Dominant Djokovic Swats Aside Nadal To Face Berdych In Monte Carlo Final
by Sean Randall | April 18th, 2015, 2:15 pm
  • 235 Comments

It’s not often someone beats Rafael Nadal on clay. And it’s even less often that someone does it easily. But that’s what Novak Djokovic did today brushing away Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in two pretty comfortable sets to reach the Monte Carlo final.

Nadal began with purpose jumping out to a quick break with a 2-0 lead in the first. Djokovic would wake up, holding then breaking back and eventually running away with the set. Untroubled on his serve after the initial break.

It was more of the same in the second as Djokovic continued to hold at ease while Nadal struggled with both 1st and second serves. And it all came to a head in an epic 11-minute 7th game with Nadal getting broken.

I said Nadal desperately needed this win, and not only didn’t he get it, let’s be honest he wasn’t even close.

Nadal’s shots just don’t have the depth anymore and his serve just isn’t strong enough on clay against a guy like Djokovic – Nadal was broken four times in nine service games. And really, Novak never looked pressed or out of control at all during the match. To him, this was just another opponent standing in the way of another Masters title.

We also saw Novak employing a new tactic: the drop shot. With Nadal standing so far back, it’s a great strategy win or lose because it disrupts Rafa’s rhythm. And more often than not, Djokovic would win the point.

I just wonder if he showed the drop shot hand too soon, allowing Nadal, with six weeks before a French showdown, time to make adjustments.

So for Novak, the French Open can’t come soon enough. He’s on top of the world and on top of his game. He’s got the edge right now over Rafa and that French title is right there for the taking.

‘It was a fight,” said Djokovic. “I think the 3-3 game in both sets, they were the decisive moments in the match. I managed to win them. When you get to play somebody who has won so many times, so many matches on clay courts, he’s no doubt the best player that ever played the game on this surface, you got to use the opportunities. You got to be able to step in.

“This is the only way I was going to win against him or any other match that I play against him, especially on this surface, is to be aggressive and play my style of the game. I was aware of that. Just very pleased with the performance, honestly.”

For Nadal, it’s a stinging loss and the doubts will only mount. He played well at times, but he came up short, way short. The good news is, like I said, he did have a few Rafa-like moments and the French is still over a month away so he can fine-tune his game. But geez, based on what I saw today it’s hard to see how Nadal is going to get back on top of Djokovic now. There are just too many holes to plug.

“I think I played well in moments,” said Nadal. “I was able to play at the right level for moments to compete against a very, very tough player, the best player of the world like Novak is today. But I got a little tired. Then when you get a little bit tired, you play a little bit shorter. Then it is impossible against him.

“In general, I think I was not that far. For moments I was playing at a very high level. I think he played great. I just congratulate him for the way that he’s playing, the way that he’s winning almost every match of the year.”

A tired Nadal after an uncharacteristically quick 97-minute match against Djokovic? Did the David Ferrer 3-setter have something to do with it? I don’t think so, but if he really was tiring then he has more issues than I thought.

“For me it is a very positive week, the most positive week of the season, without any doubt,” added Nadal. “The way that I played yesterday and for moments today is the way that I want to play. Just with more matches playing like this, I will be enough confident to play. That level will not be the exception, it will be the normal thing. That is the thing that I need to make happen. I hope this tournament is a key moment for my season.”

As for the final, Tomas Berdych awaits. The Czech slayed Gael Monfils rather predictably 6-1, 6-4. Berdych, like Djokovic hasn’t dropped a set, but with a horrible 2-18 record against Djokovic one wouldn’t give him much of a chance Sunday.

However, they’ve only played twice on clay with Berdych winning at 2013 Rome and Djokovic taking their 2012 Monte Carlo meeting in three sets. So while the series is very lopsided, they play much more evenly on the dirt. And under new coach Dani Vallverdu, Berdych has been playing extremely well this season.

“This year is going pretty well,” said Berdych. “It’s going almost the way we set it up. We’re missing a trophy yet as a team and me personally, but it’s another chance tomorrow. I think I’m going to try to put myself [to be] in the best possible position to be ready for it.”

Still, I think Djokovic is too good right now, and he’ll win in two.

“I think he actually likes playing on clay,” Djokovic said Berdych. “It gives him time to swing through on the forehand, plus backhand side as well. He has a good serve. He won against some very good players this tournament. He’s one of the most consistent players we have this year. I’m sure he’s going to be very motivated. I’m going to try to just follow up on everything I’ve done so far this week, keep on playing the way I played. If I do so, I think I have a good chance.”


You Might Like:
Del Potro Withdraws From Monte Carlo; Kyrgios, Gasquet Also Out
Federer Reverses Monte Carlo Decision, Will Take On Nadal
Tomas Berdych: The Big Three Makes It Very Hard To Win Any Titles!
Djokovic Withdraws From Monte Carlo
Short On Confidence, Rafael Nadal Begins Clay Campaign In Monte Carlo [Video]

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

235 Comments for Dominant Djokovic Swats Aside Nadal To Face Berdych In Monte Carlo Final

chris ford1 Says:

And so the dramatic Euro clay season is off and running.


jane Says:

nice picture of the ladies, jelena and xisca:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CC5C1f5WYAAzo4d.jpg


Hippy Chick Says:

It is a nice picture thanks for that Jane,both are indeed stunning gals….


Giles Says:

Careful Xisca, you might contract some germs! Lol


Hippy Chick Says:

Xisca has a look of my best friend actually,and our Colin thinks Jelena has a look of Laura Robson….


chris ford1 Says:

Was looking at some reruns of the match because I missed the whole 1st set having a commitment. Overall, it was high quality, both guys as usual made and got to shots I thought were impossible, had the outstanding rallies that have defined their competitive rivalry. Rafa did not lose because he failed to fight or deliver excellent tennis. It is just Nole was better today (like for most of the last several months). A lot can happen with both guys in the next 6 weeks of clay season.

Some media is reporting Fed will skip Rome. I predict that by the end of Wimbledon, Nole will have increased his points margin on Fed.

It just seems so wrong to see Djokovic and Nadal have to play each other on clay in semis. Both are so “Finals-worthy”.

Jane, thanks for the picture. The two ladies have a few things in common besides long monogamous relationships with superstars beginning in their teens. Both are gifted, academically. Xisca with a tough business degree, Jelena with a Masters. Both have had jobs outside the “tennis world” or their beau’s charities at some point. Both are beautiful, and “wear well” in public and social functions without normally seeking the limelight.
Rafa and Nole of course could have “played the field”, but they chose quality over quantity.


Hippy Chick Says:

Giles no need for that,just two gals that obviously share a mutual respect for each other,cheering on their beaus/husbands…


Hippy Chick Says:

Unlike Novak and Jelena,Rafa and Xisca are saving marriage and children till after his careers over and Xiscas finished her buisness degree,the Nadal men all saved marriage till in their 30s i believe?….


jane Says:

this one is for giles, who can’t seem to refrain from nasty immature comments. so here you go, from troll tennis for a tennis troll:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CCaJlZ8UsAAxtIP.jpg:large


jane Says:

chrisford1, you’re welcome, and i agree with you. both lovely ladies for two tennis champs.


Hippy Chick Says:

Jane thats what i said too….


chris ford1 Says:

Jane, thanks again. That one had me LMAO! Not mean spirited…whoever created that one had a touch of genius. I believe if Rafa and Xisca saw it, they’d laugh too.


Hippy Chick Says:

I think we should leave the players personal lives out of it,Rafas been crucified before simply because he and Xisca are not married as yet with a family,i think its their buisness and nobody elses….


skeezer Says:

Congrats to Noles’ swatting.
Well done to an in form Rafa.
President Dean is my new fan fav.
Commiserations to OK, HC & g, the only Rafans who posted afterwards. The clan, as predicted, vamoosed.
Cricket……Cricket. C’mon gang, its Clay, he’ll get better.


Hippy Chick Says:

Skeezer thanks i didnt actually see the match as i was working,from what i can gather Nole was the worthy winner anyway,its all good….


Hippy Chick Says:

Mind you there wasnt many Rafa fans left even before this match….


Humble Rafa Says:

Looks like we will have two goat owners by the end of the year. I have this competition.


Giles Says:

https://mobile.twitter.com/arjun_noletard/status/589483804441448448
If he wants to play mind games he must be one very insecure dude!


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer

Thanks! The clan vamoosed out of here way before this match. A lot of them have been MIA for awhile now……probably to a more Rafa friendly site….if there is such a thing?? Lol.


Hippy Chick Says:

Jane i can see you were probably giving Giles a taste of his own medicine and i actually said what a nice picture it was and how there was no need for Giles to say what he did,but i disagree with Chris Fords1 interpretation of it not been mean spirited,thats exactly what it was poking fun at Rafa and Xiscas relationship from someone who calls themselves troll tennis,a couples relationship is a sensitive issue and sacred to them,and shouldnt be there for posters to ridicule over,i might be over sensitive but this is my two cents,id be hurt if people in the real world did that to me and my hubby just saying….


courbon Says:

Yes Giles, Novak is very insecure guy…seriously, you are talking more shit every day.
Novak is 27 years old guy who is dominant player in the world.
You are bloke who sits all day on computer and twits.
…and you are constantly shitting on guy????
…so who is insecure, genius???
Anyway, no pont talking to you- I get more sense from monkey on LSD…
************************************
Commiseration to nice Nadal fans,high five to all Novak fans ( WB, Mat4, Jane, Patson, Bojana….)
Lets see how final goes tomorrow.


Hippy Chick Says:

Hi Courbon congrats to your guy richly deserved ;-)….


jane Says:

cheers courbon!


Hippy Chick Says:

Courbon am i one of the nice Nadal fans lol,i think theres only me Okie and Giles left now….


mat4 Says:

I’ve read it. But there’s one thing — although, it could be just an impression of mine — CO’S didn’t say: while Novak, at the beginning of the match, tried to pin Rafa on his FH before playing DTL, after the first few games, when his BH started working better, he changed direction all the time, making Rafa hit on the run every shot.

Et qu’est-ce que ça cognait!

Both hit their shots with tremendous power and pace, especially Novak.


Wog Boy Says:

“President Dean is my new fan fav.”

Agree with skeezer, he put on quite a show, it was worth watching the match just because of him:) You can see him at the end of this “hot shot” shadow boxing:) He and his mates deserved towels Nole gave them:

http://youtu.be/wMjFLZGBBho


jane Says:

wog boy, mat4, novak has another record he actually set in miami:

Most consecutive Masters Finals won
1. Djokovic 10 (Shanghai 12-Miami 15)
2.Federer 9 (IW 04-Miami 06)
3. Agassi 8 (Paris 99-Cincy 04)


Daniel Says:

Jane,

This year Novak seems to be setting himself for records year. He got 3 a;ready: 5 AO, Third IW/Miami double and now this one you posted. Tomorrow he will go to extend this record for 11 Maters finals won and first person to win first 3 Masters in a season. Tying Fed with 23 and already 3 Masters this season. There is a lot he can achieve yet: RG title (complete career Slam), Cincinnati title (complete Master sweep), Be ranked #1 for all weeks in a season (something a few could do, Fed included), possibly breaking the record of 6 Masters titles won in a season (he is the record holder with 5 I believe). It will depends if he will play Madrid or not.

Assuming he wins tomorrow, if he gets another of the clay Masters, preferably Rome, his confidence will be huge for RG. MC and Rome are the closest to RG there is preparation wise.

This year he is on a tear and looks a step above everybody else right now.


jane Says:

phew, it’s very exciting for nole fans, daniel. i know he’s behind rafa and fed in a number of ways but he’s really carved out a little spot for himself, which is awesome. i would love to see him achieve those other milestones, but it’s not easy!


dari Says:

That was good tennis today. Novak is really making it clear that he is the best right now at the biggest moments.
And Jane, oh my goodness that xisca picture thing is hilarious. The are all lovely ladies I don’t want to be mean but that’s funny
And Rafa’s part lmao


Markus Says:

I missed the match. Congratulations to Djokovic. I read the post match posts which largely lauded Nadal for playing really well in spite of the loss. This got me really confused because I could not picture a Nadal playing well on clay and still lose. Nadal playing well on clay is not supposed to lose 6-3, 6-3. Or are people really just being nice to him?


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Jane, I think what Novak’s doing is pretty historic. This is already one of the top handful of greatest starts to a season ever. Knowing the roll he got on in 2011- when Fed and Rafa were much younger men!- its not outrageous to think lofty thoughts of what 2015 could be.
I thought the winner today would be too whupped to beat Berdych, but the points seemed shorter than usual, Novak more aggressive. He was always moving inside the baseline. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him do that so consistently. It seems like he’s still improving. The drop shot, the net play, the aggressive positioning. His lob wasn’t as effective today as against Rog, but he doesn’t need it as much against Rafa.

Rafa looked like a killer today, winning points on pure will and wheels. Novak just hit the ball better.

For Rafa, he has a much easier field to deal with next week. I think only Kei can challenge him at Barcelona, and even he would be a huge underdog. Rafa needs that trophy. I mean, Rafa doesn’t NEED anything to win RG. But it sure would help!


Markus Says:

Looking at Nadal’s girlfriend after seeing Berdych’s and Raonic’s girlfriends, has conviced me that Nadal’s girl looks kind of plain.


Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal started well going up 2-0. But he blinked and let Djokovic into the match. Or at least the set. He was still playing really well but that game at 3-3 determined the first set. It took Djokovic 10 minutes and a plethora of incredible shots to hold. A brief lull by Nadal and Djokovic broke. Not only that, but after that 3-3 game he only lost 4 or 5 more points on serve.

But the second set Djokovic really dominated. He was in every Nadal service game and probably should’ve broken in the first game. But it was enough for Djokovic to control the rallies. But Nadal started gaining some steam and at 3-3 he went up 40-0 really fast. Not just fast, but with great controlling shots. But then Djokovic hit a few great returns and all of the sudden it became another 10 minute battle. Djokovic broke and that was that.

It was a very close, high quality 3 and 3 match. And Nadal definitely played some great tennis. But Djokovic has been a match up nightmare for him for years now and today was no different. He was simply too strong off both wings and was just camping on top of the baseline like it was no one’s business. Even when Nadal played the right shots, Djokovic kept up the pressure. Simply put, Djokovic made sure the match was played on his terms and Nadal was unable to push him out of his comfort zone the way Djokovic pushed Nadal out of his.

At the end of the day, it’s nothing new. But going forward, especially at the French and any other slams they face each other in, I really hope those games at 3-3 carry over and Djokovic keeps his edge.

Having said that, it’s going to be hilarious if Berdych wins tomorrow.


Markus Says:

Thanks for breaking down the match, Ben Pronin. Nadal may have played well indeed. I think that for Nadal to have played well on clay and still lose must be a cause for concern.

As regards the “start of the battle for the Clay King” title that Skeezer mentioned earlier, Djokovic is 9 French titles away from that, so we can delay that discussion until 9 years from now.


chris ford1 Says:

Markus – Djokovic will never be the King of clay. But he shoots for being the Replacement Boss. He is already, IMO, the best clay player in the world in this era other than Rafa.


Okiegal Says:

Did anyone think that Novak seemed to be hitting the ball a lot harder today or was it just a figment of my imagination? Today his hitting reminded me of DelPo. Just curious about some thoughts.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t know if he was hitting as hard as Del Potro but it sounded like they were both hitting it hard.


Nitesh Says:

Djokovic is a step above all @ this moment
Nadal is trying to reach his old level, first he will have to reach some more finals win some loose some then he will be able to do something till then it’s all Hard work
Vamos !!! for the hard work


Okiegal Says:

I’m gonna ask hubby which one of the girls he thinks would win the beauty contest. I’ll get a seasoned, mature gentleman’s opinion. In seasoned, I mean salt and pepper hair…..LOL


Rafan1 Says:

Rafa did his true fans proud not just today but for this whole tournament actually. A win today would have been more than great but considering how few matches he’d played since last year’s French Open it was expecting a lot especially as Djokovic is the player he has to make so much adjustments for. Having closely watched all his matches here I like what’s I saw – really good consistent intensity and focus for the most part. He has a ways to go still but I feel he’s on the right track and this is just the start of the clay season! BUT, regardless of what happens this year, next year or even the year after – he is the once and only undisputed King of Clay. All others are simply pretenders to the throne until they can carve it in the silverwear for as often and for as long as he has done time and time again!


Okiegal Says:

@Ben……Just wanted another thought on it. I will agree both of them were hitting very soundly. There was 2 or 3 times when Novak hit I couldn’t even see the ball or where it went. It just seemed to me when he reached back to accelerate he went so much stronger for it. Don’t know how to explain it, but it just looked harder than usual. Thanks!


Wog Boy Says:

“Having said that, it’s going to be hilarious if Berdych wins tomorrow.”

I was thinking the same:)


jane Says:

gosh okie, i noticed the same with nadal. some of those forehands i couldn’t even track!


jane Says:

tennis-vagabond, awesome to hear. it did seem that novak was trying to shorten points and not get into long, grinding rallies. in the first set, for e.g., he won 19 (versus 10 for rafa) of the rallies that were 5 shots or less, so it was clear he wanted to dictate as much as possible. and i agree that rafa looked awesome too. he was moving really well and whacking those forehands all over, from all sorts of positions.

good summation ben: novak did play better in the second set, but rafa served worse too, which maybe allowed novak to put more pressure on his serves.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane……I know what you mean. Yes, they were both knocking the cover off the ball…..I guess I paid more attention to Novak, since he was winning more of the points! Lol They both better watch those wrists, is what I’m getting at……


mat4 Says:

@Okiegal, jane:

I wrote the same thing in a post above. They were hitting very hard, despite the heavy clay. I compared with Rome last year: the conditions today were extremely slow, and, at times, one had the impression that they couldn’t hit through, simply.

But watching one the highlights — there is one of the second set with almost all the points — one couldn’t not notice how deep, how hard they hit in that second set. Most of Rafa’s errors on the FH were caused by Novak’s very fast balls. They grunted all the time, BTW.


Patson Says:

Yaaayyy Nole won. Really happy about it. Always feels nice when the result meets your expectation. I REALLY like Nole’s chances at this year’s French Open. Although Nadal will take a lot of positives from this tournament, and he will improve further, I still feel Nole seems to be on another level this year. Conquer the French Nole !

@Skeezer

In form Rafa ? What exactly have you been smoking ? He beat David Ferrer, a top 10 player after 11 months, and you start thinking he’s in form ? The guy is pacing himself from the French open. You want to know what an in form Rafa is ? Wait till the French open. Unless of course you just wanted to piss off some Rafa fans, which is fine by me since you always have a thing going on with them haha.


mat4 Says:

And whatever you can read — it was a great match, with ming boggling points, especially in the middle of the two sets. They both can play a little better, but not much. Rafa’s balls were — but a few occasions — deep and heavy, Novak found angles like never before, and, in the second set, almost didn’t miss any of those BH, changing direction all the time, playing with a lot of pace. They played drop shots of great quality, lobs, passing shots… A remarkable match.


jane Says:

indeed mat4, and most reports acknowledge how well both of them played. but no matter. best to just watch it.

how do you feel about tomorrow’s match. i see tomas and nole are 1-1 on clay with both going the distance. the surface maybe makes it a different match up, or no?


mat4 Says:

@Patson:

First, Ferru was, before this tournament 23-3 this year, beating Nishikori in the process, winning three tournaments. Rafa had a let down against him, but for a set and a half, and in the third set again, he completely dominated. Let’s not forget that very often, even on clay, the results between them were close.

Then, in Miami too Rafa played fine. But like Rafa himself said and his uncle also stated, it is not a question of shots, of form, but mainly of focus and confidence.

Rafa is in form. He can play better, of course, but by how much? I’ve watched him for years — the margin is slim there.

And let’s not forget that we can’t know the quality of the courts, the way it affected the game, etc. So, enough of that story that Rafa isn’t in form, he can play much better, etc. It’s BS. Just like Novak, he can play a little better, especially in crunch time. But it is not a question of shots, of movement, but of psyche.


Patson Says:

@mat4

Dude, the in form Rafa generally beats EVERYBODY else other than Djokovic. He doesn’t lose to Berdych !

So NO, this isn’t an in form Rafa. Step back and look at the people he has been losing to. Will he play better ? I don’t know. Has he played better in the past ? YES. If he made it to the finals of Miami, I would’ve been able to see your point. If he hadn’t lost to Raonic in IW, I could’ve seen your point.

So yes Nole won, and I’m super happy about it but there’s nothing wrong in admitting what’s obvious.

We’ll probably have to agree to disagree.


mat4 Says:

Then, it is the true that it is an often used excuse. Whenever Rafa loses on fast courts — it’s because he peaks for the clay season and he is tired (and not because he doesn’t play well on fast courts). Before each and every tournament, he doesn’t play well and has to work and improve. His opponent is always a terror of the tennis courts and Rafa has to play his very best to have a chance, etc.

Come on. Enough with that. You’re ready or you’re not.


mat4 Says:

@Patson:

Rafa lost to Berdych in JANUARY. And he often lost on fast courts to big hitters, and the AO played a bit faster in the last three years.

He lost to Raonic in Miami, in a match he dominated. But Novak lost to Karlovic in Doha, just before the AO, in a similar manner.

When Rafa is in form, he beats everybody. When Fed is in form, he doesn’t lose. When Novak is in form… what then?


Patson Says:

@mat4

Dude my point is simple. Nadal, when in form, will play better. It is just a guess, but a fairly educated one. The in form Nadal, which I anticipate to show up at the French open and hopefully Nole will be ready for him, will be more battle-hardened. Can Nole play better ? Of course. But I won’t call this Nadal an “in form” Nadal. I mean, puhleeeaaseee. I will call our Nole an “in form” Nole, but not Nadal.

I don’t think we’re communicating, so you should celebrate Nole’s win and not get too rile up about what I said.


django Says:

I hope Novak can beat berdych tomorrow.


jane Says:

don’t worry about mat4. :) no1e beat nadal and us novak fans can rejoice in it. we know how well nadal played. it was obvious.


jane Says:

django, me too!


jane Says:

sorry mat4, that should read don’t worry about *it.*


mat4 Says:

Sorry, he lost to Verdasco in Miami. But I watched that match: Verdasco played very well, and Rafa has no advantage against him since he’s lefty.

Is it not a question of form, but of decline? Then name it. Decline. Rafa is older, moves a step slower, etc.

But I didn’t have that impression yesterday. And then, since 2011, he has lost 5 matches on clay against Novak played in best of three: both played in 2011, the one they played in 2013 and 2014, and now this one. The only season he beat Novak everywhere was in 2012, in other cases, it was only at RG. And we know how close it was in 2013, and what happen in 2014.

So, Novak is a match for Rafa on clay.


Patson Says:

@mat4

1) Nole in the recent past has had advantage over Rafa, but Rafa has ALWAYS stepped it up in the the grandslams apart from 2011 when Nole was on fire

2) Nadal does not lose to Fognini (he lost to him in February). Nadal does not lose clutch matches, like he lost to Raonic. And Nadal, most definitely does not lose to Verdasco.

Decline ? May be. But it’s equally possible the guy is going through a low and will play better cometh the French open. You don’t want to agree with that ? Fine. I can live with that.

Ajde Nole and Au revoir


Wog Boy Says:

Sorry to butt in, but saying that Nole is in form and Rafa is not is undermining Nole’s victory against best ever on clay who meticulously planed his start of Euro clay season and played great but wasn’t allowed to play better due to Nole’s smart execution of his game plane, not because Rafa is not “in form”. Rafa started all guns blazing and about to go to breaks up, Nole regrouped and pushed Rafa further behind base line, and as Sean noticed, didn’t allow Rafa to get into rhythm by mixing it up and hitting very hard and moving him forward backward with drop shots.
Nobody says Nole is going to beat Rafa in Paris, Rafa is favorite until further notice, but Rafa is ready and has been playing CC tournaments since AO, Nole hasn’t play nor seen CC since FO last year until last week, so to say that Nole is in form for clay and Rafa is not doesn’t make any sense, sorry Patson.


Wog Boy Says:

^^ “two breaks up” not “to”


Daniel Says:

As much as Nadal played great I agree with Patson. The Nadal in form would be blasting FH DTL at will as he did last year 4th set RG which frustrated the hell out of Djoko. Maybe is a confidence thing, or the sun as I think it hugely affects how Nadal plays, or is it just imminent decline (which his current season lost suggests). This is his worst start to a season since 2004, with only 1 title in Buenos aires, 250 4 matches to win in the slowest clay against a depleted field with regular Argentinian customers.

I thought he played great today and almost as well as he could and it doesn’t take anything away from Djoko who played almost flawless on his terms. Novak never looked frustrated or irritate, he just sometimes laughed at how well Rafa defended and won a few points but he knowledge the better play by Nadal in those occasions. We know Novak is not 100% confident in a match when he swears, get piss, is throwing racquets and etc. Today he played a second set on clay against Nadal without facing a BP, which I think must never being done before. He was totally in control of the match, never behind except for those brief 2 games in the beginning of first set. He was never under huge pressure and could execute his game through out the match.

Will see next tuners both play, Djoko’s level won’t just drop baring injury. Nadal OTOH needs to keep improving and win a title otherwise he can have his confidence further shattered.


jane Says:

wog boy, that’s a good point. novak was playing an extra week in miami while rafa was already practicing on clay but i hadn’t even thought about the fact that he’d already played the south american clay swing.

anyhow, as you say, it doesn’t matter for the french. that’s a month and a half away. we need to wait and see because anything can happen between now and then.


Daniel Says:

Yes, Djoko is starting on clay now, but actually he looked better this week than he did all year. The closets anyone got was winning 4 games in a set. He is playing super sharp this week and seems he made transition to clay perfectly. He struggled more in IW, Miami and AO than this week so far.


jane Says:

“He was never under huge pressure and could execute his game through out the match”

i thought he was under a lot of pressure for the first half of the first set and even at the beginning of the second. but he stayed calm today.

he talked about controlling his emotions on the court after the match and i assume he was trying this deliberately because of letting his emotions out in miami.


Patson Says:

@WB

No probs. Form generally doesn’t have much to do with the fact that whether you’ve played on a certain surface before. Nadal beating Nole in the Rogers cup 2013 is precisely because of better form. Nadal beating Roger in Cincy in 2013 – a faster court which is not supposed to suit his game – is precisely because he was in form, which he then carried through to the US open to win against Nole at the US open. Form is another name for momentum; when you’re winning, you’re simply unstoppable. I see that momentum for Nole this season, I don’t see that momentum in Nadal. This is contrary to 2011 when Nadal WAS in form; it’s just that there was one player on the tour who he couldn’t pass through i.e., Novak Djokovic.

That hasn’t been happening this season, he has lost to Fogninis and the Berdychs and couple of others. Am I taking anything away from Nole ? No. Am I saying that Nole cannot beat an in form Rafa ? Heck No ! In fact that would be stupid to say. All I’ve said, and have been saying, and continue to say, is that Nadal WILL play strategically better in the future.

Believing otherwise may be unwise. The guy ups the ante in the grandslams. He always does. Gotto keep that in mind. I’m sure Nole knows that.


jane Says:

daniel it’s worth noting though that nole didn’t have a very tough draw in monte carlo, as compared to IW and Miami. in IW he had to play isner and murray before fed in the final, and then in miami he played isner again and andy in the final. he seemed drained that whole event.

the only tough opponent nole faced before the semi today was cilic, but cilic probably wasn’t at his best yet. meanwhile nadal played 2 tough matches with isner and ferrer. so he was possibly a little worn out by set 2 today perhaps especially because nole won set one which might’ve taken the wind out of rafa’s sails after he got broken in set 2.


Daniel Says:

Yes Jane, his composure on court to me suggested that even behind he was not feeling desperate or irritated and immediately he could revert the score. He was 5-1 after going 0-2 which is total control. Of corse the 2 turning points were the 3-3 games in both sets. But Djoko should have broken the first game second set as he had 15-40 and a ball he hinted the net. Had he break there the match could have been even easier.

What I agree with Patson is because recalling last year RG< Djoko won first set 6-3, was toe to toe in the second and only after he lost the second set 7-5 Nadal woke up and improve his game in that match. I've never seen him play so confident his FH DTL as in that match. Maybe the way Djoko hit today prevented him from doing it, but that level of play remains back in my mind as a memory that Nadal has another gear to go. Maybe he won't reach that level again due to age, etc..

But I got the sense he could be more aggressive and if he gets down again losing in a RG match he may revert to this same pattern and it can work again, or he will start to miss and Djoko will prevail anyway, remain to be seen.


jane Says:

“Maybe the way Djoko hit today prevented him from doing it”

possibly daniel, after all nole too would’ve learned from that french open encounter. he couldn’t rely on CC forehands to hit his backhand down the line because nadal kept using the “banana” at the FO last year. there’s a very good chance nole’s coaches were prepared for this and came up with alternate tactics.

nole came forward way more, as tennis vagabond noted, and hit more droppers/lob combos etc. his overhead worked well today too. phew! :)


Daniel Says:

Fair enough Jane, IW and Miami also had 5 matches before final for seeds and Djoko’s competition was less stelar here, but the way he is hitting the ball and persona on court is very different and more positive than those 2 tourneys.

Patson,

Agree with you ref momentum. Even last year, Nadal had those clay loses in MC and Barcelona but was having an excellent year, title in Doha, final in Australia, final in Miami. Very different to this season where he is just not getting results apart from 1 final/title in BA. He played great today but is not in the “form” of his life.


Daniel Says:

And I also think Nadal is getting more tired or at least seeming more tired during matches, the grunting was high for an 1 and half hour which was not the physical matches we saw in the past.


Patson Says:

@Daniel

Precisely.


jane Says:

so we’re back to “no one can beat a healthy [in form, 100%, etc] nadal” then?

okay. whatever. novak still won.

it’ll be interesting to see how they adjust going forward.


Patson Says:

@jane

No. Nobody said that. 2011 is a prime example where Nadal was healthy, in form, but Nole kept winning.

What we’re saying here is that Nadal, owing to some little strategic adjustments, can play better. I for one, believe that he will. This is based on his past performances in the French open where he always ups the ante. In NO way does this mean Nole can’t beat Nadal at the French. Not at all. Nole has beaten an in form Nadal many many times. I’m just saying that this Nadal that we saw at Monte Carlo should not be called an “in form” Nadal, because he wasn’t !

You tell me, does this above position amount to saying “nobody can beat an in form Nadal” ? I don’t think so. I can’t do much if others interpret it that way. Sorry.


jane Says:

thanks for clarifying patson. however, making tactical adjustments doesn’t mean not having been in form. it simply means adjusting to what you’ve seen from your opponent.

today, nole seemed prepared to use variety and not let nadal use his forehand up the line / “banana” like he did at the FO. that’s the last match novak and coaches would’ve had to go on. nadal hit in 81% first serves in set one. he hit more winners than nole, and he was winning in returns. but still nole won that set because of a huge resistance and fight at 3 all when rafa pushed hard to break. in set 2, rafa wasn’t serving as well and novak began to play looser and easier, so he was more dominant.

in any case, rafa had a few things to say:

1. “Way that I played yesterday/today is the way I want to play.With more matches that level will not be the exception but normal thing”

2. Rafa also says he got a bit tired at some point. Hasn’t played at this high level for a while + Ferrer’s battle yesterday. Lost a bit of intensity in the legs. Says he’ll really have a chance vs Novak when he can stay 3 hours at this level. He’s on the right way.

3. Nadal says it was without a doubt his best week of the season. That the 3-3 game in the first set was very important, same in 2nd set.


mat4 Says:

@Patson, Daniel:

Just watch the replay. You will notice, first, that Novak played very acute angles, and that Rafa couldn’t play his FH DTL well because he was out of the court very often and also, because, he defended, barely making it. Novak hit so deep, so hard, it was difficult to react. BTW, something you don’t notice: Novak hits his FH in avg 10 kmh faster that last year, and yesterday, in the second set especially, he was blasting the ball.

Then, stop with the MYTH that Rafa only loses when he’s out of form, and wins while his opponents are in form. The match in 2013 could have gone either way (lets just notice that two wrong call in the first set, both on BP, gave Rafa that set), and last year, Novak had fever in his match against Gulbis.

While the fact that Rafa lost only once in RG makes him the favourite to win the FO, don’t underestimate what Novak did in the last few years: he lead 13-7 against Rafa, and he’s 5-4 on clay.

Don’t also forget that, since Rafa’s complained against Bernardes, one more umpire seats in the public and measures time between points. Rafa can’t use 30 seconds before serving, to put his opponent out of rhythm, something that could have decided the USO 2013 (just rewatch the game at 4-4, 0-40 in the third set).

Finally, and I wrote it in the previous thread, why nobody gives a damn when Novak, Federer are out of shape, battling with bad wrist or back pain, while every time Rafa loses — he was injured, he’s not confident, etc. Most of the time, no one knows when Fed and Novak are injured.

Enough excuses. Even Rafan’s like Okie or HC don’t make them any more. They are so embarrassing, especially now, when Rafa is in a slump since fall 2013.


Wog Boy Says:

I know one thing, the way match started yesterday I could see Rafa serving bagel or at least breadstick to Nole for the smoko, I am glad it turned out Nole wasn’t hungry so he rejected Rafa’s offer;)


mat4 Says:

@Patson:

Rafa didn’t up the ante last year. Novak played a bad match, because he played big servers in his half of the draw, was out of rhythm, and felt sick in the final.

If you want excuses… here you have some.

Can Rafa play better? He hasn’t played better for a year and a half. Since the USO 2013, when Novak played below his usual level.

Why, as a Novak fan, don’t you mention that Novak was in a big crisis then? He lost the FO by a point. He played an abysmal WB final, and was subpar in the fall. He hired Becker after that.

And in 2012? Yes, I know, it was Rafa that improved… But Novak’s grand father died and Novak wasn’t the same for months. Then, the FO final was conveniently adjourned when Novak won a set and broke in the fourth. Why?

Once again: we can always find excuses. The truth is that Novak was lucky in 2011, but very unlucky in 2012 and 2013. But who cares?

Finally: I believe that the FO is on Novak’s racquet, not on Rafa’s, whatever Rafa does. For many reasons. But it is a far fetch for both, right now.


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus if Xiscas plain then theres no hope for the likes of me lol….


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 i wont see the match as im working but i will say congrats to Novak and all his fans for winning his 23rd Masters crown yourself,WB,Jane,Courbon,Danica,Michael,Bojana,its a foregone conclusion Berdych has no chance,i intend to stick around but its not a forum for Rafa fans anymore,people are even taking potshots at his relationship with his girlfriend now and thinking its funny,and cant understand why the rest of us dont,ce la vie….


Hippy Chick Says:

Rafan1@ 11.10pm well said….


Hippy Chick Says:

Okie they are both beautiful lets leave it at that,none of this tiresome comparison nonscense,it just makes the likes of me feel like crap overweight, short,and rather frumpy looking :(….


danica Says:

Mat4,

Spot on! The last three years at the FO, Rafa was lucky. Novak could have won all those matches. Last year, he was sick and even uncle Toni said that Rafa wouldn’t have been able to win the fifth set had it gone the distance. I believe it’s finally time for Lady Luck to switch sides :).

Rafa said yesterday that he got tired. If he got tired during the best of three match, what will happen if he has to play four or five set matches at the FO? He is the undisputed King of Clay and that crown will forever be his (hard to imagine anyone being better) and I know that he had same schedule for years, but playing consecutive weeks won’t help building up stamina. That’s something you focus on off season. Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and then Paris… I don’t know.

As for Nole, I never dreamed he would be in the MC finals this year. He just won two Masters trophies on another continent, one would expect HIM to be tired and mentally exhausted and certainly not in a position to get used to clay so fast.


Patson Says:

@mat4

In response to your first post, are you serious ? Fed’s problems are highlighted SO much in the media. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told how Fed’s mono was the reason why he lost to Nole in AO 2008, and how the light was responsible for his loss to Rafa at Wimby 2008, and how Nole’s win in US open 2011 was purely down to luck, and how his back led to an abysmal 2012 showing at the US open. All players have used excuses. So let’s not even go there.

Secondly, my problem is with using the word “in form” for Nadal right now. You went on with a laundry list of complaints which frankly, I wasn’t even arguing about. I’m looking at a player who hasn’t shown me anything to justify calling him “in form”. Nadal played a good match today, but would I call him “in form” based on that ? No.

The fact that you believe Nadal doesn’t up the ante in grandslams, and just goes to do well in majors due to his careful abuse of 30 seconds rule or the fact that ATP ends up doing something to favor him, is something I don’t feel any need to argue against because I’m not a Nadal fan. But I do think that you don’t win 14 majors just by delaying to serve by a few seconds.


danica Says:

Markus,
I like Xisca more than both Berdych’s and Raonic’s girlfriends. Berdych’s girlfriend is a model, often made up and is pretty, but Xisca is natural and never over the top. Abundance of that gorgeous hair, beautiful complexion, eyes… Everything. So, I guess, it’s a matter of taste :)


Okiegal Says:

@Chick…..I was thinking the same thing on Markus take on plain looking Xisca! I was shocked by his assessment, I think she is absolutely gorgeous! I’m gonna ask Okieguy what he thinks.

Yes, as Skeezer said,the Rafa fans have vamoosed. But it was before the match yesterday. You are right, now picking on the girlfriend…it never ends! People need to stay out of their personal life. It’s probably a struggle to even have a decent relationship with the hectic life of a tennis player. But it does seem to work for them,….She seems laid back and low key. I’ve see videos of her and him when fans and photographers are close by, she more or less just shrinks away from it all.


danica Says:

Happy Chick,
you’re a beautiful person and that’s what matters.

As for the finals, thanks for congratulating us, but I would wait for after the match. Nole has a big chance of winning, but Tomas is playing better than ever. I decided to listen to my son and don’t disrupt my sleep over Nole that often :), so I won’t get up at 5am on a Sunday to watch the finals. But as soon as I open my eyes, I’ll check the result :).


Margot Says:

Come on guys and girls, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If it weren’t so there’d be long, long queues outside Ross Poldark’s door…….oh wait ;)


Patson Says:

@Margot

Most of the beholders think that Scarlett Johansson is gorgeous which , to me, seems to suggest that there is some sort of common understanding of beauty the Global Federation of Beholders has :-)

Alright, I agree this was a lame attempt to be funny.


Okiegal Says:

@Margot…

The old saying “beauty is skin deep…..My hubby’s answer to that is “but ugly’s to the bone”. He would know, I’m not the most delectable dish at the deli, but he says I’ll do in a pinch!!


Okiegal Says:

I had never thought that Nicole Kidman was beautiful, but she was absolutely gorgeous in the movie “Australia”. Might have been the lighting, but she was so pretty in that scene at the party and Hugh was spit and shined to the nines….hubba hubba….Chick…..calm down, please!! Lol Not my intention to get you all flustered at work. :)


Zozza Says:

Djokovic will win everything this year … Whenever i say this people get upset !
The RABBIT as SAFIN labelled him is no longer the player he once was !
Nadal’s biggest weaknesses are his serve & his movement !
Another problem is that he stands too far back … Another problem is that he is getting tired early in matches .
I’m not sure if he can regain his 2013 form ?
That’s the only way to get back to winning slams again that fitness & form he had in 2013 was sublime !
Watching the Monte Carlo semi I noticed Djokovic wasn’t really worried even 2-0 down coz I felt he always knew he had this match in the bag for various reasons
Firstly nadal’s female serve & secondly form is on Djokovic ‘s side … The man is the best player in the world !
Since 2011 Djokovic has dominated Nadal
Had Federer not saved Nadal in French open 2011 Djokovic would have won all 4 slams
He was in Nadal’s head back then … Sure Nadal fought back in 2013 but since 2011 Djokovic has been better than Nadal !
I am a diehard Nadal fan for the record but I can’t deny that currently Djokovic is better !
Even on clay which is hard to admit .
For all you diehard Nadal fans just accept that Nadal is in decline mostly due to his body being punished by his brutal playing style !

However I still think my hero can win another slam most likely French but if people remember he dominated Djokovic on hard courts in 2013 !
2016 after the Olympics … Nadal will retire !
How will history judge him ?
One of the best players of all time
Best ever on clay & how will they compare him to the other great players ?
My opinion … At his best he was better than both Federer & Djokovic !!!
Good luck for the rest of the clay season RAFA !!!


Michael Says:

It was not easy for Novak as the scoreline suggests. Some times the scoreline deceives you and this is one of those matches. Rafa was a combination of both good and bad. He executed some brilliant shots as well as fumbled easy ones. He just was not consistent enough on this day when it was most needed against a player of calibre like Novak. I enjoyed this match both live as well as when it was replayed and just was stumped by the sheer quality of both these players. Right now, they are the two best players on Clay court. I get a feeling that Novak is finding clay courts even easier than hard courts which has been his forte.

Now this is a most sought after win Novak needed ahead of the tough clay court season. Since, he is pitted against Berdych, I think the title is almost his own unless a miracle happens on court. So three master series titles in a row will give any player tons of confidence and as I said that this is the year Novak will replicate his 2011 performance and might even better it. He will fancy his chances at Rolland Garros, a title he has never won in his career and securing that win will place him in that illustrious list of completing a calendar grand slam. He is only 27 and already has almost equalled Roger’s accumulation of Master series titles and at this rate, he might even over take Rafa’s 27 pretty soon. Adding to that coveted collection, is the World Tour finals which he has also won quadrupule times in his career.Novak is now likely to go places and what a generation this is for the Tennis in general when you have three Champions playing simultaneously.


Michael Says:

Who can stop Novak right now ? Roger, Rafa and Andy are the players who can pose a challenge. But Roger is a veteran who has lost some of his sharpness on court and he will find it pretty tough to dislodge Novak. Only quick hard courts can help his cause. Rafa is always uncomfortable against him and his style of play never suits him while Andy looks dangerously lost now-a-days whenever he plays Novak with the frustration amply showing in his face. That leaves only the Young guns who have still miles to go to attain the prowess of performing consistently in matches. And so Novak is looking quite invincible at the moment and is destined for more glory in the times to come. This is a year he might sweep everything and will convert every challenge into an opportunity.


Margot Says:

@Patson
Culture defines what’s beautiful to a large extent. eg in societies where food is scarce fatness is seen as beautiful.
And America, because of its great wealth, through the media of film and advertising, told the world what beauty was. So your pale skinned, blue eyed. skinny blonde has huge cultural capital.
Think that’s changing tho., thank goodness.


Giles Says:

@Zzzzzzzz. You really are a “weird” Rafa fan if you are indeed a Rafa fan which I’m willing to bet you are not! “Nutter”!!


sienna Says:

nobody is acknowleging the fact that it was extremely easy win.
Nadal needs to bounce back. upset in Barcelona is always waiting.


madmax Says:

Giles,

One thing Novak is NOT, is insecure.

Really, you are embarrassing yourself, but I am curious – Looking at your earlier comment, to which courbon responded, Federer changed his racquet. As a fed fan, I wonder why he changed his racquet – I guess it would be because a) he didn’t have confidence in the way that he played the game with his current racquet, reason why he wanted to change, b) he wanted to evolve his game and play with more power c) he wanted to continue to be at the top of the game, so exactly what is it that Novak said which doesn’t concur with Fed’s rationale of changing his racquet? It is a no brainer. Embarrassing.

courbon Says:
Yes Giles, Novak is very insecure guy…seriously, you are talking more shit every day.
Novak is 27 years old guy who is dominant player in the world.
You are bloke who sits all day on computer and twits.
…and you are constantly shitting on guy????
…so who is insecure, genius???
Anyway, no pont talking to you- I get more sense from monkey on LSD…
************************************
Commiseration to nice Nadal fans,high five to all Novak fans ( WB, Mat4, Jane, Patson, Bojana….)
Lets see how final goes tomorrow.

April 18th, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Will be able to sit back and enjoy the match.
I wonder how Berdych will play today – It will be an intriguing match.

Hope for some good entertainment.


Giles Says:

Courbon. You really have got a potty mouth. Shame on you!


Markus Says:

Hippy Chick, I’m partial to the Victoria’s Secret Angels type. The kind that’s unattainable for me. I don’t consider Nadal’s gf ugly. She is pretty but Berdych’s and Raonic’s are so stunning that beside them, she looks rather plain. But of course, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I think Novak’s Jelena is very pretty.


Daniel Says:

Mat4,

I myself thinks this tear belongs to Djoko since the get go and highlighted that some thibking thag Nadal could pull the return from injury everytime he wanted just by sheer will and his “name” was not 100% realistic at his age and maybe he won’t reach the level of the RG final last year.

You mat be rigth, Djoko may have been sick and hence wasn’t gitting as hard as he could and Rafa was able to unleash his FH DTL.

I just have that memory and unless Nadal plays like that again, to me he won’t be on top of his form. But of course, it takes two to tango in tennis and maybe Djoko won’t allow Nadal to ever play like that agaisnt him again.

But we’ll only know when Nadal is about to lose in RG to Djoko if they play again and if he will shift to that play or Djoko will prevent him.
I think it is not a certainty that it will happen but consideringthisnis the startof the clau season and we have seen it happen before Rafa may hit the adjustments or not.

Last year after Rome and first set I was 80% surr Djokowoyld have won the French and suddenly Nadal reminda us why he us the king of clay.

I hope Djoko won’t decrease his level because he sure looks in the form of his life, returns never been better.


jalep Says:

Where is e everybody? Any one watching the final?
Nole was down a break at the start again and now serving for 1st set.


Daniel Says:

Also mat4, I’ve said here becore alos that all dominat year requeires a few things to happen innfavor of the top dog.

In Nadal’s case 2013. Fed had his wirst year, Murray surgery after Wimbleodn and Djoko was shaken By FO. During North America HC swing only Nadal
Was playing great and the other were “out of form”. This happen for patches in a seson.

It’s not making excuses. Yesterday Djoko was the sulerior playee as he is since USO and Nadal played great.

But judging by his season and what I know he can play on clay, especially RG (2012, 2103, 2014) he can play better.


Daniel Says:

In the mean time Djoko served for the set but got broken. Alot of breaks this match and Berdy is hitting as hard as he can. Very slow conditions today.


jalep Says:

Berdych breaks back! 5-5 on serve again.
I’m going to blame Ben Pronin and his wicked humor if Berdych wins ;)


Margot Says:

Gosh Nole seems really flat and his first serve % is right down.
Berd’s not playing above his pay grade either.


Daniel Says:

1. “Way that I played yesterday/today is the way I want to play.With more matches that level will not be the exception but normal thing”

Jane.

Nadal said in patches Inplayed the way I wanted to play so he knows he didn’t okay like he wants the whole match.

Anyhow. He played a great match but to me and Pataon being “In Form” is sustaining form for a long peruod of time in a seson or a few months something Nadal os not. At least this is how I see it.

Maybe I shoyld have said this before to clarify better.


Daniel Says:

Set point Djoko


Daniel Says:

And he got The first set 7-5.

Berdych os playung great but Djoko is really killing on seocnd serve.


jalep Says:

He got it. 7-5 Nole.


Margot Says:

Well, first set Nole: 7-5 not playing anything like yesterday either, but against a wildly inconsistent Berd he really doesn’t need to.


Daniel Says:

Okiegal,

Nicole was also gorgeous in Moulin Rouge.


jalep Says:

@Margot. Didn’t Andy destroy Berdych recently?


Margot Says:

jalep….hmm…now let me think….;)
In fairness, tho. why I ask myself…”destroy” a bit strong.


jalep Says:

@Margot. 6-4 6-4 in Miami. Just looked it up. I remembered it wrong. I thought he bagel ed him or something.


Margot Says:

Unfortunately Andy doesn’t dish up as many bagesls as Nole!
And rain now, in sun drenched S. France, whereas in wet old UK baking sunshine for weeks!


jalep Says:

Is Andy playing in Barcelona?


Margot Says:

No, training block instead.


jalep Says:

So he won’t play until Madrid? There’s a slew of 250′s until then.

Watching Panetta and Errani dominate Serena and Riske. None of them can beat Serena in singles but I love the Italian team of Giorgi Errani and Panetta.


Gordon Says:

Truth is – Berdych is putting up way better opposition than Nadal did yesterday.

The other truth is Nadal in 6 weeks turns 29. In 2011 when Federer was 29 all anyone could talk about in here was how the end was nigh for the Swiss, and he might as well retire.

Not Nadal though. Nope, he’s getting his game slowly back to where he’ll be better than ever cause he is Rafa, no?

Time catches everyone. Fed staying at #2 in the world at age 33 (though not anywhere near as good as he was a decade ago) may have people thinking this is the norm, and Rafa will repeat Fed’s longevity.

Maybe he will, but he is almost 29. He plays a punishing style of tennis. It seems to have caught up to him on all other surfaces except clay. Some day it will on the red dirt as well.


Margot Says:

@jalep
Andy’s playing Munich. Obviously wants to try his clay shoes out b4 the biggie.


KatH Says:

@ Jalep

Andy Murray is playing a 250 at Munich.


jalep Says:

Good plan @Margot and KatH.


Hippy Chick Says:

Novak is playing fantastic and is the man to beat here,there and everywhere,but can we please stop trashing the achievements of other players by saying he wouldve won the FO in 2011 if he had made the final,wouldve won the FO in 2012 but for the rain delay,wouldve won in 2013 but for that bloody net touch,wouldve won last year if it had gone to a fifth,none of it happened,ifs,buts,would haves,could haves,should haves mean doodle squat in the real world,if i picked 6 winning lottery numbers id be a millionaire by now,didnt happen its a question for science fiction writers,silly stuff….


Hippy Chick Says:

Zozza if your a fan of Nadals like you say you are,can you just enjoy watching him play and let the rest of us do the same without all this retirement talk please,hes said win or lose that he enjoys playing tennis and has no intention of retiring anytime soon….


jalep Says:

Have to admit. Berdych is playing smart tennis.


Rishi Says:

At the end of the 1st set, Novak won only one more point than Berdych (35/34). At the time of the rain delay, both had won the same number of points (18/18). It appears this match has been very close so far.


jalep Says:

And Berdych breaks


Rishi Says:

(18/18) in the second set.


Rishi Says:

Wow….never imagined that Berdych would play Novak this tough. Ben Pronin, looks like Berdych read what you wrote here yesterday.


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus@8.42am as i say then theres no hope for the likes of me who already have low self esteem anyway,small and chubby with big bulging eyes,and suffering with hair loss through taking thyroid replacement medication :(….


Margot Says:

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday Nole’s serve was something like 75% today less than 50% so he’s giving Berd all sorts of looks at his 2nd serve.
Perhaps the intensity and outstanding play of yesterday has left him flat?


Daniel Says:

Berdych with a break up in the second.


jalep Says:

Berdych has been the better player since the rain delay. No doubt.

Serving for set.


Rishi Says:

Looks like Novak is regrouping. Won 4 straight points from 0-30 at 3-5. Let’s see if Berdych can serve out the set.


Patson Says:

Break him Nole, don’t let it go to the 3rd set!


Margot Says:

2nd set Berd!
Nole: All out yesterday.
All in today?


Rishi Says:

We’ll see a 3rd set today.


Daniel Says:

Berdych takes second set. Indeed seems on clay they are more even.

But Berdy is a prick. Camera just caught him telling someone: “don’t even think of addimg more water”. Very polite, pff

Hope Djoko takes the third. He needs to keep first serve on court.


Patson Says:

Damn the rain. I’m going to sue the gods.

Well, Nole serves first in the 3rd. Needs an early break, and then it should be easy pickings. I hope he’s pissed. He should be.


Rishi Says:

Daniel…I was just watching on ESPN online in the US, and I only heard him saying “dont even think of…”

Thanks for adding the remaining statement. It doesn’t make sense adding more water, I guess? Already rainy, too much moisture in the air.


jane Says:

“Indeed seems on clay they are more even.”

yes it definitely seems as such. not sure why? but their previous two clay matches went 3 sets too and they split them.

tomas may very well get his second masters title today.


Rishi Says:

Hehe….just like that, Tomas gifts Novak the 2nd game. Talk about mental strength. All Novak had to do was wait. Now I expect him to run over Birdman.


courbon Says:

Patson, if you sue the Gods you will be hit by lighting.Watch it dude…


Daniel Says:

3-0 Djoko. If Berdych doesn’t take care of his games this can go fast and ugly.

Djoko when he finds his stride and puts some pressure in retunr can win set easily. Hope he keeps the lead and finish Berdych of.


FedExpress Says:

wtf

4-0

nole is a joke. cant stand this guy


courbon Says:

nole is a joker.Love this guy


Rishi Says:

So Nole breaks for a second time and give it back? Still has the cushion of the 1st break.


KatH Says:

@ Jane

Didn’t realise Berdych had won a Masters – which one?

Taa


FedExpress Says:

nole has always the advantage to serve in he deciding sets


FedExpress Says:

berdych won paris


jane Says:

courbon, ditto. read a great stat you might appreciate:

“Djokovic has won 20 consecutive three-setters at the Masters 1000 level since dropping 4 of 5 (to Dimitrov, Berd, Nadal, Isner) in mid-2013.”

berdych digging in here, with a break back and a big hold. hopefully novak can hold.

kat-h, i believe it was paris.


courbon Says:

Novak always has advantage to serve first in deciding set????? Hmmmm….it must be conspiracy.
What you think DHL? ( sorry but all Parcel Company’s are same to me???Fed Express, DHL, Royal Parcel…. )


Hippy Chick Says:

Hi Courbon i hope your enjoying the game?didnt see the first set but Novaks playing well a bit up and down….


courbon Says:

@ jane: That is impressive. While his GS statistics are not the best, he really is becoming Master of Masters…


courbon Says:

Another Nolecostter…..Arrrghhh!Finish the match Novak!!!!!!!!!!!


jane Says:

courbon, indeed. but phew! from 4-0 to the precipice of being back on serve. tough day at the office!


courbon Says:

Hi Hippy-Novak is playing crap.He is lucky that is Tomas across the net and not somebody else.
5 Double Faults?I think in his head Novak think he won tournament yesterday….


FedExpress Says:

Nole to break here


FedExpress Says:

last time novak choked after he choked?


jalep Says:

Arrrrgh…is right @courbon


Hippy Chick Says:

Courbon even Novaks crap play is still a level above everyone elses ATM….


courbon Says:

Tough day in office indeed.


FedExpress Says:

thats right. novaks c game still better than most b games


FedExpress Says:

Birdshit is a mental midget

after being 40-0 up deuce


courbon Says:

Hippy, level above second tier players-Rafa, Fed or Andy would punish this Novaks game.


FedExpress Says:

strange that 34 years old inconsistent player only pushes novak


Hippy Chick Says:

Courbon i doubt it very much….


FedExpress Says:

congratz novak. third masters title this season


jalep Says:

Yes!! Well done Nole!


jane Says:

congrats novak! another little landmark for him. kudos to tomas who fought hard. tense until the end after all.


FedExpress Says:

now lose some matches ffs nole


courbon Says:

It is not strange-34 year old player from Alps is the best player that ever played the game.His 34 is like being 30 years of other players…


Margot Says:

Nole decides he wants the trophy after all! Well done. Another record?
Poor old Berd tho. if he can’t beat Nole serving at what 47% at one stage, when can he? And agree with Courbon.


Hippy Chick Says:

Well done Novak and fans Jane,WB,Courbon,Mat4,Michael etc,a 23rd Masters 1000 title and counting,i hope everyone else can raise their level at some point,but for now the signs for everyone else look bleak….


Daniel Says:

Congrats Djoko. Another milestone this season: 5 AO; third IW/Miami double; 11 Consecutive Masters finals won and now first to win first 3 Masters of the season.

Next RG, Cincinnati, Masters Record in a season, #1 for a while year and multiple Slams in another season.

Amazing run by Djoko dominating all main tornaments. He won last 6 important ones: Paris, WTF, AO, IW, Miami and MC. Can he keep it up and who will stop him?


courbon Says:

Yesssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, 1GS and 3Masters so far…he can put the racket down and go fishing to the rest of the year, and he will still have a great year behind him.
High five to all Nole fans, respect to Bedrych and any of his fan.I have to go and finish clearing my garage, this match was too long


Daniel Says:

Alsohe have two weeks to fully rest for Madrid knowing where his game is at.
I think he should play it. even tough winnimg last 3 tourneys is somehow mentally exhausting he lookeg fine and at ease this week.


courbon Says:

Margot, hi there; I think while we are all discussing Novak and Rafa in this clay season I think your man will be a dark horse and do some spoiling to those two…obviously I’m talking about Murphy.( I like his new name )


Wog Boy Says:

Nole was there tonight for taking,
Frenchie they playing “Bože pravde”, stand up.


Muhammed Says:

It was hard for Novak after yesterday’s mental drain to fight again in another match so soon. Tomas played close to his potential (except for the first serve %) and still nobody believed that he could beat Novak’s C game, that’s how strong Novak is right now.


Wog Boy Says:

I need rakija, Frencie di you wan’t one “iz dudovog bureta”:)


Daniel Says:

mat4,

Do you still think that Novak reaching 27 Masters is a far achievement now?! I think at this pace and how he is not losing finals nor close third sets, 30 is a very reachable number.

Would be very surprised if he doesn’t finihs this seaosn with 25. Can’t see him not winning one of the next 2 Maters on clay as only Nadal seems to reallh have the powers to beat him and that is a big if now on best of 3. Of course anyine can have a good day but judging form of all current top 10 and how erraric they are all season hard to see it.

Sena was right agter all, Berdych is having a very solid season going deep almost all tourneys bit as usual can’t win the big title match.

Fed depends on a lot of factors. Think clay is just not a high priority for him. He already mentioned he may skip Rome so he is basically only focusing on tourney he can win realistically. Alteady skiped Miami. Will play Istambul as a new tourney to hype it, Madrid which suits his game and RG. Than grass an His favorite part of the season.


jane Says:

seeing as corboun noted nole is getting to be the master of masters i thought i would share this crazy stat:
Masters titles since 2011
Djokovic 18
Federer, Nadal and Murray together 18
Rest of the field 3


Hippy Chick Says:

Jane nice stat thanks for that….


Hippy Chick Says:

Meant thanks for sharing that….


Margot Says:

Hi courbon! You wanna be in Murphy’s gang too?
Yes you can!
He’s just off for a training block in Barcelona with Amelie and hopefully Jonas, if he’s been voted off that damn dance show at long last…;)
So fingers crossed!


Patson Says:

If Nole keeps his focus, we might actually see history being made i.e., 9 masters, and 4 majors, and the tour finals won by a single guy. Imagine Nole ending the year with some 20,000+ points. If that happens, we will be seeing the indisputable Greatest player of All Time with absolutely ZERO chinks in his resume. Hopefully, this year Nole rewrites history. Just feel privileged to watch this guy show his greatness.

Congrats to Nole and Nole fam. Keep it going Nole !


FedExpress Says:

hahahahahaha patson


Patson Says:

@Margot

For a while, I thought you guys were talking about the Irish tennis umpire ‘Fergus Murphy’. I wasn’t sure what’s special about that dude, only to realize this is Murray’s new name these days. Haha !


Hippy Chick Says:

Courbon/Margot Murphy(lol) might well be a dark horse on clay,and the irony is hes under less pressure as nobody expects him to do much on this surface,however im hoping Jamie might be right and wins W again….


Margot Says:

Lol Patson! I love the new name, it makes me chuckle every time I write it :)


Patson Says:

@Fedexpress

You seem to be good at laughing. I hope that’s not the only thing you’re good at because that would be a shame.


Margot Says:

@Patson
I’ve now got a vision of Fergus turning up at the training block and demanding Amelie gives him some coaching. Then….in the middle of umpiring a match, leaping onto the tennis courts, snatching a racquet and shouting, “No, you blockhead, you slice like this!”


Patson Says:

Does Murphy even care about this year’s clay season ? His wedding hangover will last until grass season sets in.


Margot Says:

No, no Patson, Murphy is already training on the clay and, rather surprisingly, has a shed load of points to defend at RG.
Under the radar goes Murphy….


jalep Says:

Speculating. ..using the (if) word on Tennis-x can get you into trouble with a couple of posters here @ Patson…

But I like it.


Patson Says:

@jalep

Haha we’re living in the Novak era. People need to come to terms with that fact. Ifs or no ifs, the man is beyond human and continues to raise the bar further up.


madmax Says:

Hippy Chick Says:
Markus@8.42am as i say then theres no hope for the likes of me who already have low self esteem anyway,small and chubby with big bulging eyes,and suffering with hair loss through taking thyroid replacement medication :(….

April 19th, 2015 at 11:34 am

Hippy can’t believe some of the things you say about yourself here, so can I ask you to stop? This isn’t the place for it tbh. You converse well in the tennis stakes, but I don’t want to hear about all the negatives about your life and how you put yourself down.

Congrats to Nole, thought for a moment that Berd was on the case, but in true fashion, he had some chances, but lacked the belief. At least it went to three sets.


Patson Says:

@Margot

Aaah. It makes sense.

Sun Tzu said: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”. In the context of tennis, the supreme art of tennis is to subdue the opponent without playing.

I like it.


Hippy Chick Says:

Madmax fair enough,but i wouldnt be the first to talk about myself and i wont be the last,so i dont know why im been singled out,anyway i was just conversing with Markus on his post about womens looks,and while we are on the subject why are some posters poking fun at the marital status of players,but again i suppose its one rule for some and a different one for others then?….


jane Says:

“the man is beyond human”

nah, novak is TOTALLY human. that’s what i like about him. he shows his emotions, he goes through very rough patches. well, just look at his struggles today, or his hand shaking at IW between sets. he struggles but somehow this year he’s been finding a way through the tough matches.

i don’t even expect much more. as someone said (courbon i think), if he fished the rest of the year, it would still be a success. that said, i do hope he can win cincy: don’t care about any other masters titles really. as for slams, any of them are fine. ;-)


Hippy Chick Says:

Madmax having said that i dont exactly fit into whats regarded as the tennis-x clique,where some are allowed to say whatever they wish and others are ripped apart when they do….


jane Says:

on another sad note, stan wawrinka just announced his marriage is over, which maybe explains some of the difficulties he’s been having on the court? it’s never easy to compartmentalize our lives.

http://www.thesportreview.com/tsr/2015/04/stan-wawrinka-splits-from-wife-ilham-vuilloud/


Patson Says:

@jane

Metaphorically jane :)

I on the other hand expect more. I want him to dominate and I want him to use this opportunity to immortalize himself into the history books. Needless to say, I want him to win all majors this year. Call me a greedy fan, but that’s because I believe he is the most complete player we’ve seen in a long time. There’s no reason why he can’t achieve it.


jane Says:

patson, oops, missed that metaphor. :) hmmm, no reason you think? how about other players? the fact that no one’s done it since laver, etc? obviously very difficult! but that’s not to say i wouldn’t be thrilled if novak were able to achieve some more special goals and records. it’s just that i have never expected anything; he’s already achieved far beyond what i could’ve ever hoped for and he’d still be my favourite if he won only that 1 slam back in 2008. he’s fun to watch and seems like a kind, interesting person based on what we can actually know without knowing him. so whatever happens, great.


Hippy Chick Says:

Madmax strictly about tennis,but for the record Nadal is not my idol as i dont believe in the concept of regarding these type of people as idols,also i dont read the autobiographies of players either as it doesnt interest me,and as noteworthy as it might be i dont back pat and fawn over players that raise money for foundations etc,its lost on some people here and i will get crucified for it,but we are all entitled to have an opinion supposedly….


KatH Says:

@ Jane

Taa for the Masters info. re. Tomas – Note it was 10 years ago. Raises a myriad of questions: Ye/ No?

@ Margot : See you’ve been recruiting on behalf of our wee Murphy – we’ve almost got a Committee now. Think we should ask a certain lady to be our PR – after mature reflection – maybe not.


Patson Says:

@jane

Tough: I agree. Hasn’t been done after Laver for a reason: Again agreed. Do I support Nole unconditionally whether he wins or loses ? Absolutely. Do I believe Nole can win all 4 majors this year ? Yes, I do, and the reason is that he has the mental edge on everybody right now. There is nothing to fear. He is the one who is feared. This is his moment. This is his year.


Tommy Says:

Congrats on No1e winning and hope it continues. Someone give Sean from the UK a hug who’s running around on many other forums and twitter as a one-man PD crusade. That’s a sore Rafanatic/Federer fan.


Markus Says:

@Hippy Chick, I don’t think Madmax meant any harm. He probably does not want you to be too self-deprecating. He probably likes you just like many posters here (there’s Okiegal for sure, then me) and would rather that you don’t brow beat yourself too much.


Patson Says:

@jane

I might sound like Morpheus in Matrix telling Neo (Nole in this case) to BELIEVE ! Haha.

But it’s true. With these top players, when the going gets tough, it’s about self-belief in the key moments.


Okiegal Says:

Just got in from church service……Sermon topic: What do you do with the hypocrites in church? What do you do with the hypocrites on TX? Nothing…..

Congrats to Novak fans….no surprises here…..but he did not swat Berdy as easily as he did Rafa. Anything can happen when it comes to this sport. I don’t think there is any Thomas fans on here,but if there is, sorry. Novak is the best player atm, Rafa says so! Lol


courbon Says:

Wog Boy-Hristos se rodi!


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Jane, I said yesterday that Novak was having one of the top five starts to a tennis season of all time, and I think today you coiuld argue this is the BEST 4 month start to a season of all time.
Oz, Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo. Never done before.

As a Fed fan, I take pride in the fact that the Old Man is the closest challenger Novak has right now.

Novak’s never been my favourite, but I am beginning to root for him to keep making history this year.


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus thankyou and no i wasnt offended i was merely making my stance,i actually enjoy having a good debate,and im through with apologizing for having a difference of opinion,thanks for saying you like me though ;)….


courbon Says:

Margot-I,m in Murphys gang!


Okiegal Says:

@Markus, thank you! I said I wasn’t the most delectable dish in the deli, putting myself down a bit too, but he skipped me……He probably didn’t mean anything about it, but sounded a little harsh to me, if you’re the one it was directed to. It won’t bother Chick at all, she’s tough skinned….you have to be on TX……You can get ripped on here for breathing!!

This is the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing…….a very sad day for Oklahomans!


jane Says:

cheers TV. he really is sailing thus far, even if he has faced some choppy waters along the way.


Hippy Chick Says:

Okie thanks and as long as im here i will always try to be fair,but i will also move heaven and earth and defend my favorite if i think he unfairly gets a bad deal here,and i will defend his achievements when i here them been belittled too….


Okiegal Says:

@Chick

Yes, you take up for Rafa a lot and are complimentary to the other great tennis players on the planet too. You are a very fair person, but some on here aren’t very appreciative…..they’d rather fight, like it was a war or a something…..


Bob Lewis Says:

Good effort from Tomas, but Novak just too strong. We are witnessing history. Hopefully Djoker doesn’t burn himself out too early. Don’t overplay. I say one more clay tournament before the French.


Hippy Chick Says:

I wonder how people would react if niether Rafa or Novak won the FO?….


danica Says:

Patson,

Rafa said it was possible (hard but possible) to win all masters and all majors in one year. :))
I will trust it is but I just can not imagine anyone ever doing it.


Wog Boy Says:

“courbon Says:
Wog Boy-Hristos se rodi!”

Bro, you mixed up Easter with Christmas:) but nevertheless:

VOISTINU VOSKRESE


Zozza Says:

Hippy chick

I am a huge Nadal fan !!!
But I can’t keep on denying the obvious … He isn’t as good as he was in his breakout year 2013 when his serve was much better he served many more aces plus unplayable serves !
I met Nadal in Melbourne 2014 when he was playing great & sadly injury stopped him from trying to win the Australian open that he so desperately wants !
I just hope he can get back to playing at his best not easy considering he hasn’t played much tennis since last year Wimbledon .
The next 3 tournaments will decide where Nadal is currently in terms of winning 10th French open?
Djokovic is playing 2011 form but I still think on clay that Nadal can beat him .
Time will tell ?
Good luck Rafa

However getting another coach most likely Pete Sampras would be very helpful … Depending on if Sampras is interested?
Uncle Toni needs a holiday !


Zozza Says:

Hippy chick

I am a huge Nadal fan !!!
But I can’t keep on denying the obvious … He isn’t as good as he was in his breakout year 2013 when his serve was much better he served many more aces plus unplayable serves !
I met Nadal in Melbourne 2014 when he was playing great & sadly injury stopped him from trying to win the Australian open that he so desperately wants !
I just hope he can get back to playing at his best not easy considering he hasn’t played much tennis since last year Wimbledon .
The next 3 tournaments will decide where Nadal is currently in terms of winning 10th French open?
Djokovic is playing 2011 form but I still think on clay that Nadal can beat him .
Time will tell ?
Good luck Rafa

However getting another coach most likely Pete Sampras would be very helpful … Depending on if Sampras is interested?
Uncle Toni needs a holiday !


Giles Says:

@Zzzzzzzzzzz. You’re the one that needs a holiday!


Zozza Says:

Giles

You need a brain


Zozza Says:

Giles Says:
@Zzzzzzzz. You really are a “weird” Rafa fan if you are indeed a Rafa fan which I’m willing to bet you are not! “Nutter”!!

April 19th, 2015 at 5:21 am

Giles you need help mentally


Zozza Says:

Giles

I have met Nadal
Have you met him ?
No of course
You’re a Djokovic fan

Top story: Federer, Djokovic Lead Heavily Favored European Team Laver Cup This Weekend