Rafael Nadal Loses To Fabio Fognini Again? Yup, It’s Time To Panic!
by Sean Randall | April 23rd, 2015, 3:09 pm
  • 190 Comments

I said at the start of the clay season that despite his poor start to 2015, it wasn’t time to worry yet about Rafa, the clay was here. He’d do well in Monte Carlo and probably come away with a 9th Barcelona title. Well, after a lackluster loss to Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo semis followed by today’s stunning straight set less to Fabio Fognini in the THIRD ROUND of Barcelona… I must say, IT’S TIME TO PANIC!

I didn’t watch all of today’s match, just the last few games and the breaker in which Fognini did everything he could to hand Nadal the set (the Italian let go a 6-3 lead), but Rafa, humble guy that he is, wasn’t taking it.

“Today is a bad day,” said Nadal. “But my challenge is to get back to my best level again and I will work until that happens. I have the conviction that it will happen.

“It was a disaster today. Fabio played better than me and he deserved to win. I didn’t deserve to win. Until I sort out the ups and downs I’m suffering from this season, I will continue to be vulnerable,” he went on.

“I spent last week in Monte-Carlo full of good moments. It was the best week of the year. But this one has been the opposite. It’s been a very negative week. I thought I would be able to find consistency, but it hasn’t happened.”

Let’s cut to the chase here:
* Nadal’s confidence is shot, he’s even admitted as much and now he can’t even get that back on clay
* Nadal’s about to turn 29, which isn’t necessarily old but consider all the matches, but with all the injuries and all the wear-and-tear he’ll be an “older 29″
* Nadal’s balls are landing too short
* Nadal’s serve just isn’t getting it done
* Nadal’s forehand appears to have lost that “pop”
* Nadal’s now longer winning as many of those big points he use to
* And with every mounting loss he’s losing that locker room edge

OK, Fognini is a good player, though he had just six wins on the year coming into the week including one over Nadal in Rio. But heck, Nadal can’t even get a set against him on clay in Barcelona? And this is the same Fognini who was down a break and 2-0 to a 17-year-old yesterday. Not to mention all the errors Rafa was making which had absolutely nothing to do with Fabio.

That was 30 errors, 17 winners and just 3/14 break points today for Nadal. That’s, as he said, a “disaster”.

So a Rafa slump it is. But it’s nothing new for top guys.

We saw Roger Federer go through a similar slide and he came out of it for the better. Pete Sampras couldn’t win a match in the summer of 2002, then won the US Open. Andre Agassi famously fell so far he had to play Challengers before recovering.

And remember, Rafa is using a new racquet. So maybe he’s still adjusting to it. Or maybe he’ll return to the old one? He says he can’t get the power.

“I didn’t have enough power or speed on my forehand,” Nadal said. “I didn’t have control of the points with my forehand. When I was in good positions, I couldn’t push Fognini back. When that happens, my game can’t hurt my opponent. That was the case today.”

If there’s hope – and there is – the French Open doesn’t begin for another month. And Rafa does have Madrid and Rome ahead. The confidence issues can also get rectified in time, and he is healthy at least, but right now things are not looking good at all for the French. Not one bit.

Rafa has 1,600 points to defend at Madrid (win) and Rome (finalist), so we can forget about him getting a Top 4 seed in Paris. That’s gone. Adios.

And forget about beating Novak Djokovic at the French. That’s a pipe dream right now. I’ve always said Rafa’s greatest friend was best-of-5 set format on clay. Not it could be his greatest enemy. If he can’t even win one set against a guy like Fognini, how’s he going to win three against Novak?

I don’t know.

What I do know is Rafa’s getting older, his body isn’t recovering like it did and he’s played a hell of a lot of tennis in his day. The clock doesn’t stop, it doesn’t slow down, it doesn’t care who you are or what you’ve done or how big your forehand is. It just keeps ticking.

“This is a blow for me, but I accept the challenge and the negative day I had today,” Nadal said. “There is no other way forward other than to accept it or die.”


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190 Comments for Rafael Nadal Loses To Fabio Fognini Again? Yup, It’s Time To Panic!

Sekkyo Says:

This is not the clay season for Nadal. Everyone else is going to be hoisting up trophies this year.


KatH Says:

Oh dear, oh dear – this can’t really be happening.
Nadal can’t just fade away like this. The pressure, the expectations on him must now be enormous.

I sincerely hope he finds a way through all of this. Without him, Tennis becomes that much more impoverished.

Better luck, quickly Rafal.


El_Flaco Says:

I won’t panic until he loses at the French.


Margot Says:

“…other to accept it or to die.” Did he really say that, or, was what he said “lost in translation.”
Cos if he did, it’s a really strange, far too intense thing to say about a lost tennis match.


jane Says:

^ agree margot: very dramatic!

el_flaco, i think that’s reasonable. last year, were it not for kei’s injury at madrid, he likely would’ve won that final, which means rafa would’ve gone to the french open title-less (based on euro clay) and look what happened: he still won it. so people are over-hyping this loss. to me, it’s still a wait and see situation.


Daniel Says:

YEs Jane,

But maybe had he lost that final to Kei, he could have his confidence hampered and maybe did~t even reach finals in Rome.

That match changed his clay season back them, regardless of Kei beating him pre injury, because deep down we don’t know for sure if he wouldn’t change the score. This is probably what he had in the back office kind, that match isn’t over until the fat lady sings.

We’ll have to further assess his RG campaign if he will go titles in European clay this season.2 more tourneys to go and Madrid there is tight matches from the get go, with a complete field. Now seems nobody is injured, Madrid would have Murray back, Raonic, Federer, Djoko (almost sure I think) and all other top dogs, Monfils, Tsonga.

I mention it already, last year Nadal had several finals, including finals in last 3 major tournaments: US Open 2013, WTF 2013 and AO 2014 prior to RG. This time is way different.


Markus Says:

Concerned maybe, but panic? No. In spite of his recent losses, Nadal remains the man to beat at the French. He has not won that 9 out of the last 10 years for nothing. Better chance, maybe, for the others especially Djokovic but they still need to beat him by 3 sets. This just makes for a more interesting French.


Travis Bickle Says:

“…to accept it or to die.”

Obviously, a person who says stuff like this after a 500-level tennis match is not well. AT ALL!

I just hope he is not suicidal, because I like the guy. Hate his pusher-style tennis, but like the guy a lot nonetheless…


El_Flaco Says:

I agree Jane.


Brando Says:

@Sean Randall:

Major props for a brutally honest and spot on analysis!

It hurts:

But it’s the truth. And Rafa’s being upfront and honest about it. He’s admitting he’s at rock bottom.

Going forward I think he has it very tough.

- Madrid’s next and it’s the worst clay event for him on tour. Period. He’s 1-1 v Novak here, but really it should be 0-2 to Novak since Nole had MP’s in his loss to Rafa. The surface and a matchup v Rafa suits him perfectly there.

Even Federer- one some write off as easy pickings for Rafa- has a very, very good matchup v Rafa there winning the event atleast twice on clay, and even beating Rafa in a final there.

IF it wasn’t for the fact that it’s in Spain’s capital Madrid, a home event: I would see Rafa skipping it now and then since really he just dislikes the surface there. Year upon year he talks about the altitude and how it does him no favour.

Long story short: I see no way he wins this. Since someone has to beat Novak and right now that ain’t Rafa or anyone else. The event does not suit him, Rafa’s far too vulnerable and right now:

What is a good draw? Who is a ‘safe’ win for Rafa?

For goodness’s sake:

Fabio Fognini has beat him twice on Clay this year!

He’s won 4 set’s in a row v Rafa!

How low can it get or does it have to get before people realise that we are actually demanding too much of Rafa right now since he’s clearly out of sorts.

For me:

I think Rafa should skip Madrid.

Sure he’ll lose a 1,000 ranking points but what does that matter? Right now he goes to Madrid he ain’t getting to the SF’s and IF he somehow does so as soon as he meets Novak or Federer or another top tier clay courter or tennis player he’s going home. He’s going to lose points.

He ain’t going to be top 4 seed at FO, so I think it’s better he goes to Estoril, Istanbul or whatever other 250 event is going on and just get some court time.

He needs court time to build his game. Period.

But that’s hard to do if you have to play immediately with some top tier players. I mean were he go to Madrid after 1 mere match he has to suddenly face a top 16 player, maximum 2 and he’s suddenly up against a top 8 player.

So I think he should go radical:

Withdraw from Madrid, sign up for a 250 event for next week (I cannot see a 250 event turning down a star like Nadal-especially if he offers himself for peanuts interms of $$$) and just get some court time.

Swallow pride, the loss of ranking points, whatever else and back to basics: I need some court time, sign up for some.

Since right now: his next event is Madrid and he ain’t going beyond QF at this rate. Period.


Hippy Chick Says:

Whats going on with this forum,are we now making fun about a topic like suicide?….


Giles Says:

“If he can’t even win one set against a guy like Fognini, how’s he going to win three against Novak”. I think you are being very presumptuous here. Who’s to say joker won’t get injured. who’s to say joker won’t be knocked out by some other player? Rafa is having some issues at the moment which I hope he can resolve. It may well be the racquet and nothing more than that. We shall have to wait and see.


Brando Says:

Re the quote:

I think that quote is genuine. Rafa’s mentality regarding tennis is extreme. Last year at RG he felt really bad physically in the final and thought he was about to collapse due to fatigue since he could not handle the heat.

Then in the 4th set he said to himself:

You rather die than not go all out in this situation. So turned up the heat and threw the kitchen sink in that set. The rest is history.

It’s Rafa’s mentality. They don’t call him a warrior for nothing.

But don’t worry. He only applies this to tennis not to life. He’s far too smart a thinker to think tennis is all there is to life. Yet, he cares so damn hard that when it comes to tennis:

He’ll accept anything other than quitting and not fighting on.


Giles Says:

Brando. Agree with your post at 4 06 pm. The man cares about tennis but he knows there is more to life than tennis.


madmax Says:

I’m probably the only Federer fan to not to be worried about Rafa. I think he will come good at the FO.

Rafa fans, you need to be supporting your man and not be so incredibly nostradamus-esque.

Rafa will be fine. New racquet; he even said he was near his best – it’s a masters; not a slam.

Stop worrying!


sienna Says:

So Brandi is pulling out all the crap in the crap of tennis world.
Playing 250 to skip a master in his own country? in his country capital where he is immense popular. the bs keeps comming from this dude.


madmax Says:

Remember, 20 days ago, he was looking “ferocious” on clay. You have v short memories Rafa fans.


Hippy Chick Says:

He didnt look ferocious today lol….


madmax Says:

Hippy – good to see humour here, but I think all of you rafa fans (brando, do you have to write war and peace on TX?), are not standing by your man!

madmax Says:
So, yes, he’s still building, still trying to find what he calls the “right mentality.” And the progress is there to see. He’s admitted to getting winded late in matches this season, but he’s running — and stopping and starting — at full speed without pain. A very good sign for a guy with a history of knee and back problems. And he’s using a new, bigger racquet, which is giving him even more spin than the already unmatched spin he’s famous for.”His balls are different from any other player. They have this spin, plus they bounce a lot higher,” said 98th-ranked Lucas Pouille, Nadal’s second-round victim in Monte Carlo. “He was able to take advantage of my weaknesses. He was very solid and he played better and better as the match went on.”

Taking some positives – read above from The Oregon.

April 23rd, 2015 at 4:26 pm

madmax Says:
And when Rafael Nadal is at his best on clay, he doesn’t need to exploit weaknesses: he can win by playing straight at Djokovic’s many strengths.

– Douglas Perry

Every player has a spate of matches that aren’t up to scratch. Give it time.


Hippy Chick Says:

Madmax us Yorkshire folk are renound for our warped SOH….


Teferi Says:

He loss coz he only depend on that trademark FHDTL..he is too one dimensional as fed said once


Teferi Says:

Surly he is going to lose early in madrid nd probly to novak in rome but frenchopen will be the 3rd tennis world war( z 1st 2008 fedal wmby z nd Djodal 2012 aussie)


Hippy Chick Says:

Thank goodness for posters like Markus and Madmax who understand a thing called perspective….


Brando Says:

”But my challenge is to get back to my best level again and I will work until that happens. I have the conviction that it will happen.”:

Great quote and i’m glad Rafa’s mentality is as such. Life goes on and so does Rafa. Try again at Madrid. I think the quicker pace there may actually help him a bit more.


Hippy Chick Says:

Brando have you changed your tune now,i thought you said he should skip playing Madrid?….


wilfried Says:

Whether in a slump or not, it is always very difficult to beat a player you just or recently lost to.
That’s the case for everybody, even for top players.
A guy of the caliber of Fabio Fognini whom Rafa lost to in February shouldn’t be at all in his quarter of the draw so soon after that loss in the first place, because the probability of losing again is very high. And what’s the merit of such a second win ?
And indeed, when Rafa was still number 1 or 2 in the ATP rankings (second half of the 2010 season till July 2012 for instance), and got upset by a player outside the top 4, he would never be drawn in the same quarter of a draw with that same player unless at least 6 tournaments had passed by in which they commonly participated. There is evidence for this which I won’t elaborate here.
This season however, in the recent events at least, it appears to be exactly the opposite.
Rafa is facing difficult opponents from the get go, including players in his quarter of the draw to whom he recently lost.
The draw gods seem to have abandoned him completely.
I’m not drawing any conclusion here, only referring to facts which make me personally wonder, and which I think should be factored in when evaluating his performance.


Markus Says:

Nadal loses and all of a sudden tennis-x turns into a soap opera.


Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe he’s just having some trouble adjusting to the new racket?


Travis Bickle Says:

“Nadal loses and all of a sudden tennis-x turns into a soap opera.”

Correction – it’s about Nadal, so a more appropriate term is ‘telenovela’!


skeezer Says:

“He’s admitting he’s at rock bottom.”
Rock bottom? Rock bottom for this style of player is getting booted out of Madrid, Rome, and especially FO. THAT would be bottom.
—-
Wilfried,
Rafa is going to face tougher players early if his ranking continues to drop. That is the way the draw works and why the high seed players get byes and/or play w/c or qualies early, they earned it. You failed to mention Rafa has been losing early to those types also.
Of course if you feel the Draws are fixed, our “draw fixing” expert mat4 would love to have a chat with you ;)


chris ford1 Says:

Perspective – Rafa played far better than he has been given credit for at Monte Carlo. Nole said, and writers who saw that match agree – Rafa was making great shots, has the speed still, and it hinged on 3-3 in both sets.
And while Rafa seemed not like his usual self – moping around, low energy – he was also facing a very, very good clay player in Fognini.
Nadal is in trouble still, and as a confidence player this has to hurt…but last year he still got the FO from an ill Djokovic after failing in MC, Barcelona, winning in Madrid only due to an injury retirement by Nishikori, then getting thumped by Nole in Rome.
It ain’t over unless Rafa leaves RG without victory, no matter how good Djoker looks. I cross my fingers and wish and wish even now that the 2 are not on the same side of the Draw there.


KatH Says:

@ Brando

For Nadal to get to Q-F at Madrid will be a plus for him…..he’ll be motivated from there on upwards. BELIEVE.


Ben Pronin Says:

Fognini is not a good clay court player. He’s not a good player at all. He’s 5-9 against everyone not named Nadal this year.

This is a horrible loss. It’s not the end of the world. But it’s a bad loss.


chris ford1 Says:

For all the talk of Djokovic needing to skip an event like Madrid to recharge his batteries, he’s doing that right now.
https://twitter.com/DjokerNole/status/590244135375921153/photo/1

Relax, enjoy, ground, renew. Hug the wife for hours in the sun, enjoy “the nature” with the doggies and talk to your son for hours.

The question might be asked of Rafa – can you continue to try to win all 5 clay events and show up and not get trashed at Wimbledon from burnout? Yes, Rafa, you used to be able to do so, but you were 5 years younger…

And skipping Barcelona and Estorial as usual – Fed is talking about skipping Rome in addition to that.
And Andy is returning after a very pleasant break to confront the biggest mystery in tennis besides why Vika Azarenka has a weak 1st serve – tat is why Andy sucks on clay given his great talent and the speed and game to be a clay star.


wilfried Says:

@ SKeezer
You’re entitled to not believe in fixing.
That’s your choise perhaps, but not mine.
Have to go now unfortunately as it is already quite late here and I have to work tomorrow.


RZ Says:

He might be losing early now, but he also did at several clay warm-ups last year and still won the French. My guess is that he’ll come through his early matches at Roland Garros and then gain steam as the tournament goes along. Even if he lost in the second round of Madrid and Rome, I’d still expect Rafa to reach the FO semis at least. (I would say final but he could be drawn in Novak’s half)


RZ Says:

@Chris Ford1: your overall point is well-taken, but I think it’s a little harsh to say that Andy sucks on clay. He’s reached 2 FO semis (twice as many as Sampras, for comparison) and 2 quarterfinals and keep in mind that his (pre-surgery) back problems were worse on clay than the other surfaces. But I would like to see him do more at the clay masters as well as the FO.


Travis Bickle Says:

Rafa’s issues are connected to his troubled love life. I have explained the details on the previous thread.

It’s not always about forehands and backhands, sometimes it’s more than that. Our love life affects us and it can ruin or improve our day-job performances.

Look at Wawrinka’s case – his troubled love life recently coincides with his horrible form. Not a coincidence!


Travis Bickle Says:

Add to that unfair pressure sponsors and media put on an athlete who has to maintain an “expected” love-life image (i.e. a girlfriend) and has to hide his same-sex love affairs.

Look at the athlete who has won gold in the toughest discipline of all – decathlon. He had to live a lie for decades before he became free and decided to be who he/she is always meant to be – a woman named Belinda Jenner!


chris ford1 Says:

RZ – point taken. I like Andy. In a sense I see him like Nole, pre-2.0 version. Rich and wildly successful – but Andy is still searching for how to get to the next level up. Given his ability, he significantly underperforms on clay – another nicer way of saying he sucks on dirt given all his gifts.

I’m a Nole fan, but I like all 4 “superstars” and a dozen or so other guys below them but light years better than I could ever have been…

And I will happily say Novak sucks at certain things. Happily because it makes me feel good knowing I can do better smashes that Djokovic. I never saw a player do a smash 15 feet from the net, have it hit his foot then bounce off the foot and glance off his head. Never even thought that was physically possible until I saw Djoker do it. It adds to his entertainment value – legions of his fans cringe when they see a smash coming and exhale in relief when he manages one , well.


Wog Boy Says:

“It adds to his entertainment value – legions of his fans cringe when they see a smash coming and exhale in relief when he manages one , well.”

I close my eyes before every Nole’s OH, and listen to spectators reaction to find out who won the point.
He did one excatly the same as against Stan on match point in last year AO in MC this year, I couldn’t believe it, it was déjà vu.


jane Says:

thanks for posting the picture chrisford1: very nice. :)


Tennis Fan Says:

… why it it such a revelation that Nadal’s game peaked some time ago? He is 29 … peak is usually 27 … where Dkokovic is now and soon to be past. There is a new top player on the way within 1-2 years. Get prepared.


Wog Boy Says:

jane, Nole said he is holidaying and recharching his batteries but doesn’ want to reveal where. He said after MC he is taking a week off and doesn’t want to see tennis racket.


jane Says:

good for him wog boy; it’s good he’s just relaxing.


Flyer Says:

Wow some of the comments on this and the previous thread are way overboard.

The sky is not falling. Nadal may continue to lose or he may not – sporting results are not set in stone – they are always in flux and subject to change including Nadal’s prowess on clay.

Fans just need to ride the disappointments out and hope for the best.

Fine to be unhappy – there’s no need to rip players apart for losing a flippen tennis match.


peter Says:

All is not lost for nadal, but indeed his chances at RG is looking lesser with every loss. At 29 he is apporaching an age where he couldnt recover his energy as quickly as before, match after match, week after week. Hes having a good week then a bad week, then a good week, etc. Not a consistent player anymore.

Right now its still going to be a very close call to say whos the favourite at RG, it will depend a lot on Madrid and Rome. Nadal needs to make the final at these tournies, otherwise nole will be the clear favourite entering RG.


Sivaji Says:

Sean very good article on Nadal’s worries. Nadal has to win win win. vamos Rafa


Michael Says:

Rafa never looked so vulnerable before Rolland Garros as he stands today on the verge of a collapse. Even last season was looking much better relatively speaking and significantly of much consternation is the fact that it is happening on clay court which is Rafa’s forte. Still, he has an invincible record at Clay which stands at 326 wins to about 26 losses which is truly phenomenal.

Can Rafa recover from this downfall ? Certainly yes, he can. But the only caveat is that this time around it would be slightly tougher considering that he is struggling for stamina on court and in 5 setters it will prove to be the crucial difference.


Okiegal Says:

Choosing to ignore some asinine comments on here….well, not really, I suppose but will not say which ones…..refuse to draw attention to them!!


Michael Says:

It is lack of confidence which is acting as a big spoiler for Rafa. He needs urgently some confidence booster, a big win to speak – say against a player like Novak that would do his mental frame work a world of good. He is certainly not the player he was erstwhile in his career making a lot of UEs than he normally would and his top spin balls are landing short for easy picks by opponent. That said, it is still early to write off his chances at Roland Garros, a tournament that he has dominated right since he entered the Tennis scene except for occasional hiccups. The question also remains as to whether he can cope up in five setters and whether his body will withstand the strains and rigours of an intense match considering that he will be 29 shortly. So, it will be interesting to see as to how Rafa once again surprises his sceptics and doubters by churning out a magnificent performance which he definitely can achieve. The only question remains as to whether he can do this on a consistent basis !?


Zozza Says:

Djokovic must be smiling now

There is no way Nadal can recover from this humiliation

Fognini the crazy Italian has beaten twice this year on clay

It’s time to panic bigtime


Zozza Says:

GOD help Nadal if Fognini is his half at the French open
Fognini in straight sets
He has Nadal in his pocket currently
He is in his head

Madrid
Rome
Paris

Time is running out for Nadal
The once unbeatable bull is nearing the end of his amazing career
At least we can be positive about onething
14 majors is one hell of a feat !

How many has Fognini won


sienna Says:

chick are you on somekind of badspell?

when he gets 2 more slams he can almost taste #17. how is that out of reach?
but you probably dont think he will win Garros considering your comments about him after the fognini loss.

stick with him through thick and thin.


roy Says:

ROLAND GARROS 2013

R32 Fabio Fognini (ITA) W 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4

POINTS WON
NADAL 52% (122/233)
FOGNINI 47% (111/233)

S Novak Djokovic (SRB)W 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7

POINTS WON
NADAL 52% (177/335)
DOKOVIC 47% (158/335)

***

notice anything? fognini is clearly a tough match up on clay for nadal. in that 2013 tournanent it looks like he probably gave nadal the toughest match outside of djokovic. and if you watched that fog match you’ll know it was tight.

this loss isn’t so incredible or disastrous. honestly, the loss to verdasco in madrid a few years back was more of an upset considering previous matches between them on clay.


sienna Says:

zozo Djokovic got Garros bagged.
its a done deal.

thank TMF for not turning up on clay this year. Or will he?

I think Fedal both will have a surprise for Djoker up their sleave. somewhere along the slamyear.


RMC Says:

Will be watching Berdych in Madrid, Rome and Paris. His clay game is spectacular in MonteCarlo


Zozza Says:

Fognini is very talented on clay
But he seems to only so well against Nadal
If he played Djokovic I doubt he’d win 6 games in 3 sets


wilfried Says:

@ Squeezer
I may have exaggerated a bit but I don’t write something that I didn’t check first.
I wrote in my first comment on this thread that in the past, Rafa hardly ever found himself immediately drawn in the same quarter with players from/to whom he had suffered a loss, and that these players were drawn elsewhere in the draw for at least 6 tournaments in which they both participated, a pattern which contrasts strongly with what’s happening in the current season.
My comment was based on a comparison of patterns between two periods of time: (1) the period after the US. Open 2010 till Miami 2012 and (2) the start of the current season.
In the period from US Open 2010 uptill the start of I.W. 2012, only 9 players outside the top 4 managed to beat Rafael Nadal: G. Garcia-Lopez (Bangkok 2010) ; J. Melzer (Shangai 2010) ; N. Davidenko (Doha 2011) ; D. Ferrer (AO 2011) ; J.-W. Tsonga (Queens 2011, and Masters London RR 2011); F. Dodig (Montreal 2011) ; M. Fish ( Cincinnati -2011) ; F. Mayer (Shangai -2011) and G. Monfils (Doha 2012).
With the exception of David Ferrer and Florian Mayer none of these players was drawn immediately in the same quarter of a draw with Nadal in the following tournaments in which they both competed together with Rafa.
G. Garcia Lopez was in the same quarter with Nadal in Monte Carlo 2011 (after not being in the same quarter in Tokyo 2010, Shanghai 2010, Doha 2011, A0 2011, Indian Wells 2011 and Miami 2011).
Jürgen Melzer was in the same quarter with Rafa in Madrid 2011 (after not being in the same quarter AO 2011, Indian Wells 2011, Miami 2011, Monte Carlo 2011 and Barcelona 2011).
Nicolai Davydenko was in the same quarter with Rafa in Rome 2011 (after not being in the same quarter in Indian Wells 2011, Miami 2011, M. Carlo 2011, Barcelona 2011 and Madrid 2011).
J.W. Tsonga was in the same quarter with Rafa in I.W. 2012 (after not being in the same quarter in Wimbledon 2011, Montreal 2011, Cincinnati 2011, US Open 2011, Shangai 2011, Doha Doha 2011 and AO 2011).
F. Dodig was in the same quarter with Rafa in Miami 2011 ( after not being in the same quarter in Cincinnati 2011, US Open 2011, Tokyo 2011, Shangai 2011, AO 2011 and Indian Wells 2011).
And Mardy Fish was in the same quarter with Rafa in Open 2011, Tokyo 2011, Shangai 2011, AO 2011, Indian Wells 2011 and Miami 2011.
Let’s now compare the situation before and after those losses.
In the case of Tsonga for instance, in the 6 tournaments that R. Nadal and J.-W. Tsonga both participated the same tournament preceding J.-W Tsonga’s victory over Nadal in Queens 2011, Tsonga was drawn 3 out of 6 times in the same quarter as Nadal : Indian Wells 2011 (in the same quarter and Tsonga loses in the 3d round from X.Malisse ; Miami 2011 (in the same quarter and Tsonga loses in the 4the round from Dolgopolov) ; Monte Carlo 2011 ( in the same quarter and Tsonga loses in the 3d round from Ljubicic) ; Madrid 2011, Rome 2011 and RG 2011 : not in the same quarter.
The situation before and after the loss is therefore striking and contrasting : 3 out of 6 times before Nadal loses from Tsonga were they drawn in the same quarter of the draw, which means with the loss itself included, 4 out of 7 tournaments. But after this loss, it takes 7 normal tournaments before they are in the same draw again (if one doesn’t consider the WTF at the end of 2011, which doesn’t have the same format)!
Same kind of happened with Nadal and Mardy Fish. In the last 5 tournaments that they both participated in preceding M. Fish’s victory over R. Nadal at Cincinnati in 2011, they were drawn 3 out of 5 times in the same quarter of the draw : Madrid 2011 : not in the same quarter ; Rome 2011 : in the same quarter and M. Fish loses in the 4the round from M. Cilic; Roland Garros 2011 : in the same quarter and Fish loses in the 4d round from G. Simon; Wimbledon 2011 : in the same quarter and M. Fish loses from R. Nadal in the QF ; and Montreal 2011 : not in the same quarter.
The situation before and after this victory is again contrasting : 3 out of 5 times before Nadal loses from M. Fish in Cincinnati they were drawn in the same quarter of the draw, which means with the tournament of the loss included 4 out of 6 tournaments. But after this loss, 0 out of 6 tournaments were they drawn in the same quarter of the draw of a tournament where they both participated.
Let us take a closer look now at what’s happening in the current season as far as composition of draws is concerned.
Rafa lost in Doha from M. Berrer, in the Australian Open from T. Berdych and in Rio de Janeiro from F. Fognini.
Well, for each of these 3 players, Rafa fidns himself drawn rather quickly in the same quarter again of one of the following tournaments.
In the case of Berrer in the first event already (at Indian Wells 2015), in the case of T. Berdych in the second event at Miami 2015( after I.W.), and in the case of Fognini at Barcelona (after not being in the same quarter at Buenos Aires, IW, Miami and Monte Carlo).
Whether it is simply less luck with the draws or fixing of draws, I can’t tell that.
It’s safe to say however that Rafa’s current situation is harder than what it used to be in the past.


mat4 Says:

@Wilfried:

Great analysis, like always. It is very unfortunate that DelPo was so often injured, because I believe that there too, a pattern would have emerged since DelPo’s victory at the USO, at least. Basically, Wimbledon excepted, they played only when they had too, and once in IW when DelPo was making a come back.

Just an info for the other posters: Wilfried is an analyst at his job, so his competence is not something we should question.


Zozza Says:

If the French open started this week
Djokovic would win it easy
If it was Nadal vs Djokovic final
Djokovic in straight sets on current form

6-3 6-3 6-0


mat4 Says:

A few word about Rafa’s last defeat, an impression I had watching the highlights.

First, the impression was that Rafa lacks power. He seemed to run a lot, to try a lot, but his balls fell short, while FF was doing the opposite: waiting and hitting hard.

Could it really be the new racquet, like Ben asked? A lot of spin is good, but if Rafa can’t generate enough power and precision with it, then perhaps it should be reconsidered.

Then, the season is far from over. Rafa is indeed in a big crisis since 2013, and was ripe to lose the FO last year already, but he still managed to win. So, we will see. It is certainly not the time to bury him yet. We did it many times with Fed, and he still plays very well and is ranked 2nd.


Hippy Chick Says:

For gods sake Zozza get behind the guy,glad he has more faith in himself than you do….


brando Says:

The bookies have now made Djokovic the favourite for Roland Garros. Honestly: I cannot blame them. I think Rafael’s problems right now are 2 fold: 1. Mental: he has zero self confidence in himself now. You would think a player with a 92% win ratio on clay would have a swagger about him but right now he’s got nothing. I think this is due to a philosophical issue. A character issue. Federer, for example to my envy, is a naturally confident player. He may come across as arrogant to some but the guy just has serious self belief. Hence why he said not to long ago to some people’s bafflement that barring clay it’s always on his racquet. Right or wrong matters not. It’s clear he’s got confidence. Rafa though is the complete opposite. His OCD itself tells us he’s a high anxiety individual, ridden with doubts most of the time. Rafa has self imposed a shackle on himself that he’s on a recovery that it takes time and he needs to go step by step. He needs to get rid of this self imposed shackle: he needs to say: ***k, I’m rafa frigging Nadal! 14 majors winner, certified legend and the man for the big time. Hell: I’m on clay- my turf. I should be spanking these players. The very players who I have been slaughtering on court for years. Why the hell should I get nervous when I know deep down they fear me since they know what happens when I click. He needs to be Federer like: get confident, arrogant, bullish and have a swagger. Approach each match aggressively. Step inside the court and hit that forehand not to contain but to end the point. And he can easily do it. I see no issue to stop him gamewise. It’s just his mentality. The ONLY positive here is: its all on rafa. IF he decides to hit hard, rage he can change things around asap. But IF he decides to be weak, fragile: the fogninis, darcis whoever else of the world will beat him. 2- racquet change: he’s got a new racquet. That’s a fact. Yes ONLY played 6 matches with it. Another fact. He’s hardly realistically going to be completely accustomed and settled with it immediately. Especially when you consider his poor results, confidence and the fact that on clay in every match rafa plays he has the pressure of being expected to dominate the match. Thats a heavy burden on a guy who ain’t feeling to great about himself. So he needs time to get used to it. Hence why I think he should go to Istanbul: a greater chance for matches right now than either Madrid or Rome. Ultimately: this is NOT a burden beyond him. He’s faced much, much more tougher issues. This one is a battle with himself and how he wishes to go about things. Aggressive or passive. All we know is: he’s rafa Nadal. Push comes to shove he ALWAYS gets aggressive and fights hard when cornered. So he will toughen up I am sure of that. Question is: when?


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 nice post thanks for putting things into perspective….


mat4 Says:

@HC:

I read a few posts by that new poster, and he is a troll. Don’t bother.

Then, what’s happening with Rafa is quite normal. There are up and downs, and finally the decline. But I never stopped rooting for Connors, even when he was 35. I still liked Wilander although it was clear that his career is over. It is a natural part of the cycle of fandome, and we got to get use to it. Soon, it will be the turn of Novak too.


mat4 Says:

A few years ago, there were so few Novak’s fan. Now that he earns them, that there are more and more fans cheering for him (and here it is quite obvious) the end of his career is close too. That’s life.


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 lol which one ,theres two that insults me personally,one that insults Rafas sexuality,and one thats so negative its depressing me,pretty soon ill be talking to myself lol,anyway indeed im ready to except whatever happens i will just continue to watch and see what unfolds,i only remember Jimbo,Mac,Bjorn sporadically from seeing them on TV when i was a little girl,i watched Sampras,but Pat and Andre were my more my recent favaorites and Henman before Roger,Rafa,Novak and Andy came along,Fed was my favorite till i saw Rafa,been a Brit i always pulled for Andy and was delighted he won Wimbledon in 2013,Kei is one of my new favorites,and i would love to see him win a GS at some point fingers crossed….


Hippy Chick Says:

A few years ago there were so few Novak fans,now that Rafas going into a possible decline theres so few Rafa fans left,there will always be the die hards though,when my favorite football team does well the crowds get bigger,when they are struggling the crowds get smaller….


mat4 Says:

@HC:

I didn’t notice it until now. I usually just skip posts by new posters, and I make a search for my nick to see if something was addressed to me.

There are indeed a lot of speculations about Rafa’s private life. I don’t want to write about it — I don’t care — but that poster didn’t make it up, he didn’t invent it. Just ignore his posts, like I do.


mat4 Says:

I was referring first to Zozza, Zazzo, whatever. He is a troll, and a very good one.


metan Says:

Oh, no!!! It can’t be him. How sad I am.


mat4 Says:

@HC:

Novak, too, will decline soon. His best season was 2013, but he was very unlucky that year. He could have made the GS with a little bit of luck. Rafa’s best season was 2011, but Novak played at his absolute peak and was lucky then.

Sometimes you play quite well, but the gods of the game are against you. This year, Novak has changed his game, but he was also helped by the circumstances.


mat4 Says:

@metan:

I’am so sad you’re sad. Even more sad than you…

;-)


lilayski Says:

Fognini may NOT be a GREAT clay courter but he is DECENT at least (antics aside ofc). And with Rafa’s decent form,it was not totally shocking that Rafa lost to him. What really concerns me is the time it takes for him to recover. But that doesnt surprise me either,as he’s older now and had been riddled with injuries for as long as we can remember. I also have to agree with Brando that its also a mental struggle for Rafa. He has always downplayed his chances. When Stan or Milos say they can beat anyone,i applaud them for having the self-belief. Now dont take this as bashing. I just seriously wish he’d give himself more credit for his talent and skills for once. Cheers everyone!


jalep Says:

Actually, I agree more with roy’s post about Fognini on clay than what Ben Pronin said. And I stand by what I said before. Fognini is a good cc player when in the mood for it.

We’ll see how he does vs handsome Pablo.


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/genny_ss/status/591315135026880516
Here’s an explanation of the quote “to accept it or to die”.
Too much drama here, of course it wasn’t meant literally,
Jane & Margot. Are you listening?


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Aside from the mental issues which have been going back a while now, it seems that Rafa’s serve has really lost its pop. If I remember right, he usually had one of the top several highest hold percentages, but in this match and last time against Novak, he was broken regularly.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

That said, I expect better showings from Rafa in Rome and Madrid, so that when RG comes he will not seem such a distant hope as at this moment.
Basically, if he wins one of those tourneys, he is the favourite for RG, then Novak, then huge gap before Fed.

If he makes finals of one, he is going to be the 2nd favourite- then huge gap before Fed

If he doesn’t make either finals, the odds-gap will be between 1 and 2, and Fed will suddenly be very close to Rafa.

Does anyone else have a favourite to propose for RG (I mean, below Novak and Rafa)? Kei and Milos certainly haven’t yet shown the trend lines, thou Kei’s performance this week could propel him into the conversation.

Ferrer and Murray are not going to win. Wawrinka is a legit dark horse, but I wouldn’t put his odds near Fed’s, nor Berdych.

Anyone I’m missing?


jalep Says:

Lol. I wish LaMonf.


Okiegal Says:

@Giles…..I stated on another thread about his quote. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard….
“I’ll die trying”. He meant nothing by it, again folks making a mountain out of mole hill….eyes
rolling…….seriously……


zozza Says:

mat4 Says:
I was referring first to Zozza, Zazzo, whatever. He is a troll, and a very good one.

whats a troll ?


zozza Says:

Madrid is looking djokovic
Rome is looking djokovic

PARIS is looking djokovic

where will it end ?

DJOKOVIC will win everything like I said …. get used to it people the JOKER is the best !


Okiegal Says:

Monfils, I don’t see it. He poops out too quick. I feel he’s not in the best of shape for the long haul. A very talented guy, however. Love to watch him play. I think he exerts way too much energy between points. He needs to settle down a bit and get more serious, imo.


brando Says:

@TV: favourite? Right now I agree with the bookies: its Novak. He’s the only one who legitimately, justifiably warrants the label favourite. Rafa- right now- is a contender. Now we could also make a case for anyone under the sun as also being a contender but for me a contender has to tick 2 boxes: 1- I can see him holding the title when its all said and done 2- legitimately, seriously challenge the fav/ and or for the title. With that in mind, because of Rafael’s record there he’s obviously a contender. But beyond that no one meets my criteria. Federer? Do I see him winning? No. Do I see him winning a best of 5 on clay nearing 34 v Novak? Rafa? No. So I don’t consider Federer a contender. Murray? I won’t go there. There’s just no one. Are there others who can beat rafa or even novak? Of course. There’s plenty. All that ever takes is 1 player, having a great day and the fav being off the boil. That can happen any time. But for me-right now- there’s only 1 favourite, Novak Djokovic, and 1 contender based on his history only, Rafael Nadal. Beyond that for me it would be a lie to call anyone else a favourite or a contender. If anything this just tells me how pathetic the game is today. That for a grand slam title the only real contender for Novak is a guy who’s having a miserable season and only has a paltry 250 title to claim. The game in terms of real competition is quite pathetic right now. When Tomas Berdych is the no.2 player for 2015 you know it’s a s*** season for the tour. Period.


brando Says:

Is Zozza a sock account of sienna? I’ve only really seen sienna chirp madness on such a consistent basis. Certainly not a nadal fan. nor a novak fan either.


Markus Says:

Agree with Brando, it will still be a Djokovic/Nadal show at the French this year. I must add though that you are a little too harsh on Berdych. The poor guy is trying hard enough. He has the game, the movement etc…he just happens to be so mentally weak especially against the top players and against almost anybody once he gets to the semi-finals or finals…so…well…I guess you’re right there, too. Ok, I agree with everything you said.


jalep Says:

@ Okiegal. Monfils thing was Ben Pronin being funny, I think.


Giles Says:

Zozazozuzee is a joker fan for sure. More a troll than a fan. Comes on here to try and annoy the Rafans. Idiot!!!


KatH Says:

@Okiegal & Giles

“I’ll just die if I don’t pass my exams” – still said by worried students….familiar to us all maybe on other occasions.


Okiegal Says:

@Jalep…..Oh, I’m a little thick headed….I take everything literally?? No, not everything. I thought he might be serious. He’ll straighten me out, prolly!! :)


elina Says:

You guys! Last week the writer predicted Nadal to beat Djokovic.

This week it is time to panic.

Next week? Stay tuned.

And for some fans telling Rafans to stay positive, perhaps they should have taken their own advice when they were throwing him under the bus in 2013?

As far as Zozza being sienna, if that were the case, we’d be hearing about Cilic being the new king of clay.

mew!


Okiegal Says:

@KatH……Exactly!…..Mine, “Oh, if he doesn’t call me and ask me out again, I’ll just die”! Lol


Brando Says:

@Markus:

Re Berdych:

I am on record and was the ONLY person to say as such that Berdych is going to be- so far he’s shown me to be right by being no.2 in the race- the most improved player on tour.

Credit goes to where it is due: I applaud fully Tomas’s ambition, determination to improve his game and by extension results.

Tomas get’s props from me. Many here bash (I think many of the haters regarding Tomas are just idiotic about it) but i’m cool about him. He’s not a favourite or anything but he’s a consistent professional who actually has talent.

All that said cutting through the BS:

Birdman is not a Slam winning type player or a genuine threat at the top tier for me. He’s just not. Hence why my blasting- not at Tomas specifically- but the tour:

The competition is down the toilet. Period. When Tomas Berdych is the no.2 and we are very close to saying 50% of the season is done, how on earth can anyone with a straight face say:

The competition is great right now? They cannot, it’s a laughable thing to say.

The competition is at an abject, pathetic low right now. Just look at the farce:

- No. 2 for 2015: Tomas Berdych: a perennial choker with obvious game limitations.

- No. 2 ranked player: Roger Federer: GOAT? That’s a fact. A player who is turning 34 and is at the mercy of the top players in all honesty when they faring well? That also is a fact.

Let’s cut through the BS: Sure Fed’s doing great for his age, even amazing. But is he real threat for no.1? No. Slams? No- he’s ONLY appeared in 1 final in nearly 3 years. Let’s be honest and blunt about it: that’s crap for RF in his prime, but great for a player near the end of his career.

- Murray: I won’t bother. I’ve said enough about him this year. We ALL know and have seen the deal there.

- Rafa: A player who has won only 1 paltry 250 point title in 10 months! 10 frigging months! A perennially injured, on a comeback individual who is 29 soon and only yesterday lost a R16 MATCH ON CLAY!

ONLY someone with a habit and skill for talking BS will say he’s looking great and in his finest moment right now.

- The rest? What a bunch of players who have long been around but consistently muster nothing on a real basis and are close to or already 30 plus(wawa, ferrer, tsonga). A bunch of youth whose game just ain’t good enough to be the top dogs (Kei, Milos and Mrs Sharapova).

I could continue but in short:

The competition is at a pathetic level right now.

IT’S AT IT’S WORST LEVEL IN OVER 10 YEARS. PERIOD.

It’s 1 top player (Novak) and whole bunch names that sport varying, different issues that led them to be easy pickings.

I’ll be honest:

I’m not impressed by Novak winning AO and 3 Master Series. Why should I be? I expect it.

I fully expect a top player-which he is- to smash, belittle and spank a field as pathetic as this.

Who the hell is there to REALLY challenge him?

NO ONE. Just a bunch of names that include some famous players who are nowhere near their peak, and a whole load of others who ain’t upto snuff.

I don’t blame Novak fans if they love it. Fair play to them. But IF anyone enjoys this right now, put simply:

They are a fan of mediocrity since that is what is on show right now: 1 top player v mediocrity.


Markus Says:

@Brando

About Federer, it is true that everybody is amazed at what he is doing at his age but I don’t think anybody really expects him to win another major.


zozza Says:

brando

the only madness is that djokovic is too good for everyone else that its not funny anymore !

I have been a nadal fan since he first started but I am realistic to where his career is at this point … nearing the end !

My favourite tennis match is nadal vs djokovic coz the level of tennis is so high & they get the best out of eachother which is what real tennis fans want to see !

Whatever people think its up to them but reality is this ….. players know how to beat nadal now !
Why should his legacy be tarnished any further if he cant win slams … retire ! His body will thank him ….


Markus Says:

@KatH, Okiegal et al:

“I’ll just die if I don’t pass my exams”…In some Asian countries this can often be very literal.


sienna Says:

brandi
thanks for the conpliment.

but it was me who put you guys on track with zosao.
I smelt a rat and called it out.
then again I show more confidence in Nadal then you.

keep commenting but try to cut down in words or in your case paragraphes.
you mindfukker you have written more then shakeapeare his whole life.


zozza Says:

A number of factors in respect of Rafa’s demise, and i trust all those who were hating on me after IW may now be eating humble pie!! Rafa clearly not the physical animal of old, but it has to be acknowledged that players have worked him out as everyone basically just swings as hard as they can and dont get involved in lon rallies. Jim Courier had this problem 20 years ago. Obviously far inferior to Rafa but his decline was as sudden once players could over power him and with Rafa everyone is now taking the ball on the rise and just creaming the ball. This is all music to Fedrer fans ers of course as Federer while a shadow of his former self, is still beating all but Novak (and Rafa but they havent played in ages)


Gordon Says:

“Now I know why tigers eat their young.”

It is astounding how some of you are treating a drop in Rafa’s game as a personal insult to your appreciation of him. This is reminiscent of when Federer lost to Tsonga in Montreal in 2009 after being up 5-1 in the third set. Those of you who were here then will remember the mob of morons who had previously expressed undying love for Fed, turning on him the way many are turning on Nadal in here. There were cries for Federer to retire for goodness sakes.

Now a new breed of troll has joined us, trying to find new ways to attack him, and we even have people predicting the exact scores of Djokovic over Rafa at the French Open.

Does no one remember how Djokovic struggled in 2009 after switching racquets from Wilson to Head 2 weeks prior to the Australian Open? An adjustment to a new racquet takes time, and Rafa has a new racquet.

I wrote this after Nadal lost to Djokovic at Monte Carlo and I repeat it here – Rafa could lose in his first round at Barcelona, Madrid and Rome and anyone dismissing him at the French Open does so at their own peril. Court Philippe Chatrier is Rafa’s favourite place to play; until he loses there I am not discounting his chances.


sienna Says:

you said it man! Australië open wasnot impressive win.
the last guy to impresse was Cilic.

Cilic stand up and take yourplace at tennis top!


jalep Says:

It’s just an expression in most cases. I just posted that Wozniacki bores me to death. No suicide plan remotely implicated.


KatH Says:

@ Brando

While your strokes are very broad, I have no quarrel with your central theme – but 2 of your examples of the “youths” are a bit of a stretch.
Accept Milos as being a “youthful player but Sharapova is actually older than Nole. Kei is only 2+half years younger than Nole…(hardly enuf for a comparison).

Pity the real young ones haven’t shown their real potential yet….So back where we started I guess.
Cheers


Giles Says:

I’ll just die if Tennis X doesn’t control zozzaa and start moderating him/her/it!!!


jalep Says:

@ Giles. I understand. But he/she isn’t breaking tennis-x rules. Feverish emoting is expected, I should think on a dysfunctional blog.


Giles Says:

jalep. How about provocation? If it isn’t in the rules it should be included pronto. :)


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Not sure how many in the forum have ever picked up a racquet even to understand what Rafa is going through. Not saying he is going to be back to his very best in next 1-2 months, but to dismiss him in this way and thinking it’s their birthright to criticize the great champion is ridiculous.

He can’t forget to play tennis so quickly. Most likely he would fix his problems and get back the consistency he had before. Let’s wait.


jalep Says:

Giles, good point. Not sure if it’s trolling. He/she would be more subtle to be a good troll. Seems like authentic angst.

I don’t know…


elina Says:

Djokovic winning one slam per year last three years is the worse level in more than ten years?

How soon we forget.

As for Cilic? LOL. He is the next Tomas Johansson!!!


skeezer Says:

“If it isn’t in the rules it should be included pronto. :)”
Maybe you should start your own blog, Then you can make the rules.


skeezer Says:

“anyone dismissing him at the French Open does so at their own peril.”
Well said, RG is still in front of us, not behind. Let’s see what happens and re visit after RG. Rafa has still plenty of time to work things out.


mat4 Says:

@skeez:

I’m starting to like that guy, zozza. Rafans freak out when they read his posts… BTW, why do they read them?

It’s a troll, but he has style ;-)


Brando Says:

@Markus:

Re Federer:

Look, the man is the best to have ever picked up a racquet in my estimation. He’s a beast. My one and only qualm with him as a champion in his career is the Rafa issue. That’s it. Beyond that though: what the hell has Fed not done and achieved? What question has he not answered? What mountain has he not climbed?

So in short: I got real respect for the guy since he warrants it. But at the end of the day he’s human, and life has it’s laws that apply to us all. Tennis too. In this sport-as in life- father time is undefeated. You just don’t beat it.And a guy nearly touching 34 just ain’t going to win a Slam. Period. It just ain’t going to happen. Despite that: Fed still gets props from me since at 34 atleast he’s even posing this question. That’s an achievement in it’s own right!

But I have an issue with the tour (not Fed) about this:

What the hell does that say about the rest that the present world number 2 is 34 and we believe he realistically will not win a slam and yet he’s no.2? How pathetic can the rest be that the next in line from the top dog is someone who as great as he is- and Fed is great- is someone we do not consider a REAL Slam contender, a guy who we can envisage easily winning a slam down the line. The tour’s pathetic for me. Sorry. I may be harsh, critical, but I ain’t apologetic about it. I ain’t dropping the bar just to appease anyone.

Put Simply:

The field -outside Federer- need’s to step their game up since what they are offering is pathetic, mediocre, embarrassing and cringe worthy to view. I don’t want to see a supposedly great champion walk around on court in a wimpish fashion (Rafa). I find it sickening to see another supposedly great champion sulk like a baby, lose the plot over ultimately nothing in a grand slam final (Murray). I mean if that’s all we got as the next best right now then we well and truly are screwed since what they are sporting right now is just weak.

And the next generation is just even more embarrassing:

- Kei: He’s like Federer for me: I ain’t got a problem with him nor can I fault him. It ain’t his fault his below 6 foot tall and has his limitations that nature has bestowed him. He get’s a pass for me, but let’s face it: Kei ain’t build to dominate. He just ain’t. Not in the tennis world of 2015.

- Milos: Really? This guy is one of the best from the rest? With that limited game? Come on now: are we clutching at straws just to form up a contender. This guy is nothing but an upgrade on John Isner.

- Grigor: This guy embodies contemporary tennis: alot of hype but really little substance. He got the new Federer build up but till date he’s looking like a new monfils. Alot of tools in toolbox, but zero brain to know how to use them on the big stage.

And that’s all we have right now. Outside Novak: weak sauce.


Giles Says:

Going according to script, a player beats Rafa and gets thrashed in the next round. Fog lost 1 and 3 to Andujar.


Giles Says:

If I started my own blog one of the rules would state “no skeezers allowed”.


Brando Says:

@KatH:

LOL the sharapova reference was towards Dimitrov.

I agree though, the next generation tag is out of date and should be consigned to the dustbin. I mean we keep on hearing ‘oh Grigor, Kei and Milos are young, still developing just give them time’.

Really? Last I checked they are fast approaching their mid-20′s! Heck: they should be dominating right now still developing!

This maybe harsh and overly simplistic but it’s how I see it ultimately:

You either got it or you have not.

Your either a winner or your not.

And you can tell a serial winner early. Real early. Nadal, Borg, Sampras, Federer: big winners in the big time very, very early. Novak, Becker etc even.

I didn’t see those guys cry: oh people don’t expect much, I need time to develop.

None of that crap. Their winners and they got busy winning immediately almost. Period.

Kei, Grigor and Milos are touching their mid 20′s and forget Grand Slams they have a combined master series win total of:

ZERO. NADA. NOTHING. **** ALL.

That FACT tells me these guys ain’t winners. They ain’t the alphas in the jungle that is the Tennis world. They might win a Slam at most 2 when father time knocks Fedal, Andole of the perch since we all know:

These guys need that help since they ain’t good enough to do pull it off with their tennis.

So I agree, this next generation tag used with these guys as if they are freshly new on the scene is erroneous, false and dated.


chris ford1 Says:

In sport, many of the best go through a period of trials and tribulations. Most get through it, some do not. Serena had two spates where she looked like she was done. Roger had an entire thoroughly rotten year in 2013. Nole had it so bad after he and Rafa broke each other in the Madrid 2009 semi he was thinking of quitting and going to university (briefly),
Now it is Nadal’s turn. I think he will turn it around and be the main foe for Nole, but Nole will have the edge for awhile. Rafa played high quality tennis against Nole in Monte Carlo…just Novak got the biggest points and was more consistent. Rafa is not looking near as bad as Fed in 2013 with Fed floating or shanking half his shots – or Nole in early 2010 when he had no 1st serve and should have been wearing a “I am defeated” sign on his shirt.
I am hopeful Nadal will be back in full terror to other players mode in early 2016. (After Nole’s monster year that I want Nole to have.)


Markus Says:

@Brando and all:

It sounds like Tennis Apocalypse will be upon us when Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray (yes, he joins them in my book) are all gone from the game.


Markus Says:

@Brando and all:

It sounds like Tennis Apocalypse will be upon us when Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray (yes, he joins them in my book) are all gone from the game.


Markus Says:

Sorry, there is an echo where I am.


Markus Says:

Sorry, there is an echo where I am.


Margot Says:

Lol Markus, so good you said it twice twice ;) Now let’s see………


Margot Says:

Nope!


Markus Says:

Corollary to what Brando said, those “serial winners” had it in them from the get go. As teen-agers they were already winning over many players ranked ahead of them, occasinally over the top guys, but almost never to lower ranked below them. I remember Nadal and Djokovic when they first burst on the seen, their trajetories were always forward, upward and fast. These current crop of players are now already old when compared with the “serial winners” ( I love that term. We all know who belong there from Laver to Djokovic so there’s no need to enumerate them all). And the current truly young ones are the teen-agers but none of them have so far shown the “serial winner” air.


brando Says:

@Markus: Lol. It is what it is: you could love, hate or get annoyed by the consistent sight of them after minimum 8 years of them at the highest level but Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are a cut above the rest. What follows them-right now- and seems to lie out there, put simply, just ain’t up to snuff. It ain’t. Can I see another 17 time, 14 time Grand Slam Champion following fedal when they call it time on the horizon no? Can I see 8 time slam champion, 15 plus finals, 50 plus titles like novak following up with his game anytime soon? Nope. Or a 2 time champion, gold medal, multiple major finals, master series under his belt with heavy respect in addition from those that matter since they realize this guy can duke it out and beat hall of famers like fedal, novak on the big stage like Murray has being surpassed just like that from one of these? Hell no. I’ll tell you right now: the guys who follow these guys are going to be a poor follow up act. We’ll have to wait a real long while before we get anything genuinely close to those guys individually and definitely collectively. Trust me on that one.


Markus Says:

@ Margot: :-)


Markus Says:

@ Brando: These current “serial winners” don’t annoy me at all. I lose all interest in any tournament when not even one is entered. The Barcelona Open feels like a graveyard after Nadal’s loss.


Ben Pronin Says:

Barcelona remains notable because of Nishikori, for me. Defending his title over potentially Ferrer would say a lot about where his game and head are. I think because Nishikori doesn’t look or play like a typical clay court player that everyone is sorta overlooking him. But he reached the finals of the US Open and the quarters in Australia so we know he can perform at the slams. And I think he’s shown us multiple times that he has the game for clay. Defend Barcelona and put up good results at the next 2 Masters and he’s easily a top 5 favorite for RG.


brando Says:

@Markus: I’m with you all the way on that post.


brando Says:

@Ben: spot on post only one alteration: if kei pulls off what you suggest, I say easy top 3 for RG. Kei’s big time. In his own way he’s got the goods. I don’t think he’s fazed by any of the big names. He had Madrid won v rafa. That would have been a MS in the bag. He beat Novak at USO,reached a major final. Probably would have done better there had he not been running on empty after going through 3 brutal wars (raonic, wawrinka, novak) compared to his opponent who waltzed it in straight sets to the final in week 2. He’s also had his wins v Federer. So no doubt about it: he’s big time. He won’t be number one, he won’t dominate, win slams one after another. But he’s big time in his own right. And the only one from those outside top 4 who can and I say will win a slam within 2 years.


Ben Pronin Says:

I thought about it, but he’s never won a slam or even a Masters. Doesn’t matter that he’s gotten close. I’d still give the Big 3 and Murray the nod over him. But I see him as having a better chance than Ferrer or Berdych. I know Wawrinka’s won a slam but if we think Nadal’s form is bad then holy moly is Stan terrible.


jalep Says:

Let’s see if he can get to the final in Barcelona and beat Ferrer first.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Ferrer is the definitive delineator of Slam contendership. Ferrer lies infinitely close to Slam contendership, but can never reach it. Anyone who beats Ferrer is a Slam contender.


KatH Says:

@ Brando and especially at Ben Pronin

Yes – it’s not quite as has been presented, is it? Kei is wonderful, but he’s not a new young brilliant player. he is however, often brilliant. But, and it is a big BUT, will he become a multiple GS winner.? NO, NO and NO. At the best he could become No. 1,No. 2, No.3 No.4 (through a level of brilliant play other than achieving a GS (like sweet Caroline).

It’s not for me to say I’m wrong – you can all tell me I’m writing crap – but will I believe you? Ha Ha.


jalep Says:

@TennisVagabond. Uh…that’s not what I meant. Only that last year’s efforts on clay, Barcelona and Madrid injured Kei’s back and he pulled out of Rome, entered FO but lost to Klizan, the guy he plays tomorrow. IF he wins that match he will likely face Ferrer who isn’t an easy out.

It took him awhile to be back to good form.


jane Says:

“Going according to script, a player beats Rafa and gets thrashed in the next round. Fog lost 1 and 3 to Andujar.”

giles, this is the same case with so many upsets; they beat a top guy and then promptly lose next round. i’d love to see more players at least capitalize on their big wins.

there are some examples – for instance soderling went all the way to the finals when he beat rafa at the french. or last year after beating fed gulbis went to the semis. so there are cases when the upset winner goes on to do well. but more often than not, it is just like foggy.


Zozza Says:

Beat Rafa
Then lose next round
That’s always the case unless of course you’re the djoker
He seems to defy the trend


Markus Says:

Freak wins, that’s what those are. Beat one of the Big 3 then lose the next round and go nowhere as a tennis player.


Zozza Says:

Fognini is a nobody
What has he done in his career
Won nothing
Has he ever come close to winning grand slam
He is a chump
He beats Rafa then gloats like he’s saved the world
Fognini is just an average player


Brando Says:

Ordinarily I would want Kei to win since from the younger players, or players outside the era of the famous players he’s my favourite and I really like him but :

I want David Ferrer to win Barcelona Open this year.

This-believe it or not- is the one title David actually wishes to win more than any. By that I mean wish to win one realistically.

He’s from Catalonia (I believe), he adores FC Barcelona and this is the home event for those from that part of the world. He was unlucky not win one by now due to Rafa, only having 2010 and last year as opportunities outside having to face the beast.

Already in his celebrations post match you can tell how much it means to him. So for this week- and I don’t mind rooting for Ferru at any time since he’s just the biggest class act i’ve ever seen on tour- it is beyond any doubt the call is:

Vamos Ferru, vamos!


Markus Says:

Did Fognini really gloat after beating Nadal? I saw the match and Fabio looked looked rather subdued after his victory. I have not read his post-match interview. Did he gloat there?


Zozza Says:

Had Nadal made the final
Kei would’ve beaten him on current form
But ferrer seems the one to beat
Ferrer is a workhorse he deserves to win one grand slam before his career ends
Not bad for a bricklayer !

Ferrer is a fighter like his best friend Rafa
Good luck David I hope you win Barcelona


Zozza Says:

Markus
I read that he was gloating that he beat Nadal twice on clay in one year


jalep Says:

@ Brando. Ferrer is from Valencia. Not sure if that is considered Catalonia. Anyway, Valencia has an atp 500 event every fall which Ferrer has won at least a couple times. But I halfway want him to win Barcelona myself. I’d rather Kei pace himself and make it to FO healthy this year. Though I think his chances are best at US Open of all GS.

Kei said he is in Barcelona to win it. But that’s typical. If Ferrer wins, great. I’m a fan of fc.Barcelona myself. I saw Neymar watching Rafa’s match.


lilayski Says:

Oh I want Daveeed to take Barcelona too. And as much as I like Kei, i dont want him peaking anytime soon and give Novak problems come FO. Im just selfish like that and Im not even sorry. 😂😜


Wog Boy Says:

What do we have here, certain poster is asking for the other one to be moderated:

“I’ll just die if Tennis X doesn’t control zozzaa and start moderating him/her/it!!!”

..but before that post, certain poster posted this called ng the poster “idiot”:

“Zozazozuzee is a joker fan for sure. More a troll than a fan. Comes on here to try and annoy the Rafans. Idiot!!!”

Now, who should be moderatid here?

Zozza, keep it coming please, I like your style and there is also possibility that certain poster will “die”;)


Wog Boy Says:

” calld ng” should say “calling”… i even surprised myself with this spelling;)


Okiegal Says:

I hope David wins this, he’s due!! C’mon Ferrer!
Vamos!!!! :)


Zozza Says:

Wog boy

The truth hurts
But you seem a big Djokovic fan


Zozza Says:

None of my comments should require moderation
I speak the truth
I don’t live in denial
I am Rafa fan from long ago
Heck I have even met him in Melbourne
But he is no longer the best player in the world
Djokovic rules tennis

I ain’t no Djokovic fan
But even so when they play it’s great watching the tennis which is unbelievable


Zozza Says:

Giles

Does the truth hurt ?
Nadal is in decline
Does that hurt you
Why should it
Giles Djokovic


Zozza Says:

Giles

Tennis x is where people can say what they want
They should moderate your comments
I am a Nadal fan all my life
But I don’t live in denial that my hero is in serious decline
Giles you must be a Djokovic fan

Hopefully Nadal will prove us all wrong


sienna Says:

zozdo is Humble Rafa.
If your clever enough you can see some similarity in choice of words. Different style in get that.


Hippy Chick Says:

Zozza your indeed entitled to say what you want,but i think your driving fellow fans mad with your never ending negativity,could you please try and be a bit more postive about our favorite for goodness sake,sure hes having a bad run of late,but thats not to say he cant/wont turn it around,you know there is a saying hope springs eternal,sure Novaks on an amazing run but is still beatable,he lost last year in GS to Wawarinka and Nishikori,and when it comes to grass Andy and Roger have games better suited to that surface,Rafa is going back to Queens and he always did well at W after playing there so who knows,maybe he will again lol?but your playing right into the hands of the naysayers and haters who will be just loving what your saying,hopefully Nadal will prove us all wrong EXACTLY more of that its the most positive thing youve said about the guy since you started posting here lets see more of that PUUURLEASE?….


sienna Says:

moderation get me out of it puuurleasen……


Zozza Says:

Hippy chick

I am just being honest
I have watched Nadal play from the day he started & I can clearly see the changes that others seem to ignore or deny
Gary Roy ?
Ever heard of him on ATP Facebook he posts the best most realistic comments about Nadal
He is nadal’s number one fan
Gary Roy sees everything !
He recently said Djokovic is so lucky that both Rafa & Federer are in decline
You can see where Rafa struggles
Biggest problem speed of foot
His movement is gone
The RABBIT who won Wimbledon 2008 is no longer the rabbit who could chase down every ball !
I hope Rafa can get his A game back coz I would love to see another epic Nadal vs Djokovic final where both players get the best out of eachother
This year I sadly predict Nadal might not make the final of French open ?
Hope I’m wrong
Time will tell


sienna Says:

I mean with the badspell nadal is having my comments are just whats needed to bring back the nadalfans because with every loss the meds get increased…


Margot Says:

Lol Zozza is being highly provocative for sure, but “moderated” c’mon guys and gals! Compared with what us “even Murray” fans had to put up with last year, and now, what s/he says is mild, milder than mild.
Some of you Rafa are behaving like a bunch wusses.
Is it because you feel there’s a grain of truth in what s/he is saying?


Zozza Says:

Margot

Zozza is male !

What I post is true
It hurts to write the truth about my favourite player
I just hope he can play at his best


Hippy Chick Says:

Margot yes granted theres a grain of truth,im not asking for moderatoin yes indeed that would be silly,but a bit of positivity wouldnt go a miss,a realist will see that things can go either way,not just one way or the predictible way….


Margot Says:

Hi there and Good Morning Mr! I never assume anything on the www. especially on blogs.


Margot Says:

I tell you what Hippy, let’s see if Brando can be positive about “even Andy” first, shall we?


Hippy Chick Says:

BTW If we are talking about moderation,i think we should take a look at posters making a mockery about suicide, players gender,sexuality,private lives,sarcastic pictures on marrital status etc etc,come on Sean Randall and staff what the hell is going on just lately with this forum?….


Zozza Says:

Moderation means denying the truth coz it hurts


Hippy Chick Says:

Zozza i can see im wasting my time even trying to reason….

Margot true and fair enough,Colin was right though in that Andy isnt having the mental issues that Rafa is…..


Zozza Says:

Hippy chick

Check the ATP website

Read Gary Roy’s comments

You will then agree with me that Nadal is in big decline

Or keep on denying the truth & keep on living in 2013

It’s 2015 wake up to that fact


Hippy Chick Says:

Yeah wasting my time OUT….


Zozza Says:

Hippy chick

Get over it


Hippy Chick Says:

BTW Wogboy if your reading,many thanks for defending me the other day on the Ranking points thread ;-)….


Giles Says:

“Some of you Rafa are behaving like a bunch wusses” says Margot. Oh really Margot? Very easy for you to make that comment, your Murphy is not in the firing line is he? Tell me why you get on HR’s back when he refers to Murphy as “Lady Forehand”? Is it because the truth hurts? Practise what you preach!!


Markus Says:

Take a deep breath (preferably where the air is fresh and clean). Then write your post. It can be angry and mean. It can be pleasant. Hit submit. Take a deep breath. You may get a response. It can be angry and mean. It can be pleasant. Read or opt not to. Take another deep breath. Life goes on. Take everything in stride. If you can breathe, life is fine.


Okiegal Says:

I believe all Rafa fans are well aware that he’s going through some rough times atm. It’s hard to believe that some posters here are claiming to be die hard fans but their wording in their comments suggest otherwise. A fan can make a comment that his decline is coming but the way it’s stated is what’s so disturbing…..so harsh! Just doesn’t come off like a “true” fan…..but to each his own.

On Rafa and his mode of play at the present is worrying. He’s has concerned about it as his fans are. Hopefully he will get his confidence back. He is down on himself big time, which doesn’t help at all. His opponents have nothing to lose and seem to be the more relaxed. Rafa is more nervous during
the tense moments and its showing. Maybe he can turn it around. I certainly hope so! Vamos, Rafa! You can do this!!


Giles Says:

Markus. Thanks for the advice on breathing exercises. Am now in the throes of practising. Don’t know if I will succeed but I’m gonna give it a go anyway! :)


Margot Says:

@Giles
Well one very good reason is it’s sexist, untrue these days, rubbish. And I can’t remember asking for HR to be moderated either.
Anyway, I think Markus gave me very good advice on that score.


Margot Says:

And PS Giles, seems to me that Andy is ALWAYS in the firing line from some posters.


Giles Says:

Looks like Kei is going to be a force to be reckoned with. I hope he lands in Joker’s part of the draw for the rest of the season! Lol


Giles Says:

HR’s posts are a bit of fun and humour which some posters do not appreciate or perhaps his humour is too deep for you to understand. BTW his posts DO NOT warrant moderation. I wonder if you would appreciate Zozzaouz’s comments if they were directed to Murphy??


Giles Says:

And Margot don’t call the Rafans wusses. If we were we would have disappeared from this forum many moons ago. The mere fact that we are still here proves the point


Giles Says:

I have never ever criticised or berated Murphy or poked fun at him. Bear that in mind Murphy fan.


Margot Says:

Yeah well, humour is in the eye of the beholder, as they say.


Giles Says:

I thought it was “beauty” that was in the eye of the beholder.


Wog Boy Says:

@HC @5:06am

No probs, I just thought it was a low blow.


skeezer Says:

“humour is in the eye of the beholder, as they say.”
Exactly.
HR?
Pffft.


Giles Says:

HR is listening, better beware skeezer. Expect a barrage from him in the not too distant future. Lol


Annie Says:

Hippy Chick~
After I wrote a few days ago that I thought what you said was rude etc. you wrote back and said something can’t remember for sure what it was BUT I want to apologize…I still think what you said was rude but the further comment I made about manners etc was not acceptable.

I wonder why RAFAEL switched racquets…if it ain’t broken don’t fix it…he says it gives him additional top-spin BUT it leaves him w/less control. So I hope he goes back to the old racquet to see if his game will be different. Sorry to see him so down. Drop the extra top-spin & gain the control back! Vamos RAFA!!!


Alexandra Says:

It seems Rafa does not get the time to work on his tennis. Murray had a whole year of subpar results after his surgery. And even now he is not where he was with Lendl. Ok, Rafa is in a bad place right now. But to talk about a decline is way too early for me. But I doubt his private life has anything to do with that. Strange where some people come from with their speculations. The Rafa is secretely gay stuff has always been very popular with the haters. Wonder why that is?
Ask yourself that question, seriously.
I’m sure Rafa has some good tennis left, even if it may not be enough to win RG this year. Hell, he won it 9 times. The world doesn’t end if he doesn’t win it again. The season is not over after RG. Some people act like Rafa’s career is depending on winning RG every year. That meaning Rafa will retire if he doesn’t win the French anymore. Strange indeed.


kissmygrits Says:

Silly. Nadal will winthe French this year and I will be back to say I told you so.

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