September 5, 2015

Nadal Says São Paulo Clay Courts are Much Faster Than U.S. Open and Australian Open

 

Nadal 2 16 2013 Brasil Open William Lucas Inovafoto

By Barbara Galiza

(February 16, 2013) São Paulo – Before this week, Martin Alund had never won an ATP-tour level match before, but today he managed to take a slow Rafael Nadal to a third set. The former number one took two hours to beat the Argentinean and advance to the São Paulo final. After his win, Nadal complained about the conditions, that are too fast for his taste.

 

“The conditions are not good for me and my game style. I don’t have the feeling of (ball) control or that I can attack. Today, my knee hurt more than it did in the other days”, said Nadal, who recently came back from a seven-month injury lay-off.

 

Since the beginning of the week, the Spaniard has been very critical of the balls used in the indoor clay tournament. After his win over Alund, Nadal said the conditions in São Paulo were too fast to be considered clay:

 

“The surface is here is much faster than any hardcourt. It’s much faster than the U.S. Open, much faster than the Australian Open. It’s a court that can’t be considered clay, that’s the truth. The altitude and specially the balls (make it very fast).” São Paulo’s average sea level height is of 760m.

 

In the final, the world number five will play another Argentinean, David Nalbandian. The two had paired together this week to play the doubles draw, before Nadal pulled out citing “knee overuse”.

 

“I am physically prepared for the match tomorrow, I don’t know if my knee is,” said Nadal, who he will be trying to win his 51st title.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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São Paulo Oversells Arena and Fans Watch Semis From the Stairs

Brasil Centre Court 2 16 2013

By Barbara Galiza

(February 16, 2013) São Paulo – The courts may have been the biggest aim of complains by the players, but now the ATP 250 São Paulo has got something new to worry about: the fans. In the semifinals, there were 9,300 available seats for spectators, but at least 300 had to resort to the stairs to rest, blocking the passage and emergency exits.

 

The tournament organizers couldn’t inform the exact number of tickets sold, that cost between US$51 and US$102. The Ibirapuera arena, where the competition is being held, has full capacity of 10,000 – but a part of those seats were reserved to press, TV equipment and guests. Eventually, the press area had to be shared with some of spectators.

 

Fans also had to endure severe heat in the complex. São Paulo’s temperature went as high as 91ºF (33ºc)  on Saturday and the multi-use arena isn’t equipped with air conditioning.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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São Paulo: What To Do Other Than Watch Nadal

 182199_295159_gn_nadal_120213016_web_

By Barbara Galiza

(February 13, 2013) São Paulo – If you’ve seen the video of Rafael Nadal’s entrance in São Paulo Tuesday night (posted on his Facebook), you probably got excited about the tournament. Very few ATP 250 events can proud themselves into bringing a 10,000 crowd for a doubles first round at 11pm. Sure the tournament is currently far from perfect – hot arena, court complaints – but the major city has much to offer.

On Sunday, the final (that could include the Argentine Juan Monaco,  the Spaniard Nicolas Almagro or even the local Thomaz Bellucci) will make the Ibirapuera arena boil. So why not relax first in the biggest park in São Paulo, that goes by the same name, right on the corner of the grounds? To find out what are the best things to do in the city, I had a chat with two press room neighbors: Sheila Vieira and Felipe Priante, from Tênis Brasil. They shared what are the must-do things in São Paulo.

Ciclofaixa

Where Rio de Janeiro is famous for the cities, “paulistas” got to rely on their parks to enjoy the Brazilian Summer. On Sundays, the streets around and connecting the three biggest parks (Ibirapuera, Villa-Lobos and Parque do Povo) close, giving cyclists over 10km of free space.

Federer in Brazil

Mercado Municipal Paulistano

Opened in 1933, this is the place to find cheap things in São Paulo. Shopping is the city’s middle name and in the Municipal Market, you can buy fruits, vegetables, meats, spices and still eat the traditional “mortadela sandwich”. It is always absolutely packed but it was visited by Roger Federer last month, during his South American exhibition tour. If Federer can survive the masses, so you can you.

MASP

The São Paulo Modern Art Museum is not only a beautiful concrete and glass structure built in 1968, but it’s also located in the busiest street in the city, Avenida Paulista. Their collection includes a handful of Degas, Van Goghs, Cézannes and more. They also have a few exhibitions going on at a time, check out before you go

Bairro da Liberdade

Brazil is the biggest home outside Japan for Japanese people and they’re mostly located in São Paulo. Bairro da Liberdade is the Japanese neighborhood in the city. Expect to find there the best sushi places, food fairs that sell gyoza in the streets, traditional clothes shops and other Asian hard-to-find products.

Museu do Futebol

If you’re at the country of football, you might as well learn something about the most popular sport in the world. Located in the Pacaembú Stadium, home of Corinthians.

Vila Madalena

The neighborhood with the coolest bars. It has rich people and normal people, everyone having a drink. If you’re still hung up on the Football Museum, check out São Cristóvão – a bar football-themed where they sell vintage jerseys.

Even when Rafa isn’t playing, São Paulo is still full of sights and touristic attractions. If you’re looking for more things to do, the historic Casa das Rosas and the famous shopping streets, like Oscar Freire, are all good places to see before or after the tennis.

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Nadal: “The 25-Second Rule Will Harm the Fans”

 

Rafael Nadal photo by Gaspar Nóbrega/Inovafoto

Rafael Nadal photo by Gaspar Nóbrega/Inovafoto

By Barbara Galiza

(February 12, 2013) São Paulo Returning to Brazil for the first time since 2005, Rafael Nadal will play the ATP 250 São Paulo this week. In his pre-tournament news conference, the world No. 5 commented on the improvements on his health and the new enforcement of the “25 seconds between serves” rule.

 

“People want to see long matches, competitive rallies and amazing shots. For me to play in a high level for four hours, I need more than 25 seconds,” said the Spaniard, famous for taking long between serves. ”I don’t think players are happy with the new rule. The umpire will have to decide when it’s up to follow it or not. Because if it’s something mathematical, it will harm the fans.”

 

Nadal returned to competition last week, in Chile, after being away from tour for seven months because of a knee injury. He was the runner up in Viña Del Mar, losing to the Horacio Zeballos, ranked 73th.

 

“I’m not ready to think about titles, I’m thinking about playing day by day”, he said. “I’m not worried whether this (the injury) is going to be a problem for the future, I’m worried about the time it will take (to be 100%). Last week was a positive result. There are days my knee limits me physically, but there are days it’s better. Every week, I have less bad days.”

 

To Nadal, part of the blame for his injury is the length of the hardcourt season. The surface isn’t ideal to the body.

 

“I find hardcourts the worst for the body. You don’t see footballers playing on hard fields, or any other sports with aggressive moments (being practiced on the same surface). They’re the most harming for articulations, knees, backs.”

 

“I don’t think a change to more clay and grass tournaments will be possible in my generation. The ATP needs to be more careful to prolong their player’s careers. I want to be able to still practice sports after I retire. Tennis careers are very important, but life is more,” said the 26-year-old player.

 

Even though he said to be taking tournaments day by day, the Spaniard admitted that the next Olympic Games is something in his mind:

 

“Being in Rio 2016 is a big goal of mine. I want to be there in condition to compete and also win what could be my last Olympics.”

 

Nadal also reaffirmed his stance on public records of the anti-doping controls held by the ITF. To him, if blood tests and urine tests are kept private, tennis is at risk.

 

“We need to know the person on the other side of the net is in the same condition as you are. Sport needs to be example to kids and an example of hard work. Everyone needs to know how many blood test and urine tests we go through or we will have the same problem as cycling”, he said.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Alves Fails to Qualify, Questions About Court Conditions at Brasil Open

Brazil Open

By Barbara Galiza

 

(February 10, 2013) Even with an impressionable run in the Davis Cup play-off against America last week, Brazilian Thiago Alves still failed to quality for his home tournament. The 135th player in the world fell in the second round of qualifying and his reaction hinted the indoor clay at São Paulo was to blame. After his loss, the Brazilian smacked his racket and kicked the surface so hard, some areas had to be refilled.

 

Fabio Fognini‘s coach, José Perla, also complained about the surface, but on Twitter: “The only problem with São Paulo are the courts. They are in terrible conditions and the balls are from the supermarket. (…) We hope no one gets hurt.”

 

The ATP 250 São Paulo has the presence of Rafael Nadal confirmed, after just returning to tour last week from a seven-month injury lay-off. The Spaniard will make his debut on Tuesday, but the organizers insist the courts will be in perfect condition for the start of the tournament tomorrow.

 

“The courts are still being adjusted. The clay hasn’t even had a month to settle down (since the Federer Tour exhibitions, held on the same site, but on hardcourts). The people from the ATP will still arrive and make the conditions 100% for the start of the tournament,” says Brasil Open’s press agent.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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