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MADRID OPEN

TENNIS

Nadal wins Madrid Open after Nishikori retires

Rafael Nadal won the final of the Madrid Open on Sunday and after his opponent, the talented but injury prone Japanese player Kei Nishikori, retired hurt.

Nadal wins Madrid Open after Nishikori retires
Rafael Nadal said his opponent Kei Nishikori needed to get over injury problems to be at the very top of the game. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou

Nishikori, who is 24 years old, had to retire from his Madrid Masters final against the world number one when the back injury which had required treatment throughout the week flared up again on Sunday.

He was forced to quit, handing the Spaniard a 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 win. Nishikori had led 6-2, 4-2 at one stage before the 24-year-old's challenge fell apart.

"Kei promised a lot of things, promised a lot a couple years ago, and he's still very young. He has had a couple of injuries. Whenever you suffer injuries everything is really complicated," said Nadal.

"I'm sure that he's going to be within the best. I'm sure if he keeps playing that level he's going to be a clear candidate to be up there.

"But to be No. 1 he has to show if he's capable of playing with high regularity all year and being able to win on all surfaces."

Nishikori, who will be the world number nine on Monday, has been working with former French Open champion Michael Chang and the partnership paid dividends with a claycourt title in Barcelona last month.

But injury problems are never far away for the Japanese player. He was forced to withdraw from his Miami Masters semi-final against Novak Djokovic in March with a groin injury.

In 2012, he had to skip the French Open with a stomach injury.    

Despite the setbacks, Nishikori believes he can still be a force at this year's French Open which starts in Paris on May 25th.

Last year, he became the first Japanese man to make the fourth round since 1938.

"It's going to be very exciting at the French because I never feel like this on clay," said Nishikori.

"I am very confident. I can hit from either side forehand or backhand, so it's very good feeling I have on clay right now.

"I have been playing better tennis from last year, but this year it's much different. I am more offensive, aggressive, playing from both sides, and, yeah, playing really confident right now."

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TENNIS

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca

Rafael Nadal married his partner of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle in Mallorca on Saturday.

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca
Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

Nadal, the 19-time grand slam champion, tied the knot with 31-year-old Perello at La Fortaleza, with a reported 350 guests invited to a private ceremony.

Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, was believed to be among those in attendance while the Michelin-star chef, Quique Dacosta, was reportedly in charge of catering.

The newlyweds shared some official photos of the day through the Fundacion Rafa Nadal, the NGO the tennis player set up on Mallorca

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

 

Nadal, 33, met his wife through his younger sister Maribel, a childhood friend of Perello.

They started dating in 2005 when they were both teenagers after meeting several years before.


Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

The couple announced their engagement in January and revealed that the tennis ace had proposed on a romantic trip to Rome last May but chose to  keep the news private.

 

Perello, has always shunned the media spotlight although she has been pictured courtside at some of Nadal’s biggest matches.


Nadal kisses Perello after winning against France's Gael Monfils in the final tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco on April 17, 2016. 

But she isn't always there. In a 2011 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Perello explained: “He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out.

“It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there's a risk we might stop getting along.”

She works in insurance and is a business graduate but also serves as project director for the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the charity which Nadal launched almost ten years ago.

In an interview with sports newspaper Marca last year, the world number 2 hinted that he wouldn't be ready to start a family until he had retired from tennis. 

'I keep my commitment with tennis and my happiness', Nadal told Marca. 'I enjoy both in tennis and outside it. I have a girlfriend too and I am not alone to take decisions.

“Having family? I don't know, things are not easy to be predict. At this age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.”

READ ALSO: Rafa Nadal donates €1million to help victims of Mallorca floods 

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