Nadal Saves Best For Last, Destroys Djokovic For 8th Straight Monte Carlo Title
by Sean Randall | April 22nd, 2012, 11:24 am
  • 127 Comments

Rafael Nadal is back! Nadal showed again why he is the undisputed King of Clay by crushing nemesis Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 earlier today to get his snowman, his eight straight Monte Carlo Masters title.

Nadal, who hadn’t looked his sharpest up the final, saved his best for last playing a near flawless match against Djokovic. And the victory was huge. Nadal had lost seven straight Djokovic, and even though the Serb was not anywhere near his best today, it’s got to help Rafa’s confidence. He absolutely had to have this win and he got it.

“After seven times (Novak), thank you for this one,” Nadal joked on court.

“I have always felt unbelievable here,” said Nadal. “It’s unbelievable to win this historic tournament eight times, I always feel great when I come here.”

Rafa served well and excelled off the ground, both forehand and backhand. He was all business. No mistakes. Meanwhile it was just an off day for Djokovic who really struggled in all facets of his game, even footwork, as he sprayed errors all around the court in the breezy conditions.

The numbers for Nadal are staggering. He’s won 42 straight matches in Monaco, 8 straight titles and he collects a 20th Masters trophy. He’s also won his last 15 on clay and last nine matches overall since losing to Roger Federer at Indian Wells. And that’s clay title No. 33 and No. 47 overall, his first since the French Open.

For Djokovic, with his grandfather’s passing it’s been a tough, emotional week. And I don’t think this loss will linger. Djokovic did well just to get to final and as I thought he was just tapped today. Can you blame him?

“I’m sorry for my performance today, Rafa played well and deserved to win today,” said Djokovic.

Novak came into the event not playing at the level he was a year ago, and he leaves still searching for that peak 2011 form. But Novak now has a full month to get right for his real goal of the French Open and we know he has the game and the toughness for the near impossible challenge of beating Nadal on the clay. And he may just get that rematch before then.

For Nadal, he broke the Djokovic streak, got his title and he’s back on his favorite surface. Life is good again and with Barcelona served up on platter this upcoming week, he’ll be sky high.

And knee injury? What knee injury? Winning heals all wounds,right? Rafa won Monte Carlo without losing a set or even facing a set point. No one was even clsoe. Once again the song remains the same, Nadal rules on the clay. And what a song it is.

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Rafael Nadal: “To start the clay-court season winning here is an amazing feeling. This tournament is very special for me. My level of tennis was high during the last four matches, since the second round.”

On ending a seven-match final losing streak to Djokovic: “It’s very important to break that situation. It’s important to win a tournament another time. Especially [this] tournament. [Breaking] that situation [and] winning a Masters 1000, one of my favourites, [makes] everything perfect today.”

Novak Djokovic: “He took his opportunities [in the] first set and made a break, and that’s it. I didn’t make him play at all. I just was out there trying to put the ball in the court.”

On the passing of his grandfather: “It’s been a tough week, not just for me but for everybody in my family. We’re going through this together. In the end, I played the final and I’m really happy for that.”


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

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127 Comments for Nadal Saves Best For Last, Destroys Djokovic For 8th Straight Monte Carlo Title

Roger Federer Fan Says:

I hope my fellow fed fans (led by Dave and Skeezer) will come to this thread to list down the excuses for Nole’s loss today.
Nadal’s win should be downplayed at any cost.
Come on fed fans, start firing !!!!


Brando Says:

Thanks sean- nice article.

I agree with your points this changes NOTHING for nole really- BUT most importantly, i too feel he has not played ANYWHERE near his 2011 form.

For me he showed guts, fight and determination at AO this year. THAT is what led to his win there for me. Miami- bar the 1st set against ferrer- again it wasn’t overly impressive stuff.

Credit to him for this tourny, and for his AO and Miami wins, BUT i do not know why nole has not been able to reproduce his best form really since US 2011.


Djokowins Says:

This loss wont have any impact as far as Nole’s game or confidence is concerned. He will still be the same force.

But this win for Rafa would now clear his head and he will take on Nole with little more confidence.

Tough times ahead for Nole !!!


Ben Pronin Says:

The lopsided score says it all: Djokovic played poorly and Nadal played great. Or the other way around. Doesn’t really matter. Djokovic was definitely sub par, making plenty of easy errors off both sides, not serving particularly great, and not really moving all that well.

But Nadal, man, just reminded everyone why he’s the best clay court player ever. The forehand was as high and deep as ever but it was his backhand that really impressed me. I really do think the best way to measure Nadal’s confidence is by how well he’s hitting his backhand and he was hitting it extremely well today. Lots of pace, depth, angle when he needed it. Most importantly, he played with no fear today whatsoever. Novak in his head? I definitely didn’t see it today. And he served extremely well. Only one break point faced (although honestly I think this was more due to Djokovic’s poor returning).

I agree with Sean, I don’t think this loss will linger for Djokovic. I still feel like if the match is kept close, Djokovic will most likely come out on top. But there was none of that today. Nadal didn’t give Djokovic any big openings today.

One last note, I haven’t watched Monte Carlo in apparently a few years now, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such consistent and ridiculous windy conditions anywhere. It always looked like both guys were in the middle of a clay whirlwind. And not just today, but in the other matches, too. When Nadal played Wawrinka, and Djokovic played Berdych. I think that’s definitely a factor in why Nadal has had so much unrivaled success here, he handles windy conditions better than just about anyone.

Anyways, congrats to Nadal. Borg’s got nothing on him.


skeezerweezer Says:

^Yeah Nadal wins with tough weather conditions, didn’t complain. HE sure the hell complained about weather conditions when he lost to Fed at IW…hehe.

Anyways, glad Rafa is back on the map, his fans need him.


Noogie Says:

Right Skeezer. Ditto. These Rafa fans are as skizophrenic as their idol. The only reason his backhand fired was because clay allows him time to play his shots. Put him on a WTF court and the excuses start all over


jane Says:

Congrats again to Rafa and fans; that was some “HELLO!” performance. :) He stamped his ground firmly.

Re Nole’s 2011-2012 form, two things: his serve has not been as consistent as early last year and he is hitting more errors. To me, he has in fact hit last year’s form on a couple of occasions for sets here and there (at the AO and Miami, even the middle set versus Isner at IW), but the problem is that he hasn’t maintained that form with any consistency. Is that a sign of tiredness? Or a mental/focus issue? I am not sure. He still has a slam and a masters, so I am not fretting too much. But he also has loads and loads of points to defend. That’s why these 600 points here were good to pick up as a wee buffer. Plus, he has seen Rafa’s serve and form on clay close to Roland Garros’s clay – he can talk to his coach about the match, look at video etc. It may or may not help. I think Nole is playing Serbia; I wasn’t sure if he was, but it looks like he is.

Nadal looked unstoppable to me this week. Blue clay is a bit of a mystery in terms of the sweep, though. Also I assume the FO will use those same fast balls this year?


Humble Rafa Says:

Glad to do it for you, Dear Rafa Nation. Did it in style, no crazy excuses (I was winning, so they were not necessary).

Enjoy the good time. It’s been a while.


alison hodge Says:

Jane great post,strange you had more faith in Rafa than i did ,even though Rafas my fav,and i had more faith in Nole whos your fav lol,i dont know how much bearing this will have on the rest of the clay court season though,but i think Rafas got the monkey off his back,this win was a confidence boost for him,it will be interesting to see what happens the next time that they play each other.


V Blacklabel Says:

Today was a big day for Nadal, and certainly not a tragedy for Djokovic. He wasn’t as emotionally invested as he would’ve been under normal circumstances. Here’s how I see things going for both guys going forward: http://www.blacklabeltennis.com/2012/04/life-and-crushed-brick-monte-carlo.html


jane Says:

Enjoy your fave’s win alison. I am not sure what this means going forward either, but Rafa was always reaching the finals so he was “right there”. Maybe he goes on a streak himself now?

We never truly know what’ll happen from one day to the next, in tennis and life, but one thing we can say is that the top four guys continue to reach all the big finals – AO final Rafa/Nole; Dubai final Fed/Murray; IW final Fed/Isner (a surprise but deserved); Miami final Nole/Murray; and now Monte Carlo final Rafa/Nole. Every one of the top four has been in at least 2 finals already!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa fans, enjoy this! You have to stomach a lot of negativity from the legions of Nole and Roger fans on this site (I’m a big Roger fan myself), but there is no doubt Rafa is a tremendous champion and this was a well-deserved win that was a long time coming.


alison hodge Says:

thanks jane your right time will tell.


Ajet Says:

i agree that djoker wasn’t playing his absolute best today, but looking at the way he was crushed and knowing who nadal is, it wouldn’t make any difference how well djoker plays so long as nadal plays on clay like his real self…

And I also don’t think this loss would do any damage to the psyche of djoker w.r.t. his FO prospects, this is just one loss; but a second loss to nadal before RG will definitley make a material difference to djoker’s mentality and his RG winning chances would come down drastically if he endures 2nd loss before RG against rafa nadal. nadal’s confidence will hit the roof and that wold be the end of the road for nole’s RG run…


alison hodge Says:

tennis vagabond the haters will say a couple of things,
a)Rafa wins because Nole played badly
b)Rafa looses and his careers over
either way your damned if you dont,and damned if you do,same with the Rafa haters,the Roger haters,and the Novak haters,i guess a hater will always hate,goes with the territory,thank goodness for the fair fans.


madmax Says:

Djokovic, who has been grieving the death of his grandfather on Thursday, said he felt emotionally drained.

“I definitely don’t want to take away anything from Rafa’s win. He was a better player,” Djokovic said. “But it’s a fact that I just didn’t have any emotional energy left in me.”

Djokovic’s grandfather was buried in Serbia on Saturday.

“I’ve never been caught up in this kind of emotional situation before,” Djokovic said. “I’m just happy to reach the finals, really, under the circumstances. It’s been a very difficult week for me to go through mentally.”

He has not decided what his schedule will be over the next few days.

“I obviously have to go to visit my grandfather’s grave and see, because I wasn’t there (at the) funeral,” he said. “So I’ll be there.”

Nadal had promised to be aggressive and, after Djokovic held his opening service game at love, the Spaniard was relentless.

“Fantastic, impressive. The way he’s been treating this sport is a real example of a champion,” Djokovic said, when asked about Nadal’s eight straight wins at Monte Carlo. “I only have nice things to say about him.”

Djokovic struggled to find a rhythm, making 25 unforced errors to just 11 winners. Nadal, however, timed most of his shots to perfection, and pushed Djokovic further and further back.

“I think today he played just enough to win,” Djokovic said. “I just wasn’t there. You know, I didn’t play well, play at all, you know. I just was out there trying to put the ball in the court.”


madmax Says:

I don’t think anyone should under estimate the huge loss and huge grief that novak felt before going into this match. The guy was distraught and it was obvious early on that he wasn’t in this match at all.

He won’t rest easy until he has been to Serbia. Then he will come back stronger.


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, Federer didn’t lose today. No need for the excuses.


Maso Says:

8 titles in a row at Monte Carlo, that is plain insane! Congratulations to Rafa and Rafa fans, this is an unbelievable achievement. He’s definitely still the man to beat on clay. Novak was definitely playing poorly to get such a straight whooping from Rafa, but nonetheless, there’s no doubt that Nadal’s looking in great shape for the rest of the clay season. Can’t wait for RG!


Voicemale1 Says:

What happened today isn’t a surprise when you look at how each of them played their matches this week. Considering just the objective stats – which mean no fan fanaticism intervening – it’s clear Nadal was playing much better in his matches than Djokovic was playing in his. Prior to this afternoon, Djokovic dropped his Serve 8 times in his first 4 matches, and offered 26 Break Points to his four opponents. In his match against Hasse alone he was broken 4 times. Today his Serve was even worse, with Djokovic actually failing to hold his own Serve in the entire 2nd Set; the one game he got was a break of Nadal’s Serve. Regardless of anything, your Serve is the only shot in tennis where you have 100% total control. Which makes it even more puzzling why Djokovic was all of a sudden having such difficulty holding. In Miami, there was a trend Djokovic started to exhibit when he won there that was a harbinger. In his last 3 Miami matches, he had the 2nd Set break in hand and was serving for the match at either 5-3 or 5-4 and was broken at that exact stage in all three matches. Ferrer broke him serving for it in the Quarters; Monaco the same in the Semis; and Murray in the Final. All thee required Djokovic then to gut out tie breaks, which he did. But it was strange to see him start to get a touch of the yips on the Serve trying to close each guy out earlier in the set and failing to do it. Clearly, the serve issues progressed in Monte Carlo.

Djokovic made the Final by out-returning his 4 previous foes. But credit to Nadal for armoring up his own Serve this week. He’s slicing it less and adding more topspin, which means a few more MPH’s. And he ended the match today with the Ace wide on the Deuce Court – a serve you almost never saw him hit last year. He’d been placing it pretty well all week, and varying it in the box, so he did very well taking Djokovic’s Return out of play. Without that, Djokovic had much less to bother Nadal with. It’s too easy to credit Djokovic’s poor showing being distracted by a death in the family. Conversely, Nadal had no business doing this well here. Basically was practice-less for 15 days before this event because of another knee treatment. He only started hitting 5 days before his first match. That he was able to play as well as he did all week in Monte Carlo after sitting on his couch for two weeks is remarkable. If he improves off this week for the rest of the way through the clay season, they might as well just give him the French Open Trophy now.


Sienna Says:

I feel it is obviou that Djoker is not up to the same level of play he was last year. He was lucky to duck Federer up to now. But that will end soon I feel. Nadal can still deliver on clay so he could win Garros although I feel Feds level is again closing in on Nadal as the year unfolds. I feel Fed has watched these to on the slow clay of MC and would not have been impressed by the fysical and mental state of Djoker. Not saying that he could do anything there with the death of his grandfather. but it is a tough loss and he choose to stay in the tourney. You never how these things effect a player.


Brando Says:

@Voicemale1:

Glad to see you back and excellent post as usual.

As for djokovic serve, i have noticed that also too. In this tourny though i felt that it was up and down due to his personal situation this week. He did serve well in IW against isner, but then at miami- like you mentioned- he was inconsistent on ocassions.


Brando Says:

I think nole should SKIP serbia open really. He’ll lose 250 pts, but he’s 600 in the positive after MC so i think he can afford it. He’s had good court time at MC anyway.

Rafa should DEFINATELY skip madrid and he did mention in one of is interviews in this tourny that had it not been the major tourny in spain he would skip it since it doesn’t help him at all.

I think he genuinely dislikes playing there more than ANY other outdoor tourny- the blue clay won’t exactly help his mood either.

He’ll lose 600 points if he skips it though, and federer is close to him in the rankings, so that may just mean he plays there this year.


Kimberly Says:

Really tough for Novak to skip serbia open, its his home country tournament and probably really important to local fans to have the opportunity to see him play live. Tough decision, when the right thing to do for yourself is withdraw but you so many people from your country would be heartbroken to miss.


carlo Says:

You are having a great day, Kimberly! Has to be mentioned that you won the tennis-x bracket challenge too :) well done picking Berdych. Congrats.


Brando Says:

@kimberly: AGREE. I think both rafa and nole will play their stated, original schedule’s. This where I think federer TRUMPS BOTH- he knows better than anyone how to take care of número uno. Rarely do you see a misstep fom him that could have been avoided.


carlo Says:

Meant Berdych over Murray and Nadal winning. Getting those semi-finalists matters. it’s all just fun.


Wog boy Says:

madmax,

Nice words, thanks.

As for Serbia Open, Kimberly is right either way it is hard to decide. Maybe, mentally and emotionally it would be good to play infront of the people that adore you, that can bust his confidence, I don’t know, just guessing?


Wog boy Says:

It didn’t come out way I wanted, not a first time. What I meant, it is family atmosphere, he is at home , can relax and enjoy few extra days with people that he really needs now.
Does it sound better now…… ?


Brando Says:

@ wog boy: it sounded good the first time. You make a REALLY good point. The ONLY reason I would say he shouldn’t is because he plays 3 weeks in a row, 1 week rest, then FO. Might be a bit too much IMHO.


jane Says:

Brando, I agree that Fed schedules well, but it’s worth noting how much he played between the AO and US hard court masters this year, when compared to Nole and Rafa: Fed played DC, Rotterdam and Dubai; Rafa played nothing; Nole played only Dubai. Fed also fit an exo in NYC in there. Thus it made sense that he rest during Monte Carlo as he had little there to defend. So I don’t know: I think it all balances out and that the top four are all trying to maximize their playing capabilities without burning out, while also meeting the tour mandates. It’s not an easy think to juggle methinks.


Brando Says:

@Jane:

Yep, i also noticed that with fed. I guess it’s fed’s playing style compared to rafa/nole/andy- these guys share more similarities in terms of style as opposed to differences for me- that it makes him seem ‘fresh’ moreso than those guys.

It will be interesting to see andy m at barca though. For me he needs to make SF AT LEAST in order to show he can be a force at madrid/ rome/ FO.


mat4 Says:

Hi, everybody!

First, congrats to Alison and all the Rafa fans. Your fav fought courageously today and was rewarded by a sweet win.

Then… I am tempted to make a few jokes…


jane Says:

mat4, hi – I was worried you’d go into hibernation. :)

Brando – yep, looking forward to seeing how Muzza does at Barcelona.


mat4 Says:

… but I wont. Too dry.

BTW, Bodo wrote an article on Rafa, Tignor on Nole. Some consolation: we got the better writer.

I am glad that Rafa finally won. I like him most of the time (not always, though, especially on sundays), and I felt that the match-up against Nole, in the last three years, was almost—how should I put it—unfair. He showed so much courage, so much determination, that he didn’t deserve to lose so much. But, on an another side, who does?

Not to mention that I am glad to see that Jamie WAS WRONG.


mat4 Says:

No, jane. I had to work, and I just finished half an hour ago. But I watched most of the match today. Strange: I wasn’t disappointed. I can’t understand how Roger’s or Rafa’s fan can ever be disappointed: their favs won so many titles, gave them so many good moments… it is the story of the glass half full or half empty, is it? Since Nole wins so much, I don’t care when he loses.

But if he loses at the FO, I will go in hibernation, for at least a month.


jane Says:

mat4, glad to hear you are so balanced and realistic. Must be the grammar. ;) You’re so right though. Imagine in 2009 or 2010 if Nole had the results he’s had this year in 2012 we’d've been thrilled! It’s easy to get spoiled by winning. I read Bodo and Tignor. Yep, definitely, Steve takes the cake, every time. Although I liked Bodo’s title. The pun worked well.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Come on… what is there to see about Muzza? You know the proverb that gods don’t give all the gifts to the same man? They didn’t give him courage, determination, self respect, generosity: courage to fight, determination to win in the clutch, self respect to realise that he, and he alone — not his coach, his mother, or anybody else — is to blame, generosity toward his opponents after a close match he lost (yes, he is trained to give credits, but after that, he almost always mention what he really thinks: that he should have won, and the presupposition is that he was the better player — but you’re never the better player when you lose).

I am glad — it is nasty, I know, I should be ashamed, but I am not — that he yelled at Lendl recently.


Dan Martin Says:

http://tennisabides.com/2012/04/16/power-ranking-for-the-week-of-april-15-april-21/ My Power Ranking for 2012 through this week – it also includes a nice montage video of Nadal’s first 7 Monte Carlo titles


jane Says:

mat4, I still believe Murray is going to break through and win a slam. I just do. Maybe if he still doesn’t after this year, I will begin to doubt. Especially because Nole and Murray turn 25 in May (Rafa turns 26!), and I see 25-26 years as kind of the peak, generally speaking, so time is of the essence. As for the coach, I don’t dislike ITT to the degree you do, although I am curious about his desire to hit people with the balls with some regularity. It’s rather odd.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

No, I am not balanced and realistic (just see my post about Muzza and Lendl): I am just plain old.

Just remembered how I waited for hours just to see Connors one more time, in the late eighties, and I didn’t care if he was going to lose or win, because he gave already so much.

I am not disappointed by Nole’s results since 2011 (of course) … no, sorry, joking, since the USO 2010, when he beat Raja. He just changed that day. It wasn’t the DC final, it was that match. After that, win or lose, he fought, he always tried to give his best, and that’s what I expect of a player.

Rafa, today, was simply better. But I am convinced that Nole fought the best he could under the circumstances. For me, it’s enough. Defeat is the rule in life, victory is an accident.


mat4 Says:

jane,

it is not about winning a slam any more. I don’t care if Andy never wins a slam. I just want to see him play and act like a man. I just want to see him give his best shot like he did at the AO, whatever the result, and if he loses, I would like to hear him give sincerely the credit they deserve.


Brando Says:

I have to agree with most of what mat4 says re murray.

I have to ask this- can murray REALLY be paired with the top 3? i mean genuinely?

It always USED TO BE top 2 (roger, rafa) then nole turned it into the top 3.

Nole has the credentials, achievements, standing in the game to warrant that. BIG TIME.

BUT what has andy done in order to tag himself with those guys?

IMHO i think its UNFAIR and somewhat over the top to group him with those guys.

I think in SLAMS and in ANY CLAY tourny UNTIL he wins something he CANNOT be lumped with those guys.

Best of 3, indoor/outdoor hard courts- HE IS as big a threat as those guys- most of the time.

BUT apart from that those guys are in s DIFFERENT LEAGUE TO ANDY!


jane Says:

I understand your points: but Nole and Andy were ranked 3rd and 4th behind Rafa and Fed for a long while – Nole since 2007 and Muzza since 2008. Nole in fact held #3 longest ever of any player trying to break the Fedal duopoly, and he climbed a mountain to do it! To reach number 1, which he has held now for what, 10 months or something. Murray has now been at or around #4 for basically 4 years. No one has climbed over him, and he pretty consistently reaches the late stages of Masters and slams. That’s why he is grouped with them, plus the fact that he’s won a number of Masters. Who else has? Not Tsonga, not Delpo, not Berdych. Murray has several. He just hasn’t been able to win a slam, but he’s been in 3 finals, again, more than Tsonga or Berdych, even more than Delpo, although Delpo won his! So Murray’s been a case of “so close yet so far” for a while now, and so while he is maybe on the periphery because he’s not won a slam yet, he is the closest to Fedalovic of any other player. As for acting like a man, he does need that added mental push I think, just to settle down, focus and decide to play for everything, come what may. Not to overthink it. If he could get there, it would make all the difference. Personally I have thought a sports psychologist might be more useful than a different coach, w.r.t. to Muzza. Because all of his coaches can offer strategy etc, but Andy needs to step on, step up and believe.


Michael Says:

Ben,

If Nadal handles windy conditions so well, then why did he lose to Roger at the Indian Wells where he blamed the wind and chilly weather for his defeat ??????


Dave Says:

Roger Federer Fan Says: “I hope my fellow fed fans (led by Dave and Skeezer) will come to this thread to list down the excuses for Nole’s loss today.” Hmmm, what do you call an RF hater who calls himself RF Fan?

Lol, Djokovic really doesn’t care that he was ‘destroyed’ by Nadal.

Novak got most of what he played Monte Carlo for in the first place — the 600 ranking points he got as finalist will help him cut into Federer’s points lead over him since the 2011 US Open.

Under the circumstances, Djokovic was happy to leave Monte Carlo quickly and without exhaustion or injury.

Besides, Djokovic knows that — as a great, natural claycourter — Nadal naturally adapts faster to clay than any other player, so the gap between Nadal and the other top players is usually greatest at Monte Carlo (hence his dominance of this non-mandatory Masters tourney). Djokovic’s form on clay will likely improve by Madrid or Rome.

In any case, Monte Carlo is only a non-mandatory (less significant) Masters… if Nadal wants to have 10 of such titles, Novak wouldn’t mind and nor would the idle Federer.

Bottom line, this match wasn’t meaningful to Djokovic, who knows he did not put a 100% into it. Beating Djokovic today was no great feat — any Big Four player and maybe even Ferrer would have been able to take advantage of Djokovic who was mentally-distracted from the death of his grandfather. Novak wasn’t in a positive frame of mind to battle Nadal into a third set (as indicated by Djokovic’s unusual number of unforced errors).

Djokovic still has the mental edge over Nadal. Since 2009 Cincinnati — over 30 months ago — Djokovic still has a 10-3 winning record over Nadal in his prime. Since Djokovic won his first slam at the 2008 Australian Open, Djokovic has had a winning record over Nadal in his prime.

And once the mirage of beating Djokovic dissipates, reality will sink into Nadal as he will eventually realize that this match was about as meaningful as beating a less-than-100% Djokovic in an exhibition match… even though Nadal celebrated as if he won his first Grand Slam title.

Nadal’s seven straight losses to his age/generational rival (all in more significant finals than the non-mandatory Monte Carlo at that) … as well as Nadal’s inability to win a single title in ten months outside clay since the French Open (for the third time in his prime: 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2011-2012)… as well as a record three straight Slam final losses (between 2011 Wimbledon to 2012 Australian Open)… are permanently seared into both the historical tennis record as well as into Nadal’s psyche.

If Nadal wants to exorcise those demons, he needs to beat Djokovic in Madrid, Rome or FO.


Michael Says:

Honestly, I never expected Novak to play so badly. I was tipping Nadal to win based on his form, but I thought the only one player who could give him sleepless nights was Novak. Unfortunate that he had a bad day and what looked like it will be a close match ended on a low note. It was not entertaining for the crowd as there was not even a semblance of fight which we normally see from Novak. Novak just played to lose the match was my observation watching his listless movements on court. His serves deserted him and his cross court shots were off the mark. Another weapon in his armoury the drop shots were easy put aways for Nadal. On the whole, nothing was working for Novak while for Nadal everything was working and it is no surprise we have this one sided result. I only hope the next battle between them will be more tighter.


Michael Says:

Dave,

Djokovic really doesn’t care that he was ‘destroyed’ by Nadal.

On the contrary, he should care. This is a big psychological boost for Rafa and this easy win has given him a new lease of life. I do not think this would be the case if the match had been close.

Sure I agree when you say the tournaments at Madrid, Rome will decide who has the momentum in the most important major – Rolland Garros. But if Nadal manages to win Barcelona too, then his confidence level would have stretched to new highs. It will then be a tall order for Novak to turn things around in Madrid and Rome.

Sure, Novak gained 600 points, but would’nt he have fancied for 1,000 points ? Everyone wants more as there is no limit for human’s desire.


Dave Says:

Michael Says: “Ben, If Nadal handles windy conditions so well, then why did he lose to Roger at the Indian Wells where he blamed the wind and chilly weather for his defeat ??????”

Good point.

Furthermore, Indian Wells is, by far, Nadal’s best hardcourt tourney in his career (see link). In addition, *if* Stakhovsky is to be believed, Indian Wells made the courts even slower and higher bouncing than previous years… probably to help Larry’s pal (Stakhovsky: “This year, the fastest courts were in Dubai. We came to Indian Wells with the hope that the courts will be at least the same as last year. But they laid a new surface, and they became super-slow with high bounce.”).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Nadal_career_statistics#Singles_Performance_timeline

Regardless, it’s one thing for Nadal to have the confidence to play well and exploit the situation against Djokovic (a) knowing Novak has not been playing 100% since hearing of his grandfather’s death and (b) knowing he (Nadal’s) has the quicker natural ability to adapt to and move on clay than Djokovic or any other player. However, it’s quite another thing to for Nadal to play well against Djokovic when he is close to playing 100%, given Djokovic’s consistent dominance over Nadal. Let’s not forget that Djokovic beat Nadal in straight sets in both Madrid and Rome last year (no tiebreaks), even though Nadal rules the clay.

As well, let’s not pretend there is any therapy in the world that can completely regenerate knee tissue in two weeks. If it ‘healed’ this fast, then it is likely the original injury was not that serious in the first place.


Dave Says:

Michael Says: ‘ “Dave: Djokovic really doesn’t care that he was ‘destroyed’ by Nadal.” On the contrary, he should care. This is a big psychological boost for Rafa and this easy win has given him a new lease of life. I do not think this would be the case if the match had been close.’

We’ll know by French Open if there was any real or lasting psychological boost. Many people tend to be suckered by Nadal’s celebrations, but Djokovic is not going to be fooled. Novak knows that Nadal would have gained much more confidence from winning a tight match where Djokovic played his very best… than from winning a match where Djokovic played poorly. Nadal is probably wondering whether Djokovic caved so easily because he deliberately tanked the match. The message I got from Djokovic is “here Rafa, you can have this one match”. Hmmm, come to think about it, that’s what Nadal told Novak at the prize ceremony. That can’t have given Nadal much lasting confidence.


Aravind Says:

Anybody who has seen all the last seven Djodal matches has to surely concede that Djoker was not mentally upto it today. He hardly displayed patience in the rallies and tried to hit Nadal off the court. It is neither his game, or the best game or clay or the game that had Nadal troubled all these preceding losses. It is almost like Djokovic was saying, ok, I am not playing my best, you can have this one. Plus he was really troubled by the wind, which was worse since he was trying to hit Nadal off court.

Nadal was playing really well and should receive a massive boost of confidence from this match. He is not a player that you want to give confidence. Throughout the week, I kept thinking that Djokovic had nothing to lose this tournament, except if he loses badly and then guess what happened.

If not anything, this sets up the rest of the clay season very well. I think Djokovic will not have any mental scars, he has after all won the last 7 matches on three different surfaces and he will live to fight another day..
Nadal in this form can really sweep the clay season, IF Djokovic does not raise his game. I think nobody can trouble Nadal on clay when he is playing like this.


King Federer Says:

nadal – most weeks @ no.2

nole – most weeks @ no.3

i guess their legacies are etched as the no.2 and no.3 of this era.

now where are the new balls, please? LOL!


Michael Says:

Dave,

That Indian Wells win by Roger against Rafa was the best he played against his nemesis for quite sometime. No one should have been surprised of Roger’s demolition of Nadal at the World Series, but every one was shocked by the magnitude of defeat that Roger inflicted on Nadal at his least favourite Court surface. That win by Roger should have given him tremendous confidence going ahead.

Regarding Novak’s goof up against Rafa and its implications, you have quite a different way of looking at things and may be you have a point there. But I hope this massive defeat propels Novak to display his best in the season ahead. Yes, in the interest of the sport, we need a stronger Novak to stand up to the situation. Knowing Novak, I am sure he will honour my hope.


jane Says:

Sampras, most weeks at number 1. ;) Sorry, couldn’t resist, lol.


skeezeweezer Says:

Dave,

Don’t pay attention to RFF, a fake, a fraud, and tryin to be original. He’s not, and your wasting your posts. Humble Rafa owns that spot, and RFF is just a wannabe copy cat. Too bad he is second rate and can’t compete.

Lets not discount regardless that Rafa won a title today, and deserves kudos for the win.


King Federer Says:

nole is 24 weeks off @ no.3 to clinch the longest no.3 title from Edberg.

murray has 8 weeks to clinch the longest no.4 from Becker.

fed has 2 weeks at no.1 to clinch the longest no.1 from sampras. nadal has no.2 nailed by a huge margin against becker


King Federer Says:

LOL, jane @ 2:08

fed shouldn’t have skipped monaco in 2010. or played estoril :D

i guess fed was thinking like a champ and not like me and might have thought he would atleast make semis @ RG, until soda struck. oh well, atleast fed has 237 consecutive weeks as no.1 (this includes the ladies too, so it is a spectacular achievement. next is graf with 180)


jane Says:

Oh I didn’t realize Nole didn’t have longest weeks at number 3 – maybe it’s consecutive that he has? Thought I’d read it somewhere. Yeah, here it is a Wiki, sorry if formatting is whacked but too tired to bother fixing it. :

Time span Other selected records Players matched
2011 Winner of the hard court treble (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami) Pete Sampras
Roger Federer
2011 Player to qualify earliest for the ATP World Tour Finals – 18 weeks, 6 days Stands alone
2011 5 Masters 1000 titles in 1 season Stands alone
2011 3 consecutive Masters 1000 titles Rafael Nadal
2011 31 consecutive Masters 1000 match victories Stands alone
2011 6 Masters 1000 finals in 1 season Roger Federer
2009 Longest best-of-three sets men’s singles match ever played (4 hours, 3 minutes)[109] Rafael Nadal
2007 Youngest player to defeat the top 3 players in succession Stands alone
2007 Youngest Miami Masters male champion (19 years, 316 days old) Stands alone
2007, 2012 Won 2 Miami Masters titles without losing a set Stands alone
2007–2009 91 consecutive weeks at World number 3 Stands alone
2011 5 match winning streak in finals vs. a current World No. 1 in any season (Rafael Nadal)[Note 1] Stands alone
2011 Most prize money in one season ($12,619,803) Stands alone
2007–2010 4 years ended at World number 3 Jimmy Connors


Alex Says:

Djokovic, will be very tough to stop at the French Open. I’m really hoping that he and Nadal both make the finals. It might be the first five set final we’ve seen at the French in a long time. And the quality of their tennis would be insane.


Seth Says:

Since Novak was clearly out of sorts, for obvious emotional reasons, I don’t reckon Nadal’s victory means a whole lot, in the grand scheme of things.

Shame though. I was looking forward to seeing Nadal never beat Novak again and ultimately end his career in an unbroken string of futility against the Serb. Ah well, one can dream.


Alex Says:

@Seth, I agree that Novak was clearly not at his best. But it looked like Nadal was doing more with his forehand than usual. I saw him running around the backhand to hit the inside out forehand.


Sienna Says:

skeezeweezer Says:
Dave,

Don’t pay attention to RFF, a fake, a fraud, and tryin to be original. He’s not, and your wasting your posts. Humble Rafa owns that spot, and RFF is just a wannabe copy cat. Too bad he is second rate and can’t compete.

Lets not discount regardless that Rafa won a title today, and deserves kudos for the win.

Yes true. I think they are posting on tennistalk.com.
They lash at every decent postint Fedfan there. So they try to upset this site as well.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

re Andy: you got my point. For me, he doesn’t have to win. Sometimes, somebody else is simply just better. But he owes himself a shot at manhood.

re psychological meaning of that victory for Nadal and Djokovic: I think that there are too much talks about that. Those guys are so tough. Rafa blinked once (at Wimbledon), but the breakers he won against Novak after that showed that it is not a question of self-belief, but of match-up. Novak is just a bad match-up for him, the way he is a bad match-up for Roger. He has to find answers in his tennis, not in his mind, just like Roger had to improve, or Novak had to improve.


mat4 Says:

@skeezer:

I have noticed that recently there are a lot of very indecent posters, to say. This place has been a place for friendly chat about tennis for such a long time, but now it is evolving in something I don’t like.

There have been posters asking for you email address. What’s the trick there?


Jeanius Says:

LOL King Fed. These guys are really a bunch of clowns with their fight for the all time nr 2 and 3 positions


alison hodge Says:

mat4 @ 9.14pm april 22nd,thanks for those nice kind words,dont get me wrong though,im not doing any cartwheels,im just glad Rafa got a win over his rival,and the monkey is off his back,and hopefully this win will give him a confidence boost from now on when facing Nole,although time will tell i suppose.


Kimberly Says:

Jane, sorry about last night, I fell asleep in OT and didn’t realize they had lost. Don’t put too much energy rooting for the panthers, I promise you you will be disappointed if you do hahahha. Root for the heat!


Kimberly Says:

although I played great yesterday believe it or not the same thing that happened to Isner happened to me. Tracking a lob that was going out and got hit on the shoulder and lost the point. How embarassing. My excuse is it was windy!


jamie Says:

@mat4

Bare in mind that the slam predictions are the only ones the psychic makes.

The other tournaments like masters series, it’s my own predictions, not the psychic.

So the only ones that will be the most accurate will the slam predictions.


jamie Says:

So the only ones that will be the most accurate will be the slam predictions.


jamie Says:

Masters Series predictions could be right or not since I’m not that great at predicting.


sylvia Says:

Not a great Nole fan but the word “crushed” against somebody who was already crumpled seems a wee bit hyperbolic.


trufan Says:

Nadal’s knees sure are magical. Fully healed, so that he can play two optional event just before the craziest summer in tennis ever!

As for Murray, always a bridesmaid… actually, not even that, on clay – he has yet to reach a clay final.

Unless someone else fires it up (DelPo, Isner??), the French Open is largely on the racquets of Nadal, Djoke, and Fed, in that order.

As for Nadal, be sure to hear about the knees the MOMENT he loses. Or the WIND. Or something else…. Of course, only when he loses…. which is actually pretty often outside of his two months of glory on clay.


Sienna Says:

The Nadal fans and Nadal himself are cheering a bit to muchfor my liking. Nole was simply somewhere else a win is a win but he should use a little restrain if possible. Because he is what he is.


Rafalicious Says:

WTF are you talking about Sienna? Restraint? I thought Rafa was extremely restrained in his celebration under the circumstances, but don’t let your delusion get in the way.

BTW, this win is a huge boost in confidence for Rafa. The clay season will be interesting.


jamie Says:

I think Federer will win Madrid and Djokovic will win Rome and Serbian Open. Nadal will win Barcelona.


Rafalicious Says:

Look at Jamie, the Cleo of tennis-x. Call me now!


jamie Says:

LOL.

I think Nadal can only win on clay these days at his historically *best of 3* clay tournaments which are Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

The psychic told me she sees Nadal winning Roland Garros this year, we will see if she is right.

Madrid and Rome, Nadal has always been very vulnerable.


jamie Says:

If I were to bet and based on the psychic’s predictions:

FO Nadal
Wimbledon Federer
USO Djokovic


Mark Says:

Not surprised Fed didn’t play in Monte Carlo. Rafa routed him 3 consecutive years 2006, 2007 and 2008. Very wise Fed.


dari Says:

I think it has less to do with those beatings, mark than it does the fact that he is 30.5 years old and just played a ton of tennis between AO and miami and has two slams and olympics upcoming.

Don’t you think he would have pulled out in 2009, what with those beatings and his recent WEDDING?


Ajet Says:

”Sampras, most weeks at number 1. ;) Sorry, couldn’t resist, lol.”

but then again, nole’s just the best #3 of federer era and not even the besr no.3 of all time, fed at least is the second greatest #1 of all time! ;)


Kimberly Says:

Sienna–the house rafa fans are me allison and Brando and I haven’t really seen any overcelebrating on this site nor any from nadal. Maybe you get a silly comment from “rick” or “queen” but I think the tennisx rafafans are generally very restrained. How else could we peacefully exist on this site?


Ajet Says:

”Mark Says:
Not surprised Fed didn’t play in Monte Carlo. Rafa routed him 3 consecutive years 2006, 2007 and 2008. Very wise Fed.”

wise indeed, but for different reasons than stated above. fed couldn’t be more hurt in losing rafa to monte carlo than MS/GS, hehe. and dear, rafa won 8th consecutive monte carlo only, not FOs, lol. nice to see you so excited though. ;)


Ajet Says:

by saying second greatest #1 of all time in my previous post i meant that fed’s the one with the second highest no. of weeks at #1 of all time, otherwise we all know who’s THE #1 of all time! ;)


trufan Says:

Nadal certainly is not even close to being the No. 1 of all time. He needs to bolster his non clay resume to get there. More wins on clay will just push him ahead of Borg as the best clay courter ever (he may already be there, but I will wait till he gets his 7th FO).

With all the new players coming up, and Nadal crossing his 26th birthday – time is now running out for him too…..


madmax Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
Madmax, Federer didn’t lose today. No need for the excuses.

April 22nd, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I don’t make excuses Ben and I never have. I gave rafa the congrats, but sorry. This wasn’t a match for me and it was obvious that Novak was not in the match. Take that as you want, and if I miss Federer playing then that shouldn’t affect you in the slightest. You cahnge the with wind. Always have. You’re great when people agree with you and get on your high horse when people don’t.

I didn’t enjoy the match. My opinion.

I think NOvak did extremely well to even reach the final. I get fed up hearing about rafa’s injuries like a lot of people here, even you. But he is the king of clay. That’s not in dispute. Just a boring match.


Ben Pronin Says:

I thought it was a boring match, too. Err, I mean I didn’t enjoy it. But I don’t think it’s fair to JUST mention Djokovic’s problems. Nadal played a phenomenal match.


Dave Says:

jane Says: “Sampras, most weeks at number 1. ;) Sorry, couldn’t resist, lol.”

Sampras got his 286 weeks — just one extra week (over Federer) — in 10 or 11 separate periods as consecutive weeks No. 1. In other words, Sampras lost his number one ranking 10 or 11 times, including during his prime like Nadal has done.

Based on Sampras’s example, Federer has won and lost his No.1 ranking in only 2 periods of consecutive weeks No. 1… so Roger can be expected to win 8 or 9 more future periods at consecutive weeks No. 1, lol


jane Says:

Yes, well. You never know Dave.. Similarly Nole’s weeks at number 3 may not be the most in totality, but they are the most consecutively, like Fed’s weeks at number 1 are the most in that regard. Contrary to others, I don’t see Nole’s achievement as negative but rather as a measure of his consistency and tenacity to first get there at 20 years old, and stay there behind Fed and Rafa for years, and keep fighting to break through. Which Nole finally did (as Rafa did before him). So I am only proud of him for his efforts, full of admiration at what he has achieved already in his career.


alison hodge Says:

kimberly great post,it will never be good enough for some though,Rafa wins and he and his fellow fans are accused of over celebrating,or he only won because Nole played a poor game,or he looses and his careers over,either way damned if you do,and damned if you dont,thank god for fair fans like ajet, jane,mat4,wogboy,skeezer etc.


alison hodge Says:

completely agree jane after all i think for Rafa,Nole and Andy for that matter,to have only 1,2,3,players on the tour higher than what they are,is a measure of how concistent,each of them are,and certainly no disgrace,to have Roger whos the best player ever at the top of the rankings,im sure many players on tour would kill for that honour.


Dave Says:

jane: two things: One, there is no shame in being No. 2 or No. 3 for so long, because it is proof of incredible consistency. The vast majority of greats in tennis history were inconsistent or short-lived.

Two, I’m not sure anyone really knows whether Sampras or Fed truly have the most weeks at No. 1 in entire tennis history because some of the past greats (before ATP’s ranking system was introduced in the 1970s) achieved 6 to 9 years as No. 1 and co-No. 1 based on subjective rankings of experts and media, which unfortunately is very different from a point-based system such as used by the ATP. As well the competitive structure changed somewhat throughout history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World-number-one_male_tennis-player_rankings#Male_tennis_players_World_Number_One_or_Co-Number_One_since_1877

Unfortunately, that affects the No. 2 and 3 rankings as well.

Regardless, in the modern era no three players have been No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 as long as Fed, Rafa and Novak. Indeed, no four players when you include Murray as well.

So the four of them deserve to win the Emmy for most outstanding performance by an ensemble cast.


Ajet Says:

hmm, to see rafa firing with his service, BH and FH on clay was super-exciting to me! must be a very very boring match for those who’re non/anti rafans though, but i bet each and every rafan enjoyed this demolition of djoker by rafa. ;)

imo once in a while, we must get these kinds of lopsided matches where one guy plays so good that he just destroys the other guy, both being great players! that was certainly the case in the monte-carlo final.

and it’s ridiculous how those who jump up at each and every quote of rafa to criticise him are so strangely silent when djokovic states things like ”he wasn’t in the match”(considering the circumstances of nole, it’s a fact though that he couldn’t be assumed to have been able to give his best after going through the kind of emotional turmoil that he has to go through after his grandpa’s death)! but man, i can’t imagine what’d have happened if it was rafa who said about a similarly legit problem of his! rafa’d be straightforward told ”if you play, then you’re ok’ or he woulda been blasted left, right and centre for giving an excuse, hehehe.


Ajet Says:

”trufan Says:
Nadal certainly is not even close to being the No. 1 of all time.”

we all know it, so pointless in bringing rafa into conversation in ths regard when the real culprit for being the greatest is a swiss guy. ;)


Ajet Says:

”Two, I’m not sure … history.”

you’re so true dave, i mean it’s really ridiculous record of some past players, the guys were no.1 for 6/7/8 years at a stretch!!! insane!


alison hodge Says:

Ajet great post,nothing more to say,but thanks for fighting Rafas corner giving credit where its due,very fair post as always.


alison hodge Says:

Trufan sensible Rafa fans know hes not even close to been the number 1 player of all times,as Ajet says why even bring it up,strange how some posters like to look for an argument that does not even exsist,why cant some people accept our acceptance?


Ajet Says:

completely agree with your April 23rd, 2012 at 3:57 pm post alison, very well said!


jane Says:

Dave, wow I didn’t know how long some were number 1 before, but that is crazy!

I like your metaphor here, it’s great: “So the four of them deserve to win the Emmy for most outstanding performance by an ensemble cast.” :)


sar Says:

Congrats to Rafa fans!
As a Nole fan I didn’t think Nadal celebrated much at all. Hopefully, Nole can spend some time in Belgrade and play for his fans.


Dave Says:

Ajet Says: ‘ ”Two, I’m not sure … history.” you’re so true dave, i mean it’s really ridiculous record of some past players, the guys were no.1 for 6/7/8 years at a stretch!!! insane! ‘

Except those rankings were subjective ‘year-end’ rankings, made by some players, other experts and the media based on their personal subjective assessment of each player’s results based on each person’s subjective measures. So when we see Pancho Gonzales getting 8 years as No. 1 (two of those years were as co-No. 1, which would not happen today because it’s unlikely the top two would be in a dead heat based on points), it’s very possible that Gonzales achieved way more than 286 weeks as No. 1 and more than 6 years as year-end No. 1… But it’s also possible that had the ATP system been applied in those days, he would at most have been No. 1 for only 4 or 5 years, maybe 200 weeks as an example. And it’s not simple as counting the 200 tournaments that Laver won or however many that Gonzales won because many of those tournaments had only 2, 3 or 4 rounds in those days (e.g., pro slams had 3 or 4 rounds) and so were much easier to win than today’s events. Even many of Connors tournament wins were similar.

We just don’t know. But out of respect for the history of the game and the past greats we should consider that possibility.

On the other hand, sometimes past greats are overblown… as when tennis historian Joel Drucker claimed that he would want this or that player to play for his life. But when you look at their actual record carefully, it makes no sense. E.g., the first name Drucker cited was Lew Hoad — whose play is admired by everyone from Kramer to Gonzales to Laver — yet Hoad failed to win a single professional slam while his ‘twin’ in age Ken Rosewall set the record winning 15 pro slams, even beating Hoad and Gonzales along the way (when you look at the tournament records). So it is difficult to assess the past greats because of the subjective measures, and even the so called tennis historians can’t always be trusted to tell us what’s right.


Dave Says:

jane Says: “Dave, wow I didn’t know how long some were number 1 before, but that is crazy! I like your metaphor here, it’s great: “So the four of them deserve to win the Emmy for most outstanding performance by an ensemble cast.” :)”

Please see what I posted to Ajet. But what’s sad is that the sport of Tennis has all these incredible features like an unparalleled ensemble cast in major sports (6 of the past 8 Laureus Sportsman of the Year awards, etc.) relative to other sports, yet is so poorly marketed to sports fans. It’s annoying to see Golf still do so well (ok, men’s golf) with the golf media generating interest from a fictional Tiger-McIlroy rivalry even though it doesn’t exist and Tiger hasn’t won a major since mid 2008.


King Federer Says:

let us stick to consecutive weeks then, jane :

roger – 237 @ n0.1

rafa – 160 @ no.2

nole – 91 @ no.3

all, all time records, since rankings were introduced. murray is quite off the no.4 record to wilander, though!


King Federer Says:

that piece of statistic just has a nice ring to it ;)


Ajet Says:

”King Federer Says:
that piece of statistic just has a nice ring to it ;)”

you’re right, hehe. ;)


Ben Pronin Says:

Ajet, I really didn’t mind seeing Nadal play so well. I said it before, it was really nice to see. It was just frustrating seeing Djokovic make so many easy errors. It just meant the match lacked excitement.

I was glad to see Djokovic pummel Murray in the first set of their Miami encounter but that was one of the most painful sets of tennis I’ve ever seen from two top guys.

For the most part, the only player I enjoy seeing dominate his opponents is Federer. Usually because when he dominates, you don’t even get a chance to see his opponent hit easy errors since Federer just hits a flurry of winners. But of course that can’t be expected on clay, even from Nadal. But the winners he did hit were unbelievable. I really think the one backhand down-the-line winner he hit in his first service game in the first set was the defining point of the match. Not only was it a winner, but it was off of what would’ve normally been a Djokovic backhand down-the-line winner in almost any other situation. There was definitely nothing boring about that.


Danica Says:

Sorry guys, don’t have time now to read all this. I just came to congratulate Rafa’s fans on this victory.
It was obvious Nole was out of sorts totally which resulted in such a one dimensional and forgettable match. It was not worthy of a final. Rafa delivered and he delivered with force. Congrats one more time.


jane Says:

Fed’s number 1 must’ve began in 2004, when he took it from Roddick, who I think held it for only a few months (USO-AO), but when did Rafa’s number 2 begin – was it 2005? I know Nole reached number 3 at the Toronto masters tourney in 2007, which I recall because he beat Roddick, Rafa and then Fed for the title and to take over number 3 – the youngest guy to beat 3,2,1 in succession, and first to do it since Becker in ’92. That was an exciting moment as I’d started following Nole closely from IW that year so to see him break in like that was a thrill. I guess we all have those defining moments in watching our faves.

Dave, it is difficult for me to comprehend the interest in golf. There is so little drama and athleticism compared to tennis in my opinion. It is sad it isn’t marketed more effectively.


jane Says:

It would be nice is Nole can one day have held the number one for 1.5 – 2 years total. He’s up to 44 weeks now, which tops some great players already. If he could achieve 80 or even 100 weeks, that would be awesome.


Ajet Says:

”Fed’s number 1 must’ve began in 2004, when he took it from Roddick, who I think held it for only a few months (USO-AO),”

so??? is it less creditable??? is it less worthy just because many of his peers could’ve held the no.1 if fed hadn’t stepped in and ”actually established himself from being just a top ten player on tour to a dominating no.1???

hmm, people forget that fed actually wasn’t guaranteed anything with players of the caliber of roddick, hewitt, safin and agassi etc. still playing then, HE HAD TO EARN IT: his #1 slot; just is another matter that fed was good enough to make it look extremely easy!


jane Says:

Hmm, maybe that came out wrong; I was just thinking / writing aloud trying to establish context, i.e., when each guy reached number one – half way through the post I checked Wiki, which of course has its own link for ATP number 1 players. I watched and cheered some of those guys, so I am aware they are/were very good players. Safin was a dream, on and off court.

I am curious about who was the youngest guy to reach number 1 too. Will have to check on that. Becker maybe?


jane Says:

Nope it was Hewitt, youngest player to reach number 1 at 20 yrs 9 mos, and oldest was Agassi at 33 yrs 4 mos.


Legend Says:

Michael Says:

Yes, in the interest of the sport, we need a stronger Novak to stand up to the situation. Knowing Novak, I am sure he will honour my hope.

April 23rd, 2012 at 1:40 am

Interest of the sport or interest of Fed’s legacy ?


Ben Pronin Says:

Interest of Fed’s legacy mostly.


montecarlo Says:

Anybody got the statistics of combined weeks at either world no. 1 or world no. 2 i.e. either top or bottom of all the draws? I think Federer must already be No. 1 in this list(ahead of Sampras) and Nadal close to No. 2 if not No. 2 already?


montecarlo Says:

Ok good, found the stats myself.

Federer and Sampras are very close at No. 2 too and if Federer fails to grab No. 2 ranking back from Rafa this year Federer and Sampras may very well end up very close in weeks at no. 3 and may be no. 4 too (if murray somehow becomes more of a player).

Federer:
No. 1 = 285
No. 2 = 91
No. 3 = 70

Sampras:
No. 1 = 286
No. 2 = 90
No. 3 = 81

Nadal:
No. 1 = 102
No. 2 = 224
No. 3 = 22


madmax Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
I thought it was a boring match, too. Err, I mean I didn’t enjoy it. But I don’t think it’s fair to JUST mention Djokovic’s problems. Nadal played a phenomenal match.

April 23rd, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Ben,

It’s about time that someone mentioned a ‘problem’ of Nole’s and this is slightly different I think. You can’t compare the death of a loved one to a knee injury. This is NOT the novak who has played and beaten nadal 7 previous times.

I think you miss the point.

‘boring’ match and ‘phenomenal’ play. Strange adjectives to use in the same sentence. The reason nadal played so well is because novak let him and novak is the last one to make excuses.

The last one. If you want to criticise then you need only read Novak’s interview to understand the reason why he was emotionally drained. Don’t compare a knee injury to the death of a pivotal person in someone’s life. It’s crass.

You don’t understand the reason why and that’s fine. You still miss the point.


alison hodge Says:

dont get me wrong as a Rafa fan im not exactly shouting this from the rooftops,but a wins a win whichever way you look at it,so surely Rafa and his fans are entitled to be just a little bit happy,and its not Rafas fault Nole lost his beloved grandpa or played a crap final,you choose to play,you choose to win or loose,same for Rafa,Same for Nole same for any player,let the chips fall wherever that they may,Rafas only responsible for what he does,if Rafa had lost this final the forum would have screamed career over,he wins the trophy and its still not good enough,as Ajet said had things been the other way around Rafa would have been accused of making excuses(dont get me wrong i as i know that he does make excuses),but sometimes its a case of double standards.


Mark Says:

@ Madmax. No, the reason why Nadal won was because he didn’t let djoker play his game. Don’t make excuses for djoker. He played well enough in the previous rounds which means he was there mentally and physically.


Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Some people just don’t know what greatness means. Yesterday we saw the claycourt KING execute a master class. Enjoy Rafa whilst you can, there will never be anyone like him again and be thankful that he took up tennis instead of football, what a loss that would have been to tennis.

Nadal is a phenomenon. Just appreciate witnessing true greatness in your lifetime. No one has ever won 8 titles in a row in tennis like Rafa has. The only other player to have won 8 titles in a row, was a player in the 19th century who only had to turn up for the finals once he’d won the first title.

You are witnessing history being made before your eyes, be thankful for that. You will all remember where you were when the first man won 42 matches in a row to win 8 titles.

Standby for more from Nadal.


alison hodge Says:

E.I.E.T.M.O,yeah great post Rafas done brillisnt,people should leave him alone to enjoy his moment,its not as if the other players wont get there turn,but this ones for Rafa and his fans to enjoy,hes won 8 consecutive titles here at mc,and has gone down in history,phenomenadal vamos Rafa.


Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

“Don’t compare a knee injury to the death of a pivotal person in someone’s life. It’s crass.”

Quite! Absolutely no comparison. You can’t play tennis with a knee injury!!!!!


Gordana Lastovic Says:

Rafa is back! His empire will be even bigger this time around! VAMOS!


trufan Says:

Clay season is back! Rafa is back!

We’ve seen that movie many times before…..

The only way Nadal restores his clear favorite status at FO is if he wins Madrid and Rome (he will win Barcelona anyway, since Djoke and Fed are not playing there – both have beaten Nadal twice each on clay).

Again, I would love to see Isner complete the job from last year, when he almost beat Nadal at the FO. This time around, Isner is much more experienced, much more confident, and fitter – I hope Nadal doesn’t again magically end up with an easy draw at the French.

What I would love to see is Nadal having to face Isner, Delpo, Murray, and Djokovic at the French open (to at least have them on his path – from last 16 stage onwards). If he has to face Isner in last 16, Delpo in QF, Murray in semi, and Djokovic in Final (if Nadal gets that far) – I doubt if he can beat these 4 in a row, even on clay.

But of course, we will have the highly improbable happen again, perhaps – Nadal with an easy draw…


alison hodge Says:

Trufan dont get me wrong, as a Rafa fan im not exactly doing cartwheels about this win,but just what exactly has he got to prove on clay anyway,he still beat Isner last year,Delpos never beaten him on clay,murrays never beaten him on clay,Djokovic has beaten him on clay fair enough,correct me if im wrong though but all of these guys have yet to even make the final at the FO,against a man whos won it 6 times,i know that you hate the guy but come on.


alison hodge Says:

^actually you would think that its down to the other players to challenge Rafa on clay,surely they are the ones under pressure not the other way around hmm^.

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ATP - Nov 24 WTA - Nov 24
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori5 Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Milos Raonic8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Angelique Kerber
10 David Ferrer10 Dominika Cibulkova
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