Rafael Nadal has played nine times in the ATP Finals, but has never managed to win the most prestigious tournament in the world outside the four Grand Slams. The Spanish phenomenon reached the final in 2010 and 2013, but in both cases he was forced to capitulate against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively.
The former World number 1 took away the satisfaction of winning his 20th Slam this year thanks to yet another triumph at Roland Garros, as well as highlighting a greater freshness at this point of the season than in other years (also for merit of the long stop due to the pandemic).
The 34-year-old Majorcan honored the latest edition of the Masters at the O2 Arena in London by beating Andey Rublev in two quick sets, but on the second day of his group he surrendered to a wild Dominic Thiem in two tiebreaks.
Rafa will meet with Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday to try and grab the semifinals. Speaking on Amazon Prime Video, former WTA number 5 Daniela Hantuchova believes Nadal has a big chance this year.
Hantuchova on Rafael Nadal
“Oh big time,” said Daniela Hantuchova, when asked about Nadal’s hunger to win his first season-ending title.
“I think this is the title that he’s missing and Rafael Nadal wants people to stop talking about it. But at the same time, I think he’s accepting that if it doesn’t happen to him, then he’s still going to retire being very happy.
So he’s not going to be losing any sleep over this title.” Former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski, who is also a tennis analyst on Amazon Prime, observed that Rafael Nadal is in London with both his coaches – Carlos Moya and Francisco Roig.
According to the Brit, this is the first time the Spaniard has done that. “Usually, it’s only one coach that travels with him, his physical trainer, physio and the rest of the team. So Rafael Nadal’s trying something a little bit different,” Rusedski said.
“It’s a question mark whether it’s a tactical thing or is that because he’s not quite sure what he needs to do indoors to get the job done at these ATP Finals.” After a long time, Nadal looks like a serious contender for the ATP Finals title.
He has a tough group involving the defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and the 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, but both of them can be a cakewalk for Nadal if he gets into his groove.
Who will get Hamilton's plum Mercedes drive at Sakhir? – F1i.com
Lewis Hamilton’s unexpected positive COVID-19 test has thrown a spanner in Mercedes’ works, but it is also set to deliver a potentially career-defining opportunity to one lucky driver.
Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez are the Brackley squad’s official reserve drivers.
The Belgian races for the German manufacturer in Formula E, but the former McLaren charger – as an active driver who is also virtually acquainted with Mercedes W11 thanks to his simulator work with the team – is also race-ready for a call up.
Vandoorne, who scored his first FE win last summer in Berlin, is currently testing with Mercedes’ electric outfit in Valencia but is already due to travel to Bahrain once the test is completed.
Gutierrez’s lack of recent running in F1, or in any other qualifying category, has deprived the Mexican of an F1 superlicence which effectively rules him out a substitute role.
British fans would lave to see George Russell get his hands on a Mercedes and so would many others in the paddock. However, there’s no doubt that Williams would drive a hard bargain to release its young star, although in doing so it could reap a big marketing benefit if Russell later returns to Grove… a Grand Prix winner!
However, Williams needs Russell next weekend – and in Abu Dhabi – to try and improve its fortunes in the Constructors’ championship and leapfrog Haas in the standings, a feat worth a few million dollars in prize money.
There also the question of who, should Williams release Russell to Mercedes, would replace the Briton? Reserve driver Jack Aitken could theoretically do the job.
Finally, Mercedes could rely on the trusty talent of F1 super-sub Nico Hulkenberg. The experienced German who replaced COVID-infected Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll at Racing Point earlier this season, fits the bill in all respects, and would enjoy the chance to finally add that elusive podium finish to his massive track record in F1.
But the fact that the Hulk is not acquainted with the mighty Mercedes team, contrary to Vandoorne and Russell, is an obvious disadvantage for Nico.
Brawn: Understanding 'dynamics' of Grosjean crash key to improvements – F1i.com
F1 boss Ross Brawn says the FIA must work with Haas to understand the “dynamics” of Romain Grosjean’s crash in Bahrain to seek potential improvements to the sport’s safety.
Grosjean darted off course after a contact with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat, but while the Armco should have absorbed part of the Haas’ energy, the Frenchman’s car was severed upon impact, with its survivor cell splitting the barrier open and igniting a massive blaze.
Brawn admitted to being stunned by the effects of the impact.
“It was a huge shock, as fire is something I’ve not seen in F1 for a very long time,” Brawn commented in his post-race debrief on the official F1 website.
“I was immediately thinking, what could have caused it as the fuel tank is so well protected?
“Obviously there’s oil in the car and there’s other fluids, but it was strange when I saw the fire.
“It wasn’t until I saw the severity of the accident you could understand why the fuel had escaped. So the first shock was just seeing the fire.
“Then when you see the seriousness of the accident, your first thoughts are with the driver. You immediately worry about the health of the driver.
“Seeing Romain jump out of the car was a massive relief,” added the Briton.
“Our producers didn’t put the footage out until they knew Romain was safe, which is our protocol.
“I think everyone is proud of the safety measures which have been developed over the last few years. The halo played a huge part.”
Speaking after Sunday’s incident, Brawn said a “deep investigation” would take place to analyse the circumstances and consequences of Grosjean’s crash.
“The FIA, working with the team, have to understand the dynamics of what happened in the accident to see if improvements are possible,” Brawn said on Monday.
“It was a pretty severe impact and there are limits as to what you’d be able to contain or control.
“But penetrating the barrier like that has to be understood. It also has to be understood why there was a fire and why the car broke in two.
“These are the things that the FIA will now take the time to analyse and work out what can be done better.
“Hats off to everyone involved, because the driver walked away from a huge accident. And the FIA did a super job getting everything back in shape so that we could run the race in as safe a way as possible.”
DK Metcalf, Seahawks gash Eagles in Monday Night Football win – Sportsnet.ca
PHILADELPHIA —DK Metcalf got extra motivation he didn’t even need.
Metcalf caught 10 passes for 177 yards, Russell Wilson threw for 230 yards and a touchdown and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-17 on Monday night.
Before the game, Metcalf said Eagles defensive co-ordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached Calvin Johnson in Detroit, compared him to the former Lions star.
“I’m getting a little respect, but you know I still got work to do. One of the defensive coaches came up to me and it kind of made me mad that he was like, `You know, I was in Detroit with Megatron but you’re not there yet,”’ Metcalf said. “In my mind, I’m not trying to be Megatron. I’m trying to be me. So I had a little chip on my shoulder the whole game.”
The Seahawks (8-3) moved one game ahead of the Rams in the NFC West. The Eagles (3-7-1) fell a half-game behind the Giants and Washington in the woeful NFC East.
Carson Wentz didn’t cede many snaps to backup Jalen Hurts but had another rough game. He was 25 of 45 for 215 yards, two TDs _ one in garbage time _ and one interception.
Seattle’s defence entered the game allowing the most yards in the NFL and most yards passing but held Philadelphia’s inept offence to 250 yards.
Metcalf was on the board when the Eagles took J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round with the 57th pick in 2019. Arcega-Whiteside has 12 career catches and was a healthy inactive before landing on the COVID-19 list. Metcalf, who was the final pick of the second round, had the best game of his rookie year in Seattle’s playoff win at Philadelphia last season and again showed why he’s one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Metcalf’s 52-yard catch on third-and-13 set up Wilson’s 1-yard TD pass to David Moore that gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead.
“It’s kind of like coming home, a place that had a chance to draft me but they didn’t so I’ve got to make them pay,” Metcalf said.
Cornerback Darius Slay, who followed Metcalf in coverage, called it the worst game of his career.
“I lost every 50-50 ball. I let the team down. I gotta play better,” Slay said.
Chris Carson made it 14-0 when he bullied his way through Philadelphia’s defence on a 16-yard run.
“You know me, I saw that end zone so my game is physical so I wanted to get it in,” Carson said.
The Eagles didn’t get a first down until Wentz ran for 20 yards with under five minutes left in the first half. Wentz scrambled for 13 yards on third-and-5 to keep the drive going and tossed a 3-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert to cut it to 14-6 at halftime. Jake Elliott missed the extra point wide left.
Elliott’s 42-yard field goal cut it to 14-9 in the third quarter. Jason Myers hit one from 44 yards to extend it to 17-9.
After a holding call on Cedric Ogbuehi negated a 17-yard TD run by Carlos Hyde, Myers connected from 33 yards. He hit another one from 39.
Richard Rodgers caught a tipped ball on a desperation heave by Wentz for a 33-yard TD in the final minute.
Trailing by 11, Eagles coach Doug Pederson passed up a field goal and went for it on fourth-and-4 from the Seahawks 15. Wentz’s pass went straight to Seattle’s Quandre Diggs as Goedert turned the other way on the route.
The Eagles got a huge stop on Seattle’s opening series. After a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties helped the Seahawks reach the 3, Derek Barnett stuffed Moore for a 5-yard loss on fourth down from the 2.
Barnett sacked Wilson on fourth-and-2 from Philadelphia’s 37 on Seattle’s second drive.
Wilson is 6-0 against the Eagles and the Seahawks have won seven in a row in the series.
NO QB ROTATION
Hurts took the snap on two plays. He completed a 6-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery on one and handed off on the other. Wentz was split wide on the running play and on the sideline for the pass.
The Eagles had minus-4 yards in the first quarter, matching their worst first quarter in the past 30 seasons (also minus-4 vs Minnesota on Oct. 7, 2018). The last team to have negative yards in the first quarter was Chicago with minus-1 against Philadelphia on Nov. 3, 2019.
The Eagles went three-and-out on their first five drives.
Both teams were missing their starting right tackle.
Seattle’s Brandon Shell was inactive because of an ankle injury. Ogbuehi took his spot.
Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson is sidelined for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Matt Pryor started in his place.
Seahawks: Host the New York Giants (4-7) on Sunday.
Eagles: Visit the Green Bay Packers (8-3) on Sunday.