Nadal Leads Spain In Search Of Fifth Davis Cup Title This Weekend
by Sean Randall | December 2nd, 2011, 12:35 am
  • 137 Comments

Rafael Nadal will anchor his nation’s hopes when Spain host Argentina for the 2011 Davis Cup title this weekend on the red clay in Seville.

Nadal is joined by fellow Top 10er David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco against a hungry and stout Argentine team paced by the dangerous Juan Martin Del Potro.

Argentina will also have the services of David Nalbandian, who like Del Potro has wins over Nadal, but was chosen for doubles and replaced in singles by Juan Monaco.

Spain has never lost to Argentina (3-0) which includes a Nadal-less final win in Mar Del Plata in 2007. In this their fourth attempt, Argentina has never won the Davis Cup.

While Argentina is certainly formidable if healthy, it’s hard to bet against Nadal at home even if the Spaniard’s might be fatigued. Both Nadal and Ferrer played at the London Masters last week and Rafa did have injury concerns early last month.

“The motivation, the illusion to share with all my friends here this final is completely different, the surface is different, and emotions too,” said Nadal. “Even if I am tired, I try my best to arrive to the match tomorrow with my best conditions. Tomorrow is a day I have to be very well, I have to be ready to fight every point or run every ball, and to accept that point will be a difficult one.”

Conversely, Argentina sounds like a fresh, determined bunch.

“I pulled out of Valencia and Paris to be ready for this competition,” said Del Potro. “I know for Argentinean players and our country this is very important. We are ready for a fight.”

As I picked at the start of the year, Spain should prevail. I think Nadal sweeps his two matches, Spain captures the doubles and maybe Del Potro beats Ferrer tomorrow for Argentina’s lone point in a 4-1 home team win.

Apart from the French Open, it’s been a tough season for Nadal and I don’t think he’ll allow his team to falter at this stage.

And the numbers go the Spaniard’s way. Spain has won 20 straight home ties since losing to Gustavo Kuerten’s Brazil squad in 1999. And Nadal, he’s enjoying his own streak having won 18 straight Davis Cup matches since losing his debut to Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic in 2004. Ferrer is also 11-0 in Davis Cup ties on clay.

Still, if Argentina can win the doubles and go into Sunday with a 2-1 lead, look for Nalbandian to sub in for Ferrer in the fifth and climactic rubber. Knowing how much Nalbandian wants a Davis Cup title that would be a heck of a match.

Friday’s rubbers feature Nadal against his good friend Monaco followed by Ferrer vs. Del Potro.

Tennis Channel has live TV coverage of the tie starting at 8am.

DAVIS CUP SPAIN V. ARGENTINA WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Friday, 2 December 2011 – start 2:00 PM (8am ET)
R Nadal (ESP) v J Monaco (ARG)
D Ferrer (ESP) v J del Potro (ARG)

Saturday, 3 December 2011 – start 4:00 PM (10am ET)
F Lopez / F Verdasco (ESP) v D Nalbandian / E Schwank (ARG)

Sunday, 4 December 2011 – start 1:00 PM (7am ET)
R Nadal (ESP) v J del Potro (ARG)
D Ferrer (ESP) v J Monaco (ARG)


Also Check Out:
Poll: Roger Federer Will Play v KazakhSTAN; Are The Swiss Now The Davis Cup Favs?
Nadal Leads Spain Against U.S. in Davis Cup; Del Potro, Argentina Host Russia
Roger Federer Was At A Basel FC Football Game On Sunday [Video]
Rafael Nadal Going to South Africa to Cheer on Spain at World Cup
Davis Cup Playoffs: Serbia Goes To India, Spain Travels To Brazil

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137 Comments for Nadal Leads Spain In Search Of Fifth Davis Cup Title This Weekend

Dan Martin Says:

Nice write up – I think Delpo, Monaco and Nalbandian will fight hard. but Rafa and Ferrer on clay in Spain is too high of an obstacle. Here was my take on it – http://tennisabides.com/2011/12/01/3rd-war-of-independence-for-argentina-davis-cup-final-poll-included/ Check it out & comment if you have time


El Flaco Says:

Living in a bubble?
From the Davis Cup website:

“The modern day millionaire sportsman is often accused of living in a bubble, but Spain’s tennis players readily admit to doing so – quite literally. During this Davis Cup Final they will be living a pure air bubble apparatus called a Zonair3D to help aid their recovery.
Novak Djokovic used a hyperbaric chamber during his US Open victory in September, which was said “to simulate high altitude and compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals”.
Nadal was at pains to point out that theirs was not a recovery chamber. “You only breathe fresh air in the bubble,” he said. “We feel comfortable in it. We have used it for a long time. We like it and its use, and it works well for us.”
Nadal and company have always seemed too grounded to be accused of livin in a bubble. Why, the world No. 2 has even been known to take flights on easyJet.”


Lulu Iberica Says:

Hmmm… Very interesting about the bubble El Flaco. Right now Rafa is trouncing Monaco, but I don’t feel settled. There is a pic of Rafa looking miserable on the DC website. I don’t know if he’s genuinely concerned about Spain’s chances, or if he’s feeling conflicted about playing his good friend, or what. Dear Lord, I hope Rafa has a good year in 2012 so that he can stop looking so sour all the time. He is making me depressed!


El Flaco Says:

Monaco’s job is to prolong the match as long as possible and make Nadal do a lot of running. Basically try and soften him up a bit for a potential match against Delpo assuming Spain doesn’t sweep the 1st 3 matches which is a possibility. Monaco just doesn’t have the skills to complete with Nadal. His forehand isn’t big enough, he can’t change direction of the ball very well, his serve isn’t big enough, he doesn’t have a drop shot and can’t finish at the net.


jane Says:

This must be a large bubble if the whole team sits under it, I presume at once, and Rafa says they have been using it for a long time. Easy win for Rafa today, wow. It is looking like a sweep, as I doubt Delpo can carry the mantle for the whole Argentine team and I don’t see the others in with a shot here. Maybe Nalby in the past but not now. Spain’s team is just too deep.


jane Says:

Whoa, didn’t think Ferrer would be beating Delpo by such a score: 6-2 set one.


jane Says:

Delpo up two sets to one. A lot may hinge on the doubles if JMDP wins this match.


Wog boy Says:

Keep posting, please, GO DELPO.


Humble Rafa Says:

Easy win for Rafa today, wow

You didn’t think Monaco will win more than 2 games per set, did you? Grass is for cows, clay is for Rafa. Now, I fully expect my Spanish Aramada to screw up as much as possible, today, tomorrow and the day after. But I will win as long as it is clay.


Wog boy Says:

I am on my way to Canberra , so I can not watch but girls are checking your post and informing me while I am driving.
Argentina needs this one more then Spain and Delpo more then Rafa.
Just having break at servo.


jane Says:

Wog boy, Ferrer took the fourth set 6-4 and so he serves first in the fifth set/decider, which is just about to begin: the match time right now is at 3:59!! It’s a battle.


alison hodge Says:

wog boy its now two sets a piece between jmdp and ferrer,match still very much in the balance,could go either way too close to call,momentum keeps switching to and fro,i still have no idea which player will win,great match from two teriffic competitors,real true grit.


Humble Rafa Says:

Did JMDP win the match? What the heck. Daviscup.org says Ferrer 5-3. Match JDMP.

Can anyone confirm?


JF Says:

what happened to Ferrer, he lost ?


Humble Rafa Says:

The idiots at Daviscup.org corrected their “mistake”. Ferrer wins


alison hodge Says:

wog boy sorry jmdp just lost,5th set turned out to be a bit of an anti climax,ferrer went 5 1 up,then got one of the breaks back,then held serve,but could not build on his momentum,still a great game from both competitors though.


Humble Rafa Says:

I think ITF should avoid all the drama and give us the Davis Cup today. Do you think we won’t win it?
Come on!


JF Says:

awesome!
Sorry wog boyy


Brando Says:

what a fighter ferrer is, just brilliant! 2-0 spain should seal it now.

Delpo looks distraught but he fought very well. If DelPo can improve his stamina and fitness then i think he’ll be ready to trouble rafa and nole anytime, anyplace with his game. Ferrer is a brilliant baseliner yet delpo hit some groundstrokes that even rafa or nole at their best would not be able to retrieve. TRULY A BIG GAME!


Lulu Iberica Says:

I couldn’t watch, but listened to the match on DC radio. Very exciting back and forth match! Congrats to Rafa, and especially Ferru — what a fighter! I feel badly for Delpo though. Hope he can eventually get back to his old form.


jane Says:

I missed the end of the match as people came to my office, grrr. Looks like Spain will sweep it. Apologies Wog Boy, for not keeping you updated.


marrisv Says:

What a a great competitor Ferrer is… Truly memorable….Never ever gives in. Is a real force on all surfaces except possibly grass. I just wish he gets to win a Major before he finishes up or at least some Masters titles.


gypsy Says:

What the hell is Zonair3D? Sounds like weird science to me. Does it really work?


Wog boy Says:

Jane, Alison….. thank you. I guess this is it. That is what you get when you go for underdog, but I can not help myself. I like that bloke , Delpo.


sar Says:

Wog boy email me at sarshara2 at gmail


Wog boy Says:

@:sar:

I will.

Cheers


Michael Says:

Nadal just pulverised Monaco while Ferrer had a hard time against Del Potro. The clay surface gives a breathe of fresh air to Nadal whenever he plays on them. It is from this surface he slowly built his game to suit other courts and it is on this surface that he claimed a psychological edge over Federer and extend it to other surfaces. The Nadal-Federer H2H is purely a mental game where a relatively weaker player had the numbers of a strong player. That doesn’t happen often. But all credit to the resolve, determination and mental toughness of Nadal. Federer was only unlucky to have faced him most of the time on Clay courts.


Michael Says:

I think only Djokovic is a clear threat to Nadal on Clay surface and that is assuming he is healthy.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Michael,

Whoa there partner. Novak had a great year against Rafa on the dirt but prior? Give me a match the great Novak won on the dirt prior?

And don’t count the Maestro out. He took down the hottest player this year, on the dirt. Furthermore, who in this era has had the more success than Fed against Rafa on his front lawn? …errrr … Front dirt?

Fed has been overshadowed on the dirt cause of Rafa’s dominance, but no one else, exCept Rafa of course, has had more success than Fed on it in this era.

As far as mental advantage over Fed on Clay. Its not mental, its technique and surface. Its obvious to anyone watching that Rafa’s ball kicks up extra high on the dirt, wreaking havok on a one hander. When Fed has him on the right surface, he has proven to be formidable. Eg; where was Rafa’s edge over Fed at the WTF?


jane Says:

Nole has always been pretty gpod on clay. In 2008 at Hamburg, he and Rafa had a good tussle. Nole won Rome that year (not against Rafa but still). They were the two players going at it on clay throughout 2009, at Monte Carlo & Rome finals and Madrid semis – the epic. Also I believe they have met three times at the FO; Nole was always eliminated, but it was always before the finals due to his ranking; he would generally run into Rafa in the semis. In 2008, the year Rafa steamrolled everyone at the FO, Nole was closest, pushing him to a tiebreak. It was a decent match. I would say Fed, Nole, and Murray could all be challengers to Rafa’s clay kingdom. Not sure about Murray, but because of his run on clay this year — He pushed Rafa at Monte Carlo with a sore elbow, he should have probably won that match versus Nole at Rome and he got to the semis of the FO — it seems pausible. Fed has always done well on clay of course. So all the top four should be going deep on that surface. Then there are Ferrer, Delpo, and Tsonga, as well. Maybe Soderling will be back. I wonder if some of them will be saving themselves to compete for Olympics medals next year. Is that after Wimbledon?


Brando Says:

I’d have to agree with michael on this one. Really only nole stands a chance against rafa, unless something something unexpected like the soderling defeat happens. Either way, bo disrespect to any player but on the red stuff you just know IF rafa is on his A game then he’ll beat the rest. He’s at his most vulnerable in Madrid – one gets the feeling if it wasn’t in Spain then he would never play there. After that regardless of who is on the other side, they need rafa to not be at his best in order to win.


madmax Says:

Brando Says:
I’d have to agree with michael on this one. Really only nole stands a chance against rafa, unless something something unexpected like the soderling defeat happens. Either way, bo disrespect to any player but on the red stuff you just know IF rafa is on his A game then he’ll beat the rest. He’s at his most vulnerable in Madrid – one gets the feeling if it wasn’t in Spain then he would never play there. After that regardless of who is on the other side, they need rafa to not be at his best in order to win.

December 3rd, 2011 at 3:47 am

Brando,

I don’t see this. I think Federer was so close last year to ‘taking it’ in terms of the first set, that tiny, weeny, just out ball, changed the state of the game. Federer has reached so many clay finals that he has every chance of doing the same again.

I think 2012 is going to be Fed’s year. He reached the final last year at RG and I can see him doing it again; and remember that Roger also beat Rafa in madrid on clay, so he has a history there. Admittedly, Novak has come very close to beating rafa too before last year. I remember the great match they played in the finals 2 years ago where Novak should have won. He had match point, but didn’t. Of course, he put that to rights this year with all of his amazing wins against nadal.

So I would say that both Novak and Federer are equally as eligible but I would still give Roger the edge just because of his variety of shots as well as his ease of movement on this surface. The way he slides into the ball.

I don’t think that Rafa is a dead certainty for RG next year. I think it is other players having to change their mindset against playing against him.

I would also give Ferrer a chance against him next year too.


rogerafa Says:

If Nadal is at his best at RG, NOBODY stands a chance. If nothing else happens, he will simply out grind his opponent over five sets. The problem is that we may have seen Nadal’s best at RG and he may not recapture his best again on clay especially physically. All these years of an extremely physical style must have taken a toll. His ability to simply outlast any opponent is in question now. He will have to skip a few tournaments in order to be in prime physical shape at RG next year. Otherwise, Djokovic, Del Potro and even Murray, probably in that order, will like their chances of producing the upset.


Brando Says:

I think rafa should skip Madrid next year. Stupid management which decides to play with the clay in blue, altitude issue and a packed calender. Monte carlo, Rome and Barcelona should be enough preparation for RG. And all of those venues suit rafa just fine.


Brando Says:

Argentina should make it 2-1 now, 2-0 and a break up in the 3rd in the doubles. Does anyone here think nalbandian should play ferrer Instead of Monaco IF delpo bears rafa?


El Flaco Says:

Brando Says:
Argentina should make it 2-1 now, 2-0 and a break up in the 3rd in the doubles. Does anyone here think nalbandian should play ferrer Instead of Monaco IF delpo bears rafa?
—————————————–

No. Nalbandian has never beaten Ferrer on clay and in a best of 5 format he just won’t have enough gas in the tank to compete that long against Ferrer. Monaco is fitter than Nalby and has beaten Ferrer 3 times on clay in his career so he knows he can do it. He also beat him recently in Valencia. I know that was hard court, but it won’t hurt his confidence.

It probably won’t matter though because Nadal vs Del Potro is the 1st scheduled match for tomorrow. It couldn’t have been scripted any better for Nadal who can clinch it for Spain.

One other thing is Granollers should be playing doubles instead of Verdasco who jsut sucks all around in doubles. F-Lo can’t even hold serve because Verdasco botches so many shots.


Leon Says:

A big ‘unforgivable’ loss by JMDP yesterday. Had he won…
Is a Nadal-Nalbandian version possible? Looks unwise, but it depends on JM’s state of body and soul.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

For JMDP to take world #5, who just beat Nole, to 5 sets on clay at home…. that says we are right to put our faith in this guy as a contender. I expect a big year from DelPo in 2012.

And, for my two cents, Nole is clearly superior to Rafa on clay right now. Fed can come close, but just look at the record. Its a rare day he can beat Nadal on clay. Watching the Nole/Rafa matches on clay last year, it seemed that Nole had an answer for everything. However, I would never count Rafa out from finding some new answers on his own.

Right now clay is where the latest Big Three cliche holds true: Nole>Rafa>Fed>Nole


jane Says:

The JMDP vs Ferrer match was crucial. Had Delpo won it they may have had a shot. I agree that Delpo needs to work on fitness and stamina. He seemed to fade away by the fifth. He tried to mount a comeback from 5-1 but. The other things is that he often starts slow, so he gets behind and then has to try to work his way back into the match. He should try to be a quick starter.


Brando Says:

@TV: wow, that is a massive statement you made there. I think all I can say to that is rafa just needs to focus on his own game. If he is at his best then let’s just say he wouldn’t be naive to fancy his chances against anyone. As for nole or fed, context is everything here. Yes nole beat rafa back to back this year, but look at the nadal he beat. At Madrid where he is at his most vulnerable on clay due to the altitude. A place where federer beat him and djokovic should have defeated 2 years ago. As federer said at the time Madrid clay is faster than Miami HC, so it no big deal. Then Rome where rafa nearly lost in the 1st round to FOGNINI. Add to that the moonballs in rhe final and that should tell you where rafa’s confidence and game was- nowhere to be seen on the court! Then at FO he was 2-0 down to isner.


Brando Says:

So clearly rafa was not at his best. Despite this he still won the FO, MC masters, Barcelona open and was RU at Madrid and Rome. FACT is that he has only lost once at RG, where it truly matters, and after that match we later found out about his mental and physical condition. The player who beat him got straight set defeats the next 2 ocassions they meet at RG. So once again, it’s all on rafa and where his game is at. IF he is a the peak of his game then federer, djokovic, ana ivanovic whoever is all the same to him on clay- just another opponent to defeat.


carlo Says:

I’ve missed all Davis Cup matches but I see Nalbandian-Schwank beat Verdasco-Lopez. Ha! the Spaniards should read Tennis-X for El Flaco’s advise and put Granollers in for Verdasco.

Oh well, very happy Argentina got a win. But I’m not optimistic about del Potro v Nadal or Monaco v Ferrer.


Anna Says:

Well, I don’t think you can say that DelPo beat Nole in best of 5. I think Nole retired in the 2nd set, so I wouldn’t put much weight on that match, and this is Murray’s first year of showing much on clay at all, so I think I’d like to see what he does this year. I’ve only been watching for 3 years, but aside from Madrid 09, I don’t think Fed has been much of a threat to Rafa on clay. Nole however has done a little more each year to work his way into contention for the top spot on clay, and I think it will be Nole who continues to give Rafa fits over the next few years. Anyone who thinks Rafa has lost mojo on clay simply didn’t watch yesterdays match. Rafa should reign for a few more years on clay.


carlo Says:

Nadal should have been fine in Rome and Madrid. Look how he played in Madrid in 2010. The problem is Djokovic. The form Djokovic had last spring was too good and his confidence at a high. If Djokovic can find that form again, he can win FO vs Nadal.

Isn’t it about how their games match? Djokovic simply matches better against Nadal on clay or any surface than Federer does (except indoor hard court).


Brando Says:

This whole nadal- djokovic matchup is being overplayed i feel.

Prior to this season no one mentioned a word about djokovic being nadal’s nemesis, so what has changed? Nole’s game?

Beyond a few changes that are in no way major, nothing has changed much with djokovic’s game at all. Most importantly the player says so himself, and he would know his game better than any of his seasoned fans.

Same with rafa really, his 2011 game is pretty much the same as in 2010. Nothing more nothing less.

What HAS changed is the psychological element between these two. Nole is now more confident and has more belief than ever in his game. Who wouldnt if you have a season as theone he just has had. Rafa is filled with more doubt than ever. 6 losses in big finals would fill anyone with doubt, no surprise there either.

As nadal himself said, until he believes he can beat nole, then djokovic shall continue to defeat him. So a win can change everything for him, at least get him competing on an equal footing.

The matchup thing is a load of overplayed rubbish in certain respects. Prior to this year we knew nole has the edge on Hardcourt, indoor court in this rivalry. Nothings changed there. Rafa has the edge still on clay and as for grass, based on rafa’s pedigree you wwould give him the edge there also.

The ball right now is firmly in nadal’s court- if he has more self belief in himself and his game then a win can change things for him, but if he doesnt then nole shall continue to beat him anytime, anyplace. Since, let’s face it, as in life without self belief you shall achieve nothing!


Brando Says:

One final thing. The next time rafa cries to uncel toni about how his game does not bother djokovic in the least, uncle toni should respond to rafa the same as an individual does so here, most APPROPRIETLY:-) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niP-uHBg-pU


jane Says:

Brando, I thought mat4′s analysis of Rafole rivalry on the Nole “Exendables 2″ thread was interesting. Definitely these two have always had tight battles. Even in 2007 at Wimbledon, Nole took a set off Nadal, and then in the final at Queens in 2008 they were neck and neck. They have an intirguing rivalry methinks. I hope they are both healthy in 2012 so we can see it evolve more so. Nole’s coach said some interesting things about Nole’s tactics versus Rafa re: hitting down/flat and exposing the backhand side. So that might have played into their matches this season. Definitely psychological aspects do too. I would say it is both, much like with Fed and Rafa, which is partly match up and partly perhaps Rafa having a townhouse in Fed’s head. ;)


jane Says:

p.s. Brando, woot!


Swiss Maestro Says:

delpo! did he lose the DC for argentina again?

maybe nalbandian should have been played against ferrer and not delpo. in 2008, nalby crushed ferrer only for delpo to lose his match to lopez.

tomorrow, delpo and argentina will need a miracle on par with moses parting the red sea, to win the davis cup.

spain is unbeaten at home since 12years. that is just too much. time novak and serbia to do some damage on that front. LOL! fed and wawrinka could make it possible too. fed has lost 0 matches to spannish players other than nadal and wawrinka is quite good on clay [jr french open champ] and ofcourse federinka is a formidable doubles team. come on roger, time to end another streak this year. LOL!


Swiss Maestro Says:

as i said a million times :

fedal rivalry is very similar to rafole rivalry. only difference, rafa has the advantage of playing these guys much more on his favored clay than the hardcourts.

consider this, with a season where fed, rafa, novak play 16 common tournaments [4GS, 9MS, WTF and dubai, basel/beijing/tokyo] they only play 4 on clay [3MS and FO, fed/novak dont do barcelona].
yet, if you check their rivalries, fed has played rafa on clay 14/26 = greater than 50% on a surface where they play only 25% of their yearly matches. think about how the record would be if they actually played 14 of those indoors?

the numbers are similar even in the rafole rivalry. hence rafa had the cushion of a 16-7 H2H advantage with novak. had novak played rafa only 25% or lesser on clay in the previous years where he could not win a match against rafa on clay, the rafole rivalry might also be lopsided today.

another thing most rafa fans dont want to admit, that 5yrs advantage rafa has on fed is a real bonus. while fed is beyond his prime years of 2004-07 [where fed-rafa h2h was an almost even 8-6 in favor of nadal]. fed has been 9-3 since he is past his prime. nadal being the same age as novak means, nadal does not have to worry about him facing nadal in his very prime, while nadal is past his. even then, being 6-0 in a year to your opponent when you are in your prime is as much of a dark mark on rafa’s legacy as fed’s h2h Vs rafa is on fed’s legacy.


Swiss Maestro Says:

fed-rafa was the clay rivalry from 2006-2008.

2009, rafa-nole, but soderling had a bigger impact than this rivalry that year.

2010 – the theme was rafa’s hunt of 3 clay MS.

only in 2011 did nole-rafa rivalry be THE story of the clay season. even that ended with a fedal icing in FO.

if we are going to count “nole pushing rafa in 2008 RG” as a factor in making it a rivalry. let us also note that nole has won 0 sets against nadal on the parisian clay.where as fed has won 4sets in 5matches against rafa at RG.


carlo Says:

Match-ups are what tennis is about. Cliche, sure, but true.

confidence made the difference for him says Djokovic himself recently – in his words:

http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/7299261/tennis-novak-djokovic-improving-game-preparing-olympics-espn-magazine

Djokovic convinces me he’s got it right. It doesn’t matter as much about what Federer and Nadal do to their games. Djokovic had matched both closely without possessing such a confident mind-set. In 2011 he outplayed both Federer and Nadal – I saw that at Wimbledon and US Open 2011. The question is whether or not his physical can issues get solved or managed.

Del Potro needs a Moses miracle, lol. Agree, Swiss Maestro.


jane Says:

SM, sure. But was just pointing out that Nole has always been right there, at the latter end of clay events, since even before this year so that the Rafole rivalry on clay didn’t evolve from nowhere. As you pointed out, their h2h was slanted due to how many times they had met on clay prior to this season. And while you’re right that Nole has won no sets off Rafa at FO, he had won sets off him in 08 and 09, and by quite a margin, too, 6-2 etc. At the FO Fed has always been closest to Rafa and that it obvious from the finals. This year, I feel it should have gone to a fifth set, but in set one, Fed kind of choked or lost his focus anyhow.


Swiss Maestro Says:

another point to note. when a versatile, all-surface player[fed, agassi, borg] plays a player who relies more heavily on one surface [nadal, sampras, mac]. the matches will be played mostly on surfaces that favor the relatively less versatile player, giving him a huge advantage.

fed-rafa, 50% + matches on clay, GS 5/9 matches on clay [>50%]

agassi-sampras, GS matches 7/10 at wimbledon/usopen = faster surfaces, 3/10 at ao or fo = slower surfaces, all 3 won by agassi.

borg-mac never played on clay which is borg’s favored surface. they played all 14 matches on hardcourt/carped/grass which are more pro-mac than clay.

oh also, sampras is younger than agassi [1yr?], mac 3.5 yrs younger than borg and ofcourse nadal is 4.75 yrs younger than fed. coincidence? dont think so. check any rivalry with 25+ matches in atp in the open era. younger rival leads h2h in all except 2 [fed-djok and rafa-djok, the older guy leads the h2h]


Swiss Maestro Says:

agree jane, and remember fed bageled and breadsticked rafa on clay [bagel, 2007 hamburg. breadstick 2006 fo final] and if you add the DC match in 2009 b/w rafa and nole, nole has won 0 sets in 4 best of 5 clay matches against rafa. where fed has won 7 sets in 7 best of clay matches against rafa [2 in rome, 1 in monaco].

our argument only proves how brilliant rafa is on clay however. that his top 2 rivals have averaged 1set a match and 0sets in 5set matches. jaw-dropping stuff. As convinced as I am that Fed is the Monarch of the tennis court, Rafa is truly the King of clay.

I hope Delpo is not reading our posts. these posts should be Rated R for horror, for any atp player willing to play rafa on clay. scary!


carlo Says:

Here’s a question for you, Swiss Maestro: do you consider both Becker and Edberg all courters?

One year older Edberg. I’m doubting age was much of a factor between them. They played mostly on grass, hc, and carpet – twice on clay, clay h2h 1-1.

Becker-Edberg H2H 25-10 in favor of Becker. But both won the same amount of GS titles = 6

They had a great rival going. But one doesn’t read or hear much about the lop-sided h2h being a black mark on Edberg.


jane Says:

Where do you guys find the stats for 25+ H2Hs. That must be a rarity generally speaking. I mean even Roddick and Fed haven’t met 25 times and it seems like they have played more times than Nole and Fed for some reason. But clearly in that match up the older player, Fed, has the advantage. Same goes with Fed and lots of younger players, i.e, he has the sometimes much better H2H, only those players, unlike Nole, haven’t gone deep enough to play Fed 25 or more times.

On one hand I agree that age can be a factor and will sometimes benefit the younger player, but on the other hand, if the older player is in his peak years (say 22-26 or so), then he often has an advantage when meeting younger guys in their early and breakout ages (19-21). We can see this in the H2Hs of Murray and Nole vs Delpo, or Dolgo, or Cilic, etc. Inexperience, nerves, not having fully developed can all work against younger dudes and dudettes.

And then, part of it just comes down to consistency and ability, in which case age just goes out the window. In other words, an older Fed will almost always beat a younger Monfils because he is wiser on the court, more consistent, and more focused.


jane Says:

Nole and Fed have met 24 times, 10-14 for Fed (almost all hard courts, with 4 on clay). Whereas Nole and Rafa have met an amazing 29 times, 13-16 for Rafa (11 on clay – until last year that seemed skewed but it has evened out over the last 2 seasons as they have met on a variety of surfaces). They have played even more times than Fed and Rafa, who have met 26 times, 9-17 for Rafa (14 on clay(.


Swiss Maestro Says:

carlo :

could you repeat it for the sake of rafa fans who were drumming the H2H till recently?

good points, jane. unlike a-rod though, nole has the advantage of being able to turn around the H2H VS fed. he was 13-6 at the beginning of 2011. now it is a much more respectable 14-10. connors was 7.5yrs older than lendl and had a 13-5 record at one time, then lendl won 17 in a row, to end up with 22-13 in the h2h. federer is almost 6yrs older than novak and i am thinking he will fare better than connors did against lendl

i had read some article on 25+ matches rivalries a few months back. you are right, there are only a handful of them (<10 i guess). even fed-novak is still 24 matches old. however, even giving that one match to novak, the rivalry will still be in fed’s favor.


Swiss Maestro Says:

carlo :

on similar lines, becker had a 8-2 H2H VS mcenroe. and mcenroe has 7slams to becker’s 6. so is becker the better player? I dont think so. [becker was 9yrs younger than j-mac!]

it only shows H2H needs to be taken with a pinch of salt/pepper/oregano or any spice of your choice. [all the more so when one guy is considerably younger than the other]


Swiss Maestro Says:

i have a question regarding h2hs. has any player had has many lopsided h2hs against his peers as has federer.

lopsided = 10+ differential in h2h.

fed has 10+ differential against :

a-rod, soderling, davydenko, hewitt, gonzo, ferrer, youzhny, nieminen. against blake he is 10-1 and against f-lo he is 9-0. that is almost 10 players.

i am thinking connors/lendl must have some 15-20 such players who they must have beaten real bad.


jane Says:

Wow, SM, that is an interesting stat / situation in the Connors vs Lendl H2H. Wild that Lendl won 17 in a row. Yeah, I don’t see that happening with Fed and Nole whose matches seem 50-50 chances often. I would imagine Fed will hang it up before they will play another 17 times, but who knows. He clearly loves tennis and he is still right near the top. Seems plausible he will play another 5 years anyhow.


Wog boy Says:

Delpo has all the reasons to be proud of himself for what he produced against Ferrer in front of homecrowd and on favorable Ferrer’s surface. Problem is that he may start to blame and doubt himself because of loss and that is not going to help him against Nadal, though his chances were not great anyway but hope dies last and miracles sometimes happen.
Life would be so boring and predictable without HOPE and believing that MIRACLES can happen.


carlo Says:

Swiss Maestro-

Jane, and I think it was El Flaco, posted youtube links to Ivanisevic and Sampras serving on another thread – which lead to me spending maybe over an hour of me watching youtube tennis “oldies” a few days ago. I ran across Becker and Edberg, so I looked up their H2H on the ATP website and couldn’t believe the number of times they played. But we’re talking 15-20 years ago.

I’m not a big defender of Federer or Nadal. Neither really need my defending – their records are great enough. But discrediting Federer on H2H with Nadal always seemed ridiculous. It’s an opinion Nadal’s fans like to carry on, but like Becker-Edberg’s H2H, what we remember is that it was a great rivalry and not that Becker was better than Edberg. Something so subjective is a matter of personal opinion.

The weak era argument is also very much based on personal bias, imo, as there is no way to measure such a thing. I tend to think this era is strong with Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic but I didn’t watch much tennis in the 90′s. I do watch way too much youtube tennis in the off-season! LOL


carlo Says:

edit to my post at 7:46. Amongst equals, or potential equals, personal opinion decides which one is best. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic.

I don’t do GOAT.


carlo Says:

Wog Boy- you are so right.

Vamos Delpo! come on, you can do it!


Humble Rafa Says:

I like the Elf. Elves are good, especially in the holiday season. Tall elves are very very good. Elves deserved atleast 2 bread sticks per match.


jane Says:

A preview of Rafa versus the “very very good” tall elf, JMDP:

http://blogs.tennis.com/tournament_blog/2011/12/del-potros-final-shot.html


Lulu Iberica Says:

I don’t know which Rafa fans you all are talking about with the Fed head to head nonsense. Yes, there are some zonko Rafa fanatics who try to discredit Federer because of the head to head, but most of the Nadal fans on here — Kimberly, Brando, Allison, myself — don’t try to argue Nadal’s superiority over Fed. For myself, I just don’t want Rafa to fall behind Nole in the grand scheme of tennis history. For tomorrow — Vamos Rafa, vamos Espana!


Michael Says:

Skeezer, True Novak too had a tough time with Rafa on Clay with no wins before and it is only in 2011 he could turn things around with consecutive victories. At one stage it was what 16-7 and now after the string of victories the H2H is showing a competitive 16-13. Earlier I thought it was in Madrid Masters semis where Novak had many match points only to lose it. That was the closest he came to beat Rafa. But even earlier Novak had the measure of Rafa on hard courts where he was leading in H2H. I have repeated time and again that Roger was very unlucky to lose the 2011 French Open final against Nadal and all the difference that missed drop shot made in the first set is a fact that should be stressed time and again. I am sure if Roger had won that first set with two breaks of serve, the match would have turned on its head just because Roger hiding behind the disappointment of losing that set and the second went on to win the third set. But sadly it was not Roger’s day and he lost a fine chance to beat Rafa’s on the red dirt which was Roger as well as his fans dream. If Soderling can beat Rafa on the red dirt, why not Roger ???? But I thought in the Australian Open 2009, Roger once again lost a match he should have won against Nadal with awful serving and having what about 37 break points. That was the mental part which went against Roger on that day because of his tough defeat at Wimbledon where he lost a nail biter in the end. Can anybody count the GREATEST out ? I am sure Roger will like to turn around the H2H against Rafa and for this to happen they should meet in grass and hard courts more often. Federer is aging but he is still playing his best and capable of beating the best.


Kimmi Says:

woooo, delpo with a good start. can he keep it up???


van orten Says:

anyone watching that davis cup ??? delpo and rafa playing out of their minds!!!!


bstevens Says:

Uh, is anybody watching the Nadal-Del Potro match? JMDP just took the first set 6-1! Amazingly, it still took over an hour. I do not know what is happening as I thought that Nadal would dominate the match given the circumstances and chance to clinch the tie. Still a long way to go in the match though for Del Potro to pull off the upset.


rose Says:

does anyone have a live streaming web site where I can watch rafa vs delpo match . my stupid cable company decided to cancel my tennis channel..grrrr…thanks a ton


bstevens Says:

Btw, to beat Nadal on clay, over 5 sets, at home, in Davis Cup, in the possible Davis cup clinching match, might just be even more difficult than beating him at Roland Garros.


van orten Says:

this is intenseeee ..nadal could have broken juan every single time in the first set…they played for almost an hour !!!


van orten Says:

and nadal is back in the match !!!! ???


Kimmi Says:

delpo too nervous there…rafa breaks back. c’mon delpo!


van orten Says:

but delpo a little unlucky now…its the toughest challenge to beat nadal on clay over 5 sets…my god this guy almost never mishits


rose Says:

any free live streaming site please


bstevens Says:

the turning point? Del Potro trying to consolidate the break early in the 2nd and is up 40-0. Nadal proceeds to win five straight points and we are back on serve.


van orten Says:

this is clay delpo needs to keep it up…high risk tennis believing believing!!!!


JF Says:

doe anyone have a linkto free streaming?


Kimmi Says:

rafa holds for the first time. maybe the match is changing now?


rose Says:

any free streaming anyone..my stupid cable company decided to cancel my tennis channel..grrr.thank a lot for your help :)


bstevens Says:

try sportlemon .tv


Kimmi Says:

rafa finds something…can delpo keep it up???


rose Says:

thanx for the site bstevens


bstevens Says:

Del Potro so far is playing outstanding!

how to play Nadal on clay:

-hit winners from any position
-block out missed opportunities
-repeat the above for the next 4-5 hours


van orten Says:

nadal fist pumping on almost every point !!!!


van orten Says:

hahahha bstevens that is so true


van orten Says:

that is why nadal will always prevail as long as he has the stamina to do so !!!!


Kimmi Says:

delpo staying too far behind to return that serve.

rafa with the good lead at the end of the set. delpo needs to hold and hopefully force the tie breaker


Kimmi Says:

delpo when he hits those big BH he should move to the net.

now he is too nervous..makes easy errors. set point rafa


Kimmi Says:

rafa takes the set. wooooo!

hmmm, not looking good for delpo now.


Aravind Says:

Both men played in 2nd gear throughout the first set. The quality went up a couple of notches in the second and Nadal takes the second. Delpo will serve behind again in the third. This is the slowest 2 hour match(two sets) you will ever see.. Both men take their own time… Will be interesting to see how much time they are taking between serves.. Average will surely nudge 30 secs…

Nadal not playing his best but just getting back into the match… Delpo is such a bad matchup for Nadal… He can play badly and win against many players, but he has to be somewhere close to his best to beat Delpo if both are playing peak tennis..


Kimmi Says:

delpo missing more. but rafa is playing better too. not good combination for delpo


Kimmi Says:

rafa fh is working, he is spreading the court well.


Kimmi Says:

rafa in the “king of clay” mode! no chance for delpo now. bye bye argentina.


Aravind Says:

Bye Bye Delpo.. Nadal too good at defense.. What insane defense to get the second break..


Kimmi Says:

aravind – we have been thinking the same. posting at the same time. BYE BYE delpo indeed!


Skeezerweezer Says:

This could very well be a turning point dor Rafa just as it was for Nole in DC last year. After Nole won for his country he never looked back. Rafa fans should mark this moment for there Rafa, he is looking like the Beast that he is on his Dirt.


Kimmi Says:

delpo making a come back? nervous game to close the set out.


Kimmi Says:

oh dear! break! rafa came up with the goods!!


Kimmi Says:

poor delpo, he was just about to win the 4th set..

now if rafa holds here…


Kimmi Says:

back to 5-5. is delpo chance gone!


Kimmi Says:

ah, the chance is gone for delpo. rafa breaks again. now serving for the championship.


Kimmi Says:

OK, tie break! can delpo??


Kimmi Says:

rafa with a 3-0 lead. a big mountain for delpo


Kimmi Says:

ah 4-0 rafa..now its bye bye delpo!


Kimmi Says:

5-0 oh dear, oh dear delpo going for too much. they are all going out.


Kimmi Says:

6-0 rafa six match points. what a horrible tie break for delpo


Kimmi Says:

spain wins. congrats rafa.


Kimmi Says:

too bad delpo. hope he plays well in 2012. he pushed rafa today but not enough.


Aravind Says:

Delpo was undercooked in his match against Ferrer.. He should have never lost that match.. He played much better against Rafa. This is a bad loss, but heartening to see as a Delpo fan. He really really pushed the king of clay in his kingdom. He is going to be another player who nobody wants in their draw next year..


Lulu Iberica Says:

Yes, Yes, YES! Congratulations to Rafa and Spain! Sorry, Delpo. Juan Martin fought hard, but he couldn’t quite make it. Certainly if he were more fit and held his nerves at important moments he could threaten Rafa on clay.


zinaldo Says:

Yes congratulations rafa you’ve done it again but for how long are you going to be relying on your opponents missing shots,this game proved to me that a fitter and not missing as much del potro will always beat nadal he is just a terrible match up for rafa,one thing he has over federer by example is that he can’t be bullied but he lacks roger’s athleticism to be able to stay up with rafa in longer rallies,that is why he should have gone for his shots a little earlier but also attacked the net a little more after those monsters forehands but eh he will learn with time.

Djoker must have been going mad seeing just how easy nadal is to play against,i am going to say that he would have beaten nadal today as he is way better at building and finishing up points,rafa is going to hope roger does him another favour at the french or at us open because he won’t be looking forward to meeting both at either events.

Nadal for me has now become just a sort of pusher with great defense but how long is he going to be able to get to those balls,djoker has shown that he is beatable on clay and a more ballsy roger would have won at the french this year,i see either,djoker,federer or del potro winning the australian open and as long as novak doesn’t have to play roger or an in form del potro or murray he is winning his first french open,wimbledon not sure but the us open will go to del potro or djokovic.


Michael Says:

VAMOS RAFAAAA!!!! Onwards and upwards. Kick some butt in 2012!!!! You r a champion!!!!


jane Says:

Congrats to Spain for their nth DC Championship. :) Missed the match, but the scoreline of set one suggests Delpo is getting his groove back. He will be one to look out for next year, no doubt.


alison hodge Says:

i hope skeezers right,and this acts as a springboard for rafa in 2012,pretty much like it was last year after winning the dc in 2009,however im not greedy,one slam would do me nicely on any surface not bothered which,although another fo would be amazing(the magnificent seven),however just delighted to see rafa defeat a very tricky oponent and seal the win for spain,well done spain well done rafa,heres hoping for another great year in 2012.


alison hodge Says:

great to see rafa managing to still come through even in the trickiest of matches,he did what great champions do and found a way through even when not playing there best,it may not always be pretty but games like the ones at rg,against isner,fed in the final,and jmdp today show what a great competitor he is,and a wins a win whatever way you look at it,and you cannot do anymore than that.


Humble Rafa Says:

Kick some butt in 2012!

Kick and pick butt in 2011. Thanks.


Humble Rafa Says:

oo bad delpo. hope he plays well in 2012. he pushed rafa today but not enough.

1 1 and 2. That is a lot of pushing.


carlo Says:

Thanks for the match report/analysis Zinaldo @11:47.

Congratulations to Spain- their stars are too good.

Well, it was a slim hope for del Potro anyway. But perhaps it’s good for del Potro in a way – he’ll know what he needs to improve. High hopes for Juan Martin in 2012! Vamos Delpo!


Humble Rafa Says:

Venus Williams had a wardrobe malfunction in Milan, Italy. Most people assumed the presumed “malfunction” was a part of Venus’ dress. When you show too much all the time, you need an expert to detect something happens.

I have never seen so much skin-for-money. Sad.


dari Says:

Congratulations to Spain in the Davis Cup!

I was really rooting for argentina, but I must say it is something to see rafa on clay. That dilapidated version we saw at the end of the hard court year is a sad sight.

Hope delpo can put the final pieces together of consistency, fitness, and taking advantage of chances to have a great 2012.

Tennis is now officially closed…


alison hodge Says:

@lulu iberica 1.23am,i agree i have never had any obsession whatsoever of rafas h2h with roger,or been the goat blah,blah,blah,i just love rafa for been rafa win or loose,and hopefully bag more grand slams and other titles along the way,if it all ended tomorrow i would still be delighted,with everthing hes achieved,although dissapointed that hes gone all the same,vamos rafa.


dari Says:

Also BIG kudos to david ferrer- makes the most of it at wtf and then turns right back around for a hard foughy clay match. Impressive dude, please somebody let him a masters in 2012!


alison hodge Says:

dari tennis is officially closed,and im already getting withdrawl symptoms,although no doubt it wont stop us talking about it till the exos start,i have loved reading all the comments,even though ive only been blogging on the forum for a short while,maybe we should open our own thread,and give awards to each other,catogries like funniest blogger which would be a 3 way tie grendel,skeezer and swiss maestro,farest blogger jane and brando,nicest blogger margot and yourself,most pointless blogger someone,bitchiest blogger cindy brady(sorry no offence cindy as its meant as a compliment,if your reading this,if not where are you lately),sweetest blogger again margot,nastiest blogger umm that one needs some thought,the most passionate blogger who defends there favourite player no matter what,thats got to be mem,(again wheres mem these days),least funniest blogger humble rafa sorry might be my british soh but i just dont get it,anyway looking forward to more of all your posts in 2012 cheers.


Swiss Maestro Says:

congrats to rafa and spain and alison and lulu and brando and other rafa fans. rafa on clay = God of clay. wishing rafa finishes runner up to fed in all tournaments they play together next year ;) [sorry, can't support rafa more than that!]

as for jmdp, well he is still a boy and yet to “mature”. he had no business losing that match to ferrer the other day. he must continue on with the learning and i hope he delivers on his potential in the near future. love his game. he needs to learn to make “wise decisions”. learn to use that monster forehand to hurt the opponent and not to shoot himself in the foot.

cannot wait for 2012 to begin.

alison : thank you for your sweet words. you are the nicest and sweetest blogger on this site. a 2 way tie along with maxi. thanks go out to all fed loyalists who post such great things about the king of tennis. skeezer, michael, daniel, kimmi, fot and dari. [sorry if i left out any]

jane, the only novak fan i like, enjoy nole’s great year.he has my respect unlike a lot of his fans [ you know who you are ]

sean, ben and dan – please keep the off season busy with some good tennis articles. [ hint to ben and sean. get a pot, a stirrer and knock yourselves out crazy. got it? ;)

question time [ i donot know the answer ].

which player has the highest no. of points at year end in the last 30 years [ consider only masters, wtf and 4GS]

and same question as above, but highest points at any point in time.


alison hodge Says:

thanks swiss maestro,right back atcha,hope roger the king and rafa the prince clean up at the slams next year,allez roger vamos rafa,happy christmas.


Brando Says:

@Swiss maestro: thanks, like Alison said, good luck to your fav too though- he’s as dangerous as ever I feel, and that’s very important for the game more than anything else. Very happy rafa and Spain won, congrats also to fellow rafa fans Alison, kimberly, lulu etc it’s good to see rafa with a smile on his face. End of a brilliant season, and patiently awaiting for a new one- LOVE TENNIS:-)


skeezerweezer Says:

Congrats to all the Rafa fans here on DC. Big match in front of his country and he came through. Delpo I still believe in you as a fan, get in the top 4 next year and be the 5th Musketeer! You can do it!

SM,

:)

It was a stunning year in Tennis. Obiviously, Novak was the story but the other top 3 had there moments this year also. Look forward to 2012.


M Says:

Swiss Maestro, JMDP is indeed a threat — no one else in the ATP took his ranking from 485 to 11 this year o.O — but to say he “never should have lost” to Ferru is a sign that perhaps a little more homework might be in order.

Ferru is ranked #5 in the world right behind those familiar names we all know. He is also the Spanish #2 and a beast on the claycourt. He’s one of the fittest players on tour — check out his regime on YouTube sometimes — and also has one of the highest returning averages in the league; they call him “The Wall”.

I love DelPo, and with his reach and that thundering forehand he’ll be a great threat in 2012. But you have to be as fit as Rafa to withstand Ferru on clay, and to any challenger I would say “Good luck with that.”

Now. All that said …

Vamos Rafa!!! As a FEDAL fan I am beyond thrilled to know that both you and Roger feel you’ve had the perfect cap to each of your respective seasons.


jamie Says:

Next year will be awesome. Four different slam winners, first time since 2003. :lickslips:

2012 winners:

AO: CVAC
FO: Arse-picker
Wimbledon: Playstation Addict
USO: Tandil Tower

Olympics: Swiss Miss


Lulu Iberica Says:

Thanks Swiss Maestro — that was very sweet of you! I have been enjoying your guy’s tennis at the end of this season, and I hope he keeps up the good play in 2012. It could turn out to be quite an exciting year!

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