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Friday, August 19, 2022

‘This is Rafael Nadal’s only goal’, says former ATP star

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Could this be the week that Stefanos Tsitsipas finds his best form on the grass court? The second seed got off to a strong start on Wednesday at the Mallorca Championships, where he defeated Ilya Ivashka 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.

He did not face a break point in his one hour and 23 minute win. “[My] serve [is] very important on these types of courts. I think he was handling situations on my serve very well,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview.

“I felt a bit better in exchanges. I felt like after my first serve, I could really get behind the ball and pick the right spots. I guess it was very difficult for the opponent to be able to adapt to this. He was doing very well.

I dedicated a lot to that. It was very good for me from start to finish”. The No. 6 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings dominated with his first serve, losing just five of his points on his first serve of the match (29/34).

The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion also defended his second serve well, claiming 74 per cent of those points, largely due to his aggressive, first-strike tennis. Tsitsipas has now swept all three of his ATP Head2Head meetings against Ivashka this year, with those matches taking place on hard courts, clay and grass, respectively.

After winning his 22nd Grand Slam title, Rafael Nadal opened up about an issue that has been pestering him. Since his debut, Nadal has been in constant struggle with a persistent foot injury.

Rafa will play Wimbledon next week

Speaking to Eurosport, Alex Corretja talked about how Rafael Nadal’s strength is to take things one match at a time and that he will look to do the same at SW19.

“I feel like 2022 for Rafa, it’s a miracle, since the very beginning of the year,” Corretja said. “After winning the first tournament, then the first Slam, he then got hurt again and he didn’t have that much time to prepare for Roland-Garros.

He then ended up winning, and one week later, or two weeks later, I thought, ‘Okay, maybe he needs time to rest, he needs time to recover.’ Again, now, he is ready to go and try to play at Wimbledon,” Corretja added.

“I feel like only Rafa can do that, honestly, because all the ups and downs physically that he had he overcame them. It shows how humble he is, and how much desire he has to keep on going. I don’t think he feels like winning the Calendar Slam; it’s not on his mind,” Corretja said.

“He is just going there to practise from the first day, get ready, and probably have the best chance he can for the first round. This is his only goal. Then he will go little by little. This is why Rafa deals very well with these kinds of situations because he knows where he is and he just goes for it, just being realistic.”


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