Not much hope for Wimbledon
Andrey Rublev is not holding out hope for a reversal of Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes, the world No.8 told reporters in Madrid on Thursday.
Rublev feels it’s unlikely Wimbledon will change their minds and reiterated his position on the matter, stating that Russian and Belarusian players gave the All England Club the option to donate their prize money to those affected by the war – a suggestion that was snubbed in favour of the ban.
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“I don’t give myself hope. First of all I think if they announce already one decision, I don’t think that they will step back,” Rublev said after punching his ticket to the Madrid quarter-finals.
“If they will step back it will be really, really nice, and it would be a really nice move from them. Because I made already a statement why it makes no sense and I think if we are playing, we can be much more useful to help than if we’re going to do be banned.
“I think there are still calls between ATP and Wimbledon and some stuff like that, so we’ll see how the story ends. But how I understand that most likely… yeah I’m not giving too much hope.”
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When emotions take over
Rublev is one of the most popular figures among fans online and it’s mostly because of how relatable he can be.
The 24-year-old is extremely open when it comes to his struggles to control his emotions on court and he described it best on Thursday following his tight win over Daniel Evans.
“It looks like so stressful. I don’t know what to say. I’m going on court thinking for sure today I’m going to do everything and I will be calm and then I’m doing really stupid and easy mistakes that make no sense. Then I manage somehow to calm down and at the end starts these roller coasters,” said Rublev.
Fans on Twitter reposted this Rublev quote, many of them admitting they too followed similar patterns every day.
“Story of my life,” wrote one Twitter user. “Same Rublev, same,” tweeted another.
“He’s so relatable,” another fan posted.
During one moment in the match, Rublev punched his racquet strings with his first and the camera later showed his knuckles were bleeding.
Asked by a reporter after the match if he is worried he will seriously injure himself one day during one of those on-court tantrums, Rublev said: “Yes, I understand and I agree and hopefully I’m going to stop.”
The Parchis Olympics
It’s no secret the Nadal camp are big fans of the Spanish board game Parchis and are often spotted playing the game on site.
Apparently they have an ongoing leaderboard and Marc Lopez, Nadal’s close friend, who joined his coaching staff last year, revealed who is currently at the top of the Parchis ladder.
Speaking on the Madrid Open’s Twitch channel, Lopez said Nadal’s father Sebastian is at the top of the rankings at the moment. A bit of distance behind is Rafael Nadal in second place, followed by Nadal’s physiotherapist Rafael Maymo in third and Carlos Moya in fourth.
One can only imagine how competitive that crew can get playing Parchis. They should consider streaming their games on Twitch.
Rafa dismisses Alcaraz rivalry suggestion
There is understandably considerable hype surrounding Friday’s quarter-final showdown between Nadal and 19-year-old Spanish phenom Carlos Alcaraz.
It will be their third meeting in 12 months, with Nadal currently 2-0 against his compatriot. Their most recent clash was a close three-setter in Indian Wells.
Nadal said that considering he was out of action for six weeks nursing a rib injury and Alcaraz prepared for Madrid by winning a title in Barcelona, he feels the young gun is in far better shape than him entering their quarter-final.
When a reporter suggested that there was a nice rivalry developing between the two Spaniards, Nadal was quick to dismiss the notion, noting the generational gulf between him and Alcaraz.
“No, no, no. I don't think I will reach that rivalry. I'm 36 years old,” said Nadal.
“It's natural. At the end of the day it's a new generation. It has happened during all history. The history repeats itself, and thank God; it's good that someone like Carlos has reached this level to be able to maintain our tennistical level as high as possible for the next hopefully a lot of years.
“As a supporter of tennis and sportsperson, I think it's great to have a player like Carlos that has been able to reach this level and this strength. I think he's a player that's going to give us a lot of good moments in the next, I don't know, 10, 12 years, 14. This is reality I'm talking about.
“Talking about rivalry, well, I don't know. If I was eight or 10 years younger, perhaps if Carlos had reached 10 years ago this moment, we could be talking about a new potential rivalry.
“I think that at this moment he's going to be someone that is going to win a lot of things, in my opinion, or at least he's going to have a lot of options to achieve good things.
“Talking about me, I don't have this kind of rivalries at this stage. My opponents are Djokovic, Federer, Murray in his day. This has been my career and my rivalries.
“From here onwards, I take it as another opponent that is going to compete for the most important things.
“In that moment, of course he's going to disturb me tennistically, I don't know for how long, but after that I'm just going to enjoy as a spectator seeing Carlos playing.”
Nadal saves four match points against Goffin to scrape through in Madrid
Stats of the day
Ons Jabeur is the first African and first Arab to reach the final of a WTA 1000 tournament.
Jessica Pegula is through to her first WTA 1000 final and is the third American to reach the WTA final in Madrid, joining Venus and Serena Williams.
The match between 35-year-old Nadal and 19-year-old Alcaraz is the largest age gap between two opponents in an ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final.
For the first time in Madrid Open history, seven of the top eight ATP seeds are through to the quarter-finals.
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