London Masters 2019: The ‘masters of tennis rejuvenate | sports

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Around one in the afternoon, when the English already parade to the restaurants because the stomachs squeeze and ask to squirm Fish & Chips, Carlos Moya clears the mystery. This Rafael Nadal In optimal conditions to compete to the fullest in London? "Yes".

After a progressive climbing of one week, the champion of 19 greats has rehearsed the service during the session, for the first time at full capacity. Execute the maneuver in three differentiated series and then consolidate the progress in the game against Roberto Bautista, substitute in the event. The response has been positive and takes off normally, then tonight (21.00, #Vamos) will be able to address one hundred percent the first commitment in the tournament, against the young Alexander Zverev. Nadal will do it with caution, because the small abdominal tear that occurred 10 days ago in Paris-Bercy demands it, but he can do so with guarantees.

“It was the first day he was able to take out normally,” says Moya after the final test. “We started very slowly, very little by little, and we have been increasing the intensity load every day. The progression has been good. Another thing would be that he could not get yesterday or today, because we would enter tomorrow's game (for today) with more unknowns, but having done today … He has endured well, he has not bothered anything, ”certifies the coach.

Meanwhile, Nadal retires with a smile towards a reserved area and from there Novak Djokovic leaves towards the heart of the O2. The Serbian liquidates in 63 minutes the Roman Matteo Berrettini (6-2 and 6-1) and with his 36th victory equals Boris Becker in the third historical place in the Masters. Only Federer (57) and Ivan Lendl (39) are ahead. “He, Rafa and Roger are the three best in history. I learned a lot after having played against these last two, so against Novak too, ”says the Italian with resignation, one of the pleasant sensations of this season that will close in the top 10 of the circuit.

He is 23 years old and his first presence in the master appointment confirms a further turn in the recurring debate on the evolution in the male circuit, where veterans continue to steadfastly, especially in the big stages. This edition of the Masters, however, offers a change of scenery. For the first time since 2009, four of the participants are under 23: Berrettini, Daniil Medvedev (23), Zverev (22) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (21), who this afternoon (15.00, Movistar + Sports) faces the second in the party that opens the Nadal group.

The quartet of a decade ago

While new winds are demanded, the tournament offers a rejuvenated poster that did not propose a similar youth poker for a decade. Then it was Juan Martin Del Potro (21), Djokovic (22), Andy Murray (22) and the Balearic (23) who dropped the average on a date in which they beat Federer (28), Fernando Verdasco (25), Robin Soderling (25) and Nikolay Davydenko (28).

From there, the presence of young players has been minimal. Below the age of 23, the last two courses were only attended by Zverev; in 2016 it was Dominic Thiem (23), now more done; in 2015 none, as in 2013, 2012 and 2012; and in between, Milos Raonic (23) in 2013 and Djokovic (23) in 2010 were the exceptions.

“I am proud to be here. Of course I was nervous! It's my first time in a tournament like that … I was nervous, but not in a negative sense. If I did not feel the nerves when jumping to the track, it would not be good, ”says Berrettini, winner of two trophies this year (Stuttgart and Budapest) and sound semifinalist at the US Open in New York. Young people like him, it seems, are beginning to take the definitive step towards a higher dimension, taking advantage of the step to the side of the generation of thirties who begin to weigh their legs. Not to the three tenors, but to a group of players who are lining the exit door (Tsonga, Verdasco, Wawrinka, Berdych …) and giving way to the thrust of the new talents.

Djokovic and the 2007 experience

“At that age, in a place like this, everything is new to you. The mental pressure is very high. We (in reference to veterans) have the experience and know how to emotionally handle these types of situations, ”Djokovic relativizes at 32; "I remember that in 2007, when I first played the Masters (then in Shanghai, against Nadal, David Ferrer and Richard Gasquet in the group stage), I lost all three games …".

This is how tennis is presented in this November London. For the first time in the history of the tournament there are eight Europeans from eight different countries; for the first time since 2000 – on that occasion Pete Sampras, Àlex Corretja and Andre Agassi – three champions intervene (Federer, Djokovic and Zverev); and for the first time for a long time the young people parade again, who are slowly reaching high levels and now work so that they cannot get vertigo.

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