Rafael Nadal Landed In Paris Today, When He Leaves He Might Have An 8th French Open Title [Video]
by Tom Gainey | May 23rd, 2013, 4:59 pm
  • 89 Comments

Rafael Nadal landed in Paris today seeking a record 8th French Open title. Because of the time he missed to recover his left knee, Nadal is seeded down this year at No. 3. But his results are as good as ever.

Nadal comes into his favorite tournament of the year on a 15-match winning streak having won six of the eight events he’s entered this year.

Rafa’s record in Roland Garros is an astounding 52-1. No one in the field of 128 has ever beaten Nadal at the tournament or beaten him in best-of-5 on the clay.

Rafa begins his bid either Monday or Tuesday. After landing Rafa hit center court for a two hour practice session with Kevin Anderson before it was cut short by an abrupt rain shower.

Here’s Rafa leaving the airport in Mallorca:


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89 Comments for Rafael Nadal Landed In Paris Today, When He Leaves He Might Have An 8th French Open Title [Video]

RZ Says:

I’m assuming that Rafa will win his 8th FO crown. I just hope that it isn’t a cakewalk for him – would be nice to see him challenged in a 5 set match on clay. I don’t think he’s been taken to 5 at Roland Garros before (tho I’m admittedly too lazy to look up whether that’s true)


Teeg Says:

He needed 5 sets to beat Isner in Rd1 back in 2011


RZ Says:

Teeg, of course! I’d forgotten about that one. Doh!

Still, I’d like to see him play more 5-setters…


alison Says:

Didnt Roger push him to 5 sets in the 2007 final?


Teeg Says:

@alison

No that one was 4 sets again where Roger blew a ton of break point chances.


alison Says:

Thanks Teeg duh my memory lol.


Claroscuro Says:

Just give Nadal the trophy already! Well, with the exception of Novak, I just can’t see anyone challenging him enough.

As for KFed, well, people on this website have recently written him off as a contender due to his age. Don’t forget that he very rarely loses to anyone ranked after the top 4. Even Pete Sampras in his latter years had much poorer results than Fed has had, with his almost flawless ability to reach the latter stages of almost every tournament.


Humble Rafa Says:

Some unknown person opens a twitter account to divert attention.


jane Says:

Claroscuro – just wanted to say I like your moniker. :)


madmax Says:

Of course Rafa is going to win the FO, there really isn’t anyone else in contention, I think, apart from Novak. A great write up by Douglas Perry, who responded to Toni Nadal’s comments recently.

‘Anything can happen at the French Open. That’s always been the case at tennis’ lone clay-court major championship. At least it was before Rafael Nadal arrived on the scene.

It could be argued that Federer hasn’t been a favorite at Roland Garros since 2005, when Rafa won the first of his seven titles there. Since that watershed year, the plural of favorite has been unneeded at the French Open. There’s only been Nadal, always Nadal, grunting with every whipsaw lefty forehand, digging sure-thing winners out of Court Philippe Chatrier’s deepest corners, biting triumphantly into trophy after trophy.

And yet Federer won the tournament in 2009. (Watch video highlights above.)

Roger, even in his creaky old age, has a better chance at winning this year than Gaudio did in 2004. Or even than Gustavo Kuerten did in 1997. Federer is one of the five greatest clay-court players of the Open Era. Thanks to Rafa’s dominance, we forget just how good Federer is on clay, the surface least conducive to his game.

View full sizeFederer holding up the French trophy.
AP Federer has won six Masters titles on European dirt (Hamburg in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007; Madrid in 2009 and 2012) and been a runner-up eight times (seven times to Nadal, including last week in Rome). Along with his 2009 win at Roland Garros, he’s been runner-up at the tournament four times (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011, all to Nadal, by now inarguably the greatest clay-court player of all time).

How many other men in the Open Era have reached the French final five times? Not many. They are: Nadal (seven and counting, with seven wins and counting), Bjorn Borg (six, with six wins), Ivan Lendl (five, three wins) and Mats Wilander (five, three wins).

Nadal and Borg stand above all others on clay. But the number-three spot all-time is up for grabs. In a match for your life between Federer and Ivan Lendl on a clay court, with both in their primes, surely you would not pick Lendl to save you. Right? If you had to pick Federer or Wilander in a match for your life? Heck, not even Wilander’s mother would pick Mats.

If you added Kuerten and Thomas Muster to the discussion, things would get more interesting — but still, a high proportion of those in the dock would choose Federer.

The Swiss great proved just last week he can still play on red dirt. He often looked unbeatable as he thumped forehands and stabbed volleys on his way to the Rome final without the loss of a set. Of course, then he ran into Nadal and looked like a very different player.

Federer is not one of the favorites at the French Open this year. Noted. This is Nadal’s tournament to lose (as it is every year) and Djokovic’s to win (it’s the one major title missing from the Serb’s C.V.) But Robin Soderling proved in 2009 that Nadal is not guaranteed a victory every time he steps onto a clay court in Paris. The field is getting deeper (hence Uncle Toni’s mention of Dimitrov) and Rafa’s knee is still a concern. And the hardcourt-loving Djokovic proved this month with his early exits in Madrid and Rome that he can be vulnerable to a hot hand on dirt.

We all knew that sooner or later Roland Garros would become the Grand Slam of surprises again. Why not this year?’


Humble Rafa Says:

Why don’t they play all tournaments on clay? It is healthier, and we can leave the grass for the cows.


Rumble Says:

And why don’t we allow 45 seconds between points, and make it mandatory for every player to pick butt before and after every point? It is healthier, and we can leave the clean undies for others.


Okiegal Says:

@Humble Rafa 9:30pm post

I totally agree with you…….all the grass should be for the cows and the game of cow pasture pool!!! (GOLF) LOL


WTF Says:

When is the draw coming out?


Wog boy Says:

^^Friday, European time.


Humble Rafa Says:

^^Friday, European time.

Is that Monday morning in Australia. I know they are a little bit ahead.


Wog boy Says:

We are ahead, but not so much ahead;)


Thomas Says:

@humblerafa.
No, all the tournaments should be on grass. It’s healthy, and clay is a surface for pigs, so we should leave it.


Rumble Says:

Regardless of everything else, it would be quite an achievement if Nadal’s wins an 8th French title. Nobody has won any single slam 8 times…..

I do hope Djokovic gets this one though.


James Says:

So Rafa has a chance to make history of being the first ever to win a single Grand Slam 8 times. Then there is Novak Djokovic who would complete a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open. Very interesting. It’s gonna be one of these two winning this year, more likely Rafa Nadal, but you never know.
Roger Federer, despite his recent loss against Rafa in Rome, is still a very good clay court player. He’s still good enough to take down even the likes of Novak Djokovic. Should someone take out Rafa without meeting Roger, the GOAT can win it for the 2nd time IMO. I think Roger just has a Rafa Nadal problem. Also he isn’t as old as many are making him out to be. He still moves very good on the court and with his skills + experience, he’s still lethal for any player on clay except Rafa Nadal.
But like I said, Rafa should and will mostly win RG for the 8th time.


Robert Says:

Federer’s chances to FO final looks good, but not great, why?

1) Murrray and Del Potro pulled out….

2) Nadal will pay Djokovic in semis…..


Rumble Says:

Draw isn’t out yet, we don’t know if Nadal will play Djokovic in the semi. Though I hope its like that.


Alex Says:

^^
God I hope you’re right.


Rumble Says:

Guga was a great player on clay. Only one other than Nadal who could really trouble Federer on clay when Fed was at his peak. 2004 was a great opportunity for Fed to get the calendar year grand slam – Guga stopped Fed.

Nadal, Borg, Lendl, Guga – then Fed. that would be my ordering of players on clay in the open era. And that’s on what is considered as Fed’s weakest surface – but that’s all relative.


Michael Says:

Tennis Analysts, Commentators and punters are unanimous about Rafa’s victory at Rolland Garros for a record 8th time. Although he is the favourite, I do not think his win is by any means assured as long as Novak is there. You can say Nadal has the necessary momentum and advantage, but his win is not certain.


Rumble Says:

Becker has picked Djoke this time. Though these things don’t mean much.

If both are healthy and weather is normal, we are in for a cracker of a match between Nadal and Djoke if they meet. 60% chance to Nadal – not more.


James Says:

Rumble,
Many tennis experts, commentators and reporters claim Roger to be the 3rd best clay court player, even above Lendl. Well, he’s been a 4 time finalist at RG and won in 2009, didn’t he? If not for Rafa Nadal, I believe Roger would have won 3-4 RGs.


van orten Says:

what if nadal fails to win roland garros?? what will happen? will the earth stop rotating???

come down to earth everybody.. some people called fed fans delusional when fed started to lose some of his edge..but the same will happen to nadal in the end..he cannot win everything and he doesnt by the way..4 weeks ago he lost vs the world number 1 in monte carlo.he has played lots of 3 setters in the last weeks on clay!!! i think he can lose…and nobody should be too surprised!!!


Giles Says:

The King has arrived!
VAMOS RAFA!


Rumble Says:

James,

Its hard to say, of course. It’s quite likely Fed would have Massacred Wilander on clay. But Lendl and Guga were tremendous clay courters. Yes, they would have had no “backhand” or “lefty” advantage against Fed (in fact, both had a one-hander). So Fed would have really had a great chance to beat them. But Fed did lose to Guga on 2004, when Guga was really a shadow of himself, and Fed was near his best (not his absolute best though, which only happened in 2006).

Even against Borg, Fed would have fared better than he has fared against Nadal, because Borg was not a lefty, and in those days, with wooden rackets, there wasn’t that much top spin or that much bounce, so the one-handed backhand was not a liability.

Nadal really wouldn’t have won this much in those days.

But these are all hypotheticals. The reality is what everyone’s record shows.


nadalista Says:

I told you so:

RT @NeilHarmanTimes: “The Fed plays a qualifier, then two more qualifiers!! “


nadalista Says:

I TOLD YOU SO:

RT @christophclarey: “Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be in the same half of the draw. David Ferrer in Federer’s #RG13″


gonzalowski Says:

Nadal- NOle semifinal…
Well, maybe Ferrer could reach the final this year.

Directed draw!


scineram Says:

YESSS. I Love your beautiful hands, Maria!!


nadalista Says:

RT @scambers73: “Novak Djokovic could play Grigor Dimitrov in R3 “


van orten Says:

hahhhahah nice draw…this is draw is perfect…federer vs ferrer and djoker vs nadal

this is the best..because now the draw is quiet open from the start…neither fed nor ferrer are safe in the semis…so things are going to be mixed up a little..fed for example knows he can only win this when not facing nadal! vs djoker or ferrer completly different mind set etc.

great draw!!!


nadalista Says:

I TOLD YOU SO, Ferru in Fed’s draw:

RT @ATPWorldTour: :@DavidFerrer87, a @RolandGarros SF in 2012, is in @rogerfederer’s half and will play #Matosevic in 1R. atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/20…”


James Says:

So there will be no Rafa-Nole final this year. Hope they meet and have a great semi final.
If Ferrer and Federer meet in the other semin final, Fed should advance to the final. Fed-Djoko final could go either way. Rafa-Fed final would go Rafa’s way. Rafa most likely will walk away with another RG.


nadalista Says:

RT @SI_BTBaseline:”No.2 seed Roger Federer gets a qualifier in both the first and second round and David Ferrer in his half. Couldn’t have asked for more. #atp”

We all knew that………..


Thomas Says:

What are the possible quarterfinal matchups?


the DA Says:

Where are the draw conspiracy theorists? Why would RG fix it so the favorite and the No.1 seed meet in the SFs?


nadalista Says:

The draw turned out just as I predicted, AWESOME! The best man will win, no excuses, no this and that…..

Bring it on!! Hahahaha!!

Vamos!!!


Mila Says:

@DA
Why would RG fix it so the favorite and the No.1 seed meet in the SFs?

That is the only way to have all Nike final. It is known fact that Nike rules GS draws.


van orten Says:

that’s the spirit ^^


the DA Says:

@ mila – nope, sorry but I’m not buying that. It’s not a ‘known fact’ at all.

The Berdy haters will love his draw, Monfils and Gulbis in Round 1 and 2. haha. I see that Nole might meet Dimitrov in Round 4.


nadalista Says:

I love it! This way we will be spared Fedfan’s whining. With this draw, they may as well have put Fed on a throne, carried him on their shoulders all the way to the Final, swatting away any “misadventures”. Fantastic!

The big boys are in the other half……….

Vamos!!


madmax Says:

Rumble,

5 finals for Fed. Not 4, and remember 2009 he won.

Federer has won six Masters titles on European dirt (Hamburg in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007; Madrid in 2009 and 2012) and been a runner-up eight times (seven times to Nadal, including last week in Rome). Along with his 2009 win at Roland Garros, he’s been runner-up at the tournament four times (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011, all to Nadal, by now inarguably the greatest clay-court player of all time).

How many other men in the Open Era have reached the French final five times? Not many. They are: Nadal (seven and counting, with seven wins and counting), Bjorn Borg (six, with six wins), Ivan Lendl (five, three wins) and Mats Wilander (five, three wins).

Nadalista, why do you persist with this ridiculous conspiracy theory? You are not a mind reader, you can predict and make a 50/50 assessment, but pretty much every year, Fed has always been in Rafa’s side of the draw. How can it be rigged when you see it before your eyes on TV. It’s random. End of. Deal with it. And like you say, it makes no difference any how, Rafa will win RG because he is the best on clay.

End of.


madmax Says:

nadalista Says:
I love it! This way we will be spared Fedfan’s whining. With this draw, they may as well have put Fed on a throne, carried him on their shoulders all the way to the Final, swatting away any “misadventures”. Fantastic!

The big boys are in the other half……….

Vamos!!

May 24th, 2013 at 6:35 am

You are becoming super irritating.


madmax Says:

Nadalista, perhaps you can comment on the whining always being made by Rafa’s fans (exception Alison and Kimberley), about his knees. Ongoing saga and super duper “old news”.

If there is something wrong with his knees then all tennis players should have a cartlidge operation to even be in contention!

Stop your whining about other people whining.


volley Says:

^ madmax

nadalista is pretending to not be bothered by the lopsided draw but she so clearly is. transparent.


Thomas Says:

Nadal’s draw is an absolute joke until the semis. Same for djokovic. Federer’s is also a joke, althoguh he could face berdych in the semis.(although it could be much worse) Ferrer has a great draw. Berdych’s draw is simply brutal though.


alison Says:

Madmax im fed up with knee talk,the only thing i want to discuss about Rafa is his tennis,BTW im thinking Roger could be the FO dark horse here,just a hunch but i think he could pull off a surprise here.


nadalista Says:

@volley, hahahaha! Nice try. You are the one who should be worried, Fed got a cake-walk draw in Rome and look what happened? He got to the finals under-cooked and was nearly embarrassed.

In nay case, make up your minds Fedfans. Some of you are saying Rafa has a cake-walk draw and by implication, some of you are saying it’s tough (otherwise, why would I be worried).

Nah, this is a good draw for Rafa……….let the games begin!


the DA Says:

@ Thomas – “Federer’s is also a joke”

Yep. Andy’s withdrawal gave him a huge gift. However, if Berdy survives the early rounds he pose a problem.


van orten Says:

i cant see berdych winning vs ferrer in the quarters so…


volley Says:

@nadalista

“You are the one who should be worried”

why is that pray tell?


Sirius Says:

Nadal’s draw is the toughest! 4 rafa Killers are on his quarter. Rosol, zeballos, F. mayer, davydenko! ;)

Fed got an easy draw. He should at least make the semis if not the final assuming he faces berdych in the sf.

Haven’t seen novaks draw. It doesn’t matter whoever he plays in the first week. If he stays focused and plays his game he should reach the semis.


alison Says:

Our girl Laura Robson has drawn Wozniaki in the 1st round,and Caros not the player she was,i like our girls chances here,go Laura lets take another scalp here,both girls like a good fight so im expecting a great match,lets go Laura lets go.


alison Says:

Seems a bit lopsided with Andy and Delpo missing.


Giles Says:

Look at it this way, only one can reach the final should they both get to the semis – Rafa or joker.
Vamos King Rafa!


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m a little shocked Nadal and Djokovic are in the same half. I’m not fully convinced the draws are rigged but I’m not really opposed to the theory either, so it’s possible. Although, being the 1 and 4 seeds they SHOULD be on the same half, regardless of conspiracies, general tennis draw stupidity, and the name next to the number.

If the draw is fixed, though, I don’t really get this setup. I know the French love Federer, but his chances of beating Djokovic in a final aren’t that great, either. Although considerably better than his chances of beating Nadal. And I have always maintained that an easy draw backfires on Federer when he gets to a Novak or Rafa. When he beat Djokovic in 2011 his first round opponent was Feliciano Lopez who had nearly beaten him a few weeks prior in Madrid. When Federer won that match I knew he was playing extremely well. Beating a couple of qualifiers is virtually pointless as far as determining his form goes.

And most importantly, the biggest draw would be Djokovic-Nadal final, as much as everyone loves Federer. No one wants to see another Nadal-Federer beat down (except Rafa fanatics). But draws aren’t fixed for fanatics, or wouldn’t be, they’d be fixed for the general sports fan. And sports fans want epics. So I’m not really sure as to the logic behind fixing this draw, if it’s fixed. Either way it seems like a bust.


jamie Says:

They rigged the draw for Olderer. Disgusting.


jamie Says:

French Frogs fixed the draw for Geriatricrer. A billion qualifiers and the pathetic Ferrer. ewww.

Doesn’t matter. NOLE WILL WIN RG THIS YEAR.


Ahsan Najeeb Says:

@ Ben

You must ask this question to mat4…. He specializes in forming conspiracy theories in each and every kind of draw:p

As far as I am concerned, I am with you in that it does not make sense to fix a draw like that… So I will give the benefit of doubt here and say that its a fair draw


alison Says:

Ben hopefully Andy and Delpo will be back for Wimbledon,so it will be interesting to see who is in whos half then,obviously depending on where they are seeded or ranked,however thats another story.


tennis x hippy chic Says:

Fancy a change of monikor i will now go by tennis x hippy chic.


jamie Says:

@James

Nadal will not beat Nole in the SF.

Nole will beat Nadal and then Olderer in the final.


gonzalowski Says:

Rafa could have Paire (into the french crowd), then Wawrinka or Nishikori.
Hmmm, not an easy start


Brando Says:

Easy rule regarding fixed draw: it’s ONLY fixed when it doesn’t suite Novak Djokovic. Period. Who else complains about fixed draws bar a select few (thankfully) nole fans? No one! And where is the evidence for this? And how on earth are you going to fix a draw which gets taken in a public place in front of many people? It’s a whole load of sour nonesense from folks who struggle to accept what reality serves them and then cook up BS stories of a fix that have zero evidence except in their fickle mind and are there to serve no purpose other than soothe their fears! Utter rubbish!


gonzalowski Says:

Wawa, Nishikori or Gasquet in quarters


tennis x hippy chic Says:

I have never seen the point in moaning about draws,they are what they are,its pretty simple try and beat whomever is stood in front of you,win 7 matches and viola you lift the trophy,end of,theres nothing anyone of us can do about it anyway.


Brando Says:

Re Rafa: Great draw IMO. Not too tough or over exerting but testy enough to be ready for SF/ F. No complaints from me on this one- real good draw. Berdy is the one who drewthe short straw here.


gonzalowski Says:

Federátion Francaise de Tenis’ president has expressed the desire of a frenchman winning Roland Garros, x years after Noah..
Who could be? Gasquet and Paire on Nadal side, I’d pick up Tsonga, he beats Federer and then a injured Nadal in the final…


Daniel Says:

One of Nadal or adjoko will lose points as well, which will make #1 race thigh if Nadal beats Djoko and win the title.

Murray is virtually almost out of contention for #1 this hear me thinks: have to defend W final, Olympics will drop, defend US Open.

Regarding Fed’s chance this seems his firts big break. He has a 0 chance of beating Nadal in a final but has a real shot at Djokovic. And also, both Nadal and Djoko can injured themselves in this potential semis, not junixing them but asofmnow Nadal’s knee didn’t bother him for more 39 matches in 3 months. Anything can happen and that’s why they olay the game. With this draw I wouldn’t be surprised if Fed win this year RG. Right now he is the third favorite, bejind Djoko and Nadal

Djoko also would prefer to olay Nadal in semis than finals. This draw is perfect for him because if he beats Nadal he may not even have to face Fed in semis as Berdy or Ferrer (not likelly due to HxH) can ipset Federer.

For Nadal, well he will have to beat Djoko in the semis and re afirm his status after he deliver Madrid and Rome. He is on a 15 match winning streak and not winning RG after all this great preparation would be a disaster. His ranking will drop and could jeopardize his Wimby chances as well.


James Says:

Novak Djokovic likely to meet:
R1: Goffin; R2: Dodig; R3: Dimitrov; R4: Kohlschreiber; Q: Tiparevic; SF: Nadal; F: Federer

Rafa Nadal likely to meet :
R1: Brands; R2: Klizan; R3: Paire; R4: Nishikori; Q: Gasquet; SF: Djokovic; F: Federer


Daniel Says:

Last time Nadal wasn’t in a RG final Federer was the winner. So, in this situation anything can happen…


Daniel Says:

James,

I would take Topsarevic out. He hasn’t delivered his seeding in any tourne this year, and this is clay. I can bet he won’t be there in Quarters. But now that I saw his section, there isn’t anybody;-)


Brando Says:

Re Federer winning: Extremely unlikey. If Rafa faces him then we know the tale there. If Novak faces him after beating Rafa is he really going to slip up against a player he battered at FO last year and has beat him very often since 2011- very unlikely. The question is: will Federer even get to the finals? Not certain at all. Since the start of this year he has ONLY 1 win v a top 10 player and that too was a 5 set match v Tsonga. Hardly a encouraging stat at all. Ferrer pushed Rafa at Madrid and Rome he could push Fed here also IMO, and if Fed faces Tsonga or Berdych then he could be in real trouble.


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer has been given an easy draw and could be easily be relaxing 2 weeks from now as Djokovic and Nadal slug it out in an extremely physical semifinal. Extremely unlikely that a guy who’s made the finals of Roland Garros 5 times win the whole thing? Far from it. Given the draw, Federer’s chances have increased dramatically. He’s still the third favorite. Tsonga has not been playing well, he’s not someone to worry about. Berdych is a threat, but Federer is a better clay court player. And Berdych beating Federer in a slam semi is very different from beating him in a quarter. Plus, Berdych won’t beat Ferrer. And Ferrer pushing Nadal has nothing to do with anything. He’s not beating Federer.

He has a dream draw to the finals. If it’s Nadal, he won’t win. But he could beat Djokovic.


Ahsan Najeeb Says:

This is a kind of draw which no fans should really complain about… Each of the top 3 gets easy path to semis… Whether they will make it there is another story… I agree with Brando that Roger is the most vulnerable of all… He has lately been fragile mentally as well.. 2013 version of Fed is not the one who would come back from a 2 set deficit to win a match… He is normally a good starter but I wonder if things don’t go his way in the beginning of a match, he will have it in him to make a comeback…


Steve 27 Says:

Ferrer will be finalist. Nobody defeat Ferru 15 times in a row!


Robert Says:

I love to see a French player to win this FO, although it would be a tough battle, but not impossble….

Cmon Gasquet, Tsonga, Simon and Monfils….

Cmon Boys!


tennis x hippy chic Says:

I dont think its the end of the world if Rafa does not win the FO this year,all runs come to an end eventually anyway,and i dont think its detrimental or spells the end of his career either,although i will be ready for the haters to be writing the obituaries if he doesnt.


Krishna Says:

Hi jamie:

Who does your astrologer think will win the French Open?


Michael Says:

Although many give Roger a chance, I do not think he can do it. His best days are behind him and although he has a relatively easy draw, yet it would be tough for him to make the finals. I would be happy if he just maintains that quarter final streak.


tennis x hippy chic Says:

Krisha im not Jamie,but each time we reach a new GS,his pyschic friend predicts a victory for Novak,Novak will win the FO,Wimbledon,USO ETC ETC,same pattern everytime,Novak will win upto 25 GS,Jamie is a Novak fan and his pyschic friend tells him exactly what he wants to hear,im guessing your a Novak fan so you will be delighted,whatever happens enjoy the tournament.


Krishna Says:

Haha I am a Federer fan actually :) .


jane Says:

tennis x hippy chic, actually Jamie often predicts other winners for the slams, to be fair. He has predicted Rafa winning the FO initially. He also predicted Murray to win Wimbledon and Delpo or Nole to win the FO. In addition, Jamie has stated at tennis x that he is a Murray fan.

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