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Nadal, Thiem suffer coaching setbacks ahead of Australian Open | Tennis News

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World number two Rafael Nadal and last year’s Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem have both suffered setbacks with their coaches unable to make the trip Down Under for the year’s first tennis Grand Slam.
Players and officials have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia before they participate in warm-up events from Jan. 31 at Melbourne Park, where the major will be held from Feb. 8-21.
Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya said he would not be travelling to Australia due to the strict health restrictions.
“After speaking with Rafa, we have decided that I won’t travel to Australia with the team,” Moya, a former world number one, said on social media.
“I will follow the tournament from home and will stay with my family, parents and kids due to the delicate situation that Spain is living with the virus. Best of luck to the team.”
Nadal, U.S. Open champion Thiem, ranked No.3 in the world, and defending Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic will be among top players quarantining in Adelaide and then head to Melbourne for the team-based ATP Cup and the Grand Slam.
Thiem’s coach Nicolas Massu of Chile was not on the flight to Australia, having tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“Before we took off, we received the surprising message from Nicolas Massu that he had a positive test,” Thiem’s ??father Wolfgang was quoted as saying by Austria’s Kurier daily.
“Nico will be tested again in a few days. We hope that he will be negative then and he will be able to follow suit soon.”
With restrictions on arrival in Australia, it was unlikely that Massu, a former top 10 player, could be part of Thiem’s team at Melbourne Park.
Thiem, who lost to Djokovic in the 2020 final, will train with fellow Austrian player Dennis Novak during the quarantine period when the players are allowed five hours outside their hotel rooms to prepare for the major.


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Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar have proved Indian tailenders are not blown away in a few overs anymore, says Dodda Ganesh | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar got under the skin of the Australian pace attack and rescued India from a precarious situation. India were tottering at 186/6 when Sundar and Shardul joined hands and formed a solid 123-run partnership. That helped India post 336 in reply to Australia’s 369 in Brisbane. At one time it looked like Australia would take a rather large first innings lead. This stand made sure that hosts could only take a 33 run lead.
The superb batting display by the No. 7 and No. 8 was applauded by cricketers all around the world.
Former India cricketer Dodda Ganesh feels Indian tailenders are no more underdogs who can be sent back to the pavilion cheaply by any bowling attack in the world.

“It is a good sign for Indian cricket. Both newcomers Thakur and Sundar batted when India needed a big partnership. They were the crisis men for the Indian team in Brisbane,” Ganesh told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.

Both Sundar and Shardul were tested by short balls, bouncers, and swinging deliveries by the Aussie quicks, but the duo, with their stubborn stay, dented Australia’s plans with their valiant efforts. Shardul scored a brilliant 67 off 115 balls and stitched a solid 123-run stand with Sundar before being bowled by Pat Cummins. His innings was studded with 9 boundaries and 2 sixes.

Sundar (62 runs off 144 balls) became the second Indian cricketer meanwhile to notch up a 50 plus score in a debut batting innings and take three or more wickets in a debut bowling innings. Dattu Phadkar was the first Indian cricketer to achieve the feat. He scored 51 runs and bagged 3/14 against Australia at the SCG way back in 1947/48.
Both the batsmen tore apart the Aussie attack with ease, notching up their career best Test scores.

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In Pics: Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur drag India back into Brisbane Test

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<p>Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur gave India a fighting chance of securing the draw they need in the fourth Test against Australia to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. (BCCI Photo) </p>

“This is not an overnight miracle. This is 365-day hard work and dedication. Indian tailenders are no more tailenders who will be blown away in a couple of overs. Shardul and Sundar have proved this. They can bowl and take wickets. They can score runs with the bat too,” Ganesh, who played 4 Tests and 1 ODI for India between 1997 and 2005, further said.
“In our playing days, the bowlers hardly focussed on batting. Nowadays, you have sidearmers, a bowling machine, and support staff. We need to thank BCCI, state cricket associations, and NCA for their vision. They are bringing new things and technologies into Indian cricket. They all should be credited for the success,” he said.

Shardul Thakur (PTI Photo)
This was also the fourth instance of India forming a 100 plus partnership stand on Australian soil for the seventh wicket.
Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja (204 runs in Sydney, 2018/19), Vijay Hazare and Hemu Adhikari (132 runs in Adelaide, 1947/48), and Mohd Azharuddin and Manoj Prabhakar (101 runs in Adelaide 1991/92) are the other pairs who formed 100 plus stands for the seventh wicket in Australia for India earlier.
The partnership between Shardul and Sundar is also the highest for the seventh wicket for India at this venue. The duo broke the record of Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar. Dev and Prabhakar had formed a partnership of 58 runs in 1991.

Washington Sundar (AFP Photo)
“Sundar is a perfect all-rounder. I have seen his performance in the TNPL and domestic circuit. Shardul is a committed cricketer. While playing for Mumbai, he has given many match-winning performances. This is a very big and positive sign for Indian cricket. We do not have Ishant Sharma, Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Bumrah and now these youngsters have done so well. They are basically bowlers but the way they batted, it was outstanding. They got the opportunity and grabbed it confidently and then delivered too. Both Sundar and Shardul showed commitment,” Ganesh further told TimesofIndia.com.
“These players should be applauded for their performances. Due to COVID, they hardly got the chance to practice. After that, it was IPL and then the Australia series. A cricketer needs a playground for practice and training. When you will play a competitive game after a long period and that too without much training, you will suffer some injuries. But the way the Indian team has played, is outstanding. I am totally impressed with it. It is unbelievable,” the 47-year-old cricketer said.


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Relaxed South Africa happy with security arrangements in Pakistan | Cricket News

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Quinton de Kock has lauded the security arrangements laid out for South Africa on their first tour of Pakistan in 14 years and says the players are “a lot calmer” about the tour now they have arrived in the country and seen the measures first-hand.
South Africa will play two Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals on their return to Pakistan for the first time since a militant attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians.
“When we were coming here, it was the biggest concern, but when we landed and saw the amount of security, we became a lot calmer. Over the days it has become less of a worry and we have been focussed more on the cricket,” the South African captain told reporters on Monday.
“The measures they (the Pakistan government) have taken have allowed us to feel comfortable and just focus on preparing for the Test series.

“Every corner is checked and all bases are covered. We feel safe and for now are just worrying about cricket.”
South Africa are confined to their hotel rooms outside of practice sessions, and De Kock has become the latest international player to question the sustainability of bio-secure environments amid the coronavirus pandemic due to the strain on the mental health of players.
“It’s something that is not easy. I’ve said before it will eventually catch up to some players on the emotional and mental side. You are trying to keep yourself mentally stable and to perform for your country all at once.
“I’ve only been home for maximum three weeks over the last six months. It’s been tough, but we soldier on because people back home want to watch you perform.”
The first Test in Karachi starts on Jan. 26 and is followed by the second in Rawalpindi from Feb. 4.



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Rafael Nadal in ATP top 10 for 800th successive week | Tennis News

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PARIS: Rafael Nadal on Monday became the first player to be ranked in the ATP top 10 for 800 consecutive weeks, a run spanning more than 15 years.
The world number two broke Jimmy Connors’ previous record of 789 straight weeks in the top 10 in November.
The Spaniard first broke into the top 10 in April 2005, shortly before winning the first of his 13 French Open titles.
The 34-year-old is still over two-and-a-half years short of matching Roger Federer‘s record of spending 931 weeks in total in the top 10.
There were no changes at the top of the rankings as players prepare for the Australian Open next month.
Some of the sport’s biggest stars were among those told they would get no “special treatment” on Monday, with 72 players stuck in hotel quarantine in Australia after four Covid-19 cases on the chartered planes which flew players to the country.
ATP top 20:
1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 12,030 points
2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 9,850
3. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 9,125
4. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 8,470
5. Roger Federer (SUI) 6,630
6. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 5,940
7. Alexander Zverev (GER) 5,615
8. Andrey Rublev (RUS) 4,164
9. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 3,455
10. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 3,120
11. Gael Monfils (FRA) 2,860
12. Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 2,830
13. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 2,710
14. David Goffin (BEL) 2,600 (+2)
15. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2,580 (-1)
16. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 2,580 (-1)
17. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2,420
18. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 2,365
19. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 2,260
20. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2,245


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