Nadal Out of Top 10 for First Time Since 2005

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 18, 2023 Spain's Rafael Nadal looks dejected after losing his second round match against Mackenzie Mcdonald of the US. (Reuters)
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 18, 2023 Spain's Rafael Nadal looks dejected after losing his second round match against Mackenzie Mcdonald of the US. (Reuters)
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Nadal Out of Top 10 for First Time Since 2005

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 18, 2023 Spain's Rafael Nadal looks dejected after losing his second round match against Mackenzie Mcdonald of the US. (Reuters)
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 18, 2023 Spain's Rafael Nadal looks dejected after losing his second round match against Mackenzie Mcdonald of the US. (Reuters)

Rafa Nadal's absence from Indian Wells saw the 22-times Grand Slam champion slip out of the top 10 for the first time since 2005 on Monday but the Spaniard will still be the "man to beat" at the French Open if he can get back to full fitness.

Nadal was forced to skip the Masters 1000 event in California, where he reached the final last year, as he continues his recovery from a hip issue that ended his Australian Open title defense in the second round in January.

Unable to defend the 600 points from Indian Wells resulted in Nadal dropping four places to 13th in the rankings, ending his record 912-week stay inside the top 10, which began when current number one Carlos Alcaraz was not even two years old.

However, with Nadal preparing to return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters next month ahead of the French Open, which he has won 14 times in his career, his time outside the top 10 might be short.

World number four Casper Ruud, who lost to Nadal in the Roland Garros final last year, said he would not be shocked to see the 36-year-old lift the trophy once again.

"It wouldn't surprise me because he'll probably use these weeks and these months, as he's preparing for exactly Roland Garros," Ruud told Eurosport as part of the "Ruud Talk" series.

"It doesn't matter if he loses in Monte Carlo or Rome or Madrid. The only thing that's probably on his mind these days is just to be fit, be healthy and be ready for Roland Garros."

Tennis lost two of its greats when Serena Williams and Roger Federer bowed out of the sport last year, but Nadal and rival Novak Djokovic are still soldiering on.

Djokovic, who turns 36 in May, has shown few signs of slowing down and drew level with Nadal on 22 Grand Slams by winning the Australian Open.

"For the whole tennis world it would be nice to see one last showdown at Roland Garros," former US Open champion Dominic Thiem said, adding that Djokovic would be favorite to win the remaining Grand Slams this year.

"The only tournament is Roland Garros: if Rafa is fit there, it's exactly the opposite. He's the man to beat when he won the tournament 14 times, it's crazy."



UEFA Promises More Clarity for Fans and Players on Refereeing Decisions at Euro 2024

 France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
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UEFA Promises More Clarity for Fans and Players on Refereeing Decisions at Euro 2024

 France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)

Clarity for players and spectators and zero tolerance for serious foul play and dissent — that’s what referees have been tasked with at the European Championship.

UEFA had already announced last month that it would do more to explain decisions to teams, requiring in turn that only captains can approach the referees to discuss them.

And that was emphasized on Wednesday at a media briefing on refereeing guidelines for Euro 2024 that took place at Munich’s Allianz Stadium, two days before host nation Germany kicks off the tournament in the same venue against Scotland.

"Only the captain will approach the referee, the other players they have to think about (playing). That’s it, finish," UEFA managing director for refereeing Roberto Rosetti said.

UEFA has promised that the referees will attempt to give the captains an explanation of key incidents during the match, including what was discussed with VAR.

Any teammate ignoring his captain’s role and approaching the referee showing any sign of disrespect or dissent will receive a yellow card.

Fans, meanwhile, will also get a better understanding of VAR decisions as they will be broadcast on the giant screens in stadiums.

"This is something new. I think it’s very, very, very interesting," Rosetti said. "So we want to give, after the opinion of VAR, a technical explanation for the public. In live, simultaneously, the UEFA expert will prepare the explanation, a technical explanation about what happened in the specific situation.

"For example, on-field review, the referee awards a penalty for handball...technical explanation: Germany number nine touch the ball with his left arm which was in an unnatural position above the shoulder and making his body bigger."

Rosetti has met with all the teams participating at Euro 2024 and their coaches to present the refereeing guidelines for the tournament, including hammering home that any dangerous tackles will be severely punished.

"One of the most important priority in refereeing guidelines is to protect the players," Rosetti said. "To protect the image of the game, but in particular to protect the safety of the main actors of the games.

"We showed them a couple of clips that we are asking to the referees to be very strong in these kind of situations," he added. "So for such situations we asked to the referees to be zero tolerant because this is something that we cannot accept."