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 Beats David Goffin to Reach Monte Carlo Masters Final

Rafael Nadal is one step closer to a perfect 10…

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star and defending champion beat David Goffin 6-3, 6-1 to move within one more win of a 10th Monte Carlo Masters title on Saturday.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal will play 15th-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas in an all-Spanish final after the latter beat Lucas Pouille of France 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 in the other semifinal.

The 10th-seeded Goffin had early momentum, but it was halted by a controversial decision by chair umpire Cedric Mourier in the sixth game. Goffin was asked to replay a point after holding his serve for what would have been a 4-2 lead.

After being taken to deuce three times, Goffin finally held — or so he thought — when Nadal hit a return long. However, Mourier overruled the line judge and called it in, meaning the point had to be replayed.

Goffin could not believe it, nor could the crowd, who jeered loudly. Video replays showed it was out, but with no Hawkeye technology used on clay, the Belgian player could not challenge the call.

“All of a sudden you have a mistake like the chair umpire did, it’s really tough,” Goffin said. “When you have a mistake like this, you have to give more energy again to come back into the game. It was maybe too much.”

Goffin was incensed at what he basically called an improvised decision by Mourier to point at a mark that didn’t correspond.

“He just showed me something, I don’t know what,” Goffin said. “I saw on his face that he was nervous, he wasn’t sure.”

Goffin continued to complain to Mourier after the set. Nadal went off court for a break, and jeers filled the air when he came back on — a rarity considering he is a crowd favorite here.

After winning the second set, Nadal’s celebration was muted, and he sympathetically hugged Goffin at the net. Nadal shook Mourier’s hand, but Goffin did not and walked straight past him to pick up his bags.

“I have nothing against Cedric, he’s a very nice guy,” Goffin said. “But he makes mistakes.”

Nadal is through to his fourth final of the season. He lost the other three, two of them to Roger Federer.

The other finalist, Ramos-Vinolas, has lost his two previous matches against Nadal, has reached his first Masters final, and won only one title. Nadal is bidding for his 70th.

Ramos-Vinolas took the first set from Pouille when he broke the 11th-seeded Frenchman to love, concluding with a smash at the net.

Pouille played his best tennis in the second set, but he seemed to struggle physically in the deciding set as, trailing 3-0, he needed treatment to his lower back and hip during a changeover.

Ramos-Viñolas Defeats Lucas Pouille to Reach Monte Carlo Masters Final

Albert Ramos-Viñolas continues his Cinderella run in Monte Carlo…

The 29-year-old Spanish tennis player beat Lucas Pouille 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 on Saturday to reach the clay-court Monte Carlo Masters final.

Albert Ramos-Viñolas

With the sun shining and warm temperatures, the conditions were perfect for clay-court tennis on the idyllic center court perched above the glittering Mediterranean Sea.

Ramos- Viñolas took the first set when he broke the 11th-seeded Frenchman to love, concluding with a smash at the net.

Pouille missed a chance to break in the ninth game of the second set, meaning he was serving to stay in the match. After holding easily with a neat volley at the net, Pouille got the crowd going and then played his best tennis of the match.

He broke Ramos- Viñolas in the next game when the Spaniard hit a forehand long, and Pouille leveled the match on his own serve.

But he seemed to be struggling physically in the deciding set.

At 3-0 down, Pouille needed treatment to his lower back and hips for about four minutes during the changeover.

His power went after that and the inevitable conclusion happened when Pouille dropped his serve again in the seventh game.

It’s Ramos- Viñolas’ first time reaching a Masters 1000 final and has only one career title to his name.

Ramos- Viñolas, the 15th-seed, will play either defending champion Rafael Nadal or 10th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium in the final.