Wimbledon 2017: July 1st practice photos + video

Here’s a few photos from Rafa’s practice today.

Rafa prepares for his assault on The Championships at Wimbledon in a practice session with Grigor Dimitrov.

 

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WATCH: Rafael Nadal thanks Uncle Toni in victory speech

Julian Finney/Getty Images

After receiving the French Open trophy, Rafael Nadal addressed the crowd to discuss his emotions:

First of all Stan, congrats on a great career in last couple of years. Well done, sorry for today. You’ve had an unbelievable two weeks. I wish you the best for the rest of the season, keep going.

It’s difficult to talk today but the only thing I can say is thank you. For me to be here for many years is difficult to describe. I come back and see people I have a good relationship with and it’s very special. It’s difficult for me to compare this to any other event. You are always going to be in my heart.

Thank you to my friends, family and team. All the people who come from all around the world for the final.

Our champ also had a word for uncle Toni, his coach, too:  Continue reading “WATCH: Rafael Nadal thanks Uncle Toni in victory speech”

VIDEO: An interview with Rafael Nadal – 2017 French Open (3R)

Rafael Nadal’s on court interview following his third round win at the French Open 2017.

Quotes from Rafa’s presser:

On his win against Haase:

I think I played a good match. I played a solid match. I’m hitting the ball very well. Better than the day before. I was more or less under control during the whole match. Robin is a valiant opponent always. It’s obvious that I’m a player that if I lose the intensity or concentration then my game becomes a normal game. To be a little bit different I need to play with higher intensity than the rest and use my forehand.

On Maxime Hamou being expelled:

I can’t talk much about. They took that decision, they’re free to do what they want. The only thing I can say is I watched the video and it was a little uncomfortable for the girl.

(Note: French player was banished from the Roland Garros for the duration of the tournament on Tuesday after he attempted to forcibly kiss a female reporter during a live TV interview.)

On Uncle Toni leaving at the end of the year:

Every year is different. I am not thinking about that at all. He is the most important person in my tennis career without a doubt. Lots of things I achieved are because of him since I was three.

Lots of people have helped me too. He’s free to do what’s good for him. It’s good for him and the kids to be more involved with the academy. It’s probably not the last time he’ll be here at Roland Garros. He’s my uncle more than my coach so he’s always free to come wherever he was.

On wrist:

It’s better we don’t talk about these kinds of things. I don’t feel anything on the wrists since a long time ago. It’s good news.

On weather conditions:

It was humid. We had two days when the heat went down a bit. I prefer to play with sunshine. Today was great conditions for me. I really don’t think much about if it’s dry or humid. If it’s somewhere between 18 and 25 degrees it’s normally good for me with good bounces on my forehand. If it’s raining or a little bit cooler, it’s normally worse for my game.

Source: metro.co.uk, Video: stroppa

Rafa Roundup: A long way to La Decima at Roland Garros

AFP Photo/Josep Lago

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The Spaniard capped a record-breaking two-week stretch, which saw him become the first player to win 10 titles at a tour-level event in Monte-Carlo and repeat the feat on his native clay of Barcelona. He has won 20 of 21 sets thus far on the European clay-court swing.

“I’m very satisfied. It’s been an emotional day for me. Winning a 10th title here is something difficult to describe. Playing in front of my crowd and my club and winning the 10th title here is something that’s impossible to even dream of. It’s very special and unique,” said Nadal. “I played my best match of the tournament this afternoon against probably the toughest opponent in the tournament, so I’m very happy.”

Toni Nadal: “… So you can understand that given what Roland-Garros represents to us Spaniards, winning 10 times in Paris would be… (he exhales, then spreads his arms out wide) enormous. … Yes. Because it would be the tenth. And also because every time Rafael wins Roland-Garros, we can then say already that he’s had a great season. … So yes, it’s true, we’re very confident at the moment. But maybe if Rafael loses in Madrid, we’ll be less confident. We’ll see! A lot of things can still happen by the time Roland-Garros comes around.”

… Nadal has to prove that he can beat Djokovic again before he can be considered the favorite. He’s lost his last seven matches to the Serb, including three on clay, dating back to Roland Garros in 2014. In those seven matches, Nadal has been unable to win a set.

Last year Rafa said his only regret was that, just at the moment when he was playing his best, during the clay swing, he hurt his wrist. Like last year, he has started that swing with wins in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. In 2016, Nadal finally met Djokovic in the semifinals in Rome, and he lost a classic. I could go for another showdown like that in the next couple of weeks.

Nadal, who was just 15 years old at the time, had only played three matches going into his first ATP event, one at the Futures level and two at the Challenger level, and he was ranked a lowly No.762.

But that first ATP event being held on home soil in Mallorca may have given him the boost he needed, as he beat No.81-ranked Ramon Delgado in straight sets in his first ever ATP-level match, 6-4 6-4.

PHOTOS:

AUDIO: Alex Corretja: ‘Nadal favourite for French Open’ | BBC

VIDEOS:

Rafa Roundup: Here’s why Rafael Nadal is playing doubles with Bernard Tomic in Indian Wells

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“If the top players are not playing very often, then you are making something not good – you need to change. But the ITF always thinks on the small picture,” Nadal added.

He called the competition “a beautiful competition, a very emotional competition”. He also proposed a massive lengthening of the format, producing a winner only every three years.

“I don’t mean one-year Davis Cup, one year no Davis Cup. I mean, for example, two ties per year. That will be something reasonable and players will be very motivated to play Davis Cup.”

“I was a little bit sick for two days, so I couldn’t practise. I started to practise yesterday for the first time. Today, I practised again and I have doubles. It is obvious that when you get sick you lose a little bit of the power for a couple of days. So I hope to recover myself well and feel ready to compete at the highest level possible.”

… “I play doubles for fun and to practise too,” Nadal added. “I was supposed to play with Bernard in Brisbane. That made sense, because it’s his house and for me it was something that I liked. But then I said to him that I could not play there. I said if we can change Brisbane for Indian Wells, will be great for me. That’s it.”

“Toni is completely free like he has always been, to take his own decisions and to choose what makes him happiest,” Nadal told the media in Acapulco. “I am comfortable with what he decides is best for him.

“I feel better when people who I love are happy and if it makes him happy, for me it’s OK. Before being my coach, Toni is my uncle. He has been with me for a lifetime and the relationship with him has been a little bit more special than the one I have with my other uncles because I have lived everyday with him and I am very grateful to him for all the things he did for me.”

“Obviously yes, for sure, everyone was surprised. But it’s not easy travelling on the tour for so many years,” said Murray in Dubai.

“I know he hates flying, I’ve been on a couple of planes with him and I know he doesn’t enjoy the travelling. Rafa is 31 this year and he was on the tour since he was 16, so it’s been 15 years of travelling on the tour and a lot of time before that as well.

VIDEOS:

Rafa Roundup: Fans surprised, excited by Rafa’s choice of doubles partner

Fiona Hamilton/Tennis Australia
Fiona Hamilton/Tennis Australia

The official acceptance list for the Indian Wells doubles draw was finalised on Monday, and an unusual pairing caught everyone’s eye.

Rafael Nadal and Bernard Tomic will team up for the first time and have used their singles rankings to gain entry into the field.

Both Nadal and Tomic have doubles rankings outside the top 100, but their ability to use their singles rankings – No.6 for Nadal and No.31 for Tomic – put them ninth-highest on the entry list with a combined ranking of 37.

“It did surprise me a bit,” Ferrer said. “I am pretty sure he will have his own thoughts and there is still a long way to go this year. Maybe what he thinks now will change at the end of the season. It would be sad not to have Toni on the circuit.”

… “It makes me so happy seeing Roger and Rafa back at their best level,” he said. “They give a lot to this sport and as a fan of tennis, I like to watch them. Besides, Rafa is a great mate and I have played almost all my career alongside him and Roger. So the longer they go, much better.”

On his path to becoming one of the greatest to ever play the game, Rafael Nadal has had his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, there with him every step of the way.

… It’s impossible to predict what will happen next in Nadal’s career, but there’s still a long season with Uncle Toni left to go, and no one can count him out on the Parisian clay.

Peter Fleming: “Rafa is a creature of habit – he needs structure – and I do think that he was caught off guard when Toni said ‘I’m not doing this next year’. I think Rafa probably took a little time to get accustomed to it but it’s an opportunity for growth.

“Carlos Moya, who grew up in Mallorca, and was Rafa’s idol growing up as a kid is now in the team as his coach and Francisco Roig has been there for many years on a part-time basis.

“It’s not like Toni’s job is really crucial to the team – I think it will be fine.”

Rafael Nadal covers the latest issue of Gentleman Ecuador
Rafael Nadal covers the latest issue of Gentleman Ecuador

The Swiss tennis great made the confession at the unveiling of the new tournament scheduled for Prague in September which will pit a Bjorn Borg-captained European team against John McEnroe’s rest of the world.

Federer, who beat Nadal in an epic five-set Australian Open final last month, admitted on Monday: “I’ve always wanted to play with Rafa… just because our rivalry has been so special.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are still the top two men’s players in the world, respectively, and Roger Federer won his 18th Grand Slam at the Australian Open last month. But none of those players, in Boris Becker’s mind, are the favorites to win the French Open. Rafael Nadal is the man to beat in Roland Garros.

 

Rafa Roundup: Here’s What Uncle Toni Said About Coaching Relationship With Rafa

Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on in his second round match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus on day four of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Jan. 18, 2017 - Source: Scott Barbour/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Toni said that he finally discussed his plans with Rafael this week and that Rafael was initially surprised, in part because of how well things had gone in Australia.

“He was thinking about the short term, and the short term looked very good,” Toni said. “But it was not like I was stepping down immediately. If I had stopped with Rafa overnight, that clearly would have been big news, but I really didn’t think me deciding to focus on the academy next year would be big news.”

That, judging from the Spanish headlines, was a miscalculation.

“My error,” said Toni, who said he should have spoken to Rafael directly before saying anything publicly. “If I thought it was big news, I would not have said it there in Budapest in that setting.”

“Now I am really excited to be in the academy. I step down, but [Rafael] is in good hands. Now I am going to make the most of this 2017. It has been a very long journey, loads of seasons. If instead of my nephew, I had coached somebody else, I would have stepped down much earlier.”

Toni said he would always be ready to give a hand when needed, even though Carlos Moyà and Francis Roig will now take the reins.

“Let’s imagine a scenario where Moyà is not available in 2018 for a few tournaments. And my nephew asks me to help him,” Toni said. “I’ll do it for sure and I’ll enjoy it. My intention is to work at the academy and if they need me, I’ll be there.”

Q. Which of these players has taught you the most with regard to their work ethic?
Marc Lopez: Rafa, once again. By spending time with him on a daily basis, I’ve been able to learn about his routine, how professional he is, and everything he’s done for tennis. He lives for tennis, he trains obsessively and is very ambitious… And he’s very humble. I’ve known him since he was 14 or 15 and I’ve been to Mallorca to train with him on several occasions. He tries to surpass himself every day and that’s how he’s achieved all that he’s achieved – and I’m sure that he’s not finished yet. I have a lot of respect for the player and man that he is. He’s a very special player, different from the others. And, since he’s also a good friend, that further strengthens our bond on the court.

Given where Nadal and Federer were/are in their careers, given the arc of their rivalry, given this joint stand against the Murray/Djokovic duopoly, given their ages, given the unlikely sways of the match (As a colleague asked me days later, seeking confirmation: “Wait, Federer came back against Nadal? Isn’t it always vice versa?”…… maybe we just agree that they were both magical, historical moments for tennis. We are in debt to both players and the rivalry they built. And that one man won the first match and the other man won the second leaves us with a nice bit of symmetry.