Absolutely Unbeatable! Djokovic Outslugs Nadal for Second Miami Title
by Sean Randall | April 3rd, 2011, 5:10 pm

Roger who? With the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry showing signs of fizzling, the new, and arguably better, rivalry in tennis is Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and it’s sizzling! The top two players in the sport met again this afternoon with the Miami Masters title on the line and the match didn’t disappoint.

Like their previous meeting won by Djokovic at Indian Wells, this too went the this distance only this time to a final set breaker. After body blow after body blow, it was Djokovic the last man standing with an epic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) win for his second Miami championship and stay perfect in 2011.

“It’s incredible,” a winded Djokovic said immediately afterward on CBS. “To win against the No. 1 player of the World in a tiebreak in the third set is just incredible.”

The 3-hour, 21-minute victory lifts Djokovic’s win streak to 26 and keeps him unbeaten on the season at 24-0.

And full credit to Djokovic, who after going down early, once again overcame the odds to turn Nadal away.

What a transformation mentally for Djokovic who not long ago wasn’t physically or mentally equipped for comebacks. This was their 25th meeting – maybe their best behind only that Madrid match – with Nadal still leading 16-9, but Djokovic widens his hardcourt lead over the Spaniard to 9-5.

As for the match, I didn’t think either guy served particularly well which in the end hurt Nadal more because he had to work that much harder for free points. But there were both using all of the court and all of their power blasting ground strokes at each other.

Nadal ran out early in the match behind two breaks of the Djokovic serve. But at the close of the first set you could sense the Serb was getting into the match. And he did.

Djokovic wouldn’t get broken again.

He went up an early break in the second set eventually winning 6-3.

There were no breaks (nor break chances) in the third set as both players went toe-to-toe. Djokovic faced more pressure having to serve from behind, but each time, especially at 4-5 and 5-6, he answered the challenge.

Nadal roared out in the breaker winning two of the first three points, and he looked the aggressor. But after a lengthy fifth point (I think it was the fifth), won by Djokovic, a bent-over Nadal actually appeared gassed and winded.

Djokovic raised his level winning five straight points from 2-1 down to go up 6-2. And the title was his when Nadal was unable to retrieve another nasty forehand angle winner.

“I didn’t know how it was going to turn out,” Djokovic said. “It was such a close match really from the start. He was a better player in the first set. I managed to find my rhythm at the end of the first set and then throughout the whole second and third sets I played quite well especially on my service games. I think this was one of the best matches I’ve played in a while.”

Djokovic hasn’t lost a match since November and who knows when of if he will lose again – he’s beaten Federer three times, Nadal now twice during this streak.

As much as it pains me to say it (I admit I haven’t been much of a Novak fan as many of you know), Djokovic is just too good right now. He’s executing in every facet of the game – forehand, backhand, defense, offense, serve, movement, volleys, return and his now he’s finally right between the ears.

Nadal threw everything at him today and in the end it just wasn’t enough. Maybe things change on clay, maybe they don’t. But I think it’s safe to say we have a new must-see rivalry in tennis. And it’s a good one.

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195 Comments for Absolutely Unbeatable! Djokovic Outslugs Nadal for Second Miami Title

blank Says:

When is your prediction for the clay/summer coming out? I remember last clay season year you were bang on in predicting a Nadal sweep!

But since then you have slipped away like Federer in your prediction success.

andrea Says:

have to hand it to novak..he’s coming up with the goods in spades these days. today nadal was struggling with his serve and the insane placement of points from novak. novak also had a lot of success with his drop shot plays. awesome match. nail biter! shame about the double fault from nadal in the TB, but he has to tighten up his serve…it was all over the place in the last 2 sets.

great stuff again from these two guys.

Dory Says:

They’ve played the most number of times too now – 25. One day, Novak might just flip the record on him.

Daniel Says:

Djoko is the first tennis player to beat Nadal 9 times and close to a 10 for sure by the end of this year. I tought that honnor will be Fed’s.

Now onto clay where Nadal will have everything on the line to prove.

It’s clear now having lost his last 3 titles matches on Hard (WTF 10′ to Federer, IW 11’and Miami 11′) that Nadal’s best on hard is not better than Djoko’s best.

And most important when they clash on clay, and that will be certain at leats 1 or 2 times how will Djoko behave mentally.

Sean Randall Says:

Blank, I have just a week until Monte Carlo starts!

And unlike last year when I thought Rafa was so angry losing to Roddick, this time I’m not sure what his state of mind will be on the clay given the way Novak’s playing.

And right now Novak’s on a rocket ship.

That said maybe the surface change brings him back to earth. Who knows.

So I’ll reserve judgment for a few more days on the clay season.

jane Says:

Quick article Sean: I like all of it except that you’re “pained” ;)

Daniel Says:

Ranking points as of Monday:

– Nadal 12870, will defend 5000 points on clay: with wins in MC (1000), Rome (1000), Madrid (1000) and RG (2000)

– Djoko 9700 pts, will defend 900 points on clay:
MC semis (360), Rome quarters (180), Madrid did not play (0) and RG quarters (360)

Djoko needs to skip Belgrade, focus on Madrid where he can gain points and try to beat Nadal one time on clay. This way he can make a move after Wimby, before US Open assuming his hard court form will saty unmatchable.

Monte Carlo, if they both meet again in the finals will be huge, cause Nadal again doesn’t won a title since October. MC is his bread and butter toruney, the one that always set the tone for the rest of his clay season.

andrea Says:

and i agree with you sean, i’m not much of a novak fan but i much prefer to watch nadal play novak over federer, cos federer rarely has the belief as we saw this past friday and so many other times before.

and with novak overcoming heat and head issues he’s a force to be reckoned with.

blank Says:

Here is what is on the line for the clay season, in terms of points defending, I think:

Nadal – 5000
Soderling – 1600
Federer – 970
Djokovic – 900
Murray – 450
Del Potro – 0

If Djokovic plays keeps as well as he is playing, he even has a remote chance of getting the No. 1 by the end of the clay season.

zola Says:

Congratulations to Jan, Duro, Sar, and all Djoko fans here. He is playing great tennis. A very entertaining match and a close one. But Djoko did better in the tie-break. I was also impressed by his fitnesss and flexibility.

I wish Rafa could have won, since this is one of the few missing MS titles for him. But not a bad rsult for him at all to be plying two straight finals after an injury break.

blank Says:

Daniel, I just notice you already posted pretty much the same stuff while I was doing all the calculations :-)

zola Says:

oops, I meant congratulations to Jane. Pardon my poor typing skills.

dari Says:

After DC win and retirement last year, novak cannot skip Serbia tourney, no way.

Sean Randall Says:

Blank, for Novak to overtake Nadal after the French Rafa will have to have a subpar clay season.

Remember even if Nadal doesn’t win the French he’ll still have two slams on the rankings sheet.

So if Nadal wins two Masters events (canceling out the 2 Novak just won) he’ll likely stay No. 1 after the French regardless of how Novak does there.

Sean Randall Says:

Jane, looks like the “Garbage Man” is going to be the boss one day.


Nadal has a ton of points to defend, but he is playing Barcelona because the tournament spacing is better this year. He could win Montecarlo, lose in the finals of Rome and Madrid, win Barcelona, win the French and end the clay season with 4700 points, only 300 less than last year.

dari Says:

Novak is 23, has a week off after this, week off between MC and Serbia, maybe he skips nothing?

Sean Randall Says:

dari, it will be interesting to see how Novak schedules from here.

Monte Carlo
French Open
Halle or Queens (?)
Davis Cup

That’s a lot of tennis. My guess is he’ll skip Monte Carlo. Maybe even Rome, too.

skeezerweezer Says:

Tx Blank and Daniel for those stats…so seeing them …..5000 points to defend, but does anyone here think Rafa is NOT going to deep in any of those tourneys? Just sayin…..and if so…realistically he will lose how much? 2000? Surely not 5k….anyone?

skeezerweezer Says:

Wow well my question got answered while I was typing…lol

grendel Says:

I think this loss will hurt Nadal because his serve was functioning pretty well, whereas Djokovic’s, by his own standards, was disappointing. Nadal, after all, attributed his loss in Indian Wells to his poor serving after the first set) – that explanation is no longer open to him. The fact is, he was beaten by the better player although his own greatest weapon (as he himself admits), his mind, very nearly pulled off an upset.

Djokovic stood firm – just about – and I think that will strengthen him for the future. Meanwhile, his volleying was so good that he’s got to be a real threat at Wimbledon.

blank Says:


That’s why I said the chances are ‘remote’. But nevertheless possible! Remember 2009 season?

After this win, here are the points tally:
Nadal – 12870
Djokovic – 9700

That’s a difference of 3170. Let’s say Djokovic wins a Masters, reaches the Finals in one and SF in other and reaches the FO finals. Nadal will be losing points in that case (for at least that one MS if Djokovic wins) while Djokovic will be gaining (3160 – 900 = 2260). Nadal will lose 1000. So the new points tally will be:

Nadal – 11960
Djokovic – 11970

It’s still possible and I would say it will depend on what Djokovic does more than what Nadal does.

Daniel & others, Please feel free to correct me if I have erred in my calculations.

blank Says:

And I did not include Serbia in those calculations!

blank Says:

Of course all those calculations will be thrown out of the window if Federer wins 3 Masters and the FO. Then he will be No. 1.

lol ;-)

Dory Says:

Also you cannot count Federer out on clay. The way Soderling beat him at Roland Garros, Soderling was very motivated once again and conditions were heavy due to the rain interuppted match. Federer has won the Hamburg/now Madrid event 5 times! He’s been reaching the finals of Roland Garros since 2006 except for last year. The best thing IMHO about King Roger’s game is he can bounce back any time.

Dory Says:

Also, according to the ATP year to date rankings for WTF, Federer is 2nd this year.

blank Says:

Correction to my 6:07 post:

Nadal may not be losing 1000 points…but you get my point :-)

stu Says:

But you did not include Barcelona either, blank…

stu Says:

thanks for all the math, guys!

no more expectations from you this year, Nole. except Y.E. #1 please :)

blank Says:

You are right, stu.

Let’s say whatever happens in Barca and Serbia cancel out each other :)

Daniel Says:

Sean, you are wrong. if Djoko win RG, he will add 1640 points and Nadal will lose 800, just 2440 pts difference with that scenarium.

Their ranking points minos Clay
– Nadal 12870 – 5000 = 7870 pts
– Djoko 9700 – 900 = 8800 pts
Djoko is 930 points ahead.

If Nadal wins 2 master, loses a final to Djoko and loses RG to Djoko (1000 + 1000 + 600 + 1200 = 3800) he will have 11670 pts

If Djoko wins RG, one masters, one final and skips one masters (2000 + 1000 + 600 = 3600) he will have 12400 pts. He will be n. 1 by the end of clay. If Djoko loses all masters finals to Nadal but win RG he will be n.1 by the end of clay.

So basically, Djoko’s getting to n.1 before we think will depend on his RG form. If he wins it, with a decent clay performance first, he will be n, 1 regardless of how Nadal plays.

Djoko just needs to win 920 points less than Nadal during all clay seaosn and he will be n.1 by the time clay ends regardless of what Nadal does.

stu Says:

What _hasn’t_ Nole proven yet this year?

finally get his second major? Check.
win a match that decides a change in ranking? Check.
complete a hat-trick of wins? Check.
beat Rafa at his best? Check.
beat Rafa in a final? Check.
beat Roger at his best? Arguably, yes.
come back from a set down, in a final? Check.
win a tight 3rd set TB, against Rafa, no less? Check.
volley, sublimely? Check. (sigh, my fav part of today)
learn to clutch serve, with more aces than DFs? Check.
control the body language and believe? Check.
regain focus quickly after a bad patch? Check.
stop bouncing the ball too much? Check (almost!)
stop over-celebrating? Check.
be gracious to the loser? Check.

Eric Says:

Guys, guys, guys — just because Djokovic has had an insane season so far doesn’t mean he’s a completely different player suddenly, and he’s not the world no. 2 or even 3 or, IMO, 4 on clay – Rafa, Roger, and Soderling all have better clay pedigrees in recent years. Predicting Djokovic to get past Roger at the FO is a bit rash at this stage. (He last made a semi in 2008, his best year until now.) Of course, if Roger continues to look like a 30 year old who doesn’t care about winning anymore, then we can talk. :)

Daniel Says:

As Fededrer wiselly and infamouslly said last year: the clay season will be decided in Roland Garros, as always!:)
And in Nadal’s and Djoko’s case, the N.1 ranking and for how long Nadal can keep it.

Djoko can lose everything to Nadal on clay, as long as he is getting to finals, he will add points, he made none last year. And Nadal can only gain in Barca and Queens. So, if Djoko reaches RG finals, he will probably take n.1 after Wimby even if Nadal holds the 2 Slams as long as he doesn’t lose before semis in neither clay or grass tourneys.

contador Says:

and yet….can’t pick against rafa on clay. it is a lot of pressure on him. but i believe he’ll win RG again, no matter how he does at the other tourny’s. team rafa is smart. no repeating 2009 clay season.

team federer and team murray have me wondering right about now.

great match reporting sean.

blank Says:

In the heat of discussing Nadal / Djokovic points prospects, let’s not forget something else. lol ;-)


Daniel Says:

But that is the point Eric, Djoko is a different player.
Never had him won AO, IW and Miami before on hard even him being a tremendous hard court player. The odds is he is going to improve on clay either. 2009 he made a decent run trying to stop Nadal, now that he has the mental and endurance, He is due for a clay win over Nadal. We will just wait when.

Off course, we have Fed and Soda who have RG finals prior to Djoko and Nadal more than ever really motivated to not lose to Djokovic on clay, at all. It’s his last fortress, not Wimby as some one mentioned.

But fitness will play a factor also. Nadal, Djoko and Fed have all played more than 20 matches so far. Djoko is 24-0; Fed 22-4 and Nadal 19-4.

If someone body’s break, anything can happen.
That’s why I said Fed will stay in the shadows, just waiting for his shot.

Daniel Says:


Beating Rafa on clay?!?!?!?!?!

stu Says:

continuing my prev. post with the most imp. point –

slug out matches in the heat? Check!

stu Says:

haha, Daniel, it could happen. jason goodall seems to think it will…

Daniel Says:

“Also, according to the ATP year to date rankings for WTF, Federer is 2nd this year.”

Where can I found this info on the website, I never find it?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Clay Monster is here.

Novak, Rog, Soderling, Ferrer are here.

DelPotro is a wildcard. As I’ve said previously, it used to be Rafa with Roger and Soderling distant challengers. None of the challengers may be any closer now, but there are more of them. That makes life more difficult. Rafa will not roll this season like he did last. He will likely be the top player on clay, but from perfection, its tough to move up.

Kimmi Says:

until federer beat nole or rafa then i would say he is in the mix. right now clay is for rafa and nole.

I can still say go roger though

Daniel Says:

Also, Madrid and Rome are back to back now.
If Nadal’s play MC and Barca 2 weeks in a row, than Madrid and Rome, he may jeopardize RG, as 2009. So very unlikelly he will sweap the 3 masters once again, something he was only able to do once in 3 tries, 2 being stopped by Fed (Hamburg 07′ and Madrid 09′). Odd years bad luck anyone?! :)

Dory Says:

ATP I think doesn’t maintain it any more. But there’s one at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_ATP_World_Tour_Finals#Qualified_Players

Vera Says:

I’m new to the blog, but just found it. So glad to have found such a great and well-informed tennis blog! Great article, and great insights about Djokovic’s possibilities here-on-in.

Mila Says:

Someone on this site has recently coined the “Superb Serb” moniker. Even as a Serb myself, I thought of it as a little ‘over the top’, but after today’s genuinely superb performance, I’m fully embracing it!

In the tiebreak played during mid-day at 85 degrees Miami sun, Rafael was bent-over and visibly exhausted – I hardly could expect that Novak would be superior in that department!

Superb Serb indeed…

I especially like that Novak, more so than other players, emphasizes his Serbian heritage, with flags, ballcaps, shoes, three-fingers salute after the win, playing DC matches, etc…
For that only, we Serbs could love and believe in him forever, add all these wins on top of it, the sky is the limit. Thanks for the poster who thought of Superb Serb!

jane Says:

stu – @ 6:36 – amen! You’re right; Nole’s transformation has been utterly remarkable. He deserves huge congrats.

That said, I am surprised peope are calculating clay – this is where Nadal rules the roost peeps, let’s not forget. Nole can regain on grass, maybe (only because he says it is a goal, and so far he has met his goals). I believe he is playing Queens again, and maybe he can do well on hard court again. But to assume he will be number 1 after clay, while incredibly exciting to me, seems a tad unrealistic. :)

Zola, thanks – yes and Rafa has been in a couple Miami finals. He will get it one day, I am sure.

Sean, he’s certainly had a big promotion, yes? Even in your mind no doubt.

Daniel Says:

Thanks Dory!

dari Says:

“until federer beat nole or rafa then i would say he is in the mix. right now clay is for rafa and nole.
I can still say go roger though”
Word. Thanks kimmi, now I don’t need to make a post :)

dari Says:

Welcome, Vera. You’re just in time for things to be heating up!

dari Says:

Thanks, Dory. I was looking all over the ATP website, too. They usually have a little link at the bottom somewhere, but maybe not now since its so early in the year.

stu Says:

Thanks Dory, I have been looking for that for ages! Didn’t think to check wikipedia!

Surprising that Novak’s Dubai points aren’t included….

stu Says:

Oops they are, sorry, never mind.

stu Says:

wow Sascha is the 12th best player this year! Go Sascha!

grendel Says:

“beat Rafa at his best? Check.”
I think most of your checks hold – I don’t think that one. Not yet. Which match did you have in mind?

scineram Says:

Look at it! Delpo is nineth this year ahead of RAndy, Stan, Dolgo, Milos.

skeezerweezer Says:

If Novaks serves holds true to form( like it is now ) he should do very well at Wimby….

jane Says:

^ grendel, I’ll let stu answer, but if the implication is that Rafa wasn’t at his best it must be noted that Nole wasn’t at his best either, that was clear. In fact in the 3rd set, he was down to 40% first serves, whereas Nadal kicked it up a level from the previous set. The point is maybe this: Nole held off a late charge from Rafa there, even when he couldn’t get even half his serves in or break Rafa, he still won. That deserves a check, no matter what it is prefaced with. At IW, the consensus was that Rafa collapsed, mentally, his serve, etc. But he didn’t here. Nope, he was in it, until Nole won the last point.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Well, there was a level Rafa played at at the US Open and early rounds at Oz where he was playing offensive tennis, up at the baseline, flat shots, top-notch serving.
But to say he wasn’t at his best today is a little unfair: if you consider only the 3 or 4 BEST matches he’s ever played on hard courts, then no. But if you look at how he’s generally played when winning matches on hard courts over the past couple of years, today was pretty good. He served well, moved at the Rafa-Gold-Star level, hit with Rafa consistency and placement.
Rafa was not off his game today by any means.
As I said on the previous thread: Nole is 90% as good as Rafa at defense right now, but Rafa is only 80% as good as Nole at offense.

Kimmi Says:

i refuse to believe that player A was not at their best. or not a hundred percent.

these guys play so many matches, everyday is a different match. today the serve works better than yesterday and so on. what they can do is to be able to win in whatever form they are in. rafa was playing out of this world during USO 09 but who knows if he will play like that again

federer was very good in WTF 2010. right now federer is what he is. nole is the better player today. that is what matters.

dari – :)

Skeezerweezer Says:

The serve thingy. Am i the only one who thinks Novaks return game has an impact on the server? ‘member Fed and Rafa’s match against Novak at IW? Gotta give credit where credit is due already

brian Says:

I am Nole’s fan but his chances of becoming world #1 is still slim in my opinion.Rafa has a huge points to defend but He is so DARN good on clay and grass.Fingers crossed.I hope Nole will overtake him !!

grendel Says:

jane – I make almost exactly the points you make on the other thread (right at end). I also said above that Nadal cannot explain his defeat – as he did for Indian Wells – by citing the collapse of his serve. But Nadal did not seem to me to be at his coruscating best – as at the US Open final, for instance. Of course, you might argue Djokovic didn’t let him – and that might be true, I don’t know.

This is not to deny Djokovic’s brilliance, nor his fortitude in holding off a resurgent Nadal at the end. I still think, however, he has something to prove where Nadal is concerned, and my suspicion is that he will do so in due course.

I agree with you about Djokovic’s serving – I haven’t looked at the stats – I rarely do – but in my memory, he seemed to be constantly hitting the top of the net with his first serve. Fortunately, his second serve was working well. I am surprised Skeezer is so bullish about the serve. In general, it is of course in good stead, certainly wasn’t in the 3rd set – can’t remember the other two. But I do agree with Skeezer – as against, I think, Daniel – that Djokovic will do well at Wimbledon. I put him as joint favourite with Nadal, which is what Daniel took exception to. A bit of a leap in the dark, I concede – but that’s my feeling. You can’t just go on history. Times change, and it can be fun to try to anticipate how. And Djokovic’s volleying is just a revelation, that won’t do him any harm in SW7.

Djokovic is also the one person apart from A.N.Other who can stop Nadal at RG. Djokovic has a real chance. Nobody else does, and yet somebody else might. That’s not nonsense – figure it out.

Of course, all this assumes Djokovic will sustain his form. One would have thought the longer this run of wins, the greater the pressure. Perhaps a nice little defeat in some inconsequential tourney would be good for him. Then he can start afresh, pressure free….

contador Says:

yeah. i think i was focusing on rafa’s return game a lot by the 3rd set. thinking rafa would break nole in the 3rd set when it was 5-4 rafa, nole serving. and what i noticed was rafa hitting moonballs for returns on nole’s second serve (some landing mid court, some out; or returning with a really ineffective slice ). nole wasn’t serving great (not getting the 1st serve) but rafa wasn’t stepping in on the 2nd serve. he was so far behind the baseline.

i had the feeling nole had already won the match when i watched rafa. rafa held his own serve but couldn’t come close to breaking again at 6-5, nole serving.

my impression was a mix of nole’s confidence and rafa being tentative = advantage novak djokovic in tie break.

i’m sure team rafa will review and determine to solve the problem on clay. great rivalry, nole and rafa.

also in the first set when i was cheering on nole, rafa was winning the long rallies. 3rd set and obviously 2nd, nole was winning the longer rallies. i was cheering for rafa by 3rd set. in the end big kudos to nole.

neither had any stated injuries or illness. like rafa us open 09 did have an abdominal tear. nether had any injuries at us open 10 but nole was coming off a huge semi win over federer.

nole played better today. rafa didn’t have it. but in the best of 5? maybe another story on clay.

i’m not on the djokovic bandwagon for clay season but he has been “super serb” in the last 2 hc big ones – plus AO champ.

how many times has AO champ gone on to win RG? serious here.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeezer- I agree with you regarding the serve. Nole is teeing off on serves like no one since Agassi. Its amazing the way he stands his ground or even comes forward. The confidence is incredible. For sure this gets in the head of opponents.

Grendel- I have to disagree. I don’t think Novak has proven himself on clay to the level that I would assume he’s above Rog, Ferrer or Soderling. We may see it, but I’m a fan of the Missouri School of Philosophy- figure it out. I see Rafa winning the lion’s share on clay, but the scraps will be divided.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Hey, another happy thought: could it be that the hard court del potro that emerges on the other side of Wimbledon will be a much more challenging one that that we saw in the First Quarter?
Thats an exciting prospect to look forward to.
Whether Rafa and Nole really DO establish a stranglehold on titles as stingy as Rafa and Rog used to- definitely a possibility, but I doubt it. Murray will be back stronger than ever, and he has no fear of these guys. Dolgopolov has beaten Soderling and Tsonga this year, and those two had been playing very good tennis. Could he turn into a challenge? Could Raonic? That other guy, Somdev? Ferrer seems to be ready to challenge too- he certainly wasn’t intimidated by Rafa in Australia.
I also don’t believe these two have permanently escaped Roger’s clutches. He’ll be back, and he’ll knock one of these two off when we don’t expect him to. They’ll beat him more often, but hell, WTF was just 3 months ago. Its not crazy to imagine he’ll find that form again at some point, if only for a day.
Finally, will Rafa’s body hold?
These are a few of the things that will be writ in history these coming months!


Nadal was definitely feeling the heat on his 2nd serve. He won only 45% of his 2nd serve points. That is lower than what Fed did the other night when Nadal dominated him. The 3rd set was Djokovic’s worst in terms of returning. He missed several routine 2nd serve returns that probably would have led to a few break point chances.

This match reminded me a little of the Nadal/Murray semi at the WTF. Djokovic used similar patterns, but has more consistent firepower off the forehand compared with Murray. Djokovic also played the big points better than Murray did against Nadal especially in the breaker.

Not a masterful serving performance by either player so that balances things out. Too many DFs by Nadal and low 1st serve % for Djokovic.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I could be forgetting some beauts from Oz, but was this the match of the year so far? It was pretty stunning tennis from my seat.

Polo Says:

Oh I was so wrong to think that Djokovic cannot beat Nadal in 2 consecutive finals. That was the most exciting match I have seen for a long time. It was so hard to predict the winner until the last point. I am looking forward to many more exciting matches between these two.

grendel Says:

Who’s been the most effective against Nadal on clay? Early Nadal: Puerta, Coria and Federer especially (Rome).All could have won, Fed should have done.
Middle Nadal (we haven’t got to late yet) – not imo Federer despite his 2 wins. Didn’t catch the Sod match unfortunately. Davydenko – who went toe to toe with Nadal, but now seems in absolute decline, and Djokovic who was so close to Nadal at his best (Madrid). I base my opinion on that match – also, he nearly won a set against rampant Nadal at RG when Fed demolished. Since then, he’s improved, don’t see how Nadal could improve.

Like your image of “scraps being divided” TV. One of these scraps could be a huge morsel, at RG, no less. As Little Wing has pointed out, Nadal is not a machine, and if he has an off day, there’s a number of people who might pounce.

Contador, I am intrigued by how you manage to switch sides in the middle of a match. I have done something like that, but not with big time players – I become so emotionally fixated, talk about projection, I sometimes suspect I ought to be on the couch. It would be nice to be able to say:”Oh, I don’t like you any more. I’m going to like him now instead”. b.t.w., your reference to Nadal ineffective slicing. Did you notice one absolute monster bh slice (I suppose a fh slice is that squash shot type thing) from nadal against Federer? Talk about eclipsing the master, poor Fed must have been shocked….

dari Says:

Tough one contador, maybe Mats? Edberg?

contador Says:

grendel. obviously i am no expert. but i pay attention to anything other than percentages and statistics.

i am neutral when it comes to nole or rafa. enjoy watching rafa now more after seeing him in the flesh, so to speak at IW. enjoy both about equally in matches. will not watch either play federer again, lol…

my inclination was toward nole in the 1st set, as i thought rafa would open a can of madal whup ass on nole. so cheered for nole; also thinking of clay season coming. then, after the 2nd set, being the selfish bracketeer, i wanted my points. vaamos rafa! well, no biggie. super entertaining match and well-fought by nole.

very shallow…comes down to bracket winning in the end. i picked against federer, grendel. traded him in for 16 points i think it was.

jane Says:

grendel, why so cryptic here? ” A.N.Other who can stop Nadal at RG. Djokovic has a real chance. Nobody else does, and yet somebody else might. That’s not nonsense – figure it out.”

I am trying to crack the code, but I cannot. : / But what about Delpo, maybe, or Soda. It would take a big hitter and an off day. Rafa is king on clay, and I do think he will remain so. Maybe he won’t win everything again, but he is favored to, certaily, and he will win RG, I would think. Madrid is the possible upset place as it is the fastest isn’t it? Due to altitude or something?

Thanks for your response/take on today’s match.

contador Says:

so no. i didn’t see how great rafa played v federer, grendel. the score is enough pain. :/

jane Says:

conty, I thought of my bracket in set one (went through my mind, well, at least I’ll rack up spme points as I picked Nadal to win) but as soon as Nole broke back once in set one, I thought – to hell with the bracket; I want to see him get the sweep. Now he’s joined Federer, Sampras, and Agassi as being the most recent to win AO, IW, Miami sweep. Nice company that, for a Nole fan. :)

dari Says:

I was wondering too. The only thing I’ve come with is
A.lmagro, N.icolas!

contador Says:

yeah, jane thanks, that’s great! i didn’t know.

dari, is that right? edburg win ao and rg? matts villander?

very curious who has won back to back AO and RG.

i’ll take my lazy arse for a look….

grendel Says:

jane – I’m afraid it’s rather trivial, and I hint at it in my previous post. i basically feel Djokovic MIGHT give Nadal a real battle at RG, and in any real battle, the outcome is uncertain. It seems unreasonable to suggest anyone else. But Nadal might just have an off day, a bad tummy,a sudden attack of existential angst – and any number of players might profit. Not much point in speculating who. Did anyone seriously imagine Soderling would beat him? Was there a single person in the whole world? And yet, Soderling did beat him.

“i picked against federer, grendel. traded him in for 16 points” how utterly and deliciously disgraceful of you, contador. No wonder you sound so contrite….though I must say, I’ve always had a soft spot for judas figures …

Mila Says:

Novak’s message to his fans tonight:

“Hvala vam svima na podršci danas i tokom celog turnira. Presrećan sam što sam iz ovako teškog meca izašao kao pobednik. Igrati sa igračem kao sto je Nadal je uvek veliki izazov. Naravno, nastaviću i dalje da vredno treniram, ali danas ću da se za promenu opustim i uživam! Upravo slušam marš na Drinu sa mojim timom i proslavljam u mom prepoznatljivom stilu.”

Thank you all on your support today and during the entire tournament. I am super happy to come out the winner from such a difficult match. Playing against a player such as Nadal is always a great challenge. I will, of course, continue to practice hard, but today will, for change, to relax and enjoy! Right now, I am listening “Marš na Drinu” with my team and celebrating in my familiar fashion.

By the way, “Marš na Drinu” is arguably the most patriotic Serbian song, explained here


dari Says:

Yeah on.being lazy, but who are the 90′ options?
Not Pete obviously, took Andre a while to get FO and it wasn’t same time as AO, courier won both but I don’t know if in same years…

jane Says:

Oh grendel, I thought there was a secret code in the caps, like initials or something. Dari came closest with Almagro, Nico. Ha ha. Well, it is difficult to see anyone upsetting the King of Clay.

contador Says:

pragmatic judas figures are realistic. and fairly guilt free knowing fed’s not going to win miami. ; ) appreciate the soft spot. so come join for monte carlo, if it fits into your scedule. have a great time!

but i can find anyone who won AO and went on to win RG .

Ben Pronin Says:

Courier did it in 92.

dari Says:

So, grendel, there is no one specific with the initials AN you were naming? or just a play on the word “another” and working in the initials?

stu Says:

grendel, apologies for my late response. by Rafa at his “best”, i meant without an obvious injury or shot malfunction, like the serve at IW. maybe i could have worded it differently, but it is unfair to try and guess how a player would have performed against another player’s hypothetical best. as jane said, they were both not in top form today (Nole served at 40% in the third set, similar to Rafa’s third at IW), but especially in set 3, they were both in it to win it, with nothing obvious favoring either player. if anything, with Nole’s history in the heat, he may have been at a slight disadvantage (whether valid in most people’s eyes or not). and unlike all those previous matches when Nole lost hope/ focus at the end, he held his ground today.

Manfid Says:

Dont understand all that take on Federer.
Nole had a great start, perfect start, with wins vs Nadal and Federer.
Congrats… but dont go that far.
If he can be as perfect he got the last 4 months for the next 4 years, and the a few good years, we will had a new GOAT.
But braging that a hot young beat a 30yo Federer, its far ahead.
I cant see Djokovic or Nadal at their 30s battling then top 1, i hardly see them in top 5, so wait 5 years before put them in the level of Federer.

sar Says:

Jane, did Lendl win AO IW and Miami?

Sean, I think Novak would skip Rome but not MC since he’s not won that one. He might tank Serbia Open after a few matches.

It’s an interesting time to be a Nole fan.

sar Says:

Stu, there is this ranking site:


jane Says:

sar, those guys I named were the most recent four, since 1990. Going back further, I am sure there are more who won that triple, like Lendl and JMac.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Not bullish about Nole’s serve, no way. But I am about his return and its’ effect on the tour’s greats. It is the best, I am a believer that it can have a mental effect on the server over a match, for sure.

When I saw him in IW in a workout session I think I posted awhile ago his service motion now looks great. But has room for improvement, technically, as he could toss it more in front and cause him a lot less grief.. But who am I? Just my take :)

Peter Says:

Manfid – thought Nadal is already one of the greatest with 9 slams already? There’s only a handful of people with a career grand slam. Nadal at his peak is invincible on Clay … he just needs to look after his body and make sure he’s fit for the important tournaments. Nadal is a serious contender in winning more slams than Roger. He’s still got a few years to go (of course.. assuming he’s still good until at least 28) and averaging two slams a year. Only injury or another top player would set him back.

Nole is not the same Nole as before – physically and mentally he has improved a lot since the US 10. His speed moving sideways at the back of the court is unmatched. His attacking ability against Rafa’s and Roger’s backhand draws many errors. Even though he served quite bad today, anybody checked his 1st vs 2nd serve winning percentage?? In the 3rd set his 1st serve is only 51% winning 65%, but he’s winning 74% of second serves. That itself is an amazing stat, and shows who is winning more of the rallies. Nole also had more points won (109 v 96) and more break points (9 v 4) during the match. His ability to return the ball puts a lot of pressure on the opponent’s serves, drawing more faults and DFs. However, i still think it would be remote to overtake Nadal during the clay season. His best chance is Wimby – hoping Nadal doesn’t win it. I do think he is going to be No.1 by end of the year though.

Federer obviously is losing belief in winning as shown in Miami – a huge loss to Nadal, following three consecutive losses to Djoker. I don’t think he can come back against Nadal during clay, as clay is just too dependent on energy (long rallies), but Wimby is a certain chance. He needs to work on either the backhand or the footwork – the single backhand is a huge disadvantage in todays “power” tennis. With growing age and less speed it is hard to get to the ball early, which is a requirement to execute good single backhands. I guess everybody noticed how his backhand faltered (in fact complete mis-hits seeing the ball bounce way high and long, after Djoker kept attacking his backhand) in the AO 11. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him winning wimby and US, if he can overcome the backhand issue. Sampras won his last two slams after 29, so Federer should have a few more chances in him.

Dory Says:

I still believe in Federer forever. Will never ever leave him out of chances of winning ANY tournament until he is around. Doesn’t matter if he’s 29 or 35.

Skorocel Says:

“With the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry showing signs of fizzling, the new, and arguably better, rivalry in tennis is Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and it’s sizzling!”

The match certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of drama, but in terms of quality of rallies, it wasn’t anything special… Not that the Federer vs Nadal rivalry is any better in this particular department, but the fact is: neither player played his best tennis in the 1st set, and as for the rest, well… 3 hours of baseline war of attrition on a SUPER slow hard-court with rallies more alike to clay than this particular surface. 10 years ago, such thing would be impossible (remember that final between Sampras and Kuerten in 2000!), but oh well, now it’s 2011…

Nadal, which was very surprising to me, looked somewhat tired already by the start of the 2nd set, his face in painful grim, and his cheeks totally red, as if he was playing in a fever or struggling with the heat… Djoker too had some physical struggles, but frankly, who wouldn’t after going the distance both in IW and now here in Miami (this applies to Nadal as well)…

Anyway, slow hardcourt or not, tired Nadal or not, Djokovic is without question THE man in 2011 thus far – and deservedly so! He’s 6-0 vs Fed, Nadal & Murray this season, which pretty much speaks for all… 4 biggest tourneys in the first 3 months of the season – well, what more you can ask for?! Absolutely flawless! If he can transcend this form on clay (which, if you look at his past results on the red dirt, is more than possible), the No. 1 spot will be only a formality… Way to go, Novak!

grendel Says:

stu – see what you mean
Skeezer – yes about the return
contador – the novelist Graham Greene (now totally out of favour for some reason) held that judas was the disciple who loved jesus the most..

margot Says:

grendel: re G.G. all that catholic guilt, fascinating for a bit but unrelenting, probably why. BTW I remember u told me “predicting is a mug’s game” and thus are not interested in bracket challenge?
gonna be very interesting to see how Nole does on clay. Seem to remember about 3 years ago he was the only player to take a set off Rafa at RG and that was b4 this super confidence!
All very interesting at the mo., for years Rafa was chasing Fed., eventually caught him and then lo and behold there’s someone whose clearly had him in their sights. The hunter becomes the hunted. Fascinating.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Just here to say congratulations to Duro and all the other Nole fans. It’s true neither guy played their 100% best, but it was still an exciting high level match, and Nole outplayed Rafa most of the time. I thought Rafa frequently looked scared, which made me sad and ticked off. I can’t believe Nole is currently the more clutch competitor, and that this followed the same pattern as IW, though Raf came back better in the 3rd set this time. Anyway, I’m depressed. You guys enjoy the new rivalry!

Duro Says:

Lulu, thanks a lot. Remember this: As far as the word competitor is concerned, there will be one above them all. The ultimate competitor – Rafael Mallorcan Nadal.

About rivalry, yes, it’s gonna be and it already is a grandiose one.

Hamburg, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Miami… Could those matches possibly be bigger than that?

Cheers and heads up! He’s too good for you, his fans, to be sad for too long.

gonzalowski Says:

Congrats to Djokovic fans

it would be difficult to keep the focus, but I think Nadal’s priority should be MC, Rome, and above all his 6th RG, and forget to maintain nº 1.

jane Says:

Lulu, sweet of you to offer congrats, and I will second Duro’s comments re: Rafa. No worries, he’ll be back. Clay is next. And, note that he actually bettered his IW & Miami results from last year, getting to the finals of both. Trust me, Nole fans understand and empathize with fan frustration: it was just a year ago when Nole was King of the double fault. Now he has swept spring hard courts. Who knew right? These top guys – they can come back, and they usually do. Hoping Muzza finds himself soon too. :)

kriket Says:

Can’t wait to see them clash on clay, and see what’s what. I must say that I believe Novak’s game is here to stay, even more now that he won yesterday with his parents in the audience! Always thought they were bad luck for him. Seems that even that can’t distract him now, and thus I’m even more convinced that he’ll be the man to beat this season. Of course, we’ll have to see what happens from one tournament to the next, but I don’t share the pessimism of some of Novak’s fans (Jane?), who root for him, but always predict he would lose the big match. What’s that all about?

jane Says:

Kriket, just a personality trait: nothing to do with Nole. ^ It is just my way: hope for the best, prepare for the worst. i tend to be this way in most endeavors. But i do truly support Djoko, and i am amazed by the way he has come into his own since late last year; it’s been joyful and a revelation.

He proved in 2009 he could hang close to Rafa, at least over 3 sets anyhow, on clay. And at the moment he is probably healthier and certainly more confident than he was then. So, you never know. I am eager too to see how he fares on grass this year. But i hope he gets some R&R right now.

Colin Says:

It was unexpected to see Nole thriving in the heat – or at any rate looking less tired than Rafa. I wonder if Djoker’s problems with heat and humidity were partly in his head? He knew he had a breathing condition which was exacerbated by such weather. On the day it is indeed that weather, so he worries. Then the worrying triggers an attack. Plausible, I think.
By the way, Grendel, I didn’t find your cryptic remark hard to understand. Saying Player X has not got a “real” chance is not the same as saying he has NO chance.
Also by the way, I saw Graham Greene being interviewed and taking questions, at the National Film Theatre in London many years ago. Boy, am I glad I wan’t raised a Catholic. Right now we’re seeing the results of too much religion, in Afghanistan. Too much both there and in America.

DC Says:

Looks like Nadal has passed his peak. He has completed 9 years on tour, the same number of years Fed had done when he started declining.

stu Says:

Since 2008, Rafa and Nole have played 166 games against each other on clay. Rafa has won 57.8% of these. That’s pretty darn close to a 50-50 win-loss percentage. The difference so far has been that Rafa wins the more important games. But maybe, just maybe, once during this clay season, Nole will let his newfound confidence carry him towards a win.

They have had many close matches on clay. Even though 3 of their 6 clay meetings were straight set wins for Rafa, two of those wins went to tie-breaks for a set. I think that’s more than anyone (apart from Fed) has challenged Rafa on that surface.

andrea Says:

every year we pontificate about who will be taking the clay season from nadal and so far, aside from soderling two years ago, no one has stepped up to the plate.

eventually this has to change, so maybe it will be this year?

either way you slice it, nadal has a boat load of points to defend in the next few months, both roger and novak can make some up, so the merry go round of the top three spots will continue throughout the summer.

Swiss Maestro Says:

i think joker with his double handed backhand and his game should have beaten nadal atleast once by now. i mean, federer with a game that matches very poorly with rafa on clay has delivered 2 wins, with one bagel and he served nadal a breadstick even at paris.

the fact that chokovic has not done so tells me he has definitely choked. if he does not take advantage of his position in the rivalry with rafa( having a match-up advantage and being the hunter rather than the hunted), he will be stuck in the jim courier league with 4 or so slams in his career.

killerc Says:

Rafa got out played. Djoko is the better hardcourt player… Now that the march swing is done, I’m gonna go into hibernation. Wake me up when Wimbledon comes around lol Clay court bash slide is freaking boring.

margot Says:

killerc: I used to feel like that but with Nole rising, Delboy resurfacing and Andy renascencing…well yes call me a hopeless fool, but even fools can dream….I’m really quite excited. Rafa just might face some decent competition this year. I’m really happy if he wins, Rafa fans, as long as a few people give him a fright/fight along the way :)

Colin Says:

That’s a mean-spirited posting, Swiss Maestro. It’s also poor reasoning. Here is a man who astounded everyone (except you) with the turn-around in his physical, technical and mental performance. So the best you can do is say, “Hey he maybe choked at times in the past, so he’s a choker forever, and we can forget about anything oustanding from his career. Your chosen name suggests your agenda!
Well, it makes a change from Rafa-bashing from the Cuckoo Clock Fan Club.

Fritz Says:

kriket @ 10:40 am – I have noticed the same with this woman Jane, looks like she cheers for Djokovic, but deep inside thinks he is a real loser…
Very strange, as I am from Europe and it must be some North American personality trait – similar to what was decribed by AA Milne.

I say, Jane trade some of your inner Eeyore for some of that Winnie’s sunny outlook on life – you’ll feel much better.

stu Says:

Fritz/ kriket, don’t want to speak for jane, but I do think Nole’s latest victories are a lot more fun for her, coming from her place of “no expectations”. If he had lost here, while the rest of us who were somewhat expecting/ hoping for it might have been disappointed, she’d be prepared!

grendel Says:

margot – he’s a cracking story teller, though, which is why he’ll be back. A poet of atmosphere, too, especially the seedy. He was a successful man fascinated by and even attracted to failure. Colin – Greene wasn’t raised a Catholic either; his religion was personal and romantic (imo) and bore little relation to the actuality.

b.t.w. I agree with your take on Djokovic in the mid day sun. It was certainly strange to see Nadal, an avowed lover of the heat, suffering more than Djokovic.

Fritz Says:

stu, what’s wrong with disappointment? It bring a balance in our lives. It’s impossible to avoid and we’d be fooling ourselves trying to do it.

As Murray fan, I am disappointed pretty much all the time, but I still STRONGLY believe, hope, wish, demand he wins Wimbledon 2011!

Swiss Maestro Says:


if my post is mean spirited, go back to mommy and ask her to hug you.

if you want to kiss chockovic’s @$$ or nadal’s, please do so. you can ask your friends to do so too, while you are at it.

Fritz Says:

Also, I think Murray has a chance at Monte Carlo now that he got a wild card entry. Semi-final at least!

Fritz Says:

Swiss Maestro, did you just call Colin “colon”?
I sure hope it is a typo…

If not, you remind me of Steffi Graff’s fans who were so personal that would go as far as stabbing her oponents in the back…

I suggest from tomorrow you double your medications. Don’t worry about side effects.

kriket Says:

Fritz, agreed with your impression.

stu, if I was jane, I’d “prepare” to myself and try not to repeat apparently ill-advised and ill-informed “feelings” that Novak’s opponent-of-the-day would win this’n’that.
I remember it ever since the AO final, her “feeling” that “Murray would take that title”. Told her then that I don’t feel that, and I consider her to be far more invested in following this game than myself. Then it went on how she felt Fed would win “that”, then Nadal would win IW, then again Nadal would win Miami, I mean how many times do you have to fail to stop making outspoken false predictions? It doesn’t make you prepared, it makes you look like a fool, doesn’t it?

Kimmi Says:

muzza with Wild card in monte carlo! good to know. he needs lots of matches. Did I read he has a new coach too?

New coach, new muzza! Go go go!

Dan Martin Says:

The third set yesterday was some of the best tennis I have ever seen. Awesome display. The time of match between these two should be given a asterisk given how much time Rafa and Nole spend between points. Still, awesome tennis.

Kimmi Says:

Dimitrov wins his second ATP match this year. beat reiner shuettler in the first round Houston. happy for him. Looks like he enjoys clay…one match at a time grigor!!

grendel Says:

6-0 6-2 also, Kimmi.Next is Gabashvill/Capdeville (Cap played Federer at US open about 3 years ago, I recall – Federer all in black, rather dashing; some interviewer commented on this favourably, and Federer responded “Ah, you like them in black do you” or something along those lines). I remember this Cap fellow trying to smash the ball all over the place, and giving Fed a spot of bother. Anyway, assuming he gets through that, likely to be Querry. One to savour.

Murray’s got new coach? Really? Where d’you hear that?

Kimberly Says:

Remember jane has supported Novak a long time thru thick and thin. Starting with USO 2010 troicki match djokovic became a mental giant but remember, as a long time fan she suffered the meltzer loss in roland garros from which any loyal fan might reasonably never recover. I have never recovered from the soderling match and my guy didn’t lose after being up two sets and a break.

We love u Jane!

dari Says:

whoa whoa whoa, i think anybody who has been reading posts around here for the past year knows jane doesn’t think novak is a real loser.

i’ve voiced my opinion about being more positive for your faves, but everbody does it different. give the novak fans a break after going through a tough patch with heat issues and no serve among other problems.

kriket Says:

Kimberly, I suffered too, believe me, through all his growing up as a player chokes. Knowing all that, I am able to recognize the difference in his attitude on court. Everyone who claims to be his fan should be able to see it too, and thus refrain from false “feelings”, at least after they’ve been proven wrong more than once consecutively.

Dan Martin, agreed, everyone talks about Novak spending too much time between serves, but the fact is Nadal spends just as much time, only he spends it choosing the balls, wiping himself with a towel, pulling pants out of his ass, and Novak spends it tapping the ball, making it more obvious. When Nadal repeats 1st serve (after touching the net), he takes almost as much time to repeat it as he took to prepare for the first 1st serve.

skeezerweezer Says:


yeah I timed the time between serves, tons at 45 sec…some even close to a min! Ugh!

skeezerweezer Says:


Agreed on Jane. Class poster and more than fair. Don’t blame her one bit if she wants to shout out since her fav has been playin so well. We’ve all done it with our favs and she has went along…give her some slack…

Fritz Says:

Is there a rule in pro tennis regarding time between the end of a point and the beginning of the next serve?

If not, I think it should exist (e.g. 30 sec) – the game would be more interesting and more strategic. During the long exausting rallies, the server would think about prudency of continuing the rally, knowing that he would have to serve the next serve with the heart rate of over 200 beats/sec.

I really think that the game would be far more interesting to watch. I would like to hear what you guys think…

dari Says:

There is such rule, Fritz, but it is weakly enforced.25 seconds if I remember. Severely hot days I think it goes out the window, but really I can’t remember the last time I saw a warning.

puckbandit Says:

So sorry I missed this match. Also missed being able to join in the discussion.

Is there somewhere on TV or the Web where I can see this match in replay?


Kimmi Says:

I am pessimistic about my fav too, sometime i cant even see myself watching a match, as i so sure believe they will lose. i just cant bare watch them lose. so what? it does not mean i want them to lose.

different people take it different. she is sure one of the biggest nole fans at tennis-x, if not the biggest.

grendel – i cant remember this Cap guy. Hoping for grigor win. Seriously, i don’t know where i heard about murray new coach..maybe it was just a rumor, don’t know. was it from margot, maybe jane..i dont know.

Kimmi Says:

bandit – tennistv has full match on demand. but if you are not a member i think you might have to pay to watch it.

Youtube might have a full match in parts. they normally do. i have watched lots of federer matches when i miss them live. Just search for djokovic vs nadal miami 2011, you might be lucky.

puckbandit Says:


Murray sent our a tweet naming one of his brit playing buddies as his new coach. But it was April 1 and was an April Fool’s joke. One of his tweets said ” I need another yes man”

here’s a link to the story http://tinyurl.com/3rag8u4

Is that what you heard?

Kimmi Says:

Grendel – i just Google it and here is the article talking about new coach. doubles specialist Ross Hutchins. Does it mean ross is going to quit playing doubles?


Kimmi Says:

Bundit – ha ha ha, yeah, i think that is what i heard. so it was April fools day..cheeky murray!

stu Says:

the atp website has an article that links match reports from all the matches that rafa and nole have played against each other so far. reminds you of how many great matches they have already given us. can’t believe there could be so much more to come! since 2006, they have played 25 times. assuming they will both play for at least another 4 years, will we see them touch 50?!

nitro Says:

Well, it was a close contest after all. Nadal came a couple points from winning. As I see it, there is no reason to think the Spaniard won´t be dominating the clay court season, more or less. Last year he did worse on the American hard courts.

kriket Says:

Kimmi and the rest, just to set things straight. It’s one thing to fear that your fav will lose and it’s another thing to “feel” it. Fear is irrational and feeling should be something based on information and experience. I myself not only feared but was almost sure that Novak would lose such matches in the past. But having seen his matureness and his attitude change since AO, I simply don’t have that fear anymore. I’m confident that he would at least put up a fight if not
win the big match, not choke like he used to.

Now, both jane and myself are Novak’s fans (me being Serbian don’t have much of a choice, not that I dislike other players:), and I really respect her knowledge and passion for the game. I simply noticed her wrong “feelings” time and again, in spite of being proved wrong time and again. I’d
expect a little more of an educated insight.

Kimberly Says:

Stu, as much as I of all people lament to say this, nadal probably won’t be able to play past 28 with the physicality of his game and maybe another two years max at this level. But prove me wrong again rafa! I believe his knees will eventually end his career a little shorter than some of the other guys. But what a career to have!

So maybe 35 to 40 times at this level.

Kimberly Says:

Meanwhile, not that anyone cares but I’m finding a strange parallel to rafa in my own injury problems. I tweaked a nerve last week in my right deltoid muscle, I’m a lefty too with a two hand so I can still play and serve but it’s kind of weird. I can only really feel it when I toss for the serve. During the Australian open I pulled a quadricep (I know his was a hamstring but still close!) however, my knees are fine and I love hard courts.

puckbandit Says:

I think Rafa needs to make sure that he stays health through the clay court season and the majors. An injury that carries through one of the majors could have him lose big points.

that reminds me, it is quite amazing how Rafa has come back from the knee tendinitis that had some media folk ready to send him out to pasture.

Nole has also come around after a series of matches that had some questioning his fitness and mental stamina.

So do we have a Murray rebound on the horizon?

I hope so:)

puckbandit Says:


Have you also acquired a strong love of soccer (euro football) and started yelling “vamos!” and fist pumping on court?

Kimmi Says:

kimberly – hope you get better soon..

so, do you think rafa has a nerve injury that could be causing this bad serving days..the double faults etc

Kimberly Says:

Puck bandit, not yet on the european soccer but always fist pumping but do the Serena/sharapova ” yeah come on!” no vamos yet. But its coming maybe. Literally did the same shoulder injury a day before he did on the berdych match. Creepy. Of course I have no physics to look into it. Just me and my icy hot patches and heating pads.

Kimmi Says:

“however, my knees are fine and I love hard courts” ha ha ha ha you just made me laugh so much kimberly.

i think rafa knees are fine too.

Kimberly Says:

I meant no elaborate team of physio therapists.

Kimberly Says:

Kimmi, i only feel it on the toss and I played a match thursday, the same day i pulled it, and I basically hit two games of service winners so it’s not affecting my serve. Double faults are inexcusable. Roll in a topspin second, you won’t miss it and your opponent can’t tee off on it. One of kaisers first tennis tips to me. It blows my mind how some pros double fault so much ( especially a certain female player) so no, I don’t think a tweaked nerve can account for Nadals double faults. The tiebreak double fault was exhaustion IMO.

Daniel Says:

grendel, margot

Graham Greene is great, absolute love ‘The end of the Affair’. Cryed buckets in the film from Neil Jordan in 1999.

“Love doesn’t end, just because we don’t see each other”

Wow, love this site! Even though we all are for the tennis, once and while you find a gem from others posters. This memory just lifted my end of day. Thanks!

Kimmi Says:

yap, i agree that DF in the tie breaker was exhaustion. it came after a very long point in which djoko won. nadal looked exhausted after that point..then he double faulted! bad feeling if you are a fan watching that.

i was cheering for djoko then, i thought yeees! djoko should take adv of that. he did very well!

jane Says:

Daniel, the cineophile. ;)

Thanks stu, Kimberly, Kimmi,skeeze, dari for the props. True, we are all different in the way we support our faves & follow tennis. End of. Didn’t even know this conversation continued, had hellish Monday…

Can’t wait for clay.

dari Says:

Wow, at tennisx you can learn a little about tennis and put some things on reading and viewing list, thanks, Daniel, jane, etc.
As for injuries I pulled a very minor karlovic a year late- Achilles tendonitis. The most annoying injury I’ve experienced. It hurts most when you walk uphill and you soon find out that everything is at least slightly uphill. The tape job is from calf to ball of foot. I will never play tennis in those shoes again and will stretch more before. Never again, I say!

jane Says:

Murray’s World says Andy M is still looking for a coach, so I don’t think anything has been confirmed in that regard. But yes he will play Monte Carlo so it should be a great field this year!

DC Says:

Nadal & Nole rivalry will be boring – we will be spending our time watching these guys bounce the balls forever before they serve, hitting unnecessary baseline shots till someone hits a winner or is unable to return.
This will continue for hours and hours and once the initial euphoria of Nole playing hot tennis is over, fans will not want to watch the match, though they would be eager to know the outcome.

The Fed matches are quite interesting – every point ends with either a breathtaking shot of Fed or a magnificent return of Nadal or an error while trying to do either.

The Nadal Fed rivalry was not famous because of the no 1 & 2 were playing. It was (is) better because of the quality of shots. The same thing cannot be said about Nole Nadal.

Mila Says:

That’s your prediction DC, and you’re without doubt entitled to state it here. Too bad you find it boring. I watched Nadal-Federer semifinal and Nadal-Novak final, and think quite the opposite.
For me the final was the better and more interesting match of the two.

Luckily, you won’t be forced to watch this boring rivalry in the future – you will have a choice to follow senior tour matches and enjoy Federer’s matches. Not against Rafa, though.

DC Says:

@ Mila – i would find it surprising that you think that Nadal and Nole matches can produce the magnificent shot making that Fed Nadal matches produced.

Well, it will be few years before i get to watch Fed in the senior tours. And yes, by then Nadal would have retired from the senior tour so wont get to watch Fed Nadal matches on the senior tour.

Mila Says:

In that case, no need to worry DC. If it will be few years before Federer moves to the senior circuit, he’ll be able to deny us the “boredom” of Novak-Rafael rivalry.
All he has to do is to reach semifinal and beat either one of them on regular basis. However, by your words looks like even you don’t believe in that scenario any more, do you?

DC Says:

@ Mila – Fed has already done more than what anyone else has done. If he doesn’t do more , so be it. There is not much me and you can do except enjoy the game for whatever it can provide.

I enjoyed the Nole-Nadal match as much as you or anyone else did, primarily because it offered something new & different, glimpse of a new #1, hope of an upset.

From a shot-making point of view, there wasn’t much to offer considering that the #1 & 2 were playing against each other. A 3.5 hour Fed Nadal match in its prime would have provided a buffet of mouthwatering shots, both by Nadal and Fed.

Noles playing style is now more close to Nadals (reliance on defense) than to Fed’s (relying on attach) and two players playing the same style takes the fun away from the game.
It was the opposites (of playing style) in the game of Nadal & Fed that created the spark.

margot Says:

Fritz: just climb into this car aboard the Andy Murray roller coaster and help release my inner Winnie-the Pooh :) How splendid to have you aboard! Did u cry when he won Toronto, cos I sure did!
kimberly: do u have the “Sharapova look” as well?
grendel, kimmi: let’s hope Dimitrov starts delivering. He could be well good on grass.
Completely understand where jane is coming from and I’m not American or even Canadian Fritz and kriket. If u r pessimistic by nature then u r never disappointed, frequently pleasantly surprised and sometimes ecstatic!
Daniel: Yay Neil Jordan, “Mona Lisa” brill film too. Re-make of “Brighton Rock” looks kinda interesting. Just played top 10 films…again…and friend’s top 1 was “Pulp Fiction” Could never be so bold as to choose no1!

Mila Says:

DC, I understand your points but it is ultimately a matter of taste, very personal. I happen to respectfully disagree with you on this because I really enjoy Novak-Rafael matches and do not find them boring. I also think there are some really good shot-making on display.
Two examples that come to mind from the final:
1. Novak drop shot, Rafael runs, catches it and plays it back (meanwhile Novak finds the time to scratch his nose), then Novak plays a nice lob to win a point.
2. Rafael drop shot volley that Novak dives for and retrieves on the line

Just two examples, there were probably many more…

sar Says:

I would love to see an encore of the Rafole match. Anyone know when it’ll be on?

Jane, just so you know, we all love you here on tennis-x!

Cindy Brady Says:

I think rafa will not lose a match on clay. You heard it first here.

Mila Says:

I couldn’t resist sharing a clip of this point with all of you. Some might have seen it already, but for those who haven’t, it’s a treat.

It’s from Djokovic/Murray doubles match a week ago, and furthermore the point pretty much decided the match!


petarbs Says:

AT first you shold know that novak djokovic “iz born”on tha clay…
secend-he is now more stronger then he was before,he prof that aganist nadal on this 2 finals…so..???
conclusion is…???

Kimberly Says:

dari–the karlovic achilles is one i have never had, i tend to get the left quad repeatedly. That souonds like a bad one!

Margot–i wear most of her dresses but unfortunately I am only 5’8 and have brown hair.

I am playing thursday night with Andreas, the diving buddy who doesn’t watch much tennis but temporarily had the lead in the AO bracket challenge (much to our embarassment), who played with Kaiser and lost 6-0 6-0 last week. So he was demoted to me. He’s a 6’5 latin american. I will rate my chances very slim but I am quite excited!

Skeezerweezer Says:

Ok ok.

Don’t have any issues if ya all think your fav is more exciting to watch others, but there is no way any players shot making skills are better than Feds, unless you have lived under a rock the past decade.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Take care of that Achilles, scarwy stuff :(

stu Says:

Come on, update the funk/ trunk already! I wanna know what can be better than:
“Future No. 1 with a bullet.”


Kimberly Says:

stu here is my guess on what they will do:

Novak–future number one with a bullet
Fish–highest ranked american
Vika–wins title
Petkovic–nice little run
???? maybe Delpo for beating Soda or RAFOLE rivalry

Nadal–doesnt close out matches
Sharpova–double faults UEs
Murray –no words nec. two qualie losses

let’s see if I am right!

stu Says:

That’s pretty much what I would have guessed, kimberly! Except maybe the Fedal rivalry will now be in the trunk!

skeezerweezer Says:


Love the trunk stuff, lol

jane Says:

Good Funk/Trunk predicting Kimberly. Good luck with that 6’5″ er too! Eeep. Strap your quad.

dari, echoing skeeze – watch out for the achilles; you know the story.

margot Says:

kimberly: didn’t mean her tennis dress, meant that intimidating stare/scowl which scares me from the other side of the TV! :)

margot Says:

Will someone please explain “funk” it means “a state of fear”???? Yeh, I get “funky” btw.
Don’t like it, regardless of the fact that Andy lives in the trunk ;) Seems a very laboured joke, perhaps it doesn’t travel too well across the pond.

stu Says:

Just a hypothetical thought. If Nole continues this winning streak for 2 more tournaments, MC and Madrid by beating Rafa in the final, we could be talking about him taking over #1 as early as Rome!

Can you pull it together for 12 more matches, Nole? Or is there that tiny matter of a surface change? :P

Nole for 38-0!

stu Says:

margot, here’s an article discussing potential coaches for Muzza.

they talk about Todd M. and it’s starting to make so much sense to me! especially since ” Martin won’t hesitate to explain to Murray that there are behavior boundaries that even celebrity tennis players can’t cross.”

Fritz Says:

I hope it is not Todd M.!
That guy almost cost Djokovic his career, really “helped” him with the serve.

On the other hand, I hope it is Boris B., great champion and even better person – would get along really well with Murray’s personality, I think. And guy knows thing or two about winning at Wimbledon!

jane Says:

^ Agree: prefer Becker to Martin for Andy M.

dari Says:

Todd M won’t be getting any recommendations from a certain Serb! Can’t imagine Andy will pick him up.
Thx for Achilles well wishes, guys!

dari Says:

I know everybody else is talking about it, but does ANDY actually want a new coach? He just promoted Dani to full time coach. All this talk is nothing if AndyM is not actually on the market.

dari Says:

Jane- I must say that novak is cracking me up on twitter. If you don’t read his tweets you should :)

jane Says:

I don’t have twitter dari; where would I read them? How do I find them?

dari Says:

You don’t actually have to have twitter, let me find how his twitter name is spelled…
It’s not ACTUALLY witty or anything, just silly. These tennis players are nut jobs all of them, i swear…

dari Says:

Did anyone answer your funk question, margot?
Funk is actually a very weird (funky) word, now that you mention it I’ve never heard of this fear/panic definition, but if the dictionary says it…
Sometimes people say “in a funk” to mean in a spell of depression, low mood, but when you HAVE the funk, it means you’re in a good groove, everything is going for you, really charmed. Novak is the absolute definition of “got the funk” right now.

margot Says:

dari: thanx :) Now I understand. I guess it’s one of those words that’s crossed over to slang and now means something else eg “wicked.” Yay! Nole certainly “has the funk.” :)
btw Dani was not appointed Andy’s coach. More internet rumours. Can’t see Becker being appointed either. He’s been really rude about Judy.

jane Says:

^ Oh yes, margot: forgot about those comments on Judy by Boris. Too bad, as tennis-wise he could be good about helping Murray; he was the one who talked about some aspects of tennis (e.g., 5th set) being all “mental”.

Thanks for the link dari! Nutjobs with funk, lol ;)

jane Says:

Dari, he sounds jubilant. Rightfully so. Finally, some rest. For me too. Zzzzzzzzz

dari Says:

I believe you know better than I do about andYM, margot. I just thought I had heard the Dani bit from a reliable place, and it was before Alex was announced gone… can’t find it now. I guess they made a leap considering as dani is just about the only one left.
Jane, jubilant is better than “nut job”, you’re right.but just thinking of this professional athlete going through and saying hello to all these countries on his computer- it struck me as nut job. Really quite cute, actually. The last tweet was classic tmi, cheeky novak.

grendel Says:

Cindy Brady – that would be two years running no loss on clay. Not very likely. Niggling injury and so forth has to be considered. Not to mention the unexpected. Which – as of now – is unforeseeable…

Little Wing Says:

As much as i’d love him to sweep all the clay tournies again, I actually think he’ll take the gas off in Madrid or Rome, hopefully Madrid, I really dislike that tourney. I don’t think Rafa wants to jeopardize his chances at RG, he did say that it’s important that he arrives at RG at full fitness.

Cindy Brady Says:

I love it how people want to make it look like todd martin was the one who made novak’s game pathetic.

novak’s game sucked @$$ the last 3years, post 2008 AO. dont blame martin for that. even pete sampras would have failed to teach him how to serve. it was THAT bad.

i dont get this stupid obsession with tennis stars as coaches. and boris becker would be a terrible coach. if you have atleast half a brain and have watched tennis, you will know that a GS champ doesn’t automatically make a great coach.

it is the foot soldiers like gilbert, cahill and annacone that would make great coaches.

grendel Says:

Agree that there is no reason at all why a great player should be a great coach. They are two different professions. Some may be able to span the gap – Tony Roche, eg – but probably not many.

Fritz Says:

Cindy Brady,

It is true that his game sucked, but a coach is hired to eliminate that ‘suckiness’ from the game. That is the nature of coaching, kind of “public resume” position – transparent and based on the results. If you produce the results you’re a good coach, otherwise you are fired.
That is what happened to Todd Martin; although Novak’s game sucked when he came on board, he did not do much to improve it, and it could be argued that he made his serve even worse. That he cannot hide that from his coaching resume – he failed with Novak, which makes him bad (or at least high-risk) choice for any future serious tennis player.

Honestly, I think Novak fired him even though he publicly stated that they “amicably parted their ways”, just a PC way of saying he fired his @$$.

That said, I still firmly believe that Boris Becker has that special persona to be a successful coach to strong-type personality such as Murray. The guy is not easy to coach, that’s why I like him so much – an original!!!

tennis coach Says:

I think Nole will take two clay tournaments, probably MC and Madrid and will beat Rafa two more times in the finals. You heard it first here.

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