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TENNIS

TENNIS

Murray stuns Nadal to win Madrid Open

Andy Murray claimed his first Masters series title on clay with a stunning demolition of defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2 at the Madrid Open on Sunday.

Murray stuns Nadal to win Madrid Open
Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal to win the Madrid Open on Sunday. Photo: Dani Pozo

Victory was also Murray's first ever on clay over Nadal in seven attempts and stretched the Scot's perfect start on the surface this season to 9-0 after wining his first ever clay court tournament earlier this week in Munich.

Defeat will see nine-time French Open champion Nadal slip to seventh in the world rankings, the first time he has been outside the top five in 10 years.

"To play Rafa in Spain is extremely tough, but this is the reason why we play tennis for these matches, it is one of the toughest things in tennis to try and win against Rafa on clay," said Murray.

"I will keep trying to play well in the next few weeks with Roland Garros just round the corner."

Nadal was searching for his third straight title in the Spanish capital, but his first of the European clay court swing after defeats to Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters semi-final and a shock exit to Fabio Fognini at the Barcelona Open last month.

"Evidently today wasn't the game I wanted or hoped to play. I tried until the end but it is not a day I am going to remember," said Nadal.

"Even so, this week has been a very important week for me in which I have recovered sensations which I haven't felt on a tennis court for some time."

Murray's week began in chaotic circumstances as his Munich final against Philipp Kohlschreiber was delayed until Monday due to bad weather and then his first match in Madrid against the same opponent finished at 3 o'clock on Thursday morning.

However, he has been in supreme form since getting married to long-term girlfriend Kim Sears a month ago and celebrated his win by writing "marriage works" on the court-side camera.

Murray forced Nadal onto the back foot from the off by winning 12 of the first 14 points in racing into a 3-0 lead.

Nadal had two break back opportunities in the seventh game and one more as Murray served for the set at 5-3, but he couldn't convert.

A similar pattern followed in the second set as a combination of some brilliant deep hitting by Murray and errors from Nadal gifted the word number three a break in the first game.

Murray backed that up by holding to love and moved to the brink of victory by breaking again in the following game.

Nadal resisted enough to force the Olympic champion to serve out for his 10th Masters Series title.

However, the 14-time Grand Slam champion handed the final game to Murray as he failed to put the ball in play on four returns to seal victory in just under 90 minutes on court.

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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