Nadal, Djokovic Collide For Monte Carlo Title, Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | April 21st, 2012, 2:23 pm
  • 194 Comments

The best rivalry in tennis resumes Sunday as the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, meets World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the Monte Carlo Masters title. The top two players in the sport square off the first 31st time, their second such encounter along the scenic setting of the Mediterranean sea.

Nadal has won 16 times again the Serb including a three set win in the 2009 Monte Carlo final. However, in recent times it’s been all Djokovic. Novak has dominated Nadal winning his last seven against the Spaniard all in finals. That’s a seven title swing in favor of Novak, plus slam victories at Wimbledon, the US Open and this year at the Australian.

And on clay, Djokovic whipped Rafa twice last year at Madrid and in Rome, both in straight sets snapping a string of nine straight lost to Nadal on the dirt.

For Nadal, there has to be some hurt there.

Coming into the match, neither player is looking particularly sharp this week. Maybe it was the swirling Saturday winds, but both guys weren’t at their very best earlier today. Djokovic, who’s battled far more than just tennis this week, overcame a set deficit to turn away Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in his semifinal.

“That’s probably one of the most difficult conditions that I played in, in my career, really,” said Djokovic. “It was not just the strength of the wind that was blowing, it was the changing of the direction. You couldn’t really predict where the ball was going to come from. It was really tough. But in the end I managed to hold my nerves and play well in the third.”

Then Nadal stepped up and really had a tussle against Gilles Simon. The Frenchman, who lost the same court two weeks ago to John Isner, fought Nadal tooth and nail before coming up just short in the end 6-3, 6-4.

“It is always difficult to play against Gilles,” said Nadal. “He is always smart on the court and he knows how to play tennis. I’m very happy. It was a very difficult victory for me. So it’s fantastic being in another final.”

Nadal has now won 41 consecutive in Monaco, 15 straight on clay as he bids for an unprecedented 8th Monte Carlo title i n a row Sunday. And I’ll stick with my original pick and say he gets it.

Rafa hasn’t won such hardware since the French Open, he hasn’t beaten Djokovic since 2010 and with his incredible streak at stake, he has to have this win. He has to! This is virtually do or die. Another loss here could really ruin Rafa.

“My feeling is I have much less to lose than him. I have everything to win,” said Nadal. “That’s the most important thing. That’s the only positive thing about losing seven times. The next matches, you only have to win. You go to the match knowing that the normal thing is lose but trying the best to change situation. That’s what I going to try.”

But in an unfortunate twist, the passing of Djokovic’s grandfather during the week may provide that extra fuel and added incentive for Novak who is really gearing for the French Open. He hasn’t played his best and he’s looked sluggish at times. But what a cap it would be to close out the tournament by winning win for his grandpa. And we’ve seen top athletes find that inspiration before and win one for a passed loved one – Brett Favre and Michael Jordan come to mind.

And in two of his last three matches Djokovic fought back from losing the opening set to claim victory. That’s being mentally tough.

“It will be the most difficult match for me in this tournament,” said Djokovic of facing Nadal. “He’s the player to beat here. He’s the player to beat on clay courts. He’s the best ever in the history of the sport on this surface. It’s the ultimate challenge. I need to play well. I need to play well from the first to the last point. I cannot have ups and downs. I cannot afford that against Rafa. I’m aware of that. But why not believe that I can win?”

As I’ve said before, tennis is often about matchups. If Djokovic is in form, something we haven’t seen much of this year, he’ll beat Nadal. He’s won seven straight against Nadal and it’s no fluke. Not only is he firmly inside Rafa’s head, because of his backhand, defense and return, he gains an even greater advantage on the clay.

We saw it last year. Rafa hits a weak second serve, Djokovic pounces immediately gaining control of the point. Maybe Rafa will up his delivery Sunday – he’ll need to do better – but I’m going to say after an emotional week Djokovic won’t have enough left and won’t be at his max level to thwart Nadal on the clay.

Bad knees and all, Rafa’s in better form of the two. I know Novak lives in Monte Carlo but the center court really belongs to Nadal. And most importantly Rafa just needs this win more. With all the data going Djokovic’s way I’ll take Nadal here in straight sets. Snowman complete.

Tennis Channel has live coverage at 8am ET. And if history holds the match will be going well into lunchtime on the east coast. It should be a good one. Vamos!

SUNDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE

COURT CENTRAL start 2:00 pm
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP)
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN)


Also Check Out:
Federer Reverses Monte Carlo Decision, Will Take On Nadal
Rafael Nadal: I Have Amazing Feelings When I Play Monte Carlo [Video]
Djokovic Withdraws From Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic Was A Busy Man After Winning Monte Carlo [Video]
Rafael Nadal, Girlfriend Xisca Head to Monte Carlo [Video]

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194 Comments for Nadal, Djokovic Collide For Monte Carlo Title, Who’s The Pick?

jane Says:

Sean: “And most importantly Rafa just needs this win more.”

Rafa: “My feeling is I have much less to lose than him. ”

I have to agree with Sean on this one. To me this is a crucial match for Rafa to win. All signs point to his need to win this: he’s been in a little title drought (though in several finals); he’s owned this court for basically 8 years, so there’s a streak on the line (mind you Nole’s 7-0 streak is also on the line so perhaps they’re even here); Rafa is defending 1000 points here, while Nole is defending 0 points and has already gained 600 on Rafa. If Rafa loses and Nole wins, that total doubles and will put Nole 1400 points ahead. Plus, finally, Nole’s not near his best this week, emotionally or game-wise. He has been able to pull through thus far, but against Rafa on clay it’s a much tougher proposition. So to me, the signs point to a Rafa win.

I also picked him to win this event at the beginning of the week on my bracket. Of course I’d love to see Nole win it for his Grandfather, but he’s already done a lot just by playing on and reaching the finals. I hope he can keep it close in the final. We’ll see! I think/hope it’s a good final, with good conditions.


Djokowins Says:

Nole is a marginal favorite going into this match tomorrow.
IMO this match is more important for Nole than Rafa.
For Nole this is MUST win to maintain the mental edge he holds against Rafa.
If Rafa wins this one, he will feel totally relieved and get even better for the next encounters against Nole.
Please Nole !!! Dont allow him to get up, he is BEAST.


Djokowins Says:

For Rafa, even if he loses this one, he will again try next time.
But if Nole loses this one, future would be great for Rafa. Rafa would come against Nole and the entire field with a clear head. He would be ominous then.


Djokowins Says:

If Rafa beats Nole tomorrow and makes it to 17 then he would most probably get to 20 wins against Nole by the time USO gets over.
The margin between them is so thin and its only in the head.


skeezerweezer Says:

Totally agree jane. Lol I was writing out my argument and before I submitted I re-read your post and it was almost like word for word duplicate….haha you win ;)!


jane Says:

I don’t know if one win can turn things around Djokowins. Think of Fedal. Fed beat Nadal at the WTF but then Nadal turned around and beat him at the AO, then Fed again at IW. I think rivalries take twists and turns. It’s not like it does a complete 180 and things are changed permanently. I see it like this – even if Nole loses, he has had an extraordinarily tough week losing his grandfather during the tournament. But the chance to face Rafa here, on clay that is said to be closest to Roland Garros clay, is actually a good thing win or lose. Because Nole can take away what he learns and go from there. Plus on top of that, Nole had already gained points. He can’t lose them. At all. He’s 600 to the plus. One loss won’t make Nole doubt himself. He lost to Muzza at Dubai but then beat him at Miami. He lost to Fed at Roland Garros, but then beat him at the US Open. Have faith. Win or lose, Nole will be just fine. That, I truly believe. :)


Kimberly Says:

I disagree one win can turn things around, maybe not completely. Had Novak not won in Indian Wells last year, beat him in a final which he had never done, then I don’t think he would have won in Miami or Madrid or Rome. Confidence is key. Rafa has no confidence or belief when he plays Novak so he makes mistakes. So if he gets it back I’m not saying it will be all one way traffic rafa like it was last year for Nole but more a balanced rivalry at least.


Djokowins Says:

Jane,
With Fedal it is not just mental, there is a match up issue also. Rafa has always had an upper hand right from the word go. But with Rafa-Nole rivalry, Nole still lags behind Rafa in the H2H and Rafa has owned Nole in the past more than he owned Federer.
And as a Nole fan I know how much stress it was to watch the AO final. Rafa almost got him….the margin is tooo thin between them. Any match against Rafa is stressful. The seven in a row was not acheived easily. He had to fight tooth and nail in all those wins except those two on clay.


Vashti Says:

Well, I think that we have to look at Rafa’s 2012 mentality before facing Nole, and compare that to his 2011 “before feelings”. I know this is not a grand slam, but the evolution is a little clearer from W to the USO to the AO to now.

After Wimbledon, he was utterly dejected.

After the USO, he said he was on the way.

After the AO, he said he’d never felt this much positives after a loss. Even a loss as big as that one.

I think that Rafa has more of a postive and relaxed attitude in 2012, as a whole (the IW loss comes to mind as an exclusion). I’m not sure whether he will beat Novak or not, but I have noticed that his forehand has been going deeper, sometimes dropping right in the baseline corners or blasting right on the lines, and his backhand has more of an angle to it. On his serves, he’s actually doing a pretty nice job on his first serve, and not so bad on his 2nd. Of course, his shots are still landing short at times, he’s standing way too far back, and his serve can be erratic, but otherwise he looks good.

And it’s not like Novak has been playing that bad either, I just think the mental part is affecting some of his shots, particularly his forehand, and he’s also giving many break points.

So looking at Rafa’s I have nothing to lose mentality, I think that’s his way of calming himself. It might not be true given the circumstances, but if it works for him, what else can be better than that? At least in this situation, he still is some sort of an underdog.

From what we have seen recently, Rafa has actually come out very well in the beginning of a Rafole match, only to get too relaxed, and play it too safe in the 2nd, give Nole the advantage, and since Novak is the best frontrunner in the game, we all know what happens next. Rafa plays aggressive in the beginning of their matches, but then Novak raises his level, and Rafa drops his.

I think that both players will have to have that inclination to play aggressive…Rafa with his serves(preferably down the T)/returns/and hopefully DTL shots, and Nole with his movement, his forehand, and his serve out wide.

Whoever wins, the 7-0 streak both have right now makes for a great match. :)


Bella Says:

I don’t think one win for rafa will turn the whole rivalry around. Yes rafa may regain some of his confidence, but that wouldn’t immediately mean he will start beating nole again the next time. I mean I think the lack of confidence for nadal only really started to play apart after his clay court loses to nole. Which mean that novak still beat a confident rafa 4 times before that simply because he has found a way to play him.


Vashti Says:

And not necessarily will Rafa’s win turn around the whole rivalry and Rafa will go on his own 7-0 streak…but look at their whole H2H details. Novak won 4 in a row I think, then Rafa won like 5 or 6 in a row, before Novak went on this 7-0 streak, so you never really know :)

However, this is historially I’d say entering Rafa’s best part of the season, so technically, his confidence could shoot up if he wins, and propel him.

Ironically, Rafa has actually done not so bad against Novak on faster surfaces, so some matches in the later year could be interesting.


Djokowins Says:

“One loss won’t make Nole doubt himself.”

On the flipside one win can really make Rafa believe in himself against Nole. He will be deadly then going into this critical part of the season.

I am not saying Rafa will win everything from now on, but he may share the results, he may win more than he loses in future.


Kimberly Says:

the point may be moot, im not sure Nadal believes he can win and if he doesnt believe it than he certainly can’t. However, I just want to note, he certainly doesn’t “run away” as was accused in Miami. Novak was in the final first and Nadal showed up.


Kimberly Says:

he needs to write “believe” on his shoes like Melanie Oudin!


skeezerweezer Says:

^but if Rafa “believes” and Nole “believes”, who will win?


Kimberly Says:

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
it depends on who has a better day. margins are very small.


jane Says:

For me, I just truly believe this isn’t a must-win situation for Nole. He knows now that he can beat Rafa – in big matches on every single surface. If Rafa wins tomorrow, it won’t change that. Moreover, Nole himself said he didn’t know if he could even reach the final given his grand-pere’s passing, so I don’t think he will beat himself up if he doesn’t win.

I think it’s much more of a must-win situation for Rafa, in terms of points and in terms of the rivalry which has been one-way for a while.

Djokowins, I don’t think Rafa owned Nole anymore than he owned Fed. Both H2Hs were lopsided, and both mainly due to Fed and Nole being the ones to reach finals and play Rafa on clay. Nole has been able to turn it around and create 14-16 H2H. 14-17 isn’t going to make that much difference if Nole loses. If Nole wins, however, 15-16 and 8 finals won in a row is close to a complete turn-around. Which is, again, why Rafa needs this win more in my honest opinion.


skeezeweezer Says:

Kimberly,

Sorry you opened the door so walked in ;)

Good luck to your fav tomorrow…..


jane Says:

Vashti, @ 3:06 – you make good points, especially about Rafa’s mentality after each of those slam matches. I think Nole, too, can see that he can win even when the matches are super tight. So he doesn’t have to panic. I agree – should, and hopefully will, make for a nice final between these two great players.


Kimberly Says:

the ability of the top players are incredibly close and the margins are tiny. Thats why confidence is such a big factor. Nole has that v. Rafa. Rafa has that v. Fed and Berdych and Tsonga and Murray and a lot of other players that should beat him a lot more than they do. But if both players have confience, at this level, IMO it comes down to who its clicking for on the very day of the match.


Vashti Says:

Who do you all think has to win the first set in order to really take advantage of the other player?


carlo Says:

If you ‘believe’ the odds-makers Nadal wins. If you ‘believe’ Jamie’s psychic Djokovic wins (until May for cosmic reasons).

My gut, mind, heart are in conflict and I can’t ‘see’ past Nadal under the circumstances. It will be monumental win for Nadal; and imo, emotional and heroic for Djokovic. But not as important, as Jane says. He already gets 600 points. Appeared to me today, Djokovic is still emotionally drained and that weakens him physically, which makes me tend to ‘think’ Nadal wins. But more pressure is on Rafa, though 600 points and defending Barca, even not defnding Barca keeps him in front of Federer, I think. Have not looked it up. The pressure is more about winning v Djokovic.

I don’t want to miss this final!


steve-o Says:

The problem is that Nadal cannot beat Djokovic by playing his usual safe game.

He is forced to take the the initiative and be the aggressor, which is very difficult to do without making costly mistakes.

If it were a question of just hitting more winners, Federer would have disposed of the Nadal conundrum long ago.

You can’t just “hit more winners” without increasing the error rate. Constantly going for the lines and trying to construct points is mentally draining. Too much aggression and you burn yourself out mentally, your game falls apart, and you lose.

Federer makes a high-risk, aggressive game look easy, but it’s not, it took him years to perfect it (and over a year to raise it again, with Annacone).

He’s had to learn how to maintain the delicate balance between attack and defense all his career, Nadal never had to until now. It takes a long time and it isn’t easy, so I wouldn’t expect him to manage it very quickly–if indeed he can do it at all.

There are two ways Nadal can win:

1) Become stronger and faster so he can grind down Djokovic like he did before.

2) Become a tactical player and employ variation to bamboozle Djokovic.

I don’t think 2) is a viable option for him. That leaves 1). But even if he has the physical advantage, the mental block may return.


Humble Rafa Says:

Some people are calling it a dream final. I sense a nighmare ahead.

I am worried my matches with the Egg Lover has become like the Fedal “rivalry”. Most reasonable people (which includes no Arrotards) believe that that “rivalry” is a joke.


Ben Pronin Says:

Vasthi, that’s a funny question. Djokovic has shown that losing the first set to Nadal means virtually nothing to him. He did it in Indian Wells, Miami, and as recently as the Australian Open. On the other hand, Djokovic always tends to win 2 sets in a row. Obviously in the best of 3 set matches they’ve had, but even in their slam finals. Djokovic goes up 2 sets to love, or 2 sets to 1, then loses the next set.

I think seeing Nadal on the other side of the net should and probably will inspire Djokovic the way seeing Federer on the other side of the net has always inspired Nadal. A lot of times it really seems like Djokovic plays a little better against Nadal than against anyone else, same as Nadal against Federer.


jane Says:

Tennis.com and Tennistalk both predict a Rafa win too.


dari Says:

This is a very tough call- I think it lies entirely on what mental condition novak is in tomorrow. Nadal is showing his opponents looks- Simon and wawrinka just couldn’t take advantage of opportunities. Novak historically has been, but I think it might be too much for mole tomorrow.

For him and his family, I hope I am wrong, just hoping for a great match!


dari Says:

You know what, it actually won’t matter either way to novak, I don’t think, in these circumstances. He has already exceeded expectation getting to the final, and MC is well established as rafa’s house.
In the same way that losing an 8th time after 7 losses won’t change everything, novak winning and preventing rafa’s 8th title in a row after winning 7 won’t change that the court there will one day be called courte Rafael nadal!

All the emotional drama is a lot to deal with, tennis is dramatic enough on its own, geeze
Novak winning would be some news story, the only thing that could overshadow 8 in a row at a tourney.

Hasta manana


jane Says:

I agree with you dari! :)


Kimmi Says:

can’t wait for this final, hope is a good one. I am visiting a friend tomorrow, will try to find a streaming.

Who will get his 8th?


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Courage! my brave jane. It is only Pagliaro pick. Tignor chose Djokovic.

@Ben:

You could be quite right: seems that Rafa’s game suits Nole well. I’ve seen him play bad against Rafa just once.


mat4 Says:

But… I am charmed by Rafa’s and Nole’s pressers.

Rafa: “Novak is the favorite. I have nothing to lose.”
Nole: “Rafa, the ultimate challenge, the best CC player ever, I have nothing to lose.”

Just try to imagine ali saying such things about Joe Fraser.


Michael Says:

I do not buy that line from Rafa that he has nothing to lose. I think he has everything to lose if he loses this match against Novak. It is his favourite court and surface where he has dominated all along and if he is to lose this one, then that will hurt him on a big scale. I agree with Sean, Rafa has the better form in this tournament and yesterday watching the semis, I had the feeling that may be this is the right time for Rafa to pull one against Novak. As regards Novak, he is not looking that sharp and his game is pretty much average. Therefore, I would give the edge to Nadal but you can never write-off Novak. This is going to be a very interesting match for sure.


mat4 Says:

Rafa:

« My feeling is I have much less to lose than him. I have everything to win, » Nadal told reporters. « That’s the most important thing. That’s the only positive thing about losing seven times. The next matches, you only have to win. You go to the match knowing that the normal thing is lose but trying the best to change situation. »


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic almost lost to Bellucci in Madrid, and to Murray in Rome. He still dealt with Nadal pretty handily. I’m really surprised that the majority of people are picking Nadal in this one. Until I see him beat Djokovic, I just can’t envision him actually doing it.


Michael Says:

For Novak, it is important for him to maintain the tempo and keep Rafa down psychologically. Once he lets off that psychological pressure, then it will be easy meat for Rafa especially going right into the clay court season. Thus it is an important match for Novak if he is exploring his chances at Rolland Garros. But the main problem for Novak is that he is not in good form right now. Ofcourse he can improve and raise his level and if he does that then he will lift the trophy for sure.


Michael Says:

Ben, Finally It will all boil down to the form of the player on that particular day. May the best player win.


Michael Says:

Djokowins,

Your remark that Novak had to fight tooth and nail against Rafa in all those seven wins. It is pretty much off the mark. Well, Indian Wells and Miami were close as they went to three sets. But what do you have to say about the Wimbledon and US Open. They came pretty much easy for Novak as he dominated Rafa beating him in both in four sets. Even in the Australian Open, although the match extended to five sets, Novak was clearly looking the aggressor and the better player.


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

I also think that too many people tend to overlook that the main reason Novak beats Rafa in the last couple of years is that he has vastly improved his game, especially his FH. But his improvements are the result of a broader vision: he changed his habits, his attitude on the court, his strokes, and all of this denote his intelligence.

We often write about Murray’s talent… But talent is not only touch, or things you had the privilege to learn with good coaches from your childhood. Talent is a vision. It just crossed my mind, the last game in the second set in the AO semi in 2011. Novak pinned Roger on the backhand diagonal for two or three points in a row, and finished down the line every time. That’s talent, that’s lucidity. Not only to hit the ball, but to know when, where and how you have to hit it.

The difference between Rafa and Nole, when they get on the court, is that Novak knows what he has to do. Rafa doesn’t. Rafa is right in a vicious way: Nole is the one that has everything to lose, because the outcome depends of him, and of him only.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I have to go with the contrarians: Novak wins because he beats Rafa at things Rafa normally dominates, and has his own weapons on top. It’s close, but there’s no doubt about who’s been in the better position since last clay season. I don’t think this is a mental game, predominantly. Novak outruns Rafa, and Rafa’s game is about running everything down.
I don’t think he’ll win every time, but I think, given that Novak is clearly going to motivate himself out of dedication to his granfather, that in a war of attrition such as these two play, Novak will win again.


Ben Pronin Says:

Just because the match is on Djokovic’s racquet doesn’t mean it’s a big deal if he loses. That just means he played below his best level. And I don’t full believe that to be the case, anyway.


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

Yes, I agree with you. I also believe that the outcome of tomorrow match will have absolutely no importance, especially for Novak. He has a clear cut plan against Rafa and the means to implement it. Until Rafa changes something dramatically on the court (his serve, f.e.), the outcome of their matches will be predictable.


Kimberly Says:

You know when I picked rafa to win the draw challenge I saw his path to the final as a certainty and novaks not as much. I just don’t know if he believes he can win and maybe his best is not enough like you guys say. Now that the match looms right ahead I can’t see him winning until he wins like Ben says. I’m very discouraged and hoping I’m wrong.


Vashti Says:

Kimberly, if you’re a Rafa fan, I understand. I think even with the fact that Rafa is playing slightly better, fans still have to have a tiny bit of “what if he loses?” and discouragement in them.

I did the same; pick Rafa to win, but I still feel like his comments aren’t where they should be. Even if he’s saying something, he’s not saying it with clear intent, it’s always “I’ll try” and then it seems like he’s doubting himself. That’s all I want him to do tomorrow; believe in himself. If he can clear his mind of any streak, and pump himself up, he can truly do it. Of course, maybe his best won’t be enough, and I suppose that’s understandable too.He’s not invincible, and Nole has certainly showed us that.

I told someone that it wouldn’t be a problem if Rafa won or lost, but now I’m having second thoughts. If he loses, it’s not like I wouldn’t have expected it, yet I just wouldn’t know what to think or say. It’s been hard to have expectations for Rafa.


skeezerweezer Says:

“I did the same; pick Rafa to win, but I still feel like his comments aren’t where they should be.”

What else is new?


skeezerweezer Says:

TV,

Interesting you say its not mental with Rafa, cause if its not how is Rafa EVER going win consistently over Djoker?


Vashti Says:

True.


Wheeler Says:

Like I say, THIS TIME AND EVERY TIME. From now on, Djokovic will win. At least when it matters the most. Djoker’s broken something inside Nadal, it’s more than his spirit or confidence. He’s done exactly the same thing to Nadal as Nadal did to Federer. GO DJOKO. Grab your first Monte-Carlo, gain 1000 points and make Rafa lose his 300 (and something else). Rafa’s done now against Djoker.


King Federer Says:

Bravo Jane!

The reason nadal has the H2H advantage was that he played federer/djokovic more on clay than hardcourts/grass. i think they play 50% of their matches on clay (i got to look at the exact numbers)

that is just lopsided, since fedal or nole/rafa play only 3/15 or at best 4/15 of their “common” tournaments on clay. it shows that fed/nole make the finals more often on clay than rafa on hard.

as for the monaco final, the match is much much bigger for nadal. he will be entering hewitt/roddick VS federer category if he loses this one. i hope novak’s superior form/match-up against rafa comes through.

the ideal thing for fed would be for these guys to knock the stuffing out of each other by french open so that fed is the much fresher one by the time wimbledon/olympics/toronto/cincy/USO stretch comes – surfaces that give fed a much better chance against rafa/nole than any surface (except dubai) in the 1st 6 months.


alison hodge Says:

kimberly @april 21st 11.12pm,yeah completely agree unfortunatly,as much as i have tried to stay positive all week,so sorry to say,dont feel that way when rafa faces novak,but like you say hope we are wrong.


Noogie Says:

Strange turn of events. Nadal sopping Fed(41 on grass) at wim 08 at 41 straight matches. Federe stopping nole at French 11 at 41 straight matches (for the year) and guess who will stop Raf’s 41


serbian hammer Says:

This rivalry has nothing to do with Nadal win this match or not,this rivalry will never be turn around,Djokovic is born to beat Nadal and has pace and natural athleticism to do it.so stop imagining things,this man Djokovic is a legend just because he reached the final,if he wins this week he wins,if not he is still great.And its a fact Nadal has much more to lose than Novak,he may fall to n3,lose his favorite masters 1000 tournament,and lose to 1 player 8 times in a row.


Sienna Says:

The djoker fans are getting cockey. They will find themselves this afternoon asking what went wrong when Nadal claims the deadbody of Djoker and drags it around the arena.
The bull is injured and then they are most deadly. he will rip his guits out and eat the bloody thing raw in front of the royals.

otherwise Nadal is


Sienna Says:

… out of work and can start his wedding planning.


Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Djokovic has problems with far less accomplished players than Rafa so it’s just bad luck on Rafa’s part that he has lost the last 7 times. Today is the day for the joker’s luck to run out. After all, Rafa was ahead in their h2h by a long way until last year.

Whatever spell Djoko has cast over Rafa I hope Rafa overcomes it today.


Legend Says:

Hope Rafa turns around this rivalry today and make it more interesting in future.


roy Says:

‘If Djokovic is in form, something we haven’t seen much of this year, he’ll beat Nadal’

the form of 2011 that is.
the form for the rest of his career, his ‘normal’ form, is essentially an even match with nadal i’d say.


Legend Says:

Even match ??
Before 2011 it was 16-7, was it even ?


Dory Says:

OMG OMG OMG! It’s on. And Djoker’s gonna win it again!!!!!!!!


Legend Says:

No Nole is not going to win today.
Two or three hours later Nole fans and Fed fans will be busy coming up with excuses for Nole’s loss today.


Legend Says:

No one has EVER beaten Rafa on clay for more than three times.
Nole has already had his share of two wins against Rafa. And thats it. He is not going to get his third win this year.


Daniel Says:

Don’t understand why Djoko is not going to Nadal’s backhand. When Nadal hit this many forehands on clay, the match is his.


Shailesh Says:

Nole looks a bit flat today, making too many ufes


van orten Says:

nole a little off..but there is a lot of time …nadal as always moonballing as hell ..who can like such a game ..really dont know


racquet Says:

The wind isn’t helping. You could cut the tension with a knife out there.


Daniel Says:

Too many easy errors so far from Djoko today


Daniel Says:

Good hold for Djoko and finally a drop shot. It’s a good option for this short balld. Djoko lost too many easy attack shots when inside the court.
Nadal is playing very deep and with spin, as usual and his serving is good as well.


Legend Says:

The fed tards have started with the excuses already LOL


Kimmi Says:

rafa winning this set easily. djokovic can’t hang with him.


Kimmi Says:

he needs to get to the net and finish those floaty balls.


Legend Says:

Rafa is not feeding Nole with short stuff.
FH is much deeper compared to previous encounters.
The small change with the raquet weight is giving the benefits now.


racquet Says:

First set to Nadal 6-3. It’s a long way from over but Nadal steadier at the moment.


Shailesh Says:

first set to rafa. Nole looks uninterested there on the court


Daniel Says:

Djokoo seema rushing some points.

Nadal didn’t make a single backhand errors today which shows he is stronger on that wing and Djoko didn’t pressure that spot as in the past.

Don’t know unless Djoko at least come to deuce or have a BP against Nadal serma Sean will be right and it will be a straight set for Nadal.


Legend Says:

Nole is not allowed to step in to the court by the depth of Rafa’s ground strokes.
Rafa has found a way to deal with Nole.


Dory Says:

Nole will bounce back. Let’s hope so. His mental strength is AMAZING.


Daniel Says:

Another excelent serving game from Nadal. Similar ti the first set when he was down 15-30. He is serving very deep and Djoko didn’t find the range yet.


racquet Says:

Only five points dropped by Nadal in five service games. I guess we know what he has worked on.


Legend Says:

Nole can bounce back only if Rafa plays short.
And thats not going to happen today.


Daniel Says:

Backhand errors:
Djoko 9
Nadal 0


Kimmi Says:

djoko needs to hold here or it will be over the way things are going.


Dory Says:

Backhand’s not working today. Can’t win like that.


Kimmi Says:

loooong backhand error. not feeling it.


racquet Says:

Rafa breaks to lead 2-0. This feels like a 2010 flashback.


Daniel Says:

10 errors with this one to lose the game


Shailesh Says:

there goes the match for novak. broken in the first service game of 2nd set.


van orten Says:

match is done…nadal never fails ..and if djoker doesnt play killer tennis nadal prevails..simple as that…nadal always plays same ball…djoker is done..congrats nadal..was about time to win again


Daniel Says:

Urgh! He is really having a bad day. Something we haven’t seen from him in a long time.
This is one of his worst matches in a long time.


Kimmi Says:

return is not there, FH not there. BH not there. and rafa is on great form.


john Says:

Nole is not playing well,very dissapointing.
Hope some miracle happens


Daniel Says:

It looks like one of those Fed walkabouts. Is even taking aqay merit from Nadal which is playing flawless.


Daniel Says:

Finally!!!! First backhand error from Nadal:)


Dory Says:

I won’t give up hope until he goes down a double break.


jane Says:

Rafa is just BETTER today. He will be the deserving winner. Much more straightforwardly than I thought though.


racquet Says:

Double break with brilliant a scorching forehand.


Daniel Says:

Darkness


Dory Says:

Okay I think too late now to come back. 4-0 down.


racquet Says:

* brilliant defense and a scorching forehand.


van orten Says:

yeah but nadal is not playing any different than usual..always same incredibly high level!!!! nole def. not playing like he did the times he beat nadal easily…nadal taking advantage of that…


Dory Says:

Nadal is FAR better today. Absolutely focused and in-form.


Daniel Says:

Oddly Djoko couldn’t force a single deuce game on Nadal serve


racquet Says:

Incredibly, Nole’s first break point.


racquet Says:

One break back.


dari Says:

Well, at least we get a bit more tennis this way :)


Daniel Says:

Wow, 1 game as before. At least he still got hidden somewhere. He decides to play when the match is virtually over:)


Legend Says:

The simnple strategy for Rafa to beat Nole is not to feed him with short balls.


racquet Says:

Break back. Rafa to serve for the match. Not quite the classic everyone was expecting today.


jane Says:

Absolutely dominant by Rafa – congrats to his fans. Your guy is still King of clay and this is an important win because of its lopsidedness. Wow!

Back to the drawing board, Nole, but good work to reach the final. Bit of a gut check though!


racquet Says:

Rafa does it! Nice hug at the net (haven’t seen that for a while).


Daniel Says:

Ahhhh. Now they return with te hug!:)
Congrats Nadal, 8 straigh, unprecedent!!


skeezeweezer Says:

“The simnple strategy for Rafa to beat Nole is not to feed him with short balls.”

Uh…yeah….that would be a good thing to against any player…duh.

Congrats to Rafa, first title in a over a year. He desperately needed this. Fully expect him to dominate the Clay season now.


Kimmi Says:

congrats rafa and his fans. he must be happy to win after 7 straight defeats.

Hope djokovic can still compete with rafa in the remaining clay events.

Time to celebrate for rafa and his fans.


dari Says:

Great 8 for rafa!
Congratulations to him to beat novak for the first time in a long time.
Great serves and great length from him.
Ace on match point, gotta love it

Wish we woulda had a better match :/

Get rest novak


jane Says:

Yep, 8 wins for Rafa – unprecedented. Congrats to him for that too.


Legend Says:

Where is Jamie ?


racquet Says:

I’m so happy for Rafa. I think this puts some spice back into the clay season. It’s better for tennis to have a confident Rafa around. Commiserations to Nole fans but, as many have suggested here, it doesn’t matter whether he won or lost.


Noogie Says:

@ Legend
Its just that the slowness of the court provides Nadal with time to control his shots more. Nothing new though. His complaints will start all over again once the hard court season is at hand and a long wait for another eleven months. Actually a pity that his skill is skewed by his ability to be a claycourter


Mark Says:

Vamos Rafaaaa! Lucky 8!!!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Congrats Rafa and Rafa fans! What a great, dominant show today and a hugely important win. I was way wrong in my pick, but all the commenters were right that Rafa needed this more than Nole. I don’t think I would jump on the bandwagon that Rafa will roll through the clay season again. We’ll have a great match between those two again this spring!


dari Says:

I do hope novak can get the title here maybe next year, as he is a resident there and I know it means a lot to him.


jane Says:

racquet, true, Nole had less to lose today and Rafa more to gain. What is striking to me is the WAY in which Nole lost.

It sends the message that Rafa will dominate clay this year. No one could even take a set off him at Monte Carlo this year, and the only guy to beat him on clay in the last two years just got his butt handed to him. I think Rafa swept all clay events in 2010. He could very well do so again!!

I think the questions goes back to who can actually beat Rafa on clay? He just looked formidable today, imo. Wow!!! Back to his old self and even better due to the serving. Impressive.


dari Says:

Rafa does not lack humor – thanking novak for the win after 7 losses


nadalista Says:

serbian hammer Says:

“This rivalry has nothing to do with Nadal win this match or not,this rivalry will never be turn around,Djokovic is born to beat Nadal and has pace and natural athleticism to do it.so stop imagining things,this man Djokovic is a legend just because he reached the final,if he wins this week he wins,if not he is still great.And its a fact Nadal has much more to lose than Novak,he may fall to n3,lose his favorite masters 1000 tournament,and lose to 1 player 8 times in a row.”

April 22nd, 2012 @ 4:19am

……eat crow you sad example of a human being. Nole does not deserve an idiot like u as a fan, you have no class. But then what can one expect from soemone who goes by the moniker, “Serbian Hammer”?


john Says:

superb play from rafa,well deserved
but don’t take very much from this victory,nole was mentally very down after his grandpa’s death and it was evident in that match,.
djoker just give up the match,no competition whatsoever
but a fresh nole is a man to beat
this win will not satisfy rafa or his fans because nole was not in that match,his mind was somewhere else

but lets take it aside,really nice win for rafa and his fans


dari Says:

Is it time for the blue stuff already?
Princess loves novak ;)

Jane, rafa was great today, but im gonna hold out on sweep talk until
1) we see how the blue clay plays
2) novak tries to get back in 2011 form
3) we might see who can have a surprise good performance on clay at RG thanks to the fast balls

It is looking good for rafa though.

Ready to see fed back in action in a couple weeks!


Legend Says:

“I think Rafa swept all clay events in 2010.”

No. He missed out on Barcelona. But he wont miss it this year. Its going to be a clean sweep.


Ajet Says:

Uncannily and unbelievably, I was neutral for the first time ever in a nole vs nadal match, i’ve always supported djoker in that scenario!

and today, am feeling fine to see the result as it was the case of the better guy winning on the day. and i am glad nadal saved me humilation in bracket challenge by finally beating djoker. ;)

as i thought, nobody beats nadal 8 times in row, hahaha! ;)

congratulations brando, lulu, mark, kimberley and other rafans including of course the sweetest alison on the victory of their guys…
AMAZING ACHIEVEMENT!!!

And for all those nadal doubters who’ve stopped to think with their minds when predicting the result of nadal vs nole on clay, well, take it:
NADAL IS THE KING OF CLAY!!!

no matter what, i am very clear that djokovic will never be a match to nadal on clay when nadal is at his best. federer and djokovic, from what i have seen throughout the years, and know, are never gonna beat the ”REAL NADAL” on clay on his day… nadal needs to help them through some way or the other, to lose to them on clay.

this year, next year, any year, IMO nadal has to be below his best one way or the other for any other guy to have any chances against him on clay. in the rest of the surfaces, others’ve and always had pretty good chances vs rafa, and that doesn’t change this year, next year, any year!


jane Says:

^ Legend, I meant that he played. I don’t think he played Barcelona that year.

dari, true we don’t know what to expect from the blue clay – bit of a question mark that is.


Brando Says:

Let’s do this properly:

To Nole and nole fans of great class such as Jane, Wog Boy, Mat4, Nina etc: Commiserations for the loss- BUT as rafa says, thank you after 7 losses.

I DO NOT think this match means anymore than the next time rafa plays nole- on clay at least- he shall do with some self belief and confidence. It is good- in terms of as a contest- for the future matches that nadal won today.

The truth is what matters- personally this was the most error prone nole performance i have seen in a VERY LONG WHILE. BUT it’s understandable due to his personal scenario.

SO i wouldn’t read too much into his loss- he won today since after his grandfather’s loss he has shown genuine heart and spirit- competing on when others may not have been able to. In life that is FAR more important- so well done nole!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Congratulations to Rafa on his 8th Monte Carlo title! I’m very happy he finally beat Nole, but to be honest it wasn’t terribly satisfying with Nole playing so poorly. This match was much more important for Rafa to win, and I’m sure Nole will be back to himself in no time. I hope for a few classics between these two during the rest of the clay court season!


Legend Says:

“Uh…yeah….that would be a good thing to against any player…duh”

Its not so important against almost all other players.
For example it is just enough to put back a short ball (or even a moonball) on Federer’s backhand side to draw an error or a weak response.

Vamos Rafa !!


john Says:

i think roger federer has a better chance to beat rafa in madrid or rome
we have seen in indian wells thsi year,roger is playing very different these days and especially against rafa.
i am way too sure that if rafa and roger meet each other in any clay court event this year especially Madrid ,roger will tame rafa there
novak still has a great chance to beat rafa but add roger in that list too


Wog boy Says:

Congrats to Rafa fans. Enjoy well desereved win of your man.
He was on the roll, Very impressive, good on you Rafa.

Congrats to Nole, you lost the match but you gain a lot of respect for what you manage to do this week under the circumstances.

That is all folks, bring on Madrid:)


Vashti Says:

I don’t think though, that we should take Rafa’s win for granted saying that Nole played poorly. Sure that’s part of it, but Rafa also played amazing on his own. His shots went deep, and his serve was on.


Noogie Says:

NADALISTA your comment is just as low class as the Latin mentality. Same as Nadal always complainming and moaning when things aren’t going his way


Ajet Says:

i agree with those who think it is absurdity and cockiness at its hilarious best when people talk as if the match is on djoker’s racquet every time he plays nadal!!! at least from what i have seen, on clay, the only boss is nadal until he fumbles to gift wins to djokovic. and even on grass, nadal is better than djokovic imo.

good to see nadal making the arogant predictors forecasting another rafa loss eat humble pie today.

Even though i always root aginst nadal, today is the day i say:

VAMOS RAFA!!!


Brando Says:

To rafa and my fellow fans alsion, kimberly, lulu etc:

AT LONG LAST! Been waiting what has felt like a lifetime- for this win!

Like i said earlier, i do not think nole was ANYWHERE NEAR his best today, however a few key points that are a plus for rafa:

1- Excellent serving: Rafa served won over 80% 1st serves in, and over 50% 2nd serves- at least in set 1. Now that makes a WORLD of difference against nole. He only faced BP on his serve in just 1 game. testament to his serving today.

2- Little short balls: This act of charity was thankfully not on display by rafa today. He gave nole little of what has been costly to him time and time again in the past. MAYBE the new racquet is helping here in terms of his depth on shots.

3- Clarity of mind: The ABSOLUTE KEY TO RAFA. He played with a calm and composure that i have not seen from rafa in a LONG TIME against nole. He didn’t give nole ANY OPPURTUNITY to get into the match- and that was brilliant.

4- Room for improvement: this is MASSIVE to me. As a seasoned nadal watcher, i genuinely believe that rafa can play ALOT better than today on clay. Bar his SERVING and DEPTH of shots- all else can be improved. That’s a good thing.

EITHER WAY, the best thing is he won and he’ll look forward to the future with a sense of positivity- VAMOS RAFA!


Wog boy Says:

Dari,
“Princess loves Novak”

I noticed that too, she couldn’t take hands and eyes of him :)


Lulu Iberica Says:

Vashti,

Yes, I agree, Rafa also played very well. It’s just hard to get really excited and jump up and down when Djoker made an extraordinary numbers of errors, and he was affected by the death of his grandfather. Also, I was watching a horrible stream (no Tennis Channel) so it was hard to appreciate Rafa’s shots, though I could tell he was getting them deeper than usual. I just hope for a more exciting match between these two next time.


Vashti Says:

IMO, I still think Roger has an excellent chance to win Madrid, barring the blue courts are bad.


Brando Says:

@Ajet, Wog Boy:

Thanks- look forward to madrid also!

P.S: I agree with the players (Rafa, nole, fed, murrary etc) the blue clay is STUPID and does add a bit of CIRCUS element to that particular tourny.

BUT on the plus side it does bring an intrigue and mystery of its own.


john Says:

@Ajet
i think you are wrong,novak beat rafa in madrid and rome last year fair and square
Novak’s prime form is more then enough to beat any guy in tour there is only one exception (true GOAT)
as i said earlier don’t take this win for granted,novak was mentally down and don’t not fight at all,super novak is like an unstoppable force
you will see what i am talking about in coming future
i am a roger federer fan by the way but i am a great fan of novak’s mental toughness
rafa is a king of clay no doubt,by just like roger(he used to be a king of grass) there is a guy out there who is gonna beat him one day (novak is the man)


Legend Says:

During the last 7 losses Rafa was way too predictable by always playing cross court shots. This allowed Nole to get into the court and launch flat rockets left and right.
Rafa was not confident to try DTL shots (both FH and BH).

But Rafa was changing the direction of his shots at will with a mix of CC and DTL shots, which did not allow Nole to get into any rythm. Rafa kept Nole guessing and did not feed him predictable cross court short balls which he was doing regularly during 2011. But that was enough to beat almost everyone barring Nole.


nadalista Says:

Noogie Says:

“NADALISTA your comment is just as low class as the Latin mentality. Same as Nadal always complainming and moaning when things aren’t going his way”

……..oh dear, Serbian Hammer has a sibling….Read some of the comments from classy Nole fans on this board (though I have serious doubts about your comprehension skills), you MAY learn something, highly doubtful though….

Anyway, bravo Rafa, onwards to Barcelona….

BTW, I am not Latin……but then again I do not expect a racist neanderthal like you and your ilk to care…….we are all the same!


Ajet Says:

sure, we can give as many excuses as possible for this loss of nole by saying that he was error-prone, he was mentally elsewhere and blah blah, but that doesn’t change the truth, the truth being: when nadal plays free, don’t get surprised on him straight-setting nole! no matter how nole plays, if nadal’s at is best on red dirt, then he wins, hands down!

and speaking of nole playing bad, rafa last year was also not playing great by his standards on clay, and that’s why he got straight-setted twice! don’t be so naive as to think that a ON-nadal would lose to djoker on clay and that too, so easily!

and of course, this match shows nothing new for the future except the thing which everybody knows for years now, i.e. nadal is king of clay and favourite at FO, as usual!


Djokowins Says:

Nadal stopped Federer.
Nole stopped Nadal.
Who is going to stop Nole ?

Ironically the answer could be Nadal.

I dont see anyone else capable of stopping Nole for the next 3 to 4 years.


john Says:

@ajet
You gotta watch novak on madrid or even roger for that matter.
There very best is enough to challange rafa in clay courts
I am sure that novak will win french open this year.
I mean last year he was untouchable ,no matter who the opponent was he was just taming them,if novak can able to generate that level of play again then he could even win all grandslams this year.
I was never a fan of novak before,but the way he deal with his grandpa’s death and reach the final was just outstanding.
blue clay is waiting now,.
Rafa better watch out


Ajet Says:

hey nadalista:

congrats to you too on your guy’s stylish win! B-)

and kudos to you for calling out that ”——- hammer” guy! and to be honest you know, he doesn’t mind eating crow at all, he’s eaten worse things before! ;)


Dan Martin Says:

Nadal won. He won easily. This year gets more interesting after today. I think the next few weeks before Paris will be intriguing. Then the FO, Wimbledon, Olympics & USO sprint hits.


Ajet Says:

john:

i respectfully disagree with you on the point where you say that the best of nole can outclass the best of rafa on clay. i would believe about novak’s best being enough for outclassing rafa’s best on claycourt only when i see it quite a few times. so far, i haven’t seen it even once!

and i’m also a fed fan and always root against nadal, but facts are facts and one of the facts is rafa’s urivalled on clay, at least nobody in this generation has rivalled his best on that suraface.


Kimberly Says:

Good thing for Nadal he had a lot more belief than I did although Novak didn’t really look like he was willing to do what it took to win the match. Kind of like Federer Miami 2011, Nadal Indian Wells 2012, he just never really seemed in the match. But I’ll take it.

Thanks for all of the congrats especially those from Djokofans and Fedfans (or arrotards, hahahha).

And the only smartass comment I have is where is Jamie with his/her psychic predictions?


Ajet Says:

”I dont see anyone else capable of stopping Nole for the next 3 to 4 years.

April 22nd, 2012 at 10:22 am”

djokowins, you cannot be serious!


Michael Says:

There is a reason why Nadal is heralded as the GREATEST CLAY COURT PLAYER and he showed his prowess today to justify that glorified tag. Ofcourse Novak was not in his elements and he was not making far too many unforced errors than he normally does. I do not know the reason for his drop in level and I assume that may be his grand father’s death had a role and he was consumed by emotions. But Nadal truly deserved to be the winner as he was the outsanding player in the tournament and he has yet again won without losing a set. To win a tournament even twice or thrice is a big thing. But to win it eight consecutive times is helluva lot. Nadal is the uncrowned KING OF CLAY. Have no doubts about that. If Novak is to make a challenge, he has to prove that in Madrid and Rome where may be the court surface would favour his game than it does in Monte Carlo.


nadalista Says:

@ April 22nd, 2012 10:31am
Ajet says:……..

Thanks Ajet…………really needed that victory by Rafa, so nice to see him back in the winner’s circle! But more importantly, it was nice to hear his gracious comments to Novak post match, this more than match victories, is what draws some of us to Rafa.

I do try to ignore ignoramusses at the best of time but sometimes you just feel like reminding them of their jackass-ness………

Now Rafa just needs to crown this win with a win at Barcelona…..

Vamos!!!


Michael Says:

Unfortunately for Novak today, the return of serve was not working which was his strength. Moreover in the cross court exchanges where he always scores over Nadal, he was making far too many unforced errors. May be Nadal’s consistency had a role in that. But Novak was hitting desperate shots to get him out of trouble which didn’t pay off. As I said, it was a bad day in Office for Novak. If he was playing his best, he would made a fight out of it. But that was not to be and a more consistent Nadal won.


Djokowins Says:

I think Nadal can sleep walk through the next week and still lift his seventh barcelona crown.


Michael Says:

I was tipping Nadal to win, but I expected a tougher match. Unfortunately Novak disappointed the
Crowd.


Djokowins Says:

I think Djokovic made a huge mistake of taking on Rafa on his home turf just for the sake of a few points.
He should have waited till Madrid (a more favorable surface) to take on Rafa.

Now the BEAST has tasted some blood and will be thirsty for more.

I seriously hope it is not a momentum shift.


madmax Says:

Not a classic match by the two greats. Of course, good prediction Sean and congrats rafa fans.

Wasn’t fired alive by the match. But it was understandable considering Novak’s circumstances. I think he has been a brick to carry on to be honest. Must have been extremely difficult given the circumstances to continue for novak.

Anyone could see his heart was not in it, but he did his best in the circumstances.

I really believe that Nole will regroup and win RG for his grandpa. This will give him extra incentive.

Sigh. Come on Roger and get back on the court. Soon.


jamie Says:

Sh*t, looks like the pre-effects of the solar eclipse are being felt in late april instead of early may. :(


Djokowins Says:

Out of his 17 losses to Nadal before, there were streaks of 4, 4 and 6 losses. I hope today is not a beginning of another losing streak to Rafa.


skeezeweezer Says:

@jamie

Yeah…uh..uh….right. ROTFL.


Michael Says:

Would it have been tactically sound for Novak to have withdrawn from Montecarlo Masters after hearing the news of his grand father’s death ? Yeah today it appears so. It is the start of the clay court season and Nadal has beaten him comprehensively where Novak was not even able to hold his serve in the second set. Will this result have a bearing on Rolland Garros ? Might be. Nadal must be feeling more confident now facing Novak than he used to be earlier. It will be the results in Madrid and Rome that will be game changer. If Nadal or Novak wins there, then that player will have the added momentum going into the French Open.


alison hodge Says:

Ajet thanks very much for those lovely words,to be honest without been a pessimist,my expectations were not that high,i taped the match as i was at work when it was on,and ive had a crap day,so this has cheered me up no end,i suppose it just goes to show,you can never right off a great champion rafa the king of clay yipeeee.


Noogie Says:

Strange. Strange world indeed. Its like rafa has re-invented himself and all Rafans celebrate like never before. Just bear in mind its clay where its the only place where Rafa is really a thread. Let’s wait for the nect couple of months.
PLAYING JAMIE I predict a challenger circuit next year for the whiner and his fans


alison hodge Says:

my commiserations to jane,wogboy,nina,mat4 etc etc,Noles had a terrific week,and to be honest im not really reading much into this win for Rafa,but like kimberly says,ill take it,but Noles still the man to beat.


Djokowins Says:

“Would it have been tactically sound for Novak to have withdrawn from Montecarlo Masters after hearing the news of his grand father’s death ? Yeah today it appears so.”

Yes I agree with you. Nole has played into Rafa’s hands.


jamie Says:

I don’t think Nole will defend Madrid. For some funny reason nobody has been able to defend Madrid since its inception in 2002.

Nole will have better chances to defend Rome though.

But then comes the solar eclipse which means RG and Wimbledon will elude him this year.


jamie Says:

Chances of Nole winning the US Open again are high this year.


trufan Says:

No surprises here – the red clay of Monte Carlo is Nadal’s favorite, even amongst clay courts.

Nadal has about 6-7 weeks left for his season to get over. I don’t think he will win all the clay events, he will lose at least twice on clay by the time FO is done. Then, of course, he has to wait till 2013 to get a title – but he will be older and slower by then.

I think Fed will make a good run at Madrid and Rome. Djoke should have rested, not played MC, like Federer. I think he wanted the extra points to maintain No. 1 (he didn’t play MC last year, so he widens his lead over Nadal by 600 points, even though he lost the final to Nadal). Djoke’s shoulder is a trouble spot for him, he needs to rest it between tournaments, otherwise he won’t win….

Fed is the smarter one, pacing himself well. Nadal starts playing Barcelona in two days! His desperation at getting clay points is clear – that’s what gets him to maintain his ranking, title count, H2H against players, EVERYTHING – without his clay wins, Nadal wouldn’t even be ranked top 5.


Joseph Says:

Congratulations to Rafa! However, it is clearly obvious that Novak is still grieving the loss of his grandfather. Plus probably the guilt of not attending his funeral yesterday:( IMO Novak’s head was never really in the match today. Im surprised Rafa didnt mention Novaks Grandfather in his speech. Tennis is not just about technique, its about being strong mentally, and thats what separates the top 10, 20 or should i say the top 4, from the rest.


nadalista Says:

Eh, trufan:

Rafa is desperate for points that’s why he is playing Barcelona in 2 days………..

How then would you explain Nole’s playing Belgrade next week? I haven’t heard he is pulling out……..is that desperation as well? How about Nole playing Monte Carlo, an event which is not even mandatory, a tournament he did not play last year so had no points to defend, continuing to play even after learning of his beloved grandfather’s passing? Was that desperate?

Oh no, desperate is Rafa………everyone else is normal.

You people make me sick with your jaundiced prejudices. You hate Rafa, that’s fine, but at least spare us the clumsy rationalisations………


Ben Pronin Says:

Nadalista, don’t you comment on tennistalk a lot?

Nadal always plays Barcelona, nothing fishy there. Djokovic is somewhat obliged to play his hometown event. I think Djokovic knows a little more about himself physically this year than last year. Maybe last year he wasn’t sure if he would be ready to play Monte Carlo after Miami. And if he is doing it just for points, then so be it. It’s not like Monte Carlo is some rinky dink event.


Mark Says:

Djoker IS NOT playing Belgrade this year or so his site says. Keep up!!


skeezeweezer Says:

Ben,

How about te fact that he had an injured knee( tendon tear ) just 3 weeks ago that required injections, played through and won a tourney since then, and within 3 days of that he is playing in another one? Some fabulous recovery, no?

Have to say he is running around extremely well.


nadalista Says:

Ben Pronin:

So what if I comment on tennistalk a lot? Is it a crime? You comment on tennis-x a lot, I don’t remember asking you about that………….what’s you point?


nadalista Says:

Sienna also comments on tennistalk, a lot…….but I do not hear you picking on her/him/it, why not? Oh I get it,fellow Rafa haters………


skeezeweezer Says:

nadalista,

U crack me up sometimes. Ben never said its a crime, and tru fan never said he hated Rafa, and Mark even said Nole is not playing Belgrade.

So really….what is your point?

Oh yeah…you Love Rafa. Good for you. Dream on. Tell mem I said “Hi” and congrats to you all over there on the Rafa site in winning his 8th MC.


jane Says:

Novak’s site says he IS playing Serbia!

http://novakdjokovic.com/en/schedule/


jane Says:

However, based on the comments madmax posted on the other thread, Nole sounds unsure about his schedule “in the next few days”, so maybe he is still deciding about Serbia? Anyhow, his website lists it as his next event and he did play last year too. I think he may not have played Monte Carlo last year because of the streak he’d been on; he needed time to rest after winning every event he had played. Whereas this year, he’s lost earlier (well, semis) at both Dubai and IW, so maybe he felt he had a few more matches in him. And why not, if the points give him padding. They all do that. Fed played a lot of tourneys before deciding to opt out of Monte Carlo, including Rotterdam, Dubai, and DC. Nadal and Nole may be adding their 250 events in on clay because it suits them, it’s like their “home” events to Roger’s Basel. They all do what they think is best in each case. And since at least one of the top four seem to be reaching almost every final they can’t be doing to badly with their scheduling. ;)


skeezeweezer Says:

jane,

Agreed. I read earlier thus year he said he was not going to play but then later said he was. In light of his GF passing, who knows, but so far it looks like it is in his schedule. Just for clarification, the start of the Serbian Open is in 8 days, not 3.


jane Says:

Yes, skeeze, and 8 days gives him time to recover emotionally. It might make sense for him to play by then – back in the saddle and all that.


Kimberly Says:

skeezer he says the knee still hurts but is not hampering his movement. I am surprised he is still playing barcelona, thought he might emulate what he did in 2010. I wonder if he will play Madrid. Its his home country so you would think yes. But who wants to throw their game off on the blue clay and altitude. Maybe request a wildcard into the serbian open hahahhaha.

Kaiser (my husband) hit a shot to me a few weeks ago, and the thing virtually exploded off the ground and went over my head with this funny bounce. I asked him what on earth was that shot and he said Rafa shot but Rafas is ten times worse. I don’t know how anyone can return those shots without spraying a lot of errors especially with funny bounces that clay has. I guess a lot of people cant and thats why he is number 2 in the world. I would hate to play against someone who hit like that!

So my point is I think a lot of the time it seems like players make alot of mistakes against Rafa but in reality Nadal makes you make a lot of mistakes. I think you have to be really dialed in mentally to play against him and beat him on clay, flawless footwork etc, ready to make adjustments for the bounce etc. Novak was not ready to do that today mentally. He says so in his interview.

So I think their future matches may still favor Novak as Rafa game does not trouble him like it troubles others but Rafa at least will have the monkey of the no title and the seven straight losses off his back and perhaps have a little more belief on his side. So really more interesting going forward especially on clay and grass. Hard I just have to give a clear advantage to Novak. However, on clay, Rafa more likely IMO to make it through the rest of the draw than Novak.

My deep thoughts.

Jane, I am rooting for your Canucks to stay in this thing tonight. I am watching the heat game at 6 but as soon as the game is over I will switch to your game.

BTW, rafa win inspired my own game, played awesome tennis today (of course on hard court, I may be a two handed backhand lefty like rafa but thats about where the similarity ends)


Sienna Says:

It was a lousy final and it makes you pondfer what would have happened if Fed was playing. He would have steamrolled any of todays finalists. Hope he is already training and picking up pace because I fancy Madrid……. Kill ém in their own grounds I say….


Sienna Says:

As a matter of speech….


jane Says:

Kimberly, cheers: glad you played awesomely today. Only 3 teams in history have come back from a 3-0 best of 7 playoff deficit so even if the Canucks win tonight the odds are still against them. But it would mean one more game. Your team played great yesterday: beat the Devils 3-zip! Viva la underdogs. :)


skeezerweezer Says:

Kimberly,

Good post. It’s true re; Rafa’s bounce. Especially on Clay he has extra time to whip those wicked RPM’s. I saw him practicing a few years back on Clay and he hit a ripping groundstroke that literally bounced over his practice partners head! You are so right you have to anticipate extra hard when that bounce comes or it will get away from you. Taking it early is the best thing but that also takes extra skill…..

Congrats on your win…hey I won also!!! ( played yesterday )

jane…..SJ Shark fan here…every year torture….cheer they get in the playoffs then get kicked in the butt OUT first thing…..ugh. Don’t know what Hockey is doing in Cali anyway yuck yuck.


Kimberly Says:

Lol guys the panthers (hockey on Florida) are up 32 in their series. Still don’t believe they will win the series but if they do it will be the first time in 16 years.


trufan Says:

Nadalista seems to have disappeared, but anyway, to respond to what she said…

I clearly say in my post above that Djokovic shouldn’t have played MC, and that he is looking for points too! Fed is the smart one here.

As for Nadal, his knees are really magical. One day they are injured, the next day he is running like a rabbit and playing two consecutive tournaments before such a hectic summer, even though both events are not mandatory!!

The next time Nadal loses, you can be sure to hear about the knees again!

Lets see what happens in Madrid and Rome. If Nadal loses even one of them, he will enter the FO with some amount of vulnerability.

In the meantime, he could lose in Barcelona!!


jamie Says:

@Sienna

I also think Federer will win Madrid.


Steve 27 Says:

Think is one thing, do it is another thing. By the way, Jamie you are phony.


jamie Says:

Steve 27 is a nadaltard?


Gordana Lastovic Says:

Sean you got it. You said “Nadal here in straight sets. Snowman completed.” He played unbelievable and he was so… focused. This will give him so much confidence. Best wishes for the season Rafa! Cheers!


Steve 27 Says:

jamie. dont you mention Novak will win Montecarlo, Madrid and even Rome. Well, your prediction failed in Montecarlo. You should apologize for your wrong prediction, calling someone a fraud is all right if the person continues to predict and their predictions fail.

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