Federer On Nadal: ‘It Was Nice To See The Emotions’

Rafael Nadal (photo: Fiona Hamilton / Tennis Australia)

WASHINGTON, February 3, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Among many who congratulated Rafael Nadal Sunday after he garnered the most important comeback victory of his career – and, with it, a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open – was Roger Federer. The Swiss great is now tied for second with Novak Djokovic with 20.

In an interview with sponsor Credit Suisse on Wednesday, Federer said he watched some but not all of Nadal’s five-hour and 24-minute victory over Daniil Medvedev. “The match took too long, and I’ve got too many children,” he said. “So, I couldn’t watch every point, but I tuned in for the very end and it was nice to see the emotions.

“It gets you all emotional to see such an incredible hard-fought victory. … He has told me for many months now that he wasn’t feeling so well with his body and now, he’s all of a sudden holding up the Australian Open trophy. And dreams come true, and I think that was a great example with Rafa. He is a great role model. I think tennis writes incredible stories.”

It prompted New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey to recollect a conversation he had with Nadal about rivalries and relationships and how they evolve, which he described in The Master, his 2021 biography of Roger Federer.

“Through time, we’ve left behind a bit that hardcore rivalry on court for a rivalry that we both value and understand has been part of something special within the world of sport. And I think we also understand that both of us have benefited from it, and we have to take care of it. I think it’s beautiful to take care of this story we have lived together, and I think we both understand that to take care of it, one of the important things we need to do is to have a really good relationship. From this strong relationship, we can do important things together.”

More Federer: Still intent on coming back

Dominic Thiem: Another setback delays his comeback

Dominic Thiem of Austria, who was slated to be the No. 2 seed at this week’s ATP 250 Córdoba Open in Córdoba, Argentina, on clay, withdrew due to a hand injury involving pain in two of his knuckles.

While Thiem said in a press conference at the tournament that his previously-injured wrist, which had sidelined him since last June at Mallorca is 100 percent healed, the new injury could take “a couple of days” to “two weeks” to heal.

On Thursday, Thiem confirmed he’s pulled out of next week’s Argentina Open in Buenos Aires as well as the remaining Golden Swing events in Rio and Santiago. Now, the Austrian will look to make his comeback at next month’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

In a statement, Thiem said: “Training was going well in Vienna and I am so happy that I’ve made a full recover regarding my wrist. Unfortunately, I have suffered this minor setback in Santiago, which has forced me to temporarily stop training. 

“It’s never easy to come back after being away from competition for seven months. I will follow my doctor’s advice and after resting a couple of days, I will start training again next week. I need some consistent time on court before making my comeback.”


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US Davis Cup team: Will feature mixture of rising and established stars

On Wednesday, U.S. Davis Cup Captain Mardy Fish formalized his team that will represent the United States during the Davis Cup by Rakuten Qualifying tie against Colombia in Reno, Nev. March 4-5.

Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda, Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram will represent Team USA in Reno.

Fritz, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, is currently ranked No. 20. Meanwhile, Paul is ranked42nd and Korda 43rd. Sock and Ram will likely form the American’s doubles tandem. Ram is ranked World No. 4 and Sock has been a Davis Cup mainstay since 2015 and is a three-time Grand Slam doubles champion.

The United States and Colombia have split four previous Davis Cup meetings, with the Colombians winning the latest matchup in the group stages of the 2021 Finals last fall in Turin, Italy.

Simona Halep: Parts way with her coaches

After mutually ending her long-time player/coach partnership with Darren Cahill last September, Romanian media (Digi Sport) reported on Tuesday that Simona Halep has parted ways with both of her current coaches, Daniel Dobre and Adrian Marcu, despite winning the Melbourne Summer Set 1 event and reaching the Australian Open fourth round before losing to Alizé Cornet.

Halep, 30, who is currently ranked 23rd, has started the 2022 season with an 8-1 win-loss record. Her next scheduled tournament is the WTA 500 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which begins Feb. 14.

Frances Tiafoe: Sidelined by elbow injury

World No. 32 Frances Tiafoe of the United States announced on his Instagram Wednesday that he’s taking time off from the ATP Tour to deal with an elbow injury. The 24-year-old Maryland native started the 2022 season in Australia going 1-3.

Last month, Tiafoe lost in the second round of the Adelaide International 1 event to Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia, then was eliminated in the opening round of the Adelaide International 2 by fellow American Tommy Paul. At the Australian Open, Tiafoe was taken to five sets before defeating Marco Trungelliti of Argentina, then lost to then-No. 22 Taylor Fritz of the United States in straight sets.


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By the numbers

Ashleigh Barty has started 2022 with an 11-0 match win-loss record. She’s already won title at the WTA 500 Adelaide International 1 and the Australian Open. She’s the first player to win two WTA titles in January since Li Na in 2014.

Rafael Nadal‘s two-set-to-love comeback victory over Daniil Medvedev to win the Australian Open men’s singles title Sunday was his first such comeback in more than 14 years. Before Sunday, Nadal had only come back from down 0-2 three times. His most recent two-set comeback was at Wimbledon in 2007 against Mikhail Youzhny. He also did it at Wimbledon in 2006 against Robert Kendrick and in 2005 at Madrid against Ivan Ljjubicic.

“Quotable …”

“It’s my personal heartbeat. I put it with a tennis racquet. Tennis is my life, my profession. I like tattoos. … It’s traveling with me around the world.”

Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, currently ranked 66th, following his first win of the 2022 season against Aleksandar Vukic after losing his first two matches. Musetti has advanced to the quarterfinal round of the ATP 250 Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune, India. In his post-match interview, he discussed his new tattoo.