Rafael Nadal: Playing Against Djokovic Is The Worst Thing That Can Happen To Me
by Tom Gainey | March 31st, 2014, 9:58 am

Rafael Nadal’s struggled continued against Novak Djokovic on Sunday, losing to the Serb 63, 63 in the Miami Sony Open final.

Nadal, who’s now a 4-time runner-up at the event, has lost three straight to Djokovic and falls to 7-14 in their hardcourt head-to-head.

Rafa said Djokovic takes control very early in the points, and from there it’s tough for him to gain an advantage.

“He was able to find the right spot, the right position that was able to be in negative positions too early in the point,” Nadal said. “Today I felt that he played great, but I feel that he doesn’t need to hit a great shot to be an advantage on the point.

“So playing against him is the worst thing that can happen for me, because in general, talking about the first two shots, he has a better return than my one, he has a better serve than my one in this surface, especially.

“And the things that I can be same level than him or better than him is when the point, when the rally is going and when the point is becoming intense, and I was able to hit maybe with a little bit high intensity sometime as I did last year in the US Open or in Canada.

“Was not that day, you know. On the rally points I feel I was in tough conditions, in negative conditions, and this is impossible to play against him when you have that feeling.”

Nadal still will go into the clay season full of confidence after a good first three months of the season.

“Having a great start of the season for me, always the final of Australian Open change a little bit everything,” Nadal said. “But for the rest, knowing that after Australia I had my problem in the back for a while, and I played Rio with not my 100% conditions, and I arrived Indian Wells so‑so because I didn’t serve for a long time before Indian Wells, so in general I did a good start of the season, no? Winning two tournaments, playing Grand Slam final, Masters 1000 final.”

“Is great I am in the top of the race arriving to the clay court season,” he said. “That’s positive for me, but at the end now we start the clay court season, and I need to be my 100% to make a little bit the difference there, no, to try to be aggressive, to try to move myself very well on clay, and to try to find the best feeling possible as soon as possible.”

Nadal will once again had to defend a bunch of ranking points. Last year he reached the Monte Carlo final then won Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and then the French Open.

Rafa’s won 28 straight matches on clay since losing to Djokovic in the 2013 Monte Carlo final.

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178 Comments for Rafael Nadal: Playing Against Djokovic Is The Worst Thing That Can Happen To Me

TennisVagabond.com Says:

In my opinion he has a better serve than Novak, or at least second serve.

Giles Says:

It was a bad day at the office for Rafa, that’s all. Some you win and some you lose. Bring on the CC season.
Vamos Champ!

Hippy Chic Says:

Dont let him shatter your confidence Rafa,Nole was the better player on the day,and the worthy winner dont get me wrong,but put it into perspective its only one match,rivalries swing one way or another and ATM he has the momentum,but it can all swing back in your favour at some point too,so put it behind you and move on,hes not unbeatable you did it last year,and you can do it again this year,do your best and work hard,your fans are with you no matter what happens,best of luck for the CC season..

Giles Says:

The good thing about Rafa is he doesn’t dwell on losses or adversities. He just moves on. He knows sport better than most.

Patson Says:

Rafa knows and acknowledges that Nole has a superior game between the two. It seems very much like the repeat of 2011. For Rafa to successfully defend his French open title, it will be imperative for him to beat Nole atleast once before the French open. If that doesn’t happen, and if they run into each other in the French open final … that would be Advantage Nole.

Personally, I think Nole is very motivated to win the French open this year. He didn’t win the Aussie open but he might win the French.

Either way, they’re both the best players on the tour right now.

Giles Says:

Quiz time – How many times has joker reached the French Open final? Once!!

DedicatedRafaFan Says:

So terribly gutted Rafa lost….I noticed with Istomin..he played inside the court attacking more at the net..where on Sunday he stayed back..seems to.me he was tired and was playing basic tennis hoping on Nole’s errors.. to eventually win the match…it has to be a sleepless night or bad food or something… the start of gastroenteritis (from Berdych)…Let’s just hope he’s 100% for F.Open

Okiegal Says:


I wanted to see Rafa play like he did against Istomin. He was on fire that night making unbelievable shots. The fire was just not there Sunday. Better luck to our guy during CC season, hopefully he’ll have a chance then!

Slice Tennis Says:

Vamos Rafa.
After being outplayed by a better player just accept the reality and work on his game.
Way to go.

skeezer Says:


Agree when Rafa decides to play by the baseline more (more aggressive) posture he does well. He looked at times like he forgot what surface he was playing on when returning serve.

DC Says:

Rafa seems to be in the same position Fed was in 2008/2009. Playing at the highest level at times, but faltering every now & then.
He hasn’t played well this year. Lost thrice to Nole since USO 2013. Lost to Doglo & Wawa since the AO open.

Rafa will turn 28 this year, the same age Fed was in 2009.

Rafas run in 2013 may be compared to Feds in 2009/early 2010 (FO 2009, Wimby 2009 & Ao 2011)

Maybe Rafa has one more great run left in him, similar to Feds 2012. Fed didnt capitalize on his great form and won only one slam. Lets see how well Rafa does going forward.

Hippy Chic Says:

DC agree he is by the law of averages reaching that point in his career now,you actually saw Nole and Andy blowing hot and cold last year too,and Stan is no spring chicken,and at a late stage in his tennis career to be winning his 1st GS at the age of 28,they all IMO need to make hay now as they too(Novak and Andy) will turn 28 next year, or the chances might pass them by,as young players are now begining to make some noise too,although time will tell i suppose..

metan Says:

OK RAFA, take the lost as vitamin C and get better for next tour. No pain no gain and don’t ever let yourself become roger 2.
Vamos, Rafa

Skeezer Says:

Whats wrong with Roger 2?

metan Says:

@skeezer, the head gets stuck in the box.😄
I want good match, no.

skeezer Says:

Feds game has never been “stuck in a box”. His creative shotmaking skills in his career has proven that. If anything, Rafa’s game is clearly “Stuck in a box”.
And obviously he does it well (except for Nole…hehe, oh wait Wawa…oh wait… Rosol….and Dog..and on and on).
However, if you like predictable tennis (ie; run around FH, then hit to BH. Also, always serve to BH to get you a FH ), then …..to each there own. Creativity and variety? Seriously?
I am suspect you like more than his “type/style” of tennis but more about his “looks” and personality, no? Its all good if you are owning up to that ;)

A Tango Lad Says:

No, that is simply incorrect.

Roger has never been able to adjust to overcome Nadal the way Nadal and Djokovic take turns with mini-streaks, Nadal prior to 2011, Djokovic in 2011, Nadal in 2013 and now back to Djokovic perhaps over the last six months.

Some are Roger blind it seems.

Learn to be more objective and you will enjoy the game a bit more. Perhaps spend a bit more time on the court than in front of the computer.

A Tango Lad Says:

As much as I like Roger, Fedal was never really a true rivalry, not the way the Top 2 are today I’m afraid.

skeezer Says:

U talkin to me?
“Roger has never been able to adjust to overcome Nadal ….”
Did I say that? No. Be careful what you imply. Regardless, Fed, when spot on, has handled Nadull.
Its not like he hasn’t afdjusted nor defeated him, in fact, given him a bagel in a final and has 10 wins. Even though the Nadull fans clImed. “Owned”. Be carefull. With that also, as we. All know its about matchups, and atm. Nole is a bad matchup for Rafa( losing to Nole an all time record of 7 finals in a row ).

Question ATL, you a closet Rafa fan? You’re sure talkin like it.

skeezer Says:

Just be thankful your boy toy is in the Clay season, he SHOULD dominate, and expected to DOMINATE. Anything else is a failure to his legacy of course.

roy Says:

rafa serves to roger’s backhand all the time because it’s a weak shot and a serious flaw.
this tactic neutralizes federer’s return.
if it wasn’t a crap backhand, rafa wouldn’t/couldn’t do it.

roger fans want rafa to essentially ‘be creative’ on the serve at his own disadvantage. incredibly ridiculous.
in sport if somebody has a weakness you don’t help them cover it just for ‘variety’.

does nadal serve backhand all the time with djoker, murray? did he do it with nalbandian. davydenko? no, because they don’t have backhand flaws. their backhand prowess changes nadal’s tactics.

as for the FH to fed BH, this pathetic ‘cheat’ accusation just won’t go away.

the most common shot will always be cross forehand and lefty to a righty it will go to their backhand. that’s just how it lines up.

also federer runs around his backhand no less than nadal which means he can meet the forehand with a forehand.

he also hits most of his forehands into nadal’s backhand corner given most of his forehands are cross. the difference is that nadal has a better backhand.

federer has a backhand weakness. nadal exposed him (but wasn’t the first, hewitt and nalbandian did early on). federer has compensated with the rest of his game generally speaking. but against nadal he can’t get away with it. end of story.

skeezer Says:

“if it wasn’t a crap backhand, rafa wouldn’t/couldn’t do it”
Ask Murray at the last AO Grand Slam Final Fed that had won. Fed tuned him repeatedly with his “supposed” crap BH. LMAO.
Why don’t you tell the tennis fan crowd the last time Rafa won a tennis match with his BH? Lol.

Hippy Chic Says:

Rafas won 5 GS off clay,usually thats considered good enough for any player,and its almost as many as Noles won so far in his whole career,its good enough for Nole so why not Rafa?hmmm..

Hippy Chic Says:

^Also if clay is such an inferior surface,then why is Nole so desperate to win the FO?however i doubt it will be regarded as so inferior should he suceed in doing so,but whatever..

Michael Says:

It is a frank and candid admission by Rafa that if there is any player he fears in the Tennis circuit profusely today, it is only Novak. The H2H speaks for itself. There are only two players who were able to win against Rafa 10 times or more and it is only Novak who has managed a record 18 times and that speaks volumes about the incredible capabilities of Novak. The lead Rafa still has over Novak in H2H mainly stems from his impressive clay court dominance in the past. But worryingly for Rafa, even on clay court, Novak is finding answers against him. It is Rafa who is compelled to change his strategy, game plan etc. when he plays against Novak and that prods him to commit lot of UEs he rarely commits against other players. He seems to be under tremendous pressure on the court and his lethal forehand cross court shots which are sure winners against other opponents is easily being manoeuvred by Novak who counter punches with his own double handed backhand. I would say that one of the biggest achievements of Novak in his career is his performance against the indomitable Rafa and many of the major tournaments he has won are priceless considering that he had to beat Rafa in the final most of the times. All said and done, Rafa would be happy going into his favourite clay court season but even here his only worry would be Novak. I am anticipating a path breaker at Rolland Garros with a new Champion. By this, I hold no disregard for Rafa. What I am hoping is that eventually Novak would achieve the Grand Slam by winning all the four major titles and he needs that.

Hippy Chic Says:

Michael Rafa has won the title 8 times,so whats he got to proove?i feel Novaks all of a sudden new domination might come to an end when Andy and Stan who IMO have another level to go up,and i really hope Rafa doesnt allow this to shatter his confidence,and goes back to what he did well last year against Novak especially on the HCs,a year of competition is what i wish for not a year of one player dominating,but by the law of averages alone Rafa aint gonna win the FO forever,could be Novaks year?could be someone elses?nothing lasts forever?at the moment its advantage Novak,will it last who knows?

Hippy Chic Says:

Rafa has also beaten Novak twice on HCs last year and once on clay,so it gets annoying when people say he cannot beat his rival on his best surface or Novaks best surface,they are evenly matched otherwise why even call it a rivalry?

Bad Knee Rules Says:

^^You really can’t stand Novak, can you?
No offence to you and lovely Rafa fans;)

Hippy Chic Says:

BKR dont judge people by your own standards,i have nothing against Nole,i think hes a nice guy,and an amazing player,i have been here almost 3 years and you would only have to look over old threads and posts to see that,and the heads up i have always given him and his fans,i just think that the other players have another level to go up as yet,do your not understand objectivity,context or perspective?and BTW i dont bring hate into sport as theres enough of that going on in the real world sadly,but you wouldnt understand that as your posts seem built on sarcasm..

Hippy Chic Says:

^BTW look on the other thread,and see how i defended Novak about that sick war child comment,and asked for the moderators to remove it,now why would i do that if i hated the guy so much?^

Hippy Chic Says:

I actually get called out by fellow Rafa fans because i dont belittle Roger or Noles achievements,they sometimes question whether or not im a proper Rafa fan,as i defend both those players,and also because i dont believe Rafas perfect either,yeah im such a hater,but whatever..

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m curious as to how Federer is supposed to adjust to the high backhand. He’s a pretty smart player and has had some great coaches over the last 10 years or so but no one’s been able to provide an answer? Why is that? Federer’s backhand isn’t a weakness itself. He has a great backhand. One of the best probably, considering his many slams he’s been able to win with it. We’ve seen what happens when Federer is hitting well and the bounce is low. He can not only beat Nadal but beat him comprehensively.

The other problem is that Nadal devours slices like it’s no body’s business. Even though Federer has one of the best slices out there, it just doesn’t do enough damage, especially on slow, high bouncing courts.

Compare that to Djokovic. Nadal’s high bouncing forehand almost makes Djokovic giddy. It’s like Nadal is saying “here, Novak, tee-off as you wish” and when Djokovic is playing well, that’s exactly what he does. Djokovic also doesn’t have the best slice so he rarely hits it which actually helps him against Nadal.

It’s a game of match ups. It’s really quite simple. Nadal doesn’t have to play his best to beat Federer. His go to strategy (clearly) works more often than not. And because of Federer’s poor form/fitness over the past few years, he’s not been able to get more than a single win. To say it was never a true rivalry is, I don’t know the word, but it’s not true. Nadal always held the edge but there were times when it went back and forth. There was a stretch where Federer was winning a few more than he was losing. But as time went on, Nadal just ran away. Now it’s not much of a rivalry.

And with the Djokovic and Nadal, well that’s just great stuff. But since 2011, it has rested on Djokovic’s racquet nearly every time. And before then, it was on his racquet at least on hard courts. Just look at last year. It took Nadal’s best to barely beat Djokovic all 3 times when Djokovic was playing so-so. And when Djokovic was on song, he won in straight sets. But Nadal is still fit and battle ready so he can adjust. But he also can’t always be returning from the baseline. So we’ll see what adjustments he makes going forward.

A Tango Lad Says:

Some so called Roger fans should look in the mirror to see who are really the closet fans obsessed with Nadal.

I really couldn’t give a monkey’s whether people believe I’m Roger’s fan or not. Quite laughable really.

Even Michael now chiming in about what ifs tennis wasn’t played on clay. Et tu, Michael?

Roger’s accomplishments and legacy stand amongst the very best in history.

I don’t need to have a hate on for his greatest rival to be a “fan”. No, quite conversely, that would make me a fanatic.

Nice try though but you’ll need to try harder.

A Tango Lad Says:

Someone with the moniker Bad Knee Rules accuses others of hating another player doesn’t exactly have a leg (or perhaps a knee in this case) to stand on now does he.

Michael Says:


Agree, Rafa has nothing to prove in Rolland Garros or being the GREATEST Clay court player. I just feel that Rolland Garros needs a breathe of fresh air, a new Champion and that is possible only through Novak. I do not think Andy or Wawarinka have the wherewithal to beat Rafa on Clay ? Only one player could do it and it is Novak. Well as you rightly said, Rafa can by no means belittled just because he lost to Novak in straight sets this time around. It all happens in Tennis. It is not that Rafa has not beat Novak on hard courts. He has done that in Indian Wells as well as the US Open recently. That being said, the advantage lies with Novak when these players meet on hard courts and that is testified by the H2H which stands at 15-7. Rafa ofcourse enjoys supremacy on clay courts and with the honours on grass courts being even. Last but not the least, I just appreciate the modesty of Rafa and how he is not afraid to even belittle himself to praise his opponent and that is a startling quality which he should be proud of. Remember, Rafa and Novak are the best friends on circuit.

Michael Says:

Tango Lad,

Do not mistake me. I never feel clay courts are not important in Tennis. I never said that in the first place and so please do not put words into my mouth. All that I said was that Rafa managed that massive lead initially with his clay court dominance over Novak in early years. So, do not infer too much from it. Clay court or hard court or grass court – a win is a win and nobody can belittle it. I for one feel that Clay court is the natural Tennis surface. That being said, Rafa is still ahead in H2H over Novak. But, analytically, if you wish to segregate that by the nature of courts, then we can say that in hard courts, Novak has the edge.

Hippy Chic Says:

Michael yeah alright fair enough,and im not a hater despite what some might say,anyway time will tell if its an even rivalry,or a one sided one like it was in 2011,this might be Novaks year on clay i dont know?but unlike some i dont think not winning the FO means its detrimental to Rafas season or that he will go into a decline because of it,but i still believe even though its not Stans or Andys best surface they will be back playing better come the GC season,and hopefully Rafa will put in a better showing there than he did the last couple of years,as for Rafa and Novak been best buddies i dont know if theres much truth in that,especially if you go by what Novaks dad said last year??

Alexandra Says:

What Rafa said is not really a surprise. Everybody knows how tough Djokovic is for him. But their rivalry does not have Fedal proportions. Theirs is pretty even to this day. Novak hasn’t beaten Rafa twice as much. Novak is favoured on hardcourts and Rafa on clay but they are both good enough to win on the “other” surface. Also, their rivalry always goes in patches.
If Djokovic wins RG one day, which I think he will but hopefully not yet what else is there to speculate? I see no one around to get the career slam.

El_Flaco Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
The other problem is that Nadal devours slices like it’s no body’s business. Even though Federer has one of the best slices out there, it just doesn’t do enough damage, especially on slow, high bouncing courts.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
That is a big problem for Federer against Nadal. Not only does Nadal devour slices, but Federer has to hit them against Nadal from a high contact point which means the slice won’t be as low. Nadal is also obsessed(and rightly so) with running around his backhand to hit forehands so it is very difficult to find his backhand with a slice.

Against Djokovic Fed has a lower contact point and can slice the backhand low cross court to at least stay neutral in the rally sometimes going from defense back to neutral. There is not much Djokovic can do on his backhand with a low cross court slice. Also, Djokovic does not run around his backhand to punish slices to the same degree as Nadal.

A Tango Lad Says:

Well of course there is no such thing as an “important” surface. Simply ludicrous. If one was to discuss the importance of surface type then one could easily point out that hard court is a somewhat recent invention only introduced due to commercial considerations of cost and that the best players in history for the most part are themselves well rounded on clay.

Just goes to show how little some know about the game who claim otherwise.

Nadal has the clear advantage on clay and Djokovic has the advantage on hard. No rocket science or in depth tennis analysis needed. The numbers speak for themselves.

That said. Nadal has more hard court majors than Roger and Djokovic have on clay combined.

Also, how do you make the blanket absolute statement that only Djokovic can beat Nadal at Roland Garros when Soderling man handled him there. Really.

Okiegal Says:

I watched last year’s USO again last night. I cannot figure out how come Rafa didn’t play Novak in Miami like he did in New York. Rafa owned him in that match. I guess Novak had a bad night, however. Rafa’s level at Miami was miles below his level in New York. What gives?? I just find it hard to believe a particular hard court makes the difference……now I do realize how clay could. The biggest criticism Rafa gets from the commentators is playing too far back off the baseline and not able to take the ball early. Why doesn’t he change that? Shouldn’t Tony have figured that out by now?? The Rafa/Novak rivalry is the one that gets top billing at the present, but am looking for Andy to be back in top form and Stan to get back in his Oz groove. On to clay!!

Sean Randall Says:

ATL, says the guy who said unequivocally that “Miami is faster than IW”.

Just goes to show how little some know about the game who claim otherwise.

A Tango Lad Says:

Okie, it really comes down to who plays better on the day with a few key points making the difference in momentum between these two greats regardless of the surface.

It is rare to see both players contesting at their respective peak levels because when one peaks and begins to dominate, the other tends to drop somewhat.

They were both at their highest levels for pretty much all of the Australian final in 2012 and certainly in the 5th set at last year’s French. Quite exhilarating.

Because of the ebbs and flows with this rivalry, I consider it to be the best ever as each man ratchets up his game to find solutions to the other.

Okiegal Says:


Yeah, it was only grass and clay in the beginning. I have always loved both of those surfaces. Ahhh, the gentleman’s game on grass and the beast’ s game on dirt!! Lol

A Tango Lad Says:

I provided the link to the analysis that bore this out Sean. I was just the messenger trying to defend the poor poster who was attacked for making that statement for his lack of knowledge.

What part of this analysis did you not understand or find fault with or did you simply not bother.

A Tango Lad Says:

Also Sean I would respectfully request that you not put words in my mouth as I don’t recall saying unequivocally as you have so erroneously quoted me.

Daniel Says:

If we break the season after US Open, (last 6 months)Djokovic had won 6 out of his last 8 tourneys including last 4 Masters and Masters Cup. The way he is playing and winning titles, he targets of being number after US Open 2014 or before. He can very well be #1 again before Wimbledon depending on his and Nadal clay results. HE lost only twice in this spam, to Roger and Stan but he beat them all more than once in this spam as well. He have beaten all his fellow nemesis (Nadal, Fed, Murray and Wawa). And unless Nadal has another stellar clay season, Djokovic will most likely be #1 somepoint in North America HC swing. Hardly see Nadal dominating there again and even tough he has points to gain in Wimbledon I think will not be enough.
Let’s see who will spoil the party between Djokovic and Nadal in this clay season but I think we’ll see them play final in 2 of the next 3 Masters.

Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic needs to win slams.

Sean Randall Says:

ATL, oh sorry, somehow I had you and that “poor poster” confused as the same! How could I have done that?

Okiegal Says:


Yeah, it does get down to who has the edge on a particular day. I’ve said these two are so equally talented sometimes it’s a toss up on predicting a winner. But Rafa way outplayed Novak at USO last year……and dang it, that’s the way I want him to play Novak all the time.

I don’t think it’s necessary to have animosity toward the other players….I think we should appreciate what all of these talented players bring to our favorite sport. The juvenile schoolyard bickering back and forth is so childish imo…..and it never goes away!!

Daniel Says:

There was a point in their rivalry where Nadal was leading 14-4 and now is leading 22-18, that is a 14-8 overlap Djokovic did with 4 of those 8 Nadal wins coming of on Clay. IF you can’t see the trend one has to be blind.

Their matches are only even or decide on a few points when Djokovic is playing as Ben pointed, so-so. When Djokovic is on is on his racquet. The thing is Djokovic can beat Nadal easy this days while the contrary can’t be said. The last time NAdla beat Djokovic confortably was MC 2012 and although I don’t like to pay escuses Djoko was a question mark to play and his dealing with his grandfather death. C’mon if you think this doesn’t affect one’s game.

Djokovic does to Nadal what Nadal did to Federer, prevent him from playing his game and Nadal’s main weapons doesn’t hurt Djokovi, the same way with Fed and Nadal. What happen is also that Djokovic took to much beating on clay to have a positive HxH already and he lost 1 US Open final to Nadal he shouldn’t (all merit to Nadal here who was playing phenomenon in UO 2013). Also, after that 14-4 in 2009, Nadal leads 4-3 in last clay encounters losing all 3 masters final (2011 Rome, Madrid and 2013 MC), to me it is a matter of time until Djokovic gets 1 in RG. The moment Djokovic tied HxH on clay with his superior HxH on HC he will get closer.

This Clay season is interesting, because last year some got the sense Djokovic was satisfied with MC and didn’t have enough intensity for Madrid and Rome and would go all out in RG> it didn’t work. This year he may either avoid Rafa again or go all out and try to get as many wins on clay as possible, as he did in 2011. They will both play the 3 Masters pre RG, lets see if someone else will have something to say, especially in Madrid, where Fed was able to win 2 of the last 5 on clay.

Daniel Says:

The fist set is also critical for Djoko. After IW and Miami 2011 when he won after losing first set, all other matches against Nadal that he won first set he win the match. It is as if he gets calm and knows he will win. If he loses first set, he can still fight, but eventually loses the match.
Usually Nadal comes fire on all cylinders against him early in their matches. If Djokovic is able to hold, Nadal start guessing and falter.

Okiegal Says:


I agree that family events like a death can have a lot to do with the way one might perform. Rafa was in a bad state when his Mom and Dad got a divorce. He was devastated and his tennis during that particular time suffered, if I’m not mistaken. He was ridiculed severely for making a comment that he was having personal problems……and yes I’m aware that he’d lost match. I felt like his heart wasn’t in it and also Novak’s wasn’t either when he lost during the time of his Grandfather’s death.

mat4 Says:

Just passing by. I guess this post could be a post too much.


I use to rewatch important matches a few times (except the WB 2013 final, too much for me ;-)), to have a clear vision of what really happened. As a Novak fan, I carefully watch all his matches against Rafa and Murray a few times (his matches against Roger are a mess most of the time, since they don’t like to play each other), and I don’t agree with the following assessments:

1. Rafa didn’t play well.

But he played well, not only well, but tremendously well. Until the break at 2-3, I thought he would eat Novak for breakfast. He was serving well, his FH was unstoppable, he demonstrated and improved BH (now the slice), and he was very focused. He played the whole tournament in style, losing just one service game, and his form rose from match to match.

2. He changed his overall strategy from New York.

No, he didn’t. Novak did, and he did it in Paris. How many times was Rafa able to run to his right and play an IO FH? Since the middle of the first set, not very often. The point is that Novak was changing the direction of the ball from shot to shot, and he made Rafa hit his shots on the run. Despite this, Rafa’s FH was ominous, but he lacked angle, and Novak manage to defend most of the time. And to hit an efficient BH CC, Rafa has to be on the ball and to step in: he couldn’t do it most of the time because he had to run for the ball.

Then, Novak played his FH with a lot of spin (the racquet finishes over his head, not on the left shoulder), using himself the very high rebound: it doesn’t make things easier.

3. Rafa can react.

How? He needed two years to efficiently counter Novak’s previous gameplan, and he finally did it in the summer of 2014. He had to dramatically improve his BH CC and his FH DTL. But for the new way Novak is playing against him, he would have to lose 10 pounds and have healthier knees.

From match to match, Novak is more and more convincing against Rafa. He beat him in Beijing on a fast hard court (speed 4), than in Paris and London on a middle pace court (3), now in Miami on a slow court. Rafa had already 5 months to react. He changed nothing.

Then, Novak has improved his serve, his volley, his FH, and is clearly in a better form than he was at the USO, where he looked completely out of shape. Despite this, he had the match in his grasp in the third set, and I still don’t understand why Rafa wasn’t notified that he took more than 40 seconds between serves. It was obvious gamesmanship: he didn’t need rest between serves, just to focus and take Novak out of his returning rhythm.

If Novak finds his A game for the FO and make it to the final (because it is not given), the match will be on his racquet.

SG1 Says:

I do love it when folks say that a guy with 17 majors has a lousy backhand. Hysterical stuff. Keep it up. If nothing else, it makes me laugh my $%s off.

madmax Says:

Federer’s backhand is brilliant. One of the best. Or was. Whichever way you want to look at it?

Always makes me smile when he gets slated in this way. Why?

nadalista Says:

@mat4, for your sake, I hope Novak wins RG at some point, I really do!

Vamos Rafa!

nadalista Says:

……I mean, with ALL the improvements he has made (according to YOU) against ZERO improvements by Rafa, it would be bad if Novak does not beat this mediocre Rafa….ehm, soonish, no?



Giles Says:

@nadalista. It’s OK he’s just trying to convince himself any which way he can. You know who I mean.

Daniel Says:

SG1, madmax,

That is the problem with roy. Occasionally he writes a decent insight on tennis but then he unleashes a gem like this one and lost total credibility and embarrass himself. Se la vie:-)

Ben Pronin Says:

“But he played well, not only well, but tremendously well. Until the break at 2-3, I thought he would eat Novak for breakfast.”

I thought this, too. And then Djokovic broke and really did seem to break Nadal’s spirit. Or something.

nadalista Says:

I know @Giles. Notice how he only makes an appearance after a Djokovic win over Rafa?

“He needed two years to efficiently counter Novak’s previous gameplan, and he finally did it in the summer of 2014. ”

Oh dear, the Miami win adrenalin rush is still whirling in your head, eh @mat4? Summer 2014 hasn’t happened yet, sorry. Or maybe it’s the troll-juice?

Let’s see: this inefficient Rafa, who has not evolved one aorta since 2011 (sigh, will you people ever let go of 2011?) has won how many Slams since 2011? I’ll tell you: 3. How many Slams has Novak won since the vaunted 2011? *Cough* 2. And this same superior Novak was beaten by an un-improved Rafa at USOpen 2013, on Novak’s favourite surface. Hmmm. And of course the net-cord conspired against a superior Novak at RG 2013 otherwise………

Maybe your point is Novak has vastly improved at the Minors and Rafa is better at the Majors? Of which you would be right, of course.

madmax Says:

Nadalista, why do you have to be so scathing? Mat4 is entitled to his opinion, as is everyone else here on this site. Obviously you still upset over Rafa’s loss. Get over it. He will win many more tournaments in his life time. You win some, you lose some.

nadalista Says:

@madmax, stay in your lane, do not encrouch in mine. Unless you are @mat4’s voice? Get over yourself, and stick to pondering Fed’s decline. You are not the moderator on this site.

Me still upset over Rafa’s loss? Ah, glad you care………

Clearly you do not think I have a right to air my opinion, but @mat4 has. I wonder why?

Translated Age Says:

No, Nole played at a very high level against Rafa at FO last year and lost in five.

Would have lost in four if Rafa didn’t tighten up when serving for it (in other words, as always at the French, on HIS racquet.

So many fedvak fans wishing and hoping.

Translated Age Says:

Yes nadalista, you should be more like madmax.

nadalista Says:

@ATL, hahaha, indeed! The horror………….

Some of these characters are way too funny….

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m pretty sure mat4 meant 2013 in which case he made it pretty clear that Nadal did, in fact, come up with adjustments by that time. Although I don’t really agree that it was this long because he had an easier time in the matches in 2012 but it doesn’t matter.

James Says:

Djokovic was brilliant in the Miami final against Nadal. And Nadal’s slow movement also made the Serb look even better. I watched that final again and I thought Nadal was moving slower than Berdych.
This is something he needs to work on quickly. He needs to work hard and practice more.
Hope to see him play his best in the clay season.

nadalista Says:

“I’m pretty sure mat4 meant 2013 ……”

You bet? Of course, he did, duh! If you’re gonna come on here trying to convince people with some pretty lame arguments to begin with, getting basic facts wrong ain’t gonna help your case, is it?

Translated Age Says:

Nole played great and for whatever reason, Nadal couldn’t find his range either leaving the ball short or hittin beyond the baseline.

I noticed this well before the break in the first set.

No, Rafa’s problems are still in his head right now which means all is still on his racquet, particularly on clay which is the bestest, most importantest surfrace in the history of the game for sure, no?

Ben Pronin Says:

“He needs to work hard and practice more.”

Strange to assume that Nadal doesn’t work hard or practice enough. Even stranger to think that practicing more will make him faster. Nadal’s been slowing down for quite some time now. He has stretches where he moves incredibly well but he’s done well to compensate for his decreased speed by being more aggressive, particularly with the forehand.

Against, Djokovic he looked slow because Djokovic made him look slow. Contrary to outrageous belief, Djokovic was hammering the ball. Nadal was very far behind the baseline. And as I said after the Raonic match, Nadal isn’t hitting his backhand that great. The forehand is there, but the backhand is ok. And that’s never going to beat Djokovic when he’s playing so well.

pigoonse Says:

The 2014 was a typo, no doubt; an error. Reading it I was momentarily stumped but realized he was meaning 2012 or 2013. Not sure which one.

But the scathing response is what to expect here.

Also noticed the poster made her own typo, I think, which made me laugh. She uses “aorta” for iota. Or maybe she did mean …”has not evolved one aorta…”

nadalista Says:

So sorry, @TA, for mistaking you for @ATL in my post of 3:05 pm.

Poor @ATL, that’s surely damned him as a convert to the dark side!

pigoonse Says:

It is a refreshing change from the usual Fedal War circular debates.

The Djokovic – Nadal rivalry could get very bitter and scathing on these boards very soon.

nadalista Says:

@pigoonse, well played! Can’t leave @mat4 having all the typo fun, can we? Tee hehehe…..

Translated Age Says:

Practise. We talkin’ ’bout practise. Practise.

Yes but Ben, Boom Boom will be back soon, no?

C’monnnn Boom Boom, heal those hips, we love you man! We need Uncle Vajda to go home now.

Rafa looks soooo old, slow and creaky with bad head, shoulders, knees and toes and Novak is firing on aaaallll cylinders like 2011.

All for a lousy 95 point lead in the Race? That’s it? And we haven’t even started King of Clay season.

But wait, clay season is on Nole’s racquet just like last season, and the year before, and the year before and the year before.

Been there, done that. Shammon.

Giles Says:

Joker has only ever reached ONE FO final, no?

Okiegal Says:


Are you filling in for Colin on being the “Proper English” police? You better back off……leave that up to Colin.! LOL I get amused at people correcting a wrong use of a word etc. What’s funny…..everyone knows what the poster is trying to say…..aorta….maybe everything Nadalista was saying was coming from her heart! Lol

pigoonse Says:

Okiegal, I can try but to fill in for Colin. But I don’t think so!

Ben Pronin Says:

TA, in the infamous words of Nadalista, it’s one way traffic now ;)

Giles Says:

So, there is one misspelling in a post and we have sub-par comments from some. They should re-read their own posts before commenting.

Translated Age Says:

Ben, I believe that’s what they all said after Nole had that great start in 2011 heading into the French but the finger wagger stopped him.

In 2012, Nole set the French as his main goal for the year and so many bought into it.

In 2013, Rafa was gonna lose to Nole for sure after missing seven months.

Fourth time lucky? :)

Third time lucky?

Maestro Fed Says:

The finger wagger could very well play spoilsport for the Nadal – Novak clay war this year.
He is back in form after his struggles last year.

Ben Pronin Says:

TA, I don’t care what Novak set as his goal and I don’t care what was said in 2011. I don’t get what you’re trying to say. Are you telling me I shouldn’t root for Djokovic?

Tignor just wrote this:
“In tennis, my argument in favor of upsets starts with the (dubious) concept of, as you call it, the “better player.” All players are obviously not created equal, but when two top pros face off, there’s no such thing as a “better player” in the absolute sense. There’s only a winner and a loser of that particular match; or, as the pros like to say, there’s only someone who is “the better player on the day.” Over time, by looking at the results of many matches, we can determine who had the better career. But that doesn’t mean anyone is supposed to win any match. As the commentators like to say, “That’s why they play the game.” It’s the ultimate cliché, but it’s a worthy one. All any can match determine is a winner and a loser, not a better and a worse. Next week there will be a new match, and a new winner and loser.”

I don’t care if Nadal has won the past 40 French Opens. Nothing is set in stone. Brando was up in arms about Djokovic’s easy draw in Australia and was ready to hand him the trophy but we know how that played out. Unless Nadal is going to Paris with a broken leg, he’s going to be the favorite. But does that mean I can’t root for someone else to win?

Okiegal Says:


Yes you have some big shoes to fill! LOL

Do any of the tennis analyst on TX have any idea what happened with Novak’s game last year that his level of play waned? He seems to have it all together now. How did Rafa make him look so bad in New York and Novak can turn right around and make Rafa look so bad in Miami?? The sport of tennis leaves me scratching my head????

A Tango Lad Says:

No nothing is set in stone and Novak has a better chance than anyone, but some are implying that the clay season is on Novak’s racquet and yet Rafa has had better clay results than Nole every single year so for me it is obvious who should be considered the favourite.

I, for one, believe that should Roger and Nole meet at Roland Garros, Roger could surprise a lot of people here!

Oh, and Sean, apology accepted and no hard feelings!

Love your articles! Keep them coming!

Hopp Suisse!

A Tango Lad Says:

Okie, he certainly does not have it all together against Team Swiss going 1-2 this year and needing a third set tiebreak for the lone victory.

Players go through stretches of playing well and then having dips along the way. It is to be expected in such a golden era.

It was quite something for Djokovic to dominate most of 2011 and Nadal to do it in 2013 with such outstanding competition!

It’s nice to see Roger back on top of his game again.

Look out if Murray can get back to form once more!

nadalista Says:

Novak’s best chance of beating Rafa at RG was last year, when Rafa was coming off his injury lay-off. He doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance in 2014. Not if the Poker Player (Rafito) and the Chess Player (Uncle T) can help it!

Novak wins RG 2014 I’ll donate my IPad to Sean Randall’s favourite charity……

James Says:

Nadalista, I think Novak has a good chance even this year. I don’t think he’s going to win it, but if Nadal doesn’t play great in the clay season, Novak can do it.

skeezer Says:


“Novak’s best chance of beating Rafa at RG was last year, when Rafa was coming off his injury lay-off. He doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance in 2014. Not if the Poker Player (Rafito) and the Chess Player (Uncle T) can help it!

Novak wins RG 2014 I’ll donate my IPad to Sean Randall’s favourite charity……”

When Rafa loses FO this year, could you please send the iPad to the Roger Federer Foundation.

Thank you.

Bad Knee Rules Says:

…but if Nadal doesn’t play great in the clay season, Novak can do it.
Novak can do it even if Nadal plays great.

nadalista Says:

@skeezer, April 1st, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Not so fast, buster.

1. Why would Sean’s favourite charity be The Fed’s Foundation, his favourite player is Gael Monfils!

2. I said I’d donate it if Novak WINS. Rafa could lose in the 1st round and Novak in the semis: IPad safe! Novak has to win it, never mind what happens to Rafa.

Now, if Fed were to take out Novak in the semis……..I could be persuaded to change the stipulation…..

nadalista Says:

“Novak can do it even if Nadal plays great.”

Yup, just like he could, but did not,should have, in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009…………oh, forget it….

Okiegal Says:


Well he probably would have it all together if he was competing against team Spain! By his own admission Rafa and Roger have made him the player he is today!! Lol

Yes it’s good to see Roger in top form and I too am waiting for Andy to raise his level.

Ready for the clay swing! Oh, and I’m super sorry for Delpo. Get well quick!

mat4 Says:

As usual, I see that my posts are not read, but misquoted for a polemic, for little, petty wars.

1. A disclaimer: English is not my first, nor second, nor even my third language. I try my best to make my opinion clear, but a lot of nuances are lost in a foreign language.

2. Who said that Rafa didn’t improve his game? It wasn’t certainly me. Quite the contrary: he improved his serve, his backhand (the slice too), and his forehand is more versatile that it was. He served at 128 mph a few times in that match, and his % was 71. He has a very competent serve for a while already.

3. But strategically, he didn’t change his game for more than a year against Novak. He did it finally in the summer of 2013, not 2014. Even Rafa said “that he didn’t understand how he beat Novak”. But in 2013, after months of training, his CC BH was good enough, and he routinely redirected FH down the line to be able to counter at any moment of the rally. He didn’t lose time while injured.

Then, tennis is not only a matter of strategy, but of will, spirit too. In my opinion, Rafa won the USO in the fifth set of the FO, when Novak started to play not to lose, after he made the break.

4. Novak changed completely his way of playing against Rafa since Beijing. They played on a faster surface with a lower rebound, and it was fitting. Ferrer won against Rafa with the same strategy in Paris, and it could have influenced Vajda (or Novak), to make those adjustments. Novak doesn’t try to pin Rafa in the backhand corner any more, but makes him run from side to side and hit all his shots on the run. Whenever he is able to do that, he can always count on a higher ball he can hit hard and finish the point. When he leaves the ball in Rafa’s reach, the reaction is punishing.

Has Rafa slowed down? Probably yes. He doesn’t even try to change direction when wrong footed. It was telling in the final a few days ago. But he is bulky, at least 10 pounds heavier than Novak, his knees were injured, so it is understandable.

I honestly do hope that Novak will win Roland Garros on day or the other. But more important for me is his now clear goal to play a more versatile and complete brand of tennis. His game is already for textbooks about how to play modern tennis.

Finally, I understand why Rafans are so nervous about Djokovic. Novak beat him already 11 times in finals. And a trend is emerging that threatens to abbreviate Rafa’s days as a champion. The stakes are high: with Rafa’s mental frailty to challenges, if Novak manages to beat him on clay, which feeds him like mother Earth his son Antaeus, on the Philippe Chatrier, an epoch will be probably gone forever. Nothing will be given any more.

mat4 Says:


Just to remind you: Connors lead against McEnroe and Lendl 10-2; Hewitt against Fed 7-0; Rafa against Novak 14-5.

Everything can change overnight. Il ne faut jamais dire: “Fontaine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau.”

mat4 Says:

“By his own admission Rafa and Roger have made him the player he is today!”

It was a honest and true homage to the champions they are.

http://tiahpost.com/blog/ Says:

@TangoLad, 9.55AM.

When Soderling defeated him, er, er, he had a knee problem.

http://tiahpost.com/blog/ Says:

This place is almost like a cult now. Not everybody is allowed to have a favorite. Yep, lots of people need to look in the mirror and get over themselves.

pigoonse Says:


Going off topic here, but do you know anything about Richard Gasquet’s back surgery? On Davis Cup Website, it mentions him needing something done. I wonder what he is having done and if it is anything similar to Andy Murrays procedure. There appears to be a curious upward spike in back surgeries or procedures for sports figures in the news lately.

Very much enjoy your posts about Nole. Merci

Daniel Says:

mat4 us right regarding Djoko’s new tactics. In 2011 he used to force Nadal in the back hand corner all the time. Nadal improved his BH and was rasy to run awya ti hit an inside out FH. He was even able to do this a few times in Miami.
Last matches he is movimg Nadal around non stop u til he gets an attackable ball.
Let’s see if Nadal can counter that but thefact that Djoko is his main adversary, which has a superior record on finals and denied him some very important titles is there and justify all this behavior. If it wasn’t for Nole nadal could be Closer to GOAT status by now.
I just wonder what will happen if one day Djokovic has a positive HxH against Nadal?! Some Nadal fans may say: Wishfull thinking from a Fed fan but not out of the helms of possibility, not at all.

Nadalista Says:

Okay @mat4, excuse accepted, everything you say is lost in translation.

I really hope your favourite does win RG at some point, God knows you need it.

@Daniel, don’t why you think Novak overtaking Rafa in the H2H would be earth shattering, look at the stat now, it’s very close, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that could happen soon. As Fedfans like to say, it is not important. The stat which counts is Slams, and it will snow in the Sahara before Djokovic catches Rafa……….

Hippy Chic Says:

Peter Fleming was saying after the final that its possible Novak could finish with a positive H2H against both Roger and Rafa..

Hippy Chic Says:

Bad Knee Rules go back and read my posts @6.44am,6.48am,6.53am April 1st,i am not i repeat not a Nole hater,but if you still think i am then thats you with a problem and not me,but just to make you happy i think this might be the year that Nole completes his career GS and wins the FO,i am resigned to the fact it wont be Rafa this year,and i wont be too dissapointed as all runs come to an end eventually by the law of averages,GOT IT?NOT A HATER :))..

Giles Says:

Peter Fleming??? Pfft

Bad Knee Rules Says:

Peter Fleming & Greg Rusedski:


“I’ve never seen anybody play such a convincing match against Rafa. Djokovic made him look very average.”
Greg Rusedski

Giles Says:

@alison. “I am resigned to the fact that it won’t be Rafa this year ……”
The things you say just to please the other posters even if it means negativity and lack of support for Rafa. Are you sure you’re a Rafan? I wouldn’t have guessed it reading some of your posts. And you know all about the law of averages?

Giles Says:

Greg Rudeski??? Pfft. He just goes with the flow.

metan Says:

@bad Knee rules,
All those commentator gave their words follows the wind. Don’t ever buy it. Cheap stuff. RAFA has proven himself he is not average. Dont judge a player performance by one match. He has 13gs, and many more to come. I hope nole will do the same.

Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 no not nervous,but realistic enough to know that all runs come to an end sooner or later anyway,whether its Nole or somebody else winning the FO this year time will tell?its something ive been saying for months,hes won it 8 times so im easy with whatever happens,the chips will fall wherever they may,lets just enjoy it all and see :))..

Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal @11.41am April 1st well said,we are all human,and it was sad what happened to Nole and probably knocked some of the wind out of his sails,same with Rafa in 2011 when the golfer Seve Balesteros passed away who was a good family friend of the Nadals..

Margot Says:

Used to be a lot worse, at one time no-one was “allowed” to like more than one player.

Hippy Chic Says:

Margot true Andy has always been my second favorite,and the reaction around Wimbledon last year,was funny how Rafa fans are now cheering for Murray,like its sacrilege to root for another player,just because ones favorite has been knocked out?

Translated Age Says:

Daniel Says:
If it wasn’t for Nole nadal could be Closer to GOAT status by now.

Excellent, excellent point Daniel!!!!

If it wasn’t for nadal Roger could be Closer to GOAT status by now.

Ben Pronin Says:

Federer is already the GOAT.

Hippy Chic Says:

^I thought there was supposed to be a thread for that conversation??^

Hippy Chic Says:

Giles dear god what is it with you people,do you all make a federal case out of everything?yesterday i said some things about Novak about how his domination might end when Andy and Stan find their groove again,which was taken completely out of context,and therefore i was accused of been a Novak hater,and now because im saying it might be someone elses year at the FO now im not a genuine Rafa fan?for what its worth i am a genuine Rafa fan and i hope that he does win the FO,but i wont be getting my hopes up about something that might or might not happen?

Translated Age Says:

Ben, no.

Okiegal Says:


I know all about the law of averages too! I don’t think making mention of it makes me less of a Rafa fan. I can’t speak for Chic, but I try to be realistic like Rafa……I’ve heard him say more than once that it’s impossible to win every tournament he participates in. I’m not trying to please other posters, but I do live in the “real” world……just like my favorite player!!

Vamos Rafa……play your best, that’s all a fan can ask……please defy yourself and win every match you play!

Good luck……your #1 fan from Ada, Oklahoma!!

Okiegal Says:

@Chic……..Yes there is a federal case made out of just about everything said on here…ridiculous!!
Chic, carry on……..so will I!! LOL

Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal ditto exactly i dont think im any less of a Rafa fan,no matter what others choose to believe,and i cant help that anyway,but sometimes you have to be realistic,and sometimes in life i dont like to get my hopes up too much,only to have them back fire in my face,so ill just watch,wait and enjoy,and see what unfolds..

skeezer Says:


Okiegal Says:


Me 2!!

Okiegal Says:

@Ben @Skeezer

No….. LOL!!

nadalista Says:

What exactly are Rafans supposed to be worried about? That Novak will surpass Rafa’s haul of Masters Shields? There being more HC Masters tournaments than there are clay, one would have expected Novak to be well ahead in that department! What the heck is he waiting for?


skeezer Says:

“What exactly are Rafans supposed to be worried about?”
Nothing right now. You’re in Clay season ;)

Daniel Says:


That is preciselly what I am interested to see: If, by Nadal fans standard HxH, Djoko has a better HxH against him, if the Nadal fans who discredit Roger will cnsider Djoko better than Nadal with less majors?!
Last 4 years of this GOAT debate will collapse wouldn’t it?!

Slice Tennis Says:

There are many reasons for Rafa fans to be worried about Nole
– He will beat Rafa in all their future matches and end up with a commanding win loss record of 50-22
– He is much younger than Rafa and he will have long career after Rafa is done.
– The rate at which he is winning grandslams he is sure to surpass Rafa
– The rate at which he is winning masters he is sure to surpass Rafa
– He will eventually beat Rafa is the FO finals and Rafa will lose the king of clay title forever
– etc

Slice Tennis Says:


H2H alone wont cut it here. Rafa has many other things which Nole and Federer doesn’t have.
– Best win loss record ever against the field
– Most masters titles
– Multiple slams on every surface
– 9 consecutive years of slam wins
– 10 consecutive years of slam finals
– Olympic gold
– Multiple davis cup titles
– etc

The only point Nole has ahead of Rafa is his WTF title.

Even if you want to consider only the H2H, he has to win his next THIRTY FIVE matches against Rafa to get a win loss ratio similar to 23-10.

Simple right ?

nadalista Says:

@Daniel, btw, unlike Fedfans, I do think H2H matters in the overall scheme of things. It is not just a matter of having a better H2H, it is the margin of the gap. If the Fed-Rafa H2H was say, 21-22 in favour of Rafa, no-one would be calling it a domination of one and the other.

Right now Rafa is 22-18 vs Djokovic and I would not call that a dominating H2H right now. But Rafa is ahead in Slam count, H2H, you name it, so he is the better player, no question.

So, for Djokivic to be considered better than Rafa, with less majors, he would need to open up a pretty commanding H2H over Rafa, just like Rafa has over Fed. Pretty clear to me.

nadalista Says:

@Slice Tennis,

Okay, your points make grim reading indeed, I better worry I guess! But forgive me if I delay the worrying until after the Clay season. @skeezer says we Rafans have nothing to worry about during the clay season, who am I to argue?

One small (big) correction though: you appear not to be aware, Rafa lost the Kong of Clay title to Novak last year after Novak won Monte Carlo, @mat4 said so last year. He said Novak was the new King of Clay after Novak beat Rafa there last year. So, that’s one less thing to worry about me thinks! Phew………

nadalista Says:

Meant to say, “King” not Kong of clay in my post of 3:37 pm. Might not have to wait for Novak to win RG for me to give away my IPad………..

Slice Tennis Says:

When Nole beat Rafa at AO2012 and “broke his spirit” the H2H read as 16-14 and it appeared that its only a matter of a few matches to get a lead over Rafa.
Things looked really promising for Nole fans and more importantly for fed fans.

What happened next ?

– Rafa won just 3 more grandslams and Nole won a grand total of ONE grandslam
– Rafa won just 6 out of their next 10 matches.
– Rafa won their next three meetings in grandslams

Translated Age Says:

Of course, no double standards from us Rafans. We leave those to fedites for which they are GOAT.

Once Nole doubles Rafa in h2h, there is no WAY Rafa could still be GOAT IMO.

Nole is currently among the double-digit losses to Rafa club members (DDLRC) with Roger being leader and president. A different type of GOAT if you will.

Membership has its humble privileges.


Slice Tennis Says:

You are right. I missed that point.
Last year after winning MC, Nole employed a smart and successful strategy of avoiding Rafa till the FO just to maintain the psychological edge.

Let us see what he does this year.

Ben Pronin Says:

But look at the pain on Rafa’s face in the picture!

Hippy Chic Says:

I think Nole would have to win a hell of a lot more CC titles before he will ever be called The King Of Clay,he might beat the King Of Clay like he did last year or in 2011,but nothing will change for Rafa unless Novak perfoms a miracle,and wins 9MCs,9Barcelonas,9FOs,Madrids,Rome titles etc etc,most unlikely..

Translated Age Says:

Well you’re partially right, nadalista.

Rafa’s the King of Clay and the King Kong of Federer.

Translated Age Says:

Ben’s getting a little too excited.

Slice Tennis Says:

You would not like to see this pic

Giles Says:

One must admit that Sean chooses the best pictures for dramatical effect. Geez! Even Ben is taken in. Lol

Giles Says:

“King Kong of Federer”. Me likes. Lol

Okiegal Says:

@Chic 3:57

I was trying to come up with a combative post……but if you wait long enough some loyal Rafa fan will do it for you……..Thanks, my thoughts exactly. The thought of Novak overtaking Rafa would be a tall order. You put it into perspective……sounds impossible to me……we will see!

Slice Tennis Says:

MC is very crucial for Nole in terms of overall No.1 ranking and also the race points.
MC is MUST win for Nole.
If he loses there Rafa will clinch the no.1 in terms of race points and also extend his lead to 2700 points in the overall ranking which will virtually shut Nole off till USO hardcourt swing.

At this stage I don’t think Rafa is worried about No.1 ranking either. Its all about slams from now on. Two more FOs and two more other slams would clinch the deal for him.
Rafa would be desperate to win the FO and he will not mind losing the clay masters much.

Slice Tennis Says:

In the last 9 years Nole has had a positive H2H over Rafa only in 2 years (2011 and 2014).

skeezer Says:

The only thing that is crucial during the Clay season is FO. Its a Slam. The other titles of course are nice, but the Slams are what the players put on the highest shelf.
Do you think for a nano second these players are more worried about points than Slams? Maybe in another Universe, like Planet Wish a washy, or maybe if your a lower ranked player who knows he’ll never win a Slam.

Its laughable to read some of these posts. NOLE HAS TO WIN MC. LMAO.
“In the last 9 years Nole has had a positive H2H over Rafa only in 2 years (2011 and 2014).”
Love these cherry pick stats.
He also lost to Nole 7 consecutive finals in a row. An all time record. So, anything else you like to cherry pick?

Slice Tennis Says:

Ok some more cherry picks for you:
– Rafa had streaks of 5 wins twice against Nole and twice against Fed.
– Fed had a positive H2H over Rafa only in 2007 in the last 11 years
– Nole holds ZERO slams (the Slams are what the players put on the highest shelf).

Slice Tennis Says:

In slams Rafa has won 5 in a row against Nole and now is on unbroken streak of 3 in a row. Against Fed he is on a unbroken streak of 6 in a row.

Slice Tennis Says:

“consecutive finals in a row”

I request Mr.Colin to reply to this as I am not good enough to pick on this. LOL.

Daniel Says:

Slice Tennis

There are a few mistakes in your post regrding rafa:

1 – Roger also achieve slam finals every year for 10 consecutive years (03′-12′). So Nadal doesn’t stand alone in there. Next year maybe.
2 – Multiple Slam in other surfaces, comared to nvai this is a positive but with Roger, please. Fed has mor than 4 Slams in 3 different Slams, Nadal managed 2 US and 2 Wimby so…

Regaridng your comment that MC is vital for Nole i thinkt he contrary, after Miami this is even more important to Nadla to restablish himself. And your argument regaridng race pints doesn’t count bevause Nadal almost always was #1 in the race after clay season, it is the bulk of half his points every year. Federer and Djoko compansate after RG as Nadal tenda to fold. Even last year when he won the North america hard swing he done noing major after apart from the WTF final. Djokovic always out run him in Fall points. The decider will be RG. If Nadla lsoes (800 points lost) and Djoko wins it (1280 pts won) the 2000 pts gap is gone in that event only. This assuming they defend all clay points.

Right now, MC is a moral tourney for Nadal. It’s his second best tourney and he was dethorned last year. He can’t aford another clay loss there to djokovic. Things may start getting dangerous for him.

Slice Tennis Says:

I agree regarding first point. But regarding multiple slams, I clearly mentioned on different surfaces and not just grandslams. Rafa has 2 on grass, 3 on HC and some random number on clay.

Regarding MC and its importance, Nole won that last year but still lost at FO.
Nole owned Rafa on clay in 2011 (Rome and Madrid) and 2013 (a near bagel at MC) before FO but still came up short when it mattered at FO.

Winning clay titles before FO is important for Nole’s confidence than for Rafa.

Rafa at FO is a different beast compared to Rafa at Rome, Madrid or even at MC.

Rafa came up with 18 winners against Nole AFTER going down 2-4 in the fifth set last year. If you just go back and watch the fifth set again you will realize how badly Rafa wanted to win that match. Rafa was so desperate, determined, aggressive, mad, , to beat Nole there. I don’t think he would allow a repeat of 2009 to happen again.

http://tiahpost.com/blog/ Says:

Somebody, please smack me in my head – I keep repeating the same things. What’s wrong? Knock, knock, knock on my head!! Then I’ll wake up and hopefully have a mirror available to look in! Mirror – mirror – mirror…anyone?

Daniel Says:

Slice Tennis,

Agree that Rafa is a different animal come RG. But 2011 the year Noval got, let’s say in his head, we were deprived from the match due to Fed form in the semis ending Nole streak.

Last year Rafa had just won 2 titles back to back and he felt confident again entering RG.

What I mean is what if he loses more to Djoko on clay, will it hurt him in the future especially if a “new streak” happens?!

Ben Pronin Says:

“I don’t think he would allow a repeat of 2009 to happen again.”

So Nadal will never lose at RG again?

Polo Says:

Nadal will lose at RG. But not this year. Not yet.

Slice Tennis Says:

Our Skeezpeare the great says:
“The only thing that is crucial during the Clay season is FO. Its a Slam. The other titles of course are nice, but the Slams are what the players put on the highest shelf.
Do you think for a nano second these players are more worried about points than Slams? Maybe in another Universe, like Planet Wish a washy, or maybe if your a lower ranked player who knows he’ll never win a Slam.”

Nole says afterwinning beijing (500) in 2013:
“I needed this win today,” said Djokovic who hadn’t won a title since upending Nadal in Monte Carlo. “I really wanted to get my hands on the trophy and win against Nadal, who has been the best player so far in 2013. It’s very important for my confidence. It’s very important mentally and emotionally for me.”


Slice Tennis Says:

“So Nadal will never lose at RG again?”

Very unlikely in the near future (2 or 3 yrs)

skeezer Says:

Please read the Tennis X guidelines, specifically personal name calling.

Your retort makes no sense. Try again. What are you attempting to say? That Nole considers a win against Nadal greater than a GS title?
Never seen so much meaninless blog litter.
Do you play Tennis? Do you study the game or just google search for argments sake? Just wndering, cause your posting incilenes as much.
Do you know the difference between a first and second serve? Cause you ain’t talkin like it. LMAO.

Daniel Says:

Slice Tennis,

As you fellow rafa fans call us arrotards, you are sounding to arrogant, assuming Nadal will win the next 3 RGs. Your pretentiousness amuses me!

In 2007 most Fed fans thought the same and although he won 2 more Wimbys, it was not in a row.

My advice is learn with us Fed fans and with your idol to be more humble and be careful with the fall. When Nadal loses RG again you guy will suffer big time. You should do like Hippy chick and thing everything next is a bonus and set the stakes low:-)

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m actual more curious about how the Nadal fanbase will react to Nadal losing at RG than Nadal. No doubt they’ll be more upset than him but how much more is the question.

Okiegal Says:

I’m a died in the wool Rafa fan and know that Rafa’s run at RG will end some day…..Rafa knows it will too……but he will fight every match to get to the final. If he wins it he wins and if he doesn’t I will accept it. Will I be sad?? Yes, for him but not me. Eight French Opens! All I can say is WOW! Simply amazing…….He has nothing else to prove……King of Clay?? You be cha! But I wouldn’t expect any arguments on that point.

Giles Says:

Ben. Maybe you won’t get the answer to your question for at least a couple more years!

Hippy Chic Says:

Ben read Okiegals post,ive been saying it for weeks now,ive no unrealistic expectations anymore,going by the law of averages all good things must come to an end eventually,speaking for myself and for Okiegal too i think,some of us seem pretty cool and will accept whatever happens,as long as he does his best and gives it his best shot,is all ask of as a fan..

Hippy Chic Says:

Daniel exactly thankyou..

Purcell Says:

Daniel…..’he was dethorned’………So that seven months off was recovery from an encounter with a cactus?

Okiegal Says:

I thought maybe “dehorned”……Rafa being known as the”bull”!! Lol

Slice Tennis Says:

skeezer Says:
Fed, when spot on, has handled Nadull.
March 31st, 2014 at 11:56 pm

skeezer Says:
Please read the Tennis X guidelines, specifically personal name calling.
April 3rd, 2014 at 12:57 am


nadalista Says:

“Last year after winning MC, Nole employed a smart and successful strategy of avoiding Rafa till the FO just to maintain the psychological edge.”

@Slice Tennis, I do hope Novak employs the same strategy this year, starting in Monte Carlo. Okay, did not work very well last year but who knows? Those in the know say pigs fly……….

Okiegal Says:


Got a new name for our guy…….NA-DOLL!! Rafa is anything but dull, imo!!

Slice Tennis Says:

“In 2007 most Fed fans thought the same and although he won 2 more Wimbys, it was not in a row.”

Rafa at FO >>>> Fed at Wimby

At the age of 27 Rafa has 8 FOs and Fed had 5 Wimbys.
Rafa’s domination of FO just doesn’t have any parallels in any sport.

When Fed turned 27 he had played 10 times and won Wimbledon 5 times.
Rafa at the same age played 9 FOs and won 8 of them.
Nobody remembers who all have beaten Fed at Wimby, Sampras at Wimby, Nole at AO, etc.
But we all know what Soderling is famous for. That says the magnitude of Rafa’s hold of FO.
As I told you before just go back and watch the fifth set of 2013 FO SF. You will understand how desperately he wants to win at FO and how good he is to get what he wants.

contador Says:

nice try, ST.

You really are a born fedal war crusader. White Knight of the cause, Id say.

he is torching this Poll thread in 3, 2, 1…

I voted for Djokovic. One has to have hope.

contador Says:

^^ oops wrong thread – my bad.

Continue on. Nevermind me.

Ben Pronin Says:

So because Nadal has dominated the French more than Federer dominated Wimbledon, Nadal’s reign will never end. I love the (il)logic of Nadal fans. So amusing.

Slice Tennis Says:

Who said Rafa’s reign will never end ?
Where did you see that ? So amusing.

The illogic here is that some people think Nole dominate clay ahead of Rafa just because he beat him at Miami.

Daniel Says:


You guys really think Nadal is unbeatable whenhe wants to.

As if he didn’t want badly to win in AO 2012. In RG 2013 he indded played fantastic fifth set, but Djoko played not to lose and had that unfortunate net touch. I was here in the “live” tread and many Nadal fans thought he would lose. He is not invencible there and having lost 6 straight games to Djoko in 2012 (dump conditions) or being pushed to 7-9 fifth set last year are not good indicators. Of course, he won but eventually and maybe this year. He could be beaten by Djoko. You guys are assuming Djoko has no chance but he has a very solid shot at it, and this next few clay encounters (if they happen) will gives a more real indicator.

skeezer Says:

Do you fully comprehend the english langauge?
“Personally attack other posters” = Tennis Guidelines.
That has nothing to do with what you accused me of. How about you? Try again.
Ben & Daniel
Spot on posts.

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