‘Second Service’ tennis news: Thiem names Nadal as the best role model for him as Auger-Aliassimes confirms enjoyment about playing in Italy
Looking back on the big tennis news in our exclusive ‘Second Service’… Thiem named Nadal as the best role model for him as Auger-Aliassimes confirms enjoyment about playing in Italy, plus more…
To start this tennis news roundup, Dominic Thiem has pointed to Rafael Nadal as a big inspiration in his comeback to the top of the men’s game.
The former world number three suffered a wrist injury in June of last year that sidelined him for nine months. After a string of agonising defeats left him without a tour win for 14 months, Thiem is slowly returning to his former level.
Though Nadal has never suffered such a rankings tumble as the Austrian, Thiem has identified the grit shown by the Spaniard to return from injury as something to strive for.
“[Nadal] is probably the best role model for this experience,” Thiem told AS. “He did it not just once but four or five times to come back from a long injury time of six months or even more. And the form was always amazing. So it’s a great inspiration.”
In other tennis news, Felix Auger-Aliassime is a small step closer to becoming the first Canadian to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals in singles since Milos Raonic with his first win at the Firenze Open.
The top seed in Florence defeated Germany’s Oscar Otte 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2 in just under an hour and a half on court. After leading comfortably with a break in the second set, the 22-year-old stumbled to let Otte back in.
Addressing the gathered crowd, the world number 13 expressed his excitement at playing in a new part of the country.
“I always love playing in Italy,” he said. “I came when I was young. 11, 12 years old, playing everywhere in Italy. I love playing in Rome, and this was the first time I’ve played in this region. So its’ great to come here for the first time. I’m loving my time here.”
Furthermore, Rafael Nadal has assured fans that all is good with his family after wife Xisca gave birth to a baby boy.
The 22-time Slam champion has not played since the Laver Cup in late September. His last ranking tournament appearance came in his fourth round loss to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open.
Since London, Nadal has been home with his wife in anticipation of the birth of their child. With their son born, Nadal has now broken his silence on Twitter.
“Hello everyone. After a few days and many loving messages I just wanted to thank you all! We are very happy and everyone is very well! A big hug,” he tweeted.
Read what Nadal had to say here.
To conclude, Dominic Thiem is back inside the top 150 of the live ATP rankings once more after a third successive victory at the 250 level Gijon Open.
The 2020 US Open champion backed up wins over Joao Sousa and Marcos Giron to defeat world number 29 Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3. The win takes him up to 132nd in the live ATP rankings, returning to the top 150 after dropping out in May.
“It’s very important for me. Because I’m still trying to climb up the rankings. Obviously I’m still outside of the top 150 now. So semi-finals on the ATP [tour] is helping a lot. Lots of points. So it means a lot to me. It’s only the second semi-finals [this year].”
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