Aug 2, 2008

Quote of the day: Rafael Nadal set to end Roger Federer's no. 1 rank

“It’s emotional. I know I’m going to be No. 1. Getting No. 1 is a present for a lot of work in the past, so it’s satisfying.” ~ Rafael Nadal

Finally, after years of chasing, Nadal is guaranteed to claim the world No. 1 ranking this month after reaching the semifinals at the Cincinnati Masters with a 7-6(3), 6-1 victory over Nicolas Lapentti.

The timing of Nadal's rise to No. 1 replacing Roger Federer depends on his results in Cincinnati:
  • If Nadal wins the title, he will become No. 1 this Monday.
  • If Nadal loses in the final he will become No. 1 on August 11
  • If Nadal loses in the semifinals he will become No. 1 on August 18
Federer has held the top ranking for a record of 235 consecutive weeks (since Feb. 2, 2004) and Nadal has been No. 2 for a record 158 straight weeks (since July 25, 2005). The last player to rank No. 1 before Federer's reign was Andy Roddick the week of Jan. 26, 2004.

The Spaniard will become the 24th player in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings (since 1973) to hold the No. 1 position. He will join countrymen Carlos Moya (1999) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003) to rank No. 1.
"Well, there are so many different things, no, so difficult to compare," said Nadal, when asked about becoming No. 1."

"But when you win Roland Garros it's in the moment, no? It's, I don't know, very emotional. Right now I know I going to be No. 1 and I'm very, very happy to be No. 1. Be No. 1 always is, I think, is a present for a lot of work in the past, no? So that's satisfying me a lot. But for be No. 1 you only can be No. 1 winning Roland Garros, Wimbledon, so..."

"I am very happy but at the same time, my goal is continuing be there (at No. 1). So my goal is continuing be there Olympics and US Open, so no time for enjoy."
Nadal, who also won his career-best 32nd consecutive match on Friday, has reached the semifinals or better in all nine ATP Masters Series tournaments in his career. He will attempt to become the first player to reach the final in all nine when he plays World No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals on Saturday. Nadal leads the all-time series 9-3, winning the last three meetings this year.

(Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Jul 31, 2008

Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer in exho? It's just publicity gimmick!

Honestly I felt cheated by the announcement that Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer will be making way to Asia for exhibition matches in Macau and Kuala Lumpur, only to have Nadal unconfirmed and possibly replaced by James Blake three days later.

Personally, I believe IMG Asia, the organiser for the Showdown of Champions and The Venetian Macau Tennis Showdown, has fully EXPLOIT the 'rivalry' between the top two players in the world.

They should know that there is almost 0% chance for Nadal to play in the exho matches on Nov 18 and 20. Before I make my point, let's flash back why there's a sudden change in the line up for the exho match.
The reason why Nadal MIGHT NOT be able to make it is due to the clash with the Davis Cup final.

“The decision as to who will play in Malaysia will hinge on the outcome of the Davis Cup semi-final clash between Spain and the United States (US) in Madrid on Sept 21,” said Nick Freyer, senior vice-president and head of tennis of IMG Asia, the event organisers, at a news conference, here today.

Freyer said if Spain were to lose, Nadal will travel to Kuala Lumpur but if the US were to lose the clash, Blake, who is currently world no. 8, will make his way here.
Spain and the US team will be playing in Madrid, on CLAY COURTS in their semifinal ties. The Spaniards are well known for their exceptional skills on clay while the US team whose expertise on hardcourts has already earned them the Davis Cup last year, are never convincing enough on the slow surface.

With Nadal teaming up with Tommy Robredo, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco and David Ferrer (possible line up) representing Spain, any tennis fans would know there's no way for Andy Roddick and team mates to go through the semifinal.

Well, IMG, LTAM or the Ministry of Sports might have cheated on us with that cheap gimmick but it's still worth it to buy the tickets. There are still Federer, Borg, McEnroe and Blake LIVE in Malaysia. Just that, it wasn't the same excitement anymore.

Jul 28, 2008

Will the real Nadal's girlfriend please stand up?

We have heard quite a lot of rumours about Rafael Nadal and Ana Ivanovic, from flying together on a private jet to the recent Ana's Mallorcan escapade.

Although Nadal did not spend time with Ana, her team and family here in this pool side picture, they did meet up in Mallorca, Nadal's hometown and he was also back there before the Toronto Masters.

However, fans believe that there's no chemistry between the two players. Instead Nadal is just being a chaperon for his best pal, Bartolomé Salva-Vidal, who was later seen hitting with Ana at the Raquet Club in Palma de Mallorca.

Perhaps the following pictures will brush off Nadal-Ivanovic romance rumour which isn't true.

Xisca, Nadal's girlfriend was seen here spending the holiday with him. She was also at the recent Toronto airport and at the Rogers Cup tournament.

Hmm, I wonder if Xisca did inspire Nadal to win at Toronto, no?

(Images via Great Tennis Photos and Tennisopolis)

Rafael Nadal keeps closing in on No. 1

Rafael Nadal saw off Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday to win the Rogers Cup, his fifth straight tournament victory.

Nadal has won a total of 29 consecutive matches and seven tournaments so far—including the French Open and Wimbledon—this year! This was his first win on hard court this season.

“I win on every surface, no? I win on grass, on hard, on indoor, and on clay, too,” Nadal said. “So if I am playing my best tennis I can win on every surface, no?”

Kiefer was unseeded and ranks 37th in the world. He has been playing magnificent tennis for the past week beating Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny and Gilles Simon. However his chance to beat Nadal in the final fell short.

“I don’t know—I mean, if I would have the solution, I would change it, but so far I didn’t find a little thing,” Kiefer said.

When the men’s tennis rankings are updated, Federer will still retain his No. 1 spot, which he has held since February 2004. With the win at Toronto Masters, Nadal is now only 275 points behind Federer, with a chance to claim the top spot next week in Cincinnati.

For that to happen, Nadal would have to win and Federer would have to lose before the semifinals, according to the ATP Tour Web site. Whatever happens, it could set up a potentially dramatic showdown at the United States Open in August, right after the Beijing Olympics.

(Image by AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

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