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Novak Djokovic argues against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal ‘bad guy’ question

Novak Djokovic argues against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal 'bad guy' question

Speaking after his quarter-final win over Marton Fucsovics, Djokovic was asked how it felt to be seen as the “bad guy” in chasing Nadal and Federer.

Djokovic took acception to that remark though, insisting he is only concentrating on his “own history”.

“I don’t consider myself a bad guy. I mean, that’s your opinion,” he said.

“I’m not chasing anybody. I’m making my own path and my own journey, my own history.

Author: Stuart Ballard
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Sport

Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon after Rafael Nadal also pulls out of Grand Slam

Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon after Rafael Nadal also pulls out of Grand Slam

The Spaniard missed out on his chance to win Grand Slam No 21 at the French Open, losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

But, while Osaka is planning to be back in action at the Tokyo Olympics, Nadal insists he needs more time to look after his body.

“Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Nadal tweeted.

“It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.

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Rafael Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics

Rafael Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics

The Spaniard says he made the decision after “listening” to his body.

MADRID, Spain — Rafael Nadal will not play at Wimbledon or at the Tokyo Olympics, saying Thursday he has decided to skip the two tournaments after “listening” to his body.

Nadal, who reached the French Open semifinals last week but lost to Novak Djokovic, has won the title at Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He also won the Olympic gold medal in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games and in doubles at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

“The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition,” Nadal said.

The 35-year-old Spaniard said the fact that there are only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon “didn’t make it easier” on his body to recover from “the always demanding” clay-court season.

“Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles,” Nadal wrote on Twitter.

Nadal is a 20-time Grand Slam champion with a record 13 titles at the French Open.

His loss at Roland Garros last Friday was only his third in 108 matches at a tournament he won each of the last four years, including by beating Djokovic in the 2020 final.

Nadal sent a “special message” to fans in Britain and Japan in particular.

“The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live,” he wrote. “I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country.”

Nadal hadn’t played much amid the coronavirus pandemic and had a slow start to his season. He won two titles, in Barcelona and in Rome, and had a 23-4 record so far this year.

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Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon and Olympic Games

Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon and Olympic Games

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon and the upcoming Olympic Games, the Spaniard has announced.

The 35-year-old posted a long Twitter thread to announce that he would not play at the two events, explaining that he has made the decision in order to prolong his career following talks with his team. 

He has not explicitly suggested that there is an existing injury.

“Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Nadal tweeted.

“It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.

“The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at he maximum level of competition.

“The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season.

“They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term.

“Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles.

Nadal recently relinquished his French Open title to Novak Djokovic. 

He had won the previous four editions at Roland Garros but suffered a shock semi-final exit after being beaten by Djokovic 3-6 6-3 7-6 6-2. 

Nadal was trying to win his 14th French Open title and will likely try again next year following his break. 

Djokovic proceeded to defeat 22-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in a sensational final. 

The 34-year-old came back from two sets down to beat the Greek  6–7 2–6 6–3 6–2 6–4. 

Djokovic will attempt to win his 20th Grand Slam at Wimbledon, which would put him level with Nadal and fellow member of the big three Roger Federer. 

The Tokyo Olympics have been rearranged for this summer after they were postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Games start on July 4 and end on August 1. 

We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.
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Rafael Benitez 'on the brink' of being confirmed as new Everton boss after holding talks

Rafael Benitez 'on the brink' of being confirmed as new Everton boss after holding talks

“How about immediately?

“Of the names instantly linked with Everton as the Ancelotti news broke, who is more qualified than my former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez?

“Rafa is available, settled in the area and I am sure he is ready if Moshiri is prepared to consider one of the more shocking managerial appointments in Merseyside football history.

“At the very least, Benitez should be under consideration as Moshiri begins yet another managerial quest. And not for the first time, before the owner decides the right candidate, he has to be clear of the football direction he wants to take.”

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Rafael Nadal's uncle fires Wimbledon warning to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal's uncle fires Wimbledon warning to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal‘s uncle Toni Nadal has suggested that his nephew could be the favourite to win at Wimbledon this year despite his surprise French Open defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic earlier this month. The Spaniard was widely expected to stroll to a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, but was denied by his ‘Big Three’ rival at the end of a thrilling semi-final.

Djokovic played some of his very best tennis to down the ‘king of clay’ and set up a meeting in the final with Greek hopeful Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was ultimately defeated by the world No 1 after initially taking a two-set lead.

The result saw the Serb claim a 19th major tournament victory, with the 34-year-old now just one title behind 20-time winners Nadal and Roger Federer.

He will be aiming to draw level at Wimbledon, which returns later this month after last year’s absence from the Grand Slam circuit, as the formidable trio look to realise their individual ambitions of becoming the most decorated player of all time.

However, Toni has declared that Nadal has every chance of pipping Djokovic and Federer to glory at the All England Club and redeeming himself after losing out in Paris.

The 60-year-old, who coached his nephew to 16 of his Grand Slam titles, is backing him to pose a significant threat at both Wimbledon and the French Open as he enters a crucial period in his search for undisputed greatness.

JUST IN: Roger Federer had ‘nerves’ after Halle Open win heading into Wimbledon

“In the first games of the third set, Stefanos lacked some aggression and that extra concentration more experienced players often give in the important moments,” Toni told El Pais, running the rule over the French Open final.

“Djokovic took notice of the situation, increased his pace of play and maintained the same intensity until the end. He went from dominated to dominator.

“And as the games progressed, I think we all had the feeling that the scoreboard was going to be definitively pronounced in favour of the Serbian.

“We saw a good game and a denouement that brings Novak dangerously close to Federer and Rafael, in their struggle to close their respective careers as the greatest conqueror of Grand Slam titles.

“The next two tournaments, Wimbledon and the US Open, will probably be decisive in unveiling it.

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“I would not dare to venture conclusions, but I do dare to maintain the confidence that it is my nephew who raises one of the two.”

Although Nadal has every right to argue his case as the greatest tennis player of all time, Federer and Djokovic are equally deserving of the title at present, with their fortunes over the next few years likely to provide a final answer to the all-important question.

Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray recently weighed in on the debate by giving his backing to Djokovic, who now has the fabled ‘Golden Slam’ in his sights after winning both major tournaments since the turn of the year.

“I mean, none of their careers are finished yet, so I think obviously you have to wait and see what happens,” said Murray earlier this month.

“But yeah, for me, the fact he’s [Djokovic] won every Masters Series twice. And on Sunday he’s now won every Slam twice, as well, which for him is something that obviously stands out as where you could make that argument, well, you know.

“That is incredible what he’s done. Then, like, with Rafa you would then look and go: ‘Well, on clay he’s won 13 French Opens’.

“You know, that’s the most that anyone has won at a single Slam. That’s incredible. Then with Roger, you know, he’s been doing it all multiple kind of generations now.

“He’s still able to compete at the highest level. He’s 39 years old. You know, his record and his results on grass are unmatched.

“You know, all of them have, you know, things that or achievements that you could argue make them better than another.”

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Rafael Nadal casts doubt over Wimbledon appearance after Novak Djokovic defeat

Rafael Nadal casts doubt over Wimbledon appearance after Novak Djokovic defeat

Asked if his appearance at Wimbledon was now in danger, the champion in 2008 and 2010 said: “I don’t know what I’ll do in my future.

“After two intense months in a positive gravel season without having achieved the final goal, I have managed to achieve two titles.

“The body after so much struggle usually suffers a slump. Wimbledon this year is in two weeks. It’s different from when I was 25 years old. I am 35 and you have to see how I recover in every way.

“I need to digest it all, be calm, take a few days off and go home. We have been locked up in Paris for two and a half weeks and I need to breathe a little, enjoy the good weather in Mallorca and what is going to happen is of little importance ”.

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Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: First set in French Open semi-final

Djokovic Nadal

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

  • Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are expected on court from 4:30pm.
  • Nadal hoping to reach his 14th French Open final, he’s won each of them
  • Djokovic would reach his fifth final at Roland Garros if he wins
  • Nadal defeated Djokovic in last year’s final to win his 13th title
  • The Spaniard has won their last five meetings on clay
  • Nadal takes the first set 6-3, having stormed into a 5-0 lead before a Djokovic resurgence.
  • Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal live score: 3-6, 3-2

(*denotes to serve)

Djokovic 3-6, 3-2 Nadal*

We’re back following serve at Roland Garros. Don’t even bother with the football tonight – this is the place to be.

*Djokovic 3-6, 2-2 Nadal

All square in the second set. Much more even than at this point in the first. This is easily still there for the taking for Djokovic.

Djokovic 3-6, 2-1 Nadal*

And now Nadal breaks! A chance for him to serve to level the set next.

*Djokovic 3-6, 2-0 Nadal

Wow! Djokovic breaks Nadal early in the second set. This has been enthralling so far.

Djokovic 3-6, 1-0 Nadal*

Better start to the second set for Djokovic. He needs to take some confidence from those three successful games in a row in the previous set.

Nadal wins the first set

Djokovic 3-6 Nadal

It was beginning to look pretty nervy for the 13-times champion, losing three games in a row. He lost five set points during the set but he finally sees it through despite Djokovic’s resurgence.

A step closer to a 14th French Open final?

Djokovic 3-5 Nadal*

Djokovic wins a third consecutive game.

Novak

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

Djokovic 2-5 Nadal

Well, well, well… we have a match everyone.

Djokovic breaks following a match that swung in several directions. The Serb initially had a break point, before Nadal won foyr consecutive points to earn a set point.

But it was Djokovic who saw it through. He now serves to make this set look a little more respectable.

Djokovic 1-5 Nadal*

Djokovic has some light relief, finally. It’s Nadal to serve for the first set here at Roland Garros.

Mark Petchey, on commentary with ITV4 is confused by Djokovic’s approach.

“I’m baffled by the amount of drop shots he’s attempted in this first set,” the former British No 1 says. “But on the other side of the coin, it’s just a treasure trove of incredible shots [from Nadal].”

*Djokovic 0-5 Nadal

Djokovic is still not on the board. Nadal has been absolutely rampant.

Djokovic 0-4 Nadal*

Nadal breaks again and this is getting closer to a repeat of last year’s final. The Spaniard had won nine points in a row until Djokovic made it 15-30 in that game.

*Djokovic 0-3 Nadal

This is a repeat of last year’s final, which Nadal won to lift his 13th French Open title. He bagelled in the first set then…

Nadal breaks

Djokovic 0-2 Nadal*

It’s an early break for the Spaniard. Some of the rallies have already been incredible.

*Djokovic 0-1 Nadal

The Serb had advantage at deuce and an early opportunity to break. Nadal then brought it back but double faulted, though ends up taking the game. Already some excellent tennis on display.

6:10pm: Nadal to serve first…

Nearly ready to go

Djokovic and Nadal are walking out at Philippe-Chatrier. Follow all the updates here at Express Sport. 

Tsitsipas: ‘Most important win of my career’

He’s in tears, bless him.

“My dream was to play here, my dream was to play in the biggest matches,” Tsitsipas says.

“It was so tense. I came back, stayed alive and had the crowd with me. They were cheering me.

“[After being dragged back to 2-2] I still saw an opportunity to fight back. I went through a lot of phases of emotional breakdowns.

“This win is the most important of my career so far.”

He is the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final.

“I’m very happy that Greece is more a part of the tennis community,” he continues.

“Me and Maria [Sakkari] have been doing a great job.

“We need to keep Greece’s hopes alive.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3

Nadal

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

Zverev fought back so well from two sets down but appeared to run out of steam towards the end.

After an enthralling semi-final, the 22-year-old Tsitsipas – through to his first Grand Slam final – will play Djokovic or Nadal in the French Open final.

We’ll have Novak vs Rafa next…

5:35pm: Zverev serves to keep himself in the match. It’s 5-3 and Tsitsipas is now serving to win…

5:25pm: Tsitsipas leads 5-2 in the fifth. It’s Zverev to serve to stay in the match.

5:12pm: Tsitsipas breaks Zverev in the deciding set. It’s 3-1 to the Greek…

4:52pm: Zverev takes set four in the other semi-final. He’s now 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 against Tsitsipas. It’s going the distance between the pair to decide who will face either Djokovic or Nadal. Let’s hope the excitement continues!

4:25pm: In the other semi-final, Zverev has just taken a 3-1 lead against Tsitsipas in the fourth set. This could be heading for a decider…

Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s LIVE coverage of the French Open semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Nadal is hoping to reach his 14th final at Roland Garros but will need to be the in-form world No 1 Djokovic. The Spaniard has a good recent record against his opponent, winning their last five matches on clay.

Both players are expected on Philippe-Chatrier from 4:30pm but must wait for the other semi-final between Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas to finish.

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

Tsitsipas was leading two sets to love but Zverev has just taken the third set. The German raged at the umpire towards the end of that set, seemingly over the way a shot had been played.

We’ll have coverage of Djokovic vs Nadal shortly.

Ahead of the semi-final, Djokovic has talked about the unique element of his matches against Nadal. He said: “It’s not like any other match. Let’s face it, it’s the biggest challenge that you can have – playing on clay against Nadal, on this court on which he has had so much success in his career, in the final stages of a Grand Slam. It doesn’t get bigger than that.

“Of course, each time we face each other, there’s that extra tension and expectations. [The] vibes are different walking on the court with him. But that’s why our rivalry has been historic, I think, for this sport. I’ve been privileged to play him so many times.

“[My] rivalries with him and Roger [Federer] have made me a stronger player, allowed me to understand how I need to improve my game to get to the level where they were when I started playing professional tennis. I’ll probably pick Rafa as the biggest rival I’ve ever had in my career.”

Meanwhile, Nadal has suggested that he has to raise his game against Djokovic, despite being one of the best-ever players on clay.

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

The 35-year-old added: “The best thing is you know that you need to play your best tennis.

“It’s a match that you know what you have to do if you really want to have chances to success and to keep going on the tournament. Always a big challenge.

“That’s something that is good because in some way we are practising, we are living the sport for these moments. So that’s a good thing.

“The negative thing [about playing Djokovic is] it’s difficult because you play against one of the best players of the history. That’s how it is.”

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