Rafael Nadal to Play Doubles with Roger Federer at Laver Cup

Rafael Nadal is partnering with his oldest rival…

The 36-year-old Spanish tennis superstar will join forces with Roger Federer as he plays the final professional match of his career at the Laver Cup in London on Friday.

Rafael NadalAt Thursday’s draw, it was confirmed that Federer will join Nadal for Team Europe against the American pair of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock for Team World on Friday night.

Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, will then be replaced by Italy’s Matteo Berrettini for the rest of the event.

“It’s super special playing with Rafa,” Federer said in a news conference. “… To be able to do that one more time, I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful.”

Said Nadal: “Tomorrow is going to be a special thing. Difficult. Going to be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, without a doubt. But for me too. At the end, one of the most important players — if not the most important player — in my tennis career is leaving.”

Federer, 41, who announced last week that he’s retiring because of an ongoing right knee issue, had said Wednesday that playing alongside 22-time Slam champion Nadal would be a unique, fitting way to go out.

“For as long as we battled together, having had always this respect for one another, our families, coaching teams, for us as well to go through a career we both have had, come out the other side and have a nice relationship, is maybe a great message to tennis and beyond,” Federer said.

The three-day team event will begin Friday afternoon at The O2 Arena with two singles matches. Norwegian Casper Ruud, the runner-up at the US Open earlier this month, will play Sock in the opener before Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece takes on Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

The evening session will begin with former world No. 1 Andy Murray up against Alex de Minaur before Federer takes the court for the final time.

“I’m not sure if I can handle it all, but I’ll try,” Federer said Thursday about his sure-to-be-emotional on-court farewell.

Tiafoe, who beat Nadal en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open this month, deadpanned about the matchup, “Yeah, I’m just excited to play two up-and-comers tomorrow,” before adding, “It’s going to be iconic to be a part of that. Both guys are absolute legends.”

Federer and Nadal played each other in singles 40 times (Nadal won 26), including 14 Grand Slam matchups (Nadal won 10, going 6-3 in finals). Nadal came out on top in their classic 2008 Wimbledon final, considered by some the greatest match in history, while Federer won their last showdown, in the 2019 semifinals at the All England Club.

They also played one other doubles match together, defeating Jack Sock and Sam Querrey at the inaugural Laver Cup in 2017.

“To be part of this historic moment,” Nadal said about Friday, “is going to be something amazing, unforgettable.”

Alex de Minaur Named the ATP World Tour’s Newcomer of the Year

He may be new to the ATP World Tour, but Alex de Minaur is definitely getting notices…

The 19-year-old Spanish & Uruguyan-Australian tennis playerhas been named the ATP World Tour Newcomer of the Year, sharing year-end honors with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur earned the honors after a stunning breakout season, climbing from No 208 to 31st in the rankings.

He’s all but guaranteed an Australian Open seeding after last year winning his way into the tournament through the wildcard playoff.

The baseliner’s effort to reach the final of the Next Gen ATP Finals decider is yet another milestone for de Minaur.

His progress this year has been so sustained, he has claimed a career-high ranking on 15 separate occasions.

As semifinalist and finalist in Brisbane and Sydney, respectively, in January, de Minaur became the first 19-year-old to reach successive ATP semifinals since Rafael Nadal in 2005. Nadal achieved the feat at Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

de Minaur and Ashleigh Barty are expected to fight out the Newcombe Medal later this month from John Millman and Jason Kubler.

Djokovic was voted by ATP peers as Comeback Player of the Year, overcoming elbow surgery to return to No 1.

Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda is Coach of the Year after returning to the Serb’s camp as part of an incredible rebuild.

Nadal was chosen by his fellow players as recipient of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.

Federer was voted Fans’ Favorite for the 16th successive year.

Mike Bryan and Jack Sock were voted Doubles Fans’ Favorites.

Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed Most Improved Player of the Year honors.

Oliver Marachand Mate Pavic secured the ATP world No 1 Doubles Team Award, while Spain’s Tommy Robredo earned the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.

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.

Nadal Two Wins Away from Ending Drought at Miami Open

Rafael Nadal is two wins away from a career first…

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star, a four-time runner-up at the Miami Open, defeated American Jack Sock to advance to the men’s semifinals on Wednesday.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal and Sock have the two most fearful forehands in the game, but at Key Biscayne, it was the Spaniard who showed Sock that other parts of the game matter, as well.

Nadal’s opponent Friday will be Fabio Fognini, who became the first unseeded player in 10 years to reach the men’s semis at Key Biscayne when he beat 2016 runner-up Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2.

Nadal is playing Key Biscayne for the 13th time, making it his longest title drought at any tournament. He committed only 12 unforced errors against the No. 13-seeded Sock, rallied from a break down in the second set and improved his lifetime record against Americans to 60-9.

Fognini matched his best showing in an ATP Masters 1000 event. By beating the No. 2-seeded Nishikori, Fognini improved to 9-44 against top-10 players, and he became the first Italian man to reach a semifinal at Key Biscayne.

“He’s playing well,” Nadal said. “It will be a good test for me. I’m happ to be in the semifinals. I’ll have to play my best and play aggressive like I did today.”

del Potro Defeats Jack Sock at the Stockholm Open to End Long ATP Title Drought

It’s the end of a long drought for Juan Martin del Potro

The 28-year-old Argentine tennis player won the Stockholm Open on Sunday to end a 33-month title drought, beating sixth-seeded Jack Sock 7-5, 6-1.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro, who has struggled with wrist problems in recent years, won his 19th ATP tour title — and his first since winning in Sydney in 2014.

The Argentine, who did not drop a set during the tournament, broke his American opponent’s serve four times in the final and never faced a break point.

“I’ve been trying to fix my problems for the past two years and I didn’t expect to win a title at this moment in my career,” the 28-year-old del Potro said. “I am so happy to get the trophy here. It’s motivation for looking forward to the future.”

Both players held serve until 5-5 of the opening set, when del Potro raised his game to emerge with a one-set lead.

Sock seemed tired in the second set, holding serve only once and winning just two points when returning serve.

“His serve is massive and very tough to read, which put more pressure on my serve,” Sock said. “I’ve had a long week here and it might have caught up with me a bit.”

Midway through the match Sock requested medical treatement for pain in his arm.

del Potro, beaten by Andy Murray for the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games, reached his second final of the year after beating 2013 champion Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals.

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 & Marc Lopez Win the Men’s Doubles Gold in Tennis at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Rafael Nadal has taken full advantage of a golden opportunity…

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star has added a second Olympic tennis gold medal to all of his Grand Slam trophies, teaming with childhood friend Marc Lopez to win the men’s doubles championship for Spain at the 2016 Rio Games.

Rafael Nadal & Marc Lopez

Nadal and Lopez came back from a break down in the third set and claimed the last three games to beat Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the final Friday.

Nadal, a 14-time champion at major tournaments, also won an Olympic title in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games after defeating Chile’s Fernando González. This is the first medal for Lopez.

The silver for Mergea and Tecau is the first tennis medal for Romania in Olympic history.

The bronze went to Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States. They beat the Canadian team of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4 earlier Friday.

It was another busy day for Nadal, who won his singles quarterfinal in three sets earlier Friday.

Nadal does not play doubles often on tour, focusing on a singles career that has included stints at No. 1 in the rankings and a record nine French Open titles.

Of his nine previous doubles championships, four came with Lopez as his partner, although they hadn’t played even one match together this year until arriving in Brazil.

Lopez won his first Grand Slam doubles title at the French Open in June, pairing with Feliciano Lopez to beat American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in that final.

Ramos-Vinolas Defeats Milos Raonic to Reach His First-Ever Grand Slam Quarterfinal

Albert Ramos-Vinolas continues his upsetting ways…

The 28-year-old Spanish tennis player, who ousted No. 23 seed Jack Sock in the third round, emphatically defeated No. 8 seed Milos Raonic in the fourth round at the French Open.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas

Ramos-Vinolas, who advances to his first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal, beat the Canadian in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

The 55th-ranked player had never made it past the second round in his 18 previous Grand Slam tournament appearances. It’s only the second time he has beaten a top 10 player.

Cool and very cloudy weather appeared to take some bite out of Raonic’s serve. The quarterfinalist at Roland Garros in 2014 and semifinalist at this year’s Australian Open also complained of an aching left hip in his previous match.

Ramos-Vinolas earned the victory with aggressive shot-making and some terrific defensive play. He broke Raonic five times and only lost serve once himself, saving 6 of 7 break points.

“I have no words to explain how I feel,” he said. “It was four years in a row losing in the first round.”

Raonic beckoned over the chair umpire in the last game to inspect a shot that gave Ramos-Vinolas two match points. She ruled it in, pointing out that the ball had nicked the line.

The Spaniard couldn’t capitalize on either of those match points. But he made no mistake with his third match point, earned with an ace served out wide, sealing the win in 2 hours, 20 minutes with a smash.

Ramos-Vinolas, who celebrated his win by firing a spare ball into the air in delight, will next face No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka.

Ramos-Vinolas Defeats Jack Sock to Reach French Open Fourth Round

Albert Ramos-Vinolas has recorded his best showing at a Grand Slam tournament…

The 28-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Jack Sock, the No. 23 seed, to reach the fourth round of the French Open.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas

Ramos-Vinolas, ranked No. 55 in the world, beat Sock in a thrilling five-set match, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

The match lasted 4 hours, 11 minutes.

Ramos-Vinolas will next face No. 8 seed Milos Raonic.

Monaco Outlasts Jack Sock to Win U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship

Juan Monaco has taken down the champion…

The 32-year-old Argentine tennis player rallied to defeat defending champion Jack Sock 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory Sunday to win his second U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship nine months after major wrist surgery.

Juan Monaco

“It’s amazing, amazing to hold the trophy again in only my fourth tournament back, after three years [without a title],” said Monaco. “It’s almost like a dream come true for it to happen so fast. The hard work really paid off.”

Monaco, also the 2012 winner at River Oaks, held off a surging Sock in the third set after taking a 4-1 lead. Sock won the next four games but suffered the decisive break in the 11th game when, with his left thigh apparently cramping under the cloudy, humid conditions, he missed an underhanded serve. Early in the match, Monaco received attention from the trainer for an apparent back issue.

Sock, seeded fourth and in defense of his lone ATP World Tour title, said after the match that he’d begun experiencing flu-like symptoms Saturday night. He had won 17 consecutive sets in the event dating to his first-round match last year.

“I felt great all week. I’m not exactly sure what happened with my body,” Sock said. “Last night, I didn’t feel great. I was sweating in a very air-conditioned room, so maybe [I’m] possibly coming down with something. But that doesn’t take away from [Monaco’s] battle and fight today. It came down to the wire. I tried my best and put it all out there.”

Monaco won his ninth tour title and first since 2013. Eight have come on clay. In August of last year, he left the tour to have an operation in which a damaged tendon in his right wrist was replaced. Earlier this year, he pulled out of the Australian Open because he didn’t think he was ready to return.

Monaco said he felt a sharp pain in his back after being broken twice to start the match, and that’s why he asked for a trainer. He dominated play for a long patch thereafter, until Sock made his late charge.

“I was calm because I saw him not in good shape,” Monaco said. “But after he called the trainer, he played more relaxed with nothing to lose, with no thinking. He was good, but I made mistakes, and I was a little bit nervous because of the situation, which is normal. But then I try to just put the ball in, run and don’t think too much, just try to win the last ball.”

Monaco insisted that he didn’t think Sock was trying to use gamesmanship. “He’s a friend, a great guy,” he said.