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Nadal: ‘My Hope Is To Play Again And To Be Competitive’

  • Posted: Sep 20, 2023

Nadal: ‘My Hope Is To Play Again And To Be Competitive’

The Spaniard gave an in-depth interview to Movistar+

Editor’s note: This story was translated from

More than eight months have passed since Rafael Nadal played his last match on the ATP Tour. The Spaniard, who has not competed since January’s Australian Open and underwent an operation on the iliopsoas muscle in his left leg in June, is still in the midst of the recovery process. Yet he is hopeful about a return to action.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion gave an in-depth interview this week to Movistar+, in which he discussed his current fitness, how a daily routine including golf helps him satisfy his hunger for competition, his thoughts on the future of tennis, and how he wants to get back to being one of the players to beat. He also answered questions on a range of topics, from personal projects to sporting decisions, while remaining aware that only time will bring all the answers.

“My hope is to play again, to be competitive again,” explained Nadal. “The hope is not returning and winning at Roland Garros again, or in Australia, let’s get that straight. I’m aware that at this point of my life, that is very far off. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’ve said it thousands of times, because things in sport change very quickly.”

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For Nadal, the fast pace of sport is in stark contrast to his current reality. It is a question of patience, perseverance, and acceptance.

“It’s boring, I play without moving as intensely as I’m used to doing,” said Nadal. “I have to tread carefully and stay within myself at all times. I know that I have to be careful. I’ve been through many periods of recovery, and I always get bored, but that doesn’t take away from my focus and the care of doing it day in, day out. Luckily, since a few weeks ago, I’ve been able to play golf. That’s the only thing I can compete in at this point. It distracts me and competing is a necessity for me.”

The Mallorcan, who is going through one of the longest absences of his career, is in no doubt about his progress. At 37 years of age, with the experience that can only be earned through time, he knows how to take care of the aspects that are within his control in order to take the next step.

“I’m not frustrated for one simple reason; to the best of my ability, I’ve done everything so that things have gone as well as possible for me,” explained the Spaniard, accepting that an athlete of his class may have to go through these trials and tribulations. “[It is possible to] be frustrated with 22 Grand Slams. For example, for Novak it is more intense. To him, it would have been more frustrating not to get [the record for majors]. Maybe that’s why he’s achieved it.

“As well as the iliopsoas, on June 2, I had a hip operation. It’s been a very tough year and a half since the rib injury in Indian Wells, despite the Roland Garros title. The results sometimes belie the daily reality. My iliopsoas was very bad and the operation was a solution. They told me that if I didn’t have the operation I wouldn’t recover even if I stopped for a long time. I took the decision, and the operation went well, but it’s a long time. I’ve been on holiday for five weeks only doing gym.”

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Nadal, who hinted in May that 2024 might be the last season of his career, maintains that it is just a possibility among many, and that only time will tell.

“Now it’s a controllable pain, nothing I can’t handle,” said the Spaniard. “I’m not sure what I’ll do in 2024, because the way I approach the year completely changes depending on what my goals are. If I don’t recover, that’s one thing, if I can compete on a level that excites me, that’s another thing altogether… Of course, in that case, I would play. But not with the schedule I’d like to have.

“I still have no need to answer that 1695280770. If I can play, but I’m not at the level to win at Roland Garros, maybe I will decide to have a goodbye tour. I can’t answer that right now. The Olympic Games would be the icing on the cake if I’m competitive. My schedule would change if I feel like I have a chance of playing and winning at Roland Garros.

“My hope is that in two months, mid-November, I’ll be able to say where I am. How I am physically, and above all how the injury is. We haven’t set a timeframe. First, I have a recovery process, I’m training 40 minutes, three days a week. This is my day-to-day schedule and I work a lot of hours in the gym and on recovery. Will it be my last year? Have I planned it that way? Well, what if that’s not the case? What if, suddenly, after a long break, my body recovers and I feel strong enough and have enough energy to continue? Why would I lie and then say something else?

“I’m prudent, when I know the answer, I’ll say something. I take it day by day with the hope of having the option to decide.”

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With a legendary sporting career under his belt, the Spaniard still has plenty to look forward to in the future. With a world-class academy and various business initiatives in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, Nadal has plenty to keep him busy.

“I have a lot of projects and things will develop organically,” he explained. “If I stop today, I can start working on many other things I have going on, personal projects. The academy. I can see myself as a coach, but that won’t be the main thing in my life.”

In a long and broad chat, Nadal dedicated a few words to Carlos Alcaraz, the man who looks destined to take the baton from him as Spain’s leading tennis player on Tour over the coming years. He was full of praise for an athlete who, like him, began making history before the age of 20.

“It’s not hyperbole, it’s logical,” said Nadal. “There is a new kid who has arrived and is No. 1 in the world, who has won Grand Slams. For me that’s not an exaggeration. His future is boundless, he is young, powerful, ambitious… I don’t think there’s any doubt that he could become someone very, very big. Of course, lots of things can happen in an athlete’s career. And there are things that are beyond their control.”

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Safiullin Breezes Past Nakashima In Chengdu Opener

  • Posted: Sep 20, 2023

Safiullin Breezes Past Nakashima In Chengdu Opener

Moutet, Daniel also advance on Wednesday at ATP 250

Roman Safiullin made a confident start to his first ATP Tour event on Chinese soil Wednesday at the Chengdu Open, where the 26-year-old eased past Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 6-4.

The World No. 55 Safiullin delivered a scintillating display of clean hitting to overwhelm Nakashima in 88 minutes at the ATP 250. He struck 22 winners to his opponent’s 17 while remaining rock solid behind his serve. Safiullin did not face a break point as he improved to 23-2 against American opponents across all levels.

“I think the most important thing was to hold my serve and then just try to get some break points and try to use them.,” said Safiullin after winning his maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head clash with Nakashima. “That was the main goal for the match.”

Safiullin has enjoyed the best season of his career in 2023. He reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon in July, a run which propelled him to a career-high No. 43 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Now 12-14 in tour-level matches for the year, his next assignment in Chengdu is a second-round clash with fourth seed Daniel Evans.

Corentin Moutet also wasted little time notching a first-round victory in Sichuan province. The Frenchman prevailed 6-2, 6-2 against home wild card Mu Tao, who was making his ATP Tour debut. Moutet will play seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic or qualifier Benjamin Lock in the second round.

There was an upset in the opening match of the day on Chengdu’s centre court. Taro Daniel downed eighth seed Aleksandar Vukic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 6-6 against Top 50 opponents for the season. Daniel will next chase back-to-back main-draw wins at an ATP Tour event for the first time since March when he meets Christopher O’Connell or Alibek Kachmazov.

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#NextGenATP Star Svrcina Advances In Zhuhai

  • Posted: Sep 20, 2023

#NextGenATP Star Svrcina Advances In Zhuhai

Harris, Nishioka reach second round at ATP 250

#NextGenATP Czech Dalibor Svrcina captured his second tour-level win on Wednesday when he moved past Chinese wild card Li Zhe 6-4, 6-3 at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships.

The 20-year-old, who earned his only previous tour-level victory at the Australian Open in January, limited mistakes throughout the one-hour, 31-minute clash. Svrcina committed just five unforced errors, while he struck 18 winners to reach the second round at the ATP 250.

The Czech star is 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah and knows a deep run in Zhuhai will further boost his chances of qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals. He will next face Australian qualifier Luke Saville or fifth seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

Earlier this year, Svrcina clinched an ATP Challenger Tour trophy on home soil.

In other action, South African Lloyd Harris downed Czech Jiri Vesely 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 13-4 against left-handers at tour-level hard-court events.

The 26-year-old produced an impressive serving perfomance, firing 19 aces and winning 93 per cent (26/28) of points behind his first delivery to advance after 71 minutes.

Harris will next play another lefty in the shape of Yoshihito Nishioka. The Japanese star defeated Frenchman Terence Atmane 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 to earn his eighth first-round win of the season.

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Stars Arrive In Canada Ahead Of Laver Cup

  • Posted: Sep 20, 2023

Stars Arrive In Canada Ahead Of Laver Cup

Shelton & Tiafoe spent time with Vancouver Canucks star Elias Pettersson


The stars have arrived in Vancouver ahead of the fifth edition of the Laver Cup, where Team World will look to retain the trophy against Team Europe.

Before the serious action starts on Friday, players took time to fine-tune their games on court, while others relaxed away from Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz and Team Europe Vice Captain Thomas Enqvist swapped their racquets for golf clubs on Tuesday when they put their putting skills to the test.

<a href=Hubert Hurkacz” style=”height:width: 100%;” />
Hubert Hurkacz and Thomas Enqvist spend time together at golf.
<a href=Hubert Hurkacz” />
Hubert Hurkacz hits an iron.
Americans Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe have starred on home soil in recent years. The 20-year-old Shelton advanced to the semi-finals at the US Open this month, while Tiafoe reached the same stage in 2022.

Ahead of the Laver Cup, both spent time with another sporting star who is making waves in North America, Elias Pettersson. The Swede plays for NHL side Vancouver Canucks.

<a href=Ben Shelton” />
Ben Shelton and John McEnroe spend time with Elias Pettersson.
Players and captains have also been hitting the court ahead of the Laver Cup, to be held from Friday to Sunday in Canada.

Team World Captain John McEnroe showed his team that he still knows his way around a court, hitting with Milos Raonic.

<a href=Milos Raonic” />
Milos Raonic hits a serve.

Team World
Team World share a joke on court.
Photo Credits: Getty Images

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Federer Offers Laver Cup Advice, Touts ‘Superstar’ Doubles Combos

  • Posted: Sep 20, 2023

Federer Offers Laver Cup Advice, Touts ‘Superstar’ Doubles Combos

Swiss legend was a three-time winner with Team Europe

Each match may come down to individual or doubles-tandem brilliance, but Roger Federer believes team integration remains the key for Laver Cup success.

The Swiss great helped Team Europe to victory against Team World in 2017, 2018 and 2019 before bringing his career to a close in emotional scenes at the 2022 edition of the annual team event. What advice does the former World No. 1 have for the seven Laver Cup debutants set to compete inside Vancouver’s Rogers Arena this weekend?

“I think it’s [all about] thriving in the team environment, being well prepared and embracing a big crowd,” said the Swiss great in Vancouver ahead of this weekend’s action. “It always depends on when you play, obviously, whether it’s opening day or the second day, but listen to the ones who have already been at Laver Cups before, and they can give you some sound advice.

“I’m sure they’ll be fine. They’re all excellent players here, we’re talking about world-class players.”

Federer lined up on the doubles court alongside his great friend and rival Rafael Nadal for the final match of his career in London a year ago, when Team World denied him a victorious goodbye by snatching a 13-8 victory at the O2. The Swiss believes that part of the beauty of the Laver Cup is the opportunity it gives fans to witness top ATP Tour singles stars join forces on the doubles court.

“I always get very excited about Laver Cup doubles teams because they’re usually always teams that we haven’t seen in the past,” said Federer. “[This year for Team Europe] I’d like to maybe see [Hubert] Hurkacz and [Andrey] Rublev play together. On the World side, I think there’s tonnes of doubles teams there. Ben Shelton, I see him playing quite a few, also Frances [Tiafoe], I can see him playing some. Maybe also Taylor Fritz, I’d like to see how he plays doubles.

“I just like superstar combinations; I think that’s always very exciting.”

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As the first anniversary of his retirement approaches, Federer’s passion for tennis remains. Although no longer lighting up stadiums with his on-court prowess, he is happy to sit back and enjoy watching his former ATP colleagues from the stands, as he will do this weekend in British Columbia.

“It’s good fun. I was at Wimbledon this year, also sat in the stands, and it felt great,” said Federer. “I was really happy seeing tennis. I still follow results. I can’t sit through full matches just because I’ve got too much going on or it’s a bad time zone, but I sometimes check out the highlights and being live in the stadium honestly has a different feeling.

“Tennis is a great live sport, so I’m really happy to be back here in Vancouver and seeing some live tennis again.”

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Tsitsipas Withdraws From Laver Cup

  • Posted: Sep 20, 2023

Tsitsipas Withdraws From Laver Cup

Fils will make Laver Cup debut

Stefanos Tsitsipas has withdrawn from the Laver Cup due to injury, event organisers announced Tuesday. #NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils will replace the Greek on Team Europe in Vancouver.

Fils is poised to make his Laver Cup debut, joining teammates Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Gael Monfils. Their captain is Bjorn Borg and their vice captain is Thomas Enqvist.

The 19-year-old Fils has enjoyed a breakthrough season on the ATP Tour and is at his career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 44. He claimed his first tour-level crown in May in Lyon.

Fils and Team Europe will try to take back the Laver Cup trophy from Team World, which will feature Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Ben Shelton and Francisco Cerundolo. John McEnroe is the captain and Patrick McEnroe the vice captain.

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Laver Cup: Lineups, Dates, History & All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2023

Laver Cup: Lineups, Dates, History & All You Need To Know

All about the team event taking place this year in Vancouver, Canada

The Laver Cup is a unique annual team competition that sees a host of the ATP Tour’s finest players line up for either Team Europe or Team World. Among those in action this year in Vancouver will be Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the three-day event:

When is the Laver Cup?

The sixth edition of the team event will be held from 22-24 September. The indoor hard-court contest, established in 2017, will take place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. The Laver Cup CEO is Steve Zacks.

Who is playing at the Laver Cup?

Ruud, Rublev, Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Arthur Fils and Gael Monfils will represent Team Europe, to be captained by Bjorn Borg. Fritz, Auger-Aliassime, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Ben Shelton and Francisco Cerundolo will be at the disposal of Team World captain John McEnroe.

When are the matches at the Laver Cup announced?

Friday’s matches at the Laver Cup will be announced on Thursday afternoon.
Saturday’s matches at the Laver Cup will be announced an hour after play ends on Friday night.
Sunday’s matches at the Laver Cup will be announced an hour after play ends on Saturday night.

What is the schedule for the Laver Cup?

* Day 1 & Day 2: Friday, 22 September & Saturday, 23 September: four matches starting from 1 p.m.
* Day 3: Sunday, 24 September: four matches starting from 12 p.m.
*View On Official Website

What is the format of the Laver Cup?

The Laver Cup will be played over three days, from 22-24 September, across five sessions. Each match win is worth one point on Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on a high-stakes Sunday. The first team to reach 13 points (out of a possible 24) wins the Laver Cup.

How can I watch the Laver Cup?

TV Schedule

How can I follow the Laver Cup?

Hashtag: #LaverCup
Facebook: Laver Cup
Twitter: @LaverCup
Instagram: @lavercup

Who won the last edition of the Laver Cup in 2022?

Team World won the 2022 Laver Cup  with a 13-8 victory against Team Europe (Read More). It was the first victory for Team World in five editions of the event. For Team Europe, ATP Tour legend Roger Federer played the final match of his professional career on the first evening, lining up on the doubles court alongside his great friend and rival Rafael Nadal (Read More).

Who holds the Laver Cup record for most wins?

Team Europe has won four editions of the Laver Cup (2017-2019, 2021). Team World has won one (2022).

View Who Is Playing & Past Champions

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Kung Fu In Chengdu: Were Dimitrov & Kecmanovic Up For The Challenge?

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2023

Kung Fu In Chengdu: Were Dimitrov & Kecmanovic Up For The Challenge?

Bulgarian and Serbian enjoy Chinese culture before ATP 250

Ahead of the Chinese hard-court swing, Grigor Dimitrov and Miomir Kecmanovic soaked in the country’s rich martial arts culture by trying kung fu.

Dimitrov and Kecmanovic, who are in action this week at the Chengdu Open, watched demonstrations from kung fu masters depicting the various styles of the Chinese art, before learning some of the most iconic stances and testing their wrist strength in a training exercise.

“I’m a big fan of kung fu, but I don’t think I did very well today,” Dimitrov joked. “I think it’s an amazing art and I’m such a huge Jackie Chan fan, so it was nice to experience that a little and hopefully one day I will have the chance to explore more of it. Doing the standing poses was really fun.”

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The cultural activity took place at Feng Qing Lake, which is located near the Sichuan International Tennis Centre, where the ATP 250 event is held. Seventh seed Kecmanovic, who is making his Chengdu debut, enjoyed the challenge.

“I never got to try kung fu before and I see now that it’s actually very difficult and not as easy as they make it look,” Kecmanovic said. “I really enjoyed my time. My favourite was when we tried replicating the poses they showed us. It was quite fun and I hope I get the chance to do more of that.”

<a href=Miomir Kecmanovic (left) and Grigor Dimitrov learn kung fu in Chengdu.” />
Credit: Chengdu Open

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Korda Primed For China Debut, Eyeing Top 20 Finish

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2023

Korda Primed For China Debut, Eyeing Top 20 Finish

American will open against Muller or HIjikata

As Sebastian Korda recuperated from a testing summer in the United States, he watched with interest as Ben Shelton led an American charge at the US Open earlier this month. The 23-year-old Korda, who makes his debut in China this week at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, said it was inspiring to see his countrymen performing well.

Shelton’s charge ended in the semi-finals against eventual champion Novak Djokovic, while Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz managed to reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows. The results are one thing, but Korda was also impressed with the exciting manner in which the trio played and engaged with massive crowds during a headline-capturing fortnight.

“I think it is really great for American tennis [and] hopefully tennis in general. Hopefully we [are providing good] entertainment in some way,” Korda said.

“I think Ben did a great job at the US Open. He just really showed the world what he’s capable of and what he can do in the near future. And he’s got a great game. [He is] powerful, entertaining [and he] loves to kind of interact with fans as well. I think he’s a great role model for younger kids with the way that he plays. I think it’s awesome. It definitely pushes all of us to do better. And obviously, it shows the way, that it is possible for someone like him, or of any age, to be out there performing like him.”

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Korda is well-positioned to know, for he was the shooting star of American tennis at the start of the year which began in highly encouraging fashion before he was stricken by a wrist injury. After falling to Djokovic in a compelling final in Adelaide, Korda joined Shelton in the Australian Open quarter-finals but was forced to retire against Karen Khachanov, who is the top seed in Zhuhai.

The right-hander returned to the Tour in April and looked to be regaining his best touch leading into the US Open before injuring his ankle in Winston-Salem. There was also a flourish of his best form at The Queen’s Club prior to Wimbledon and despite the injury misfortune, Korda believes he is more than capable of achieving a primary goal for 2023 – to break into the Top 20 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Having peaked at No. 25 in June, Korda has slipped eight spots but he is confident in making significant inroads over the next three weeks in China. He has spent time practising with Chinese teenager Shang Juncheng in Zhuhai and said the slick hard courts at the Hengqin International Tennis Center are to his liking.

“It hasn’t been easy, for sure. But I enjoy these types of conditions playing here. It is kind of like indoor tennis, [which is] definitely one of my favourites,” he said. “My goal at the start of the year was to finish Top 20, Top 25. That’s still my goal. If I have a couple of good weeks, [I have] a good chance to do it. I have a lot of weeks ahead of me and hopefully I’ll have some good results to finish the year and prepare for next year.”

The American has only been in China for a week, but he feels at ease in Zhuhai.

“It’s actually a very, very beautiful place. [I’m] staying in a great hotel and have a great view of the whole city. It is very easy to be here. [I’m] very relaxed,” he said. “A lot of the players on the Tour said how great the crowds are here, the fans. People love tennis here… so I’m expecting a good week from the fans.”

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