Rafael Nadal’s Already Lost On Clay? Is It Time To Panic?
by Sean Randall | February 23rd, 2015, 5:21 pm
  • 83 Comments

It hasn’t been the best of returns so far for Rafael Nadal. Two years ago, Nadal came back after a lengthy layoff and dominated the tour, eventually finishing the year No. 1. So the bar was set really high when he returned to tennis last month. And unfortunately things haven’t gone particularly smoothly.

Nadal stunningly lost to Michael Berrer in his Doha opener. Then at the Australian Open he really struggled against American journeyman Tim Smyczek before luckily pulling it out in five. Tomas Berdych eventually did the deed in the quarterfinals, thumping the former champion in straight sets.

Yeah, the Berrer loss was a shock, and the fact he should have lost to Smyczek was a good sign. The loss to Berdych isn’t that troubling – at least he didn’t lost to Kevin Anderson – though the bagel set raised more than a few eyebrows.

So going into this Golden Swing South American circuit, there was concern but there was also hope that Rafa would return to Rafa on his favorite clay surface. And things started out well in Rio. Rafa had some struggles early in his first two matches against Bellucci and Carreno Busta, but was untested in the second sets of those matches. He wasn’t at his best, but he was was doing enough to win and working his way into form.

Then the big match Friday morning against the streaking Pablo Cuevas who at the time had won 31 of his last 32 on clay. Rafa won the match but essentially lost the tournament right there as he didn’t finish off the Uruguayan until an ungodly 3:18am! That’s right, 3:18am – so maybe he got to sleep at 5am?

Later that day, after dropping the first set 6-1, Fabio Fognini stormed back to hand Rafa his first loss ever in Brazil. Now the fun begins…

If you are a Rafa fan you are probably a little worried. But I wouldn’t be. Not yet. Honestly, after such a late finish Friday night I have to give Rafa a pass for Saturday. I just do. In fact, I’m simply discarding the match altogether because there is now way he can be at 100% after such a late finish.

Having to play on the same day as a 3:18am finish is just plain wrong. Rafa knows it, the tournament now knows it. The ATP and pro tennis should know it also.

“Moving forward we will look at how we schedule matches to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Fernando Soler of IMG which owns the event.

Moving forward, players should not be starting matches past midnight, unless they BOTH agree to. That simple. If the schedule’s running long, move a match to a different court. What’s the issue?

And we know how OCD Nadal is. So his mind must have been an absolute mess during the Cuevas match, and of course later that night against Fognini.

So to me, this one is on the tournament and not on Rafa. Now if Rafa loses again in Buenos Aires, then we can all collectively panic. Could he really lose to Fabio Fognini if he was feeling OK?


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83 Comments for Rafael Nadal’s Already Lost On Clay? Is It Time To Panic?

Humble Rafa Says:

Absolutely time to panic. Kick your kids, throw your wife out, whatever you need to do.

LOL


brando Says:

What just because he lost to fongini? Hell no! Rafael fans understand he’s not entitled to winning but has to earnt it. Sometimes he ain’t good enough to. That’s life. Panic station is when he would suffer the unacceptable, embarrassing, downright shameful………a loss to Roger Federer. :-))


chris ford1 Says:

Brando – That is soooo mean! I had to write a comment to tell you that.
After I stopped laughing!


Ben Pronin Says:

Another way to look at it: Nadal hasn’t played well in a long time. He won Doha, Rio, Madrid, and Roland Garros last year. He played so-so in Doha and Rio. He nearly lost the final in Madrid. And Roland Garros was the only event where he actually played the way we’re accustomed to.

He also reached the finals of the Australian Open, Miami, and Rome. In all 3 tournaments he struggled through most of his matches before getting almost thoroughly dominated in the finals.

And then there were a bunch of random losses to relatively random players than Nadal would never have lost to in prior years.

This also isn’t the same as his return in 2013 because he didn’t miss the same amount of time. He didn’t play the US hard court swing but played in 3 events during the fall.

I’m not sure what there is to panic about in particular. Nadal’s sudden plunge from the top? I doubt it. But there are certainly a lot of question marks going forward. Last year he had back and wrist problems and then appendicitis. So not only is his tennis shaky but so is his body.

Asking this question after losing in Rio is meaningless. The real test will remain the French Open until proven otherwise.


RZ Says:

Under the circumstance (that being that Rafa got screwed over by the scheduling), his loss to Fognini doesn’t mean much of anything. His next couple of clay tournaments will be more telling. I still expect him to win at least one of them.


SG1 Says:

Definitely NOT time to panic yet. Let’s see how he does 2 or 3 tourneys into the clay court season. If he’s still coming up short by that time, then there may be some cause for worry.


SG1 Says:

…I actually meant the European clay court season.


Markus Says:

He will lose a few more matches on clay this year but Nadal will still win in Roland Garros. Djokovic will never win the French.


skeezer Says:

Re; 5:44 post.
“Panic station is when he would suffer the unacceptable, embarrassing, downright shameful………a loss to Roger Federer. :-))”
Wow those losses to Fed have been unacceptable, embarrarased, & shameful? Thats tough Brando. If so, he is taking his losses way to seriously. Needs to relax fishing more.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Couple years ago Rafa started losing on clay, but he has still remained the world’s best on that surface. One more loss is not news at this point. The absolute dominance is gone and Rafa’s fallen all the way to #1.


autoFilter Says:

“The absolute dominance is gone and Rafa’s fallen all the way to #1.”

Well said, TV. This is about the speed of it. Is it time to panic? I suppose that depends what one considers worth panicking over. It is certainly true, though, that this question seems to be arising with greater and greater frequency.

Personally, I don’t think Rafa is going to ever again play with the consistency that he once did for long (relatively) uninterrupted stretches of time, but I’m fairly confident he’ll be hitting some very high highs for a good while longer. To me, that’s more just the reality of passing time than it is anything worth panicking about.


jane Says:

“Rafa’s fallen all the way to #1″

but i am confused…he’s not #1. nole is! ;) j/k

of course there’s no reason to panic.


Dino C Says:

I agree with Ben’s view here. Losing in SF of a clay tournament after 12 years, losing to low rank players or struggling to win, cramping and bending over in pain frequently, are all alarming. He himself just said that he gets tired sooner than usual, which explains his easy first set wins and then fading away in second and third.

Historically, players with multiple FO tiltes have not done much after turning 28. Only Lendl could win his last major when he was 29. Dont forget Nadal started the tour early and in tennis age he is considered old.

I hope he recovers, but if I were to predict I would say this is beginning of the end for Nadal. We will soon know more, but chances are he will not win any of the clay master titles and certainly not the RG, where Djokovic will most likely collect his first title there.


autoFilter Says:

jane,

I believe “on clay” was the intended context there, but I don’t want to speak for TV. But that was my interpretation.


Daniel Says:

He seems to be getting “tired” more during matches. He starts with a bang and his level drops going forward, noted by several of his balls landing short and he having to rely more on his defense.
Also, we know that he is playing great when he is going for his FH DTL and that shot is going in (RG last year against Djoko). This years he is missing more than usual and only reverts to attacking mode when pressure (deuce, BP).
Questions remain to be seen and he is a player that depend on confidence. Last year he blipped a bit no clay but have an excellent start of the year reaching several finals. His last final was RG and as soon as he get to more finals the best for him.

If he doesn’t reach finals in Buenos Aires than we can rase some eyebrows, because if he is not reaching clay finals in smaller tourneys IW and Mimai will be even worst.

But agree with Ben, he lost his stronghold in almost all tourneys he had amazing records (MC, Barcelona, Rome) except RG which is the one matters the most. Until he loses again there, he is the man to beat, injury free of course.


chris ford1 Says:

Agree Nadal is the man to beat at RG. But I think the gap between him and Nole continues to narrow on clay. And maybe the gap between him and Ferru and Nishikori and Dimitrov is also narrowing, so an upset is not unthinkable.
Despite that, Rafa is a long way away from Euro Clay season, so we will see if he improves enough that only Djokovic has decent odds as an underdog, once again.


jane Says:

autofilter, yeah i realized that. hence the j/k at the end. :)


sienna Says:

panic is the wrong state of mind. time to focus and make sure he plays with the right mindset. defend if needed but attack when he can. especially against Djokovic hè will have to be extremely aggressive.

Major upset should he not get #10, but a lot can go wrong. He is playing a lot and if he plays to many finals he will be doomed but to few finals also doomed.
Still heavy heavy favorite.
Although players are starting to believe he can be upset on clay.


Michael Says:

I think Rafa has the requisite maturity, wisdom and experience not to be cowed down by such losses and script a come back. Victory and defeat are part and parcel of the game and Rafa knows it too well. What must be disconcerting him in these losses is only his defeat to lower ranked players and particularly this loss to Fognini acquires a measure of seriousness since it happens on his favourite surface. Still, it would be imprudent to write off Rafa’s chances at the famed Rolland Garros. All that he needs is a good tournament of sheer domination and his confidence will come back roaring. Critics have made this mistake in the past of writing him off and then had to eat humble pie and so it is always better to wait and watch for some more time as to how the match play of Rafa evolves from now on before coming to any firm conclusion. In sports, there is always room for tomorrow.


Hippy Chick Says:

One thing i hate in sport is age,as its reminders your losing a step each year,and also becoming less dominant,i dont think its time to panic,but its plain to see that the domination is over,hes losing more and more matches to lesser players even on his best surface now,this happens to all players its inevitable,law of averages whatever?and Rafa aint no different,i will just sit back and see what happens with no expectations,hes still the KOC/GOAT whatever,nothing changes that?….


Felipe Says:

Nadal lacks confidence. A title in Buenos Aires should help, but without Ferrer and playing only 4 matches….not so much.
Indian Wells will be a good test for him.


FedExpress Says:

monster game and monster hold from muller

19 mins the game took


Michael Says:

A title now is all what Rafa needs and once he is able to grab one, he will be totally a different player to handle on the court.


Hippy Chick Says:

Michael it would seem others are more desperate for him to fail,and not for others to succeed…


Hippy Chick Says:

Just using a comparison here,but Rafas losses any losses are always considered detimental to his career,hes in decline will never be the same player,should retire,as he will never win a GS again etc etc,even though hes won a GS for 10 consecutive years,and is still ranked in the top 4,and made two finals last year,by contrast Delpos been off tour for ages,hasnt made a GS final since he won USO in 2010,but returns to the tour and boom people think hes gonna do amazing things at the click off ones fingers,nothing against Delpo now as i do like the guy,but do people not believe in a thing called perspective,and dont people have such funny double standards sometimes?….


Hippy Chick Says:

^Sorry Delpo won USO in 2009 not 2010^….


Nirmal Kumar Says:

HC..good point. Just like Roger said sometime back about the Monster he had created for himself, the same applies to Rafa too. Just by their sheer genius and consistency, they sometimes make us forget they are humans. I’m sure Rafa has another 2-3 years of top tennis. Maybe not in the mould of 2010 or 2008, but definitely he would be a GS champion shortly.


Hippy Chick Says:

Thanks Nirmal :-)….


Emily Says:

@HC, maybe it’s b/c Rafa has done the unimaginable by winning RG 9 times and has only lost there once. That doesn’t happen anywhere, especially at a grand slam. That is a record that is difficult to wrap your head around.
We expect so much from Rafa, especially on clay, so there’s been many alarmists for several years now. He does seem to center his year around RG, which makes sense, and he has a perfect right to do so. I just can’t see who can get three sets off of him on clay (before anyone points out the obvious, Soderling did, one time), even Novak only got one last year, but did come close in the 2012 semi and 2013 final.
As much as I like Delpo and believe in his potential, injuries have seemed to put a stop to what could have been. People want him to succeed, but don’t expect another slam any time soon. Even he has talked about not knowing if he can beat the top players again. He seems to have more realistic expectations than everyone else. I think someone like Cilic will feel that pressure more, and from a distance, it seemed he did at the WTF. You never know in tennis, but I would bet on Rafa this year to get his tenth title. You’re right, it’s all relative and high expectations are always applied to the top players.


Hippy Chick Says:

Emily thanks nice post,everything you say makes perfect sense,im sorry i brought up Delpo as i do as i say like the guy,and your a nice poster whom i wouldnt want to offend,i was just using a comparison….


Hippy Chick Says:

Emily for what its worth although i dont know how Delpo will fair on his return,i do believe he has the big game to trouble the very best,and have another GS run,and im not just saying that either,just a feeling….


brando Says:

The extremely fickle nature of commentators is blatantly apparent on this thread. I won’t mention what I think on this matter since it’s brazenly clear where it lies. What I will say is: novak Djokovic-present number 1- suffers a r16, qf,sf uso series results. Fans on here: oh he’s in a colossal mire, impending fatherhood shall deter him greatly etc. Same player wins AO- something he’s done consistently and is his equivalent of RG- and boom: posters here saying he’s booked in to dominate the next 2 years. One poster on this thread booked him in for a minimum 5 slams win post age 28! Now nothing against Novak: but see how extreme the overreaction is by posters here regarding a player, going from one extreme to another in less than 5 meager months! It’s simple: fans here 99% just ONLY speculate. And it’s ALWAYS to the extreme. Rarely do you see reasoned, sound thinking applied. In this Nadal situation a reasoned would clearly understand that when a player has a injury mirred 7 months, expecting him to dominate immediately is the stuff of idiocy. Hell: we had some geniuses here making him a AO top contender. Now those same wise minds are writing him off all because he lost his 2nd match in over 30 degrees Celsius within 24 hours in gruelling conditions, where near the end he cramped understandably. How ridiculous are some to jump to conclusions over so little? Extremely ridiculous.


Emily Says:

@HC, no problem about discussing Delpo. Like I’ve said before, I support my favs to the end, but I understand the difference b/w realistic expectations and what my heart wants to happen. I read a really interesting article w/ Delpo where he’s very honest about his comeback (he’s thinking European clay season), but that he’s most excited about playing Davis Cup again and just getting to play tennis matches. He would probably agree w/ what you’re saying and seems to understand that his greatest achievements may have already happened (just a reaction after reading that interview), though I know he wants that Davis Cup.

These points could be made about so many other players, the so-called “one-slam wonders,” which is a term I hate b/c so many of those players are/were amazing. No-one should be discredited for achieving something other players only dream about. If Delpo ends up in that category, he may be disappointed, but knows that he had a successful career, even w/ 3 surgeries. He could definitely have a GS run, no-one saw his 2013 Wimbledon coming, but if he doesn’t, c’est la vie. I know you, along w/ a lot of other people, are rooting for him and that’s really nice to read.


Markus Says:

To summarize, Brando says is he is the only genius here. Everybody else is a foolish speculator.


brando Says:

@markus: well if that’s what you interpreted from that post- I being a genius and the rest being idiots- then I have no qualms with that. Lol. But interesting isn’t it: I do a post on extreme reactions by fans here,and hey presto: the first reaction to my post is guess what? An extreme one. Full marks for consistency.


skeezer Says:

@Markus
Re; 9:48 post
👍


Dino C Says:

So because he has won at least a major last 10 years it makes it more likey to win it again? No, actually the longer the streak the more likely it will not continue. You can call it panic or whatever you want, but he is not going to win RG this year, or ever for that matter.
Djokovic is healthy and is playing some of the best tennis of his career in stark contrast with what Nadal is producing. Anyone in their right mind will consider him the clear favorite to win RG.


Dino C Says:

@brando. Gruelling conditions was the same for Forgnini and he ended his previous match only couple hours before Nadal and that one was a long three sets as well. You make it sound like Fognini was walking in the park while Nadal was battling.


SG1 Says:

Never underestimate the heart of a champion and definitely not the heart of this champion!


Okiegal Says:

@Emily…..I like DelPo…..After his run at the USO that year, that tournament went down as one of my favorites of all times. I mean he just mowed down everybody in his path. I thought wow, is this guy for real? I was so impressed, but was worried from the onset about how hard he hit the ball and wondered if his wrist could hold up…..and it didn’t. When he does get healed how does he stay well if falls back into his “norm” of play? The way it all played out for him has been a nightmare. The poor guy has been off more than on……such a shame. I know how unsettling it has been for his fans, we Rafa fans have gone through the same thing a few times ourselves……not fun! I do want to wish him the best on his return!


brando Says:

@Dino C: sorry to dismay you pal, but as a fan I am not panicked about his situation. far from it in fact. You continue writing the obituary though. Keep talking.


brando Says:

@SG1: spot on. You said it all.


Giles Says:

@SG1 :))))))))))))


Giles Says:

Dino C. Big difference between going to bed at 1 am and 5 am!!


Giles Says:

PS. Actually it was 6 am before Rafa went to bed. That’s a whole nite’s sleep lost!! You should try it sometime!


chris ford1 Says:

Dino C – The French Open is 3 months and 5 Masters away.
Far to soon to extrapolate the Rafa Present into the FO Future.
All the players at the top would love to get to the semis or better at Indian Wells. Its a big deal!
Miami, where Rafa has never won, is one of the few things left he hasn’t….
I used to think the 4 Clays leading up to the FO were essential for Nadal (and Uncle Toni!) to get confidence up, hone the last glitches away. But last year he lost to Ferrer at MC, then Almagro at Barcelona, won Madrid with Djoker sidelined, lost solidly to Djoker at Rome.
Pretty bad lead up. But he regrouped at Roland Garros, played well into the Final, and beat a most untimely ill Djokovic after losing the 2nd set.
So you never know with Rafa.
I am a Djokovic fan and really want to see him get something that has motivated him to become an even better player…probably 2nd best on clay in Rafa’s time. But I had no sense that Nole was the favorite even with Rafa battered like he never had been battered in the lead up events in 2014.
Same this year. I will not believe Raphael Nadal is beaten until I see him lose the last match point, hopefully Championship Point because the tennis storybook says the fan and players dream is maximized if 2 All-Time Greats play in the Final and the King falls, as he eventually must, with age and wear..

Until then, Vamos Rafa and Adje Nole!


chris ford1 Says:

No edit function. I missed I somehow put down “lost the 2nd set” when Rafa lost the 1st against Nole in 2014.


Okiegal Says:

@Giles I have insomnia from time to time……going without a nights sleep is horrible. I’m zombie like. No fun. I don’t know for sure how much sleep he did get, but confident it wasn’t near enough. He was extremely tired the 2nd set. Double faults are creeping in too often. Tired, being rushed on serve, back, age?? Don’t know the answer, but I will never write him off. He always is trying to find solutions……..As SG1 said, it is hard to break the heart of a champion, well underestimate is actually what he said!! Agree wholeheartedly, Rafa is unique. Maybe he has lost a step, but he will fight and work hard to get it back.


Okiegal Says:

@Nirmal Kumar @ 8:44

Great post!


Giles Says:

@Okie. Sorry to hear about your insomnia. Yes, it can be very debilitating and do you find that if you lose a nite’s sleep it takes ages to make up for it? I know it does me but thankfully I am not in that position too often. Generally have a good nite’s sleep. I feel you.


Brando Says:

Agree Nirmal did a great post. Excellent poster.


senthilvel Says:

Again Scheduling is not only the problem. Nadal always wants to play late start to the tournament. Why the hell he is not playing today. He has to play 4 continuous days to win the title.

True Cry baby of Tennis – Nadal


sienna Says:

Senthilvel
Cry baby is unnecessary.

Your other claims show insight in tennis and Fedal.
Keep it up.


sienna Says:

There are only a few insightfull posters and branda isnot one of them.

Daniel and may be TV guy are usually on the money Some try very hard to keep open mind like skeezer or HC. But in the end they just lose themselves in fandom.
Brands nicks are haters or he is trying to stir the pot with all his monikers.


senthilvel Says:

:) ok No Cry baby @Sienna. I really irritated by comments about 3:18 AM Finish.


Okiegal Says:

@Giles, Thanks. It is awful. I have it often and yes it takes forever it seems to get caught up. I am very fortunate that I’m an individual who doesn’t require a lot of sleep. My husband, to function, has to have 12 hrs, which I think is ridiculous. I can get by on 5…..but whatever you need and don’t get it, the results the same. But I have gone nights where I haven’t batted an eye and don’t even nap the next day……yep, I’m part zombie and it makes me feel really rough. Oh, I do have sleeping pills but do not take them that often, they are highly addictive. But if I get to the point when I’m past going, I will take one. Thanks for your concern, appreciate it!


Okiegal Says:

I think the major beef Rafa had was the powers that be chose to play all of the matches on the main court. Now whether or not that was a last minute decision or if it was that way from the get go. Does anyone know for sure? I read this in an article on another site. But if it was scheduled as such (all matches on main court from the onset) then maybe Rafa had no reason to bring it up……or maybe he paid no attention……like his shorts being backwards! LOL Whatever, done and dusted…..let’s win this next one. :)


Giles Says:

I thought the true “cry baby” of tennis is Wawawewo cos Mrs Federer said so!!!


Dino C Says:

Chris Ford- Well, you can have your hopes and doubts, but I have news for you. Nadal will lose that match point this year and Djokovic will take the trophy. Novak has picked a much smarter schedule this year while Nadal is bending over in agony playing till 330 in the morning. I disagree that the 3 months between now and RG is going to help Nadal. If anything, for someone who has weakened physically, these tournament can only make it worse. Bookmark this page, mark my words. Nadal has won his last major.


Dino C Says:

brando-Good thing you are not panicked. Noone should be. His decline is quite natural and nothing to be panicked about.
Let’s come back here in about three months and have a look back at the obituary.


Giles Says:

Dino C. Do you think you’ll still be posting on this forum in 3 months time?


Markus Says:

The only way Djokovic will win the French is the same way that Federer did.


sienna Says:

Absolutely agree Nadal always asks and gets late starts in tourneys. especially those smaller ones where they always follow wishes of the top guys.
So it is natural he needs to play everyday at the end of a 1 week tournement. Also you tend to get prime time as #1 seed.

nadal and fanbase always get very defensive when he is not playing his a game and is losing to guys he should easiley beat.


Hippy Chick Says:

Dino C i think you took my post out of context,of course all runs come to an end eventually,will Rafas?according to you it will as you have the gift of been able to see into the future,unlike the rest of us who simply have to wait and see,anyway i was merely using a comparison,as you say decline is inevitable if he doesnt win another GS 14 is still an amazing number,hell what fan or what player wouldnt want that number,with only one player in history with more?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Rafa fans for the most part seem pretty cool anyway,and seem ready to accept whatever happens,it seems fans of other players that are getting all worked up about it….


Rich Says:

It’s not time to panic, it’s time to start saying our goodbyes to Nadal.

He has 400,000 miles on the odometer and, to me, he exhibits many of the symptoms of years of steroids and HGH use, including nagging injuries.

He has carried a heavy, muscled frame on his joints for years, and at this point can’t stay healthy enough to remain on court. I’m surprised he’s lasted this long – I thought he’d be done, or injured seriously, in his mid-20s.

There are many clay courters who, if dialed in sharp, pose serious threats, including Bautista-Agut and Garcia-Lopez just to name a couple.

Cramping can result from a slight lack of conditioning, or just extreme humidity, but making the excuse of a 3:18am end time for his previous match, I believe, is just that, an excuse. Another indication of PED use is tirelessness, which Nadal has exhibited throughout his career, so perhaps his cramping is the result of a body breaking down, and a difficulty he now is having, like Tiger Woods, of being healthy enough to put in the training time necessary.

I give him less than a 50/50 chance to win the French. Regardless, I think 2015 will be his last chance to do so.


SG1 Says:

Maybe the reason Nadal was tireless is because…wait for it…he was actually younger. While it’s possible Nadal may be on something, I find it highly doubtful. Djokovic went toe to toe with Nadal for 6 hours at the AO a couple of years ago. Djokovic doesn’t seem as tireless these days either. Are we to assume he’s also on the juice? Federer doesn’t seem as spry these days either. He must have been on something to win that many slams right? Not so fast Charlie. As someone on here wrote, age catches up to everyone and is ultimately undefeated.

All the above said, Nadal is coming back from some injuries and there’s just no substitute for on the job training. He needs to play himself into both physical and mental shape. I’m pretty confident that Rafa is going to get the ship righted for Rolland Garros. I don’t know if he wins it, but I think it likely that he’ll be right there at the end.


Ben Pronin Says:

Remember in 2008 when Nadal played Moya for like 3 hours in Chennai in the semifinals then got thrashed by Youzhny in the final the next day? That’s not exactly tireless. And that was certainly during his younger days.


Dino C Says:

H Chick- I dont see the furure, but I think the past can give a better clue to the future than wishful thinking of the fans.
No multiple FO winner has ever won it after turning 28. Cnsidering Nadal’s current physical condition I just dont see how he can be the exception.


Matador Says:

He is almost 29, remember a guy called Sampras?
In 2000 with almost 29 won Wimbledon, loss to Safin at the Open and didndt win a single tournament until his farewell against his archirrival Agassi in 2002.

So, if Pete Sampras with much less physical game declined a lot after 28, why cant Rafael Nadal with his acknowledged taxing game cant?

I still thnk he can win a major or even two, but his best days are gone, his groundstrokes are easily beaten with more and more lesser layer on his favorite Surface, he should ends the point much quickier if he want to stay at the top for few more years, but he and tio Tony are very stubborn to add a new member to have new points of view.

Unfortunately, without his movement, with that serve, with his forehand been much less powerful and no pace, with his mental strenght, his forte draining, and with opponents who know what to expect oh his game, he is almost done.

And i dont know if he wants to prolong his carrer with losses to nobody and players that in the past had no business winning against the last warrior, Rafael Nadal.

A star is about to fall…


Nirmal Kumar Says:

and beat a most untimely ill Djokovic

Not sure how long this stupidity would continue. Rafa just played better and won. Quite simple.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Rather than celebrate a 14 time champion still willing to put his body on the line and perform for keep his commitment, few people are complaining here. Pathetic mindset to be in.

Any match / tournament Rafa plays going forward is a bonus for tennis fans. The guy has been a top tennis player for past 9 years. This is a very long time period in tennis. Most of the years, he had been either No 1 or No 2 player in the world. What more is expected of him.

Just rest in peace and enjoy till it lasts.


wilfried Says:

SG1 February 24th, 2015 at 7:11 pm

Don’t kill Charlie or Rich for his opinion.
It is a level-headed one, though we may as well have our doubts about Nadal’s rivals, Roger Federer included.


skeezer Says:

“Any match / tournament Rafa plays going forward is a bonus for tennis fans.”
Really? If I was a fan, at only 29, in a tennis players prime years, I would be expecting so much more. No Bonus or gravy here except Clay here. If he was in his 30′s, uh, ok. But now?

I am with others here who say what till RG. the same was said last year of Rafa’s demise during the Clay season then he won RG. Until he loses RG, he IS the FAVORITE, period.


Hippy Chick Says:

No bonus or gravy except for clay?OK his achievements off clay might pale in significance compared with his CC achievements,but hes the only active player with multiple GS on all surfaces,and if you take out clay(which i dont know why we would when thats a surface as much as any other)he would still have 5 GS,usually good enough for any all time great,nobody knocks Sharapova,why do it to Rafa,why is that not good enough for him too?….


Hippy Chick Says:

I would never pull Nole to pieces,as 6 of his 8 GS are on HCs,and 2 on other surfaces,and im not saying we should either as hes an amazing player,an all time great,and continuing to do amazing things in tennis,just using a comparison,but why dont we aply the same standard to Rafa too?….


Sidney Says:

@HC, I think we all know why… ;)

Because he’s the biggest reason (of many) why a certain great and main rival can’t rest on his laurels just yet.

Just saying.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Skeezer, I don’t think 29 is a prime year in tennis. It could vary for different players. I remember people claiming Roger is out of his Prime at the age of 28. I’m not sure how many GS champions we have beyond age of 28.

If many cannot win GS post 28, how come 29 would be a prime age for a player?


SG1 Says:

skeezer Says:

Until he loses RG, he IS the FAVORITE, period.

———-

Absolutely. And even if Rafa wants to downplay it a little, nobody’s should buy it. RG is the focal point of his year. As injured as he’s been over the years, he’s never once missed RG.


SG1 Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
Remember in 2008 when Nadal played Moya for like 3 hours in Chennai in the semifinals then got thrashed by Youzhny in the final the next day? That’s not exactly tireless. And that was certainly during his younger days.

——————–

Ben…I have to admit that I don’t remember that loss at all. But, picking one instance where Rafa lost after tough match in the previous round seems like a small sample size. In 2009, I do remember Rafa getting pretty badly whipped by DelPo at the USO. Sometimes, a loss is just a loss. Youzhny has a decent game and even better back then. Maybe he caught lightning in a bottle and took out Rafa. I don’t think that loss proves anything one way or the other in term of Rafa being on something.


SG1 Says:

I’d actually like to see Wawa get an FO for his resume. I think that of all the shots on tour, his backhand is the one I most enjoy watching. He has the game to win an FO. His problem is that Rafa, Novak and Federer effectively own him and on paper at least, it’s hard to understand why.


Emily Says:

@SG1, I’m w/ you there. I just rewatched Stan’s match against Tsonga during the Davis Cup and he’s very comfortable on the clay. I’m not saying Tsonga compares to Rafa, Novak, or Roger, but if he feels confident, he should be a real contender (and he has a habit of playing better against a player he just had a tough loss against).


goody Says:

I think we all breathe easy and blame his loss on poor scheduling by the tournament organizers. Nadal play is built on confidence. If he is confident, he uses variety and makes the game very difficult for the opponent. When his confidence is not high he simply wants to give himself more margin. Giving himself more margin means standing a lot farther behind the base line and trying to hit a forehand from an uncomfortable position leaving the court open and in that process making unforced errors or going for too much. In the next couple of tournaments hopefully he will find the missing confidence and do well. What I actually would like him to do is stand closer to the baseline and take time away from the server when returning. I just think that when he stands so far behind the base line, his ability to hit the ball deeper drops and as a result I have seen many players going for the 1-2 punch. I feel like he is not really comfortable doing that but if he wants to keep winning for the next couple of years it is a very necessary change. He has a good backhand but he needs to make it better and stop running around to hit a forehand. He might loose initially playing closer to the baseline and trying to improve his backhand but eventually he will get better and he will be better than his very good years.

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