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.

Nadal to Compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

It appears Rafael Nadal will be swinging for gold this summer…

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star’s name appears on the final entry list for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam tournament champion hasn’t played since pulling out of the French Open because of an injured left wrist and needed the International Tennis Federation‘s Olympic Committee to approve his appeal because he hasn’t played Davis Cup.

Nadal won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.

But Nadal isn’t the only Latino player set to compete at the 2016 Rio Games.

Twelve Latino players, including 2012 London Games bronze medalist Juan Martin del Potro, will compete in the men’s singles tournament.

In the women’s draw, six Latinas will be competing in singles, including French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who will also compete in the doubles draw.

Half-Spanish tennis star Caroline Garcia, who won the women’s doubles title at this year’s French Open, will also compete in singles and doubles for France.

In all, here will be 64 players in the singles draws and 32 in doubles. Singles entries were based off the top 56 players in the June 6 rankings, with other ways to qualify for the final eight spots.

Each country is allowed a maximum of four singles players and two doubles teams for six players total on the men’s and women’s sides. Sixteen mixed doubles teams will be determined in Rio from players already in the Olympics.

Here’s the list of Latino players expected to compete:

MEN’S SINGLES ENTRY LIST

Argentina
Juan Martin del Potro, Federico Delbonis, Juan Monaco, Guido Pella

Brazil
Thomaz Bellucci, Rogerio Dutra Silva 

Dominican Republic
Victor Estrella Burgos 

Spain
Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Roberto Bautista Agut, Albert Ramos-Vinolas

Uruguay
Pablo Cuevas 

WOMEN’S SINGLES ENTRY LIST

Brazil
Teliana Pereira (ITF) 

France
Caroline Garcia 

Paraguay
Veronica Cepede Royg (TRI) 

Puerto Rico
Monica Puig 

Spain
Garbine Muguruza, Carla Suarez Navarro  

MEN’S DOUBLES ENTRY LIST

Argentina
Juan Martin del Potro/Maximo Gonzalez, Federico Delbonis/Guillermo Duran

Brazil
Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares, Thomaz Bellucci/Andre Sa (ITF)

Chile
Julio Peralta/Hans Podlipnik (ITF) 

Colombia
Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah

Spain
Marc Lopez/Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut/David Ferrer 

WOMEN’S DOUBLES ENTRY LIST

Brazil
Paula Cristina Goncalves/Teliana Pereira (ITF) 

France
Caroline Garcia [paired with Kristina Mladenovic] 

Spain
Garbine Muguruza/Carla Suarez Navarro, Anabel Medina Garrigues/Arantxa Parra-Santonja

 

Ferrero’s Singles Career Comes to a Close at the Valencia Open

Its game, set, match for Juan Carlos Ferrero’s singles career…

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis great’s individual career came to an end with a loss at the Valencia Open to fellow countryman and friend Nicolas Almagro.

Juan Carlos Ferrero

Ferrero—who announced his retirement from professional tennis earlier this year following the Valencia Open—lost in the first round of the Spanish hard-court event to Almagro by a final score of 7-5, 6-3 on Tuesday.

But it isn’t the end of an era just yet… Ferrero is still alive in the doubles draw after he and partner David Ferrer edged Carlos Berlocq and Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6, 6-3, 10-7 on Wednesday to move into the quaterfinals.

There’s no denying Ferrero was one of the world’s best players from 2000 to 2003. But injuries began hindering his performance starting in 2004.

He enjoyed most of his success on clay, reaching the French Open semifinals four years in a row and eventually winning the title in 2003.

He also led Spain to its first-ever Davis Cup title in 2000, winning both of his singles matches in the final – played on clay in Barcelona – and clinching the victory with a four-set win over Lleyton Hewitt.

Ferrero, however, did have considerable success on the hard courts, reaching the 2003 U.S. Open final and losing to Hewitt in the final of the 2002 Tennis Masters Cup.

The Spanish tenista won 15 singles titles during his career and briefly held the No. 1 ranking in the fall of 2003.

Following his singles loss, Andy Murray, the world No. 3 and winner of this year’s U.S. Open, congratulated Ferrero on his “incredible career,” while Novak Djokovic, the Serbian world No. 2, said that Ferrero was a great player and that tennis “will definitely miss you.”

Current world No. 1 Roger Federer, who Ferrero described as the greatest player he had ever competed against, said he had known the Spaniard since they were juniors and that he was a “great player” and that the two had faced off in some “amazing matches” during their careers.

Federer, who recently became the first player to hold the No. 1 ranking for 300 weeks, first obtained the top spot after defeating Ferrero in the semifinals of the 2004 Australian Open.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal, who is still recovering from a knee injury that has kept him out of action for months, said being in Valencia for Ferrero’s final match was bittersweet.

“Saying good-bye to one of this country’s greatest players is tough,” said Nadal. “I’m thankful for all the moments we shared together.”