Nadal Camp: Rafa Does Not Have a Fractured Left Foot, Summer Schedule is Intact
by Staff | July 4th, 2011, 2:31 pm
  • 240 Comments

Reports emerged early this morning suggesting that Rafael Nadal had fractured his left during his match with Juan Martin Del Potro at Wimbledon last week.

Stories said the injury, which Nadal apparently played with through the weekend subsequently losing to Novak Djokovic in a four-set final Sunday, would sideline the Spanish star for up to six weeks.

However, earlier today via twitter, Nadal’s chief PR man Benito Perez-Barbadillo said Nadal is fine and any stories citing a Nadal having a fractured left foot are erroneous.

“Just to be clear: Rafa doesn’t have a fracture and he won’t be off 6 weeks. holidays & July 16th will play a golf tournament in Mallorca”, Perez-Barbadillo tweeted.

Benito also tweeted that Nadal would resume practice for the hardcourt season on July 17 before his first tournament on August 8 in Montreal and then Cincinnati.

The now-No. 2 ranked Rafa will defend his US Open title starting August 30. Nadal has won three titles this season but has lost five finals to Djokovic.


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240 Comments for Nadal Camp: Rafa Does Not Have a Fractured Left Foot, Summer Schedule is Intact

mem Says:

that why i don’t believe everything i read. i will be cynical and go so far as to say maybe the source was indirectly suggesting that nadal was making an excuse for his lost. at any rate, you would think that the report would have been confirmed before release.

nonetheless, great news! rafa will be back sooner than i thought. can’t wait!


Dc Says:

After the finals-
Uncle Tony (pulling his hair): aargh….why did you loose?
Rafa: Hes playing really very well..i returned to his backhand…it always worked with goat.

Uncle Tony: thats not an excuse.This creature is different from goat.
Rafa : well..err..umm…i have a fracture.
Uncle Tony: ok..let me tell the press…this is a fair enough reason for you to loose.

Later:
Press Rafa – we head you have a fracture – can we see the x-ray?
Rafa – no..no…i am Ok.
Press: But uncle tony mentioned about a fracture.
Rafa: its uncle tony who has a fracture..i am good..see (rafa hops few times)..i look ok..no.


jamie Says:

Nadal is not winning anymore titles in 2011.

Take it to the bank.


Kimberly Says:

why would spain replace Nadal with Granollers, not that I care, I want the US to win (I may like Nadal but im not from spain and still american!)

I mean, wouldn’t Almagro be a better option, a top 20 player?

Almost every singles US man of note lost to the spaniards on grass
Fish-Nadal
Isner-Almagro
Roddick-Lopez
Harrison-Ferrer

but I think fast indoor HC will be a different story. Especially without Rafa. But maybe not. If we lose this thats just pathetic.


Kimberly Says:

Nadal will figure Novak out, prob by AO 2012 would be my guess.

“Take it to the bank.”

One thing throughout his career Nadal has always been good at is making adjustments. Anyone who disagrees simply is making that argument to be argumentative or doesn’t really know tennis. Its a fact. I am confident he will keep trying to figure it out and if he keeps trying he will.


jane Says:

Kimberly, what’s interesting is that Nole intends to keep trying to change and improve, *based on the example set by Rafa. As I posted on the other thread, in this quote:

““I want to improve,” Djokovic told a small group of reporters after being presented with a cake decorated in Serbian red, white and blue on the Wimbledon players’ lawn.

“The example for me is Nadal. A few years ago we all knew how dominant he was on clay but maybe not so much on the other surfaces. Nobody thought he could get any better but he did.”


scineram Says:

“Rafa: Hes playing really very well..i returned to his backhand…it always worked with goat.

Uncle Tony: thats not an excuse.This creature is different from goat.”

Golden.


tfouto Says:

Kimberly

i am sure Nadal will improve, but Nole also. I would like to see if Nadal could overcome Djokovic again. Let’s see. Its not a easy task. Djokovic reflexes, speed and flexibility is impossible to beat by Nadal. Nadal will have to improve his own weapons.


grendel Says:

@Kimberley 5.42 – wild assertion merely – at best.


M Says:

Grendel –

This

“One thing throughout his career Nadal has always been good at is making adjustments.”

constitutes a “wild assertion” for you?

*gives you side-eye*
*still waves hello*


grendel Says:

Hello, M.

Long time no see. I’ve always enjoyed your cryptic comments. You’re the Haiku player amongst tennis posters.

No, of course Nadal will make adjustments, as he has done before. Like any other great player faced with a problem. But to say:”Nadal will figure Novak out” as if he’s James Blake or something is wild indeed. To go on to assert:”he will keep trying to figure it out and if he keeps trying he will.” is just that – assertion. It’s dogma substituting for argument.

The fact is, Djokovic is at least as talented as Nadal, and whilst Nadal is doing his figuring out, Djokovic will not be staying still. The two players have a genuine rivalry, and a reasonable proposition is that in future each will suffer defeats at the hands of the other. As for whether one will ultimately emerge as the superior player, that is possible of course – but at this moment in time, nobody can confidently state that it will be one rather than the other. You can have an opinion – that’s another matter. I have an opinion, for instance – but who cares what that is (well, I do….)


mem Says:

grendel,

you make some interesting points and you’re right djokovic will be improving; he has too at #1 with everyone else chasing him. he can’t afford to be complacent. we all know rafa’s reputation. his middle name should be “improvement.”

based on my perspective, from what i saw in the final. nadal is playing novak the right way for the most part. people make it seem like he has to start from scratch. that’s not the case! the match was not a beatdown by any stretch of the imagination. in fact, nadal had chances too. he was serving great in the first set up until the 4:5 and again he failed on a “big point” the second and third sets were identical scores, so nothing to dissect there; they both played incredible sets. nadal had the break in the fourth; didn’t play his best on the breaks. djokovic broke him. nadal broke back, but then lost his serve again at the crucial point, giving novak the opportunity to serve for the set and the match.

i guess my optimism is blinding me, because i don’t see this huge disparity in nadal’s level compared to novak’s. people are making it sound like nadal should give it up because it’s just not possible for him to beat novak again. are they kidding? nadal had chances to beat him yesterday, but he didn’t and ifs, buts, should’ve, could’ve, don’t win matches. i say again, his problem was more mental than tactical he didn’t make the mental adjustments on big points; e.g. 4:5 first set and breakpoints. that’s it. he can correct those things. of course he can always work on improving tactics. it’s not impossible, it is a challenge and nadal loves a challenge.

it will be interesting and exciting to see it unfold. i’m eagerly looking forward.


Joan Says:

Wimbledon draws are a joke…they set the easiest draw to their favorite (Murray) and he still can’t make the final or win a tournment. It use to be my favorite grandslam…use to be.


laadlabakdaas Says:

Rafa’s middle name is not improvement. He certainly hasn’t improved on his bad manners, picking his butt, taking tactical timeouts, bringing up new imaginary injuries to play mind games, grunting, making players wait on court, taking too long between points, etc.


mem Says:

laadlabakdaas,

when i read comments like yours, i just consider the source. i won’t dignify your classless nonsense with any substantive response, but i will say this is about tennis, which apparently is something you don’t know squat about. i have no desire to discuss your personal issues with nadal. i’ll let you deal with that, if it makes you feel better, go for it!


Kimmi Says:

it will be funny if djokovic is able to reverse his H2H with nadal. nadal had a huge head start, it was only beginning of this year the H2H was 16-7. now it is 16-12.

Djokovic game is troubling rafa in so many ways right now imo. Backhand, return of serve, speed, consistency.

The easy thing for rafa would probably be to improve his serve. djokovic probably wont be able to return consistently a 135 mph. Rafa BH is very good against everybody else but weaker when playing nole, I could count with one hand how many times he went down the line in their last match. In this matchup, Rafa needs to mix it up more, less cross court topspin FH might help. Don’t forget the mental aspect as well.

Those are just few things but there is sure a lot to improve. Federer has been trying to improve so that he can concur his nemesis nadal for a large part of his career. But ofcourse he will never stop.

Great times for tennis. I hope Muzza and delpo can get into the mix, then it could get very difficult for everyone out there.


skeezerweezer Says:

MRI scan. No damage. Lose Finals. Same day report after match Fractured foot, out six weeks report from London times via tennis.com. Now tweeted damaged control from Rafa camp, no Fracture. Any familiar patterns here or just hogwash?


Michael Says:

Why is it always that the Rafa camp comes up with injury excuse whenever he loses ? This is just not fair. If Rafa had real problems, he should have quit when he played against Del Potro. But the way he was covering the Court suggested that he was fully fit. Now after this loss to Djokovic, there comes a story that Nadal was afflicted with a hairline fracture and now comes the tweet that everything is okay and Nadal was well. Which of the version is correct ? Does Nadal want to convey to the Tennis World that anybody can beat him only when he is not fully fit ?? Common this is not fair. If you are really injured, you should quit and not play on. Now if you play with injury, you have no business to cite that as a reason for your defeat. But more often than not it is Nadal who comes up with such flimsy excuses whenever he is on the losing side. I think it would be better if Nadal reforms himself and exhibit the qualities of true sportsmanship.


Nims Says:

Will it be a case going forward Nadal has better change to beat Nole on a faster surface than a slow surface. Just wondering!!


Skeezerweezer Says:

^ if you look at the past few years, don’t know how that is gonna happen. Nole is super duper on the HC. However the last time Rafa beat Nole was at USO last year, which is a HC. Some say Fed took all the gas out of Nole’s outstanding win over him in the semi’s however, so go figger…USO is a slower HC, but that doesn’t seem To be an an advantage with Rafa vs Nole anymore.


madmax Says:

As rafa had an MRI scan, that would have shown up a fracture. It shows up pretty much everything! which is why I couldnt believe it when the story came out.

Now he doesn’t have a fracture?

Where do these stories come from? Rafa’s team need to hold back on the excuses when he doesn’t play so well. It happens.

I think he didn’t play that badly, it’s just that novak played a better match – it’s that obvious.

I just wish all the excuses would stop now.

It’s boring.

mem, thanks for the advice about not believing everything I read! I’ll take it on board.


mem Says:

kimmi,

it wouldn’t only be funny if novak were to even the h2h, but it will become reality if nadal were to sit back and deny that he needed to make changes. that’s what happened to roger vs. rafa. people told roger he had no weaknesses for so long until he believed it and thought that he could beat rafa using the game that won him so many titles and records. a mistake that i don’t rafa will make.

to you and others it might seem like a lot for nadal to improve, but from what i saw in the final, it’s not. nadal was right in the match. he had chances to take it to a fifth. so, to me, it’s just another a challenge, not an impossiblity. it goes with being a champion. he has made the first step by admitting he has to do some things differently. champion can’t afford to take on a defeatist attitude. it breeds failure! based on my knowledge, i can tell you this, nadal doesn’t have that type “mindset.” that’s why he’s such a huge success. he didn’t win 10 slams by telling himself, “i give up, it can’t be done.” greatness comes with a price and from supporting nadal over the years, watching him bounce back from worst situations when everybody predicted his demise, i don’t expect him to back down now. i think he will use the five defeats as a motivational factor, not to mention he doesn’t have the pressure of the #1 ranking on his shoulders, so, he can swing more freely.

in any case, he has to do what he has to do if he wants to reverse the outcome. there is no magic wand he can wave and change things. that said, i think he’s up for the challenge. we will see what happens! exciting times ahead!


Michael Says:

Skeezer, By the way US is not slow Hard court, but a fast one. It is the Australian Hard Courts which are much slower.


Michael Says:

Mem, Do you think Nadal has business to lose the Wimbledon in four sets which is his favourite surface ? Infact even compared to the scoreline, Novak had a very easy time on Court and this is despite Nadal serving at over 75% first time serves. That will give an idea of how good the return game of Djokovic is. He was just able to neutralize the advantage Rafa had in his first serves by effective returns and he also makes Nadal hurry with his shots something which I never seen against other players where Nadal plays with ease even against someone like Federer. Djokovic plays well against the Lefties and it matches up very well with his game I presume. The game plan of Nadal to beat Djokovic can only be by aggressive play and not defensive. Djokovic is typically a right handed Nadal.


Radznice Says:

All those of you on this forum that are talking about ‘damage control’ by the Rafa team, need to get your facts straight. in every interview given by Rafa starting after his win over Delpo, he has not once mentioned the leg inspite of the press poking and prodding him for some comment or ‘excuse’ as you guys want to call it. He did not talk about it even in the end after loosing to Novak. This was a rumour started by some idiot not from his team. Even Benito Perez tweeted about this saying there is no fracture. So take a break, get a life all you Rafa haters. To quote the famous writer Paulo Coelho,’Haters are confused admirers who can’t understand why everybody loves you”…..


mem Says:

michael,

stranger things have happened in tennis. i didn’t think roger would lose to berdych at wimbledon on a turf that he owns, but it happened. so, i understand that anything can happen on any given day in tennis. it’s not like nadal was beaten by a #5 or #10 player. we’re talking about being beaten by a player on a very hot streak; a new number #1. so, i’m not surprised by that, but i’m surprised that as well as nadal was serving at the outset, he lost his serve at crucial points in the match and didn’t make good on breakpoints when necessary. that’s my disappointment! but again, it happens.

be that as it may, i’m not qualified to give him tips on how to play. i think he does a pretty good job on his own.

i’m not even interested in his gameplan against novak. that’s for him to decide. all i know is he will do it and i wouldn’t be surprise if he beats novak the next time they meet. i wouldn’t be one bit surprised.

you may say i’m in denial, but apparently, i don’t see nadal’s problem as being as big as you and some others seem to think. i just don’t! i have complete belief that he will turn things around. i have no reason, no reason at all to believe otherwise. he has never disappointed me when it comes to triumph over challenges. it’s an inner strength that he possesses; a determination to change things no matter how many trys it takes; a willingness to put in the hours of work to do it. so, it doesn’t matter about matchups, he will get it right. it just maybe sooner than we think. again, he’ll be just fine.


Michael Says:

Mem, For sure Nadal is a fighter. Nodoubt about that. He will be now finding answers to the new Djokovic. As you said, anything can happen on a given day and it all boils down to the form at that moment. As of today, Djokovic is in the pink of his career and what all he touches is turning Gold. Whether this will last, one never knows. But Djokovic too is a tough personality despite the Djoker tag he has earned through his gimmicks. I am sure he will still try to improve his level of play. I feel that he has about 6-7 majors still left in him. Let us see how the future beholds ??


Dory Says:

At least one of the Canada and Cincinnati Masters will be won by Djokovic and the other by either Roger or Murray. And the US Open by Federer or Djokovic. That is just my wild guess.


KM Says:

I am not a tennis officionado, but from what I have seen, Djokovic’s run of so many wins is not sustainable – he seems to have to dig very deep to achieve all his wins against the top players (a good example would be his semi-final loss to Federer at Roland Garros). It begs the question as to whether he really does have the heart to consistently over a significant period beat the best of the best. And, to be frank, a year is not a long time in tennis (Pete Sampras dominated the 90′s and Federer the better part of the previous decade). Sooner or later, something will have to give. Now, I am not in anyway saying that he is a not a good player (or that he is not as good as Rafa). I am simply question whether he has the heart to stay where he is.


Kimberly Says:

mem—rafa will always make adjustments. he always had. He is the hardest working player on tour. these are the same people who sent him out to the pastures in 2009 after losing to Delpo in USO and all of the WTF final matches.

By the way,notice these people scream about nadal making excuses but: Nadal only won the US open because Djoko was tired 2. beat Murray at the French because Murrays ankle really injured 3. Delpo is not back to himself—-all repeating themes.


grendel Says:

mem

I agree with you, Nadal had his chance to take it into the 5th. And then:anybody’s guess.

A couple of points. I really don’t think the 2nd and 3rd sets reflected each other in the way you suggest (here and on other thread) except in a crude numerical sense. In the second set, Nadal was ok – but he was simply overwhelmed by astonishing play from Djokovic. We’ve seen Federer do that to Nadal several times, but he can never keep it up. Well, Djokovic couldn’t either (although at least he won the bloody set), he completely lost his focus. As Boris Becker put it, he was probably preparing his response to Sue Barker. In the 2nd set, Djokovic crushed Nadal, in the 3rd set, Djokovic crushed himself.

Imo Djokovic deserves more credit than I think he has been given to put the bad experience of the 3rd set behind him, and to come back on somewhat more than level terms in the 4th.

The other thing is Nadal not making the most out of the big points. Yes, but you can’t have it both ways. We praise Nadal (and excoriate Federer) for denying Federer his break points, and fair enough. You always hear players saying it was a matter of a few points. So how you deal with those few points is crucial. Nadal failed.

I think Nadal’s interview is pretty interesting. He generally gives nothing away in his interviews, which tend to be a series of bland, self-deprecating pronouncements. But defeat at Wimbledon has stung him into two departures. 1) He has waved his own flag with some fervour and 2)he has made quite clear revenge is on his mind.

The coming hard court season promises to be full of interest – not least because there are more than two heavyweights around, who could end up spoiling several parties…..


grendel Says:

Kimberley says:”the same people who sent him [Nadal] out to the pastures in 2009 after losing to Delpo in USO and all of the WTF final matches”. Certainly not me. I was well aware that Nadal had legitimate issues and that once these were resolved, he would be back with a vengeance. This time, it is different. 1)he is a little older 2)there are no issues and 3) there is more deadly competition. However, amongst the very few fighting it out for the spoils is, of course, Nadal. He will have his chance – it is just that he is no longer a certainty the way he used to be, INCLUDING following the problems of 2009.
“people scream about nadal making excuses but: Nadal only won the US open because Djoko was tired 2. beat Murray at the French because Murrays ankle really injured 3. Delpo is not back to himself—-all repeating themes.”

1)Many, including (for what it’s worth) me, thought Nadal was astonishing in the US Open final. It’s true he had a ridiculously easy run (one is allowed to mention this?). But I have said (not that it matters what I said – but others too)that Nadal was on such a hot streak, his game was so elevated, that he would have beaten anyone, anyone at all. I have also said on this site that it is a pity Nadal had such an easy run because some doubt will be cast on his victory – which doubt is undeserved. Nadal absolutely was worthy of his amazing victory.

2. The Murray ankle – really, that’s just a nonsense. No doubt you can always find someone to say something or other, however daft.

3.Delpo not back to himself – but that happens to be true. That’s not Nadal’s fault, and I certainly am not among those who assume a completely fit Delpo will defeat Nadal. Not at all. I HOPE he does. But that is entirely another matter. Look forward to finding out.


El Flaco Says:

Nadal had a few chances, but not that many really. He would have needed to win every one of those points and that would have just made the sets closer or maybe taken it to a 5th set. Tsonga played Djoko closer than Nadal did.

Did Nadal blow a 3-0, 4-1 or 5-2 lead in a set?NO
Did Nadal fail to convert on a set point?NO
Did Nadal fail to convert a ton of break points?NO
Did Nadal lose despite winning more points?NO

These are all things that Fed did against Nadal just in their slam meetings going back to the 08 Wimby.

That said, I still think Nadal has a good chance at the US Open if he gets a favorable draw like last year. If Nadal gets a good match up in the early semi he can be off the court in 2 hours then rest while Djoko battles out a 5 set match into the evening against Murray or Fed. Unless there is a rain delay like last year Djoko would be out on the court again in less than 24 hours.


pablo Says:

Having seen Rafa close up at the start of the clay court season for last few years, its clear that his movement wasn’t at the same level as in 2010, his peak year (so far). Nole has his number because right now, physically he’s in better condition. My opinion, some of this is undoubtedly down to Nole’s improvements but plenty is down to Rafa’s tough start to the year (from Aus open injury onwards). The giveaway for me is how frequently Rafa goes to his slice backhand. When he moves well he gets in position earlier and hits over or thru the ball, keeping pressure on his oppo. When he’s late, he takes his right hand off and goes with the defensive option, which is deadly against Nole (and Murray too). He really shouldn’t have been able to win the French the way he was playing and its only because most observers take his success for granted that they miss the obvious. Fed, who in previous years has been blown away on clay really should have beaten a diminished Rafa this year and, if it weren’t for an understandable shaky psyche vs his nemisis, would have. Rafa didn’t really have any right to get to the Wimbledon final either and had Murray not wilted in sets 2&3 probably shouldn’t have been able to (and Delpo maybe should have taken earlier advantage). I don’t think either Rafa or Nole has changed dramatically in terms of style, ability or tactics over the past three years, what has really changed is physical condition and that (unless Rafa has peaked physically – I don’t think so) could change as quickly as by the time we roll into this year’s US Open.


Nims Says:

Guys..let’s give a break. Nadal has been to probably 6-7 finals in 2011. As he himself has put it, he lost only to Novak when he was healthy. Still probability of Rafa reaching finals is higher than Novak reaching finals in the majors. I think people need to wait atleast till Wimbledon 2012 to talk more about their rivalry and their career path.

Also people look at only current year to look at Novak’s domination against Nadal. But he is 8-2 in their last 10 meetings. So it’s not only in 2011 that Novak is dominating Nadal. He had upper hand even before that.


Miki Says:

I’m a Djokovic fan, but Nadal wasn’t exactly crushed in the final. Except for the 3rd set, Djokovic was a better man, that was obvious, but it’s not like Rafa didn’t have his chances. It was a relatively close match. It was the memory of those 4 losses this season that got to Nadal’s head in crucial moments. But people tend to think it’s the easy part. “It’s just mental part that is a problem”. Like it’s gonna go away. Well it won’t. And it’s also part of the game, Novak lost many of their previous matches because he got tight when it matter, and now it’s vice versa. I hope for the sake of the rivalry, that Nadal will do something about it. Someone said that he will sort things out, even if that means a few more devastating losses. I do believe he will, but with every new loss it’s going to be harder and harder, so he better hurry up.

It’s kind of ironic that Rafa is to Novak the easiest player to beat this year. It may sound pretentious when I say it like this, but he plays he’s best against him. As great a player Rafa is, he is a special motivation for Novak, so it nullifies the fact that Rafa is so much better then the rest of the tour . And it makes sense cause after 28 matches between them, Novak knows exactly what to do, and is perfectly aware what Nadal is capable of.

Novak struggles mostly with players that he doesn’t know very well, and the ones that he never played with. The best example is Tomic. Novak looked awful many times during the match, he didn’t know what to do. Novak’s main weakness is that when he is not able to set the pace and dictate play, he gets nervous. He usually has more trouble with players that try to slow the game, using soft groundstrokes and slices. Rafa is not that kind of player, his game is ideal for Djokovic.


Miki Says:

Pablo, why do you think Rafa shouldn’t have won the French and get to the finals at Wimby? He was better than his opponents and that’s what matters. Is it his fault that Fed tends to collapse lately in crucial moments and is it his fault that Murray is the biggest choker ever? Now if your going to say that if he played against Djoko in the French Open finals he would lose, I’ll tell you right away: Djoko didn’t win his semifinal match, so that didn’t happen.


pablo Says:

Re: Nims

I mostly agree with you but I think there’s a big difference between what Rafa describes as “healthy” and top physical condition (and to my knowledge, he has never used injuries as excuses so you won’t hear him complain directly – he’s got plenty of fans to do that for him ; – he will moan about the schedule of course).

Nole’s noteable runs of success against Rafa have come after the latter’s injury lay-offs. After their tremendous Madrid semi in 09 (made it 4-0 to Rafa up to that point for 09 – he was injured shortly thereafter at the French), Nole put his first run together (i.e at the start of the 8-2 sequence you refer to). As we know, Rafa was pretty knackered physically in latter 09 (pulling out of Wimbledon, injured during US Open etc). They played twice in 2010, both big matches, both Rafa wins. And of course 2011, when Nole’s amazing run took place from the Aus open, during which Rafa suffered another injury. I’m not trying to take anything away from Nole just highlighting how temporary the recent run may turn out to be as it seems to me that its largely down to the current difference in physical condition and not down to an amazing change in ability (Nole has been a great, slam winning capable player for a while as of course has Rafa).

R N
2011 0 5
2010 2 0
2009 4 3
2008 4 2
2007 5 2
2006 1 0


tfouto Says:

Djokovic-Nadal is no rivalry in the present. One beating 5-0 in this year, i dont consider that a rivalry. Maybe in the future it will change, but right now
its pretty much one-sided.


pablo Says:

Re: Miki

I said shouldn’t have been ABLE to. He did. He deserved it. If your questions aren’t rhetorical: No and No.

And I’m not going to tell you that Nole would have won when Fed richly deserved his victory in the semis – he was great. I have great respect for all the top 4 but particularly Rafa precisely because he is able to drag out performances even when its clear he’s short of his best level.


jane Says:

Clay versus other surfaces is a big factor in the h2h also. Nole was 0-9 versus Rafa on clay prior to this year, meaning while he could get to the last stages of masters and slams on clay, he would run into Rafa, and there, invariably, he would lose, like pretty much everyone else vs Rafa on clay, even Fed. Fed and Nole each have 2 wins over Rafa on clay, in several tries. But that Nole turned it around this year is really something.

Also, pablo, you are looking at things from only one side of the fence at times. Sure Rafa has had ups and downs but so has Nole. For e.g., for about 7 months of 2010, Nole had virtually no serve! He was the King of double faults. Even during the USO, on the good run Nole had there, his serve was only partially back. He faced and/or saved something like 29 break points in the final! Yes, Rafa was in great form, but Nole wasn’t quite at his best either. That he even made the final, imo, is testament to his amazing return game and his clean powerful groundstrokes on hard courts esp. Plus his guts on match points in the semi vs. Fed. Also, in end 2009, Nole went on a tear, and he beat Fed at Basel, even, so his form was pretty good then. Now, he is serving with much more confidence, and when he does this, the rest of his game flows too. That is one of the keys to his success at Wimbledon, and all year, really.


Huh Says:

Nadal hasn’t figured out the real Del Potro. Let him beat the real fully fit n in-form Del Potro continuously, then I’d admit. JMDP at his best is certainly better to Rafa at his best on the HCs. However Rafa fans can take heart from the fact that JMDP is no match to Nadal on clay n is inferior to him at WIMBY.

And so far as figurin out Nole’s concerned, it’s just too much. Yes, he n Nole’d split their victories in future, but forget about figurin Nole out, he’s not a garbag guy or anything like it for Rafa to just dispose him off at sweet will.

And so far as Roger beatin Rafa playin his natural game’s concerned, Fed indeed has beaten Rafa 8 times only by playin his natural great beautiful aggressiv game, so the arm-chair critics n self-styled experts keep their useless suggestions for Fed (telin him how to beat Nadal) to themselves. It looks hilarious otherwise. That said, Fed has such a
mental block against Rafa that it’s ridiculous n the sole cause of Fed losin one after another historic battles to Nadal b IMO that continues until their last meeting. I just dont see Fed ever pullin himself out of the mental thing vs Rafa, n consequently I dont see Fed beatin Rafa ever in any imp match in future. Too bad, everyone can beat Nadal except Federer, thanks to his mental block.


jane Says:

Just checked: in the USO final, Djoko faced 25 bps and saved 20. But he was clearly struggling in his service games pretty much all of last year.

Most champions, or top players, can pull out wins when not at their best. Honestly, I am still a little shocked Nole won Wimbledon because his form was often patchy over the fortnight. He looked strong when he had to be though, versus Tsonga in the semis, though he had nerves closing that match out, and in the final he looked good too but even there he had a let down. Same with Rafa at FO I thought. He played his best when he needed to, in the semis and finals. And thus, he won. We have seen the same from Fed in some slams too.


Brando Says:

This nadal- djokovic back and forth about how such and such had various issues at the time and therefore wasn’t at the their best hence lost to the other is a load of hors****t.simply put, in the past nadal has clearly had the better of djokovic and right it is djokovic who has nadal’s measure. Rafa admits it to be the case. Rafa’s game mathches up to djokovic’s nicely and then the present psychological advantage djokovic has because of his recent wins further compounds the problem for rafa. On top form djokovic was and is a better hardcourt player than rafa- it’s just that rafa seemed to win the most important ones (olympics, USO).


Pamela Heinbecker Says:

The only thing lacking in the Wimbledon Final was Rafa’s mind set.
All Raphael Nadal has to do is adjust his mental toughness. He will
be back to settle the score with Novak no question about it. He is
the best there ever was in tennis in spite of his injuries and occasional lapses. Look for even bigger things to come from Rafa.
I follow his career closely. There has never been anyone like him.
He is the most exciting player to watch play a tennis match ever.
God speed Rafa. See you soon. This 5 match winning streak against Raphael Nadal by Novak will not continue. Take that to the bank


Kimberly Says:

Rafael Nadal
Good morning! Yesterday I couldn’t win. I didn’t play as well as in previous matches and Djokovic was more successful at key moments.

Now I will rest for a few days, and then start preparing the next tournament.

Thanks for your support! See you soon!!

rafas facebook post


mem Says:

grendel

sorry, but i see things quite differently.

you see nadal’s glass half empty. i see it half full. to your point about novak not getting the credit he deserved, quite honestly, i don’t see what more anyone can say. from what i have heard and read, novak is getting full credit from everyone and rightly so.

again, nadal was in the match. doesn’t matter whether he played outstanding in the third set or whether djokovic gave him the third, doesn’t matter at all. point is, there is a weakness in novak that people tend to overlook, which is, he can play extremely well when nadal allows him to play his game and pull out a tight set, as he did in set one. after novak pulled out the first se, nadal being frustrated from losing serve in the first had a complete let down in the second. that’s nadal’s pattern with novak. a pattern that has to be reversed. notice carefully the minute nadal put that determined pressure that is so known for on novak in the third, novak dropped. that;s why you saw a difference in his body language going into the fourth and that’s why nadal arrived at breakpoints right off the bat in fourth. problem is, nadal let his guard drop along with his serve. at the beginning of the fourth set, novak was tense because nadal had breakpoints and did not convert. so, you see, i don’t see what you guys see. i see a player in novak who unquestionably is playing better than anyone else, but nadal is right up there closeby. he is simply not keeping the intensity up when he has his foot on novak’s neck, so the speak. a blind man can see it! doesn’t matter what experts say, nadal had his chances. i reiterate, novak has a weakness. what’s happening is people are dwelling only on his strengths and overlooing any possible flaws. if there are flaws, which i believe there are, then uncle toni and nadal will figure it out. count on it!

i expect for nadal’s approach to change! anyway, i try to keep things simple. i’m not one to start naming tactics that a player should try because i understand i’m not the one playing the match. it’s easy to sit behind a computer or write up a list of strategies that a player should use against his opponent, but the reality is, the player has to execute on court. case in point, i saw a list of tactics by experts written for murray to try prior to playing against nadal in the semis. i don’t need to tell you what happened. we all saw the match. it’s not as easy as people make it out to be.

you might say well novak is different; he’s playing out of this world tennis. that much is true, but still, he has a weakness that nadal is not taking advantage of. same happened in IW & Miami. nadal was outplaying him on hardcourts and for whatever reason he let down and novak seize his opportunity.

i noticed that novak becomes very tense when nadal puts intense pressure on him. that is why he lost the third set and it’s very possible he would have lost the fourth had nadal kept that intensity and kept the pressure on him, and made good on his breakpoint chances. rafa said himself that novak played the big points better than him. of course, experts are going to make it sound as if nadal had no chance, suggesting that he didn’t actually win the third set 6:1, but rather novak beat himself. that’s my point, whether novak beat himself or not, my point is, there’s a weakness in his game. those who know anything about sports know that you have to be successful a player has to able to detect any little weakness in the opponent and exploit it.

if novak is going to have a let down the minute nadal play more aggressively and put pressure on him, then that’s a weakness that nadal is not capitalizing on. i’m always amazed when people say a player has no weaknesses. that’s simply not true. there is a weakness in every player’s game. might be something not as visible as others, but there is a weakness and you can bet nadal is going searching. i’m reminded of how he finally figured it out against nalbandian and nalbandian was a tough nut for nadal to crack. david might not be a novak at present, but he is one of the most talented players i’ve ever seen, clean striker of the ball; can exploit angles with the best of players. he caused nadal more problems than novak. he just hasn’t played him as often.

you mentioned nadal’s failure on breakpoints. true he failed; that’s why he has to make mental adjustments. i said before, that’s what happened when you allow yourself to lose several matches you could have won against the same player. however, that’s the past, he can’t change that, but he can correct it in the future.

i see no reason why it can’t be done. matter of fact, i don’t doubt that it will. one thing i know to be true, no player is unbeatable forever, especially when you become the hunted rather than the hunter and rafa nadal will be right there. ask roger!

the way i see it, it’s not about what experts or commentators or sportswriters or fans believe is possible. it’s all about what nadal believes is possible and i wholeheartedly believe that the nadal i have come to respect and admire will not roll over and accept these defeats. he doesn’t see it as an impossiblity and neither do i. maybe nadal and i are in denial. We will see what happens!


pablo Says:

Re: jane

I honestly don’t see any fence. Nole’s not injured now and hasn’t been for a while. And you’re talking about form (re Nole’s serve etc) whereas I’m making the point about physical condition and injury (and the related complications coming back from those). My main point is that I don’t think Nole’s recent run against Rafa is necessarily a permanent shift but rather a reflection of their recent injury runs and the consequent level of their games as a result (and as Nims pointed out, its not the first time). This may change and quite soon. Also doesn’t have to be a Rafa vs Nole argument tho that’s the most interesting right now.


Dan Martin Says:

I think the biggest thing I saw in Sunday’s final is that Nole can take his two handed backhand deep into Rafa’s forehand corner and force him out of spots where he can easily run around his backhand and pound winners. The forehand corner seems to be the weakest link Nole has found. Add to that Nole’s returns and his defense and he pressures Nadal’s serve and wins a few points no one else would win and that adds up to the win.


Miki Says:

Huh: “Nadal hasn’t figured out the real Del Potro. Let him beat the real fully fit n in-form Del Potro continuously, then I’d admit. JMDP at his best is certainly better to Rafa at his best on the HCs. However Rafa fans can take heart from the fact that JMDP is no match to Nadal on clay n is inferior to him at WIMBY. ”

JMDP is not a better player than Nadal on the HC, the thing is that Delpo starts firing on his FH (and BH is not too shabby either), Rafa can’t win with his natural game. You cannot chase every ball down against Deplo, cause they are going to be too fast for anyone to catch. But Rafa is perfectly capable of playing offensively, he just isn’t as comfortable at it as he is on his normal, grinding game with solid defense (nothing negative here). He attacks when the chance is there, but he waits for an opportunity, rather than making one on his own. If he can find some of that aggressive game that he played at USO 2010, then he would beat even a fully fit Delpo. But the reality is that he is rattled a bit this year. He isn’t at all bad, he would probably have 5 titles more this year if it weren’t for Novak.

I watched a small part of some old match when Rafa was very young, I think he was under 20 years old in that match. And I was shocked how different he was. His FH was much flatter, he was going for the lines all the time hitting winners, and overall his game looked much more explosive than it looks now (‘tough it certainly looks explosive sometimes when he is in the mood). Why did he choose to be more of a grinder than an aggressive player, I guess only he knows.


Brando Says:

@mem, completely agree. If you look at federer’s win over djokovic at the French, Murray at Rome and rafa in the Miami final where he was 2 points away from a straight sets victory, the pattern that emerges is that when the players go toe to toe with djokovic in the rallies and don’t back off, believing that they can win, the. Djokovic is there for the taking. Djokovic’s body language at stages in the final, semi final, quarter final, the baghdatis match, even versus federer, Murray and nadal in the above mentioned matches show that when hit he clearly gets rattled, it’s just that it needs to be sustained. I think out of everyone nadal said it best, that djokovic won’t sustain this level and then we shall how tough he truly is once he has tasted a few losses.


Kimberly Says:

mem–agreed, as he said that is the spirit of the sport. Any true competitor would see it the same way.

On a much smaller level there is a player I always lose to and it gives me fits because i truly believe i am a better player. I’ve probably lost like 10 times. I prob won’t play her agian til the fall but you can bet I won’t walk out there thinking im going to lose. Every time I go out there I believe I have the game to win. Yet the unforced errors seem to arrive. Well now next time! However, if anyone actually cared other than me I’m sure people would wonder why i would think that.

I’m sure a lot of people here play and can relate to losing to one player mutliple who is good, but you feel you have the game to win? That your best abandons you right when you need it most?

The reality is the margins with these guys are so small and unfortunately belief does play a factor. If Nadal can get a W under his belt against the Djoker, it would go a long way for him. His best chance is Montreal. Cincinatti won’t happen because Nadal will never make it to the final on a court that fast. Never has and prob never will.

Sorry for rambling.


pablo Says:

Re: Huh

Yep, JMDP is going to be a nightmare draw for any of the top 4 come end August. Nobody has solved him at the top of his game. He’s a player with plenty to bemoan when it comes to injury…


jane Says:

pablo, I don’t or wouldn’t suggest any shift is permanent. Of course Rafa will fight to comeback with wins! But technical issues with the game cause the same kind of complications as injury/illness. Both can make winning tougher. And that serve issue was crucial for Nole to fix. He did.

————————

mem, I agree that the final wasn’t a blow out. The first and fourth sets were close. Rafa had at least love 30 versus Nole at the beginning of the 2nd set too. But Nole managed to turn that lead back and then dominate the second set. Both players served very well throughout the match and both faced exactly 6 break points, with Nole converting 5 of 6 and Rafa 3 of 6. So there wasn’t a huge discrepancy in serving or bp conversions in this match. Nole returned a little better though, particularly on second serves.


Brando Says:

Montreal Is nadal’s best bet pre USO. He has no chance at Cincinnati, if anything he should be happy that he can only face djokovic in the finals there, and rafa will not reach a cincy final. On the positive, djokovic is now In the new found position of being the hunted 1, número Ono for the 1st time in his career, at a time when mens tennis is at it’s most competitive at the top. The chasing pack sure is dangerous: a nadal who wants revenge, federer who wants to show he still is a force, Murray who is on his best surface, and del potro who at the USO will be trying to get what believes belongs to no1 but him


Miki Says:

Pablo, so you assume that Rafa is injured since AO, because that’s what is looks like to me? It doesn’t make any sense, since the first 2 matches they played were the closest ones, and were played on Djokovic’s preferred surface.


Huh Says:

And I gotta say one very very imp thing that I’ve observd within 21 yrs of my life(this includes almost 15 years of my tennis fan life). It’s interesting indeed n also utterly justified n true that WIMBLEDON is the holy grail of tennis!
The stories of all the great successes of all the great tennis champs have invariably kickstartd with their wimbledon triumphs. Triumph at the holy Wimbledon’s the greatest blessing n opens up the door to furthr great victories n fame for a tennis champion. First victory at wimbldon has sent every great champion into an achievement spree until they’re vanquished at the same Holy Wimbledon. Just look at JMac, Connors, Becker, Edberg, Agassi, Pete, even Fed!!! Good fortune just startd raining on them when they triumphd first at this miraculos holy grail n they achievd one aftr anothr thing n cementd their world domination n it continued for quite sometime for them(includ Borg) in this list too. But the moment they lost in the holy wimby,calamity befell, in larg or in small proportion for all of them! Defeat at Holy Wimbldon signalld d beginning of the end of each of them, no one has been spared, ever, if he conceded his wimbldon.

The latest addition in this list is Nadal, his real success startd with his 2008 WIMBY triumph, he startd winning all the imp matches of life once he won wimby, he
conquerd all d surfaces, vanquishd all his rivals n became the king. But
this time, he was pushd unthinkably to 5 sets at RG, but far more importantly, lost the championship battle in the Holy Grail of Wimbledon. I can clearly see wat happened to Federer was unable to defend himself against Nadal at the Holy Wimbledon! N now Nadal has also lost it, at the age of 25! Wel, his real struggl lies ahead, n its now. Time of ascendancy is clearly over, now its only about maintainin his still elevatd rank long as possibl, n then the only way is declining.


Miki Says:

And some of you people sound like Rafa won’t beat Novak for the rest of his career, and that is just impossible. Roger is fading away slowly, Novak and Rafa are going to be top contenders for the big events, they will meet many times, and he will find a way to win. Although I would like to see Novak winning all the time, that ain’t gonna happen.


jane Says:

I agree Miki. Like any rivalry, theirs will ebb and flow. Some wins, some losses: that is normal. Nole is just on a roll right now, as we know. But it won’t go on indefinitely. Like Rafa having to defend a lot this year, Nole will face the same next year. That is the way it goes. Better to be realistic about it.


jamie Says:

Dory Says:
At least one of the Canada and Cincinnati Masters will be won by Djokovic and the other by either Roger or Murray. And the US Open by Federer or Djokovic. That is just my wild guess.

____________

Agree.


Brando Says:

@huh, federer was 27 in the summer of 2008 after he lost. He then went on to win 3 out of the next 4 slams. So federer declining after that match is not a story I buy. As for nadal, he’s only 25, he should still win another 2-4 slams realistically speaking and that by any stretch of the imagination is not a decline.


jamie Says:

pablo:

I concur. Roger really blew a big chance of winning RG this year… and against his biggest rival… The way he threw away his lead in the first set was horrific…. Roger should have won RG this year.


Brando Says:

@jane, that is true. I think people are jumping to conclusions way too soon. They wrote federer of in the past after aus 09 what happened next, he won 3 more slams, nadal in early 2010 had not A SINGLE title for 11 months, then what, he becomes the 1st players in atleast 40 years to win 3 consecutive grand slams in a calender year. Djokovic at the start of this year was meant to be a bridesmaid once again, and well we all know what happened to that theory. The fact is that no1 knows what shall occur next, and most likely they all shall taste glory once again not just djokovic, but also nadal, federer and I believe murray and del potro too


pablo Says:

Re: Jane

I didn’t say you did, just re-emphasising my point in light of the one-sided (fence) comment. I agree that for Nole fixing technical errors was v.important but I don’t think Rafa has to do so nor improve technically to reverse the recent run vs Nole (and bear in mind that he did have a consistent winning run pre Nole serving yips), just get back to the physical levels evident in 2010 (and I specifically mean in terms of movement). Either that or Nole has his own injury problems, but I hope not…


mem Says:

grendel,

you can tell i didn’t proof my work until after i submitted. bad habit! i guess you can make out what i’m trying to say. too many errors. oh well!


jane Says:

Brando, the players themselves know not to write each other off. Nole knows how hard it was for him to break through to taste more slam glory and to finally get to number one for however long. He knows the type of champs Fed and Rafa are; he even credits them for his success, making him better. Also none of these players do or will underestimate, Murray, Delpo or anyone on a given day. Look at all the new guys coming up, in addition. It is a highly competitive moment in tennis right now. And I agree: none of us can know or say what will happen. Except we know there will be good tennis.


pablo Says:

Re: Miki

Come on, you really think that’s what I’m saying? Of course not. Players take time to get back to their previous levels when recovering from injuries, especially when playing a full schedule. Rafa looked a step slower at the MCM this year compared to last, a comparison that has only seemed to widen thru French and Wimbledon (vs 2010). He’ll never admit to that (he’s got way too much class) but note his post match comment about not being able to maintain 2010 levels forever. He knows he’s got further to go to get that level of movement back and I think he knows that he can (unless he’s peaked physically at 25 – I don’t think so but we’ll see).


jamie Says:

There was a rumor earlier this year that Nadal has mono. Same with Roger in 2008…


Brando Says:

@jane completely agree, we are fortunate to be in a golden age for tennis where the quality of play is amazing. As a nadal fan I was upset that he lost and that he’s now lost 5 in a row to djokovic but truth be told he could not have lost to anyone more deserving. Djokovic has had to work extremely hard to achieve the success he had and also make alot of sacrifices in the process of doing so and even now he still credits nadal- federer for forcing him to improve. So he’s earnt it, deserves it and should enjoy his time in the spotlight since he has been waiting long enough for it.


tfouto Says:

pablo get real.

Novak was better, assume it. It was that simple.

I would think that you are spanish, and tough Nadal biased.

Cheers.


Brando Says:

@ jamie, doubt it. He did have a bad fever at the time in Doha and I did read similar reports at Rome, but since then he seems to be in good health, particularly during Wimbledon where he seemed to be very cheerful and happy based on his body language and general demeanor


dari Says:

I don’t know why it clicked at Wimbledon, but my respect for Rafa as an athlete crossed the line from the requisite level to the active personal admiration of his competitive skill and attitude.

The way he responded to delpo and Murray taking sets off him was with devastating, aggressive tennis at the right moments. Ppl talk about Rafa defense, but he (at most times) becomes the most aggressive when faced with adversity. There is not much more you can ask for in an athlete.
Of course that’s the part that fails him in novak matches, but that’s another story.

This story is I KINDA LIKE NADAL NOW!
and not to mention one of the best losing press conferences I’ve ever read. Honest, yet positive, and absolutely committed.
like kimberly said, he sends a great message that anyone can draw from in the most elite level (novak used rafa as an example for his improvement) to anybody playing at the park!
besides rafa’s enumeration of sixth, seventh, so on attempts to eat novak i saw in the video interview (which don’t know why, absolutely moved me), i also loved this line
“The game is easy. The game is not that difficult. So think about a lot of things will be a mistake, in my opinion.”
did you hear that, andy mooooray?!!!
btw, i will stand my opinion that andy M will win a major, even though there is mounting evidence against it. it won’t cost me any money to keep believing in him, so i will!


Miki Says:

Pablo,

The bad play Rafa showed at French was due to him being rattled after Rome, he was getting better and better each match. I don’t think that you are saying that he’s injured since AO. I just think that 5 straight losses are not just a result of poor form. It’s Rafa we are talking about, he doesn’t need 6 months to get to his top form. He isn’t at his best that’s for sure, but if there was no Novak, this new Novak, he would sweep all the tournaments so far. No one would beat him, and if that was the case, do you think people would start to talk he is declining and that he is in bad form? I think not, but rather all the headlines would be his, instead of Novak’s. Even Rafa at 90% is still too much of beast to conquer. You know, you can beat your opponents convincingly, and you can just beat them. A win is a win, no matter how you take it. No one should expect that he is going to run like a crazy rabbit for the rest of his career. His body won’t last forever. But you can change things, you can adapt, something which he is unwilling to do.


pablo Says:

Miki,

Agree with everything you just typed apart from the last 7 words and never said different…


pablo Says:

And maybe your comments about how long it takes to get back to top form…he took a long, long time to fully recover form after the 2009 French injury…Also he might adapt, he has done in the past, so don’t rule it out but I don’t think he necessarily has to as I think he can regain the movement he had in 2010…


madmax Says:

Kimberly Says:
mem—rafa will always make adjustments. he always had. He is the hardest working player on tour. these are the same people who sent him out to the pastures in 2009 after losing to Delpo in USO and all of the WTF final matches.

By the way,notice these people scream about nadal making excuses but: Nadal only won the US open because Djoko was tired 2. beat Murray at the French because Murrays ankle really injured 3. Delpo is not back to himself—-all repeating themes.

July 5th, 2011 at 8:08 am

Kimberley, you are the nicest rafa fan here, and the federer fans know that.

What bothers me more than anything is that it was nadal who spoken about his foot/ankle. He mentioned it after his match against delpo and in the press room. You cant say one thing and then go on to dispute it. He does make excuses. Everyone knows that. It’s a fact.

I understand you wanting to support your idol, it’s admirable, but what we are talking about here is someone who plays great tennis when he wins, and gives excuses when he loses. I haven’t seen rafa do this so often as this last year.

Radznice Says:
All those of you on this forum that are talking about ‘damage control’ by the Rafa team, need to get your facts straight. in every interview given by Rafa starting after his win over Delpo, he has not once mentioned the leg inspite of the press poking and prodding him for some comment or ‘excuse’ as you guys want to call it. He did not talk about it even in the end after loosing to Novak. This was a rumour started by some idiot not from his team. Even Benito Perez tweeted about this saying there is no fracture. So take a break, get a life all you Rafa haters. To quote the famous writer Paulo Coelho,’Haters are confused admirers who can’t understand why everybody loves you”…..

July 5th, 2011 at 2:33 am

I have to disagree.

I don’t think there are any rafa haters here, but a lot of federer fans plus others that get a bit tired about hearing the excuses.

I mean please. How can someone with a suspected broken foot, go on to win a 4 set match?

Just let the tennis do the talking.

Kimberley,

surely you must get tired with the comments too?


Miki Says:

Maybe I was too critical of him. (something I don’t like to do when it comes to such champions). He did get better at all surfaces, rather than sticking to clay, he has everything, good groundstrokes, good movement, good volley, serve is nothing special but it’s solid. He has the game to be an aggressive baseliner, and he is at times and with certain opponents, as I already said, but he still heavily relies on his fast legs to chase down all the balls. He can’t do that all time, he won’t get any faster than he is, only slower.


Miki Says:

Look at Fed, he isn’t exactly winning Slams right now, but it seems to me that he could if he had more motivation, he doesn’t seem to be as motivated as before. But he still plays very well. Novak was a huge motivation at RG and how that turned out. Why am I saying all this? Because he is 30, do you think Rafa will run like he does now when he is 30? I may sound like bashing on him and I may sound like writing him off, but in fact I’m writing this cause I want him to stay for years at the top. And I’m not even a fan of him, but it would suck to see him playing worse every year as the time goes by, just because becomes a step or two slower in the following years.


Huh Says:

well brando, I’m a Federer fan n I sufficiently know the difference between the Federer of 2004-07 n the Federer of 2008-11. Since 2007 TMC,
Fed has played near his best only at Aus 10 n FO 11, Too bad for others that they still couldnt stop him from winning 4 more slams, however it doesnt mean Fed hasnt actually declined, actually he has!


Miki Says:

Yeah Huh, but that’s the thing with champions. They find a way to win even when not at their best. Djokovic wasn’t really looking like winning a tournament for the most part of it, except for the final itself. And Fed is in an even higher league. When you start to decline, that doesn’t automatically mean that you won’t win the big ones.


skeezerweezer Says:

Guess I saw a different match. I saw a beatdown the first 2 sets, then Nole took his foot off the gas pedal and relaxed, and the Champion that Rafa is and suppose to be took over, then in the 4th Novak displayed Championship from again and closed the door. Rafa had a chance? Yeah, a peep hole chance, he was down 2 sets. He served nearly 90% the first set and still lost. Guess it depends who you were cheering for. Understandable.

Look, everyone seems to have different views of the match, respect here. But the end game is he won in 4 sets, not a 5 set thriller that could have gone either way in 2008.

As far as the future, agree here Rafa needs a “mental” adjustment. So does Fed, ha! Never thought I would say that the Fedal needs a “mental attitude” adjustment. Ha!

Problem here it is, everyone is assuming Nole won’t get better. Fact is, he can get better, his technical foundation is solid and with it he can improve any part of his game. That….is scary.


Nims Says:

pablo

Based on the stats you provided, from 2009 looks like they are almost even. interesting times going forward. I expect Nadal to turn it around in the coming HC season. Let’s see.


Miki Says:

Skeeze, If you are referring to my post, I meant he didn’t look very good during the tournament, but he did in the final. I cheer for Novak yet I do not think it was a beatdown. In the first set It was Rafa serving at 4:5 and 30-0, and then 4 straight points and there’s the set, but it wasn’t a beatdown. It was only a beatdown in the 2nd set, where Nadal didn’t stand a chance. If Novak played for the whole match like that, then it would have been a beatdown, but that level is impossible to maintain.


Maso Says:

The way Novak played in the second was frightening. He was missing nothing, hitting lines, going deep on every shot, I mean, he was downright inspired! If he can reproduce that kind of tennis on a regular basis, he could stay on top for a while…


Kimberly Says:

madmax–have always admired your attitude and lotalty towards Fed, win or lose, and how you always stay positive but at the same time don’t wear blinders. I try to be the same I don’t think Rafa is perfect, and I recognize some things he does may be irritating but I love his game and his mentality.


margot Says:

dari: all depends if Andy can stop being a rabbit frozen in the headlights at key moments in key matches..can he? Oh yes and rather less losing to the Youngs and Boglamovs of the tennis world please.
Cahill is working with him in the States so: mind/second serve/forehand Darren, in that order, not much to ask is it…lol


margot Says:

PS I’d say he’s got two years may be three max. He’s very injury prone and after that tennis age will kick in for sure.


El Flaco Says:

@Skeez

That was my take as well. It was a decisive win for Djoko with only a few small windows of opportunity for Nadal. Every Fedal slam match was closer except for that one FO where Nadal beat Fed in straight sets.


grendel Says:

mem

it’s alright, caught your meaning,I actually like your style very much, its kind of unique. What I meant about Djokovic not getting credit – yes, of course, he’s everybody’s honey-bunny at the moment, he’d better make the most of it, but I was referring specifically to his recovery after 3rd set wipe out. Many players would simply have faded away into oblivion after that (against Nadal) – but he got down to it, shook the cobwebs out of his head, gritted his teeth, and imposed himself, not even allowing that net chord which cost him his serve to disturb him. That was warrior spirit.

Who ever is saying that Nadal is finished? Of course he will come back and win slams but whereas I for one was convinced that he was gonna dominate everything with his last comeback, I no longer have that feeling. The playing field is more even.

One thing, after Nadal won Wimbledon in 2010, actually before, I was certain he’d win US Open. My feeling was this: Nadal was at the top of his game, fast hard was definitely an iffy-ish surface for him, the dangerous delPo was out – this was the time to go all out and and get the US Open. The stars might never align more favourably. My gut instinct – not at all based on tennis knowledge, don’t have too much of that – was completely right. It was easy to see Nadal was on a mission, he even revamped his serve in some unimaginable way for the occasion.

So what about this year? The motivation cannot be as strong because he already has a US Open under his belt. Even so, it’s pretty strong – what better place to reimpose himself as the best player in the world? I definitely think, as of now, that he is one of the 3 favourites. Not as conclusive as before – and it only needs a little difference to make all the difference. Sometimes.

Huh – John Newcombe, who won Wimbledon 3 times, was interviewed at Wimbledon one off season, many years into his retirement. This archetypal Aussie, a sort of dyed in the wool anti-Pom, referred to Centre Court, Wimbledon as being a Cathedral.


jane Says:

margot not sure on your pronoun here “he’s got two years may be three max. He’s very injury prone and after that tennis age will kick in for sure.”

Do you mean Murray, the subject of your previous post? If so, really? I wouldn’t've thunk only 2-3 yrs max.

Injuries are awful though, Delpo and Tsonga are two guys who also seem to be prone to them. Monfils too, but he brings them on by his wild style.


Kimberly Says:

maybe rafa will surprise everyone and play five more years?

By the way, the net exchange at Wimbledon seemed a little warmer than the iciness of rome, at least on Novaks side and rafa obviously looked disappointed, but not frosty. I think the post madrid collapse is over but I doubt the friendship will ever be what it was.


tfouto Says:

I think margot is talking of Nadal…


Kimberly Says:

wow, just noticed rafa in the funk and the trunk at the same time. Kind of true though.

Aren’t there more worthy candidates than Maria Sharapova who just played her first grandslam final in four years and Roger Federer, who at 30 yrs old 16 slams has nothing to prove?


tfouto Says:

I am sure Rafa will play five more years. The question is for how long can he be on top of the game? He eventually will have to adapt his game do a different kind. More agressive and less defensive as age go by… Nadal can be really agressive sometimes…


dari Says:

hmm, i wonder how many ppl besides funk/trunk think that roger is “lucky to hang in the Big Four for a bit before dropping off.” murray’s got a ways to go to catch him and after that, soderling is almost 5,000 points behind. i think federer is pretty safe in the big four.
but if nothing else, the statement has prepared me a bit for the future…


dari Says:

rafa said take me off the court if i am 30 playing tennis a while back, but that was during bad knee times, so maybe his outlook has changed?


tfouto Says:

Federer is a safe 3 at least until next AO. Murray or Del Potro are the man who will eventually take Federer from 3.

I would say Federer will be on top 3 on the interval of 6 months to 2 years max.


madmax Says:

Kimberley, I admire you too, for the same reasons. I try not to wear blinders. It’s difficult sometimes though isn’t it?

Anyhow, we love our favourite players, excuses/habits/whatever is annoying about them. So we hear each other.

Not sure where to post this but as this is current, this is for the federer fans, (huh, gannu in partiulcar, michael, daniel) a photo of fed finishing a practice session in switzerland, in time for davis cup starting friday. Hope it’s going to be aired somewhere which is easily accessible.

PLUS, for my serbian friends, a nice comment from Fed about novak’s win.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/othersports/tennis/roger-federer-praises-wimbledon-champ-novak-djokovic-says-new-no-1-deserves-top-ranking/2011/07/05/gHQAVfiDzH_story.html


mem Says:

skeezer,

i can only speak for myself, but i couldn’t care any less whether you or anyone else agree with what i saw. you and i will never see eye to eye. that’s a given! your personal resentment and bitterness toward nadal will always distort your vision; therefore, you’re not capable of objectivity where nadal is concerned. everybody knows it! however, i’ll make an exception and respond to you anyway. how about that!

you’re a right about one thing. apparently, i didn’t see what you saw in match and you didn’t see what i saw. i don’t have a problem either way.

fact is, when i believe in something unless someone can lay out some pretty convincing evidence to the contrary, i don’t change my mind. no one has been able to do that, thusly.
it doesn’t matter with me whether i’m the only one to believe it or not. i don’t need experts, sportswriters, commentators, or fans to validate what i see. i have eyes and i have a knowledge of tennis and i can process information. i know what nadal did right and i know what he did wrong.

like i said, he was in the match, had his chances. could have easily taken it to a fifth at least. however, i’m not surprised that experts are suggesting that nadal didn’t stand a chance. that’s no more than a fabrication of the truth. that’s what they want everybody to believe.

you may call the match a blowout or whatever; that’s your perrogative. but that’s not what i saw. when i analyze a match i consider tangibles and intangibles, e.g. the body language of novak when he is under pressure, the drop in level of play. i don’t just look at forehands, backhands, or things that can be easily seen etc. i noticed how he starts to struggle with his first serves when he’s under pressure. it’s like he almost reverts back to his old way of serving. once he gets the momentum back and become relaxed his serve gets better; it’s a pattern. those are weaknesses that no one elaborates on. there are those who want everybody to think that novak has no weaknesses. well, guess what, i don’t buy it.

nadal has beaten novak before and there’s no reason to believe he can’t beat this novak. no one is invincible. it’s all in the mindset, if you think a player is invincible, then he is. that’s how roger won a lot of his matches the media promoted him as being “invincible” and players with the exception of nadal believed it. novak and andy didn’t start beating roger consistently until nadal and his uncle developed the strategy, then every one of them started playing to roger’s backhand.

nadal doesn’t think novak is invincible, neither do i, nadal is right, no player will go on winning forever. he knows how to work and wait; he knows his moment will come; he knows how to endure; he’s the best when it comes to turning things around. he’s battle-tested; been through some tough challenges. this is no different. it’s just that every little negative thing is being highlighted because nadal has lost to novak five consecutive times. so be it, it is what it is; lose, try again and again if necessary. one common characteristics of great champions is they may fall but they don’t stay down, they get up again. what matters is the “getting up again” part.

interestingly enough, it seems to me you are suggesting that nadal and the other players will be standing still while novak improves. are you saying novak will be the only one improving? don’t you wish! the great thing is, we can write opinions and perceptions from now to infinity but it will not determine what happens on court the next time the two meet.

i’m confident in what i saw and more importantly, i believe in nadal’s ability to change things and i don’t doubt for one second. i can guarantee you one thing, nadal won’t back down. you can quote me on that one!


margot Says:

tfouto, no jane is right, I refer to Andy M


margot Says:

PS jane I refer to getting a grand slam in that time scale. Though to be honest forever beating your head against a brick wall, now two, cannot be too much fun :(


Humble Rafa Says:

I have something in my head that won’t go away. It bothers me all the time.

can anyone help me get Novak out of my head. I know someone who has someone in his head!


Brando Says:

1 thing that was interesting was the fact that except for the 2nd set Rafa seemed to consistently get 30 in most djokovic games. There where a fair few occassions where it would be 15-30 or 30-30 all, so the oppurtunities where there for rafa. That has to be a good thing for him and others that djokovic on serve is not as solid as the other parts of his game. And I think that is the key if djokovic’s serve starts to fall apart under pressure then the rest of his game may unravel. Either way, the heat is on him from now on, let’s see what unfolds….


Brando Says:

@humble rafa,LMAO. @margot, I think Murray has another 3 years easily to win a slam maybe five since then he would be 29yo. All he has to do is win 1SLAM that’s all -any slam- and he would be considered a British legend regardless of anything else. And I think he will, every aus/us open, Wimbledon he is top 3 contender.


scoreboard66 Says:

Some very interesting comments about the final. I’m a neutral Nole/Rafa fan and I suppose that makes me see things differently from some here.

I know Nole beat Rafa four times this year going into the final, but there were some problems with Nadal’s health, especially at Rome. It appears from some of the comments, that some posters feel what happenend in the final was due to Rafa’s lack of mental toughness. I disagree. I feel it was him playing tentatively due to his foot problem. I play tennis for recreational purposes, and I can say without a doubt, that I play differently, in a very guarded manner, when I’m nursing an injury. I saw that with Nadal during the final. An injury places us in a different mind-set, we become more cautious and don’t go for the shots as when we’re not injured. I’m assuming that Rafa was a bit afraid that he might do some more damage to his already injured foot, which was obvious coz he was not running down most balls like he usually does. At times, he hesitated, which has prompted some posters to state that he’s a step slower. To reiterate, it’s only natural to see that ype of hesitation when one is injured due to the fear factor of making the injury worse or causing another one.

Here again, I feel that the heel problem was a huge dterrent for Nadal and prevented him from playing more agressively. To be quite honest, I don’t know Rafa was able to play with such an injury. I injured my toe a couple of months ago, and that side-lined me for 6 weeks. I give Rafa an A+ for putting forth so much effort to make it a somewhat competitive final. I think most players would have retired after the second set, viz., the 6-1 rout, but he kept going and tried his utmost to fire himself up thus producing a 6-1 rout himself. I don’t feel that the 6-1 rout in the third is indicative of a player who’s lacking mental toughness, as he seemed to think that he could still pull out the ‘W’ after the 6-1 rout. Maybe, we should give him tons of credit for his efforts, as we could have seen maybe two sets instead of four.

I don’t think Novak’s game has improved significantly as some seem to think, his groundies are about the same. Nole himself has stated this, and if I’m not mistaken, Roger has alluded to that fact also. What Novak has changed is his game plan is to make his ROS a weapon of sorts. He’s taking the ball super early, thereby taking time away from the opponent, thus, ensuring that he keeps every ball in play. When he does that, the opponent has to either keep returning and trading shots, or failing, make an error, point Novak. The long rallies Novak likes to engage in, to me, is indicative of the mindset that he’s not going to give anything away, and if the opponent wants the point, then he’s going to have to come up with a great shot or make an error. I’m sure he knows that most of the opponents will eventually break and he’ll draw the error. I believe the long rallies were very detrimental to Nadal, and it’s what broke him, as he was unable to come out as the winner in only a few of the long rallies.

I think this year the long rallies have benefitted Nole significantly, but one has to wonder though, for how long will Novak be able to keep up that kind of play, as it does have a wearing and tiresome effect on the player himself. Eventually, Novak will have to begin shortening the points and that’s when we’ll see him making a lot more errors. Novak did try to shorten some of his points in the first set, and he made some FH errors. It’s what kept that set so close and competitive until Nadal’s last game.

I think going forth Nadal and other players should refrain from getting into long, baseline rallies with Novak, and should start junk balling him, e.g., Santoro, which will deprive him of the pace he loves, as he benefits tremendously from the long rallies. The one guy who can do that to Novak is murray, but I’m still at a loss as to what happeneend to him at the AO this year.


Humble Rafa Says:

He is already a British legend and a future Knight…”Sir Andy Murray”. If he wins one GS, Britain will declare his birthday a national holiday not only in the UK but in all “common wealth countries”.

I hope I live to see the fiasco that happens when Andy wins his first GS. I hope they declare him the Duke of Tennisberg.


margot Says:

brando: 3 years easily? Wish I could believe that but the competition is not going to get any easier and the psychological damage inflicted by always failing at the final hurdle, might just be too much.
He doesn’t look too hot mentally as it is…
But thanx for kind words :)


scoreboard66 Says:

@mem, I wrote my post without see ing yours. i have to agree with the following, “i noticed how he starts to struggle with his first serves when he’s under pressure. it’s like he almost reverts back to his old way of serving. once he gets the momentum back and become relaxed his serve gets better; it’s a pattern. those are weaknesses that no one elaborates on. there are those who want everybody to think that novak has no weaknesses. well, guess what, i don’t buy it.”

Yes, Novak does become nervous and struggles a lot when he’s feeling the pressure, which to me, shows he’s not as confident as some seem to think. It’s very easy to spot his nervousness from the long ball bouncing. Also, when he begins to tire after some long rallies, and he tries to finish off some points with his FH, the errors begin to pile up. What helped Novak was his ability to keep Rafa on his heels, running him from side to sid, coz Novak was aware that Rafa was huring, and we can’t blame him for using such a vulnerability to his advantage. The good players like to exploit their opponent’s weakness, and in that match Novak exploited Nadal’s weakness, his heel problem, which is indicative of the good champion that Novak has become. Novak didn’t let nadal’s weakness throw him off.

I stated in my comments after the final that the match would not go down as one of the Wimbledon classics.


Fair Balance Says:

When you play tennis at the highest level, winning or losing is more often than not in the head. It’s the mindset.

Take Federer. He has the game to beat Nadal today. Could have beaten him at RG. But I don’t think he has the mental belief against Nadal, which surprisingly he has when he plays anyone else, especially Djokovic. Federer gets more break points against Nadal than anyone else on the tour, and the day he starts converting more of them is the day he will start winning against Nadal. Might sound simplistic, but if he had converted 2-3 more break chances at RG this year, or in 2007, he would have put himself in a position to win. God only knows what happens to Fed when he has a beak point against Nadal. He goes into a funk.

It’s all in the mind. Djokovic is in Nadal’s head now, just as Nadal is in Fed’s. Djoko and Del Potro are the only two players who have no fear about Nadal. Absolutely none. And that’s the difference in the end.

Nadal(and Uncle Tony) play the greatest mind games in tennis. No one does it better. Is he injured or isn’t he? The previous person here is convinced that Nadal lost at Wimby because of leg injury. Which is why, Djokovic’s 5 wins in a row in the finals (including on center court at the big W) is a great achievement.

It’s in the head, guys!


Dan Martin Says:

Scoreboard – Injuries are part of sports. All of these guys have foot, wrist, knee … issues to some degree. Rafa played the match therefore he was healthy enough to compete. Rafa did not offer any injuries up in the post match discussions. Rafa did not call the trainer during the match.


Margaret Says:

Losing 5 times in a row to Djokovic must really get to Nadal (and his camp). His comment that he needs to ‘repair physically and mentally’ must be a reflection of this. I expect him to get this monkey off his back.


Brando Says:

@margot: no problem. I just think he is too good a player not to. If things can click for djokovic why not
Murray? He has 4 genuine rivals at the moment in nadal, federer, del potro and djokovic and if you look at his record against them it is impressive. This coming USO is a fantastic chance for him. Less media pressure, favourite surface, breakthrough slam and the genuine likelihood that he gets djokovic instead of nadal in the SF should boost his hopes since he has a 3-4 record against djokovic on HC. Even if he gets rafa, he did beat him the only time they played at USO.


Humble Rafa Says:

Dan,

I was going to call the trainer. But I saw the writing on the wall!


scoreboard66 Says:

Dan, I’m aware that most players have some niggling injuries, but I also know for myself, when I’m playing with an injury, I play more guarded, as I become more concentrated on trying to avoid another injury or making the present one worse.

Yes, I know that if one takes the court then it’s assumed that all is OK, and I’ve used that reasonikng myself, but I don’t think we can discount the fact that subconsciously it will be a factor in decision-making that could prevent an injured player from running down some balls, which I saw Nadal doing. I remember even the commentators saying that it was so unlike Nadal at times to just let some balls go.


Brando Says:

I would say that I can definately see djokovic losing in this strech of this USO series. Question is when? Montreal is tournament that both nadal and especially Murray have done well at winning it twice each. Del potro also has his best master series performance there with a runner up finish in 2009. Federer seems to prefer the courts at cincy and flushing meadows more so than here but he shall have had a break of 6 weeks by then and he was talking positively after the tsonga match, so I think he’ll fancy his chances. All in all, I think we are for our most exciting USO series with 5 GENUINE contenders


scoreboard66 Says:

@Fair balanc, “The previous person here is convinced that Nadal lost at Wimby because of leg injury. Which is why, Djokovic’s 5 wins in a row in the finals (including on center court at the big W) is a great achievement.”

Are you referring to me? I’m not at all convinced that Nadal lost because of the leg injury. I was only speculating, as I don’t know all of the facts. I was merely stating that his heel had to have played some small part in his decison-making, and could have hampered his movement at times. Look I like both guys, and am only trying to be fair. Novak won fair and square, and had he been injured, I would have been doing the same type of speculating.


jane Says:

Not sure, Brando, what yoy say about Rafa being deep in most of Nole’s service games. Nole won 72% first serve points and 54% second serve points, with Rafa winning 31 of 95 receiving points for a total of 33% winning. Also, I thought, all things considered, that Nole showed real convinction and self belief in that final set, as opposed to the mental weakness some are suggesting. For example, he went up a break, and then when Nadal broke back, he won on a creeper net chord, where the shot trickled over and nothing Nole could do. But he didn’t let it rattle him, whereas in the past I think he might’ve. After he broke to serve out the match, he made a couple errors, but this is understandable considering Wimbledon is something he dreamed of since he was 4 or 5 years old. Instead, at 30 all he hit one of his best serves of the match and then volleyed (!) the winner for match point! Again, these are not signs of weakness but of strength, at least in my opinion.


jane Says:

scoreboard66, one thing about Novak in the final is that he did well in shorter points, and he won 19 of 26 at net. I agree that pace-mixing troubles Nole; that was clear vs Tomic. However, he handled Rafa’s slice very well in the final. As for Rafa’s foot, that injury happened in R16 versus Delpo, so how was Rafa able to win over Fish and Murray if the main reason he lost to Nole was movement? Many said Rafa’s level in those two QF & SF matches, esp vs Andy, was excellent, and that his forehand was on song, so most pundits picked Rafa to win in the final. Maybe there is something Nole does that negates the effectiveness of that Rafa forehand? Not sure.


Brando Says:

@ jane: I have not seen the stats for the match, but that was impression I got from the match. But then again I am a nadal supporter so I would be inclined to see things unfold in such a manner. I once read somewhere, I think in the Obama biography, that the secret behind a man’s success is confidence, and I think that is true in djokovic’s case. He walks on court now with such confidence and swagger that he must always feel that he is unbeatable. The manner in which he won the 1st 2 sets and how he celebrated winning each key point in his debut Wimbledon final against a 5 time finalist seemed as if he thought he is the king of this court- not anyone else. THAT is confidence and when you have that you believe you can do ANYTHING


scoreboard66 Says:

@ jane: ‘Also, I thought, all things considered, that Nole showed real convinction and self belief in that final set, as opposed to the mental weakness some are suggesting.’

Are you referring to my comment on the show of nervousness when he bounces the ball? Why would you misconstrue that to mean mental weakness? Players are always nervous, especially at a final, but that does not constitute mental weakness as you are insinuating. If you were to read my post in it’s entirety, you’d se I gave Novak credit for making the most of his opportunities when he had them by running Nadal side to side. that’s a clear statement that he displayed mental fortitude and NOT mental weakness.


jane Says:

margot, you know I agree with Brando re: Murray, and also re: all the genuine contenders for USO. Murray will be fine re: brick walls. He has beaten Fed, Rafa and Nole, not to mention Delpo, many times in the past, and he will get through and win a slam one of these days. I think he has at least four more years, barring serious injury. And he takes good care of his fitness and schedule, so he will be fine. Matter of time methinks.


scoreboard66 Says:

@jane, “for Rafa’s foot, that injury happened in R16 versus Delpo, so how was Rafa able to win over Fish and Murray if the main reason he lost to Nole was movement?”

From my own experience,when I continue to play with an injury, it becomes worse not better, which is one reason I feel that the heel injury did not benefit Nadal, hence, his tentative play at times.

I believe you are geting a bit carried away here, as I never said the main reason Nadal lost was due to his foot. If you were to re-read my post, I said the long rallies favored Novak more, as Nadal was only able to win just a few points when he engaged in the longer rallies. I think going forth Nadal has to find a way to win points by hitting outright winners and not engage in the long rallies with Novak, as that now seems ot be a strength for Novak and a weakness for Raf. Who would have thought that would ever happen?


jane Says:

brando, Nole said in his presser that he struggled with doubts about ever breaking through over getting out of #3 position and that is why he *has* to step on the court believing he can win versus top guys, esp Rafa and Fed, or forget about it. He would not win. He recognizes the quality of his opponents, claps for their winners, etc. But he seems to have been able to stay more even-keel this year rather than in the past where he would let mistakes rattle him. I think that Murray was also doing well in this regard, too, at Wimbledon, until that error versus Rafa seemed to set him back.

scoreboard66, I agree that nerves & mental weakness aren’t exactly the same. Most players show nerves in key moments. The bouncing could be a sign of that, although I have often wondered if he is working out tactics while he bounces, deciding where to serve etc.


scoreboard66 Says:

One last point jane, you mentioned the first serve percentage for the two players. if I’m not mistaken, i believe in the first set, until nadal got broken, his percentages were a bit higher than Novak’s. As I said before, i give credit to novak for exploiting Rafa’s weakness in the ROS and long rallies, plus he didn’t play tentatively by thinking Nadal was injure, but he kept up the pressure of running him around a lot. sory to have upset you, but I thought I was being objective by what I saw and in o way was I trying to discredit Novak’s win over Rafa. My faves are Fed and DePotro, so this match really does not mean that much to me at all. However, as a tennis fan, i just felt I could make my observations known, that’s all.


jane Says:

Fair enough re: injury points scoreboard66. Rafa did move well versus Murray. He said either before the quarters or semis he was getting the foot anesthetized before matches, or shot with cortisone or something, so he wasn’t feeling it. But i think you are maybe suggesting it was almost more psychological, in that he played more guarded, and not so much physical, in that he was physically in pain. I can see that point, indeed it may’ve been a similar a factor for Murray at the FO. And i believe Murray had a hip issue in the semis at Wimbledon too.


Brando Says:

@ jane: I read those press reports too. It does seem that djokovic has alot of respect for nadal, federer and others too. He even said somewhere that tennis is alot more exciting now than a few years ago since alot of individuals can win the majors not just the fedal, clearly hinting his respect for the likes of Murray and del potro. As for Murray, if he can win either Montreal or cincinatti and maybe the one to defeat djokovic then this USO maybe his to win, since he has got the game he just needs the confidence and belief


scoreboard66 Says:

@Brando, I agree with you that Nadal was deep in some of Nole’s service games, just look at the first set and some of the fourth, that was very clear, not to mention the serve percentages. Anyway, enolugh of this for me, coz I don’t want to anger the Nole fans. their man deserves the win and that’s all there is to it. However, there are times when we see mitigating circumstances and would like to voice them without being prejudiced in any way, and it’s the reason I prefaced my comments by letting it be known that I’m neither a Nadal nor a Novak fan. After all, that’s why we come here, isn’t it?


jane Says:

No no scoreboard, not upset. Just discussing, i enjoy reading all the different views and thoughts, i like to mull them over and take them into consideration. Most people today have made very good points one way or the other regardless of being Rafa fans or Nokle fans or neutral. So no, please don’t think I am upset. I liked your posts. Just clarifying as words can be misinterpreted. I am Nole’s fan obviously but I am not one who thinks he “owns” Rafa or anything silly like that. He is just on a roll, and having a tremendous stretch of form. And of course there ae weaknesses! I agree with mem that no one is invincible. I also feel Rafa is one of the most tenacious of tennis players ever, such a fighter and workhorse. We have a wealth of contenders right now and the hardocurts should be a blast. Hope all guys stay healthy and fit to bring it.


jane Says:

Nokle fans, lol. Typo obviously.


Dan Martin Says:

Scoreboard – First, I think Nadal is more experienced at playing with injuries than you or. me. He has had stress fractures, has tendinitis, ab injuries etc. I agree people get tentative. I messed up my elbow a few years back and serving was tricky for awhile for me even after my elbow had healed. Nole has asthma. Would he have been frightened at the end of the third set worrying that he would not have stamina for a fifth and think it was all or nothing in the fourth? Sampras had and still has anemia. I agree injuries played a role for both players psychologically, but I just am not sure we know what that exact role was (or who benefited from it).


scoreboard66 Says:

jane, to reiterate, when one has an injury and are on painkillers or shots, the effect wears off progressively. That said, the potency of the injections could have worked astronomically for Nadal in the match with Murray, but as the injury became worse or older, and the anesthetic became less effective, then that could be a reason why Nadal was moving more gingerly in the final. It’s a known fact that as the body becomes habituated to medication, the benefits are less effective.

I’d say the match with Murray is perhaps a draw, as both were injured, and the better man won, or maybe you might have a different view.


grendel Says:

Murray is an enigma and making predictions about him only confirm the prejudices (whatever they may be) of the predictor.

Nobody has the least idea which way Murray will go, whilst we can all agree that Djokovic, Nadal and delPotro will win many more slams. Federer is (apparently) a contentious case.

But Murray? The more you contemplate this interesting character, the more he eludes the normal routines of thought. Nor do I think time is necessarily on his side. Physically, maybe. But as the years slip by and he remains slamless, the tougher it is inside his head.

At least, you might think so. But after all, this is Murray. Just when even his most dogged supporter has given up on him, then you might expect a Murray, seeded 32 or something, to waltz through and pick up the trophy.


scoreboard66 Says:

Dan, I don’t know if Nole has asthma for sure, as he’s now stated that he’s allergic to gluten, which is not the same as asthma, IMHO, but I’m not a doctor. I’m allergic to wheat products, but my doctor has never told me it’s asthma, and when I stay off wheat, I don’t have a problem. That said, I doubt Nole would be wondering about whether his allergies would rise up in the fourth set. I know I saw signs of nervousness when he was about to serve for the match, but I truly doubt that the thought of his allergies came to mind.


tfouto Says:

scoreboard66 i think you are just making wild presumptions… Almost everyone is. I think he was injured. Injury become worst and worst. Remeber this is just a presumption, a guess of yours not reality. Be aware of that.


Swiss Maestro Says:

At this point, Rafa and his camp have no option but to keep their mouth shut about injuries. They have milked it way too much and rafa’s on the verge of being hit by a “sars” joke like a-rod did to the joker.

say what you will, but the present generation – nadal, djokovic, murray and even delpotro (who everyone wants to believe is an angel) have abused the injury/medical time out issue the worst. look at federer/hewitt/safin/roddick handled injuries over their career. i dont mind these injury/mto stupidity over on wta – which is a circus troupe / strippers club really, but men’s tennis is real tennis an actual sport. if you are injured go home and ask momma to give you a boo-boo kiss. if you are not, stop this charade of taking MTOs and then start running like a rabbit as if those trainers are Jesus’ 2nd coming performing miracles and healing these so-called injuries.


tfouto Says:

well in the fact its not just a presumption its two. well its more. Murray was also injured. 3. It was a draw. 4 (Are you sure both are at the same level?). etc… You are making a bunch of assumptions and making a entire movie with them all.


Brando Says:

@ Grendel: that is precisely the point with Murray. All he has to do is win 1 SLAM, what ranking he has does not matter. With him it clealry is his head that is the issue, but so it was with ivanisevic and yet he went on to win. Personally I feel Murray is more talented than ivanisevic and is alot less of a headcase than him, so if can goran can then andy can is my thinking. Time wise, it’s true he would question himself more so as time passes on, but conversely if he keeps getting to the semi finals as he is he shall become more accustomed to that stage and have the experience that shall inform him regards to what to do next time. 3 finals, 4 semi finals and in 2011 2semi finals and 1 finalist bodes very very well for any 24yo tennis player


scoreboard66 Says:

tfuto, I’m not making wild presumptions, just speculating, which Ithink is OK on a blog forum yes? If not, then there won’t be any comments about the match here. However, I’ll defer to your better judgment, but am not blown away by your comment, as you have admitted that everyone is also making wild presumptions. BTW, does that include you in the wild presumption bit?


scoreboard66 Says:

tfuto, I take it you don’t like Nadal so anyone who offers just a bit of comment that might favor him is upsetting to you. No problem here whatsoever.


Swiss Maestro Says:

I think slamming murray comparing him to nadal/federer/djokovic is unfair.

nadal beat puerta for his 1st slam.

fed beat philippousis (add a few Ps wherever appropriate)

and djokovic beat tsonga.

murray had to play fed twice and djokovic. he will make a slam final one-day and get either delpotro or even worse players and he will get that slam. even if he doesn’t let us not bash him because the dude is giving it everything he has got.

and please, the pressure that murray faces is much more than what nadal/fed/joker face. consider this – at the aussie open, british journos/media persons against the rest of the media was like 4:1 or something.


scoreboard66 Says:

tfuto, I didn’t see your last comment @5;04 pm, but let me say this, NO, I don’t know whether Murray and Rafa are, or were, at the same level, except that I can only assume they were, due to both being injured. I don’t see anything willd about anything I’ve said, and I can say the same about your comment, but I digress.


tfouto Says:

well i just haven’t read your views as an speculation. You seemed pretty sure of your views.
But maybe it my fault. Maybe i have made the wrong assumption :)

I know that this is forum and different points of view and analisys are interesting and fruitfull. But there are points that just sound tiring to me, really.

He was injured. He was injured when he was one break down on 1 set against Federer, etc… Against Del Potro on one moment he cant barely move, on the other he’s Superman. He had the bone broken, and on the other day the MRI just said the bone as healed. He played the most incredible game against Murray, and two days later, the injury just become worst and the body just become used to injections.

I am sorry but it just seems an not convincing assumption. Of course i am not sure of mine.

I think that there are point of views and analisys and speculation necessarily involved. And i just start to scretch my head when speculation becomes repetive, or at least many of them.


scoreboard66 Says:

@SM, I think according to Becker and some of the ESPN commentatiors, it’s becoming more and more difficult for players out of the top 4 to win a slam due to the way the draws are set up. Murray at No. 4, has the opportunity to win a slam and has to get it done while still at No. 4. should he fall out of that quadrant, then we’ll see if those predictions were accurate. I know this, and have always belieived that when one’s time has come to reak-through, everything sems to fall into place. i hope with some luck and the right draw, Murray will be able to win that elusive GS title.


Skeezerweezer Says:

mem,

I have no personal resentment or bitterness towards Rafa, those are your words, not mine.

Actually have been enjoying your contribution here as of late, mostly good stuff and you have kept it at the players for the most part rather than the posters.


scoreboard66 Says:

tfuto, I see your point on the milling of the different comments, and it’s why I waited until after most of the deliberations were over to make my comments, as i didn’t want to make much ado of it all. As it is, I’ve written far too much, and now need to stop. I don’t think I’m one who’s been milling the stuff around all of the time. No problem though, as you’re well within your rights to protest. peace :)


tfouto Says:

“tfuto, I take it you don’t like Nadal so anyone who offers just a bit of comment that might favor him is upsetting to you”.

Well my favs are Federer, Djokovic, Del Potro and Pedro Sousa. Nadal is not among them.

I’m just tired of this injury talk. Its like people have to make an excuse when he looses. Other then that i dont have no problem in favor Nadal brilliance.

Almost no talk of Murray injury against Nadal. Murray have to improve his mental, etc. On the other hand, Nadal was injured against Nole.


Fair Balance Says:

I could not watch the finals on Sunday because I was traveling on work, but the first thing I asked my son was if Nadal called the trainer on court at any time during his loss to Djokovic?

Hate to say this, but this MTO issue has become a part of Nadal’s legacy. Unless the WTC has firm rules regarding when you can bring a trainer on court (ex, only between sets, no exceptions allowed), players will continue to abuse it.

The media gives some players a free ride on the MTO issue, and Nadal is one of them. Was it a headline I read last week that said “Injured Nadal beats Del Porto?” The media should stop speculating and reference an injury only when it is documented and real (such as Del Potro’s surgery and time off last year). And so-called injury during a tennis match based on a medical time outs taken should not merit any media attention at all other than a passing mention.

As Connors said it, if you are fit, play. If not, don’t.


tfouto Says:

scoreboard66 i dont know the exactly meaning of milling as i am not english native.

Either way i agree with you on the most essential thing. Peace :)


scoreboard66 Says:

tfuto, My faves are Fed and DelPotro, but I also like the other top 4 players, and some others on the tour. One has to have one very special and a close one in the faves department, and the above two are mine. I stated I’m not a Nadal fan, but I do like to be fair to him, (especially due to how much he got crucified by the media for his MTOs) and Djokovic also, as they are both hard workers and contribute a lot to the sport.

I think people didn’t place too much emphasis on Murray’s injury coz he didn’t want the trainer to attend to him. In that case, people are of the opinion that his injury was not a serious one, however, only Murray would know this. To be fair, Andy’s form did dip after the first set and let Nadal back into the match. dunno, if it was the injury, but one can assume that it could have been a problem and it’s why he lost the match.


tfouto Says:

scoreboard66 Murray is kind on neutral to me. I admire his imense talent, but his attitude its not there yet. He need’s the mental and some shot’s tunning. And above all i agree with Swiss Maestro. Murray needs an first finalist GS other then the current top3. An acessible door to the world of GS champions.


andrea Says:

agree Fair Balance. Novak was king of calling for trainers for a couple of years there – when we wasn’t retiring that is – for all sorts of nonsensical things. so much so, that a vast majority of the players started calling him out on it in pressers. t

and with Nadal, whether it’s real or not, it just so happens that all of this time outs and trainers seem to come at questionable times during matches, read: stopping the momentum of the other player. and now, when he loses in big matches there always seems to be subtle whiffs of injury floating about.

it’s interesting since the other players on tour don’t have these injury/time out/trainer speculative issues.

you have sabine being taken off the court in a stretcher for cramps….now that’s legit.


scoreboard66 Says:

“reak-through, everything sems to fall into place. i hope with some luck and the right draw,”

should read, break-through, everything seems


Eric Says:

I’m not saying Novak’s wins over Rafa this year weren’t close (perhaps decided by a handful of crucial points), but frankly I don’t think it’s gonna get any easier for nadal to beat him in the future. Just look at Fed: he lost some really close ones to nadal early on (like Rome 2006 when he barely missed a FH matchpoint up) and now it seems he can’t really beat nadal without all the margins falling in his favor, whereas nadal seems to have a good chance to beat him just by being consistent.
Mentally it will be harder and harder for him to come through on big points against Novak and to deliver his best when it matters most, and that is 100% a credit to Novak; I think he has really cast aside all his demons against nadal following the heartbreaking 2009 madrid loss and has turned the tables.
Interestingly, it feels like Nadal’s best chances to beat Novak in the future, if he maintains his current form, might actually be on the faster surfaces rather than clay, because on clay rafa’s problems against novak are actually magnified by the fact that it’s even harder for him to get free points on his serve and he has more trouble penetrating novak’s phenomenal defense (who would have ever thought novak could exceed nadal in that regard last year?)
Now it feels like rafa’s the one that needs to raise his game enough to hit lots of winners more than djokovic, who can produce good length and angles over and over again and then expose nadal sometimes when he hits his favorite shot, the FH from the BH corner, which leaves the court wide-open if djokovic can get a clean stroke of it (which he can thanks to exceptional flexibility, speed, and anticipation).
Major props to the new No.1, Djokovic


grendel Says:

It’s true, Murray has the misfortune to be playing at a time when the standard of tennis is higher than ever. If he gets a slam or two, though, then the misfortune turns around, because he will be able to say:look who I beat. And if it happens to be a healthy del Potro, that’ll look as good on his cv as anyone.

Meanwhile, like Nalbandian, Safin and others, he remains an enigma. That’s intriguing, in my book, not a cause for regret. Incidentally, this whole thing of pressure from the British Press is greatly overplayed, particularly for someone as intelligent as Murray. Leaving aside the unimportance of tennis in the British media, except in Wimbledon fortnight, the gutter press is largely absorbed in its own importance.


jane Says:

In an ironic way, the fact that other players called out Nole has helped him to be stronger. Hiring the new trainer in 2009, post-AO heat issues, shifted Nole’s fitness considerably, as since then he has not had many MTOs at all, and only one retirement in Serbia, due to allergies and a bronchial infection that kept him out of Madrid Masters last year. It was shortly after that when he hired his holistic doctor who found the gluten issue. Actually that doctor apparently approached Nole. So it is a combination of improving fitness/endurance and changing his diet. There are still times when he seems to be affected by heat, humidity, or whatever, for e.g. at the USO first round last year, and in Dubai this year during the Berdych match, but he seems to be able to come through it okay now that his overall health and fitness are improved. Having a decent serve, thus shortening games/points and building confidence, likely makes a difference, particularly this year.

To me, Nole’s season is already a humongous success; I don’t care too much if he wins the USO this year, although it would be nice to see him defend his points. He should shoot for Cincy, as he doesn’t have that Masters, and he has reached the finals two times, losing to Murray and Fed.


Humble Rafa Says:

Dear Karma,

I know you are trying to play catch up with me. But is this the time? Is Djokovic the guy? Could it not be atleast Roger?


grendel Says:

“his favorite shot the FH from the BH corner”

Reading that from Eric, I couldn’t help being reminded of a phenomenal shot (actually, rather Nadal-like) of a FH from the FH corner. He was facing in the wrong direction, so you’d have thought a defensive shot was the best he could hope for, but he somehow swivelled round and delivered the ball close to the oposite corner, and from being dead on his feet he gained control of the rally.

Yeah, it’s funny the way the most effective surfaces for a player seem to be changing. I’m wondering whether, if Federer does manage to sneak another slam, it might not be at RG.


mem Says:

Eric,

apparently, you don’t know nadal! all in due time my friends, all in due time!


Kimmi Says:

lol dari. good one.

Another story that i thought was funny.

…..

Former Davis Cup captain David Lloyd believes Andy Murray’s chances of winning a major will improve if he works on his serve and his image.

“If you look at Nadal, Djokovic and Federer when they come on the court, they have a demeanour. They are exceptionally well dressed and clean-shaven. Andy doesn’t come on like that”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/14035456.stm


Dan Martin Says:

Kimmi, The GEICO caveman is pretty solid and has not shaved. Borg was that way too.


Kimmi Says:

GEICO caveman dan, ha-ha. we are talking tennis:) I think these “analysts” will soon run out of things to say.


jane Says:

Nole had a “play off” beard in the finals, and he ate grass, too (much to the chagrin of nutritionists :)). He was hardly all about the image, ha ha.


dari Says:

I don’t think a beard matters. I like a little scruff.But for somebody who hasn’t made that next step in a major, some might be thinking there is a slight lack of professionalism in showing up to “work” not dressed well enough and shaven.
Just devil’s advocate.


joe Says:

The posts that the public draws are rigged are always enjoyable.


tennisfansince76 Says:

@Jane Grass is gluten free so no problem there.


margot Says:

grendel, Johnny Mac was talking to Sue about media pressure on Andy and he said something like it was intolerable and he found it unbelievable and thought Andy would find it extremely hard to deal with.
I personally think Andy should renounce British citizenship and become oh dunno, Gambian or something. That’d learn ‘em.
OK ..Andy hasn’t won a slam because…wait for it…he looks scruffy….Excellent, expect a clean shaven Andy to sweep the next 4 grand slams then…right….


margot Says:

Fairbalance: Pat Cash was talking post RG and he said in the locker room prior to his match with Novak, Fed was incredibly fired up (actually he said “on a burn” a term I’m not familiar with) to beat him. Far more than against Rafa. Cash found this extraordinary.
You can read all sorts of things into that about Fed’s mind set ….and I do ;)


Eric Says:

That’s very interesting what Cash observed at RG. I’m not entirely sure why, but I get the sense that novak and roger really don’t like each other, which, if so, is really a shame because they’re 2 of my favorite players to hear from off the court and to watch on it


Rick Says:

Djokovic is a worthy rivalry for Nadal. Unlike Federer who get beaten very often. It is true that, Novak and Federer donot like each others. Don’t you remember the comments that Federer made about Djokovic being three or four at the US Open.


Rick Says:

Of course! Federer being thumped three times this year by Djokovic ya know? Roger is too arrogant, and Nadal is too modest being number 1. I think this helps Nadal to win his Slams better being seeded two. He has a really tough draw at Wimbledon this year. I think he prefers being the underdog better, that is how he won most of his Slams anyway. All the young tigers, Murray, Del Potro and Djokovic. He also had to beat Mardy Fish who happened to be in the top 10.


Rick Says:

Sean Randall is a serious jinx. Please next time when you pick a winner for the Slams. Don’t ever pick Nadal again! Just pick Federer like you always had been. You jinxed everyone you picked perviously, don’t you ever jinx Nadal again! lol

Seriously, I don’t think that Nadal is handling the pressures for being number 1 very well. He is too modest, or maybe you should say that he is not very confident with himeself. Remember like earlier in the year, he said it is impossible for him to win all four Slams. And during Wimbledon, he said that it is impossible for him to win three Slams like he did in 2010. He should be like Federer, who happens to be very arrogant and optimistic about his chances. Even when he choked crazy and getting thumped like silly by other players. He always tell everyone that, he could wins the Slams and the serious contender for the number 1 ranking.


Eric Says:

“Don’t you remember the comments that Federer made about Djokovic being three or four at the US Open”

not sure what you’re referring to; what did fed say?


Swiss Maestro Says:

Eric, dont bother with rick. he is the clown on this site. he’s retarded even by rafatard standards!


Swiss Maestro Says:

I think we all agree that being the no.1 guy is more pressure and hence winning a slam as no.1 is much harder than if you are not no.1. In the open era, only 40% of the time, the no.1 has won a slam in atp.

Considering that. Fed, who won 75% of his slams as no.1, has handled no.1 like no other person in history. rafa is at 40% (4 out of 10) sampras is around 55% or so. I will crunch those numbers and put them up.

federer is made for being no.1 237 consecutive weeks is just mind-bogglingly good, I mean serbians are getting crazy for having their dude just reach no.1 Can you think of the effort, talent and hardwork it takes to stay there for 237 weeks? it might be one of those rare records where the atp record is better than the wta record. can people think of any more?


tfouto Says:

“Djokovic is a worthy rivalry for Nadal. Unlike Federer who get beaten very often.”

ricky that’s just nonsense. Nadal is now always loosing to Djokovic, always. So i wont call it a rivalry. Nadal is no worthy rival for Djokovic.

The Djokovic-Nadal began when Djoko mother shout, The King is Dead to Federer. Its not a great attitude.


Huh Says:

I expect Rick to make more n more fun of federer now dat his darling guy is losin finals n lukin vulnerabl than before. Criticising, makin fun n writin garbag abt Federer n proclaimin his darling player as saint is d only way 4 Rick to heal n sooth the wounds that has been inflictd on his ego by the two straight set “thumpings”
of his fave guy in his fave surface n add to that the latest 4 defeat of his fave in d wimby final, d miseries of Rick r just compoundin n on d verg of nervous breakdown arisin out of seein his most hated Fed stil holdin on 2 d position of most accomplishd man in men’s tennis history’s just gettin under his skin, henc d vitriolic outburst against Federer. This I call helplessness…


tfouto Says:

In the last paragraph i wanted to say Djokovic-Federer. And also Rick and not ricky, sorry.


Borg Says:

Federer is Nadal’s bunny. As simple as that. It is similar to the fate of players like Ferrer, Berdych, Verdasco, Almagro etc. who are getting whacked by Rafa now and then. However Federer might try, he cannot overlook his disastrous H2H with Nadal.


Borg Says:

Federer was very fortunate to dominate in the weak era from 2003-2007 when players like Hewitt, Roddick, Nalbandian, Haas, Safin etc. dominated the landscape. When Nadal came into the scene, the true face of Federer came into the picture and he got whacked by him in tournament after tournament. Even a young Nadal at 17 beat Federer at Miami in straight sets and Federer just shook his head in disbelief after the match and that was in a Hardcourt.


Borg Says:

Federer fanatics should not take refuge under Djokovic for cover. The H2H between Nadal and Djokovic is 16-12 in the former’s favour and it is 5-1 in grand slam events compare this to the 17-8 whacking and 6-2 in grand slams, everything will be crystal clear. Nadal is the only player who has positive H2H with everybody he has played except may be Davydenko who is leading 6-4. Federer on the other hand trails Nadal by 8-18, 6-8 to Murray, 1-3 to Guillermo Canas.


Brando Says:

I think the fans out to start respecting the achievements of each and every1 of top4- as the players do themselves, rather than constantly looking to belittle their favourite players ‘big rival’. It’s boring, tiresome and petty and takes away from what the game should be seen and enjoyed as :FUN and ENTERTAINMENT.


Huh Says:

Good to see the frustration of another clown Borg adoptin the same fed-bashin therapy as Rick, so much is common between these 2 includin their four letter names, hehehe. Oh, ur darling lost the Wimbldon final to djokovic right, dat too in 4 sets right! ;)
N hey fellas, ur guy was a distant 2nd to federer everywhere until lack of form/fitness, age n law of averages finaly caught up with federer, n hey, d bunny just beat b bully in d WTF in 2010 not many months back. N hey, al dat most mentaly strong ever bubbl was also thoroughly burst as soon as he lost just 2 or 3 masters final to nole. Too bad dat he couldnt push a year youngr nole to even 5 sets, rathr lost 3 sets relativly easily n winning d only set coz of nole takin his foot off d pedal, so to speak; d
match was lost in just 2.5 hrs! The 5 yrs older
past his peak bunny at least resistd for 5 hrs in 5 extremly competitiv sets! wat kind of bull is this for whom u clowns r so much flipping ur wings, a calf may be! ;)
n too bad, ur hero couldnt take any advantag of d weak era consistin of his bunny
federer n othr bunnies like rod, hewit, safin, nalby etc., dat doesnt seem to b typical of a bull, this not bein able to overcom bunnies i mean! Poor clowns Rick n Borg, u just wanted to be reminded that ur guy really has played like a bunny to nole this year so far, no? d bunny like pattern: win d 1st set n then lose d next 2 sets in IW n Miami, lose in straight in typical bunny styl concedin breaks in the 10th game of the sets to nole on his fave surface n then comes this not-so-nailbitin wimbldon loss nervously givin breaks in the 9th or 10th games in d 1st
n 4th sets n gettin lost in a nightmarish lost world tour in 2nd set, no? now dat also i may call bunny’s tennis, no? ;)

On a different note, thanx for d nice articl dear maxi :)


Humble Rafa Says:

Ms Judylicious needs to step aside, so Andy can develop a real forehand. Forehand breaks down under pressure.

I agree about the beard. He should shave it.


grendel Says:

Brando – what you ask is impossible, imo (without heavy censorship, anyway). That’s because tennis is not apart from the rest of life. Hero worship, all the kinds of convoluted and even murderous apologetics which accompany it (religion, politics), the closely allied phenomenon of tribalism – it’s everywhere in the world wherever you look, why should it be different on a tennis site? And although some are much grosser than others, of course, I doubt if anyone is immune.

And in cyber space – as opposed to a club – anything goes. Some people say, you can just scroll down through what doesn’t appeal. That’s bullshit, curiosity alone puts a stop to that. Your eye is naturally drawn to the “print”. So what’s the annoyance? I think either the stuff is alien, so you can’t relate to it at all and probably you feel a bit superior to it; or, though you intensely dislike the way something is conveyed (the hero worship stuff) you kind of sense a mirror somewhere.


margot Says:

grendel: and I suspect, distilled as they are, these musings do, at some level, reflect the nature of those who write.


Brando Says:

@Grendel: i just think it’s hors****t, this whole back and forth federer-nadal thing. There’s no need to slag either one of them, let’s face it if both of them retired 2moro they both would have a respectable position in the tennis hall of fame as genuine legends, neither is inferior to 1 or the other.


Golf is barely a Sport Says:

Borg – Do you need to call a good rehab facility or something? Whatever you are smoking must be strong.


sheila Says:

i think federer’s 1handed bh does not match up well 2 nadals topspin fh, otherwise, if federer did have a 2 handed bh he just might have won more matches against nadal. djokovic, imo, has a similar game 2 nadal, + atm, he seems 2b matching nadals athleticims, where the other big hitters lack. (delp, soderling, berdych do not have the athleticism of nadal). i dont read much into nadals loss. the guy is so mentally tuff he will bounce back. murray, i think has the physical game 2compete w/nadal, but mentally he doesnt stay w/nadal. i think there r a lot of good ball strikers that could give nadal problems, but they all lack the mental fortitude 2stay w/him. kudos 2 djokovic 4 handling the moment @ wimbledon. i will always b loyal 2 roger federer, but i have the utmost respect 2 all these other players.


Brando Says:

@sheila: RESPECT. That’s exactly how I feel it should be, support your fav but respect the opponents. At the end of the day it is only a game. But enough of that from me, looking forward I cannot wait for the USO series- genuinely believe that there will be some unexpected winners


Miki Says:

Yep, I’m with you on this one. I mean, there are things that I don’t like about Fed and Rafa, and many other players. But I also have things that I don’t like about Djoko, which is my favorite player. No one is perfect. What I don’t understand is why there are so many so called “fans”, who go beyond cheering for their man. It becomes a worship and a religion, but to an extent where the sport, tennis in this case, doesn’t even matter. It ultimately comes to a point where it doesn’t matter if your favorite wins a match or title, but rather that the biggest rival of your fav loses, gets injured, or something else. So many are obsessed with the question: will Nadal catch up with Federer in total GS count? Why does it matter? It should not matter at all if you are real fans. Fed fans, did you start rooting for Fed because you knew that he’ll have 16 slams and do you root for him because you don’t want Nadal to catch up on him? And Rafa fans, do you root for Nadal only because you want him to beat Feds record? If the answer to both questions is yes, what kind of fans you really are?


Huh Says:

For all those sermon givers, it’s neithr immoral or sinful nor criminal for someone who loves tennis much more than any of u sermon givers n self-proclaimd ideal persons n self-righteous tennis fans ever wil, to wish that the guys whom he considers greater than some other guys, have better records n accomplishments in their name so that the more liked ones are held in higher regards. i hope u peopl get it. n befor goin on a rant or false accusation, try to see what promptd someone to act in some particular way. i know wel how much i respect whom, i dont need to clarify it to anyone beyond any reasonabl doubt. if u urself are least reasonabl, u can tel wats it al about here n who is what, n respects whom! ;)


madmax Says:

dear huh,

it really was no problem. glad you enjoyed the article.

rick and borg, where do you get off bashing federer all the time? Is it really worth your while? Pretty sad if you ask me.

Margot I have had a great idea! I really do think that you would be an incredible coach for Andy. Have you thought of joining his team? (and I`m serious. They have a lot of positive life coaches that join tennis players team ´I think you could be what he is looking for?

As for the federer doesnt like novak scenario. I think it is a good idea to take a step back from all of this. All players have to have a certain amount of detachment from each other. They are professional athletes for goodness sake! I know that federer respeccts novak. Read the link about and see what he says, I just think some people believe they should be bosom buddies, and that is not going to happen. They are adversaries on the court and amiable off it. That is exactly what federer is to novak and novak is to federer.

As federer says, what is happening in tennis right now is healthy. Its a healthy mix with plenty of va va voom!

Not only that but who is to say that novak is going to continue on his tear, that rafa isnt going to surpass him? that roger isnt going to fight back, the andy isnt going to win his first slam, that tomic isnt going to surpass them all.

Its the excitement factor in tennis that is keeping everyone on their toes, players and fans alike.

As for Cash, Margot, I hadnt heard that one. How would cash know that? I doubt he was in the locker room at the time. Of course, he was part of the media a year or so ago that wrote federer off, not only that but made disparaging comments about him, do you remember? a few days later he issued an apology. Went right off him, I did, but now, I just think he wishes he was a better player back then. A lot of what he says is contradictory.


grendel Says:

margot – judiciously put.
Miki – agree with everything you say, whilst also pleading guilty to most of it too. That’s why I mentionned “mirror”

Huh – your enthusiasm is infectious, always has been. You’re a great fan, imo.


Kimberly Says:

I could care less about Federer’s GS record v. Nadal. Fed can have it, if Rafa takes it great, if not (more likely) great. I just want Rafa to be as great of a player as he can be, win a lot of GS and tournament, be a top player whether its 1 2 3 or 8. Nadal is already more than I expected, sort of thought he’d end with an Agassi type 8. So I’m generally a content fan.


Miki Says:

I didn’t say it is immoral and sinful. I just think some people cross the line of being fans and become blind worshipers. As I said, there are people who’s only interest in tennis is that their guy is the best, and even worse, to see the other guy, his rival, lose and say how he sucks. That’s what I’m talking about. We all do that to an extent, but when it’s too much it’s just too much. I call those kind of fans, anti-fans, cause they don’t give a shit about tennis.


grendel Says:

http://www.crunchsports.com/category/Tennis/ATP-Newport-Grigor-Dimitrov-v-Denis-Kudla-20110706/

I’ve never heard of Kudla, who is a US junior who’s just beaten Karlovic on grass. That must feel good. He’s due to meet Dimitrov – ranked 60 (the significance of that is that presumably he’ll get into the US masters tourneys).

I like this comment from Kudla:”I don’t think that their game is so much better than mine, but I do think their mentality is they really believe they can beat everybody and that’s what I feel like I’m getting slowly right now.” I assume he’s talking about the top guys. Incredible confidence from a kid. Be interesting to see whether the confidence is real or assumed. He claims:”I really do believe I can win the tournament now.”

Someone to watch?


dari Says:

Love how post-Wimbledon emotions get ppl talking perspective.
I’m with brando how some of the talk here just completely seems to lose sight of how exciting and fun a sport tennis is and how lucky we are that there is contention for a trophy almost every week.
Huge fed fan, when I started watching him, I thought I was the only one who knew how great he was, cause no one else I knew liked him. I would like for him to retire with a greater # of majors than his “contemporaries” like nadal, but if he doeant it won’t take away from what a superior talent he is in the tennis world.
He has cause


dari Says:

Whoops, hit send by accident.
Was saying federer has caused/created a greater level of fandom in me than in any other tennis player, athlete, musician, actor, etc.


dari Says:

I was wondering who the kudla guy is I saw on the OOP.
Thx grendel


Lou Says:

I think this is great news for nadal fans. We can see some great tennis now and nadal being the champion that he is, will def come back.
Djokovic, Nadal and federer,awesome it will be in us open.
Found an inspiring article for all the people:
http://healthnsports4u.blogspot.com/2011/07/novak-djokovic-inspiration-to-all.html


Kimberly Says:

dari, i feel the same only about rafa. to be honest i don’t understand why everyone doesn’t adore him like I do i think hes so awesome BUT

I gained a new empathy for the people Nadal rubs the wrong way watching Marion Bartoli play. And if she had won multiple slams it would be even worse. I cannot even stand to watch her. Everything she does irritates me to an irrational level. Each bounce around and practice swing and glance at her father magnifies it.


dari Says:

i can stay relatively even-keeled about the major record at the moment, but talk to me again if rafa gets to 11 and fed hasn’t added another!


dari Says:

tennis warehouse has a sale on head youtek speed rackets in honor of novak’s achievements with free a “no.1vak” t shirt. haha!


jane Says:

dari thanks for that link; I am a firm believer in change. I wonder if Nole’s run will inspire guys like Murray and Delpo, not that they necessarily need it, but just to see that others can win grand slam titles too (Delpo knows but coming back from injury cannot be easy).


dari Says:

but yes, it was a nice link. imagine having these monsters in your life for four years, and then you finally slay them! wow


Dan Martin Says:

Grendel, he beat Dimitrov soundly by the scoreline.


Michael Says:

It is distressing to see some posts bashing Federer. How they have the heart to criticize such a Great Champion ? Okay, Federer lost against Nadal most often they played, but does that belittle Federer or his achievements. No way. In Tennis you always have bad matchups and that is the reason we have such lopsided H2Hs. What is Nadal’s record against Davydenko it is 4-6 whereas Federer leads Davydenko 15-2 and above all Davydenko belonged to the Federer era. If a young Nadal is not able to even withstand an old Davydenko, how the hell can their fans claim that Federer played in a weak era. That is bull shit. What is Nadal’s record against Roddick, it is about 6-3 with the score even in hard courts. But on the other hand what is Federer’s record against Roddick, it is 20-2 and Roddick belonged to the Federer era which Nadal could not easily dismantle. Even Nadal finds it difficult against the likes of Ljubicic and Karlovic who belong to the Federer era. Therefore H2H is not everything. Look at Federer’s record. It is amazing. 29 consecutive Quarter finals, 23 consecutive semi-finals, five consecutive Wimbledon and US open titles, 5 Masters series wins (Nadal has not won even once) blah blah.


grendel Says:

Dan Martin – yes, that’s quite something for D.Kudla. Will keep an eye open. Can’t find his ranking (even his age was said to be unknown).


Rick Says:

Nadal also beat Federer many times on hardcourts in those exhibition matches! And no wonder argues with the great Bjorn Borg. I agree with all the stuffs he said. As for Djokovic, noone who thinks that Federer is stupid, if he doesn’t talk. He was saying Djokovic being the third and fourth at the US Open. And he choked against this third class player, which made him so competely stupid! I also remember Sean calling Djokovic a garbage man, when he won the YEC in 2008.


Rick Says:

Usually the players who won the master serious are the players are doing pretty bad the following like Nalbandian and Davydenko. They won it because they are not so tired. As for Federer, he never won his country a Davis Cup tropghy. And he doesn’t has a GOLDEN SLAMS like Nadal’s.


Rick Says:

Djokovic leaded his country to the great Davis Cup victories like tennis legends like Mats Wilander, Boris Becker, Agassi and all that. Where is Federer? lol


Rick Says:

Michael,you have double standards on Nadal and other players. Typical Federer fans! Players usually took awhile to recover when coming back from injuries. How come noone complain about Del Potro being beaten so regularly by everyone in the top 10 nowadays? Nadal was beaten by Davydenko, because he was just coming back from injury. That is why Davydenko is leading. I am waiting for Nadal to whack him in the upcoming matches!


Rick Says:

I don’t know about Del Potro winning another slam. I am pretty skeptical of how he won his first! But Murphy might suprises us pretty soon!


mat4 Says:

Hello everybody!

I had to work last fortnight so I didn’t manage to watch most of the tournament nor to post. I was very happy when Novak won but now the joy is gone, and I don’t even wish to brag any more.

There are so many comments… I try to read some of them but really, there are to many. I will just write some of my impressions from what I have seen.

I don’t understand how Roger lost against Jo Willy (CDM). He looked in such a great shape at the FO, serving so well, playing the best tennis since 2007 in my modest opinion. I couldn’t see how Djoko could beat him on grass.

Charles Lin made a good point noting that in clutch encounters Roger couldn’t break since 2008: once against AM, no break against Berdych and Rafa, one break against JWT (french nickname: Mammoth’s balls). So maybe it’s the return. Djoko returned at least three serves over 135 mph, from the patches I have seen.

I can’t understand why the tennis “cognoscendi” won’t listen to the players themselves. Nobody of the top players is writing Fed off, first. Then, about the final, it was quite clear that, for Rafa and Novak, for Tsonga, Novak was the favorite. Anybody who has closely watched theirs matches in the last few years knew how Rafa is tight when he has to play Djoko, and that the GS stat was misleading.

Djoko didn’t look spectacular, but he found his range for the semi. I just read that Rafa can make adjustments for Nole’s game, but since he didn’t manage to make them in the last three years, I don’t believe he can make them now, just like Roger couldn’t adapt his game for Rafa, although he tried. Very bad match up in both case.

Last year, in the USO (in or at?) final, the serve was the key. I am just wondering where has this Rafa’s serve gone? He is nowhere near the 130 mph range he had then. Watching the 9 mn highlights from the final, I got the impression that Nole went often to the net.

DelPo played well. I have watched DelPo against Rafa, and they look both great. AM looked good at the Queen’s, didn’t manage to see him. Searching on youtube.


MMT Says:

Grendel: this Kudla kid was born in Ukraine, but moved to the US when he was very young, and has wanted to be a tennis player since he could say the words.

He was, in fact, featured in a Tennis Channel documentary, “Who’s Next?”, covering the lives and development of young US juniors, juxtaposed against the coaches responsible for their development at the USTA – including Patrick McEnroe.

In it, Kudla, and the boy he lost to in the US Open juniors, Jack Sock, are invited to practice with the Davis Cup team in Serbia. In a fascinating “scene”, during a doubles practice match, the Bryan brothers take umbrage to Kudla engaging in histrionics (fist pumps, and “come on’s”, etc.) After berating them during the practice, they then proceed to step up their level and pummel the juniors with hard serves and poaches. Later, Jay Berger, a USTA coach quietly counsels Kudla to remember who he is and what he’s doing there in the first place. Classic.

Anyway, apparently this kid has been obsessed with tennis since he was very young – even blueprinting a design for, what appeared to be a very sophisticated, national tennis center (if his father is to be believed) when he was 8 YEARS OLD.

If he’s half as committed to immersing himself in the game today, as he seemed to have been as a child, he’s got great potential indeed. A win over Karlovic on grass is no small task. But today’s match with Dimitrov will be fascinating. Dimitrov is a couple years older, and far more experienced. I think this is the first time he’s seeded so high at an ATP event, though, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the additional pressure.


Fair Balance Says:

Michael, with the emergence of a new Number One in tennis, one does not realize how difficult it is to stay at the top. Nadal’s reign lasted for less than one year. He can regain the ranking but it is very difficult to sustain it for long periods of time.

All the more reason why Federer’s 230+ consecutive weeks as numero uno, 23 consecutive semis, 29 (and counting) consecutive quarters, two streaks of 10 and 8 straight slam finals, etc. will be pretty impossible to equal, much less beat.

At the end of the day, the thing that I most admire about Fed is that he is the fairest champion on court during match play — no drama, no MTOs, no trainer on court, no defaults, no time delays, and no coaching from the sidelines. I do not believe there isany chapion more committed to playing by the rules of the game than Federer.


Brando Says:

@fair balance: nadal actually was no.1 for 56 consecutive weeks and 46 consecutive weeks. I agree I cannot see any of the present bunch going anywhere near federer’s consecutive weeks as no.1 record since the competition at the top is much more intense. Djokovic should be no.1 from now until the Australian open, then I imagine that by the time of the French open he would probably lose it by then- just because what he has to defend in terms of points NO1 has ever had to.


Fair Balance Says:

Brando, I stand corrected. I like all players and every one brings something to the game. Without Fed pushed Nadal to achieve what he achieved, and now Nadal has pushed Djokovic to do the same. These champions live and grow off each other; therefore, I find it very hard to accept the hate the pours out here, especially the Fed. haters.

Twenty years from now, none of the records will matter much. What matters is fair play and decency. I think all players have a lot we should admire, instead of obsessing over one player and totally disparaging his or her biggest rival.

Many of the comments here say more about the people posting the comments than about the players themselves.


jane Says:

“These champions live and grow off each other”

So nicely put.


Humble Rafa Says:

I grew off of Roger and then the Djoker ate me for lunch.


El Flaco Says:

@Mat4,

Fed’s % of return games won is way below where it should be based on his ranking. Fed has done a great job of holding serve and that is why he is still #3. He doesn’t face many break points, but when he does he isn’t in the top ten in saving them either. Overall as you mentioned Fed is struggling when it comes to the big points and this has been a problem off and on for several years.

You have the “clutch” issue, but also Fed is having more trouble breaking serve because he is a little slower than he used to be, not that his stroke on the return of serve is worse.

In return games you play more defense than when you are serving. The most important factor in being a good defender is your quickness around the court. Without that you won’t get in position to make a good shot. Nadal can float a slice return in the middle of the court and still win a few of those points from time to time by either defending or his opponent missing by trying to make the shot a little too good. With Fed there isn’t that pressure anymore. Tsonga, Berdych, or Gasquet for example will win almost all those points where Fed hits a soft return in the middle of the court. Fed’s legs don’t squeeze the dimensions of the court like Nadal or Djokovic.

In a few years Nadal will experience the same problem. He will still win about the same % of his service games because you are mostly on offense, but he will find it more difficult to break serve when he is a half step slower. He will have to be more aggressive on his returns like Fed has been trying to do.

In regards to the service speed issue, there is reduced pressure in the balls at Wimbledon so the mph are less across the board for everyone. You will see faster serving at the U.S Open.


Leon Says:

grendel @ 8:13 am July 5th:
“I think Nadal’s interview is pretty interesting. He generally gives nothing away in his interviews, which tend to be a series of bland, self-deprecating pronouncements. But defeat at Wimbledon has stung him into two departures. 1) He has waved his own flag with some fervour and 2)he has made quite clear revenge is on his mind.”

Enjoying your writings, I wonder how did you refrain from noting one more “uncharacteristic” sign in this interview (yes, among many others, but still):
“My experience says this level is not forever. Even for me when I was last year winning three Grand Slams, my level of last year is not forever. Probably the level of Novak of today is not forever.”

Even for me!!

(One could appeal to his not so good command of English, but here he was perfectly aware of the meaning of “even”).

Has he finally surpassed Federer in “arrogancy”? Well, at least Federer has some more ground to sometimes remind of his uniquely long domination/consistency, no?

As you once wrote, grendel: “Funny lot, champions. All of them are the same, only showing up differently…”

And I always considered the loser’s obligation of giving a presser as a very cruel and inhuman rule.


mat4 Says:

@El Flaco:

Indeed, and I looked at the stats, then watch a few return games. I still haven’t watched at least sequence of the MB-Roger match, but I presume Jo served very hard on Roger’s backhand.

I remember Ljubicic saying two or three years ago that you couldn’t ace Roger, so I think it was the quality of the return that mattered most: Fed probably wasn’t aggressive enough.

But then, I know that Jo Willy can beat anyone when he is in the mood: Rafa, Nole, Roger, so he probably played an exceptional match.


dari Says:

Well, Rafa is fine, but milos is not. I just read on sportsnet that he has already had hip surgery and will miss Rogers cup!
What horrible luck was that fall.
Looking forward – he is very young and could recover from this surgery very well and continue on his merry way. Or he could never be the same after this surgery. He was quite fresh, though, so the definition of “same” is pretty cloudy.
Wish him the best in a full recovery.


Miki Says:

So wat’s the latest news on Rafa’s foot. It’s said that he doesn’t have a fracture, but I read somewhere that he will be off the court for six weeks. I’m confused.

Serbia vs Sweden tomorrow, and Novak is scheduled to play. If he really is going to play, without last minute change, kudos to him. He really is full of motivation now. I hope we’ll see him play as early as tomorrow :)


grendel Says:

MMT – thanks for the info. Kudla sounded a bit of a brat – but I was impressed with his comments in Newport. Looks like he’s grown up fast.

Leon – I did indeed notice that “even”, and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I gave him the benefit of the doubt – i.e. that his English let him down. But it’s possible, of course, that he knew exactly what he meant, or – perhaps the truth slipped out inadvertantly, as it were. Who knows?

Personally, I think all this arrogant/humble stuff is hogwash. No one can be as successful as Federer and Nadal without being supremely self-confident. The culture frowns upon a public drawing of conclusions from such a state of mind – namely, I’m pretty damn good, better than just about anybody else – and so we have the PR pantomines which are the press conferences. Still, the truth can slip out. Federer in particular – perhaps because he does so many interviews – quite often lets his guard drop, but you don’t often see that with Nadal, which is why I thought it worthy of comment.

There is an irony here. I thought Nadal was “stung” into a bit of uncharacteristic breast thumping – and it comes just when his confidence has actually been quite severely dented. Compensation?


Kimberly Says:

My new black Sharapova outfit arrived and it is awesome, i imagine that is what she will wear for montreal and cincy (strange choice for the heat) because I don’t think their outfits for the open come out until a week or so before. Unfort. it rained all day so no tennis.

Rafa will be wearing a strange green shirt that im not really sure about.

So US v. Spain tomorrow will be Lopez Fish and Roddick Ferrer. Both tough to call. Could be 2-0 or 0-2 for US.


Kimberly Says:

by the way, other than the Sharapova collection which is quite nice, I am not enamored by the Fall Collection for women by Nike. And on Adidas, but not tennis warehouse I saw some very very strange vintage looking white and yellow tennis outfits that I imagine Wozniaki will wear. Other than the amazing US Open 2010 collection I have not been loving Stella’s tennis creations at all.


dari Says:

i don’t play soccer, but that move does not look great for the groin!


dari Says:

go USA!


Kimberly Says:

Dari, separates, skort and tank. Love it so much I’m thinking of getting the brown too. No black shoes to match though. I just got the white and bronze.


Michael Says:

Fairbalance, As is your name, you have put it fair and square. You can never find a dignified Champion like Federer again. His behaviour on Court is exemplary and worthy of emulation. Forget all his records, but people will still respect him for his sportsmanship which is of the highest order. What a Champion ? Tennis will surely be handicapped when this great player calls it a day which I hope is far away.


grendel Says:

Well, he won’t be ranked 394 next Monday, Dan Martin! I found the musings of Denis Kudla on the nature of “belief” (for a sportsman) quite interesting. He seems to be a thoughtful young man.

@mat4:”I was very happy when Novak won but now the joy is gone, and I don’t even wish to brag any more”.

Ah, the fleeting nature of happiness. Life is but a dream….

Still, you can see why people become addicted to success. It’s not necessarily greed (always wanting more), more an attempt to recapture those good feelings.


margot Says:

grendel: oh I dunno, if Andy got a slam am sure I’d be happy for a year or more…..
Agree most of what you said about Murdoch, though of course technology would’ve done for the unions sooner or later anyway, as it is now doing for newspapers.
I don’t think anything will change. We’ll have the Sunday Sun, edited by the flame haired one, Murdoch will get BSky2 thanx to his Tory friends and Ed’ll cosy up for lunch again, just give him a few months. I just don’t like empires, especially ones responsible for Fox News.


grendel Says:

I hope Murdoch doesn’t get BSky2. I think that’s a possibility, depends if things continue to unravel. The mystique has gone, you know.

Top story: Nadal Dominates In Return At Beijing, Djokovic Stays Perfect; Serena, Sharapova Advance
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