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first_imgBy Dialogo September 01, 2009 Rafael Nadal is about to compete in the U.S. Open following his recent return to competition after more than seventy days away from the courts due to tendinitis in his knees, but motivated to try to win the only Grand Slam title lacking on his list of victories, despite the limited preparation he has been able to do for the event. The Spanish tennis player is ready for his first appearance, possibly on Tuesday, against Frenchman Richard Gasquet. “I got here in better shape than expected, but I’m conscious of the fact that I’ve never gotten past the semifinals. If I make it to the quarterfinals or semifinals, I believe that it will be a great tournament for me, and I’ll probably go home satisfied, but later on, over the length of my career, that won’t count for anything. Especially here, at the only Grand Slam tournament I haven’t won. That’s why I’m here to win. If not, I probably wouldn’t have come,” Nadal said. His semifinal appearance last year, when he lost to British player Andy Murray, is the best result that the native of the Balearics has obtained at Flushing Meadows. The Scotsman is precisely the one who has pushed him out of second place in the rankings, marking the first time in the last four years that he will face the season’s last Grand Slam tournament ranked at number three. “I don’t believe that it makes a difference for me that I’m starting out this time as number three. I don’t know how it could make a difference for me to start out as number three,” Rafael Nadal said. Following more than two months without playing due to injury, the Spanish tennis player rejected the idea that he might “be under less pressure” than on other occasions when he has competed in the U.S. Open. “The pressure in the end is the pressure you put on yourself. You know how you are and what you need to do. Less pressure because I’m coming off of an injury? The pressure is what it is. It’s logical that I won’t win the tournament, but I’m here to try to win it,” the number-three player in the world insisted. Rafael Nadal thinks positively. He looks toward the future and feels that his return to competition “isn’t a return, because I haven’t left.” “No, I don’t feel that I have bad luck. I haven’t been worrying about losing the number-one ranking or the number-two ranking. What happened at Roland Garros and missing Wimbledon wasn’t very pleasant, but it’s all been the consequence of showing up poorly prepared. At the beginning it was an almost perfect season; I was playing better than ever. With great results. The best of my career, undoubtedly. I’ve worked hard, and it’s not the case that I’m returning. It’s that I haven’t left. I’m number three in the world. That’s the reality. I’ve played quarterfinal and semifinal matches on hard courts now, in Montreal and Cincinnati. I see myself doing well and capable of winning big tournaments again as soon as possible,” the Spanish tennis player emphasized. The tennis player from Manacor is hopeful about his chances in the tournament and doing something significant. What happened at the Australian Open is an example “You never know what can happen. When I got to Australia, I wasn’t thinking about whether I might win or lose. I worked hard enough to find inspiration and be entirely focused on the competition,” he remembers. “I’ve trained well, following my normal routine, I’ve felt that I’ve been doing well, and now we’ll see. I’m well, calm, and prepared to do the best I can,” Nadal added, emphasizing his “great excitement about participating in this tournament and doing well in it.” “The U.S. Open is a Grand Slam tournament; that’s the first thing. And then it’s in New York, a special city for me, and one of the most important cities in the world. I believe there’s nothing that doesn’t make this tournament special,” Nadal said, eager to start competing in order to evaluate how he feels and judge the level at which he may be able to perform during the tournament. The Spanish tennis player, who acknowledged that he had not been able to follow the opening match of his favorite team, Real Madrid, in the Spanish soccer league – “I wasn’t fortunate enough to be able to watch Madrid play, and now we we’ll see what happens, although there’s high excitement and high expectations” – admitted that he had been more surprised that Swiss tennis player Roger Federer was the father of twins than that he finished first at Roland Garros. “It was more surprising to me that he had twins, because I hadn’t known that. That he won at Roland Garros was more normal. He’s always made it to the finals or semifinals, and it was normal that he would end up winning. Besides, he deserved it,” the Spanish tennis player concluded.last_img read more


first_imgAfter losing back-to-back overtime games for the first time in school history, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team hits the road Saturday to take on Illinois at Assembly Hall.The Badgers (12-6, 3-3 Big Ten) — who haven’t lost four straight Big Ten games since the 1998 season — will have a tough matchup against the No. 24 Illini (16-3, 4-2 Big Ten), who boast four players that score in double digits.“They deliver well, they’ve got guys that shoot it pretty well,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “The only thing you can do to take them out of that rhythm is to make them work harder and take them out of their comfort zone just like we do against every team.”Ryan’s squad has not had much experience with losing streaks. When the Badgers lost to Minnesota on Jan. 15, it was their first time losing consecutive games since the 2006-07 season.“We have to keep getting better and working hard every day,” junior guard Jason Bohannon said. “We’ve been in all those games, but just weren’t able to pull them out. With tough games, you try to learn from them and we’re learning every day.”“We know we’re in a hole right now,” sophomore forward Jon Leuer said. “We just need to work hard, keep preparing every day and keep improving.”One of the issues plaguing Wisconsin in its past three losses has been its inability to withstand pressure defenses. Against Minnesota, the Badgers turned the ball over 18 times, six of which were courtesy of junior point guard Trevon Hughes.In their match against Iowa, Hughes turned the ball over three more times before being lifted in favor of freshman guard Jordan Taylor, who didn’t commit a single one. Nevertheless, Ryan believes Hughes will play up to par against Illinois.“He’ll be ready to play,” Ryan said. “He just has to be careful with his decisions and make sure that the game is out there in front of him. … As an artist, if you use too much paint, it ruins the canvas.”In their past two contests, the Badgers have been in the lead in the waning minutes before surrendering the losses. Against Iowa, Wisconsin led by as many as seven points in the second half.“It’s really tough to see how close we are and not pull it out,” Bohannon said. “We just need to find a way to get the things done that we need to accomplish and take everything one step at a time.”While Wisconsin has been struggling over its last few games, the Illini are coming off a big win over Ohio State at Assembly Hall. Following their season trend, Illinois characteristically had four players score in double digits en route to its 67-49 home victory.“[Assembly Hall] is definitely a hostile environment and the way they’re playing this year, we know it’ll be a tough challenge for us,” Leuer said. “We’re just going to stick to our rules and our principles and hopefully we can get the job done.”Although Wisconsin is currently struggling, a trip to face Illinois may be exactly what the team needs. The Badgers have defeated the Illini in their last five meetings, including two consecutive wins at Assembly Hall.“We’re gonna go to practice and we’re going to work,” Ryan said. “Just get ready for what we always do.”“They’re pretty solid — they shoot it well, they’re very athletic,” Ryan said. “But we were pretty much the one team that gave them trouble. … If you have a good record, then it’s been fairly consistent, and there’s a reason for that.”With six losses on the season, the Badgers have already surpassed their mark of five losses all of last season. While NCAA Tournament hopes aren’t fading, Bohannon and the rest of the team realize the importance of the upcoming stretch of conference games.“We have to treat every game like a must-win game, regardless of who we’re playing,” Bohannon said. “The Big Ten is tough this year and every game we have to bring our ‘A’ game if we want to compete.”last_img read more


first_imgThe forward march of football in Ghana continues over the next two days as a number of reforms targeted at improving the game goes before Congress of the Ghana Football Association beginning Wednesday.A raft of proposed changes to the regulations of the sport body is on the agenda of Congress for their two-day sitting in Prampram as the GFA continues its review of their working document to enhance the game.And this process will continue at Congress which will be chaired by the President of the GFA, Kwesi Nyantakyi as they reforms to be discussed includes plans to introduce a unified calendar for all the leagues and competitions in the country, use of a single-judge system for the Disciplinary Committee, phased implementation of the club licensing system and a review of the award of points in certain cases when clubs file protests.Nyantakyi, speaking ahead of Congress believes a change to the regulations would leave the game much better than the current one in use for the running of football.“All the necessary changes to our statutes and the regulations of the game is aimed at improving our operations and the running of football in the country,” Nyantakyi said.“We are very committed to making sure that technicalities do not affect the game and keep to a strict working document that will be promote fair play in football at all levels.” Some of the changes that will be tabled before Congress are:*The phased implementation of the club licensing system.*The proposal to use the single-judge system for the Disciplinary Committee.*The reduction of the time for protests in respect of inter-club matches. Clubs must lodge protest no later than 24 hours from the end of the match. Previously it was 72 hours.*The abolition of the review system in the legal processes of the GFA. *The introduction of distinct home and away strips for clubs.*The introduction of a unified calendar for all the leagues and competitions in the country.*Protesting clubs won’t benefit points-wise in certain protests.last_img read more