Tag Archives: rafael

Newcastle"s Yohan Cabaye talks about his battle with depression

Cabaye reveals battle with depression and how words from Wilkinson and Nadal helped him bounce back

. It was then depression caught up with him.

Cabaye told L’Equipe: ‘Depression I am not afraid to say that. It was that.

Back to his best: Yohan Cabaye has struggled to recapture his brilliant first year, until now

Back to his best: Yohan Cabaye has struggled to recapture his brilliant first year, until now

‘I was reassured reading the books of Jonny Wilkinson and Rafael Nadal, who both talked about the same thing. They talked about post competition depression and the need to have a break.

‘Euro 2012 was the first big international competition I had played. It is completely different than what you could experience in daily life with your club.

‘My season was long in a league where the pace is higher than in Le Championnat. I started with Newcastle early in July 2011 and finished late in June 2012 and, for the very first time, I didn’t have any winter break so then to resume in July 2012, it was very difficult.

Fatigue: Cabaye suffered the effects of the domestic season when he joined up with France for Euro 2012

Fatigue: Cabaye suffered the effects of the domestic season when he joined up with France for Euro 2012

'Maybe it is difficult to start again after a big competition such as the Euros, but my body didn’t allow me to do what I wanted to do.

‘On a morning when I woke up, I could still feel tiredness. I wanted to think about something else rather than football.’

Cabaye believes that rather than a curse, his groin injury at the end of last year helped reignite his time at Newcastle.

‘I am lucky to earn a living with my passion, but it was the right moment for a break. So my groin injury at the end of the year was finally not such a bad thing. Maybe that is why I was back earlier than expected.

Help: Books by Jonny Wilkinson and Rafael Nadal helped Cabaye combat his depression

Help: Books by Jonny Wilkinson and Rafael Nadal helped Cabaye combat his depression

Help: Books by Jonny Wilkinson and Rafael Nadal helped Cabaye combat his depression

‘I asked myself a lot of questions. As long as you didn’t experience it (depression) you cannot understand. But I was not worried.

‘My injury allowed me to have some rest, meet my family and friends in Lille. When I was back in Newcastle in December I knew I felt better.’

Alex Ferguson says Rafa Benitez should stand in front of him to shake hand

Rafa wants to shake my hand Well, he should stand in front of me next time! Fergie stokes new row with Chelsea boss

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

13:40 GMT, 15 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 16 March 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has re-opened his feud with Rafael Benitez over their handshake row.

The pair, who have a history of fall-outs, didn't shake hands before their FA Cup clash at Manchester United on Sunday.

Benitez later claimed that Ferguson ignored him prior to kick-off in the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

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Clash: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Rafa Benitez on the touchline on Sunday

Clash: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Rafa Benitez on the touchline on Sunday

Hitting back: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) at the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Nicholls this week

Hitting back: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) at the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Nicholls this week

But Ferguson has now hit back, insisting that he did not refuse – before giving them Chelsea boss some advice.

He said: 'It is nonsense. Why would I refuse to shake his hand

'I was signing autographs and I never saw him. Why he has said that I have no idea.

Pointing the way: Benitez takes charge of Chelsea's training session on Friday

Pointing the way: Benitez takes charge of Chelsea's training session on Friday

'If he wanted to shake hands he could have stood straight in front of me. It is absolute nonsense.'

Ferguson and Benitez have had several run-ins in the Barclays Premier League – dating back to their United v Liverpool clashes.

The Spaniard famously held a press conference in 2009 where he ran down a list of 'facts' attacking Ferguson's record.

VIDEO “I didn't see him.” Fergie denies Benitez handshake claim

Absolute NONSENSE. Fergie rubbishes Benitez handshake claim

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Alex Ferguson on Rio and Reading

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Rafael Benitez furious comments attack onChelsea fans and the club

I'm leaving at the end of the season! Furious Rafa finally cracks and blasts fans with 'agenda' as well as Chelsea for making him 'interim manager'

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

22:14 GMT, 27 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 27 February 2013

A furious Rafael Benitez has confirmed he will be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season.

The interim Chelsea manager blasted the fans for their negative attitude towards him and told them to support the team.

His comments came after Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium in the FA Cup fifth-round.

Benitez also claimed the club's decision to appoint him as an 'interim manager' was a massive mistake.

Come on: Chelsea were lethargic during the game but did enough to beat Boro

Come on: Chelsea were lethargic during the game but did enough to beat Boro

More to follow.

Rafael Nadal inspired by Ronaldo

Nadal takes inspiration from Ronaldo after Brazil legend watches Rafa's winning return

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

16:52 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 18 February 2013

Rafael Nadal is drawing inspiration from Brazilian football great Ronaldo to continue his successful return from injury.

With Ronaldo watching, Nadal took an important step on Sunday by winning the Brazil Open for his first title after a seven-month layoff to treat his left knee. Now he wants to repeat the Brazilian’s successful story of recovery from much more serious injuries.

Nadal said Ronaldo is “an example” to be followed because of his determination to rebound from a series of knee injuries that threatened his career.

Fan: Former footballer Ronaldo (left) watched Rafael Nadal with Brazilian mixed martial artist Anderson Silva

Fan: Former footballer Ronaldo (left) watched Rafael Nadal with Brazilian mixed martial artist Anderson Silva

Despite winning again, the Spaniard is still bothered by his knee and said he is far from fully recovered, although he hopes the victory in front of Ronaldo will mark a new beginning in his career.

'Ronaldo is an example to a lot of people because of all that he was able to achieve despite what he had to go through with all the knee problems in his career,' Nadal said. 'He is definitely an example to me. He’s an example of determination and hard work.'

Ronaldo ended his career as one of the world’s top strikers after overcoming three serious knee operations. The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan striker won two World Cups with Brazil and remains the tournament’s all-time leading scorer with 15 goals.

Nadal said he has always admired Ronaldo, and as a kid proudly took a photo with the striker when he played for Barcelona in the late 1990s.

'He was unstoppable, one of the best players of all time despite all the bad luck he had with the knee,' Nadal said.

The Spaniard was out of action since last year because a torn and inflamed tendon in his knee, an injury that he says is improving but still bothers him from time to time. He downplayed his difficulties compared to Ronaldo’s, but said he now has a better understanding of what the Brazilian had to go through.

'I didn’t have so many problems, I never needed the surgeries,' Nadal said. 'But I can imagine how hard it must have been for Ronaldo with the complicated surgeries that he had to go through.'

Taste of victory: Nadal bites the trophy of the Brazil Open after beating David Nalbandian

Taste of victory: Nadal bites the trophy of the Brazil Open after beating David Nalbandian

Nadal beat former world No. 3 David Nalbandian of Argentina 6-2, 6-3 in Brazil on Sunday, winning his 51st career title and first since beating Novak Djokovic to lift his seventh Roland Garros trophy last June.

The Brazil Open was Nadal’s second tournament since his return. He played at the VTR Open in Chile the week before, losing the singles and doubles final. The final in Brazil was only his eighth singles match since the comeback. He withdrew from the doubles in Sao Paulo to rest his knee for the singles tournament.

Nadal looked far from his best in his first two tournaments and said that the knee injury still limited him physically.

'There are days that the knee still hurts and it’s very complicated,' he said. 'I need some time to keep improving and become more competitive again. Let’s see how it goes.'

Road to recovery: Nadal found some form in Sao Paulo yesterday

Road to recovery: Nadal found some form in Sao Paulo yesterday

The 11-time Grand Slam champion admitted that the level of the competition in Brazil was not as high as in other tournaments but said that it wasn’t bad either, giving him the perfect opportunity to put his knee to test.

Nadal will play another clay-court tournament in Mexico later this month and the goal is to be fully fit again by the time Roland Garros arrives in May, although his future schedule will depend on how the knee holds up. He had intended to play in Indian Wells in March, but on Sunday said that he won’t know whether he will make it until closer to the tournament.

'We are thinking day-to-day, week-to-week,' the 26-year-old Nadal said. 'We’ll see how I feel before making a decision on where I’ll be playing in the near future, it will depend on how the knee improves.'

Rafael Van der Vaart admits diving to get Robert Lewandowski sent off

Video: Former Spurs ace Van der Vaart admits diving to ensure Lewandowski sees red after wild kick

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

17:53 GMT, 10 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 10 February 2013

Rafael van der Vaart has admitted that he dived to ensure Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski was sent off after he aimed a wild kick at his teammate.

Play was stopped after Lewandowski followed through on Per Skejbred when aggressively challenging for a bouncing ball.

In the aftermath, the Netherlands midfielder went down after confronting Lewandowski, with the Poland international then given his marching orders.

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Target: Dortmund fans were unhappy with Rafael van der Vaart after an earlier incident involving Sebastian Kehl

Target: Dortmund fans were unhappy with Rafael van der Vaart after an earlier incident involving Sebastian Kehl

Target: Dortmund fans were unhappy with Rafael van der Vaart after an earlier incident involving Sebastian Kehl

'It was a fiery match,' Van der Vaart said. 'In the scene with
Lewandowski I had to do a bit of theatre.

'I had the feeling that he
would not otherwise have been sent off. It was a clear red card,' he
told reporters.

Hamburg were 2-1 up when Lewandowski was dismissed, and went on to win
4-1, but Van der Vaart dismissed the idea that the red card was key to
the victory.

'Ultimately we won the game because we were better,' he stated.

Boiling point: Vander Vaart squares up to Robert Lewendowski

Boiling point: Vander Vaart squares up to Robert Lewendowski

Boiling point: Vander Vaart squares up to Robert Lewendowski

The former Tottenham man was instrumental in the victory, with the HSV’s
sporting director Frank Arnesen singling him out for praise after the
match.

'You saw again today how important he is to our team. He had an excellent game.'

He drew the ire of Dortmund fans,
however, and was hit on the head with an object thrown from the stands
when he was taking a corner. Van der Vaart was unhurt.

Video: Lewandowski's wild kick

Jamie Carragher returns to Liverpool training as Brendan Rodgers says he almost quit in the summer

Still got a job to do! Carragher going strong in training as Rodgers reveals he had to persuade legend to give him one more year

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

15:22 GMT, 8 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:33 GMT, 8 February 2013

Jamie Carragher returned to training today with the praise of some of world football's most famous faces still ringing in his ears.

And it was also revealed that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had to persuade the club legend to extend his career into this season.

The Liverpool defender announced yesterday that this campaign would be his last, bringing the curtain down on a 16-year professional career at Anfield.

Job to do: Jamie Carragher returned to training today a day after announcing his retirement

Job to do: Jamie Carragher returned to training today a day after announcing his retirement

Job to do: Jamie Carragher returned to training today a day after announcing his retirement

Bootle-born Carragher, at the club since
the age of nine, has so far made 723 appearances, putting him behind
only Ian Callaghan on the Reds' all-time list.

Rodgers said: 'He is irreplaceable, he's been a giant
for me since I came to the club.

'Jamie had thoughts about this last summer when I
arrived but we had some good conversations and I persuaded him to
stay on.'

Team-mates and managers, as well as wider faces from the game, were quick to hail the one-club man as well.

Former Anfield bosses, including Kenny Dalglish and Rafael Benitez, added their voice today.

Dalglish said: 'Jamie's decision was a surprise to me because he has just played as well as anyone against Arsenal and Manchester City.

'I thought he had a bit left in him yet but he knows himself better than anybody and if he thinks it is time to hang up the old boots that is totally his prerogative.

'It is always a difficult decision for a footballer – as hard a decision as you can face as a professional.

'It is more difficult because playing is the best part of your career – especially at the level he has played at and is playing at.

'We just have to be grateful that Liverpool has had a servant like Jamie. As a local boy it is always special and Jamie is a local boy who has never once got carried away with it all and who can relate to the supporters. That's really important.'

Speaking at his Chelsea press conference, Rafael Benitez also paid tribute.

'To play more than 700 games for any team in football is a really great achievement; more than 700 games for just one club is even better.

'Nobody can argue about the character, determination and professionalism of Carra. He was a key player for us. In 2007, John Terry, a very good centre-back, said Carra was one of the best centre-backs at that time.'

Here to help: Manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for the Liverpool defender

Here to help: Manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for the Liverpool defender

In with the new: Philippe Coutinho provided some fresher legs ahead of Carragher at Melwood

In with the new: Philippe Coutinho provided some fresher legs ahead of Carragher at Melwood

Sportsmail revealed this morning that Sky Sports looked set to win the TV battle for the services of Carragher.

All the major networks are keen to employ the Liverpool defender as a pundit but Sky are expected to pull out the stops to land him, with station boss Barney Francis desperate to see off any bid from new rivals BT Sport.

So while one man heads into the final months of his Anfield career, another is at the very start.

Philippe Coutinho was a January capture from Inter Milan, and could be in line to feature this weekend after overcoming an injury.

Rodgers added: 'He had been injured but trained this morning. He is a young player who is very exciting and I have high hopes for. He trained with group and we will observe him.

'He is a top young player and bringing him into the group adds great competition. It is important to have players trying to get in the side. We wanted to build a competitive squad.'

John Terry tells Chelsea there are no excuses for slump

Sort it out! Terry tells Chelsea team-mates there are NO excuses for sorry slump in form and that they MUST finish in top four

By
Ben Rumsby, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

14:01 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:43 GMT, 29 January 2013

John Terry has told his Chelsea team-mates to 'liven up', insisting rotation was no excuse for their recent ills.

Terry made his long-awaited first start since returning from injury in Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Brentford and was far from impressed by another 'lacklustre' performance as they narrowly avoided a humiliating giant-killing.

Unimpressed: John Terry has warned Chelsea their current form is not good enough

Unimpressed: John Terry has warned Chelsea their current form is not good enough

Gary Cahill appeared to have taken his skipper's words on board judging by this full-bloodied challenge on Fernando Torres during training today

No holding back: Terry reckons Chelsea need to buck up their ideas and Gary Cahill appeared to have taken his skipper's words on board judging by this full-bloodied challenge on Fernando Torres during training today

It was the latest in a long line of
disappointing results in key games this season, which has seen Chelsea's
interest in five trophies ended already and has left them 11 points
behind leaders Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League title
race.

Interim manager Benitez has bemoaned the
lack of resources at his disposal during what has been a punishing run
of games but Terry insisted the current squad is capable of more.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard during a training session at the Cobham Training Ground

Chelsea's Fernando Torres during a training session at the Cobham Training Ground on 29th January 2013 in Cobham, England

Letting fly: Eden Hazard (left) and Torres (right) lash the ball about during free-kick practice today at Cobham

Talking tactics: Chelsea's Rafael Benitez chats with Juan Mata during a training session at Chelsea's Cobham HQ today

Talking tactics: Chelsea's Rafael Benitez chats with Juan Mata during a training session at Chelsea's Cobham HQ today

Narrow escape: Chelsea nearly suffered FA Cup humiliation at Brentford last Sunday

Narrow escape: Chelsea nearly suffered FA Cup humiliation at Brentford last Sunday

Narrow escape: Chelsea nearly suffered FA Cup humiliation at Brentford last Sunday

He told Chelsea TV: 'We need to liven up
a bit and realise the importance to the fans and the club. Champions
League football is a must next season.

'We saw last season, going to the
Champions League final, suffering with all the extra games and stuff
like that, we ended up finishing sixth in the League.

'It's difficult but we have a squad and it's down to the players who come in to rotate and play well.'

Sunday was Terry's first start since he suffered a knee injury in November but it was Chelsea's 40th game already this season.

He added: 'Even though it's great to be back personally, on a team level we should be winning the game and now we've made it difficult for ourselves with a replay again.

'We have another game we could do without but we should beat them at the Bridge. I was disappointed because we didn't fight and they wanted it more.

'We're not (winning any trophies at the moment). It's disappointing going to Swansea and not scoring over two legs of the (Capital One Cup) semi-final. Being so lacklustre, like we were at Brentford.

'Over the two legs against Swansea, at home we did better but going there, I'd rather we'd lost that three or 4-0 and give it a go and we didn't do that.'

Back in action: Terry made his long-awaited first start since returning from injury at Brentford

Back in action: Terry made his long-awaited first start since returning from injury at Brentford

Australian Open 2012: Novak Djokovic reached quarter-finals after beating Stanislas Wawrinka in five sets

Djokovic survives scare from Swiss No 2 Wawrinka as he comes through early morning marathon

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

14:43 GMT, 20 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:07 GMT, 20 January 2013

It was 1.42am when we saw the shirt ripped off and Novak Djokovic reveal that increasingly familiar torso – the sight which says: ‘You just can’t beat me’.

Stanislas Wawrinka had played like a raging bull for five hours and two minutes, cutting and thrusting with a brutal forehand and elegant backhand. Still it was not enough to finish off a competitor whose spirit makes him stand alongside the greats of the game.

An astonishing half-volleyed paddle at a sharp angle delivered the final blow and Djokovic had made it into the last eight of the Australian Open with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 12-10 victory against the No 15 seed.

Time to relax: Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture of his post-match massage after seeing off Stanislas Wawrinka in an epic five-setter

Time to relax: Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture of his post-match massage after seeing off Stanislas Wawrinka in an epic five-setter

 Djokovic celebrated in his usual manner, ripping his shirt off after taking the fifth set 12-10

Winner: Djokovic celebrated in his usual manner, ripping his shirt off after taking the fifth set 12-10

It took until the early hours of the morning for Djokovic and Wawrinka to complete their five-set marathon

Tired: It took until the early hours of the morning for these two to complete their five-set marathon

Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

So close: Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

The Swiss had been given a fairly easy ride so far, but the World No 1 was always going to be a tough challenge

Shock to the system: The Swiss had been given a fairly easy ride so far, but the World No 1 was always going to be a tough challenge

January is not done, but already there
is a contender for match of the year and, unquestionably, the match of
the year’s first Grand Slam. The 25 year-old Serb is through to face
Tomas Berdych and how much of a toll this has taken remains to be seen.

Last year he managed to rebound from a
match of four hours, 50 minutes against Andy Murray in the last four to
overcome Rafael Nadal and win the final in five hours, 53 minutes. So
there is no reason for the 27-year-old Czech powerhouse to think that
some of the work has been done for him.

Murray’s effort in the US Open final,
when he emphatically put Djokovic away in the fifth set and caused him
to severely cramp, was left looking all the more impressive by the
Serb’s typical refusal to submit and the way his body held up.

The 25-year-old Scot was this morning
due to play Gilles Simon, who featured in another late-night epic on
Saturday against compatriot Gael Monfils, although that was not in the
same bracket of quality as this five- part drama.

Wawrinka, Switzerland’s eternal
bridesmaid to Roger Federer, did everything but win this match and again
showed that he is capable of causing extreme discomfort to the very
best players if they are slightly below their top level.

The Serb is attempting to win his third consecutive Australian Open, which no man has managed before

Big dreams: The Serb is attempting to win his third consecutive Australian Open, which no man has managed before

There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

Shattered: There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

Djokovic felt that his experience of
these situations was the difference. ‘In the end these kind of matches
help your confidence, they are what you live for and practise for,’ he
said.

‘I had a flashback of the 2012 finals.
I feel sorry that one of us had to lose, but I am just thrilled that I
was able to fight up until the last moment.’

That Wawrinka cannot quite deliver the
knockout punch explains why he has spent much of his career just
outside the top 10. ‘It was the best match I have ever played and the
worst I’ve ever felt afterwards,’ he said. ‘I fought like a dog.’ He
will look upon the four break points he created at 4-4 in the deciding
set and ponder how he failed to make one count, particularly the last of
them.

That was when he drilled an unplayable
service return onto the baseline only for the line judge to mistakenly
call it out. Wawrinka had one Hawkeye challenge left but neglected to
use it. Umpire Enrique Molina declined to over-rule and his foe escaped.

Whether he would have gone on to serve
out the match we will never know and such is Djokovic’s capacity to get
himself out of scrapes that it cannot be assumed.

Djokovic has won the last two titles
here and, with the exception of September’s defeat in New York, not
lost in one of the hard-court Grand Slams since 2010.

Djokovic will face Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarters, after Berdych beat South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets

Quarter-finals: Djokovic will face Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarters, after Berdych beat South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets

had Wawrinka challenged a call, he would have been serving for the match

Lucky: had Wawrinka challenged a call, he would have been serving for the match

The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

Exhausting: The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

It took more than five hours for the pair to finish their match in the Australian heat

Thrilling: It took more than five hours for the pair to finish their match in the Australian heat

His game is perfectly suited to absorb
what is thrown at him in this environment and the barrel-chested
Wawrinka hurled everything he could.

By the end it seemed a distant detail
that Djokovic had hardly helped himself by coming out with a defective
pair of shoes that caused him to slip all over the place in the first
set when faced with Wawrinka’s devastating start.

The Swiss took the first set in 25
minutes and served for the second at 5-3, by which time one of the
Serb’s gophers had brought him some new footwear. By then Wawrinka’s
certainty had faded and it could have all been over in the fourth set
but, unusually, his trademark backhand was more than backed up by
everything else in his game.

Only in the 24th game of the fifth set
did he crack and Djokovic clinched it on a third match point to the
delight of a Melbourne crowd who, not for the first time here, had
ignored thoughts of work to come later in the day.

Roger Federer is on in the same late
evening slot today against the powerful Canadian Milos Raonic as he
attempts to reach his 35th consecutive quarter final at a Grand Slam.

He will do so knowing that big danger still lurks in the other side of the draw – as hard to put away as ever.

Nadal plans to make return on South American soil at the VTR Open in Chile

Nadal's comeback is hotting up as he plans a return in Chile

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

16:44 GMT, 17 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:45 GMT, 17 January 2013

Rafael Nadal will return next month at the VTR Open in Chile.

The competition starts on February 4 and will be the first tournament the world No 4 has competed in since Wimbledon, where he was knocked out in the second round by the relative unknown Lukas Rosol.

Since then Nadal has been recovering from a knee injury.

On the way back: Nadal made it to the final in last year's Australian Open, but has been out injured since last June

On the way back: Nadal made it to the final in last year's Australian Open, but has been out injured since last June

He was supposed to return to action
earlier this month but was sidelined by a stomach virus and forced to
wait another few weeks.

It will be the first time Nadal has
played on South American soil since 2005 and no doubt the 11-time Grand
Slam winner is itching to get back on the court, having posted numerous
updates and photos of his recovery on his Facebook page.

Australian Open 2013: Jamie Baker loses to Lukas Rosol in first round

Baker's Aussie dream is over after Brit falls to Nadal's Wimbledon conqueror Rosol

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

07:45 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:53 GMT, 15 January 2013

Jamie Baker was left to rue some missed opportunities as he fell in the first round of the Australian Open to the man who famously knocked Rafael Nadal out at Wimbledon last year.

Playing on a far outside court in the enormous shadow of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the 26-year-old Scot led in both the first and second sets before he became overpowered by the athletic figure of Czech Lukas Rosol 7-6, 7-5, 6-2 in a shade over two hours.

Having typically battled hard to make it through the qualifying event it was a disappointing outcome for the British No 2 but winning those three preliminary matches still makes it a decent start to the season for the world No 246.

Over and out: Jamie Baker lost at the first hurdle to Lukas Rosol at the Australian Open

Over and out: Jamie Baker lost at the first hurdle to Lukas Rosol at the Australian Open

Against 75th ranked Rosol, who played like Godzilla back in June to beat the stricken Nadal in five sets, he had to rely on his counterpunching skills from the back of the court but they served him well early on as his opponent started to get frustrated.

Baker broke for 6-5 in the opener when he played a clever chip-and-charge manoeuvre that brought an error from Rosol. Trying to serve it out, however, he allowed three break points against him and on the last one hit a forehand into the net.

The Briton, an off season training partner of Andy Murray in Miami, was always behind in the tiebreaker as Rosol threw caution to the wind and hit out to take it 7-5, having built up a 6-3 lead.

Cruise control: Rosol knocked Rafael Nadal out at Wimbledon and was in no mood to be shocked himself

Cruise control: Rosol knocked Rafael Nadal out at Wimbledon and was in no mood to be shocked himself

The second set was also a story of Baker not being able to capitalise on his lead as he went ahead 4-1 and 5-3 and again was unable to close it out. Rosol reeled off four games and Baker’s fighting spirit was sapped, with daylight between them in the third.

Consolation for the Scot is the 18,000 first-round loser’s money and a boost from his wins last week.

Having fought more than his fair share of injuries he is at least heading in the right direction.