Nadal, Del Potro, Djokovic and Nishikori Win, No. 4 Zverev Loses to Gulbis at Wimbledon
(July 7, 2018) Rafael Nadal is assured of staying No. 1 after Wimbledon as he reached the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Australian teen Alex de Minaur.
Asked about remaining No. 1, the Spaniard said: “Of course, I prefer to be No. 1 than No. 2, no doubt about this. I really don’t came here to hold No. 1. I just came here to try to do the best tournament possible.
“Of course, is very positive to be already in the second week, winning three matches. That’s it. Just happy the way that I played during the first week. Three matches, every match have been more and more positive. I am playing well. Good start. Second match I played so well. Today, again, I played a good match.
“Very happy for that and looking forward to keep playing well.”
Asked about reaching the top spot in 2008, he said: “Of course, as I said couple of times, 2008 was a very important moment for me when I achieved the world No. 1 for the first time in my career because in some way I felt that I deserved. I don’t like this word ‘deserved’ because the sport, you are or you are not. The sport, you don’t deserve, no?
“In some way I felt that I was playing so well for already three years, being there, having great results without being No. 1. Some way I believe that was good. I did the things good enough to be there at least once, no? Was an important moment for me.
“Today is a different story. Is not my biggest goal, to be No. 1. Of course, as I said hundreds of times, I prefer to be No. 1 than No. 5. The most important thing for me is be healthy, be happy playing tennis. Both things are very close.”
“I think he’s very energetic player, very quick,” said Nadal of his opponent. “I think he likes to play in this surface. His style of game probably works well for this surface in the future.
For the Australian, Wimbledon was an experience.
“It was definitely something special, being able to play on Centre Court against Rafa, that’s something that I will remember forever. I think it’s all about just learning each day. So that’s a new experience for me, and, you know, I can’t wait for what’s next. You know, that’s where I want to be, playing on big courts against big players.
“You know, I’ve got to work harder, get better, and hopefully next time I get the same opportunity I can push him harder.”
“You’ve got so many people out there. We went from, you know, being silent to just so many people clapping. The atmosphere was incredible.
“You know, while you’re doing the coin toss and everything, you try to soak it all up, while you’re in the warmup, and then it’s go time. You’ve got to try and focus and try to take it as any other match.
“Obviously it was my first time doing that on such a big court. But, you know, I’m probably going to do it better next time and the time after that will be even better.
“It’s just about learning.”
Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic had to ignore an incorrect call, but went on to beat Brit Kyle Edmund 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the round of 16 on Saturday.
The Serbian was also not happy about the way he was treated by the crowd at the All-England Club.
“There is a certain unwritten borderline where you feel that it’s a bit too much,” Djokovic said. “I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was treated by certain individuals.”
In the fourth set, Djokovic was robbed of a break of serve when the Edmund hit a ball that bounced twice. Djokovic complained to the umpire to no avail. TV showed that it was a double-bounce.
“I was 100 percent convinced it (bounced) twice,” Djokovic said.
“The crowd was very fair when I played against Andy. Obviously, they support their player,” he said. “But today there was just some people, especially behind that end where I got the time violation, they kept on going, they kept on going, provoking. That’s something that I can tolerate for a little bit, but I’m going to show that I’m present as well, that they can’t do whatever they feel like doing.”
“Anybody can make a mistake. That’s OK. But I don’t understand why he (the umpire) didn’t allow me to challenge the ball. I asked him. So, yes, it was quite a strange decision from (the) chair umpire, but it happens.”
Juan Martin del Potro is into the fourth round with straight sets win over Benoit Paire and in the last match of the day, Kei Nishikori dismissed Kei Nishikori in three sets.
“Play very solid I think from the beginning,” said the man from Japan. “Serve and return were one of the best day today. I think return really well. I able to make many first serve and also second serve, too. Try to attack a little bit.”
“Well, yeah, everything was working well, so very happy to win like this today.”
Ernests Gulbis of Latvia has become the first male qualifier in six years to make the fourth round at Wimbledon after beating fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-0.
The world No. 138 was No. 10 back 2014.
“Well, if I talk about the fourth and the fifth set, I started to return much better,” Gulbis said to media. “I started to go further back on the return. The sun went down. The courts got a little bit slower. I think it played in my favor.
“Then, yeah, as soon as I could get the return in, the game started. I wasn’t going for every shot winner. I think that was smart.”
“I saw that he was getting tired in the fifth set. I was feeling physically really, really good. I started to play smarter. I tried to move him more. I realized that he was getting tired.”
“I’m proud of qualifying here. I’m proud of winning three five-set matches. Of course, in this match in particular because I was two sets to one down.
“The fourth set, if I’m not mistaken, it was 2-All and Love-40 on my serve. I mean, doesn’t matter how he felt the day before, sick or not sick, if he would break me in that game, he would win the match. He was playing really well.
“Of course, I’m proud of just hanging in there and not giving up after also losing the third set, when I was serving for the set. Of course, I’m really happy about it.”
“I felt fine,” said the world No. 3. “I was tired from probably having a stomach bug, not eating for over 24 hours. That probably had something to do with it.
“I showed in Paris and other matches that I don’t really get tired in five-set matches. Today I definitely did. It felt like somebody just unplugged me in the middle of the fourth set. There was no going back there for me”
“He played well. No doubt about it. He’s playing well. The quallies and everything gave him a lot of confidence. He’s won six matches now already. I actually thought I didn’t play that bad.
“I just started to feel very tired.”
“This is sports. You can’t really plan things. Things happen. I thought after I won the third set, I’m going to get out with a win. I thought that honestly.
“I started actually off well. I had breakpoints in the beginning of the fourth. But things happen. It’s not a secret in our sport. Unfortunately that’s it for me for this year. But I’ll be back. I’ll do the best I can to prepare myself for the hard courts now.”
“I thought I played well this week. I thought I played very well yesterday, the two sets. I thought I played okay today.
“But, as I said, things happen. I was unlucky this week with a stomach bug. Now I’m just going to try to prepare myself the best I can.
“Of course, I didn’t have the preparation I had the last few years because I was injured in Paris. That kind of got me into the grass court season like that. I didn’t really have a lot of time to play on the grass this year.”
American Frances Tiafoe let a two-set to none lead slip as he lost to fellow ATP Next Generation opponent Karen Khachanov of Russia 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-1.
Milos Raonic, the 13th seed, is into Wimbledon’s fourth round for the third straight year, completing a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over No. 171, qualifier Dennis Novak of Austria in a match suspended due to darkness on Friday.