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Nadal on cloud nine after soaring new heights

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Nadal on cloud nine after soaring new heights
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: One man’s despair was another man’s ecstasy as the most inopportune of double faults propelled a world-beating Rafa Nadal into a nine-times French Open champion on Sunday.

Waiting to launch into a second serve on match point down, a yell from the stands, followed by another, left a distracted Novak Djokovic to fire down the most costly of double faults and see his hopes of completing a career grand slam pounded into the red dust.

While Djokovic was left utterly dejected and with a strange sense of deja vu, having also surrendered the 2012 final with a double fault, he could only watch on in wonder as Nadal sunk to his knees in triumph following a 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 victory.

“In matches like this every moment is crucial. Playing against Novak is always a big challenge as I had lost against him the last four times,” Nadal told the crowd before being handed over the trophy by Swedish great Bjorn Borg.

“For me it’s amazing and emotional, I lost the final at Australia this year where I had a problem with my back and that was a hard moment. Today tennis gave back to me what happened in Australia.”

Overcome with the emotion of cradling the Musketeers’ Cup for a record-extending ninth time, the world number one burst into tears.

His win was also accompanied by a deluge of eye-watering statistics.

He became the first man to win five successive Roland Garros titles.

His record in French Open finals stands at 9-0.

He has won a record 35 successive matches at the claycourt major.

He has won 90 of his 91 best-of-five-set matches on clay.

He owns a 66-1 win-loss record at Roland Garros.

Over the years grand slam champions in the calibre of Roger Federer, Djokovic, Andy Murray, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Martin del Potro and Carlos Moya have all tried – and failed miserably – to conquer the claycourt phenomenon at a tournament one person suggested should now be renamed “Nadal Garros”.

SECOND BEST

Djokovic, who had come off second best to Nadal in five previous Parisian tussles, did not even come close to ending that losing run on Sunday.

“It was a very emotional day and I gave everything. The trophy was a bit too far out of reach this year but I will come back again and again until I win it,” a teary-eyed Djokovic told the crowd after being given a prolonged standing ovation by 15,000 hollering fans.

It seems there is nothing that Nadal cannot control at his beloved Roland Garros.

He had stated 48 hours earlier that he “cannot command the sun” but after Sunday’s forecast of thunderstorms failed to materialise, it seems that the Spaniard’s powers of persuasion also stretch to the weather Gods.

The hot weather meant the left-hander could count on his forehand being “very fast and very powerful” which in turn would allow to him add an extra zing to his already fearsome topspin.

Despite the conditions being to his liking, Nadal was strangely flat and restless for a set and a half and raised hopes in the Djokovic camp, which included coach Boris Becker, that perhaps his day of reckoning had come.

The world number one scorched those aspirations when he fired a blazing forehand winner to break and take the second set 7-5.

It left Nadal roaring into the skies and the crowd jumping to their feet in the hope that the duo who have battled through numerous five-set thrillers would turn their 42nd meeting into another heart-pumping display of skill and endurance.

It was not to be.

Djokovic was left feeling the heat, literally, as he slumped 0-3 down in the third and appeared dazed and confused for a second when he slid off his chair during the changeover.

Dousing his head and arms with cold water and wrapping an iced towel around his neck allowed the Serbian second seed to get back on his feet but four games later his anger boiled over.

RACKET SLAMMED

Following a backhand error, he slammed his racket so hard it lifted off the ground and spun around 13 times before dropping back down to the red earth again.

But wondrous shots, and not acts of petulance, win matches and it was from only one man’s racket such balls were flying off.

A looping forehand long from Djokovic on break point down handed Nadal the third set and from then on there was a sense of doom circling over the Djokovic camp.

“Luckily for me it was over in four sets because after that it was heart attack for me,” the champion’s coach and uncle Toni Nadal said after his nephew took his overall grand slam tally to 14.

“He told me when he took me in his arms to call the doctor because he had cramps in his calf. We were lucky it ended in four sets.”

There was nothing lucky about Djokovic’s day.

A double fault on match point summed up the type of afternoon it had been for a man playing in what turned out to be an unlucky 13th grand slam final.

Having declared before the final that “Nadal’s not unbeatable” Djokovic was asked if he was any closer to working out how to beat the claycourt king on his favourite stomping ground.

“If I was left hander maybe I would win the tournament,” he quipped.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket

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16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket | Thaiger
iTrip.com

Phuket is reporting 16 more infections today. It follows visits from Bangkok and last weekend’s Kolour Beachside parties that have resulted in a number of new Covid infections. The number of new infections has reached 26. But deputy governor Vikrom Jakthee says the province has been successful in containing the new outbreak “due to its quick response measures which now include shuttering bars and nightlife venues.

One of the confirmed cases is a male teacher from Headstart International School in Kathu who, after attending the parties on the weekend, was back teaching students on Monday and Tuesday. The school has sent a letter to all parents advising them of the situation and organising testing for anyone who may have come in contact with the teacher.

The closure order in Phuket comes just as the island province was expecting to get an influx of visitors for Songkran, the Thai New Year. Many bar and club owners were expecting some increased traffic during the holiday week. Phuket officials say they will explain to bar and club owners why they decided to close the venues during the critical week for business.

Vikrom previously cited the start of the island’s Covid vaccine roll-out of Covid starting to head towards a herd immunity in time for the province’s proposed July reopening to international tourists. But he admitted that the sudden appearance of the coronavirus on the island again will force officials to reevaluate the schedule for reopening. He also said that almost all cases were in younger age groups of people in their 20s and 30s.

“Today, the number of infected people reported in Phuket has reached 26, many are from entertainment venues. This figure is relatively high. It jumped from 10 to 26 cases. We will invite operators of entertainment places in for discussions.”

Partygoers who went to any of the Kolour Beachside parties in Phuket last weekend are being asked to visit a local hospital for a Covid test. The parties hosted more than 3,000 people, drawing concern after a musician tested positive for Covid-19, having attended all 3 parties. The Phuket Provincial Government and Phuket Provincial Public Health Office released a statement yesterday advising all partygoers to get tested.

“Those who attended the Kolour parties from April 2 to 3 at Shelter Phuket Dance & Night Club in Patong, Cafe Del Mar Phuket in Kamala and Illuzion nightclub on Bangla Road in Patong are asked to get tested.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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