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French Open: Nadal opens up on future plans

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French Open: Nadal opens up on future plans

Rafael Nadal admitted Sunday that the prospect of winning a 13 th French Open and taking his Grand Slam total to a record – equalling 20 had seemed even beyond his powers of endurance in the run – up to the tournament .
The 34 – year -old Spaniard demolished Novak Djokovic 6 -0 , 6 -2 , 7 -5 to go level with Roger Federer’ s all – time men ’s record of majors .
It was his 100 th match win at Roland Garros against just two defeats since his 2005 debut as he became the oldest champion in Paris since Andres Gimeno in 1972 .
However, world number two Nadal had arrived in the French capital having played just one tournament since February as the coronavirus -enforced lockdown also prompted him to skip the US Open where he had been the defending champion .
“ Honestly , for me , one month and a half ago if you tell me you ’re going to have this trophy with you again, I will say , ‘ this year will probably be too difficult’ .
“ Doubts are part of life . For me doubts are good because it means that you don ’t consider yourself too good . Of course, the year has been a tough year for everyone .
“ But in the sport , life can change quickly .”
Nadal has been acutely aware of the challenges posed by the pandemic , claiming Sunday that his victory was tempered by the crisis which had also seen crowds limited to just 1 ,000 people a day at Roland Garros .
“ It ’s an important day for me , but I’ m not stupid . It is still a very sad situation worldwide . If you ask me what ’s my feeling , of course, I am super happy.
“ On the other hand , I am not that happy as usual because the situation is tough for most of the people around the world .”
The health situation may also see him yet call time on his season which would mean missing out on the chance to win a first ATP Finals, one of the titles still missing from his career tally of 86 .
– End of year for Nadal ? –
“ I can’ t tell you if I’ m going to keep playing or not keep playing for the next couple of months . I didn’ t decide , so I am not sure if I am going to keep going on the normal calendar or if I stop playing until next year ,” said Nadal .
“ I need to calm down the situation and analyse the future, because we are facing a tough situation , as everybody knows .
“ In terms of Australia , 14 days of quarantine before the tournament starts . It is the moment to be smart and make the right decisions . ”
On Sunday , Nadal finished the one -sided affair with just 14 unforced errors to Djokovic ’s 52 as he defeated the Serb for a third time in the Paris final and seventh time overall in eight meetings at the tournament .
Djokovic , courtesy of his 2015 quarter -final win , remains just one of two men to have defeated Nadal at Roland Garros since 2005 .
“ For two sets and a half I played great . It ’s impossible to have this score against him without playing great ,” said Nadal .
“ Yeah , I played a very good final . I played at my highest level when I needed to play at my highest level , so something that I am very proud .
“ The personal satisfaction is big because under the circumstances that we played this Roland Garros , even if I played an amazing match this afternoon , the conditions are not the conditions that I will choose, never , to play an event like this . ”

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Man Utd confirm 25-man Premier League squad, Jones & Romero out

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images 2020 10 23T103655.722 Man Utd confirm 25-man Premier League squad, Jones & Romero out

Manchester United’s 25-man squad for the Premier League has been submitted in advance of Tuesday afternoon’s deadline.

This group does not include players under the age of 21, so Academy products Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood, and recent recruit Facundo Pellistri, fall into this category.

There are also two separate lists – the main one and another for the homegrown classification, which refers to players who, irrespective of nationality or age, have been registered with any club affiliated to the FA or FAW for a period of three entire seasons, or 36 months, before their 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which they turn 21). Hence, this does not merely refer to players who have come through our own ranks.

Marcos Rojo, who is back at the Aon Training Complex following his loan move in his native Argentina with Estudiantes, is one of 13 names on the non-homegrown list, along with new deadline-day signings Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani.

The limit for players on this particular list for all clubs has been set as 17 by the Premier League, with the rest made up of those fulfilling the homegrown criteria.

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Benitez’s Dalian Pro escape relegation in China

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images 2020 10 22T190547.613 Benitez’s Dalian Pro escape relegation in China

Rafael Benitez ’s Dalian Pro avoided relegation from the Chinese Super League on Thursday , despite winning just three times in 16 games this season.
The Champions League -winning coach breathed a sigh of relief after Dalian overturned a 2 -1 first-leg deficit to beat Shijiazhuang Ever Bright 3 – 2 on aggregate.
The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss saw his side win 2 -0 on the evening , just their third victory in the coronavirus- disrupted campaign .
“ In this difficult situation , in this difficult year , we achieved something that was important for the young players and for the Wanda ( Dalian owners ) project , to stay in the Chinese Super League, ” said the 60 – year -old Spaniard.
The CSL revamped its format because of the pandemic, playing the delayed campaign in two secure “ bubbles” over two phases.
In the first phase , Dalian won twice in 14 matches in their group , putting them into a relegation dogfight .
Benitez, who took Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005 , has often said that he has the youngest team in the CSL .
He was also missing former Napoli star Marek Hamsik for the must -win match , but did have former Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon .
“ This competition was very difficult because a knockout competition is very difficult for young players, ” he said .
“ So to achieve what we have achieved is great news for them for the future because they will have more experience now .”
Shijiazhuang can still save themselves from the drop with victory in the next round .
( AFP )

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FIFA ranking: Eagles drop three places, now 32nd

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images 2020 10 22T144243.593 FIFA ranking: Eagles drop three places, now 32nd

The Super Eagles have dropped three places and are now ranked 32 nd in the world in the latest FIFA ranking released on Wednesday .
They also lost their position as the third -ranked team in Africa to Algeria , dropping to the fourth position .
The Eagles had earlier been ranked 29 th in the September ranking which was released after a six -month break due to COVID – 19 .
The Nigeria team played two friendly matches during the period , losing 1 -0 to Algeria and playing a 1 -1 draw with Tunisia .
The top 5 nations are unchanged with Belgium , France , Brazil , England , and Portugal ranking first , second , third , fourth , and fifth respectively .
Senegal are still the highest -ranked team in Africa , dropping one place to 21 st, while Tunisia are second – unchanged at 26 .
Algeria moved up five places to the 30 th position to be ranked third in Africa , while Morocco are now ranked 39 th position in the world and fifth in Africa , after moving up four places in the world ranking .
Ghana, Egypt , Cameroon , Mali , and Burkina Faso make the top 10 teams in Africa at sixth , seventh, eighth , ninth , and 10 th positions respectively .

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