strength in these difficult times and I hope to be back on Majorca soon.”


ATP World Tour Awards: Vote for Rafa

During the ATP World Tour Finals, which will be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November, the ATP will announce the winners of the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards.

It has been an impressive year for our champ as he claimed his 11th French Open title as well as Masters trophies in Monte-Carlo, Italy and Canada. He also won the Barcelona Open in May.

Vote for Player of the Year voted by fans here. Voting ends on Friday, November 2.

Despite being injured, Rafa is still is on top of the ATP Rankings and ATP Race List and holds a 45-4 match record in 2018.

Rafael Nadal to play Novak Djokovic in Saudi Arabia exhibition

Kevin Lee/Getty Images

World number one Rafael Nadal on Sunday said he has agreed to play an exhibition match against fellow Grand Slam title winner Novak Djokovic in Saudi Arabia in December.

“Thanks for the invitation and looking forward to playing and visiting for the first time,” Rafa said on Twitter.

The match between the two stars will take place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City on December 22.

Rafa and Nole have played 52 times in their careers with the Serb leading their head-to-head 27-25.

Source: AFP

When Is Rafa Next Playing?

Photo by Marek Janikowski/Icon Sport via Getty Images

(AFP) – Rafael Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya has indicated the world number one is targeting a return from injury next month at the Paris Masters.

Rafa has not played a match since retiring from the US Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro three weeks ago, due to a problem in his right knee.

After missing Spain’s Davis Cup semi-final defeat by France, Rafa then announced his withdrawal from tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai.

But Moya, who has coached Rafa since 2016, believes his player may be ready in time for the Paris Masters, which runs from October 29 to November 4. After that, the ATP Finals in London begins on November 11.

“We do not have deadlines, if everything goes well and everything is in order, we understand that he may be fine for Paris-Bercy,” Moya told Television Espanola on Friday.

“If it’s not Paris, it will be London and if not, then next year.”

Rafa’s absence leaves his position at the top of the world rankings vulnerable to a late push from Novak Djokovic.

Moya, however, insisted holding onto the top spot is not on Nadal´s mind.

“Right now, no,” Moya added.

“A month or month and a half ago, probably yes, but when you have an injury the top priority is to recover from that injury.”

Source: AFP

Rafael Nadal to miss Asian tournaments due to knee injury

(AP) — Rafael Nadal says he will not play in upcoming tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai because of an injured right knee.

Rafa says he and his team decided to skip the Asia swing to recover.Our champ, who has often dealt with knee pain, won the Beijing tournament last year. He lost the final in Shanghai to Roger Federer.

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The world No. 1 announced his decision not to play in Asia through posts on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

Hello everyone, as you know I had to retire from my semifinal match at the US Open and this past Monday I was in Barcelona watching with doctors the situation of my knee.

While the annoyances on my knee are nothing new, we have decided together with my medical and technical team not to participate in the Asian tour to recover the knee the way we have always done.

I’m sorry I can’t be with all the fans in China who are so many and with the organisers of the Beijing and Shanghai tournaments that have always had all the attentions with me and my team.

Rafa Nadal

According to ESPN, Djokovic is now primed to snatch Rafa’s No. 1 ranking after a magnificent summer saw him win at Wimbledon and defeat del Potro in the US Open final.

Rafa currently leads the way with 8,760 points, 1,860 ahead of Roger Federer — who is limiting the number of tournaments he plays in — and 2,315 clear of Djokovic.

The Serbian can only gain points in the Far East because he missed the final six months of last season, while Rafa will drop points for not defending his title in Beijing or participating in Shanghai.

Sources: AP, ESPN

Rafa, Cristiano, Pau and Enrique bring Ibiza restaurant Zela to London

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The team behind a new restaurant backed by Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pau Gasol and Enrique Iglesias said they chose London as the location because the city has “the hottest culinary scene in the world”.

Cult Ibizan restaurant Zela is opening its first restaurant outside the White Isle in the ME London Hotel in Aldwych later this month — with all its celebrity investors making plans to attend the opening.

A press release said it hoped “to make its mark on the city’s culinary and nightlife map, for London’s foodies and the international jet-set alike, with exotic menus and vibrant atmosphere.”

The new venue is the second outpost for the Zela brand – the flagship restaurant opened in Ibiza in May last year.

How Zela in London will look Zela [Official Photo]
Michelin-recognised chef Ricardo Sanz has been announced as the “gastronomic director”, and has called the food on offer “meppon cuisine” – Japanese techniques applied to Mediterranean ingredients and traditions.

The menu will feature fresh fish and seafood; raw dishes including tatakis, tartares, sashimi, sushi and tiraditos; and classic dishes like pork gyoza. Available on opening night will be dishes such as tiradito of scallops with Ibizan sobrasada and butterfish nigiri with white truffle.

Mr Matutes said: “The food scene is the best, the hottest in the world. It had to be here. London is the perfect place to bring the Ibiza concept to. All of our backers are very involved and are real foodie guys. Cristiano and Rafael in particular love London.”

Sources: Independent, Evening Standard

VIDEO: Here Are The Best Points Rafael Nadal Played At 2018 US Open

Watch Rafael Nadal perform amazing drop shots, touch lobs and blistering backhands!