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Nadal: 'I'm Going To Keep Fighting'

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Rafael Nadal will begin his bid for a 10th title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia against #NextGenATP star Jannik Sinner. Like everyone else, the 34-year-old has had a close eye on the next generation for years.

“It’s normal that after almost 20 years on the tour there is another generation that is winning tournaments,” Nadal said. “[The Big Three] have been achieving almost every single important event for the last 19 years. Nothing strange, 100 per cent ready to accept that. But I'm going to keep fighting for things.”



The past three ATP Masters 1000 titles have been won by players outside of the Big Three (Alexander Zverev: Madrid, Stefanos Tsitsipas: Monte-Carlo and Hubert Hurkacz: Miami). Novak Djokovic was the last Big Three member to win a Masters 1000 crown when he won Rome last year.

“Means that is something normal, that's all,” Nadal said. “First thing is that we are missing events. Second thing there is a new generation of players that are good. I think we are 33, 34, 39. That's something usual that nothing is forever. You need to be ready to accept that and let's see what's going on.”


Nadal certainly isn’t ready to give up his throne at Roland Garros where he will be seeking a record 14th title. Asked if the younger generation could start winning majors, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said “maybe”.

“Let's see in three weeks or in four weeks,” he said. “I don't know. It was not the case yet, but why not? Hopefully not. Anything can happen.”

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Nadal is 13-3 this year with his losses coming to much younger opponents Zverev, Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev. Sinner may be up to the challenge on Wednesday. The 19-year-old Italian has been playing his best tennis ever with his first final run at the Masters 1000 level in Miami followed by an entrance into the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings.

“All the matches are difficult,” Nadal said. “He's improving every day for sure, and he's in a moment that he's ascending in the rankings. He's confident. He played a great tournament in Miami.”

Nadal beat Sinner in their only previous meeting at Roland Garros last year in straight sets. The duo are familiar with each other’s games after being practise partners during the Australian Open quarantine period.

“I try my best every single day, doesn't matter the opponent,” Nadal said. “Tomorrow I need to play well, of course. I know he's playing well. I know he's going to be excited about the match. So am I.”
 
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