Rafael Nadal’s ATP Cup Mural Unveiled in Perth

Rafael Nadal’s face has found a special home Down Under

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, is one of the players being honored with a special mural in Perth, Australia.

Rafael Nadal Mural

The inaugural ATP Cupis set to take place between January 3-12 in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, bringing together some of the world’s leading players in both singles and doubles from 24 countries. 

Weeks before the start of the action, Nodal got his mural in Perth together with Kei Nishikori and other stars, with the organizers welcoming the 19-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal is among those who’ll fight for the crown together with his teammates, fresh after conquering the first edition of the Davis Cup Finalsin Madrid.

Spain is the favorite to reach the quarters from Group B, battling against Japan, Uruguay and Georgia at RAC Arena in Perth and hoping to continue the competition in Sydney where eight strongest teams continue the quest for the title in the second stage of the event.

Backed by Roberto Bautista AugtPablo Carreno BustaAlbert Ramos-Vinolas and Feliciano Lopez, Nadal is eager to lead Spain towards another team competition crown, shining in front of the home fans in Madrid with eight victories from as many rubbers and delivering the sixth Davis Cup title for Spain.

In what was a wild race towards the finish line, Nadal and Djokovic fought for the year-end no. 1 spot for almost the entire season, with the Spaniard making the deciding move in Montreal and the US Open and keeping the lead in the ATP Raceuntil the ATP Finalswhere they both lost in the round-robin stage.

Rafa and Novak will continue their rivalry at the ATP Cup, joined by Gael MonfilsKei NishikoriDavid GoffinAndy Murray, Grigor DimitrovAlexander ZverevDenis ShapovalovFelix Auger-AliassimeNick KyrgiosAlex de MinaurDaniil MedvedevKaren KhachanovJohn IsnerMatteo BerrettiniFabio FogniniDominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzmanand others.

Diego Schwartzman Defeats Alexander Zverev to Reach Quarterfinals at the US Open

Diego Schwartzman has pulled out a major upset at the US Open…

The 27-year-old Argentine professional tennis player defeated No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev at Flushing Meadows 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals at the Grand Slam event for the second time.

Diego Schwartzman

Zverev doubled-faulted 17 times in the losing effort, and he ended up losing his serve eight times, won just 32% of second-serve points and amassed 65 unforced errors. He also was hit with a point penalty for swearing in the final set to put Schwartzman up 5-2.

“My first serve is still fine. My second serve needs to be worked on,” Zverev said. “But I’ll deal with it.”

The 20th-seeded Schwartzman, meanwhile, went about his steady baseline and retrieving game, taking the majority of long rallies in a match when some points went on for as many as 35 strokes.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarterfinals at the French Openlast year and at Flushing Meadows in 2017, next takes Rafael Nadal.

Garbine Muguruza to Play This Year’s Hopman Cup

Garbine Muguruza is ready to take on the world…

The 24-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and compatriot David Ferrer will represent Spain in the Hopman Cup mixed teams event in late December.

Garbine Muguruza

The eight-country tournament is scheduled from December 29 to January 5 on indoor hard courts at Perth Arena. It’s used by the players as a tuneup event for the Australian Open, which begins on January 14 in Melbourne.

Serena Williams and Roger Federer have also committed to play, while former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev will represent Germany.

Frances Tiafoe will be Williams’ partner for the United States, while Belinda Bencic will again represent Switzerland with Federer to defend the title they won in January over Kerber and Zverev in the final.

Williams and Federer are scheduled to play mixed doubles against each other when the U.S. meets Switzerland on January 1.

Hopman Cup Teams:
Australia: Matthew Ebden and Ashleigh Barty
France: Lucas Pouille and Alize Cornet
Germany: Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber
Britain: Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter
Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari
Spain: David Ferrer and Garbine Muguruza
Switzerland: Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic
United States: Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams

Rafael Nadal Defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas to Claim Fourth Career Rogers Cup Title

Make that 80 for Rafael Nadal

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis star claimed his 80th ATP World Tour title on Sunday while ruining Stefanos Tsitsipas‘ 20th birthday.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, the top-ranked player in the tournament, beat the unseeded Greek upstart 6-2, 7-6 (4) for his fourth Rogers Cup crown and fifth victory of the year. He has 33 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles.

“If you told me this two weeks ago, I would not have believed it,” Nadal said. “It’s a great way to start the hard-court season. Winning in Toronto is so important. You don’t win Masters 1000s very often. It’s a very important victory for me and I’m very happy.”

Nadal also won the Rogers Cup in Toronto in 2008 and in Montreal in 2005 and 2013.

“I’m very happy to have this trophy with me again,” Nadal said. “It means a lot. It has been a fantastic week, a very positive one.”

Nadal later announced that he would skip a Masters tournament in Cincinnati this week to rest and get ready for the US Open.

“No other reason than personally taking care of my body and trying to keep as healthy as I feel now,” Nadal said in a statement.

Nadal’s win Sunday was notable. His previous four titles this year came on clay at the French Open, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

He also beat Tsitsipas in in the Barcelona final.

“He was normal like all of us and he managed to become this beast, this monster that he is today,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s true … that’s how you feel when you play against him. I need to work much more and hopefully I can reach his level one day.”

Nadal overcame a late service break and fought off a set point at the Aviva Centre. He converted his first match point of the tiebreaker to end it.

“He never cracks,” Tsitsipas said. “He will always grab you like a bulldog, and he will always make you suffer on the court.”

Tsitsipas reached the final by becoming the youngest player to beat four straight top-10 players in an event since the ATP World Tour was established in 1990. He began the run against seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem, then knocked off No. 9 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Alexander Zverev and No. 4 Kevin Anderson.

Tsitsipas will jump from 27th to 15th in the world on Monday.

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Alexander Zverev for His Record-Extending Eighth Italian Open Title

Rafael Nadal is still the King of Clay

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis star profited from a timely rain delay at a break when he was down in the final set to hold off defending champion and No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 at the Italian Open in Rome.

Rafael Nadal

It was a record-extending eighth Italian Open title for Nadal, who’ll head to Roland Garros as the new world No. 1.

Nadal surrendered top spot in the ATP world rankings to Roger Federer last week after Nadal’s Madrid Open quarterfinal defeat to Dominic Thiem — the only blight on an otherwise impeccable clay-court season this year.

However, Nadal will return to the summit when the latest ATP rankings are published on Monday after he overcame world No. 3 Zverev in a thrilling finale on the Foro Italico’s Campo Centrale.

Billed as a clash between the two current top-form players on clay, Sunday’s final did not disappoint. After two hotly-contested semifinals on Saturday — Nadal saw off long-time rival Novak Djokovic while Zverev smashed a racket in anger during his victory over Marin Cilic — the championship match ebbed and flowed throughout.

Despite dropping serve in the opening game, victory looked like a foregone conclusion for 10-time French Open champion Nadal as he blistered through the first set in 33 minutes to put his young opponent on the back foot.

However, Zverev produced a phenomenal set of tennis to force the decider. The German changed tactics in the second set, becoming much more aggressive on the front foot and overwhelming Nadal with an array of powerful strokes.

The 21-year-old secured a double-break to move 5-0 ahead. After Nadal prevented the bagel, he leveled the match in style with a ferocious backhand winner down the line.

Rising star Zverev’s confidence grew further as he immediately broke Nadal at the start of the third, before the match’s turning point came in agonizing fashion.

With Zverev leading 3-1 in the final set, rain intervened and caused an hour’s delay in play. It proved pivotal, allowing Nadal precious time to regain his composure and hit back immediately after the restart.

Nadal rattled off four consecutive games — including two successive breaks of serve — to move 5-3 ahead before serving out a fifth to secure his eighth Italian crown and send out a warning to his rivals ahead of the year’s second grand slam.

Juan Martin del Potro Wins Mexico Open

It’s Blackjack for Juan Martin del Potro

The 29-year-old Argentinian tennis player won the Mexico Open on Saturday night for his 21st ATP Tour title, beating Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to improve to 7-0 against the 6-foot-8 South African.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro was projected to switch spots with Anderson in the world ranking, with del Potro going from ninth to eighth. He beat three straight players ranked ahead of him in the hard-court event, topping No. 6 Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Alexander Zverev in the semifinals.

“It’s a very special tournament to me,” said del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion. “I beat three top-10 guys in the same tournament, which is very important for myself. I’m so glad to win my 21st title playing in Acapulco.”

Potro won for the first time since successfully defending his Stockholm title last year.

“He’s a very dangerous guy,” del Potro said about Anderson. “His serves are so strong, but I got lucky in the important moments of my return games. I broke just twice and that was the key of the match.”

Anderson tweaked his left leg on del Potro’s lob and received treatment at 1-1 in the second.

“It was a little bit uncomfortable at first,” Anderson said. “I think in the bigger picture of things it didn’t really affect things too much,” Anderson said. “I think Juan Martin played really well. He’s obviously a tough competitor and a great player. I just needed to do a little bit more today.”

He won the New York Open two weeks ago for his fourth career title.

“I can take a lot of confidence going into Indian Wells and Miami, two tournaments I really enjoy playing. I feel like I’m playing really good tennis,” Anderson said. “As always, I’ll pick myself up. I’ll try to learn as much as I can from tonight’s match.”

Rafael Nadal Partners with Roger Federer in Laver Cup Doubles Win

Rafael Nadal has found an unlikely doubles partner…

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis star joined forces with longtime rival Roger Federer to win a doubles match in the new Laver Cup on Saturday.

Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal Laver Cup

Nadal and Federer teamed up for the first time to defeat Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5 in the team event between Europe and the rest of the world.

“It was unbelievable,” Nadal said.

The inaugural Laver Cup is taking place at Prague’s O2 Arena on an unusual black hard court.

Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych also form the European team.

John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe play for the world.

Europe needs two more victories from Sunday’s four games to win.

Rafael Nadal Seeded No. 1 at the US Open

Rafael Nadal is the man to beat at the US Open…

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis star, who returned to the No. 1 spot on the ATP World rankings last week, is seeded No. 1 at the US Open for the first time since 2010.

Rafael Nadal

The U.S. Tennis Association announced the seedings Thursday, strictly adhering to this week’s ATP rankings.

Nadal returned last week to No. 1, a ranking he last held in 2014. That year’s French Open was the last time the Spaniard was seeded No. 1 at any major.

The man Nadal replaced atop the ATP, Andy Murray, is seeded No. 2 at Flushing Meadows, with Roger Federer No. 3.

Alexander Zverev is No. 4, and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic is No. 5.

del Potro Defeats Grigor Dimitrov to Reach Stockholm Open Final

Juan Martin del Potro is ready to claim his first title of the year…

The 28-year-old Argentine tennis player, who won the men’s singles silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games, has reached his second final of the year by defeating Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-5 at the Stockholm Open on Saturday.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro, a wild card entry at the tournament, lost his serve for the first time all week, but compensated with four breaks against second-seeded Dimitrov on the center court in the Swedish capital.

In the other semifinal, sixth-seeded Jack Sock of the United States beat fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4 in 2 hours, 49 minutes.

Sock, after his first meeting with Zverev, was back in the final for a second straight year.

Sock will go after his second career ATP title, and del Potro his 19th.

Nadal Survives Attack from Alexander Zverev to Advance at the BNP Paribas Open

Rafael Nadal is still alive despite a close call…

The 29-year-old tennis star rallied from a set down and fought off a match point in the third set to beat Alexander Zverev 6-7 (8), 6-0, 7-5 on Wednesday and reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in pursuit of a fourth title.

Rafael Nadal

Zverev, an 18-year-old German ranked 58th in the world and in his second full year on the ATP Tour, blew a 5-2 lead in the third, when he was serving for the match leading 5-3, 40-30. He made three straight forehand errors to give Nadal the break.

“I am especially happy about the mentality on court, the spirit of fight during the whole match, believing that I can win a match during the whole time, even in the tougher situations,” said Nadal.