Break Points: Toni Nadal Says Nishikori Deserved Madrid Win Over Rafa

Notable Results:

Madrid F: Rafael Nadal d. Kei Nishikori, 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 (ret.)
Madrid F: Maria Sharapova d. Simona Halep, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3
Rome 1R: Jurgen Melzer d. John Isner, 7-6(7), 6-3
Rome 1R: Lukas Rosol d. Fabio Fognini, 6-3, 6-2
Rome 1R: Sloane Stephens d. Bojana Jovanovski, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Rome 1R: Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Maria Kirilenko, 7-5, 6-0
Rome 1R: Francesca Schiavone d. Genie Bouchard, 6-4, 6-2

News and Analysis:

Anusha Rasalingam took a look at the best tennis friendships for The Changeover.

Toni Nadal said some stuff about Rafa’s Madrid final:

“We don’t deserve the victory, (Nishikori) deserves it, he played better than us the whole time,” Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni Nadal told Antenna 3 TV. “We had a lot of luck today. We didn’t really come back, he was hurt.”

After both players held serve to start, Nishikori jumped out to a 5-1 lead with powerful groundstrokes that overwhelmed Nadal, who couldn’t find a way to counter his Japanese opponent.

“After the early breaks (Nadal) got tense and his opponent played at a great level,” Toni Nadal said.

Former World No. 1 Dinara Safina officially announced her retirement in Madrid:

“It was hard because I was not ready for it,” she said. “I was thinking ‘Okay I’m going to play until I’m 30 and then I’m going to quit.’ But then comes the moment when you’re 25 and you wake up one day and it’s like okay, I cannot go anymore. I cannot suffer.'”

What does the future hold for Safina? Not even she knows. She doesn’t rule out a return to tennis as a coach – though don’t hold your breath – but for now she is studying law back home in Moscow and helping her brother with his political career. She is enjoying her life, opening herself to learning and experiencing all the things she had to put on hold to focus on tennis.

As for what she’ll miss the most about tennis, Safina points to the people, both behind the scenes and those in the stadiums all around the world, who came to watch and cheer her on. “When you step on the court, when you hear the people, when they support you, you will not get that anywhere else,” she said. “You play for the people.”

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