Tennis star Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Olympics on Thursday due to injury.

An 11th Monte Carlo title is in sight for Rafael Nadal, who looked in extremely ominous form against Dominic Thiem.
Nadal produces 'best match of tournament' as Dimitrov beats doubles partner
An 11th Monte Carlo title is in sight for Rafael Nadal, who looked in extremely ominous form against Dominic Thiem.
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal and Austria's Dominic Thiem after their quarter final match REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal and Austria's Dominic Thiem after their quarter final match REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Austria's Dominic Thiem during his quarter final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Austria's Dominic Thiem during his quarter final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Austria's Dominic Thiem in action during his quarter final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Austria's Dominic Thiem in action during his quarter final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Rafael Nadal thrashed Dominic Thiem for the loss of just two games (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Rafael Nadal thrashed Dominic Thiem for the loss of just two games
Rafael Nadal thrashed Dominic Thiem for the loss of just two games (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Croatia's Marin Cilic returns the ball to Japan's Kei Nishikori during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April, 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Nadal's bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title gaining momentum
Croatia's Marin Cilic returns the ball to Japan's Kei Nishikori during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April, 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Japan's Kei Nishikori returns the ball to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April, 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Nadal's bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title gaining momentum
Japan's Kei Nishikori returns the ball to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April, 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Japan's Kei Nishikori celebrates after defeating Croatia's Marin Cilic during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April, 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Nadal's bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title gaining momentum
Japan's Kei Nishikori celebrates after defeating Croatia's Marin Cilic during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April, 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
FILE - In this Sunday April 8, 2018 file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Germany's Alexander Zverev during a World Group quarterfinal Davis Cup tennis match between Spain and Germany at the bullring in Valencia, Spain. Rafael Nadal is wary of saying hes fully recovered from a troublesome right thigh injury as he defends his Monte Carlo Masters title. The top-ranked Spaniard only recently returned to action at the Davis Cup, after a recurrence of the injury forced him out of the Mexico Open and then Masters tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami last month. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz, File)
Nadal's bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title gaining momentum
FILE - In this Sunday April 8, 2018 file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Germany's Alexander Zverev during a World Group quarterfinal Davis Cup tennis match between Spain and Germany at the bullring in Valencia, Spain. Rafael Nadal is wary of saying hes fully recovered from a troublesome right thigh injury as he defends his Monte Carlo Masters title. The top-ranked Spaniard only recently returned to action at the Davis Cup, after a recurrence of the injury forced him out of the Mexico Open and then Masters tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami last month. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz, File)
Croatia's Marin Cilic serves to Japan's Kei Nishikori during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April, 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Nadal's bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title gaining momentum
Croatia's Marin Cilic serves to Japan's Kei Nishikori during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April, 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
The world No. 1 Rafael Nadal gave an unexpected glimpse yesterday into the mindset of his old friend and rival Andy Murray. And although Nadal was sympathetic and supportive, his comments were not wholly encouraging about the state of Murray’s troublesome right hip. A couple of hours after crushing world No. 7 Dominic Thiem by a devastating 6-0, 6-2 scoreline, Nadal was asked whether the leading players ever exchanged information about injuries and medical techniques. In reply, he revealed some details of a phone call that he and Murray had shared earlier this month. “I spoke with him [Murray] with the phone two weeks ago,” said Nadal. “Doesn't matter if we are rivals, for me the friendship is before the tennis court. If any player have any doubts about the injuries or treatment that I do, I am always very happy to tell them my experience. I tell him the things that I think worked for me. Then, of course, he has his group and he will decide. “I have been in that situation,” added Nadal. “I know how tough and frustrating is when you work every day and you don't see the light of how to improve. You don't see any improvements. But then one day trying things, trying treatments, one day things are going better, no? That's what I really hope about him because he is important, very important, for our tour.” Murray has not been forthcoming about the progress of his latest recovery from surgery Credit: GETTY IMAGES A fortnight ago, Murray would have been coming towards the end of a short training block at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Nice, just 15 miles or so from the Monte Carlo Country Club, where Nadal is now carrying all before him. That visit began with a sense of optimism and a flow of social-media posts. Since then, though, the shutters have come down once again, rather as they did before Christmas when Murray began to feel reservations about his scheduled comeback date in Brisbane at the start of the year. The clock continues to tick as we move towards the start of the Lawn Tennis Association’s new Loughborough Challenger on May 19, which is Murray’s next target. At one point, he was thought to have harboured ambitions of appearing in the LTA’s other new event – next week’s Glasgow Challenger in Scotstoun – alongside that other absent friend Dan Evans, but that now seems to be off the menu. Nadal’s admission that he discussed his “treatments” with Murray is interesting. He is known to have addressed his persistent knee problems via a technique called PRP – a WADA-approved process in which your own blood is passed through a centrifuge, creating a thick soup known as platelet-rich plasma which is then reinjected into your body. The mixture has been shown to promote healing, and to raise the body’s own production of human-growth hormone. Despite a couple of half-paced exhibition appearances, Murray’s last official match remains the Wimbledon quarter-final of July 12. No-one outside his immediate circle really knows how close he is to full fitness. But Nadal is clearly operating at full force after yesterday’s rout, even admitting afterwards that “I know is difficult to play better than today.” His reward was a semi-final date with Grigor Dimitrov, the world No. 5, who withdraw from the doubles citing a shoulder problem, but was expected to be in good enough shape to compete. “One-handers [backhands] is not the easiest thing on clay,” Dimitrov told Sky Sports yesterday after closing out a 6-4, 7-6 win over David Goffin. “I had to save myself a little bit.”
Rafael Nadal reveals phone call with Andy Murray as Scot's recovery progress remains unclear
The world No. 1 Rafael Nadal gave an unexpected glimpse yesterday into the mindset of his old friend and rival Andy Murray. And although Nadal was sympathetic and supportive, his comments were not wholly encouraging about the state of Murray’s troublesome right hip. A couple of hours after crushing world No. 7 Dominic Thiem by a devastating 6-0, 6-2 scoreline, Nadal was asked whether the leading players ever exchanged information about injuries and medical techniques. In reply, he revealed some details of a phone call that he and Murray had shared earlier this month. “I spoke with him [Murray] with the phone two weeks ago,” said Nadal. “Doesn't matter if we are rivals, for me the friendship is before the tennis court. If any player have any doubts about the injuries or treatment that I do, I am always very happy to tell them my experience. I tell him the things that I think worked for me. Then, of course, he has his group and he will decide. “I have been in that situation,” added Nadal. “I know how tough and frustrating is when you work every day and you don't see the light of how to improve. You don't see any improvements. But then one day trying things, trying treatments, one day things are going better, no? That's what I really hope about him because he is important, very important, for our tour.” Murray has not been forthcoming about the progress of his latest recovery from surgery Credit: GETTY IMAGES A fortnight ago, Murray would have been coming towards the end of a short training block at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Nice, just 15 miles or so from the Monte Carlo Country Club, where Nadal is now carrying all before him. That visit began with a sense of optimism and a flow of social-media posts. Since then, though, the shutters have come down once again, rather as they did before Christmas when Murray began to feel reservations about his scheduled comeback date in Brisbane at the start of the year. The clock continues to tick as we move towards the start of the Lawn Tennis Association’s new Loughborough Challenger on May 19, which is Murray’s next target. At one point, he was thought to have harboured ambitions of appearing in the LTA’s other new event – next week’s Glasgow Challenger in Scotstoun – alongside that other absent friend Dan Evans, but that now seems to be off the menu. Nadal’s admission that he discussed his “treatments” with Murray is interesting. He is known to have addressed his persistent knee problems via a technique called PRP – a WADA-approved process in which your own blood is passed through a centrifuge, creating a thick soup known as platelet-rich plasma which is then reinjected into your body. The mixture has been shown to promote healing, and to raise the body’s own production of human-growth hormone. Despite a couple of half-paced exhibition appearances, Murray’s last official match remains the Wimbledon quarter-final of July 12. No-one outside his immediate circle really knows how close he is to full fitness. But Nadal is clearly operating at full force after yesterday’s rout, even admitting afterwards that “I know is difficult to play better than today.” His reward was a semi-final date with Grigor Dimitrov, the world No. 5, who withdraw from the doubles citing a shoulder problem, but was expected to be in good enough shape to compete. “One-handers [backhands] is not the easiest thing on clay,” Dimitrov told Sky Sports yesterday after closing out a 6-4, 7-6 win over David Goffin. “I had to save myself a little bit.”
The world No. 1 Rafael Nadal gave an unexpected glimpse yesterday into the mindset of his old friend and rival Andy Murray. And although Nadal was sympathetic and supportive, his comments were not wholly encouraging about the state of Murray’s troublesome right hip. A couple of hours after crushing world No. 7 Dominic Thiem by a devastating 6-0, 6-2 scoreline, Nadal was asked whether the leading players ever exchanged information about injuries and medical techniques. In reply, he revealed some details of a phone call that he and Murray had shared earlier this month. “I spoke with him [Murray] with the phone two weeks ago,” said Nadal. “Doesn't matter if we are rivals, for me the friendship is before the tennis court. If any player have any doubts about the injuries or treatment that I do, I am always very happy to tell them my experience. I tell him the things that I think worked for me. Then, of course, he has his group and he will decide. “I have been in that situation,” added Nadal. “I know how tough and frustrating is when you work every day and you don't see the light of how to improve. You don't see any improvements. But then one day trying things, trying treatments, one day things are going better, no? That's what I really hope about him because he is important, very important, for our tour.” Murray has not been forthcoming about the progress of his latest recovery from surgery Credit: GETTY IMAGES A fortnight ago, Murray would have been coming towards the end of a short training block at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Nice, just 15 miles or so from the Monte Carlo Country Club, where Nadal is now carrying all before him. That visit began with a sense of optimism and a flow of social-media posts. Since then, though, the shutters have come down once again, rather as they did before Christmas when Murray began to feel reservations about his scheduled comeback date in Brisbane at the start of the year. The clock continues to tick as we move towards the start of the Lawn Tennis Association’s new Loughborough Challenger on May 19, which is Murray’s next target. At one point, he was thought to have harboured ambitions of appearing in the LTA’s other new event – next week’s Glasgow Challenger in Scotstoun – alongside that other absent friend Dan Evans, but that now seems to be off the menu. Nadal’s admission that he discussed his “treatments” with Murray is interesting. He is known to have addressed his persistent knee problems via a technique called PRP – a WADA-approved process in which your own blood is passed through a centrifuge, creating a thick soup known as platelet-rich plasma which is then reinjected into your body. The mixture has been shown to promote healing, and to raise the body’s own production of human-growth hormone. Despite a couple of half-paced exhibition appearances, Murray’s last official match remains the Wimbledon quarter-final of July 12. No-one outside his immediate circle really knows how close he is to full fitness. But Nadal is clearly operating at full force after yesterday’s rout, even admitting afterwards that “I know is difficult to play better than today.” His reward was a semi-final date with Grigor Dimitrov, the world No. 5, who withdraw from the doubles citing a shoulder problem, but was expected to be in good enough shape to compete. “One-handers [backhands] is not the easiest thing on clay,” Dimitrov told Sky Sports yesterday after closing out a 6-4, 7-6 win over David Goffin. “I had to save myself a little bit.”
Rafael Nadal reveals phone call with Andy Murray as Scot's recovery progress remains unclear
The world No. 1 Rafael Nadal gave an unexpected glimpse yesterday into the mindset of his old friend and rival Andy Murray. And although Nadal was sympathetic and supportive, his comments were not wholly encouraging about the state of Murray’s troublesome right hip. A couple of hours after crushing world No. 7 Dominic Thiem by a devastating 6-0, 6-2 scoreline, Nadal was asked whether the leading players ever exchanged information about injuries and medical techniques. In reply, he revealed some details of a phone call that he and Murray had shared earlier this month. “I spoke with him [Murray] with the phone two weeks ago,” said Nadal. “Doesn't matter if we are rivals, for me the friendship is before the tennis court. If any player have any doubts about the injuries or treatment that I do, I am always very happy to tell them my experience. I tell him the things that I think worked for me. Then, of course, he has his group and he will decide. “I have been in that situation,” added Nadal. “I know how tough and frustrating is when you work every day and you don't see the light of how to improve. You don't see any improvements. But then one day trying things, trying treatments, one day things are going better, no? That's what I really hope about him because he is important, very important, for our tour.” Murray has not been forthcoming about the progress of his latest recovery from surgery Credit: GETTY IMAGES A fortnight ago, Murray would have been coming towards the end of a short training block at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Nice, just 15 miles or so from the Monte Carlo Country Club, where Nadal is now carrying all before him. That visit began with a sense of optimism and a flow of social-media posts. Since then, though, the shutters have come down once again, rather as they did before Christmas when Murray began to feel reservations about his scheduled comeback date in Brisbane at the start of the year. The clock continues to tick as we move towards the start of the Lawn Tennis Association’s new Loughborough Challenger on May 19, which is Murray’s next target. At one point, he was thought to have harboured ambitions of appearing in the LTA’s other new event – next week’s Glasgow Challenger in Scotstoun – alongside that other absent friend Dan Evans, but that now seems to be off the menu. Nadal’s admission that he discussed his “treatments” with Murray is interesting. He is known to have addressed his persistent knee problems via a technique called PRP – a WADA-approved process in which your own blood is passed through a centrifuge, creating a thick soup known as platelet-rich plasma which is then reinjected into your body. The mixture has been shown to promote healing, and to raise the body’s own production of human-growth hormone. Despite a couple of half-paced exhibition appearances, Murray’s last official match remains the Wimbledon quarter-final of July 12. No-one outside his immediate circle really knows how close he is to full fitness. But Nadal is clearly operating at full force after yesterday’s rout, even admitting afterwards that “I know is difficult to play better than today.” His reward was a semi-final date with Grigor Dimitrov, the world No. 5, who withdraw from the doubles citing a shoulder problem, but was expected to be in good enough shape to compete. “One-handers [backhands] is not the easiest thing on clay,” Dimitrov told Sky Sports yesterday after closing out a 6-4, 7-6 win over David Goffin. “I had to save myself a little bit.”
Feel his pain: Rafael Nadal on his way to victory over Dominic Thiem in Monte Carlo on Friday (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Feel his pain: Rafael Nadal on his way to victory over Dominic Thiem in Monte Carlo on Friday
Feel his pain: Rafael Nadal on his way to victory over Dominic Thiem in Monte Carlo on Friday (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
As a middle-aged reporter, there are few experiences more rare and precious than meeting a world-class sportsman whose hair is whiter than your own. Rob Fahey is a case in point. The most successful player in the history of real tennis, he is about to take on a young American named Camden Riviere for the world championship title. The fact that Fahey will celebrate his 50th birthday on Monday week doesn’t seem to bother him, although he does admit that “I’m going to be the biggest underdog since the 1930s.” Real tennis – Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis – is a fine choice for a silver fox, because wiliness outperforms fitness every time. The rules of this bizarre sport – a Byzantine combination of tennis, squash and pinball – are too complex to detail here. Suffice it to say that each point (or “reste”, technically) begins with the ball being served onto a sloping roof, known as the penthouse. It then gurgles its way around the court before landing with the chanciness of a roulette wheel. Through sheer experience, a 70-year-old with two false hips is more likely to make the return than a fit young debutant. The basic layout of a real tennis court was established back in the 16th century Credit: DAVID BURGES Yet while brains might be essential, brawn plays its part too. Next week’s play-off is a three-day event scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Fahey and Riviere are likely to spend around three hours on court each time, followed by a rest day which offers opportunity for deep tactical analysis in the manner of a Fischer-Spassky chess series. “The thing which distinguishes the top guys from the club players is usually the ability to read the spin,” says Riviere of a sport with at least 15 styles of service, each named after its inventor. “The ball sometimes strikes six different surfaces before you hit it.” Before world championships, players are banned from watching their rivals practise, in case they pick up clues. When Fahey beat Riviere in the 2014 final, he ambushed him with an attritional gameplan that relied on fitness, drawing out rallies in a manner that no-one had expected from a 45-year-old. “He was off the grid for three or four months preparing,” recalls Riviere now. “Then he came back looking like a marathon runner.” These two could be compared to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Fahey – an amiable Aussie who now lives in Essex – has won a colossal 49 Open titles, more than twice as many as anyone else. Riviere, who is 30, is left-handed and hugely physical in his style. “The way I play, I won’t last as long as Rob,” he says. “I’ll be amazed if I’m still winning at 40.” Real tennis was Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis Credit: IAN JONES Real tennis has around 50 courts worldwide. They differ in minor ways, but all follow the basic layout established in the 16th century. The sport sustains perhaps 75 professionals, who are almost all coaches. If you sweep the whole circuit, as Riviere has for the last four seasons, you collect something like £25,000. Still, what this sport loses in wealth and accessibility (the scoring system feels like a cryptocurrency), it gains in addictiveness. Fahey stumbled across real tennis via a job advertisement in his local Hobart paper, some time in the late 1980s. Thirty years later, he is still practising at Queen’s Club in south-west London – the venue for next week’s match – with the intensity of a love-struck teenager. As Peter Allis said of Fred Couples during the recent Masters, “There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the grate.”
Rob Fahey, the Roger Federer of real tennis, aims to celebrate his 50th birthday with yet another world title
As a middle-aged reporter, there are few experiences more rare and precious than meeting a world-class sportsman whose hair is whiter than your own. Rob Fahey is a case in point. The most successful player in the history of real tennis, he is about to take on a young American named Camden Riviere for the world championship title. The fact that Fahey will celebrate his 50th birthday on Monday week doesn’t seem to bother him, although he does admit that “I’m going to be the biggest underdog since the 1930s.” Real tennis – Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis – is a fine choice for a silver fox, because wiliness outperforms fitness every time. The rules of this bizarre sport – a Byzantine combination of tennis, squash and pinball – are too complex to detail here. Suffice it to say that each point (or “reste”, technically) begins with the ball being served onto a sloping roof, known as the penthouse. It then gurgles its way around the court before landing with the chanciness of a roulette wheel. Through sheer experience, a 70-year-old with two false hips is more likely to make the return than a fit young debutant. The basic layout of a real tennis court was established back in the 16th century Credit: DAVID BURGES Yet while brains might be essential, brawn plays its part too. Next week’s play-off is a three-day event scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Fahey and Riviere are likely to spend around three hours on court each time, followed by a rest day which offers opportunity for deep tactical analysis in the manner of a Fischer-Spassky chess series. “The thing which distinguishes the top guys from the club players is usually the ability to read the spin,” says Riviere of a sport with at least 15 styles of service, each named after its inventor. “The ball sometimes strikes six different surfaces before you hit it.” Before world championships, players are banned from watching their rivals practise, in case they pick up clues. When Fahey beat Riviere in the 2014 final, he ambushed him with an attritional gameplan that relied on fitness, drawing out rallies in a manner that no-one had expected from a 45-year-old. “He was off the grid for three or four months preparing,” recalls Riviere now. “Then he came back looking like a marathon runner.” These two could be compared to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Fahey – an amiable Aussie who now lives in Essex – has won a colossal 49 Open titles, more than twice as many as anyone else. Riviere, who is 30, is left-handed and hugely physical in his style. “The way I play, I won’t last as long as Rob,” he says. “I’ll be amazed if I’m still winning at 40.” Real tennis was Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis Credit: IAN JONES Real tennis has around 50 courts worldwide. They differ in minor ways, but all follow the basic layout established in the 16th century. The sport sustains perhaps 75 professionals, who are almost all coaches. If you sweep the whole circuit, as Riviere has for the last four seasons, you collect something like £25,000. Still, what this sport loses in wealth and accessibility (the scoring system feels like a cryptocurrency), it gains in addictiveness. Fahey stumbled across real tennis via a job advertisement in his local Hobart paper, some time in the late 1980s. Thirty years later, he is still practising at Queen’s Club in south-west London – the venue for next week’s match – with the intensity of a love-struck teenager. As Peter Allis said of Fred Couples during the recent Masters, “There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the grate.”
As a middle-aged reporter, there are few experiences more rare and precious than meeting a world-class sportsman whose hair is whiter than your own. Rob Fahey is a case in point. The most successful player in the history of real tennis, he is about to take on a young American named Camden Riviere for the world championship title. The fact that Fahey will celebrate his 50th birthday on Monday week doesn’t seem to bother him, although he does admit that “I’m going to be the biggest underdog since the 1930s.” Real tennis – Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis – is a fine choice for a silver fox, because wiliness outperforms fitness every time. The rules of this bizarre sport – a Byzantine combination of tennis, squash and pinball – are too complex to detail here. Suffice it to say that each point (or “reste”, technically) begins with the ball being served onto a sloping roof, known as the penthouse. It then gurgles its way around the court before landing with the chanciness of a roulette wheel. Through sheer experience, a 70-year-old with two false hips is more likely to make the return than a fit young debutant. The basic layout of a real tennis court was established back in the 16th century Credit: DAVID BURGES Yet while brains might be essential, brawn plays its part too. Next week’s play-off is a three-day event scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Fahey and Riviere are likely to spend around three hours on court each time, followed by a rest day which offers opportunity for deep tactical analysis in the manner of a Fischer-Spassky chess series. “The thing which distinguishes the top guys from the club players is usually the ability to read the spin,” says Riviere of a sport with at least 15 styles of service, each named after its inventor. “The ball sometimes strikes six different surfaces before you hit it.” Before world championships, players are banned from watching their rivals practise, in case they pick up clues. When Fahey beat Riviere in the 2014 final, he ambushed him with an attritional gameplan that relied on fitness, drawing out rallies in a manner that no-one had expected from a 45-year-old. “He was off the grid for three or four months preparing,” recalls Riviere now. “Then he came back looking like a marathon runner.” These two could be compared to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Fahey – an amiable Aussie who now lives in Essex – has won a colossal 49 Open titles, more than twice as many as anyone else. Riviere, who is 30, is left-handed and hugely physical in his style. “The way I play, I won’t last as long as Rob,” he says. “I’ll be amazed if I’m still winning at 40.” Real tennis was Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis Credit: IAN JONES Real tennis has around 50 courts worldwide. They differ in minor ways, but all follow the basic layout established in the 16th century. The sport sustains perhaps 75 professionals, who are almost all coaches. If you sweep the whole circuit, as Riviere has for the last four seasons, you collect something like £25,000. Still, what this sport loses in wealth and accessibility (the scoring system feels like a cryptocurrency), it gains in addictiveness. Fahey stumbled across real tennis via a job advertisement in his local Hobart paper, some time in the late 1980s. Thirty years later, he is still practising at Queen’s Club in south-west London – the venue for next week’s match – with the intensity of a love-struck teenager. As Peter Allis said of Fred Couples during the recent Masters, “There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the grate.”
Rob Fahey, the Roger Federer of real tennis, aims to celebrate his 50th birthday with yet another world title
As a middle-aged reporter, there are few experiences more rare and precious than meeting a world-class sportsman whose hair is whiter than your own. Rob Fahey is a case in point. The most successful player in the history of real tennis, he is about to take on a young American named Camden Riviere for the world championship title. The fact that Fahey will celebrate his 50th birthday on Monday week doesn’t seem to bother him, although he does admit that “I’m going to be the biggest underdog since the 1930s.” Real tennis – Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis – is a fine choice for a silver fox, because wiliness outperforms fitness every time. The rules of this bizarre sport – a Byzantine combination of tennis, squash and pinball – are too complex to detail here. Suffice it to say that each point (or “reste”, technically) begins with the ball being served onto a sloping roof, known as the penthouse. It then gurgles its way around the court before landing with the chanciness of a roulette wheel. Through sheer experience, a 70-year-old with two false hips is more likely to make the return than a fit young debutant. The basic layout of a real tennis court was established back in the 16th century Credit: DAVID BURGES Yet while brains might be essential, brawn plays its part too. Next week’s play-off is a three-day event scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Fahey and Riviere are likely to spend around three hours on court each time, followed by a rest day which offers opportunity for deep tactical analysis in the manner of a Fischer-Spassky chess series. “The thing which distinguishes the top guys from the club players is usually the ability to read the spin,” says Riviere of a sport with at least 15 styles of service, each named after its inventor. “The ball sometimes strikes six different surfaces before you hit it.” Before world championships, players are banned from watching their rivals practise, in case they pick up clues. When Fahey beat Riviere in the 2014 final, he ambushed him with an attritional gameplan that relied on fitness, drawing out rallies in a manner that no-one had expected from a 45-year-old. “He was off the grid for three or four months preparing,” recalls Riviere now. “Then he came back looking like a marathon runner.” These two could be compared to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Fahey – an amiable Aussie who now lives in Essex – has won a colossal 49 Open titles, more than twice as many as anyone else. Riviere, who is 30, is left-handed and hugely physical in his style. “The way I play, I won’t last as long as Rob,” he says. “I’ll be amazed if I’m still winning at 40.” Real tennis was Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis Credit: IAN JONES Real tennis has around 50 courts worldwide. They differ in minor ways, but all follow the basic layout established in the 16th century. The sport sustains perhaps 75 professionals, who are almost all coaches. If you sweep the whole circuit, as Riviere has for the last four seasons, you collect something like £25,000. Still, what this sport loses in wealth and accessibility (the scoring system feels like a cryptocurrency), it gains in addictiveness. Fahey stumbled across real tennis via a job advertisement in his local Hobart paper, some time in the late 1980s. Thirty years later, he is still practising at Queen’s Club in south-west London – the venue for next week’s match – with the intensity of a love-struck teenager. As Peter Allis said of Fred Couples during the recent Masters, “There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the grate.”
As a middle-aged reporter, there are few experiences more rare and precious than meeting a world-class sportsman whose hair is whiter than your own. Rob Fahey is a case in point. The most successful player in the history of real tennis, he is about to take on a young American named Camden Riviere for the world championship title. The fact that Fahey will celebrate his 50th birthday on Monday week doesn’t seem to bother him, although he does admit that “I’m going to be the biggest underdog since the 1930s.” Real tennis – Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis – is a fine choice for a silver fox, because wiliness outperforms fitness every time. The rules of this bizarre sport – a Byzantine combination of tennis, squash and pinball – are too complex to detail here. Suffice it to say that each point (or “reste”, technically) begins with the ball being served onto a sloping roof, known as the penthouse. It then gurgles its way around the court before landing with the chanciness of a roulette wheel. Through sheer experience, a 70-year-old with two false hips is more likely to make the return than a fit young debutant. The basic layout of a real tennis court was established back in the 16th century Credit: DAVID BURGES Yet while brains might be essential, brawn plays its part too. Next week’s play-off is a three-day event scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Fahey and Riviere are likely to spend around three hours on court each time, followed by a rest day which offers opportunity for deep tactical analysis in the manner of a Fischer-Spassky chess series. “The thing which distinguishes the top guys from the club players is usually the ability to read the spin,” says Riviere of a sport with at least 15 styles of service, each named after its inventor. “The ball sometimes strikes six different surfaces before you hit it.” Before world championships, players are banned from watching their rivals practise, in case they pick up clues. When Fahey beat Riviere in the 2014 final, he ambushed him with an attritional gameplan that relied on fitness, drawing out rallies in a manner that no-one had expected from a 45-year-old. “He was off the grid for three or four months preparing,” recalls Riviere now. “Then he came back looking like a marathon runner.” These two could be compared to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Fahey – an amiable Aussie who now lives in Essex – has won a colossal 49 Open titles, more than twice as many as anyone else. Riviere, who is 30, is left-handed and hugely physical in his style. “The way I play, I won’t last as long as Rob,” he says. “I’ll be amazed if I’m still winning at 40.” Real tennis was Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis Credit: IAN JONES Real tennis has around 50 courts worldwide. They differ in minor ways, but all follow the basic layout established in the 16th century. The sport sustains perhaps 75 professionals, who are almost all coaches. If you sweep the whole circuit, as Riviere has for the last four seasons, you collect something like £25,000. Still, what this sport loses in wealth and accessibility (the scoring system feels like a cryptocurrency), it gains in addictiveness. Fahey stumbled across real tennis via a job advertisement in his local Hobart paper, some time in the late 1980s. Thirty years later, he is still practising at Queen’s Club in south-west London – the venue for next week’s match – with the intensity of a love-struck teenager. As Peter Allis said of Fred Couples during the recent Masters, “There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the grate.”
Rob Fahey, the Roger Federer of real tennis, aims to celebrate his 50th birthday with yet another world title
As a middle-aged reporter, there are few experiences more rare and precious than meeting a world-class sportsman whose hair is whiter than your own. Rob Fahey is a case in point. The most successful player in the history of real tennis, he is about to take on a young American named Camden Riviere for the world championship title. The fact that Fahey will celebrate his 50th birthday on Monday week doesn’t seem to bother him, although he does admit that “I’m going to be the biggest underdog since the 1930s.” Real tennis – Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis – is a fine choice for a silver fox, because wiliness outperforms fitness every time. The rules of this bizarre sport – a Byzantine combination of tennis, squash and pinball – are too complex to detail here. Suffice it to say that each point (or “reste”, technically) begins with the ball being served onto a sloping roof, known as the penthouse. It then gurgles its way around the court before landing with the chanciness of a roulette wheel. Through sheer experience, a 70-year-old with two false hips is more likely to make the return than a fit young debutant. The basic layout of a real tennis court was established back in the 16th century Credit: DAVID BURGES Yet while brains might be essential, brawn plays its part too. Next week’s play-off is a three-day event scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Fahey and Riviere are likely to spend around three hours on court each time, followed by a rest day which offers opportunity for deep tactical analysis in the manner of a Fischer-Spassky chess series. “The thing which distinguishes the top guys from the club players is usually the ability to read the spin,” says Riviere of a sport with at least 15 styles of service, each named after its inventor. “The ball sometimes strikes six different surfaces before you hit it.” Before world championships, players are banned from watching their rivals practise, in case they pick up clues. When Fahey beat Riviere in the 2014 final, he ambushed him with an attritional gameplan that relied on fitness, drawing out rallies in a manner that no-one had expected from a 45-year-old. “He was off the grid for three or four months preparing,” recalls Riviere now. “Then he came back looking like a marathon runner.” These two could be compared to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Fahey – an amiable Aussie who now lives in Essex – has won a colossal 49 Open titles, more than twice as many as anyone else. Riviere, who is 30, is left-handed and hugely physical in his style. “The way I play, I won’t last as long as Rob,” he says. “I’ll be amazed if I’m still winning at 40.” Real tennis was Henry VIII’s favourite game, and the ancestor of Wimbledon’s “lawn” tennis Credit: IAN JONES Real tennis has around 50 courts worldwide. They differ in minor ways, but all follow the basic layout established in the 16th century. The sport sustains perhaps 75 professionals, who are almost all coaches. If you sweep the whole circuit, as Riviere has for the last four seasons, you collect something like £25,000. Still, what this sport loses in wealth and accessibility (the scoring system feels like a cryptocurrency), it gains in addictiveness. Fahey stumbled across real tennis via a job advertisement in his local Hobart paper, some time in the late 1980s. Thirty years later, he is still practising at Queen’s Club in south-west London – the venue for next week’s match – with the intensity of a love-struck teenager. As Peter Allis said of Fred Couples during the recent Masters, “There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the grate.”
Rafael Nadal ruthlessly dismantled Thiem as he cruised into the last four (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Rafael Nadal ruthlessly dismantled Thiem as he cruised into the last four
Rafael Nadal ruthlessly dismantled Thiem as he cruised into the last four (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns a ball to Russia's Karen Khachanov during their round of 16 tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco (AFP Photo/VALERY HACHE)
Focus
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns a ball to Russia's Karen Khachanov during their round of 16 tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco (AFP Photo/VALERY HACHE)
Dominic Thiem sets up Monte-Carlo quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after battling back to beat Novak Djokovic
Dominic Thiem sets up Monte-Carlo quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after battling back to beat Novak Djokovic
Dominic Thiem sets up Monte-Carlo quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after battling back to beat Novak Djokovic
Dominic Thiem sets up Monte-Carlo quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after battling back to beat Novak Djokovic
Dominic Thiem sets up Monte-Carlo quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after battling back to beat Novak Djokovic
Dominic Thiem sets up Monte-Carlo quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after battling back to beat Novak Djokovic
If he is to overcome Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo, Dominic Thiem knows he must step up a gear from his win over Novak Djokovic.
Thiem ready to up level for 'ultimate challenge' of Nadal
If he is to overcome Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo, Dominic Thiem knows he must step up a gear from his win over Novak Djokovic.
Dominic Thiem's win over Novak Djokovic means it is he, not the Serbian, who will take on Monte Carlo Masters champion Rafael Nadal next.
Mouthwatering Nadal-Djokovic quarter-final scuppered by Thiem
Dominic Thiem's win over Novak Djokovic means it is he, not the Serbian, who will take on Monte Carlo Masters champion Rafael Nadal next.
The first Big Four showdown of 2018 will have to wait for another week, after Novak Djokovic was ousted from the Monte Carlo Masters by the clay-loving Austrian Dominic Thiem. Had Djokovic won, he would have faced Rafael Nadal on Friday in the quarter-finals – and thus set up the first meeting between two members of tennis’s elite group since Nadal lost to Roger Federer in October’s Shanghai final. But Djokovic, though playing more confidently than he has in recent weeks, still looked unprepared for the physical challenge of facing Thiem – a hugely fit and strong opponent who had also eliminated him from last year’s French Open. Thiem showed signs of mental fragility during the first set, wasting three set points on his own serve, but managed to lift his intensity towards the end of his 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory. Afterwards, Djokovic spoke enthusiastically about his progress over the past week, while also revealing that he will continue to work with Marian Vajda – the old mentor whom he re-engaged a fortnight ago – until at least the end of the clay-court season. “I'm feeling like it's been getting better every day,” said Djokovic. “I played without pain in the elbow, which is important. I have my coach Marian back in the box. So a lot of good things. Thiem also eliminated Djokovic from last year’s French Open Credit: AFP “I haven't played too many matches since July. I’ll continue building up. I'll probably play one of the two tournaments next week [in Barcelona or Budapest]. I will decide tomorrow which one it will be. Hopefully I'm going to get a wild card.” Meanwhile, the British Fed Cup team will face Japan in the small hours of Saturday morning, British time, as they attempt to regain a place in the World Group for the first time in 25 years. Secret Service | Evert part of Simon Briggs' weekly column Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will participate in the singles matches in Osaka, against Japanese No 2 Kurumi Nara and No 1 Naomi Osaka respectively. The day will conclude with a doubles rubber, and then the reverse singles will be played on Sunday morning. Finally, the UK TV rights to the US Open have been picked up by the online retail giant Amazon at an estimated cost of around £30m for a five-year deal. From next season, Amazon will also take over from Sky Sports as British broadcasters of the ATP tour, streaming live coverage to its Prime subscribers.
Novak Djokovic's loss to Dominic Thiem means first Big Four showdown of year wait goes on
The first Big Four showdown of 2018 will have to wait for another week, after Novak Djokovic was ousted from the Monte Carlo Masters by the clay-loving Austrian Dominic Thiem. Had Djokovic won, he would have faced Rafael Nadal on Friday in the quarter-finals – and thus set up the first meeting between two members of tennis’s elite group since Nadal lost to Roger Federer in October’s Shanghai final. But Djokovic, though playing more confidently than he has in recent weeks, still looked unprepared for the physical challenge of facing Thiem – a hugely fit and strong opponent who had also eliminated him from last year’s French Open. Thiem showed signs of mental fragility during the first set, wasting three set points on his own serve, but managed to lift his intensity towards the end of his 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory. Afterwards, Djokovic spoke enthusiastically about his progress over the past week, while also revealing that he will continue to work with Marian Vajda – the old mentor whom he re-engaged a fortnight ago – until at least the end of the clay-court season. “I'm feeling like it's been getting better every day,” said Djokovic. “I played without pain in the elbow, which is important. I have my coach Marian back in the box. So a lot of good things. Thiem also eliminated Djokovic from last year’s French Open Credit: AFP “I haven't played too many matches since July. I’ll continue building up. I'll probably play one of the two tournaments next week [in Barcelona or Budapest]. I will decide tomorrow which one it will be. Hopefully I'm going to get a wild card.” Meanwhile, the British Fed Cup team will face Japan in the small hours of Saturday morning, British time, as they attempt to regain a place in the World Group for the first time in 25 years. Secret Service | Evert part of Simon Briggs' weekly column Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will participate in the singles matches in Osaka, against Japanese No 2 Kurumi Nara and No 1 Naomi Osaka respectively. The day will conclude with a doubles rubber, and then the reverse singles will be played on Sunday morning. Finally, the UK TV rights to the US Open have been picked up by the online retail giant Amazon at an estimated cost of around £30m for a five-year deal. From next season, Amazon will also take over from Sky Sports as British broadcasters of the ATP tour, streaming live coverage to its Prime subscribers.
The first Big Four showdown of 2018 will have to wait for another week, after Novak Djokovic was ousted from the Monte Carlo Masters by the clay-loving Austrian Dominic Thiem. Had Djokovic won, he would have faced Rafael Nadal on Friday in the quarter-finals – and thus set up the first meeting between two members of tennis’s elite group since Nadal lost to Roger Federer in October’s Shanghai final. But Djokovic, though playing more confidently than he has in recent weeks, still looked unprepared for the physical challenge of facing Thiem – a hugely fit and strong opponent who had also eliminated him from last year’s French Open. Thiem showed signs of mental fragility during the first set, wasting three set points on his own serve, but managed to lift his intensity towards the end of his 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory. Afterwards, Djokovic spoke enthusiastically about his progress over the past week, while also revealing that he will continue to work with Marian Vajda – the old mentor whom he re-engaged a fortnight ago – until at least the end of the clay-court season. “I'm feeling like it's been getting better every day,” said Djokovic. “I played without pain in the elbow, which is important. I have my coach Marian back in the box. So a lot of good things. Thiem also eliminated Djokovic from last year’s French Open Credit: AFP “I haven't played too many matches since July. I’ll continue building up. I'll probably play one of the two tournaments next week [in Barcelona or Budapest]. I will decide tomorrow which one it will be. Hopefully I'm going to get a wild card.” Meanwhile, the British Fed Cup team will face Japan in the small hours of Saturday morning, British time, as they attempt to regain a place in the World Group for the first time in 25 years. Secret Service | Evert part of Simon Briggs' weekly column Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will participate in the singles matches in Osaka, against Japanese No 2 Kurumi Nara and No 1 Naomi Osaka respectively. The day will conclude with a doubles rubber, and then the reverse singles will be played on Sunday morning. Finally, the UK TV rights to the US Open have been picked up by the online retail giant Amazon at an estimated cost of around £30m for a five-year deal. From next season, Amazon will also take over from Sky Sports as British broadcasters of the ATP tour, streaming live coverage to its Prime subscribers.
Novak Djokovic's loss to Dominic Thiem means first Big Four showdown of year wait goes on
The first Big Four showdown of 2018 will have to wait for another week, after Novak Djokovic was ousted from the Monte Carlo Masters by the clay-loving Austrian Dominic Thiem. Had Djokovic won, he would have faced Rafael Nadal on Friday in the quarter-finals – and thus set up the first meeting between two members of tennis’s elite group since Nadal lost to Roger Federer in October’s Shanghai final. But Djokovic, though playing more confidently than he has in recent weeks, still looked unprepared for the physical challenge of facing Thiem – a hugely fit and strong opponent who had also eliminated him from last year’s French Open. Thiem showed signs of mental fragility during the first set, wasting three set points on his own serve, but managed to lift his intensity towards the end of his 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory. Afterwards, Djokovic spoke enthusiastically about his progress over the past week, while also revealing that he will continue to work with Marian Vajda – the old mentor whom he re-engaged a fortnight ago – until at least the end of the clay-court season. “I'm feeling like it's been getting better every day,” said Djokovic. “I played without pain in the elbow, which is important. I have my coach Marian back in the box. So a lot of good things. Thiem also eliminated Djokovic from last year’s French Open Credit: AFP “I haven't played too many matches since July. I’ll continue building up. I'll probably play one of the two tournaments next week [in Barcelona or Budapest]. I will decide tomorrow which one it will be. Hopefully I'm going to get a wild card.” Meanwhile, the British Fed Cup team will face Japan in the small hours of Saturday morning, British time, as they attempt to regain a place in the World Group for the first time in 25 years. Secret Service | Evert part of Simon Briggs' weekly column Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will participate in the singles matches in Osaka, against Japanese No 2 Kurumi Nara and No 1 Naomi Osaka respectively. The day will conclude with a doubles rubber, and then the reverse singles will be played on Sunday morning. Finally, the UK TV rights to the US Open have been picked up by the online retail giant Amazon at an estimated cost of around £30m for a five-year deal. From next season, Amazon will also take over from Sky Sports as British broadcasters of the ATP tour, streaming live coverage to its Prime subscribers.
FILE - In this Sunday, April 8, 2018 file photo Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after defeating Germany's Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 during a World Group Quarter final Davis Cup tennis match between Spain and Germany at the bullring in Valencia, Spain. For now, Nadal doesnt see himself skipping Wimbledon the way Roger Federer has the French Open. The two veterans are back at the top of world tennis, with Nadal needing to win this weeks Monte Carlo Masters to avoid losing his top ranking once again to Federer in their seemingly eternal battle for tennis supremacy. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz, File)
Nadal advances at Monte Carlo as Djokovic goes out
FILE - In this Sunday, April 8, 2018 file photo Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after defeating Germany's Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 during a World Group Quarter final Davis Cup tennis match between Spain and Germany at the bullring in Valencia, Spain. For now, Nadal doesnt see himself skipping Wimbledon the way Roger Federer has the French Open. The two veterans are back at the top of world tennis, with Nadal needing to win this weeks Monte Carlo Masters to avoid losing his top ranking once again to Federer in their seemingly eternal battle for tennis supremacy. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz, File)
FILE - In this March 23, 2018, file photo, Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, walks to his chair during his match against Benoit Paire, of France, at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla. Djokovic has split with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek in the latest in a series of coaching changes for the 12-time major champion. Djokovic announced the moves Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on his website. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Nadal advances at Monte Carlo as Djokovic goes out
FILE - In this March 23, 2018, file photo, Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, walks to his chair during his match against Benoit Paire, of France, at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla. Djokovic has split with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek in the latest in a series of coaching changes for the 12-time major champion. Djokovic announced the moves Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on his website. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
The quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters will feature Rafael Nadal for the 14th consecutive year.
Nadal reaches 14th straight Monte Carlo quarter-final
The quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters will feature Rafael Nadal for the 14th consecutive year.
Rafael Nadal eased past Karen Khachanov to set up a Monte Carlo quarter-final with Dominic Thiem (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Rafael Nadal eased past Karen Khachanov to set up a Monte Carlo quarter-final with Dominic Thiem
Rafael Nadal eased past Karen Khachanov to set up a Monte Carlo quarter-final with Dominic Thiem (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Rafael Nadal continued his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title by brushing aside Karen Khachanov (AFP Photo/VALERY HACHE)
Rafael Nadal continued his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title by brushing aside Karen Khachanov
Rafael Nadal continued his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title by brushing aside Karen Khachanov (AFP Photo/VALERY HACHE)
Germany's Alexander Zverev returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during a World Group Quarter final Davis Cup tennis match between Spain and Germany at the bullring in Valencia, Spain, Sunday April 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Djokovic loses Dominic Thiem at Monte Carlo Masters
Germany's Alexander Zverev returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during a World Group Quarter final Davis Cup tennis match between Spain and Germany at the bullring in Valencia, Spain, Sunday April 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Rafael Nadal began his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title with a straightforward win (AFP Photo/VALERY HACHE)
Rafael Nadal began his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title with a straightforward win
Rafael Nadal began his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title with a straightforward win (AFP Photo/VALERY HACHE)
Aljaz Bedene was swept aside by Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters, leaving the Spaniard in a positive mood.
Nadal welcomes confidence-building court time
Aljaz Bedene was swept aside by Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters, leaving the Spaniard in a positive mood.
Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a ball to Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia during the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Forehand swing
Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a ball to Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia during the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco (AFP Photo/YANN COATSALIOU)
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 18, 2018 A bead of sweat drops off of Spain's Rafael Nadal as he prepares to serve during his second round match against Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 18, 2018 A bead of sweat drops off of Spain's Rafael Nadal as he prepares to serve during his second round match against Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 18, 2018 Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in action during his second round match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
ATP - Monte Carlo Masters
Tennis - ATP - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco - April 18, 2018 Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in action during his second round match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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