Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Miami SF: “My Knee Won’t Let Me Play Today”
by Staff | March 30th, 2012, 1:55 pm
  • 275 Comments

Rafael Nadal has announced that he has withdrawn from the Miami Sony Ericsson Open Masters today. Nadal was schedule to play rival Andy Murray in the semifinals at 3pm ET.

“So sorry for my fans, those here at Miami and those around the world. My knee won’t let me play today,” Nadal wrote on Twitter.

Nadal, who has never won the Miami title, hinted after his Wednesday night victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga that his injured left knee might not heal in time.

“Always playing Andy is a pleasure for me, and exciting playing against a player like him that push you at the limit on everything,” Nadal said Wednesday. “The negative thing is I have to recover well. I have to improve my knee if I really want to have any chance to win.

“Right now hopefully I can recover and can enjoy the match.”

Nadal’s withdrawal sends part-time Miami resident and 2009 winner Andy Murray back into the final. It’s also just the second time in Nadal’s career that he has withdrawn before a match mid-tournament. The only other occasion was at Estoril in 2004.

In place of Nadal/Murray, the tournament has delayed the start of a women’s semifinal between Vania King/Monica Niculescu and Maria Kirilenko/Nadia Petrova to 3pm ET.

ESPN’s Chris Fowler added insight via twitter, “Nadal says he brought tendinitis in L knee to Miami. Got worse daily. Felt he couldn’t compete today. Exam tomorrow. Hopes 100% for clay.”

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

TICKET REFUNDS: Ticket holders who purchased tickets for Session 21 may exchange their tickets for Sessions 3-21 of the 2013 Sony Ericsson Open, which will take place March 18-31. Please note that this policy does not apply to weeklong subscription packages in the 100 level (Box), 200 level (Suite) or 300 level (Series) or any tickets issued on a Complimentary or Trade basis. The Sony Ericsson Open cannot guarantee ticket availability, exchange of equal value or comparable seat location.
(http://www.sonyericssonopen.com/News/Tennis/2012/Tournament/Friday2/Nadal-Withdraws-From-Semifinal.aspx)

PRESS CONFERENCE:

Q. Perhaps you could just take us through the situation you’re faced with. We assume it’s your knee. Could you tell us the story of the last couple of days?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, I started the since the beginning of the tournament I have problems, but the real thing is growing worse every day.
So after the last match, I saw that the situation were going to be complicated to play today. But, as always, I always believe that the things can improve.
So I waited until today in the morning. I did a lot of treatment yesterday, waiting, that we can recover a little bit for today.
But I am not ready to compete today. I am very sorry for the fans. I’m very sorry for the tournament. I’m very sorry for everybody who were ready to watch the match on the television, for television, for everybody. But I don’t have pleasure. I cannot do it another thing.
I am not ready to compete, and I cannot go on court and lie to everybody. That’s the thing today.

Q. Can you describe the problem exactly for us? Do you know what it is precisely?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have problems on the left knee. I cannot I have to go to doctor, but looks like is nothing really, really different that happen a few times in the past.
Just go to the doctor hopefully tomorrow, and hopefully in a few days, with a few days off and with the right treatment, I will be in the right conditions to start to practice on the clay.

Q. Because obviously you want to protect as best you can for the clay court season coming up? You say just going out there and running around on the hard court is not going to do you any good in the long run?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, but not. Yes, I want to arrive to the clay court with the right conditions, but I want to arrive here with the right conditions. That’s why I rest all February.
So I am not thinking I am not going on court today not because I have the clay court season. I am not going on court today because I cannot go on court today.
No, no. Nothing about clay court season. Clay court season is there in two weeks, but this tournament is very important for me, and I feel very sad to have to go out before a beautiful match for me, semifinals against Andy.

Q. What is your clay court schedule? What are the chances that that may change now?
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing change. Even if it’s sad to finish these two tournaments like this, playing two semifinals is a good result for me.
First three tournaments of the year I played final and two semifinals in very difficult tournaments, so that’s the positive thing that stays on my mind, playing good tennis. It’s true the last day I did not play good tennis, but my knee is not ready to play good tennis.
So in general, I am very happy almost about everything. My schedule gonna be the same. Monte Carlo, Barcelona, first two tournaments.

Q. How worrying is it to have the same thing happen again with your knee when you thought it was fixed?
RAFAEL NADAL: Less than if I have a new thing, because something that happened in the past, I know what to do to get better quick, and that’s what we’re gonna try.

Q. So where are you going now? Where are you going from here? Are you going back to Mallorca?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know yet. I gonna I have to check a few things. I want to go to visit the doctor, and I don’t know if I will be able to do it I will try to do it as fast as possible, to try to come back on court as quick as possible, too.

Q. Did you have any problems coming out of your training in February? When you went to Indian Wells, everything was good?
RAFAEL NADAL: I start to feel a little bit in Mallorca. But, no, everybody has almost everybody has pain when you are playing in this high level of competition, no?
The true is in Indian Wells I had I start to have problems on the knee before Indian Wells, and Indian Wells I have my problems on the knee. But that problem, no, are not limiting me to play at 100%.
So I played in Indian Wells with the normal conditions, playing in good shape physically and everything. Here is different.

Q. Is it described as tendinitis or something else?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. But seriously the tendons are much better today than three years ago. The treatments worked fantastic.
Even if today a really bad knee and last couple of days were tough for me, but positive thing the tendon improve a lot the last couple of years.
I am more health with both tendons than now. So the treatments are working well. In 2009 I really compete but compete in very bad conditions a lot of times. For the last couple of years, 2010, 2011, I was able to compete with perfect conditions for almost all the year.
So that’s always fantastic when that’s happening. This year I started well with no problems. Today is bad news, but that’s the sport. We cannot expect playing as much as we play, be perfect every day of our life.
Today is my turn. Everybody have problems, and I will be working hard to be back quick on court and to play my best in Monte Carlo.

Q. You always play with a lot of injuries. Are you more cautious now? Because you always play with I remember US Open when you have the other thing. Are you more cautious now?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I always try my best. But today I feel that I am not ready to compete, no? I always start hard. I tried in the US Open like the example in 2009, but I have big broke of the abdominal at the end of the US Open.
Then after US Open I had to stop for one month and a half with no competition. So I cannot repeat mistakes from the past, but that doesn’t mean that I am more afraid about playing with pains or not.
I try my best in every moment with pain, without pain, but when I see the situation is done and I cannot, I cannot. That’s it.


Also Check Out:
Li Na Withdraws From Summer Events Including US Open Due To Knee
Surprise! Rafael Nadal Says Knee Is “Doing Well”
After Missing Indian Wells, Boris Becker Won’t Be With Novak Djokovic In Miami Either
Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Paris Masters
Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Madrid Due To Right Wrist Injury

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275 Comments for Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Miami SF: “My Knee Won’t Let Me Play Today”

Kimberly Says:

I JUST SPENT $300 TWO HOURS AGO, NOW SCRAMBLING TO TRY TO GET IT BACK. I TOLD THE GUY I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!!!


RZ Says:

Kimberly, that’s a shame. As much as I love tennis, the downside is that you never know for sure who you’re going to see play. I remember buying tix for my first pro match hoping to see a Sampras-Chang final. I bought those tix during the quarterfinal round, and Sampras lost to Krajicek in the semis, so those hopes were dashed..


skeezerweezer Says:

Bummer!!!!!


Humble Rafa Says:

I JUST SPENT $300 TWO HOURS AGO, NOW SCRAMBLING TO TRY TO GET IT BACK. I TOLD THE GUY I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!!!

I hope you got ticket insurance. You know, anything can happen to me anytime..mostly injury.


jane Says:

Oh that’s a shame Kimberly – hope you can get your money.

Too bad about Rafa/Murray; I was looking forward to seeing this match, see if Murray can begin turning around the H2H.

Rest up Rafa!


Brando Says:

I hope you can get your money back kimberly


Brando Says:

I’m glad rafa has withdrawn though- if has an issue with the knee, a SF with andy and a possible final with nole would have certainly made it worse. As jane said, rest up and get well soon rafa!


Kimberly Says:

the gyu will give me tickets to the womens final instead for the same price. i guess thats ok. i am so disappointed. the build up of excitment to see rafa was there.


Brando Says:

PS: I wonder if this injury qualifies rafa to be on the list dave provided on other thread, re list of injurys post July 2011?BUT seeing as it is rafa and a list of dave’s I’m sure rafa has missed the cut off point, and his injury doesn’t meet dave’s criteria of a genune injury. Also hope this doesn’t affect the chances of andy in the final- we all know how rafa’s announcement can prove to be detrimental to players!


jane Says:

Brando, If this is the first event Rafa has withdrawn from midway since 2004 then the injury must be considerable. I would imagine Rafa is thinking ahead to clay and not taking any risks with further injury. In that sense, yes, it’s likely a good decision.


Brad Pitt Says:

Personally, I think Rafa plays if the other semi-final was Federer vs Monaco instead Nole.


Mark Says:

Great decision Rafa. Now rest up, have some treatment and start kicking some butt on the red stuff! VAMOS RAFAAA!!!


Brando Says:

@jane: I truly cannot say whether it is his first withdrawal midway in a tourny since 2004. I really hope it’s just a measure taken in order to avoid an injury. And I think it is that. Playing andy and nole back to back would just be asking TOO much of rafa, if he isn’t 100% about his knee.


Jake Says:

This is a shame.
If you know this could happen since you have been complaining about it – you should have done this before you play with Tsonga at least. Tsonga deserves to be playing with Murray.


jane Says:

Could Brando. Anyhow, wishing him a speedy recovery.:)

Kimberly, that’s good! At least you can see Sharapova, but too bad you missed Rafa.


dari Says:

geeze, sorry rafa, knee had been good for a while, bummer this happens now

hope he gets well soon, i want all of my faves get a change to beat him outright ;)

as for murray, hope he makes the most of the trip to the final!

i was hoping for this to be a good match, bummer


dari Says:

how many times can i say bummer?

Vamos Murray!

Kimberly, have fun at the final!


Colin Says:

This shoots down the sceptics, doesn’t it? No way would he withdraw if the problem were not real. By the way, we shouldn’t refer to it as an injury, should we? It’s an ongoing condition of wear and tear. I can’t agree with Jake. I think any player would take it day by day and see how the knee was going.
Remember when Rafa would be struggling at the end of the season? Nowadays it starts a lot earlier.


Ajet Says:

congratulations nadal haters!!! amazing day for you!!! best news in the world!!!

but please don’t stop! again blast nadal for withdrawing as it’s obvious to you that nadal neevr tells truth about his injuries! all that he does is just to give reasons for excuse-scanners like you to bash him all day long! rejoice, now that you don’t have to see nadal in action anymore!

but at the same time commiserations to the nadal haters and bashers as now you can no more keep complaining about anything and everything nadal does for the rest of the miami tournament! your remaining tournament’ll be dull now that you don’t have the chance to see butt of nadal, and thereby you’re denied the privilege of spewing venom and garbage about him! that’s bad for you, no? i fact nadal should cut away his butt from his body for your pleasure, ain’t it?

but it’s good, no? now that you don’t have to listen to the imperfect english of nadal!! or is it bad that you’re deprived of the chance of criticising his english further throughout miami tournament!

but hey, nadal’s withdrawal cannot be genuine to you! please come out with all the strength and attach some justified-as-usual-as-per-you conspiracy angle to nadal’s withdrawal! and please elaborate about the clandestine future plans of nadal, for which you surely believe he withdrew! that plan definitely as per you is that nadal is for putting all his energy behind the clay season by making the profitable bargain by enacting withdrawal drama here, involving his usual over-publicity and overstatement of injury concerns in media(which you nadal haters of all the world are best aware of), so that he can get a few days’ extra time for practsing in clay so that he wins all the clay tournaments he enters by leaving the HC season earlier, not too bad a bargain it can be, as per you, no? heck, you can even come up with all the proof regarding this!!

you are also wise enough to know that nadal’s withdraw is only make people believe in his faking/excuses so that in the case of loss the gullible ones can assume that it wasn’t his opponent who beat him! please also remind to the stupids and idiots on this forum as to how nadal actually chickened out in fear of loss to his one-upon-a-time whipping boys murray/djoker and knee injury wasn’t the real issue behind withdrawal! i know you’ve all the proof in the world to prove it against nadal, which you’ll bring now, citing the real reason of nadal’s withdrawal(and that’s not injury concern, as you clearly know)!

celebrate now! what better for you than nadal being forced to quit not due to the superior player’s play, but only due to knee injury! bring on the doomsday prediction for nadal in full force!! break the spirit of nadal faithfuls by explaining how this withdrawal is the stepping stone to the nail in the coffin of nadal’s career!

eat chocolates, drink wine, celebrate the omen of nadal’s career coming to its end! please prove to everybody how and why nadal’s end is near, now that his withdrawal vindicated your stand that nadal’s style is too bad for his longevity! these withdrawals and niggling injury problem of nadal are obvious signs that his career’s end is near! either this doom and gloom forecast for nadal or the conspiracy/injury faking/cheating/excuse theory for nadal as the reason of withdrawal; you know the art of having it both ways against nadal!!!
endless reasons and space to bash him! you guys must be feeling fantsstic right now!!


Kimberly Says:

Been negotiating with the guy for the past hour, kaiser does not want to go to the women’s final we r taking heat tickets instead.


dari Says:

i think that with the slow hardcourts, you have the long, grueling, running points of clay without the softness of court to counteract- very damaging


Lulu Iberica Says:

Sorry, Kimberly! That’s so disappointing. I’m glad my husband & I decided to stay home and do this cycling race he wanted to enter instead of going to Miami. It’s best for Rafa that he withdrew — better than injuring himself further or retiring during the match. Please be well, Rafa!


Roger Federer Fan Says:

Its a smart conspiracy by Rafa against Federer.
By withdrawing against Murray, he is making sure that Murray is fresh for the finals to beat Nole.
The end result will be that Murray will be threatening Federer’s No.3 ranking.

This will put unnecesary pressure on Federer and will affect his training schedule before the clay season.


Dave Says:

Brando: “PS: I wonder if this injury qualifies rafa to be on the list dave provided on other thread, re list of injurys post July 2011?”

Of course it does, couldn’t you read the English on that list? And so Nadal will finally — actually — be on that injured list after nine months of whining about being injured. Nadal joins the other four members of the Top 5 who have been on that list at least once.

More interesting question: If Nadal was facing Juan Monaco instead of Murray in the semifinal, would Nadal have pulled out after running and moving like this against Tsonga (see clip)? In other words would Nadal have tried to play on if the other semifinalists were all players he could beat?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDDP_v7F2cc

If Federer, Murray and Ferrer withdrew from every match whenever they did not feel 100%, no player would have a winning record over them.


Dave Says:

Murray needed the match practice after losing so early in Indian Wells and getting an earlier walkover in Miami (Nadal is his second walkover). He certainly needs to play his best against Djokovic.

Anyway Andy needs the points this year, as he has been only sixth in points won before Miami.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/YTD-Singles.aspx

Don’t be surprised if Juan Monaco makes it a tighter, harder fought match than expected against Djokovic. Novak should still win


Philip Says:

@Roger Federer Fan

SMH. I’m a huge Roger Federer fan, but that was just… lol.


Superhuman Says:

Andy is so lucky, Raonic retired and now Nadal! Anyhow, I am looking forward to Nole vs Andy final!


Ajet Says:

alison, kimberley, brando, lulu, mem, mark, steve27, RAS and any other nada fan i left out:

commiserations to you on your guy’s injury. it’s sad that people just never believe him that his injury concerns are really something more than just lame excuses! your guy’s bashed, insulted, demonised, abused, blasted and ridiculed left, right and centre here, even hated, just when he truthfully states that he has an inury! the non-stop criticism of each and everything about your guy(be it playign style/english-speaking/on-court demenaour/off-court persona/the list just goes on..) here is sad and also bad and intolerably mean. i’m feelign sad for nadal really today. mostly nobody believes in his injury issues apart from his fans, just due to utter prejudice.

nadal is paying a heavy price for being a truly great player who has proved an equal to all his great rivals on his day!
nadal is paying the price in the form of the davastating hate of his detractors, and his only fault is that he’s a born winner and champion!

BUT ON A POSITIVE NOTE: nadal did the best thing by withdrawing as he could ill-afford the aggravation of any injurt at this point. I still consider nadal as an equal favourite as djoker in all tournaments he enters…


marrisv Says:

i think this is a good decision by rafa and one which i thought will happen. Any match involving Rafa, Andy M , Novak is going to be excruciatingly physical match.

We are going to see the third clash between Andy and Novak on hard courts this year… I love this matchup.


Humble Rafa Says:

My entire “headspace” is leased to a certain Egg Lover. I didn’t have room in my head, so had to call it quits.


Eric Says:

Guess all the haters oughta feel pretty stupid now.

This sucks, though. I was looking forward to seeing what would have been (probably) an outstanding match. Not as disappointed as you must be though, Kimberly! Heat vs. whom will you be seeing?


Stella Says:

“Hopes 100% for clay.”

Oh i think we can safely assume that come clay season he will be fine!!!


nikita Says:

The thing I don’t get about Nadal’s injury is this: if his knee was hurting…why in the world he was playing doubles in IW & Miami? It does not make any sense.
IMHO he wants to be rested for Montecarlo, keep in mind that Nole confirmed his participation there. Nole is planning on taking on Nadal at the two major tournaments the Spaniard is almost invincible: MC & RG.


steve-o Says:

Kimberly, I’m sorry you weren’t able to get to see your man live.


steve-o Says:

I truly cannot say whether it is his first withdrawal midway in a tourny since 2004.

Nadal withdrew from AO ’10 when he was two sets down against Murray in the quarters.

Then in 2008 he withdrew from Rome with a blister before his match with Ferrero, and from the Paris Masters with some injury, I forget what.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence, and it doesn’t augur anything about his season; you’ll recall that 2008 and 2010 were his best years.

How is it that it’s left to a crusty “hater” like myself to recall these things, and Nadal’s fans who are supposedly so worried and supportive do not even remember the trials and tribulations of their man?


Brad Pitt Says:

To me, there is an increasing psychological aspect to Nadal’s physical injuries. He talks about his injuries leading into and after matches much more often than any other player. I don’t doubt that his knees are hurting / giving him problems. I also don’t think the condition is probably ever going completely away. So it is a curious mental approach.


Sean Randall Says:

Kimberly, the Heat? Good job!

nikita, good point. Why play doubles if his knee was acting up ahead of Miami. I’ve had bouts of knee tendinitis and playing more never worked!


jane Says:

I think the difference, steve-o, is between retiring during a match and withdrawing before playing a match. The AO was a retirement. In Rome, I am pretty sure Nadal officially lost to Ferrero.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Steve-o, it is the first time he has withdrawn BEFORE the start of a match since 2004. Retiring during the match is a different thing. Yes, we Rafa fans are well aware of his retirements as people such as yourself would certainly never let us forget them! I’m glad he withdrew before the match, because I’m sure Andy M’s tennis would’ve had him scrambling like mad and in a lot of pain, possibly leading to a retirement. I think after AO 2010 he’s been quite sensitive to criticism regarding his retirements and that is one reason he played on in AO 2011 against Ferrer, even though Uncle Toni wanted him to quit.


Green900 Says:

I had tickets which I bought for 2000 dollars. FML.


Daniel Says:

Well, Nadal just complete another year without winning anything outside clay.

If he doesn’t win Monte Carlo, which will probably be named Rafael Nadal championchips after he retires than, red lights. He is already onn yellow lights as he has this injury prior to clay.

Tense moments for Nadal fans. Hope his recovery in time, clay season without Nadal on full force won’t be the same!


Mark Says:

@Steve-0. In 2008 Rafa did not withdraw from his match with Ferrero. He played the full match with blisters and lost.


racquet Says:

The tennis stats guru Sharko just confirmed that this is only the 2nd time Nadal has given a W/O in 777 matches (the first was Estoril). Not a bad record at all.


Kimberly Says:

on wed the Marlins new stadium opening day so whoever the Heat play that evening the guy has a ton of unsold tix so that is what we are getting. Kaiser refuses to watch Sharapova and too much money to spend on a child. Kaiser and I were supposed to go to the match together.

Normally I would say best for Rafa to rest blah blah blah but I am just so disappointed there are no words for it. I went out and played tennis instead and played like garbage.


skeezerweezer Says:

@K

Sorry that happened to you :(…. But all things considered you can melt away your sorrow with da Heat! Not a bad trade all things considered. Go Miami ;)


Dan Martin Says:

I hope he gets healthy.


Kimberly Says:

@ skeezer–our wed game is OKC my mood has improved. Hoepfully we do better than last week.


Ajet Says:

dunno how far practical i’m being here, but may be the best solution for nadal to avoid injuries is by winning points on serve, may be he should focus mainly on developing a potent fast serve, his accuracy’s already outstanding in service department. so may be adding 10-20 miles of pace to his serve is the answe to his worries, coz by that at least he’d not have to run or labour much for winning his service games. ths combined with his already great aggressive return game will serve his purpose most. he can win points quite easily by adding pace to his superb placement and accuracy of serve. then he can just destroy his opponents, and spare himself the utter physical exertion!

and KIMBERLEY:

i can understand your frustration on not being able to watch rafa and having to have satisfy yourself with shriekepova! it’s like setting out in good mood to watch a hollywood blockbuster but having to be content with just a flop regional movie due to ticket unavailability! or even better analogy, set out for superb buttery french cuisine but instead being forced to do with poor@$$ salad and humble djoko gluten free diet! ;)


RZ Says:

I’m curious as to what Nadal’s primary goal in tennis is: win more slams? get back to #1? win more Masters titles? Defend his Olympic gold medal? Obviously any pro tennis player would want all of the above, but if Rafa had to pick one goal, which one would it be?

If his interest is getting back to #1, then he’d need to play often, continuing the stress that is already on his knees. If his main goal is to add to his slam tally, he may be able to save some of the wear-and-tear on his body by playing fewer events throughout the year and focusing on peaking at the slams.


skeezerweezer Says:

RZ,

That is an interesting question, but he has to decide. Imho, he should forget the ranking system and just prepare for slams, probably play a few warm up tournies prior to get some matches in. His historical run a Slams is undeniable. I understand his unquestionable desire to play, and play for his fans, but its evident looking back now his injuries are severe enough that he has had to step of the Tour repeatedly to get healthy. And why is he playing Doubs????


Kimberly Says:

I think Nadal’s goal is to win more slams and to close the door on any discussion of who is the clay GOAT. However I think his daily thought is what he says, to be competitive in any and every tournament he enters.

I think he played the quarterfinal match for the points–180 more, so he only loses 240 instead of 420. As much as I love him the nice thing for the tournament would have been to withdraw from the quarterfinal and at least let the fans have a match to watch. We are all very disappointed. Such a nice tournament and all we get for a semi is djokovic monaco, which is more appropriate for a fourth round match.

I watched the womens semi with woz and sharapova yesterday and it was great, amazing atmosphere lots of fun. Then watched probably the worst professional tennis match i have ever seen in fish monaco.


alison hodge Says:

you never know maybe the haters will now ease up on rafa for five minutes,and maybe i will win 6 million in tomorrow nights national lottery,but for now i wont hold my breath,hell the man cant even pay a visit to the bloody loo without been held under suspicion.


RZ Says:

Allison, are you in the U.K.? Here in the U.S. we have a record-breaking lottery amount at something ridiculous like $450 million. People are going crazy lining up for their tix.

Skeezerweezer, I think if I were in the same position, I would choose to focus on winning more slams and forget the top ranking, but work hard enough to stay in the top 4 to avoid playing Djoker/Fed/Murray before the semis.

Kimberly, I would think Nadal pretty much has the clay GOAT title all wrapped up (assuming that we’re comparing him to men only and not including Chris Evert, who may very well be the all-time clay GOAT). I can’t imagine that Rafa would need more than one more RG title to convince those who think otherwise.


Eric Says:

I think Rafa’s main goal is to win a bunch of tennis matches.

I don’t think the top tennis pros spend a lot of time thinking things like “hey self, maybe I should tank this match and give myself a few extra days to recover before that other tournament I really want to win even more than this one. What do you think, self?”

You don’t enter an event if you don’t want to win it. That’s where smart scheduling comes in, something Nole and Roger have perfected but Rafa has occasionally let slip by. I think history has shown that slams are Rafa’s #1 priority with no competition. But you don’t prepare for a slam by not trying at the other tournaments you play — you do it by winning them.


RZ Says:

Eric, I don’t disagree with your overall point, but considering that the next slam is on European clay, Rafa could have chosen to skip the IW and Miami hard court events. Considering that he entered Miami with knee tendinitis, it would have been well within his rights to withdraw from the tournament, rest up, and then play the clay Masters tournaments to train for Roland Garros.


jane Says:

” the worst professional tennis match i have ever seen in fish monaco”

What made it so bad?


Leon Says:

Oh, yes, I remember that 2008 Rome blister, well exposed. A big one, indeed. But the match was completed, 75, 61 to Ferrero.
Interesting that Juan Carlos was visibly irritated by the attempt to belittle his win at the presser, citing his own, more serious injury he played with:

JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: At first I felt really happy because, you know, I played a really good match. I played very well the whole match.
After I was very happy because I beat the best in clay court. You know, I was also happy because I never beat him — I never won a set against him on clay court, so after the match I think for all this reason that I said I was pretty happy, of course.

Q. The fact that Rafa was injured – he complained about the foot injury at the press conference here – what does that take away from your win? Do you feel it takes a little bit of shine away from your win?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Could be, could be. But I also had injury in my abductor from yesterday. I couldn’t move 100% also. And you know when you go to the court and you decide to play, I think the injury is not reason to say yes or no.
I think, you know, he play as — I think — as good as he can with the injury and everything.
You know, at the end I play a little bit better than him. I think. I think. I don’t know if it was big reason to don’t play at his best level, the injury.
——–


Wog boy Says:

I wasn’t on this forum then, but I wander if Rafa was given credit (his fans not included), as much as bashing, last year for staying and finishing match with Ferrer when he was obviosly injured and even adviced to retire. I was there and it was sad watching great champion on the chair with tears in his eyes knowing that his , probably one and only, chance to put four GS together is melting infront of his very eyes. But he stayed and all credit to him from Nole’s fan. Get well mate, I want to see more of those epic matches against my man.


Wog boy Says:

should say wonder and not “wander”


Eric Says:

“Rafa could have chosen to skip the IW and Miami hard court events.”

Yes, except that he had 1200 points to defend and…. to be honest I don’t even see your point. He did withdraw from Miami when it became clear he couldn’t play. By what magic power do you imagine he could have known a week ago that his tendinitis would flare up so badly over the course of the week, and why would he have withdrawn while he could still play properly anyway? (Also, you’re not allowed to skip mandatory events because you’re afraid you might get injured.)


RZ Says:

Eric, he’s been complaining about his knee from the beginning of the Miami tournament, so clearly he was injured coming in. Maybe he couldn’t have skipped IW, but he could have skipped Miami. You’re right that he has major points to defend in both tourneys, but I’d argue that his health and ability to play for the rest of the year are more important.


Kimberly Says:

Jane, Fish could not find the court, some of his balls didn’t even make it to the bottom of the net, they hit the ground before, he couldn’t buy a first serve and you cringed every time the ball went to his forehand side. It was over basically five minutes after it began.


jane Says:

Hmm, was curious as I didn’t see it Kimberly. I read that Monaco played well, though, so I guess it was a matter of Fish playing poorly and Pico playing well.


Leon Says:

Pretty similar-to-yesterday start by Novak. As Monaco is not a ferrer, we can expect much less drama today.


Kimberly Says:

Monaco played well but Fish was sh-t


Eric Says:

Monaco is playing darn well here to start – yet Nole is about to serve at 3-0. Monaco has won just three points so far. That’s how scary good Nole is playing.


Kimberly Says:

bagel coming, novak not giving anything away


Andrea Says:

What a shocker. Just checked in on the tennis for the day. The gods seem to be lining up for Murray, so maybe he takes down Novak? I mean, I’d love to think Juan has a chance but it’s already 4-0 so I guess not.

Bummer for all of you bought tickets and not getting to see a match!!!!


Kimberly Says:

odds on whether there will be a bagel?


Eric Says:

At this rate it’ll be a double bagel haha. Djokovic is just amazing.


jane Says:

Feel for Pico, but love to see Nole playing so well also. He’s playing so clean and sharp.


Duro Says:

Oh boy…


mat4 Says:

I am not satisfied. Nole is not playing well. I don’t dare imagine the result if he was playing well.


Eric Says:

Nole: 24 points. Monaco: 8. 27 minutes. I think that might have been the biggest beatdown I’ve ever seen…


Eric Says:

This set should be more competitive. Monaco was playing very well for the first four games or so, just in a different universe entirely from Nole… Juan might even hold serve once or twice. :)


Duro Says:

Mat, Nole is not serving well, but he plays as well as it can possibly be…


jane Says:

Monaco’s coming around: on the board.


Duro Says:

Hey, Jane! :-)


Leon Says:

Hilarious. Did Novak tank that 1st game? It was hard, but he did it!


mat4 Says:

Duro,

:-)


jane Says:

Hey Duro, mat4, I hope Nole keeps the focus, pedal to the metal, in this second set.


Eric Says:

Some errors from Nole here…


El Flaco Says:

Nadal retired in the 2nd set of his 2007 match against Monaco in Cincy.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

it won’t be easy. He is almost asleep.


Duro Says:

Pedal to the metal for once! He never did it this year. For the whole match I mean. Not that he didn’t want to…

There was a match when Rafa won a set 6-0, but Nikolai prevailed in the end.

That scenario tonight? Naaaah…


Gordo Says:

At least Monaco is starting to settle down. After the first set I was afraid that Nole was going to be the more rested in the final between him and Murray, having exerted less energy winning the semi than Murray did in crossing the phone and answering it to find out Rafa had forfeited. :)


Duro Says:

Oleeeee, ole, ole, oleeee, Piiicoooo, Piiicoooo…


Eric Says:

Wow, that was a shockingly good volley to stave off the break.


Eric Says:

But all for naught. Nole up the break, huzzah!


Duro Says:

And that’s about it…


Eric Says:

Not so fast…


Wog boy Says:

mat4, you are right Nole was asleep, hope this break is going to wake him up.


jane Says:

Gabriella Sabatini is there; I remember when she gave Nole the trophy in Rome in 2008.


Duro Says:

And he hugged her pretty hard…


Kimmi Says:

ah, so everybody is here. nole with more errors in the second set


jane Says:

Duro, it’s true that Nole doesn’t usually keep the pedal down as well in the second sets. He starts cleanly and well and then he has a let up. As the announcers said, he has been his own worst enemy in this second set, hitting more errors and maybe losing that razor sharp focus he came out with.


racquet Says:

Poor Pico, the gulf in class is too wide. And hasn’t Gabriella Sabatini aged well? She looks amazing.


jane Says:

Oooo dropper on the line.


Duro Says:

Jane, it only proves that he’s not at his best yet, but I like it that way. It’s too early on the season and there’s a lot more to go…


Duro Says:

Dropper, passing… Perfect patches.


Kimmi Says:

what a backhand pass.

reminds me of federer. flawless first set and then there after errors starts coming


Kimmi Says:

but i think monaco is playing much better in the second. he could be causing some of the errors from nole.


Duro Says:

Kimmimmissimo, but Fed drops the level because he can’t sustain the level anymore. Nole does it because he’s not fully ready yet. He will peak later on the season…

Gold, baby, gold… That’s what we want…


Eric Says:

Does Monaco remind anyone else a little bit of Hewitt? Am I just being crazy?


jane Says:

Yes, definitely not a clean second set. Love-40, looks like he is giving the break back?


jane Says:

True Kimmi: it’s a combination of both. Nole getting a little too casual, and Pico upping his level.


Kimmi Says:

durosssimmmo – that is your opinion. Lets hope he comes out here unscratched..i believe he will.


Kimmi Says:

looks like he is playing better when he is down..


racquet Says:

Nole has 44% 1st serves in the 2nd set. That won’t cut it Sunday.


Eric Says:

Eesh. Both guys are dripping errors in this game.


Kimmi Says:

finally! now finish him off.


jane Says:

Nice hold, coming back from love-40.


skeezerweezer Says:

Monaco is making a match of it in the 2nd….good for him…………Although Nole is now in a position to serve it out….


skeezerweezer Says:

One wonders Monaco will be bringing this confidence to the Clay…take note Bracket challengers ;)


Duro Says:

He’s making me mad… Now I’m not satisfied, Mat.

Looks like he’s bored. Bring Rafa to awake him up!

Or Rog, no difference ;-)…


Duro Says:

Hey, Skeez.

Greetings.


Eric Says:

Djokovic falls to 0-30 on serve for the third or fourth time. But will it matter?


racquet Says:

What the hell was that?


Duro Says:

Break the damn racquet!


Eric Says:

…well I guess it will. No way he is saving another triple bp.


Kimmi Says:

oh dear


skeezerweezer Says:

Ok…..Nole……WAKE UP.


Duro Says:

Not you, Racquet.


jane Says:

Goodness Nole: serve out a match. This is the Ferrer match all over again?


racquet Says:

@Duro ;)


Eric Says:

or maybe he will, sheesh. one left…


Kimmi Says:

skeez – you think so. i still think it will all depend on his draw.

djokovic likes it when he is down…he will take this game. hope i dont jinx him.


skeezerweezer Says:

Hey Duro.

Shame shame shame…you are not satisfied? Wish Fed was still in and playin this guy :)…..No worries…supremely confident Nole will pull this out….he’ll be fired up for Murray!!!


Kimmi Says:

he he he , monaco wants to cry..


El Flaco Says:

Djokovic played a stupid game when he was up 5-3. He just gave it away and stopped trying. When you do that you can lose an edge and it can be hard to turn it back on the next game to serve out the match. He may still pull out this game.


skeezerweezer Says:

jane….hows the cleaning? ;)


jane Says:

Ugh. What the hell?


Kimmi Says:

no, i jinx him.


Eric Says:

po po po


racquet Says:

Weird. Can’t fathom what’s going on with Nole.


Leon Says:

Novak is a gentleman. Monaco has a model girlfriend in his box, the crowd wants a match, so he is trying so hard to not disappoint them.


Eric Says:

Monaco’s turn to be 0-30, methinks Nole just breaks right back…


racquet Says:

^^interesting theory. hehe


Duro Says:

What pisses me off now is Ivan Lendl giving Murray hopes…

Nole, shame on you how you play! And all after 6-0, and the experience from Ferrer yesterday.


jane Says:

skeezer, my floor does need mopping; I suppose I could resort to that. It’s getting rather messy around here with all of Nole’s winning. ;)


skeezerweezer Says:

^good point Duro…..maybe he just thought he Monaco wasn’t as good as Ferrer, and now he really has to take it to another gear to get this guy out. Monaco is playin tough…


Kimmi Says:

monaco does not want to hold either. nole needs to take this..


Kimmi Says:

2 big serves, just what the dr ordered.


Eric Says:

Wow. I might like Monaco’s chances in a tiebreak, assuming Nole holds. Fighting on…


skeezerweezer Says:

haha jane….


mat4 Says:

Nole is just not there. His body language is strange.


Duro Says:

This is not a level drop, this is abyss…

That spoiled everything. He can kiss his 6-0 first set…


Eric Says:

Agreed, the only time Nole has played 2-3 really good points in a row for the past 5 or 6 games is when he was down break points. And then he showed us how amazing he is. But the rest of the time, meh, maybe he is tired?


jane Says:

I am mad at Nole too Duro. He really played a bad game at 5-3, like El Flaco said, and just blew it. Now he’s in a real pickle instead of possibly showering/getting a massage. Grrr. Who knows what’ll happen. Add to that the fact that he’s serving at 49% first serves for the match and things could get difficult in a tiebreak if he isn’t careful. Plus, on top of everything, I just don’t wanna mop! Humph.


Kimmi Says:

aaargh, he should have gone to the net after that FH..


El Flaco Says:

Nole’s serve has been horrible today.


jane Says:

Another complaint. How come in both first sets versus Monaco and Ferrer Nole came to net and finished points like a King and then in the second sets he stays back all the time and makes more errors, I just don’t get the Jekyll and Hyde bit.

Come on Nole – GO!


Kimmi Says:

he better wake up now, its now or never


Duro Says:

His 49% serve and serve in general is his main problem. He can break anybody any time, but he gets broken waaaay too often for my liking.

Even if he finishes it in two sets, the impression is ruined utterly. 6-0 only makes it worse.


racquet Says:

haha…loved Pico’s reaction to that lob. Match point.


Duro Says:

Nole should definitely smash couple of his racquets as soon as this match ends. It will only do him good. I think he boils inside.


Eric Says:

Nole REALLY wants to play a third set.


Eric Says:

…but Monaco won’t let him. Killjoy.

Nole through! Should be an interesting match — both guys have shown some excellent and some questionable form this week.


Kimmi Says:

winning when not playing their best is what matter they would tell you.


jane Says:

YAY Nole, or really, yay Nole. At least he’s through. But he won’t get away with that in the final. Murray will be all over those serves and errors.

Third set, I would’ve mopped. But I am going to have some wine instead. :)


Leon Says:

Congrats, Novak’s fans! And thanks, Novak, for a good spectacle.


racquet Says:

Weird, see-saw match. Some very entertaining patches though. That’s two matches in a row now with brilliant first sets and walkabout 2nds. Maybe the pattern stops tonight?


Eric Says:

Yuck is right. On the other hand, Monaco definitely proved it wasn’t a complete ridiculous fluke for him to be in the semis here – very competitive and close second set, even if most of us probably agree that was because Nole’s level collapsed. (I think Nole had just 2 unforced errors in 32 points in the first set, versus at least 25 in 103 points in the second set.)


mat4 Says:

There are two things worth noting:

Novak is slowly finding his grove with his groundstrokes. On the other side, the work done with the serve is not paying off: in the first set against Ferrer, one of the best returner in the game, he serve 125, 126, 127 mph often enough. Tonight it was awful.

Then, there is something about his mindset. He just waits the matches to finish, the opponents to make mistakes. You have the impression he doesn’t have a clear plan how to play. Against David, in the first set, he followed his FH to the net. Tonight, he started with a lot of variety, changing the direction, the pace, the spin, and making Monaco overplay. In the second set, he was just retrieving and thinking about his serve percentage.


Duro Says:

Mat, call him and tell him that! If he loses confidence and a clear plan how to finish these kind of matches then not a bright prospective for the Sunday final for him. Murray won’t forgive him those weaknesses.


mat4 Says:

Don’t worry Duro. Murray also waits errors from the other side of the net.

Then, he lacks humility. Rafa is always humble when he beats Roger. Novak became very humble since he is no 1, always praising Roger and Rafa.

Murray will become very dangerous the day I hear him praise Novak, Rafa, Roger, repeat how great they are etc. It will show that he finally understood what makes the difference.

Joking aside, since he hired Lendl, he just started to piss me off.


Brando Says:

Interesting match tonight…. I think nole’s groundies are there, BUT to be very honest in his 2 losses this year, especially isner, they weren’t AWOL! It’s his serve and strange UE that I find a bit unusual with atm. The final? Depends on who serves better- it’s that simple I think. I’d give nole the edge- he’s definately more mentally tougher than AM- BUT what he did agains Monaco in the 2nd set must have helped andy’s self belief.


mat4 Says:

He made me remember how much I hated Lendl.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Congrats Nole gang!!!


Wog boy Says:

Leon, thanks!

All I can say, thanks God it is finished. I don’t know if he has some issues but he wasn’t there in the second set, agree with mat4. His serve didn’t have bite, not at all. And he was expressionless in that second set. That’s it for today my friends, I have to do the lawn in order to get back in the good books with my wifey. She reckons I had to much wine last night :) I have to skip my brandy until later this afternoon :( bummer.


mat4 Says:

@Brando:

It will certainly be a very difficult match. I watched Murray against Tipsy and I wasn’t impressed. I expected an aggressive Murray, an improved FH, a different mindset.

I think that the outcome will depend on Djokovic. If Djoko plays the way he did in the first set of his match against Ferrer, I believe he will win. I believe he will stay focused in that match, and that his forehand will make the difference.

Murray will play the percentage just like he did in Dubai, and make Novak play one shot more.

Anyway, it is a tough call.


jane Says:

Wog Boy, have fun with the lawn and then you can tie into the brandy.

Thanks for the shout outs Leon and Skeezer. We’re becoming a bit disgruntled. Used to be we were just thrilled when Nole didn’t double fault 14 times a match. Now we want bagels and breadsticks all the time, not glutten free. Maybe we need to lighten up?

He won. He’s in the final. It could be worse! :)


mat4 Says:

Hi Skeezer. What’s your take for the final: Ladyforehand or Ladyserve?


Eric Says:

Agreed, mat4. Easy to see two different stories: Murray, fresh from his weeks of rest, easily outlasts Djokovic just by playing defensively, carefully, and conservatively, while Nole plays up and down and never really implements a convincing plan.

Alternatively, Murray, rusty from his weeks off, gets totally blown away by Nole’s precision and variety.

Maybe most likely though, it’s just a typical, very competitive, close, tough match. I guess my money would be on Nole, though, but Andy’s time resting might make a pretty significant difference as well. Djokovic looked a bit tired, mentally and physically, after the first half hour or 45 minutes tonight.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Wisdom spoked through your mouth (can it be said that way in English?).

I am a bit horrified, because we start to resemble those Roger Federer fans, like Skeezer.


mat4 Says:

Hi, Eric.

There are two other elements that could have an impact on the result: the weather – the humidity – and the importance of that match.


jane Says:

mat4, I was thinking about it afterwards, and yeah, it’s disappointing Nole took his foot off the gas a bit, but the reality is he hasn’t lost a set and he’s faced some spirited foes. So we can’t feel too badly all things considered.

Just hoping he can stay focused when it really REALLY counts going forward into the season. But in Miami, even more than at IW, I have seen glimmers and even stretches of Nole’s great tennis. So that’s heartening.

Maybe the wine just puts a soft patina over the world too: have a glass. :)


King Federer Says:

Glad to know rafa developed some coj0nes and ended this injury drama.

i would like to hear raf@tards’ explanation of the genius behind the thought process that rafa – who had knee pain in mallorca signed up for doubles duty at BOTH masters. that is even worse than raf@tard level thinking.


mat4 Says:

I am not that disappointed. Ferrer was in great shape: he won against Tomic, he beat DelPo easily. Pico had two excellent wins in the previous rounds, routing Fish and Roddick. They both got loose in those second set, having nothing to lose, and they played quite well, going for their shots. I didn’t have the impression that Murray was playing better than Ferrer.


bstevens Says:

Hopefully we get to see a good competitive match on Sunday. The Djokovic-Murray rivalry is blossoming quite nicely.


roy Says:

‘i would like to hear raf@tards’ explanation of the genius behind the thought process that rafa – who had knee pain in mallorca signed up for doubles duty at BOTH masters. that is even worse than raf@tard level thinking.’

indian wells with lopez > something called friendship and loyalty, helping out a mate get his doubles ranking up. a bit like how federer always stepped in to help his best mate wawrinka in davis cup … oh wait, fed basically abandoned the team during his years of domination …

miami with granollers > olympic prep. stupid in any case.


skeezerweezer Says:

“oh wait, fed basically abandoned the team during his years of domination …”…..smelly.

@mat4

You know I like Nole :) to win. But Andy is cool too. What I’d really like? For them to make a entertaining match in the finals that will make fans forget that its not only Fed/Rafa that makes GOAT tennis. ;). That they can produce exciting balls to the wall tennis that rivals the Fed and Rafa finals, and I know they can!!


Paul Says:

I can’t believe that you people fall for this. This
kind of thing never happened in tennis 10 plus
years ago. So called modern medicine is giving
players a way of chickening out. Don’t you get it,
being ready and able to play is part of the battle
and if you can’t make it you lose!! What would
happen to a basketball player or a football player
if he didn’t play a crucial times? We all know
the answer!! It is shameful to the sport of tennis.


Eric Says:

Oh my goodness. Do tennis journalists know anything at all about the sport? Here is the first question they asked Nole in the presser:

“Q. A strange match. Is it difficult to keep your concentration when a guy is playing as poorly as he did in the first set?”

Anyone with eyes could see that Monaco was not playing poorly. Monaco, like I said in my uninteresting running commentary, was actually playing great. The first set was not a case of Nole just showing up and getting a free pass – he completely dictated rallies, played almost perfectly, and dealt with the fact that Monaco was defending very well by blasting him with winners. Nole won 11 of the first 14 points. At least six of them were winners. And I don’t think more than one or two was a Monaco UE.

Or in other words, the entire premise of the question is wrong since Monaco didn’t play “poorly,” rather, that’s just how ridiculously well Djokovic played. It could have been Rafa out there instead of Monaco and it wouldn’t have been close.

Sorry…just needed to rant. So little respect for good tennis – no credit to Nole for playing that well, no credit to Monaco for not playing “poorly.”


Angel Says:

It’s starting to happen you’ll see, Nadal will retire in a couple of years. Then we’ll probably have Federer playing for a couple of years more and retire after getting bored.


Eric Says:

Sorry, I meant 11 of the first 13. And like 16 of the first 19, or something.


Chantel Says:

I have been a huge Rafa fan for the past 8yrs. 5yrs I have watched him at the Sony Ericcson tournament. I’m sorry but there is absolutely NO excuse (besides death) to forfiet a match 2hrs before the event. Uncle Tony….hire a sports psychologist because Novak is definitely messing with Nadal head. Hope the ‘the injury’ is ’100%’ cured before Monte Carlo’:0


jane Says:

Thanks Eric: good post. It’s amazing sometimes the questions journalists come up with, and yeah, Nole did play an amazing first set.


Roger Federer Fan Says:

Angel Says:
It’s starting to happen you’ll see, Nadal will retire in a couple of years. Then we’ll probably have Federer playing for a couple of years more and retire after getting bored.

March 30th, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Great post !!!!!!
I agree with you 100000000%.
We have been very consistent with this claim for the lat 6 or 7 years.


Daniel Says:

When it matters the most, Novak is right there, proving why he is number one.

So far, he has won the most important tourney this year and is about to win the second most important so far. My money is with him on Sunday. In my bracket I had Murray in the final losing to either Fed or Djoko, but got under Fed groove and picked him again, when from the moment I started the bracket I thought it’s Djoko’s tourney to win. If I had iced him, beating Murray in the final as I first foreseen, I think I would be leader in the bracket challenge with my points for IW as well.
Damm Daniel, you should have gone with head instead of heart!


Nelson Goodman Says:

So agree, Eric. The questions asked at the pressers are so frequently embarrassingly stupid or just banal. I really wonder why these journos can’t be bothered to reflect for even half a second before launching their stupidities and bromides. Specifically, I had the exact same reaction to the one you’re pinpointing: extremely insulting to Nole given the display he put on. He’d have been very justified in a snide response – indeed, this is the one feature of Roddick’s increasingly boorish behavior I am okay with, the snark he brings to interviews.


King Federer Says:

” oh wait, fed basically abandoned the team during his years of domination …”

Can you please name some “away” ties that the Davis Cup legend nadal played in all his “glorious” years serving the spanish davis cup team? oh wait he always abandons the team when they have to play away matches.


King Federer Says:

oh let us remind pea-brained raf@tards that nadal doesn’t do doubles duty for spanish team.


Daniel Says:

Djoko fans, you are spoiled as we Fed fans were.

Djoko didn’t even lost a set in 5 matches and you are complaining this much. He will probably win this tourney without losing a set. Finals is where he plays his best. The only other final he lost in 10 months was, to Murray, in a retirement.


Eric Says:

Daniel,

“When it matters the most, Novak is right there, proving why he is number one.”

Agreed, naturally. But what makes Miami the second most important tournament this year? IW is just as important…


King Federer Says:

nole should wipe the floor with murray. murray’s walkovers are double-edged. he is physically fresh but not battle-tested. nole has played some scintillating tennis the last 3 matches. hard to see win murray winning a set, but then i thought thought the same at AO and that match was murray dominated.

this tournament has sucked so bad, let’s hope murray-djokovic give us an epic match. and please GOD no more injury talk.


skeezerweezer Says:

Eric,

Agreed with others here that was just wrong. Nole played unreal the first set, and the second all kudos to Monaco for givin Nole fits. Nole played sublime the first set, and Monaco played unreal the second. Both players had there moments and deserve credit, Nole overall just came through and played better. Its not a 1 set match, but best 2 out of 3. Gotta say we all expected Nole to come through, but Monaco came through the draw and beat Monfils, Roddick and Fish to meet Nole. He deserved to be there and he proved it…..

@RFF

“Great post !!!!!!
I agree with YOU even more than 100000000%!!!”

Its great to have such a loving Fed fan like you. You are not truly fake and always give Fed fans the credit they deserve. Keep posting and I hope one day you can be the great poster that Humble Rafa is. You just need to read his schtick more and me thinks you’ll get it. We all are hopeful. Keep trying! We all are praying for you.

Love you

Skeeze


Michael Says:

What a great disappointment was in store for me when I switched on the TV and saw that Nadal has withdrawn from the semi final bout with Murray. I was very eagerly looking forward to this match and for the first time Murray would have been tested in this Miami. Afterall, he is having a very easy path to the final with two walkovers. Tendinitis is destroying Nadal’s legs and it would be a pity if we see a repeat of 2009 which I hope will not happen. I for one was suspecting that Nadal was faking his injury due to some factor, but now with this withdrawal my assumption has fallen flat and I sincerely apologize for the same.


Michael Says:

Novak played an exhilarating first set and suddenly his game totally collapsed in the second which was a bit strange. He was making far too many unforced errors and his first serve percentage was awful. I do not think such kind of performance can win him the final especially when he is facing Murray. He needs to pick up his level and as well all know Novak now-a-days stores his best for the final. Let us hope for an excellent final at Miami so as to erase the bad memories of this tournament which has so far proved to be a damp squib.


Dave Says:

roy: “indian wells with lopez > something called friendship and loyalty, helping out a mate get his doubles ranking up. a bit like how federer always stepped in to help his best mate wawrinka in davis cup … oh wait, fed basically abandoned the team during his years of domination …”

Before we decide whether this is pure ignorance or delusional hero worship, let’s first understand the facts.

Nadal has played only 6 doubles matches (rubbers) out of 14 Davis Cup ties, as well as his 21 singles matches (total 27 matches).

Federer has played 18 doubles matches (rubbers) out of 21 Davis Cup ties, as well as his 37 singles matches (total 55 matches). Even David Nalbandian has played 18 doubles matches and Lleyton Hewitt 14 doubles matches.

Contrary to myth (created by ignorance), Nadal has played less Davis Cup for Spain than Roger Federer has played for Switzerland.

- Federer has played in 73% of all Switzerland’s ties (21 of 29 ties, 55 matches played) since his first tie in 1999.

- Indeed Federer played in his first 13 straight ties up to 2004 without missing any tie (and 14 of first 15 ties up to 2005).

- Nadal, however, has played in only 56% of all Spain’s ties (14 of 25 ties, only 27 matches to date) since his first tie in 2004. In Federer’s first 14 ties, he played 38 matches to try to carry his weak team.

Unlike Federer:
(1) Nadal has never travelled and played any Davis Cup tie outside Europe, not even for the 2008 Davis Cup final in Argentina (Nadal claimed injury but was photographed water skiing and playing other rigorous water sports at a Mauritius resort, while his teammates were winning the Davis Cup in Argentina without him) or their quarterfinal tie in the USA team after last year’s Wimbledon (Nadal skipped four international ties in total).
http://www.hcfoo.com/2008_11_16_archive.html

Federer has played in Davis Cup ties as far as Australia (2011, 2003), Russia (2002), Africa (2002), Romania (2004). Immediately after a heartbreaking US Open loss to Djokovic last September, Federer flew thousands of miles to Australia where he played three matches on grass to help Switzerland beat the Aussies — in the middle of the hardcourt season.

(2) most of Nadal’s matches are played on clay (10 of 14 ties);

(3) most of Nadal’s matches are played at home in Spain (9 of 14 ties); and

(4) Nadal has not played doubles in Davis Cup since 2006 (he played doubles in only 6 ties, mostly in 2004 – 2005).

Do you now understand what abandonment, loyalty, friendship and selflessness actually means?


Dave Says:

So why is Nadal playing doubles? It’s unlikely because of Marc Lopez’s doubles ranking or friendship, though that’s a nice sound bite a well-paid PR consultant will tell you to say. It’s more likely because Nadal wants to improve his forecourt game (volley, etc.). Like every other part of his game, Rafa needs a lot of match-practice. He’s not going to get forecourt practice in a singles match without risking losses.

Nikita and Paul made excellent points. I too can’t believe some people fall for this. Nadal is a highly experienced professional on knee injuries and has the best medical advice, so he can predict how far he can and should push his knees in the hard court season. If Nadal’s knees were REALLY hurting beyond certain limits, why did he play doubles (5 matches in IW and 2 in Miami)? As Nikita said – it does not make any sense. Nikita is right in saying “IMHO he wants to be rested for Montecarlo, keep in mind that Nole confirmed his participation there. Nole is planning on taking on Nadal at the two major tournaments the Spaniard is almost invincible: MC & RG.” As well, from his matches against Nalbandian, Federer and Tsonga, I think Nadal’s confidence and mental state is shaky (Tennis-X’s who’s in the trunk alluded to this “Rafael Nadal: Now Federer is in his head? Didn’t look much like he wanted to be there in IW SF loss. Rafa needs a break from tennis.”). Nadal didn’t want to expose himself to a loss to another Big Four player

We keep talking about Nadal’s injuries as if he suddenly caught an injury a few weeks ago. Wake up from your slumber: Nadal has been repetitively mentioning the word “injury” since the very first sentence of his very first interview of his very first tournament… i..e., since January 2 this year in Doha (see link). And he never stopped talking about his injuries the whole of last year… and the year before that… and before that… and before that as well.
http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=76647


Eric Says:

Dave, wow. I never knew all that – I just assumed the prevalent ‘Fed neglects DC (especially by comparison with Rafa)’ view was true. Guess not.


Dave Says:

Eric, yeah. This whole ‘Fed neglects DC’ nonsense is media created. Even the ‘patriotic’ Djokovic’s 17 of 22 ties is identical to the un[atriotic and selfish’ Federer’s first 17 of 22 ties. But Djokovic has played more DC than Nadal. (Of course, none of their records compare to some past players who played over a hundred DC matches)

Having said that, personally I feel DC today is a waste of time that no player should be measured or bashed by it. If you have a strong, deep team and a motivating captain — you’re probably going to go deep into the competition.

But DC has lost its prestige and significance since the 1970s, with the advent of open tennis and then WTT. If there’s a tourney to strike against, it’s DC. It would shave 2 to 4 weeks of a player’s calendar. I suspect most players would prefer not to play DC, but can’t risk being seen as unpatriotic by their country. Unless you’re Jimmy Connors.


Michael Says:

Dave, Good point. Nadal and his team must ponder over as to whether he has to necessarily play doubles. Now in most of the Masters tournament, Nadal has started this habit of playing both the singles and doubles. Ofcourse this is to
sharpen his volleying skills. But he and his Team must know how much his body can withstand ? It might be okay if Nadal plays doubles when he is playing clay tournaments because that may not be too taxing whereas in hard court he has to think twice before doing what he is doing now ??


Dave Says:

I said before their 2+ hour match “Don’t be surprised if Juan Monaco makes it a tighter, harder fought match than expected against Djokovic. Novak should still win.” Djokovic was hot early. But had Monaco relaxed and gotten it going in the first set, it could have been a closer set. With a bit of luck, this could have easily been a three set match. So far this year, Djokovic has shown short spurts of his Spring 2011 form but hasn’t been able to sustain that level of performance.

At the 2011 US Open, Federer beat Monaco 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 in 82 minutes, winning 67% of the points and not allowing any breakpoints.

I think Lendl-infused Murray has a 60% chance of beating Djokovic on Sunday. The problem for Murray is lack of match practice: he lost early in IW and has had two walkovers in Miami. Murray had better get it going early in the first set (not easy to do when you’re cold from lack of match practice) as Djokovic is able to start hot.

According to my mind reading psychic ability, Lendl’s key coaching tip to Murray: on key pressure points, hit a sharp cross court to Djokovic’s forehand. Novak’s probably going hit his forehand cross court even sharper and with more power. Bait him into doing that, intercept NOvak’s forehand and re-direct the shot for a winner or put Novak in a defensive position. W

I said months ago that this year both Djokovic and Nadal could lose to a longer list of players (Federer, Murray, Del Potro, Tsonga, Isner, Raonic, Berdych, Monfils, Ferrer, Nalbandian, Nishikori, Baghdatis, Davydenko, Fish, Melzer, Tomic, Roddick, etc.). So far this year both Djokovic and Nadal have lost to such players. It’s conceivable that the four slams may be won by four different players, and in that scenario the No. 1 player in ranking points may not even need to win a slam (the great Rod Laver was considered No. 1 or co-No. 1 in 1970 without winning any slam… just one year after his Calendar Year Grand Slam in 1969).

What a wasted opportunity for Federer, because I think Djokovic is beatable in Miami. I stand by what I said in an earlier blog: Federer played mentally-flat, without energy and less focus at certain periods in his match with Roddick — probably due to the distraction of Nadal’s resignation and his leaks to the news media. Federer was professional not to whine about Nadal’s resignation as *a* cause of his mental state. It’s too coincidental that suddenly on that night Federer felt the mental impact of playing only 24 matches over three months. The mental dips in Federer’s game was enough to allow a former No. 1 like Roddick to exploit and build confidence off — as long as Fed kept feeding him forehands to hit. The continuing limitations in Roddick’s game were re-confirmed the next day when he lost relatively easily to Juan Monaco.


Eric Says:

Federer played lacklustre for most of his match against Roddick because (a) he’s played more tennis recently than anyone else on tour, and (b) Roddick was just serving fantastically. You saw as well as I did that Fed got 0-30, 15-30 on Roddick’s service games all through the third set but never got a bp or converted. That’s just because of how well Andy was serving.

Rafa’s resignation from the council was completely unrelated. It’s just unrealistic and paranoid to claim otherwise.


Dave Says:

Michael, frankly I feel Nadal — and his experienced team — made the right decision to play the doubles for the forecourt/volley match practice.

And frankly I don’t for one moment believe Nadal’s body is as injured as he claims it is. When it comes to any public individual or organization I have long learned not to blindly accept what they say — usually what actions they take (continue to play doubles) and what I see of them do (run and move like a rabbit against Tsonga) tends to be more truthful than what they say. It’s easy to make a youtube video when you have Benito’s PR company on call.

Nadal could probably have played the semifinal and final, by managing his injury with modern medicine — like he has always done. Knee tendinitis is not a serious or career threatening injury (compared to a tear or arthritis). I could probably heal Sean’s tendinitis within 2 to 3 weeks.


jane Says:

Monaco can be a tough cookie sometimes. Fed versus Monaco in Paris 2011 was 6-3, 7-5 and Fed versus Monaco at Miami in 2011 was 7-6, 6-4, scores that were even closer than Nole/Monaco was tonight.

He earned his place in the semi, for sure.


Dave Says:

Don’t be fooled by the scores of Fed’s matches. Like Sampras, fed’s scores tend to cover up what actually happened. Monaco was closer to taking Djokovic to a third set — where Monaco would have the momentum to possibly defeat Novak — than Monaco was to taking Federer to a third set or beating Fed. In both Monaco’s matches with Fed he created only 2 breakpoints (converted 1) compared to the 15 breakpoints (5 breaks) that Fed created. Monaco created 8 breakpoints against Djokovic last night.

Federer versus Monaco:

- 2011 Paris: Fed won 55% of total points in only 85 mins. Think of it as a Pete Sampras-type match. Roger was in complete control.

- 2011 Miami: Fed won 54% of total points in 104 mins. Fed struggled partly because his level (motivation and performance) was down by Miami, after three consecutive losses to Djokovic within six weeks burned a big hole in his plans to recapture the No. 1 ranking from Nadal. Federer had his second worst career loss to Nadal in that Miami semifinal. He was happy to leave Miami, take a short break and implement a training block. (Actually this match was one of the reasons I predicted he would give Djokovic a tough match tonight)

Djokovic versus Monaco: World No. 1 Novak won only 50% of the points in second set (only 1 point more) of a 123 min match. Monaco created 8 breakpoints against Djokovic, all in the second set (Novak created only 5 BPs in second set).


Sienna Says:

Dave youre insight and your ability to put forward youre claims in these comments are of the highest standard one could find on these tennis sites.
I also agree that the gap between #1, 2 and #3, 4 have been whiped away. Murray will make his move tomorrow and then I feel the race for the top slot really is on. And by the way Nadal has performed I donot think it is a 4 way race.

Nadal already announced his retirement after the Tsonga match. He claimed as I remeber that he would not be able to beat Murray with this knee. Well he did not state that he couldnot play Murray but he could not beat Murray. So there is another difference between Nadal and Fed. Fed always gives himself a shot at winning the match if he considers he could play. Only if it is dangerous Fed will not play. (rightly so!) Nadal on the other hand can easiley play and not make things worse. He already laid out his plan just a few days off and he would be fine.

So I feel that is the ultimate difference between a player of the caliber of Fed. ALltime great and a player who doesnot have that mark on history and doesnot have that feel with his fans and with tennis as a sport.


Dave Says:

Eric, I’ll bet you one million dollars that it’s nonsense that Federer “played more tennis recently than ANYONE ELSE on tour”.

Federer has a long track record of being able to play a lot of matches once he’s on a confident roll. Don’t forget Roger’s previous two-set afternoon match against Harrison was played over 48 hours earlier, so he had plenty of rest. Plus I think Roger took a short break after winning IW and didn’t start practising until a few days later.

Yes, yes, Roddick served fantastically — partly because Fed let him. When Fed’s focused and in the zone he gets to many more of those serves. Especially since Andy’s service speeds were down from past years. Federer was still sick with flu when he played Raonic (the tour’s best server today) — yet by the second set, Roger was getting to Raonic’s serves even though they were faster than Roddicks.

I predicted Federer’s resurgence this year, when most had written him off (even Fed fans). It wasn’t difficult to see what Roger was up to when he signed on for Rotterdam and took a break after the US Open. He had already scheduled a break after Miami until Rome. Given his track record of hanging in there despite mental or physical stress, we could have expected Federer to give it everything he had until the Miami semifinal or final. After all, he was under more mental and phsyical stress in Indian Wells — and he still won the title in a tougher draw.

Those who know Federer know that he has the quiet ability to hang in there. “Federer’s form doesn’t surprise me one bit,” commented Philippoussis. “He’s so professional about everything. His whole schedule is organised around big events, he’s so smart and always peaks at the right time.” “When he first started off you could see how incredibly talented he was but his weakness was definitely his mental side. He would lose it a bit, and take the accelerator off in matches. But then in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon the year he won his first title, beating me in the final, he was a game away from retiring. He was down in the match and he shouldn’t have won. He wasn’t feeling physically great. he contemplated calling it a day but he hung in there, and went on to win the match and the title. And he built his career from there. Those are the matches that make your career.”
http://www.tennisworldusa.org/ATP—Philippoussis-speaks-about-Federer-and-Tomic-articolo3782.html

You probably lack the senior management experience in large organizations — as do the vast majority of people here — to understand the impact and repercussions of having one’s vice president whining, politicking, resigning as well as making a big public spectacle of it. When you haven’t had such experience, it’s more than silly to presume that “Rafa’s resignation from the council was completely unrelated. It’s just unrealistic and paranoid to claim otherwise.” It’s simplistic linear thinking to discount the impact of an event that happened within hours of the match — the London Telegraph’s breaking news that Nadal had resigned — as paranoid and unrealistic.

If somebody wrote similar things on a tennis blog of a 170-year old reputable business magazine read by 1.5 million people people with education, business experience and thinking, most readers would agree with such arguments. Why? Because they have the capacity to consider these factors in the big picture.
http://www.economist.com/comment/1340179#comment-1340179


Dave Says:

Sienna: You’re right, I too think that Nadal had been making preemptive statements two days ago that he might not be able to beat Nadal given his knee… possibly to set the stage for a withdrawal.

What you’re saying pertains to the player’s caliber as a ‘champion’.

From “Soul of a Champion”

Competitiveness: “This is someone who loves the heat of battle,” Cohn says. “They’re motivated by testing their skills against the next person.
Obviously, they love to win and hate to lose. You need that. People might think, ‘Well, isn’t everyone competitive?’ The answer is ‘no.’ The really competitive person digs deeper than the next guy.”

Example: “Jordan had a stomach virus before Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals at the Utah Jazz, and Chicago Bulls trainers told him he was too sick
to play. Jordan, visibly weak, played anyway — and scored 38 points, including the clincher, as the Bulls won 90-88.”
http://www.peaksports.com/pdfs/soul_of_champion_USATODAY_article.pdf

Also see Philippoussis’s comment about Federer in my post before this waiting to be cleared by a moderator.


Alex Says:

Too bad for Nadal, that he wasn’t able to play in the semi-finals.

I’m surprised, that he said his tendons were better today, than they were 3 years ago. I’ve been watching him play for years and I think he’s actually slowed down since 2009.

Hope he’s able to come back strong for the clay court season. He’s got a lot of points to defend.

And he needs to skip Barcelona!


Mark Says:

I too wish he would skip Barcelona but don’t think he will. It is after all his home tournament. Let’s see.


mat4 Says:

@Skeezer:

You know that the most entertaining matches are Federer – Djokovic. They take risks, they play fast, it is not a player making the game the other destroying the game. The best matches last year were the RG and USO semi.

Federer Nadal is like watching a hiker escalating a cliff without rope. Will he make it? Will he have enough strength, enough patience, or will he fall down?

Djokovic Nadal is time and again Calzague vs Hopkins: will Jo Calzague beat down Hopkins, will Hopkins knock down Calzague?


alison hodge Says:

@RZ march 30th 6.31pm, sorry about the late reply,yeah im a brit born and bred,our lottery prize varies,depending on if its won and how many have won it,but i think the highest was about 20 million when it rolled over after no one won it one week,but its never been as high as that,thats ridiculous money,anyway i was just making a point about rafa and the endless conspiracy theories that have been going around the forum this week.


Brando Says:

Agree with Daniel. Djokovic is the NEW federer. Won aus open, lost SF in Dubai and IW- look at th performances needed to beat him. Now probably will win on Sunday. And YES he always plays his best in finals. Andy needs to do things in order: 1- has 1st serve % over 60 throughout the match. 2- win the 1st set. IF andy fails to do either, it is straights sets win for djokovic, IMO.


Brando Says:

Interesting Murray commet: “I have been working with Ivan now for a couple of months, on certain tactics that would work against Rafa, Novak and Roger [Federer].

“It would have been nice to see whether or not those things were working.”

Murray will get the chance to try out some of those tactics as he faces Djokovic for the third time this season in Sunday’s final.


alison hodge Says:

brando i would love to see muzza get in there,and crash the party,and personally i dont think the top 3,should take him lightly,nole is still the man to beat,but imo muzza was unlucky at the ao semi as nole was deffinetly there for the taking,muzza is closer than ever imo.


racquet Says:

“When it comes to any public individual or organization I have long learned not to blindly accept what they say”

LOL! Any individual or org without the initials RF. Comedy gold.


Brando Says:

@Alison: yes I agree. IMHO andy should have beat nole, moreso tha rafa at AO. Even commentators such as patrick mouratoglou said Murray was the better player for 3 of the 5 sets. Further even rafa said andy should have won had he not switched off completely at the beginning of the 4th set. Either way, nole won and it wasn’t exactly handed over to him. SO andy has got the game definately to beat nole- it’s just tommorrow I think he will lack the match play to do so. He lost in his 1st match at IW and has had 2 walkovers here, so he is seriously short on matches IMHO in order to beat nole. 65/35 in nole’s favour for me.


Steve 27 Says:

Murray only defeats in master 1000 final was in 2009 IW against Nadal in that remembered windy match.
Will he lose his second on Sunday?


Humble Roger Says:

nadal is ugly gamesmanship player ever


skeezerweezer Says:

Mat4,

Good analogies ;)! And yes those 2 guys are awesomely entertaining.


Steve 27 Says:

Nadal Djokovic Madrid 2009 Best of the year ATP
Djokovic Nadal Miami 2011 one of the top 5 matches ATP
Yes, their matches are really “boring”, lol.


van orten Says:

murray wins then the ranking dynamics between the leading 4 will be interesting…the coming slams and masters 1000 …over 10.000 points ..anyone can be number one in september…


Steve 27 Says:

Exactly van orten, mi pic from this year is for the Djoker, but I want Nadal could surpass Borgs week as number 1, and the next year Muzza is my option. Grandpa will be retiring this year or the next one.
his only and final motivation is the gold in SW19.


nikita Says:

For all of you who think that Mardy Fish sucked in his game against Monaco…ok he did not play well and also credit should be given to Monaco…but…and this is a BIG BUT…the court could not be any slower and the balls could not be any heavier…give Mardy Fish a faster cout and less-heavy balls and the outcome of his match against Monaco could be sooo different.
This explains in part. not taking anything away from Rafa, why he improved so much on outdoor hard courts…at the expense of taxing his knees though.
I wonder if Nadal ever won an indoor hard court event…anyone knows?


Steve 27 Says:

yes nikita, -are you femme fatal?- Madrid Indoor 2005 against with almost retired now, Ivan Liubicic, in spectacular fashion, he gets back after lost the first two sets, winning in 5, one of the most spectacular matches that year.
Other finals from Nadal in indoor:
Paris Bercy 2007 against Nalbandian
Rotterdam 2009 against Murray
WTF London against Federer


Colin Says:

Mat4, what in heaven’s name were you talking about back there? Murray not respecful to the top guys? He has repeatedly emphasised how great they are. Nobody is more respecful to opponents than Andy.


Ajet Says:

great posts indeed by Dave showing the comparison of fed and rafa’s respective loyalties towards their davis cup teams!


Sienna Says:

Djokovic the new Federer? We will witness the return of the King at WImbly 2012.

It will be an epic but I have got a feeling combined with the signs of him being in top shape tells me that he cannot be denied.
Winning Wimbly 2012 and taking the #1 slot or can he take it after winning goldmedal match?

Anyway he is going to get there. The soul of the champion has set his mark and aims for eternal glory/


nikita Says:

Thanks Steve…no femme fatal…just the name of my female Rottweiler!
Being an Argentinean how can I forget the beating Nalbandian put on Nadal in that Paris Bercy 2007 final…including a 60 second set.
Not to mention he did beat Federer in the 4th round in the same tournament and if I recall correct he had beaten Nadal-Djoko-Federer on route to his Madrid win. Now that I think about it I don’t know of any other player to have beaten in succession and in the same tournament that kind of trio.


nikita Says:

Dave…great posts and thank you for sharing the link of the article in the Economist(http://www.economist.com/comment/1340179#comment-1340179), if what is exposed there are real facts, one appreciates even more the talent of players like Federer or Nalbandian.


Steve 27 Says:

Argentinian women besides intelligent, are very hot!


nikita Says:

Steve…I agree with your assessment of Argentinean women…you only needed to watch Gabriela Sabattini spotted at the Djko-Monaco match. WOW!


surya Says:

Fanatics cannot be objective. However fans like me can appreciate thoughtful posts like Dave’s. Good job there. I am as big Nadal fan too but his gamesmanships and his every action is very calculated. He does with it without breaking but bending the rules. He is like Aussie cricket team. Win at any cost including alerting. I really like that competitive spirits but also one should know when to pick your battles and whether it is worth. I say Rata made a smart choice here.


surya Says:

Not alerting but sledging in the above post. Dam’n the autocorrect tool.


Dave Says:

Ajet: “great posts indeed by Dave showing the comparison of fed and rafa’s respective loyalties towards their davis cup teams!”

What annoys me about the issue is that the media and blind fans continue to push the false myth of Fed vs Rafa on DC (as my facts contradict) or even Rafa being the reason Spain won those DC titles (David Ferrer was to me Spain’s real MVP last year for what he did in the USA away tie and in the final running Delpo to five sets before he played Nadal).

But personally, I wouldn’t say that Rafa is ‘disloyal’ to his Davis Cup team (anymore than Federer or any other player is disloyal for not playing DC). The ITF, the Spanish tennis federation and Spain should be thankful that Nadal even plays in any Davis Cup tie in as demanding a sport as ATP tennis.

The DC tourney has lost prestige and status since 1960s… yet still maintains its annual, two-to-four round, best-of-five-set format (other major sports have ‘world cup’ like formats that happen once every four years). Players are scared of appearing unpatriotic by not playing Davis Cup, while the ITF and country federations happily make revenue out of Davis Cup.


mat4 Says:

@Colin:

“Murray will become very dangerous the day I hear him praise Novak, Rafa, Roger, repeat how great they are etc. It will show that he finally understood what makes the difference.

_Joking aside_, since he hired Lendl, he just started to piss me off.”

It was really a low shot at Rafa and Nole. But I can’t stand Lendl, that’s true.


Eric Says:

Dave,

Federer had played 24 matches going into Miami. Rafa and Djokovic 16, Murray 17. Ferrer is closer at 21. Roddick had played 10. So please tell me who (of Federer’s real competition) had played more than his 24 matches? (Ok, maybe we can start comparing distance traveled by each player on court – a comically uninteresting statistic ESPN’s broadcasters have recently become interested in. I think Federer had run very slightly less far this season than Nole and/or Rafa. But the mental aspect is much more important, I think, and Federer just won IW.)

You keep harping on “senior management experience” (vel sim) in all your posts about Rafa’s resignation. The ATP player council isn’t Goldman Sachs, dude. They meet what, a few times a year early on in tournaments? I’m sure it’s a significant responsibility and all, but I don’t think Roger is debating the finer points of the one- versus two-year ranking system debate while out on court. Likewise Rafa’s resignation.
But let’s suppose Rafa’s resignation could have been bothering Roger. Why in his match vs Roddick? Do you really think Roger didn’t have any idea, as the president of the PC, that his vice-president was going to resign until he caught the news? You don’t think it is something that, for example, they discussed at their most recent meetings? That Rafa and he might have discussed informally?

(Oh, and I’m guessing you are “Tennis Wizard”? Classy handle.)


Dave Says:

Steve 27: Don’t forget that ‘claycourt king’ Bjorn Borg won 23 indoor titles, including two year-end championships against Lendl and Gerulaitis. That’s indoor hardcourt/carpet titles, not just finals. Only one of Borgs 23 (twenty three) indoor titles came in Sweden, beating John McEnroe in straight sets in 1980.

Did I say that clay court king Borg won 23 indoor titles and 2 year-end championships? And when he won his 5 Wimbledons and 3 French-Wimbledon doubles, he did it on the fast, low-bouncing, irregular-bouncing grass courts of the late 1970s going thru many great serve and volley players.


Eric Says:

When I say the theory that Rafa’s resignation caused Roger to lose is “paranoid” what I mean is that there isn’t a scrap of evidence for it, it’s unnecessary, and frankly silly.


jane Says:

Someone already posted a link that Rafa had spoken openly about potentially stepping down from his post much earlier in the year, way before Miami. So most definitely Fed would’ve know it was a possibility.

Besides which, it really belittles Fed imo to suggest that something like that would cause him to lose. Surely he can focus on the court and put such still behind him. To blame Rafa’s resignation for Fed’s loss to Roddick seems far-fetched.

How about just that Roddick played better in the bigger points and thus won the match.


mat4 Says:

Hi jane.

@Steve 27:

“Nadal Djokovic Madrid 2009 Best of the year ATP
Djokovic Nadal Miami 2011 one of the top 5 matches ATP
Yes, their matches are really “boring”, lol.”

You may have a point here. But I think that I reacted like a spoiled Djoko fan: those matches are less entertaining, because the winner is known in advance. ;-)

(Of course, I am joking. Don’t react like some.)


mat4 Says:

Anyway, it must be because of the Spring. But this thread was entertaining with lot of excellent posts. Though there are still fans wars, the erudition, tennis knowledge and humour of most of the posters make the time spent here quite enjoyable.


Dave Says:

Eric, you forget Nicholas Almagro, No. 10 and rising on the year to date ranking list — 29 matches to date, five more than Federer. You originally said Federer played “more than anyone else on tour”, NOT “Federer’s real competition.” Cough up the million bucks, dude :)

It’s easier to discipline or fire your vice-president who bitches and politiks at Goldman Sachs than it is to manage such unprofessional behaviour from your vice-president in a work-related voluntary association of your 2,000 peer players. Imagine you work at IBM, and happen to be president of IBM’s tennis club with 2,000 mmebers who happen to be your co-workers at IBM. Your president has been politicking for changes that the rest of the 10 member tennis club committee disagrees with. You can’t fire this vice-president so you waste time and energy trying to reach a compromise with him. He tries to start a rebllion against you and bad mouths you to the news media. When nothing works he threatens to resign for weeks and you wate more time trying to reach a compromise so he doesn’t resign. Finally he resigns making sure everybody knows he resign and leaks to the nnews media that he has resigned. You have your day job at IBM but now you have to waste time on the stupid repercussions of his public resignation. You think all this does not take you away from your day job at IBM and that you’re not pissed and thinking about it while doing your day job?

Knowing for weeks that Nadal was going to resign is one thing. But Nadal actually resigning suddenly — even worse if Nadal did not first inform Federer — is something else entirely. In addition, the breaking of the news story by the London Telegraph (see below — it even misportrayed Federer as supposing to work with Nadal, not the other way around) just hours before Federer’s match with Roddick is something else entirely. All adds up to unnecessary distraction of the type Federer usually does not face before matches. Is Federer going to admit it? No, because it tells the media there was more to the story and they will dig even more. So he has to bite his tongue to avoid making the story bigger than it already is.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/9168264/Rafael-Nadal-resigns-as-ATP-players-body-vice-president-after-lack-of-movement-on-changes-to-ranking-system.html

I neither confirm not deny I post as anyone other than “Dave the Psychic” :)


alison hodge Says:

surya i too am a rafa fan and a fair rafa fan,and yeah i do agree with alot of what people are saying,about the 2 year rankings,the mtos,the gamesmanship etc etc,but what i dont hold with,is him blamed for rogers defeat to roddick,and him not been able to visit the bathroom when he needs to go,him not been classed as a great player,i am not biased i am objective,but i do think been a fair fan works both ways,and i dont see any harm in saying so.


Ajet Says:

surya:

all the best of teams were(including our india team which was the clearly the second best test team during mcgrath’s aussies’ reign, yet even india was no match to them)losing like crap to aussies with or without sledging during the days of ”pigeon” aka glenn mcgrath! so why mention aussie cricket team??? they’d no rivals for years(they were that much sickeningly superior!!), whereas nadal has at least some rivalry!!!


sheila Says:

to ajet: i am a federer fan & not particularly a nadal fan, although i have the utmost respect for nadal as a gr8 player. however, many times nadal fans are as much federer haters & r constantly criticizing him. it sucks either way because they r both gr8 players. their style of play is different, but nadal fans r just as critical to federer as u feel federer fans r 2 nadal.


alison hodge Says:

sheila great post,but its nice to know that theres still plenty of fair fans out there.


Eric Says:

Dave, all right – you win. Just post your address and I will mail over the $1M.


Eric Says:

(Although Almagro had only played _2_ more matches than Fed going into Miami – 26. But still…)


Skeezerweezer Says:

Fed never came out and said he lost because Rafa quit, or blamed anything other than Roddick played well and he didn’t play as well as he wanted to. As a Fed faithful I’ll leave it at that and nothing else ( see jane’s post as a reference 2:12pm ). Fed basically had a bad day at the office, he can’t win everthing all the time and I if he let Rafa bother him about this too bad. Fed is better than that, a consummate pro, and his excuse for losing was already documented an quoted by the man himself. Roddick played better.


Ajet Says:

sheila:

i agree that nadal fans have been disrespectful to federer from 2008-11, but that was when nadal started beating fed! but from 2004-07, federer fans’ arrogance has also saw no limits, they called nadal one-dimensional, thought and wished he’d never win outside slam, called roddick as federer’s whiping boy, criticised safin’s inconsisitency and mocked hs on-court outbursts, called hewitt junkballr etc etc. so it turned around for them and came in the form of nadal dusting their ego! and combining it with nadal’s regular beatin fed since 2007 end, djoker’s emergence and destruction of fed at AO 08, delpo’s heroic effort at USO, murray beating fed a few times, the tables turned suddenly for fed fans and they got a taste of their own medcicine and nadal fans who were jsut quiet for the reason nadal had not won anything outside RG, when they saw fed’s butt being kicked, they got arrogant and started calling federer a b@$#% of nadal, lucky, arrogsnt etc. etc. openly! even roddick fans took the chance of giving it back to fed fans what they used to receive from fed fans during his dominant years, and started proclaiming nadal as better! then tables turned on nadal fans in 2011 with djoko’s astronomical surge and fed fans again came roaring back seeing nadal’s pathetic state in 2011! this cycle has been going on from time to time!

fed has been wrong sometimes! nadal has been even more wrong at times! but what we’ve to see is that we shouldn’t kick the fans of nadal when he’s down, or else it looks cowardice to me. i have personally hit back with vengeance at nadal’s fans and blasted nadal fully whenever the rafamaniacs’ve been too vocal in ridiculing fed during fed’s bad times(and nadal’s good times), but that i did only when situation waranted so that the rafanatics may be put on their place! but i have never criticised nadal in his bad times. that would be mean and cowardly on my part! that’s what am saying!

let’s not knock at a guy when he’s down, even if he be fed’s bitterest rival! but we should be ready to defend our guy when he’s down! same should be true for nadal fans as well!

that’s why i felt pissed off when i saw comments criticising almost everything about nadal asnd taking cheap shots at him, now that he’s seemingly down with injuries and losses to djoker! let him start winning, then if his fans’ heads overgrow thir size with their ego, and they start making sniding remarks about fed, then let us again be back defending fed like conqistadors!


jane Says:

And what’s interesting skeezer is that I don’t even think Roddick necessarily played better, overall, it’s just that he played the crucial points better, and in that particular match – tiebreak first set, saving 3 breakpoints 3rd set and then breaking right after – that’s what made the difference. Fed’s was “on” in the second set, but he didn’t capitalize in the first and third. Roddick did, hence he won.


Ajet Says:

even if we for a moment assume that nadal’s resignation made fed a little uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean that we can assume even in our wildest dream that fed in the middle of the match during the tiebreak or in the 3rd set was at all thinking of his first love rafa instead of focussing on the immediate task of getting breaks/minibreaks needed for win!


alison hodge Says:

skeezer sorry i didnt mean to offend you,as i know your posts are always very fair,certain posters have been blaming rafa all week about rogers defeat to a.rod and thats what i found annoying,and i know that you were not one of them,its not my intention to offend anybody,but only to give an opinion,ill leave it at that,sorry again.


madmax Says:

I’ve read two opposing infos on fed taking a break from monte carlo. Does anyone know the real story and what’s happening?

This is one of them:

And how’s this for some perspective. According to Andrew Burton — the best Federer expert for my money — Nadal earned 590 points for the final stretch in 2011 (after the U.S. Open), compared to Federer’s 3000, and in 2012, Rafa’s earned 2010 points to Roger’s 2855. Sometimes objects in the rear-view mirror are closer than they appear. Rafa, this is not one of those times. Roger’s on your tail.

I think the points are mixed up at this stage. Now rafa has withdrawn, and feder isn’t going to play monte carlo (is this right?). I think rafa is safe at no.2. It doesn’t matter so much anyway.


Steve 27 Says:

Oh, and I’m guessing you are “Tennis Wizard”? Classy handle

dave actually has post in Bleacher report as Dave pekinzee, he is I think Federer who’s back something like that, in all his post he denigrates Nadal and only talk good things about the swiss. Why Mr pekinzee in all his post talk about Rafa Nadal?


Steve 27 Says:

Tell me Dave is Wimbledon is so slow like a CC, why Roddick is reached 3 finals and 4 semifinals and in RG he only reached the 4 round? Tsonga reached the last two years a quarterfinals and a semifinals in Wimbledon and he probably will never reached the quarterfinals in RG. And what about Murray, since 2008 his worst result is a quarterfinal in the grass, when in RG is really vulnerable in this courts and he probably will never reach a final in this slam. For the contrary, I think he will reach his first final this year in SW 19 and who knows, his first major.
Nadal with only 17 reached a 3 round, this performance told us he would become one of the best tennis players of his generation in grass and also of the great of Wimbledon in the Open era.
Quenns is not real grass like Halle?
why so hard to recognize?


Eric Says:

Rafa is definitely safe for now at no. 2.

Federer’s early loss means he loses a lot of points – slightly more than Rafa. The gap widens by 30 points. Just like last year, Fed missed a chance to stay at or return to no. 2 in the rankings. (If Rafa had lost to Tsonga, which he probably would have if JWT had not choked on all those break points in the third set, Fed would have closed the gap by 150, but that did not happen, alas.)

Anyway, the upshot is that when the new standings are released, Rafa will be 855 points ahead of Roger. Rafa would have to have a terrible clay season to lose the no. 2 ranking before the French – especially as Roger will be losing another 180 points when he doesn’t play Monte Carlo.

If Roger doesn’t suffer another shock early defeat at Rome, he can gain a lot of points there – 315 if he makes the semis. But it’s not enough to threaten Rafa at no. 2, until the French. And given that Roger won’t be the no. 2 seed, it’s quite hard to see the rankings shifting after RG either. The best case scenario for Fed is a repeat of last year – taking out Nole on the way to a final against Rafa. But I doubt he will win this year either (he should have last year, but… ). And if he meets Rafa in the semis and loses, Roger loses quite a lot of points. Only if Roger has a very good clay season and Rafa doesn’t win the French is there much chance of them swapping places.

Sorry if that is too long to read. Basically, I am sure on the eve of Wimbledon, the top 4 will still be the top 4, and in the same order. But anything can happen!

Specifically: What’s interesting is that if Murray wins tomorrow he will be just 640 points behind Roger. Even if he loses, 1040 points behind – before Miami it was 1900. That’s a pretty huge advance there! Andy had a slightly better clay season than Roger in 2011, so he probably won’t gain too much ground. But he will certainly be (if he wins) in striking distance of overtaking Roger. That would be quite a shift in the story from a week ago, when Miami was a chance for Roger to overtake Rafa!

The final tomorrow will be one of the defining matches of the season, at least for Murray.


Angel Says:

Yeah Eric but this year Novak is going to play Montecarlo and Nadal could lose some points over there if he doesn’t win which is not crazy due to Nadal’s knees.


Eric Says:

You’ll note that Nole had nothing to do with my post, which was about the 2-4 spots. Nole would have to lose in the first round of the next four tournaments to drop from no. 1.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

I’m surprised people include Roger when talking about getting to Top 2. The question more likely for him would be to hold onto No 3 or step down to No 4. Though it should not matter much.


Dave Says:

Eric: “Dave, all right – you win. Just post your address and I will mail over the $1M.” 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Any outcome (e.g., Federer losing) is usually a consequence of several causal factors at play, not just one or two simplistic factors (at certain points Andy played well, Fed played bad). Bottom line, it is unintelligent to write off a potential causal event (breaking news of Nadal’s public resignation) which occured within hours of the outcome (Federer losing) that has a reasonable, logical chance of impacting that outcome. Nadal’s resignation certainly qualifies as a potentially stressful situation that could easily be a distractor within a match — it’s simplistic to think it would not be one of several factors that could have affected the outcome of the match. Thus to write it off Nadal’s resignation as a non-factor is unwise — none of the reasons given to write it off from consideration would be accepted by any serious analyst of performance problems.

Of course Federer will not admit that a factor in his losing was his distraction from Nadal quitting in a huff. He is not going to open the pandora’s box in a press conference for the news media to ask questions on Nadal’s quitting. The facts prove that Federer prefers to keep Players’ Council matters out of the media: In Australia, despite Nadal making a public issue of it, Roger simply downplayed Nadal’s comments, said there were no problems between him and Rafa, the porblems were not serious, and he changed topic. Federer has a long track record of not revealing information he does not want to reveal. So it is logical for Federer not to bring it up at the press conference. But just because Fed does not say it, does not mean it was not a factor. Besides, Roddick’s a respected friend, so he would give Andy his due.

I never said Nadal’s resignation was the only factor that led to Fed’s defeat. Regardless, it doesn’t matter to me whether or not you consider Nadal’s quitting a factor. If one lacks the experience, it’s hard to understand it. In future, when Federer’s memoirs reveal what happened during Nadal’s resignation or he slips a comment in a future interview… just remember what I said here.

After 2008 Indian Wells, during Federer’s slump due to his bout of mono, I wrote somewhere that one of the factors contributing to Federer’s slump was loss of confidence partly due to negative news reports and press questions during post match press conferences. I remember the simplistic cynical responses along the lines of oh, Federer is so experienced, he does not care what the news media says. But sure enough the next week in 2008 Miami — even though Federer tends to see the glass half full and rarely admits to being affected by anything — Federer said things such as “But especially during these two tournaments. The press writes a little bit too much sometimes… I’m quite amazed what the headlines are at the moment, to be honest.” And since then Federer has mentioned several things that indicate he can be affected by news media negativity. It was only logical for anyone to be affected by persistent press negativity about their performance.
http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=48570

Steve 27: I don’t do nonsensical sites like Bleacher Reports that you obviously spend half your life on. So that was what your repeated mumbling “Pekinzee” was all about. Dude, you need to get a life… and please learn to write clearly, as half the time I can’t understand what you’re trying to say.


Sienna Says:

Eric Says:
Rafa is definitely safe for now at no. 2.

We will just have to wait and see.

I think we will see Murray making his move today.
So the top 4 will get even closer.

I heard Novak has entered MC With Novak and Murray it really is not that obvious he will take the MC trofee this year. If Rafa loses MC and he loses Madrid. He will almost vertainly not be #2 when Garros starts. The only question I have is when are the seedings for Garros? If they are after Rome Nadal might not be the favorite for Garros.


Sienna Says:

The way things are going it will surely be close race for taking the #1 afetr WImbly , US Open or Olympics.
Fed has set himself at such a great fysical and mental shape to really make his move in the months may, june and july.

With the definite trouble Nadal has to get himself in the groove . He looks like he is tired and still not happy playing tennis. It is a matter of months before it all falls apart. I guess if he looses Garros he will be out of the picture for the rest of the year.

Djoker has put his eggs in the Garros basket and he is looking more vulnerable then last year.
He is loosing a lot of points so him and Roger are bound to come very close after Wimbly.

Murray will have his moments esp. against Nadal on clay. I feel he will bring the spaniard down in at least 1 masters tourney!

So all those things considered I do not feel it is a big ask for Roger to overtake Nadla and threaten Novak for #1.


Michael Says:

Dave,

Many ask was it a wise decision by Nadal to withdraw from the tournament especially when injury is not as serious as it appears to be when in the interview he talked about playing Monte Carlo without trouble ? May be Nadal and his Team have considered this decision after very careful calculation. Even if Nadal manages to win against Murray with the sore leg then in the final he has the prospect of facing Novak especially considering that Monaco played the other semi-final and a win for Novak appeared near certain but for a miracle. And that would be a daunting task for Nadal to beat Novak especially when he has been beaten seven times consecutively and to add to his misery he has leg problems. I think that would have forced him to take this decision and this is my mere assumption. I do not say that Nadal is afraid of Novak. I only say that Nadal wanted to avoid facing Novak with a sore leg.


Dave Says:

Michael, While I agree that (a) the prospect of losing to Murray or Djokovic and (b) being well-rested and prepared for Monte Carlo were probably the key reasons behind Nadal’s decision to withdraw from the Miami final, I’m not convinced that Nadal’s knee is as injured as he claims it is (even though he is using it as his excuse for withdrawing as well as indirect excuses for losing).

It makes no sense that experienced Nadal and his experienced team — who have been dealing with Nadal’s knee injuries since at least 2005 — would risk Nadal playing doubles in Indian Wells and Miami (7 doubles matches) if his knees were really bad. And Nadal’s stories are questionable: in January, he announces he is taking February off to rest his shoulder (and presumably also his legs). Yet in Miami “Nadal said the knee pain began while he was training at home in Mallorca in February.” So even if we are to believe that Nadal gets knee pain even when he has taken 5 weeks off competition, why should we believe him when (a) he then risks aggravating the injury by playing doubles in both Indian Wells and Miami and (b) shows no signs of knee injury hindering his movement during his matches? Merely announcing you have an injury or taping your knee does not mean you have an actual impediment that affects your play.
http://tennis.com/articles/templates/news.aspx?articleid=17045&zoneid=25


Michael Says:

Dave, you have raised some good points about Nadal’s supposed injury and whether that is serious as portrayed. May be he and his Team are magnifying the injury more than warranted. But from the look of it it seems there was tendinitis which was restricting his movement on the court although I saw no evidence of that against his opponents who played against him in earlier matches. All said and done, I am confused and not able to give a convincing explanation for this sudden turnaround by Nadal and his Team.


Steve 27 Says:

Dave your claims is all the same: boast Federer and Nadal cast doubt on, if his injury is not true, if his team is hiding something, with links biased and reaffirming your position, as it is clear that you do not do quality journalism, you rely on a position where your ideas are worth and always accuse the Spanish and his team, in all your post is always the same, should be the public relations of the Swiss, no wonder you always say the same, just a simple vision in which think the positives of Federer, Nadal and negative sttufs, is what makes a fan like you, us being a fundamentalist views.
And regarding if my ideas are clear, let me tell you that English is not my native language unlike you so I find it harder to express what I think, should be less arrogant and get in the posicición of what we have to write another language.


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