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Rafa Nadal facing the biggest challenge of his career - Inspiredlovers
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Rafa Nadal facing the biggest challenge of his career

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Inspiredlovers Screenshot_20220805-165105 Rafa Nadal facing the biggest challenge of his career Sports Tennis  Tennis World Tennis News Rafael Nadal ATP

Rafa Nadal facing the biggest challenge of his career.

Should we be alarmed with Rafa Nadal? The Spanish tennis player has started the season adding two defeats (against Cameron  Norrie and  Alex de Miñaur ) in two games played in the United Cup, to which must be added another three defeats and a single victory since he said goodbye to the last US Open. Balance that falls short, both in filming and performance, to start in 2023.

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Nobody knows Rafa better than himself. That is why things are said when they are not going well. “I have a brutal level of mistrust,” he said during the third set against De Minaur in his second match in the United Cup. He is not comfortable because he has no rhythm, but he sees himself as capable of overcoming the situation.

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Nadal indeed turned 36 last June, but we must not forget that a year ago things looked even worse. In August 2021 he said goodbye to the season under the real threat that his battered foot could withdraw him. He returned in December, contesting the  Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi where he chained another two losses (to Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov ).

“I don’t like to compare each year, since you never know what can happen, but a year ago at this time, it seemed impossible to imagine what happened next. Today it seems difficult for it to happen again,” Nadal analyzed these days from Sydney. Miracles go against logic, but with Rafa, you can never rule anything out.

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“I’m not too alarmed or negative about what has happened, but I need to be quicker to read the ball better. That’s what gives you confidence in the game. There was a very real chance of losing these two games, last year as well. I lost those in Abu Dhabi. I have an important space to improve, I think I can achieve it”, he added.

Rafa Nadal facing the biggest challenge of his career

The difference compared to last year is that Nadal has less time to face the big goal, the Australian Open. He then chose to play the ATP 250 in Melbourne in the first week of January, which he would win after beating three tennis players and benefiting from  Griekspoor ‘s withdrawal in the quarterfinals. 

This time he used the United Cup card, but the bet did not work out for him. He has barely played two games and against De Miñaur he did it with nothing at stake. The positive thing is that both were rivals of height (among the 25 best rackets in the world) and he managed to start by winning the first set in both matches.

Heading to Melbourne

“I’ve spent almost six hours on the track, but I need more”, was the final summary that Nadal made after saying goodbye to the United Cup. After Spain‘s participation in the United Cup ended, Rafa left Sydney to plant his settlement in Melbourne. There he meets Carlos Moyá again and has practically two weeks ahead of him to physically crush himself and practice with other tennis players.

There will be no more competitive matches, although on the 11th he is scheduled to participate in Melbourne Park along with other tennis players such as Carlos Alcaraz -who travels to Australia this Saturday- in an exhibition under the name  Tennis Plays for Peace.

Nadal’s team has everything calculated and within what is possible everything is following a progressive line. This was stated by Dr. Ángel Ruiz-CotorroRFET and Nadal’s doctor, this week from an act: “It’s fine, in the progression phase, because it’s what you need when the year has ended without rhythm.”

READ MORE: Fresh blow for Novak Djokovic in US decision

The message is clear: Nadal is having “good games and is feeling well.” It is time to finish preparing and gain that point of confidence that will allow him to perform those geniuses to which he has been accustomed throughout his career.

Tsitsipas threatens No. 2

Nadal will be present as the reigning Australian Open champion in the draw for the draw that takes place on Thursday the 12th. He will do so as the second seed unless Tsitsipas and Greece continue their winning streak in the United Cup. The Greeks have won the three games they have played and will play the semis against Italy, a tie in which they will presumably meet Matteo Berrettini. Ganar le dejará a solo 5 puntos de Nadal en el ranking ATP, con la posibilidad abierta de adelantarle en el siguiente partido.

Losing number 2 would put Nadal in the first-seeded Carlos Alcaraz’s side of the draw. The draw will present other big dangers, especially that of Novak Djokovic back in Australia. Last year, due to his deportation, he could not compete in the Grand Slam against Rafa, but he left us one of the greatest feats in tennis with his comeback against Medvedev in the final. Miracles.

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Mick Schumacher to test in a battle at Paul Ricard as team continue to assess 2025 options

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Inspiredlovers Screenshot_20240624-153104 Mick Schumacher to test in a battle at Paul Ricard as team continue to assess 2025 options Sports

Mick Schumacher to test in a battle at Paul Ricard as team continue to assess 2025 options

Mick Schumacher will test a current generation Formula 1 car at Circuit Paul Ricard next week when he gets behind the wheel of a 2022-spec Alpine A522.

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The German lost his seat at Haas at the end of 2022 and has since been performing reserve duties for Mercedes while also competing for Alpine in the World Endurance Championship – most recently at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

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The 25-year-old is believed to be in the running for a seat at Alpine next year, with at least one seat available at the French team after they parted ways with Esteban Ocon.

He will get one day’s worth of mileage at the French track in the week leading up to the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone, the German driving Alpine 2022-spec machinery for the first time.

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Schumacher’s running in F1 machinery has been limited since losing his seat on the grid, the German completing a Pirelli tyre test for Mercedes last year as well as some running in a 2021-spec McLaren.

Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, will next week be joined on track in France by Alpine reserve Jack Doohan.

Australian Doohan – who is part of the Alpine Academy – is understood to be under serious consideration for promotion to a race seat in 2025.

Alpine said in a statement: “As part of our TPC (testing of previous cars) programme, we will test Reserve Driver Jack Doohan, in line with his 2024 schedule, as well as Mick Schumacher as part of his Alpine Endurance project next week at Circuit Paul Ricard.

We look forward to continuing to use our Race Support Team and the A522 Formula 1 car during our TPC programme.”

Pierre Gasly is believed to be a frontrunner to retain his seat at Alpine for a third season into 2025, with plenty of competition for the other seat.

Along with Doohan and Schumacher, 10-time race winner Valtteri Bottas is believed to be in the running while Carlos Sainz remains an outsider, with the Spaniard in more advanced talks with Williams and Sauber/Audi.

Speaking over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend of the search for drivers for 2025, Alpine Team Principal Bruno Famin said: “The list looks good and the process is progressing well.”

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“He’s not wrong”: Fans side with Kyle Larson’s spotter after explicit radio message amid Denny Hamlin incident

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Inspiredlovers Screenshot_20240624-152242 "He's not wrong": Fans side with Kyle Larson's spotter after explicit radio message amid Denny Hamlin incident Sports

“He’s not wrong”: Fans side with Kyle Larson’s spotter after explicit radio message amid Denny Hamlin incident

The NASCAR fanbase has reacted after Kyle Larson refused to hold back and lashed at his spotter Tyler Monn with expletive words. Monn reprimanded the Hendrick Motorsports driver for letting Denny Hamlin wreck his #5 Chevrolet which didn’t sit well with the 2021 Cup Series champion.

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Due to the heavy downpours, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway run was red-flagged on Lap 219 for two hours and fourteen minutes. After the race resumed, Christopher Bell re-exercised his supremacy and clinched his third victory this season. After leading 148 of the extended 305-lap dash, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver has climbed to second in the playoff rankings.

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Kyle Larson couldn’t put his Chevrolet in the podium places but came home with a fourth-place finish despite kicking off his USA Today 301 race from the 19th place. Though he couldn’t showcase his domination, the HMS driver steadily rose through the ranks to finish 12th in Stage 1 and seventh in the second stage.

During the final stage run, Denny Hamlin stole the runner-up spot as he pushed Kyle Larson wide and their doors exchanged some paint. The Californian seemed cool about the wreck as it didn’t throw his #5 Chey out of contention, but Tyler Monn wasn’t pleased with Larson’s demeanor.

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While the race was under caution on Lap 214, Monn radioed in and reprimanded his driver, saying.

“He [Denny] runs you like that every time, you know why, because you let it happen,” via Skewcar on X.
Larson didn’t like Monn’s approach of schooling him and silenced him with his expletive reply.

“Shut the f*** up,” the HMS driver angrily replied.

The fans took note of the situation and conferred with Tyler Monn over the HMS driver.

“He’s not wrong! Kyle should have put Denny in the wall years ago!” one fan wrote.
“He’s not wrong tho.. Larson should wreck him once and he’s stop doing it lol,” another fan concurred.
“Truth hurts but the spotter is right. Larson needs to push back, quit letting Hamlin push him around,” the fan commented.
“I’m a huge kyle larson fan but his spotter is right,” another fan added.
One fan opined that Larson should race precisely how Hamlin does and wrote.

He needs to start racing Hamlin the way he races him, COME ON LARSON.”
This fan took a jibe at Larson, for Hamlin having some “dirt” against the former because he didn’t retaliate.

“Hamlin gotta have dirt on Larson the way Larson such a pushover for him ,” they wrote.

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George Russell’s ‘hot-headed’ reason for X-rated Lewis Hamilton radio complaint

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Inspiredlovers Screenshot_20240624-150558 George Russell’s ‘hot-headed’ reason for X-rated Lewis Hamilton radio complaint Sports

George Russell’s ‘hot-headed’ reason for X-rated Lewis Hamilton radio complaint

What the f*** was Lewis doing prepping that lap?” Russell vented over team radio during Q3, as Mercedes looked to continue their momentum from Canada where Russell claimed a second career pole position.

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George Russell explains ‘hot-headed’ Lewis Hamilton complaint
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

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Russell would answer his own question after the session, which saw him claim P4 on the grid, a spot behind Hamilton in an all-Mercedes second row.

With polesitter Lando Norris and P2 driver Max Verstappen both benefitting from a tow, as our data analysis revealed, Russell and Hamilton had the same thought in mind, but both selected Alpine’s Esteban Ocon for the task.
So, with Russell feeling like Hamilton was impeding him in this mission, he momentarily lost his cool over the radio.

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“Lewis was quite a long way ahead of me but we both had our eyes on the same driver for the slipstream for opening the lap,” Russell is quoted by Crash.net.

“So I was focusing on my mirrors not to impede Ocon, and next thing I looked up and Lewis was right in front of me trying to take the tow from Ocon.

In the moment when you’re trying to get everything, you’re a bit hot-headed, but nothing gained nothing lost.”

With Hamilton and Russell having each other for company on the second row, Hamilton is hoping that a two-pronged Mercedes attack could create options against McLaren’s Norris and Red Bull’s Verstappen, considering their respective team-mates are out of position, Oscar Piastri in P9 and Sergio Perez P11.

Asked if he thinks he can challenge for the win, Hamilton told media including PlanetF1.com: “I think it would be very difficult.

“I think these two will be very quick, but position is everything so I think we’ll… You know, also there’s two of us, so hopefully we can apply pressure as a team to both of the cars ahead in order to maybe play out something in strategy and slowly climb up.

I think it’s all about degradation and how you look after the tyres, so we won’t know until we get into that first run.”

As for how tyre degradation looked for Mercedes during the practice runs, Hamilton confirmed: “It was pretty decent. I don’t know if it was as good as Max’s, but I’ll try and make it better.”

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