Rafael Nadal: “It Is True… My Game is Not Bothering (Novak Djokovic)” [Video]
by Tom Gainey | July 3rd, 2011, 7:03 pm

Rafael Nadal suffered his fifth straight loss to Novak Djokovic, falling to the Serb 64, 61, 16, 63 in the finals at Wimbledon.

Nadal, who also lost his No. 1 ranking two days earlier, had been the Wimbledon winner the last two times that he played and had won his last seven Grand Slam finals until today.

Djokovic was the better player Nadal candidly said.

“He played better than me,” Nadal said. “For that reason he is the champion here. So I just can congratulate him. That’s the true. He played very, very, very high level for moments, and I played a little bit lower than the previous days.”

Djokovic has wins over Nadal on three different surfaces – hard, clay, grass – a feat only only achieved against Nadal by Roger Federer.

“When I was hundred percent to play, I lost against him five times,” Nadal said. “The rest of the year I won almost every match. So I’m doing the things very well probably not against him. That’s what I have to change. Probably the mental part is little bit dangerous for me, because when I arrive to the 5-4, I played a bad game with 30-love. When I arrived to 4-3 of the fourth set, I played another bad game with my serve.”

Nadal had won 20 straight matches at Wimbledon and only Roger Federer had beaten him in Grand Slam finals. And Rafa admits that right now he has to find a way to beat Djokovic because his current strategy is no longer working.

“Is true we can analyze that my game is not bothering him,” he said. “We have to find how I can bother him another time. I did in the past. He’s in the best moment of his career. That’s true, too. I am in one of the best moments of my career. Still not enough for him. I have to play longer. I have to play more aggressive. I have to have less mistakes. Yes, that’s what I have to do.”

Nadal moves to No. 2 in the rankings in between No. 1 Djokovic and No. 3 Federer. Nadal has three titles this season losing five finals. He won French Open, reaching the Wimbledon finals and was injured during a quarterfinal loss at the Australian Open.

“Last five times wasn’t my time,” Nadal said. “I gonna wait and I gonna try to a sixth. And if the sixth doesn’t happen, to the seventh. It’s going to be like this. That’s the spirit of the sport.”

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26 Comments for Rafael Nadal: “It Is True… My Game is Not Bothering (Novak Djokovic)” [Video]

topspin Says:

wow is rafa pissed off.

Michael Says:

That is obvious to say the least Rafa. Best left unsaid. Djokovic has got the full measure of your game and for sure has tons of confidence when he faces you. It will surely be a herculean effort on your part trying to overcome the mental edge which you have offered to him on a platter.

Skeezerweezer Says:

You can’t look back and see how you beat someone and get that in your game to beat them now. It doesn’t work that way. That is why Nole can beat Rafa now, his game has changed, mentally and physically.

Nole has sound & solid fundamentals, of which can be improved upon and added. Rafa has improved his style of game, and can change tactics, but he is not going to come out anytime soon with new strokes or shots to beat Nole. His game basics cannot change. As an example, he is never going to change the way he hits his FH. Seen a FH slice?Sure he added MPH to his serve, but no one has said his mechanics changed. It looks the same as it always has. The only thing he can do is change tactics. Good luck with that.

aleish17 Says:

Kudos for trying your 5th Nadal. We’ll see if you can improve and strategize on the 6th time you’ll meet Djokovic. We will settle as the 2nd best to Djokovic this year. Hope you’ll figure out a way to beat him next time. Keep trying Nadal!

mem Says:


the thing is when you are true champion, you don’t quit searching for ways to solve the problem because you’ve been beaten several times. the mark of champion is perseverance; not accepting defeat. there are some who would love for nadal to give in to defeat because they know when he sets his mind to do something, he won’t stop until he achieves, just like him winning the 2010 uso. he is absolutely spot on. try the sixth time and if he doesn’t succeed try the seventh, sooner or later, he’s bound to get it right. nadal’s mindset is his more powerful weapon. that’s what separates him from other players. i love that kind of spirit.

when i reflect on the match, he doesn’t have much to change. he’s moving in the right direction. his main problem is making good on the “big points.” which is a mental adjustment. he’ll eventually put every piece of the puzzle in the right place and the tables will turn. way to go rafa! love that attitude!

Michael Says:

Mem, I never doubt Nadal’s perseverance or determination. It is of the highest order. He is a true Champion and the records he has built over the year speak for themselves. Nadal doesn’t need a performance certificate from me. He is Great. But many of his supporters were quite premature to herald him as the GOAT just based on his H2H with Federer. That is not the way to go. Now the five consecutive defeats inflicted by Djokovic over Nadal confirm that phenomenon that H2H do not reflect greatness but only confirms the bad matchups. As regards big points, if you take a look at the old matches between Federer and Nadal, you can well find for yourself the numerous break points that Federer had over Nadal. For example at the Australian Open 2009, Federer had about what 37 break points but converted only a handful. That means luck plays a big part in Sport. All said and done, Djokovic is truly emerging as a future Champion.

333momo Says:

I hope Nadal can still change and improve his game to find a way to defeat Djoko, who´s chest pouncing and religious crossmaking is starting to sicken me.

jamie Says:

I think Nadal will run away like Borg did at 25. You know, the coward reaction.

mem Says:


sorry but you’ve have lost me. i thought the topic was about what nadal finding solutions and making adjustments. i’m not a GOAT theorist, sorry! i don’t care about that kind of stuff.

you think too much! keep it simple. time will tell the story regarding the extent to which nadal, federer, djokovic, will impact history. i’m just trying to deal with the topic at hand. the future will take care of itself.

bottom line, nadal is a true champion and true champions possesses a fighting spirit. i have no doubt that he will change things in his favor. it’s who he is! great spirit, great attitude. had he given up during the time he was winningless for approximately 12 months, he wouldn’t have swept the clay masters and three slams last year. so, his attitude is fantastic.

here are some facts; he’s been to 8 finals this year, beaten only by novak, so, he’s not doing as bad as what you read. i expect the negative to highlighted when it comes to nadal. it always has been, why should it change now. it’s not what the sportswriters or commentators or former players or fans believe about nadal, it’s what nadal believes about himself. after all, he’s the one playing the matches. he’ll be just fine.

leo vixen Says:

Ahhem? Borg a coward and ran away@25? Is that what you call one of the best players ever, with 11 GS by the age of 25? One of the finest players, movers, and one of the most mentally tough guys of his generation? If that is what you consider a coward, then I will take a coward any day. Is it any wonder why Nadal is very often compared to Borg? Call Nadal anything you want, but he is not a coward. He will find a way to come back winning even stronger than before because Nadal’s mental toughness comes from within. Djokovic didn’t have any of that until he started working with a sports psychologist, and my bet is that it won’t last forever. You can’t change the spots on a leopard.

mem Says:

leo vixen,

amen! amen! i couldn’t have said any better. great point!

jamie Says:

Nadal doesn’t deserve a third Wimbledon. He is not as good as Mcenroe and Becker on grass…

jane Says:

Agree that Borg is not a “coward.” There were likely several reasons he retired when he did.

As far as I know, Nole has never hired a sports psychologist. He has a holistic doctor, who is the one who found the gluten allergy, and since he believes in mind-body health, there is a good chance Nole does some meditation /visualization. But I think some of the mental strength comes from maturity. Nole has matured a lot from the 20 year old of 2008 who won his first major. He went through a lot of shifts and changes, and now he is comfortable with his game, his personal life,etc. I don’t see any reason why he would revert backwards. Surely, too, confidence grows with success. The fact that he didn’t get discouraged after four years at number three, and kept trying to break through, shows that Nole is a fighter, and that he has a lot of desrie to do well. To say Nole “didn’t have any” mental toughness until recently is just not accurate. You don’t become the youngest player ever to win a Masters (beating Nadal along the way, Miami 07) and back that up a year later with a title over the most dominany player ever (over Fed in Montreal in 07) and then your first slam final, followed immediately as the next slam by your first slam title by being mentally weak!! Ha. Nole just had ups and downs that made him doubt, not to mentiom repreatedly bumping up against Rafa and Fed. But now he feels confident he can beat them some of the time. And he has proven to himself and tennis fans that he can do that.

jane Says:

Nole was not just the youngest player ever to win a Masters title, he was also the youngest ever to reach the semis of all the slams. He was the only player to be voted “most improved” two years in a row by the ATP. He was the first player since Becker in 1992 to beat then #3, #2 and #1 en route to a Masters title (Roddick, Nadal, Federer, back to back to back). He was the first player, after Safin in 2005, to break through the Rafa and Fed slam dominance and win a slam in 2008. So again, to suggest he didn’t have mental fortitude prior to working with his current doctor-mentor figure is not realistic

tbd Says:

Nole is the youngest player ever to win a masters title? I’m confused. In March 2007 he was 19 3/4 year old. Nadal had won Monte Carlo and Rome before he turned 19. Am I missing something here?

Thava Says:

Nadals descent has already begun This is something I’ve been arguing since earlier this year. Nadal is not going to get any better. In fact, he’s only on the downward slope of his peak. He hit his relative max last year. Next year will be even worse for him. He won’t defend RG and Djokovic will probably win that major. Not to mention that I don’t think he is going to defend Flushing Meadows this year.
The Spaniard can stupidly blather on about how he is going to ‘bide’ his time and wait Djokovic to cool down. I’m sorry, what ‘time’ does he think he has? His brain is in the lala land of wishful thinking. With Djokovic just hitting his peak and spanking him wherever he meets him, with Delpo soon to hit his peak, with Murray to maybe eventually break through somewhere and with the young crop of Dimitrov, Tomic, Raonic and Harrison poised to break through in the next few years, how much does Nadal think he can ‘bide his time’? The one luxury the Nadal camp cannot buy -with all their wealth- is time. The window is getting smaller for Nadal. Compound this problem with the fact that Nadal is an early bloomer and you start to detect a dangerous trend. He is entering, very subtly, his post-prime, he will get slower on his feet, gradually, and his age is misleading. The mileage on his body is more like for a 27 yo at this point. At 26, he will be further along in his post-prime – at 27 he will be mostly finished as a serious contender for anywhere but RG.

Borg Says:

It is Tsonga who spoiled the party of Rafa. If only Federer had come in the semi-finals against Djokovic, in all probability he would have got rid of him and then met Nadal in the finals. The result then is quite obvious to say the least. Nadal would have little difficulty in trouncing Federer in straights or in four to gain the title. But, Tsonga spoiled everything.

margot Says:

mem, one of Rafa’s great strenghs is how he plays crucial points. Can’t seem to do it against Nole. You’ve gotta ask why.

jane Says:

tbd, sorry, I got that wrong. You are right. At wiki, it says he was the youngest player to win *Miami masters championship specifically. Thanks for the correction. Just trying to make the point that Nole has, in fact, been mentally strong from a young age, is all.

JF Says:

@ Thave
Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah !
What a prophet you are !!

dari Says:

Here is even more of what Jane has.
Note the last photo and that this yacht party is apparently no girls allowed!

mem Says:


you and others gotta ask why! i don’t! i know who nadal is and i know what he is capable of doing. i simply don’t have to question him every time he goes through a bad patch. in other words, i don’t lose faith in nadal everytime he stumbles. this is a competition. competitions are designed to be challenging. we can’t expect for other players to sit back watch nadal dominate and not want to them a piece of the pie. novak is that kind of personality. he has always been very ambitious; he has always wanted to be seen as better than nadal and have that same effect on people as nadal does. it goes way back. that’s his personality! i’m not surprised that he has done everything and anything possible to achieve this. hats off to him for wanting more and working to reach his goals. i don’t blame him one bit. he has right to be at the top. he worked for it! nadal is the type person that accepts whatever situation he is in. if he’s #1 fine, if he falls to #2 or #3, he accepts it, moves on.

i don’t need a bunch of people to help me believe in him.

i also know how sports work! every player is human despite how great he may be. the media portrays these players as unbeatable,untouchable, unfaltering, just as they are doing novak now. it’s not unheard of. everytime a player goes on a streak, he becomes invincible in the eyes of experts, fans. it’s the nature of tennis. things like that don’t affect me the way it does you guys. last year, nadal was supposingly invincible. after novak it will be someone else. everybody loves a winner. it’s just another bandwagon for the time being. nadal understands that; he can handle it. if he were down in the dumps and on the verge of retirement over the matter, he wouldn’t be preparing to play a golf tournament and enjoy his time off. he knows that this is sports.

anyway, to your point suggesting that nadal’s future is over because all of sudden, he’s not playing the big points better than novak and we all know that he’s a “big point” player is totally an exaggeration. you have to consider the reasoning behind it. when a player loses against the same player in four consecutive matches no matter how great that player is, the losing has its effects, but to what extent depends on how nadal handles it in the future. we will see!

same as with roger vs. nadal. the difference in nadal and roger in regards to handling consecutive losses is that nadal looks himself in the mirror and accepts his weaknesses and he’s not too proud to admit that novak is better than him at this moment.

in contrast, roger would never look in the mirror and say to himself, well, nadal is better than me at this moment. it’s not his personality; it’s not who he is. roger is much too proud to admit he needs help. that said, a player can only do what it takes to improve his weaknesses if and only if he accepts there is a weakness, nadal has done so courageously and with great respect, imight add.

what’s the first step to getting better when you’re sick? the first step is to admit that you are sick! my point is, nadal has taken his first step, so, the rest will fall into place eventually. we will see what happens!

killerc Says:

Eh, Nadal is still good and will win again people! He hasn’t figured out how to play the “new” djoko! Fuzzy yellow balls on youtube offered some great suggestions on what Nadal could do.. Avoid the bh to bh rallies! When he gets into it, try to get it the ball more up the middle to lessen Djokos angles. Nadal can serve better too! Maybe try some more aggressive approaches – here and there, to throw off Djoko’s baseline game. All in all, like someone mentioned… Nadal’s spirit is awesome, greatness usually chases those type of people!

Kimberly Says:

nice post mem

connie lamont Says:

Very interesting and diverse comments made and I have believed in Rafa for 7 or 8 years and he still plays unbelievable and chases everything, Nole is currently playing like Rafa (mirror image)so Rafa will change his tactics to match Nole, long may their rivalry continue

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