Nadal Reigns In Rome, Beats Djokovic For Second Straight Time To Win Sixth Title At Foro Italico
by Staff | May 21st, 2012, 9:48 am
  • 147 Comments

Rafael Nadal completed his pre-French preparation in the finest fashion subduing rival Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4 to win the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Tennis Masters 1000 in Rome.

In their third career Monday final meeting – the match was heldover because of rain yesterday – Nadal proved just too strong and too tough against the defending champion Djokovic who beat Rafa in the title match a year ago.

The revenge win was Nadal’s sixth in Rome and a record 21st at the Masters 1000 level. It also returns him to the No. 2 ranking giving him the No. 2 seed at the French Open ahead of Roger Federer – draw released on Friday. Nadal also extends his series lead over Djokovic to 18-14.

This season Nadal’s won three clay titles winning all 15 matches and 30 sets on the red clay. He did lose to countryman Fernando Verdasco on Madrid’s blue clay.

Overall, it was Nadal’s 49th career title, 35th on clay and the victory sends him back to the No. 2 ranking.

Nadal will seek his 7th French Open title next week.

After entering the French Open last year with seven titles and a 37-0 record on the year; this season Djokovic will go into Paris with two titles and a 30-5 mark.

Nadal: “I am happy that I won in Rome without losing a set against the best players in the world like [Tomas] Berdych and [David] Ferrer and [Novak] Djokovic. I will have this trophy in my bedroom. It is a dream. [I have] the confidence I am playing well and this comes when I play at the right level. Hopefully I will keep playing like this.”

Djokovic: “He is always the favourite, even if I win against him seven times; he is the best player in the world on this surface. I think that the match today was quite close, even if he won in straight sets. If you don’t use the opportunities against Rafa he gets momentum. I made a lot of errors which should not happen when you play against Nadal. I will go to Paris with confidence and I played a great week.”


Also Check Out:
Rafael Nadal: I’m Not Happy How I Played the Madrid Final [Video]
Roger Federer Will Play In Rome!
Nadal on Fire Heading into Tennis Masters Rome
Jankovic Stops Cornet for 1st 2008 Title at WTA Rome
Roger Federer Wins 20th Career Masters 1000 Title, Returns To No. 2 Ranking – Highlights/Interview [Video]

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147 Comments for Nadal Reigns In Rome, Beats Djokovic For Second Straight Time To Win Sixth Title At Foro Italico

bstevens Says:

I didn’t see the match but it looks like the King of Clay is back! I am excited for the French, because either Nadal will claim his record 7th title, Djokovic will complete the Novak/Serena Slam, or something unforeseen could happen.


Humble Rafa Says:

I am happy to consistently beat the Egg Lover. I won’t call it revenge, because your Humble Highness is known for His Humbleness. But it feels good.

The trophy tasted good also. Always love the trophy lickings – best part about winning tournaments.


mkmlzz Says:

Djokovic looked overwhelmed and never seemed to challenge.
French Open looks likes a good showdown.


nadalista Says:

Now go take Paris……….


Dory Says:

I think Djokovic put up a better fight than Monte Carlo. He isn’t doing bad actually this year – One Slam and One masters. But comparisons will be made to last year. Djokovic or Federer winning French would be epic!!


Brando Says:

BOTH players can improve and play better. Djokovic did play BETTER than MC, while rafa DID NOT, IMHO.

KEY thing for rafa is he got the win- a MAJOR confidence boost for him, especially when one considers that he served LESS than 60% ist serves in against the best returner on tour and YET managed to win over 55% 2nd serve points.

That’s a BIG plus for rafa IMHO- how he was in trouble a good amount of time on serve, and YET he came through it. Consistently he was 0-15, 30-30, faced many BP’s and he KEPT HIS NERVE t/o it all.

Against the best returner that i have EVER SEEN, that was VERY PLEASING to see from my fav! Good mental fortitude shown by rafa today! :-)


Rick Says:

Could be an early exit for Fed. He really isn’t that good on clay. He had been beaten by Soderling, Djokovic, Gasquet, Warinka on clay over the years.


madmax Says:

Rick, you SURE know your tennis. You post with such knowledge. I can see you have been watching fed’s progress. You must be his greatest fan.

Go rick!


dari Says:

Congrats to Rafa and to Brando on the bracket challenge!


Brando Says:

VERY HONEST, FAIR & TRUTHFUL ASSESSMENT BY DJOKOVIC OF THE MATCH:

“He is always the favourite, even if I win against him seven times; he is the best player in the world on this surface,” said Djokovic. “I think that the match today was quite close, even if he won in straight sets. If you don’t use the opportunities against Rafa he gets momentum. I made a lot of errors which should not happen when you play against Nadal. I will go to Paris with confidence and I played a great week.”

I think he’s right in what he said there. And he DID have a great week.


Brando Says:

@Dari:

Thanks. Hope there is a FO challenge.


Rick Says:

It would be interesting to find out if Fed would chokes again in the GS? He choked everywhere. I doubt his chance at Wimbledon, too! Tsonga, Hewitt. All had beaten him on grass.


Polo Says:

Federer has won so many Wimbledons as well as US Opens and Australians. He can choke in all of the coming grand slam events to make Rick happy but he will still have his 16 major trophies, more than anybody, chokers and non-chokers included.


Humble Rafa Says:

he will still have his 16 major trophies, more than anybody, chokers and non-chokers included

I can sleep well every day knowing that I OWN him on all surfaces.


Polo Says:

@HR: True (with some reservations but I don’t need to explain because I think in addition to being humble, you are also very smart). In the end, both of you should be able to sleep well. The fans will continue to fight though.


Dave Says:

Djokovic-Nadal final versus Djokovic-Federer semifinal:

- Djokovic tried hard and served at 64% — yet won 8 games, had 41 unforced errors and won 67 points out of only 143 points against Nadal.

- Federer didn’t play his best tennis (after playing more tennis recently, 9 matches in 12 days, than Nadal and Djokovic did in 15 days) and served at only 49% — yet still won 8 games, had 42 unforced errors and won 60 points and played 131 points against Djokovic. 131 points are only 8% less than 141 points.

- Federer’s tiebreak 6-7 second set against Djokovic (40-42 on points) was closer than Djokovic’s 5-7 first set against Nadal (36-39 on points).

- Federer — who checked the weather reports for Sunday, lol — has been relaxing, resting and recovering over the past two days instead of wasting his mental energy and time stuck in a long rain delay for the smaller Rome title worth 30% less prize money than winning the Madrid title.

Nadal beating Djokovic is the better outcome for Federer — not only is Djokovic’s aura of invincibility continuing to fizzle… more importantly, the points behind his No. 1 ranking are also also shrinking.


the mind reels Says:

@Dave: not sure how you can compare Fed’s results vs. Djokovic to Djokovic’s results vs. Nadal? Seems like apples and oranges to me.


Thangs Says:

/* long rain delay for the smaller Rome title worth 30% less prize money than winning the Madrid title.*/

Even fed wouldn’t think this way…

Winning title on red clay is better than winning Madrid to prepare for FO..


gonzalowski Says:

Dave: Djokovic could have won Nadal today, and the match has been very tight – except 2º set starting. Luck has been important.
IMO Federer was clearly minor in the semifinal against Djoko


Steve 27 Says:

The best final ROland Garros 2012 will be Nadal Djokovic. 2 reasons:
Djokovic 4 Slams in a row, ala Laver
Nadal 7 RG all time record

So, I expect these two reached the final and we would see an historical match


rogerafa Says:

Roger can plan and prepare all he wants but he just has not produced the results at the biggest tourneys. The biggest problem for Roger has been his inability to do well at the majors of late. Just one final in his last eight appearances. Rafa and Novak are winning the wars too apart from most of the battles. They are more likely to battle it out for the top rank over the next few months. Nothing surprising there either. They are in their prime while Roger is well past his.


gonzalowski Says:

Some TV commentators were saying that, in this match, Rafa’s defenses went consciously to the center of Djokovic’s ground, he didn’t look for the lines, treating to avoid Djokovic’s responses from de corners


Polo Says:

Of course Federer still has a chance to win a major. But I would not bet my house on it. Not even my lawn mower. Much as I want him to win, to presume that he has an even chance of beating Nadal or Djokovic would be a form of denial. Those two will henceforth have some edge over Roger.


Dave Says:

Thangs: “Winning title on red clay is better than winning Madrid to prepare for FO..”

Actually, since the open era began in 1968, in only 11 years of those 44 years (25%) has the winner of Rome gone on to win the French Open. In 2009 Nadal won Rome (beating Djokovic 7–6, 6–2) but then lost the French Open. In 2008 and 20011 Djokovic won Rome but lost the French Open.
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/simon-reed/superb-federer-back-stunning-best-6276.html


Kimberly Says:

And in 2010, 2006, 2005, 2007 the winner of Rome won the French open.

How about this one, in 2005-2008, 2010-2011 the winner of montecarlo won Roland garros.


Polo Says:

None of those events is a guarantee that one will win the French. And neither is losing in them. So one might as well win any of those events that precede the French.


Dan Martin Says:

http://tennisabides.com/2012/05/21/power-ranking-for-the-week-of-may-21-may-27/ My weekly power rankings have Rafa rising – Rafa deserves all credit here 8 Monte Carlo titles, 6 titles in Rome and 6 French Open titles – sick numbers – this is looking like a very interesting year from RG – USO


the mind reels Says:

@Dave: yes, but your 25% stat is a little misleading, I think, because 5 out of 6 times that Nadal has won Rome, he’s won RG, so for him, the likelihood is much greater.

Or perhaps the bigger point here is that historical statistics about the European clay-court swing are meaningless since Nadal is the overwhelming favorite at RG regardless of who’s won what. Since Madrid became a clay tournament 4 years ago, he’s won it only once (2010) and yet won RG 3 of those 4 years anyway.


Dave Says:

The ranking points earned since 2011 US Open are now:
1. Roger Federer 7225
2. Novak Djokovic 5480
3. Rafael Nadal 5480 (Davis Cup points might cause slight variance)
4. David Ferrer 4190 (Davis Cup points might cause slight variance)
5. Andy Murray 4170

This is the updated year to date rankings race.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/YTD-Singles.aspx


skeezer Says:

Dave,

Very interesting stats there on the rankings. Fed has a great opening from here on through USO, but he has to win. Will be a very interesting Summer indeed ;)


skeezer Says:

“Winning title on red clay is better than winning Madrid to prepare for FO..”

Maybe, but i’d take the money……


Dave Says:

Skeezer: great observation. And here are the points to defend until 2012 US Open. Federer, Ferrer and Berdych have more room to make a move during summer (from French Open to US Open)if they can win. This will force Djokovic and Nadal to comepete harder in the Fall after US Open.
1. Djokovic 6320
2. Nadal 4590
3. Murray 3420
4. Federer 2550
5. Tsonga 1725
6. Berdych 910
7. Ferrer 630

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Singles.aspx

Ranking points earned since 2011 US Open:
1. Roger Federer 7225
2. Novak Djokovic 5480
3. Rafael Nadal 5480
4. David Ferrer 4190
5. Andy Murray 4170
6. Tomas Berdych 3675
7. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3520


Dave Says:

the mind reels: “Nadal is the overwhelming favorite at RG regardless of who’s won what.”

I agree that Rafa is definitely the favorite at French Open, even if he lost Rome. And yet Nadal lost to Verdasco (a poor clone of himself) at Madrid, not to a power hitter such as del Potro or Berdych or Raonic. In Rome, Nadal looked shaky at times in his first set against Ferrer (whom Federer crushed in Madrid) and Djokovic — both Ferrer and Djokovic had bad line calls go against them. Nadal has lost some of his invincibility on clay that he had a few years ago, and this year there are several players who have a chance to beat him if they play the clay game of their life and catch Nadal on a bad day (Federer,Ferrer, Del Potro, Isner, Berdych, Almagro, Murray, Wawrinka, Raonic, Monfils, Nalbandian, Verdasco, Andujar, Bellucci). Of course they would have to play the clay match of their life. It depends on the draw. And whichever side of the draw Federer lands on will pose problems for the first and second seeds.


JD Says:

^ in the end none of them able to take a set out of Nadal in 15 matches


jane Says:

^ You don’t think Nole could Dave?? I think Fed and Nole both have the same number of wins over Rafa on clay: 2 wins. Nole’s played Rafa 13 times on clay; how many times has Fed played him? Must be similar. Basically Fed and Nole – and Ferrer – put themselves in the situation to play Rafa on clay again and again. However, Rafa remains the king of clay and the conqueror of them all on this surface. Nadal is also familiar with their games by now. Maybe a surprise, like Soda in 2009, or even Isner coming close last year, is the only possibility for someone stopping Rafa at RG. That’s what I am inclined to think.


the mind reels Says:

@Dave: “…if they play the clay game of their life *and* catch Nadal on a bad day…”

Yes — agreed, though I don’t think that that’s any more true this year than in years past.

While I’m certainly not in the crowd to defend Nadal/Djokovic’s comments about the surface in Madrid, I do submit that it did not play exactly like a red clay court; as such, while I won’t discount the results there as “legitimate,” I don’t think you can really read much into Nadal’s loss to Verdasco. In other words, that Verdasco beat Nadal on blue clay does not mean that he should beat him on red clay.

I agree that there are guys out there with the weapons needed to push Nadal on clay, but again, as you say, it’s all about the draw.

For kicks, of the guys you cite, I’d probably take the following guys off the list for the reasons noted:

* Almagro (head case)
* Murray (too passive)
* Wawrinka (not sure he has the weapons?)
* Monfils (consistent underperformer on 33% lifetime vs. the Top 10; too passive)
* Verdasco (despite recent win, still Nadal’s stooge on red clay — 28 games in 6 matches vs. Nadal on red clay)

That all said, when I sit down to watch, I too will give any of these guys a (probably irrational) puncher’s chance against Nadal on clay…


Brando Says:

IMHO, i think novak is right- he didn’t play anything special, BUT at the same time he recognised neither was rafa special today. Rafa too mentioned he wasn’t that good today.

BUT for me that’s the key- regardless of their level, this was a HARD FOUGHT contest. A MENTAL one. And for rafa to come through with a straight sets win is HUGE for his confidence, i feel.

In a way it’s better than if he had put on a clay masterclass. Beating his recent nemesis with a performance not on the same level as the berdych match, in a hard fought final- is a REALLY POSITIVE ONE for rafa.

He goes to RG knowing that he can improve- especially on the serve (his serve in the final wasn’t special at all IMO). And IF he does this, then REGARDLESS of whoever is across the net, he stands a FANTASTIC chance for the win.

Re Nole:

He’s DEFINATELY rafa’s biggest RG rival IMHO. He can play MUCH better than he did today. BUT i think there are signs that MENTALLY he’s not as composed as he was 12 months ago.

This is an opinion NOT just based on today, BUT in the recent matches i have seen novak play. At times he gets annoyed, agitated with the way things are going- and it affects his play. This wasn’t happening 12 months ago for sure.


Brando Says:

My candidates of guys who COULD POSSIBLY BEAT rafa at RG:

1- Djokovic: recent nemesis.

2- Federer: 2nd best clay courter of this era, 2 wins already over rafa, last year final was closer than before, GOAT.

3- Del Potro: got the BIG GAME and MENTAL strength- CLOSEST thing to soda atm.

List ends!

Re Others:

- Ferrer: No BIG WEAPONS. CANNOT beat rafa by JUST trying to outlast him.

- Berdych: Got the game, BUT not the mind. Hasn’t beat rafa for over 5 years anyway!

- Murray: REALLY? the way he’s played on clay so far?

- Isner, Raonic: Maybe a set, max 2- your JUST NOT going to serve rafa off the court at RG and win- you need more than that!

ULTIMATELY, he hasn’t lost a set on red clay this year- therefore its JUST THOSE 3 that i listed IMHO, who have a chance!


jane Says:

Brando, thanks for including Nole on your list of possibles. I was a little surprised Dave didn’t include Nole?? Just curious, is there anyone who has more than 2 clay wins over Rafa? (which is what Nole and Fed have: Nole and Fed are both 2-11 vs. Rafa on clay. Not the best odds indeed).


Kimberly Says:

Brando, I see federer as a much longer shot than Novak.. He’s 0-5 in the French open v Rafa. Rafa was playing worse last year and still won. ultimately I think the match up on clay is very favorable for nadal. But I would probably put berdych on that list equal to federer and Dellpo with Novak a step above them.


Brando Says:

@Jane:

LOL, i was surprised at Dave’s list also. Gaston Gaudio is the ONLY person to beat rafa 3 times on clay.

His last clay win over rafa was way back in 2005- when rafa was 18!

I heard koening say on tennistv that he beat rafa when rafa was ‘going through puberty’, LMAO:-)


Brando Says:

@Kimberly:

I’d DEFINATELY have novak has the best bet against rafa atm. BUT then it’s fed for me. Reasons are:

1- He’s beaten rafa twice- just like any other active player.

2- He’s ZERO to lose when facing rafa- hence i can play freely.

3- This year he seems to UPPED his game against rafa.

Re Del Potro: He’s the closest atm IMO to the soderling model (big game & strong mind). He gave rafa a TOUGH match also in the davis cup. ONLY WORRY is his knee (hope he is fully fit).

Re Berdych: i HESITATE to do so since he hasn’t beaten rafa in 5 years now- thats a long time. He’s also mentally fragile against rafa.

BUT at the same time, IMHO he gave rafa the toughest match in Rome- rafa HAD to play his best against him. He won MORE GAMES against rafa than ANYONE ELSE inRome also. I genuinely though he would win at least 1 set.

He’s also been SF at MC, RU in Madrid, QF in Rome- giving novak, roger and rafa all a TOUGH FIGHT- moreso than one would expect. So i can see why you would place him as an EQUAL to fed/ delpo. His recent form may warrant it.


the mind reels Says:

Koenig is one of the better things ever to happen to tennis commentating…


Polo Says:

I just can’t see Roger ever beating Rafa at the French Open. It is still Novak who has a realistic chance against Rafa. The rest would be some kind of a miracle.


jane Says:

Brando, here’s another interesting thing to consider:

who broke Rafa the most times at Rome? Who generated the most break chances?

Nole had 7 chances and converted only once.
Ferrer had 10 chances and converted only once.
Berdych had 2 chances but converted twice.
Granollers had 3 chances and didn’t convert any.

So percentage-wise Berdych had the best results converting bps. It’s unusual for Nole not to take his chances. He was 3 for 6 versus Fed, which seems more his speed.


Polo Says:

I think it was only accidental that Dave inadvertently omitted Novak. I don’t think it was intentional at all.


Brando Says:

@the mind reels:

Koening is my FAVOURITE tennis commentator. He’s the PERFECT mix between a knowledgeable commentator who is ABLE to convey excitment, passion, enthusiasm for the game through his commentating. He gets you involved and excited as a viewer.

He also can CALL IT AS IT IS- doesn’t tend to favour a player too much at all over another.

I like his SA accent too- it sounds cool. :-)


Brando Says:

@Jane:

Good stat that. Nole is the best returner in the game (for me also all time) so he will ALWAYS create chances. The reason for his lack of conversion- which was low for him- IMO had to do with rafa serving well on the bp at times and on other occassion nole went for TOO MUCH. Going for the lines once to many times.

To me it seemed that he wasn’t patient enough today.

Ferrer is also a brilliant returner ( top 5 easily in this regard) so no surprise at his creating chances.

IMHO, Berdych gave rafa the toughest match OVERALL. Ferrer the toughest set ( rafa should have LOST set one IMO) and novak the toughest mental battle.

It was hard fought today- more of a mental battle, than anything else for me.


Brando Says:

EXCELLENT ARTICLE re big hitters and there chances at RG (Tbird, Delpo, Isner, Raonic):

http://espn.go.com/tennis/french12/story/_/id/7953856/french-open-how-power-hitters-john-isner-fare-french-open


Lulu Iberica Says:

Brando, being a knowledgeable Rafa fan you knew Gaudio was the only one to beat him 3 times on clay, meanwhile I was meticulously going through Rafa’s clay record on the ATP website to come to the same conclusion! The first time Gaudio beat Rafa, Raf was not even 17.

By the way, I agree with you on who stands a chance of beating Rafa at Roland Garros.


Dave Says:

jane: “You don’t think Nole could Dave??”

Yes, you’re right. Include Nole on the list. Djokovic was the obvious choice. And hHe doesn’t have to “play the clay game of his life” or catch Nadal on a bad day, which the others on the list have to do. If both Novak and Rafa are playing their very best on clay, the slight edge goes to Nadal because of his record. But otherwise day form decides the winner. Btw, I don’t see either Rome or Monte Carlo as conclusive proof that Nadal has overcome the Novak demon. Rome was not a match that the loser of the first set wanted to linger around for and the coolness, wetness and bad line calls may have given Rafa a slight advantage. We may or may not see conclusive proof of who is better at the French Open.


jane Says:

She’s a knowledgable writer I think Brando; she did a co-written piece with Tignor last week as I think she was in Rome. Thanks for posting that.


jane Says:

Dave, just thought maybe you left him off for a reason, so I was curious. Thanks for clarifying.


Kimberly Says:

Brando—I hate to do this but I will, lets talk about Fed’s two wins on clay v. Rafa

1. Hamburg 2007, Nadal was exhausted. Even my husband acknowledged that.

2. Madrid 2009, not only did he play a four hour match the day before, Madrid is clearly not his hot spot. Madrid least resembles the conditions at Roland Garros.

THe bottom line is he has not beaten him in Montecarlo or Roland Garros or Rome (although he did come very close at Rome in 2007, at the height of his power).

I hate to say this and I’m not trying to piss off the Fed fans but Rafa’s game is extremely difficult for Roger on a slow clay court. I think Rafa would have to have an really off day which is always possible. However on a best of five it is a big ask.


Dave Says:

the mind reels: when you said “I too will give any of these guys a (probably irrational) puncher’s chance against Nadal on clay…: that’s what I mean by playing the game of their life and catching Nadal on a bad day:
* Almagro: even head cases might get their head on right once in their life. After seeing Verdasco and Ferrer take it to Nadal, the Spanish players might be less in awe of Rafa.
* Murray: Nadal took 3 hours 17 minutes to beat him at the 2011 French Open semifinal. It’s possible 3-time French Open champ Ivan Lendl might yet coach Murray into a winner. We’ll see.
* Wawrinka: I’m trying to think of a reason here. Ok, maybe he’ll play the best clay match of his life since he has nothing to lose.
* Monfils: He beat Rafa at Doha in straight sets. He was a junior French Open champion. The French Open is his best major (SF, 2 QF, 19-7)
* Verdasco: even a stooge can get lucky. There was no reason for him to beat Nadal on blue clay either.

I understand where you are coming from — and you’re right that none of these guys are likely to beat Nadal. But if the stars align, and they play the best game of their life, they might beat him. Even the greatest players in history succumb to rare upsets every now and then.

On the other hand, I can’t see a player like Tsonga beating Nadal on clay, even if he plays lights out as a power hitter. Though he may yet surprise me.


skeezer Says:

As a Fed fan I have no expectations of Feds chances against Rafa at FO. I do however am starting to see the light on his chances of becoming #1 this year. He doesn’t need to win FO to do it. He has 10 of his 16 slams on either Wimby or USO. Hoping he catches lightning in a bottle one more time. He has been playing very well lately.


Kimberly Says:

Btw, nadal has Less of a chance of beating fed on an indoor hard court. The set he got in wtf 2010 was a fluke. I have all the respect in the world for fed and would call a grass court in Feds favor but I don’t like the way Feds game matches up against rafa on clay. Especially slow clay. Or I guess I do like it.


Bryan Says:

I think Nole is still mourning the death of his grandfather that’s why he also lost in Madrid. and if he can’t get over with it very soon, i don’t see him winning thr FG as well.


the mind reels Says:

@Kimberly: …but Nadal has shown us that he’s indefatigable, so I don’t buy the tired-in-Hamburg excuse. I submit ’09 AO as my evidence. He went 5 hours with Verdasco, only to turn around the next day and go 4 more with Federer, winning both matches. AND that was at the end of a Grand Slam tournament! Nadal lost Hamburg ’07 after being up a set and a break to Federer. In fact, if memory serves correct, Nadal didn’t win another game after being up 6-2, 2-0.

Not to make a huge deal out of it, but it’s sometimes healthier not to try to make excuses for every loss. So what if he’s lost two matches to Roger on clay? It shouldn’t bother any Rafa fan.

As for fans of Federer, any reasonable one would submit that Nadal is the better guy on clay, so there’s not *much* to read into with Federer’s two victories — just proof that he is capable of beating the guy over 3 sets on clay, however inconsistently.


Kimberly Says:

See Dave, I give berdych and delpo probably the best chance and I think berdych more than delpo. I have some questions about delpo fitness and movement if the match were to go five.


skeezer Says:

Kimberly,

Agree there with the surface. Rafa needs time to hit his shots, the more time he has, the more lethal and unstoppable he becomes. Fed loves less time. Less is more in Feds case, usually.


Lisa Says:

Its so sad how you guys completely write off Fed……..

If Fed was playing at the same age(25 or 26) as Rafa/Novak………thats the equivalent of Feds 2006-2007 season……….and judging from the current form( Mantal, Physical and Skills) of Rafa/Novak this year………

If Fed was playing as the same age as them now…..he would completely Obliterate them……GOAT……


Lisa Says:

Its so sad how you guys completely write off Fed……..

If Fed was playing at the same age(25 or 26) as Rafa/Novak………thats the equivalent of Feds 2006-2007 season……….and judging from the current form( Mantal, Physical and Skills) of Rafa/Novak this year………

If Fed was playing as the same age as them now…..he would completely Obliterate/Distroy them……GOAT……


the mind reels Says:

As for the Madrid excuse, I remain that fatigue isn’t really an excuse here.

Regarding the surface/conditions in Madrid, sure, they are less like RG than, say, Rome, but you do Nadal (and his fans, I think) a disservice by effectively saying that the further away from RG the conditions are, the less likely his chances of winning are. But perhaps you do actually believe that, which is also fine. (For the record, I also believe that.) It would certainly lend some firepower to those arguing that, in fact, Nadal does not own Federer on every surface. On those least like RG (so, indoors and grass), he actually has a lifetime losing record against Federer.


Kimberly Says:

The mind reels, I acknowledge happily fed is the goat and us a superior player to Rafa on faster surfaces. I also ackolwledge had Rafa made more more hard court finals like cincinatti the head to head could be different. I think it’s a bad match up for Roger on clay. I give him a much smaller chance than Djokovic of pulling the upset.


Brando Says:

@Jane:

I AGREE- i enjoy her articles when i read them.


Brando Says:

@Kimberly:

I know what you mean raf-fed matchup and those losses- FOR A LONG TIME i thought the same. BUT, nowadays i take TMR stance- the loss doesn’t take away from our guy at all.

Like you, i though rafa FLUKED the set in WTF 2010, BUT that’s because fed is dominant indoor- just like rafa on clay.

BEST give credit to BOTH on those occassion’s.

I think skeezer is RIGHT- more time means rafa’s in business, less time mean’s fed’s in. That’s how it is between these 2 . The clay and indoor h2h, suggest it.

In between surfaces though, you are usually in for a classic: Miami 2005, Wimby 2007, wimby 2008, AO 2009 etc.

I LONG FOR A FEDAL AT WIMBY!!

Even watched a documentary on wimby 2008 the other day (it’s on youtube) and one of the things mentioned was how HYPED that match was due to wimby 2007, rafa’s queens win etc and YET it MORWE THAN lived upto expectations!

An absolute CLASSIC!

I hope for a fedal at wimby this year- it is a GUARANTEED classic IMHO, IF it happens!

Federer, nadal, centre court, finals day- nothing better for me in tennis at all!


Mila Says:

Congratulations to nadal and his fans!
Both Nadal and Novak played well, but Nadal was better in key moments. Also Novak should not let moments like that bad call on set point bother him like it was. He was really full of negative energy after that point.
However, Rafa was better on the day made less errors and fully deserved the win.

I still think Novak has a great chance to beat him at FO. I am certain Novak concentration will be at 100% in Paris because that is his biggest goal this year. And when Novak has full concentration and motivation he is very hard to beat.

Also, it will be interesting to see in whose half Federer lands, Novak’s or Rafa’s. Mathematically, it is 50-50 like black and red on roulette wheel. However, I would be prepared to put $10,000 on Federer landing in Novak half without hesitation – that’s how certain I’m in it!
We’ll find out in a few days but something tells me FO folks already have it determined.


Lisa Says:

@the mind reels,

That 2009 AO Semi-Final between Nadal and Vadasco…..

The greatest most entertaining match ever!! in history! IMO….:)


Lisa Says:

@the mind reels,

That 2009 AO Semi-Final between Nadal and Vadasco…..

The greatest most entertaining match ever!! in history! IMO…:)


dari Says:

kimberly- do you have a link for the tennis x french open bracket yet? thanks!


Kimberly Says:

I am having trouble with the tennis channel. I can only find the main group. I created a WTA tennis x group but the site has no way to do so for the ATP. I emailed them and they never responded. We may have to use another site if they don’t correct it.


skeezer Says:

Kimberley

Check your email


Kimberly Says:

http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketFrenchOpenATP/tennisxfansforever/Pre-Register.aspx

Allright, all here it is, please pre-register for the hottest contest in town.


Kimberly Says:

http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketFrenchOpenWTA/tennisxxxx/default.aspx

for the WTA contest, for those who dare, some very ugly brackets possible.


dari Says:

Thanks guys, done it!

Kohlschreiber, cool!


Kimberly Says:

Dari, he took a nice picture with colin


Kimberly Says:

Please everyone read the scoring details before picking your draw. Upsets are rewarded for those who dare starting the third round.


jane Says:

Thanks again Kimberly!! I presume we have some time to make our way through those HUGE brackets. And we need a draw too I guess. :)


dari Says:

That is a great picture, I think your kids are gonna have a nice portfolio with members of the tennis tours!

I do love that upset feature in the scoring. Looking.forward to the draw and the second slam of the year!


Michael Says:

I think both Nadal and Novak played pretty average tennis with both capable playing much better. In the rarest of rare cases, Nadal first serves failed to click and it is unfortunate that Novak who is the best returner in Tennis couldn’t take advantage of this major failure. The first set was very well fought with Novak at the receiving end of a poor line call at a crucial juncture leading 5-4 and 30-all which could have well made it 30-40 and we then do not know what will happen because it is a set point. But that is Tennis and the bad line call was made which totally upset his rythm and he lost the game as well as his next serve. Sadly Novak failed to retain his composure and that was it and he lost the first set. While in the second set, it was all Nadal who was returning everything that Novak was throwing at him. Nadal was playing purely defensive Tennis while Novak played really offensive Tennis as he does against Nadal but it didn’t pay off.


Michael Says:

This win is very crucial for Nadal going into the French Open as he will have the added momentum in his favour. As regards Novak, his dream of completing a Grand Slam may still remain a dream if he is not able to lift his level as he did in 2011. He can win against every other player, but not Nadal. Against him, he has to play his impeccable Tennis to have a chance especially on clay. True, he beat him 7 times consecutively and that is a out of the world performance, but to do that repeteadly is going to be a big challenge. As regards Roger, he has to be contended being the third best player at present and this may not help his cause at Roland Garros. All in all, it is Nadal who is having a golden run and may well go on to become No.1 if things move as they are today.


Eric Says:

Nice to see Rafa playing well again!


Michael Says:

Out of the 21 Masters trophy Nadal has in his cabinet, 17 are from Clay courts and only 4 from hard court. That is a bit skewed.


Dave Says:

Kimberly: “See Dave, I give berdych and delpo probably the best chance and I think berdych more than delpo. I have some questions about delpo fitness and movement if the match were to go five.”

You may be right. It’s very possible that Berdych — mentally inconsistent in the past — is ready to go on a tear, given his results since 2011 Canada. Something just needs to click in him. I give him a pass for his recent result against Nadal as it was probably too much tennis and not enough practice on red clay. When the French Open comes around, he’ll be fresh and practised on red clay.

Delpo won a Slam and seems stronger mentally than Berdych, and he had the bad luck of running into Federer too much earlier this year — that probbaly affected his confidence. At 2009 French Open he played a 3.5 hour 5 setter involving 310 points against Federer at the French Open semifinal. I presume he is probably fitter today. Berdych is a better mover than Delpo, but delpo’s groundstrokes make up for that deficiency, especially on clay which slows and bounces the ball for him. Brando’s ESPN article is worth reading.


Steve 27 Says:

No, Michael do the math right, are 5
2 IW
2 Canada Open
1 Madrid Indoor


Andrea Says:

Whats WITH the CAPS?


Michael Says:

Steve27,

Not much difference between 4 and 5. Let us say 5 out of 21 in other surfaces.


skeezer Says:

“You may be right. It’s very possible that Berdych — mentally inconsistent in the past — is ready to go on a tear, given his results since 2011 Canada. Something just needs to click in him.”

As much as I have given BirdSh!t …..sh!t ( the Almagro incident was unforgivable ), as a player, if he did the Nole thing in 2011, “believe” in his shotmaking, no matter what, he could be #1, or a least be in the top 3.

The thing is, is being at the top requires more than bludgeon tennis( who here thinks he and Sod are 2 peas in a pod! )

Fed hasn’t won his 16 slams blowing guys off the court with his power. Novak, and Rafa, can do other things besides hit through players also. Does BirdSh!t have any other strategy other than “I’m going to blow you off the court with my Power”?

When Birdsh!t can do these 2 things(believe, and more variety of shots), he will belong. I hope he finds neither.


Nims Says:

I think people here are speculating something which is not going to happen. You people seriously think someone is going to beat NAdal for next 3 months till USO. All the debate is just for fun right?


racquet Says:

Interesting breaking news: Tacchini and Djokovic are parting ways. Tacchini says Djokovic is “a champion who has outgrown the Italian brand”. Who will Nole be wearing during RG? Addidas, Lacoste? I can’t imagine Nike going for all the top 3.


Wog boy Says:

Racquet,
Is that confirmed and where did you read it?


racquet Says:

@wog boy – Yes it is. Source: Christopher Clarey, New York Times.


Wog boy Says:

racquet,
Thanks, I really don’t see why would they do it now. Makes more sence after USO. Anyway I don’t see him neither with Adidas nor with Nike, he might join Lacoste and Raonic :-)


dari Says:

So they should make this as dramatic as.possible, no? Don’t tell is who he is wearing and we will not know until he steps on the court for first time at RG. ;)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO NOVAK!


Wog boy Says:

raquet,
Yes, FO should be the last tournament in ST outfit. It looks like they don’t have the money to pay bonus from the contract, they never expected that Novak is going to achieve what he achieved and they singed huge bonuses:)


racquet Says:

More breaking news: Novak Djokovic’s new clothing sponsor is the Japanese brand Uniqlo (that Nishikori used to be with).

http://www.uniqlo.com/us/

He’ll be wearing them and not Tacchini during RG.
The presentation will be held tomorrow in Paris.


Brando Says:

I’m SURPRISED at the timing of all this.

But nonetheless, WHY ISN’T nike or adidas (the big 2) not picking up this guys contract?

- He’s world no.1
- Should be competitive for 3-5 years
- He’s got personality
- Massively popular in his home country, eastern europe- continental europe as whole really
- plus he’s SUCCESSFUL- nothing creates a fan following more than that.

i thought ADIDAS would take him up again.

Oh well, happy birthday novak- hope your b’day wish is that rafa wins his 7th RG:-)


Wog boy Says:

racquet,
You beat me by a whisker:)


racquet Says:

@brando – apparently it was Nole’s preference. According to a French article I read he would rather be the single star at a brand than become a star among a few others at Nike, Adidas and Lacoste. He seems to have an astute business sense. This Uniqlo brand will certainly raise it’s profile.


Brando Says:

@racquet:

i can see the business idea behind his decision. With this brand, he would have had way more bargaining power than if he went to nike, adidas i would imagine. They have ALREADY got a stellar client list- so more than likely they would have DICTATED terms.

Never heard of UNIQLO before.


Dave Says:

skeezer: Yeah, Berdych needs to be able to play Plan B and Plan C for the days that Plan A is not working.

You don’t like Berdych much, do you? Tennis journalist Tom Tebbutt: “Just let me say first that several years ago, a French tennis magazine did a survey of the French players and the consensus was that Stepanek and his Czech teammate Tomas Berdych were the least liked or respected players on the tour. The survey also revealed that Robin Soderling was also not admired by many French players…but there was a catch. Apparently, they noted that he had recently become a more sympathetic character after getting a girlfriend.”


Polo Says:

racquet: “…This Uniqlo brand will certainly raise it’s profile…”

I think you are correct. I already checked out the Uniqlo website to view its collection. Very young-looking clothes. Novak will definitely raise awareness and sales of the Uniqlo products. Good move by both.


Polo Says:

I saw Berdych’s girlfriend during the Madrid Open. I hate him already.


skeezer Says:

Dave,
Lol.

————–

racquet,

This company makes tennis clothes? WTF?


Brando Says:

@Polo:

Are you KIDDING ME?

Like skeez i also referred to berdych as birds**t post almagro, BUT after seeing his girlfriend in madrid- he’s back to tbird!

Her presence in the stands atones for berdych’s sin’s in my eyes!:-)


jane Says:

Happy 25th Birthday to Nole.

Thanks for the news racquet. I don’t know this brand but hope the partnership works out.


Polo Says:

Exactly the point, Brando. Berdych’s behavior towards Almagro was abominable…then he gets a girlfriend that looks like that? Where’s justice in this world?


jane Says:

Some details on the brand switch:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/47519672


racquet Says:

@skeezer – they sponsored Ken Nishikori. Here’s what his kit looks like:

http://tinyurl.com/cwtd96h

Here’s an interesting article giving the inside story on how this happened:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/47519672

It seems they couldn’t keep up with Nole’s success.


racquet Says:

ha…jane – snap!


racquet Says:

Well, my post is awaiting moderation for some reason but it had a link to the same story Jane linked to.


WTF Says:

How is Djokovic only 1.8k up with three grand slams under his belt?


Brando Says:

@Polo:

I know what you mean polo- BUT at least the man has got something right for once!

The big men in tennis (berdych, soderling) may not have won any slams, BUT they do have the prettiest looking girlfriends- tennis hasn’t been completely unkind to them at all has it?


the mind reels Says:

@WTF: because both Nadal and Federer have kept it close with runner-up performances at majors and Masters 1000 titles. In Fed’s case, he has 1,500 points from the World Tour Finals that are particularly helpful.

If your Nadal, thank god for the gold mine that is the clay season, huh?


the mind reels Says:

Blah: “If *you’re* Nadal…”


skeezer Says:

racquet

Thanks for the links


skeezer Says:

Re; Novak change. Well after reading it makes sense to leave. They are like Fila in that way. High end, good stuff, but small. I remember wanting to buy Fila stuff but so expensive


Kimberly Says:

When Birdsh!t can do these 2 things(believe, and more variety of shots), he will belong. I hope he finds neither.

lol, love it. Saw him at the Sony Ericsson playing a practice match with Monfils and he walks around like he thinks he owns the world. He comes off as so arrogant and was so rude to most of the fans (although he did sign my sons tennis ball but he couldn’t be bothered to smile at either of us or anyone else). If he were number one he would be the worst representative possible of the sport. You fed fans would see, you would beg for Rafa and Djoker and their antics, anyone but him.

I think he has a ton more game than Soderling who I see as essentially a one dimensional ball basher. His footwork is flawless, his shots much heavier (Soda hits very flat) and with more margin. I too, hope he doesn’t find his mojo cause I can’t stand the guy.


Nims Says:

Some of the most astute comments you could hear in tennis.

http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/news.aspx?articleid=17741&zoneid=25


Kimberly Says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUsePQw7TZI&feature=related

rafa fans and novak fans may enjoy this link. Ran into it on youtube.


Brando Says:

@Kimberly:

i saw that EXACT same video earlier today, LOL!

These 2 have played some UNREAL points in their matches- long may it continue!

FAV POINT: rafa BH winner after insane rally in USO 2011 final.


jane Says:

Ha, awesome Kimberly, thanks – it’s amazing how many of the points were finished at the net or due to one of them coming in. That first final at IW was when I first noticed Nole and started following him.


Kimberly Says:

and the video doesnt even include some of the insane points from the semi finals they have played. Brando, that was my favorite point too. Rafa’s back was against the wall, about to lose in straights so you know he was throwing the kitchen sink at it, no holding back. Of course he lost the match but he totally dug deep to win that set.


Brando Says:

@Kimberly:

i know what you mean- for me that was rafa’s WORST loss in the 0-7. Nole was SO DOMINANT against him on that day- YET rafa dug deep, went on the attack and won the set! that was pleasing for me- since it showed that rafa has it WITHIN himself to pull it off!

He hasn’t looked back since that contest too- well done rafa!


Kimberly Says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxyTX_fsTQQ

you may like this one too brando. For Rafa fans.


Kimberly Says:

Brando—believe it or not, the USO 2011 may have been their highest quality match in my opinion, possibly from both of them. It was actually closer than the scoreline suggested. The points in that match were totally sick. Novak came out ahead in most because he is a better hard court player but make no mistake, Nadal would have beaten a lot of people on that day. The level of tennis in the match was outrageous. I personally don’t like it because Rafa lost but that and the AO 2012 are the only two of the 7 losses I will watch the highlights from because at least Rafa competed and didn’t just seem like a total headcase. He just got bested.


jane Says:

I too thought the USO final last year had so many classic and epic points – they were outrageous, like the one in that clip. But I think my favourite set of tennis from Nole in 2011 was the second set of the final at Wimbledon. Everything was working for him in that set, and it was such a revelation as his fan to literally watch him making his dream come true. I really enjoyed the Nole-Tsonga semi there too.


Brando Says:

@kimberly: like the video? I totally LOVE! Especially that FH winner past federer- AWESOME:-)


Brando Says:

@kimberly: about the USO/AO losses, looking back now I think they were POSITIVES for rafa in them. On his 0-7 against novak, rafa funnily enough, IMHO competed his best on his weakest an nole’s bes outdoor surface: HC. He was VERY CLOSE to the win in Miami 2011 ( 2 points away from a straight sets win, was also leading in TB at one point) and AO 12 this year (4-2 up in 5th set). In BOTH he was close to winning the matches- and that to at novak’s best/ successful slam and MS ( I don’t he’s won any other 3 times?). Then at IW he won 1st set and serve went AWOL for next 2. USO wa were he OUTCLASSED, YET he won a se and competed hard in set 1 and 2! All this on his WEAKEST outdoor surface- so that was genuinely positive for rafa IMHO! Of course, not at the time though! :-)


Kimberly Says:

So mat4—if the draw was rigged who lands where? The French can’t stand Nadal, i would think it would be rigged AGAINST him. IMO I will believe it is rigged AGAINST him if the draw is 1st Round Bellucci 2nd Round A big server THird Round Raonic 4th Round Delpotro QF Berdych SF Federer Final Djokovic. Ironically the draw that I think would wear him down more would be an all spanish one early 1st Round Ramos 2nd Round Andujar 3rd Round Verdasco 4th Round Almagro QF Ferrer Semifinal Murray Final Federer or Djkovic.


skeezer Says:

Isn’t the norm djoker and fed wind up in the same half?


jamie Says:

BTW that astrological prediction that Djokovic would be very successful until May meant his success would actually STOP in May.

According to Chinese Astrology, Nole will not win any of the remaining slams this year.

On another forum someone posted this long prediction according to Chinese Astrology, he had gotten this prediction from a poster who had sent him a PM, apparently someone who studied Chinese Astrology.

___________________________________

This year is full of water. Djokovic is weak metal person, metal likes to hog limelight too. Water stress metal, this year he will be incredibly stressed to produce, i doubt there is any slam left in him as the water year starts at feb 4 2012(Chinese regard first day of year start at feb 4th). Last year is strong in metal which aided his weak metal.

For federer Earth person. Federer chart is dominated by metal(talent) with a bit of fire(resource), where fire is never going to burn his metal. The fire in his chart makes him think of funny skills which sometimes lead to his errors and downfall. Water destroy fire in 2012, I think he will follow plan strictly to play against opponent weakness this year. The water also means indirect wealth, he will get a lot of money from commercials this year. He receive some earth this year too which is his self element(he don’t need it). Competitor is as strong and gonna share the wealth with him. But this earth also make his metal stronger, he will rep up performance, hit bigger etc.

For nadal is alot of fire in chart. He is earth person too. Overpowering Fire produce earth which means mental strength and hardwork, this year water stop the fire. His hardwork dropped and mental shape is poorer. However his chance is summer apr, may and june, the period when water is weakest. But he cannot overplay this year, will cause injury easier due to weak mental and stubborn nature to fight(alot of earth, self elements). Also his output is always shortlived due to weaker wood in chart, not enough to fuel fire.

To conclude i think strongly nadal and federer take up the 3 slams. If Nadal don’t take W and RG in summer, he will miss his biggest chance in most fav period, somebody new will take. Either fed or murray. Also Fed is more dangerous player for Nadal than Djokovic this year. The fire weakened in Fed’s chart don’t have adverse effects, in fact better, more focused mentally.


Kimberly Says:

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

What a load of garbage. I believe we create our own destiny.


jane Says:

Kimberly, Brandon, we’ve looked at some of the best of Rafole today, so it’s interesting that Tennis.com is doing a feature on the TOP 5 Nadal vs. Djokovic! :)

http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/features.aspx?articleid=17757&zoneid=9


jamie Says:

This part is the most interesting:

==========================
To conclude i think strongly nadal and federer take up the 3 slams. If Nadal don’t take W and RG in summer, he will miss his biggest chance in most fav period, somebody new will take. Either fed or murray. Also Fed is more dangerous player for Nadal than Djokovic this year. The fire weakened in Fed’s chart don’t have adverse effects, in fact better, more focused mentally.
==========================

Nadal has a favorable period to win FO and Wimbledon. He definitely will not win USO because the favorable period will be over for him. So if he does not take advantage of the favorable period for the Channel Slam then Federer will be there to take advantage of it and even Murray. At the USO either Federer or Murray will win.

So:

FO: Nadal or Federer
Wimbledon: Nadal or Federer or Murray
USO: Federer or Murray


jamie Says:

I think this year could be like 2008 for Nole.


jamie Says:

This year could be like 2008 for Nole.

Wins the AO, a few master series and the WTF in the end.


Brando Says:

@jane: thanks for that, I read that earlier too- a good selection. Something tells me AO12 will be no.1. :-) PS: I agree with you re 2nd set wimby- at the time rafa was serving over 70% 1st serves in and he still had no luck! Nole was on fire in that set- in the zone stuff!


Steve 27 Says:

Jamie, what about Olympics, who is the pick?
Nadal,Federer or Murray?


jamie Says:

@Steve 27

I read this on another forum:

Neptune is in quadrature to Nole’s sun. Neptune is in Piscis that affects his performance. Neptune moves slow, clumsy, lack of coordination. Affects his performance as a tennis player (Neptune is now affecting him). It is a slow planet, its effects are often quite long………

Add to this that Nadal(defending Olympics) has never defended off clay and that he will play that exho with Nole in Spain between Wimbledon and Olympics and that I don’t think anyone won 2 gold medals in singles in tennis and the winner of the Olympics will probably be Federer or Murray.


Rick Says:

Jamie, what is your job for living? LOL


jamie Says:

@Rick

I’m a hairdresser.


Dave Says:

Style your hair by your astrological sign — guaranteed to make you feel better, help you win lottery and even help your favorite player to win more.
http://www.bleskon.com/2011/08/hairstyle-by-horoscope.html


Steve 27 Says:

Murray Olympic Singles Champions will be the notice of 2012 tennis!

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