Nadal Finds His Groove, Meets Murray In Madrid Final; Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | May 9th, 2015, 6:56 pm
  • 260 Comments

Is it Jonas Bjorkman? Is it the married life? Or is it something else? Who knows, but whatever it is, it’s been working the last two weeks for Andy Murray. After winning his first clay title Monday in Munich, Murray is now into his second clay final, this one at the Masters level where he’ll face Rafael Nadal tomorrow in the King of Clay’s backyard in Madrid.

Nadal began semifinal Saturday showing signs of old Rafa in dismantling a very hot and very tough Tomas Berdych 7-6(3), 6-1. Berdych, who still has yet to beat Nadal on clay, had a few chances early on in the match, but otherwise never really got Nadal out of his comfort zone as Rafa pounded away with that lethal forehand. It was one of Nadal’s best matches of the season, and he got added revenge for Australia.

“For the past couple of days I have been playing better and better every day,” said Nadal who will seek a fifth Madrid title Sunday. “That’s always very good news. I am in the final. I am happy for that. I am enjoying a lot the fact that I am playing in front of an unbelievable crowd. For me, that’s the best crowd in the world without any doubt. So that gives me a lot of really positive energy.

“Today I played at a very, very high level. Let’s see tomorrow if I am able to continue with that positive feeling. This week has been fantastic for me. This is a very important result, and that’s confidence, that’s positive energy. That’s calm, too. Let’s try to continue tomorrow and try to continue with that good feeling next week. I worked a lot to have that feeling, and today I had that feeling that I’ve been trying to find for a while.”

After a horrendous Barcelona and poor effort against Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo, Nadal has lived up to the expectations this week in Madrid.

Meanwhile, there weren’t much in the way of expectations for Murray, who came late to the event after having won a rainy Munich title on Monday. Then he had to deal with a system-jarring 3am finish Wednesday, but since hasn’t dropped a set including an impressive victory today over 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4.

“This year and in the off-season I put in a lot of hard work on my game and made a few changes and tried to get back to playing the way that I was playing when I was my most successful,” said Murray. “I think today I was pretty aggressive. I tried to dictate a lot of the points, especially when he was serving, and it worked well.”

Murray had never made a clay final until Munich. Now two in one week! Now you could say in Munich he didn’t beat anyone of top quality, and Milos Raonic was hobbled yesterday, but Nishikori was well in form and had beaten the Scot in London last fall.

Against Rafa, Murray is just 5-15 and like Berdych today, has never beaten him on the clay (0-6). And remember, since returning from surgery at the start of last year, Murray has yet to beat a Big 3 guy. So Andy’s got a few demons to deal with.

“Against Rafa it is going to be extremely difficult, especially playing here in Spain,” said Murray who is 9-0 this year on clay. “I think he’s played very well this week, too. Hopefully I can put in a good performance and make it tough for him and see what happens.”

I think Murray will put up a good performance. And he could make a mark if he goes on the offensive and plays forward tennis, attacking Rafa’s serve. But it’s hard to see Rafa losing to Andy with so much on the line and with that forehand now firing again.

Rafa will be nervous and he’s struggled with confidence, we know, however in front of his fans I don’t think he’ll let this one slip. Win or lose, it’s been a positive week for both guys.
The pick: Rafa in two

MADRID SUNDAY SCHEDULE
MANOLO SANTANA Start Not Before 4:00 pm
R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs [5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)

7:00 pm
[3] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)


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260 Comments for Nadal Finds His Groove, Meets Murray In Madrid Final; Who’s The Pick?

jane Says:

rafa’s the favourite, of course, because it’s clay.

here’s another write up with loads of stats in their h2h but also based on their performances so far this season:

http://www.live-tennis.com/category/atp-tennis/rafael-nadal-v-andy-murray-madrid-masters-2015-final-by-the-numbers-201505090022/


Wimbledon Says:

Murray is playing aggressive and solid tennis. Rafa will not be able win this if they both bring their A games.


Daniel Says:

Imagine if Murray wins tomorrow, he will be undefeated in European Clay…?!?! 😱

With the way he is returning he definetely has a chance, but Nadal clean his act and had one of his best matches of the year ans serving days not facing a BP plus advanging AO loss.
Hope for a quality match as this two don’t face each other in a final in a long time.


M Says:

Muzz is going to give Rafa a tough match.

I think I’ll go to church and watch the replay.


chris ford1 Says:

I’m rooting for Andy. Andy had everything in his game that he needs to have to be a star on clay on a physical and tennis talent level – if was just some of his mental flaws that stunted his progress. Now he may finally be making his move to be an all-courter like Novak, Fed, Rafa who is so good on clay people sometimes forget his huge hardcourt and grass wins.
Beating Rafa may even seal that deal.

Poor Djoker. He finally made himself Rafa’s only fear on clay. He got his primacy over Roger, Ferrer, and others. But now Djoker has to think about Nishokori, and maybe Muzz besides Rafa. And Fed is still dangerous. (To him, not Rafa on clay).

And we seem to be going into yet another year where the players doing the best so far this year are 3 of the Big 4, with Rafa saying he is ready to contend against anyone, anywhere.
Looking to be another year of the Big 4 show.
None of the younger players came up with the talent level of Murray…let alone Djokovic, Rafa, and Federer.
And it is possible that Djokovic is poised for another huge year…


jalep Says:

Not quite buying her “fact” based argument against Murray’s chances in Madrid THIS year. His loss to Rafa in Madrid was 2007. There is little comparison to Andy Murray 2007 and Andy Murray 2015 v Rafa on Rafa’s worst clay masters at altitude and on hard fast clay. Even Federer has beaten him in Madrid. Murray won Munich and beat a guy today that had Rafa on the ropes last year in Madrid.

It’s time for Andy Murray to beat the favorite ( I agree with her there) on this clay tournament tomorrow. He’s ready if Rafa is not still too much in his head. He shows Rafa too much respect and gives up
ground of course he’s gonna lose.

But… my pick still stands: Andy over
Rafa.

It’s his time. It’s the will of the gods
So to speak ;) These surprises and unlilihoods happen in tennis, right?


Daniel Says:

Also, it was good Murray win in straight sets aboiding scheduling issues.

Really excited for this match, Murray playing so well on vlay is best for the game, as Nadal
In another final. Setting the stage for Rome and than RG.

For Murray a win tomorrow could be a tunring point for him, beating Nadal in a clay final in Madrid.


Travis Bickle Says:

I’d love Murray to beat Rafa in the heart of Spain in front of Rafa’s own fans, but chances for that to happen are microscopic.
Murray simply does not create enough winners, and to beat Rafa one has to play excellent defensive game and create certain number of winners. Murray wins the same way Rafa does – pushing and winning majority of points from opponents errors. Since they both win the same way, when they meet each other the winner will be the guy who is better in that kind of game – and that is Rafa. On top of everything, Murray has to be exhausted by now.
So my head says Rafa in two easy sets 6-4, 6-1, and my heart wishes that Murray gives rafael a bicycle 6-0, 6-0…


jalep Says:

My last post was to jane.

Unlikelihoods. not unlilihoods. ..lol

Well, Ready for the lmao’s. Standing by my pick :D


jalep Says:

Mr. Bickle:

I read you laughing at me on that other thread. Often I do deserve it …that was one of those times ;)


Travis Bickle Says:

jalep,

I wasn’t laughing at you.
It was a friendly chuckle targeted at your wishful statement.


jalep Says:

That’s why I used the winky. face. I knew that, TB. Just got your attention, thanks.


jalep Says:

Another thing: Andy thrives in a hostile environment.


danica Says:

It worked for Nole, now it works for Andy – married life :))).
Jokes aside, I think that Andy has great chance tomorrow and will take it. He deserves a clay Masters. He played Nole so tough in Rome in 2011. it was ridiculous. He is too good not to be a force on clay. So I say, c’mon Andy!


Markus Says:

Djokovic’s main rival is still Nadal. Only Nadal. I don’t care what anybody says about the state of Nadal’s game. He remains as the only real threat to Novak. Nobody else stands a better chance of beating Djokovic. The French can make Novak nervous but Nadal can only feel confidence there. And that will be enough for Nadal to win his 10th French. Nishikori beating Djokovic at the US Open was a freak occurence. Nishikori is good but he is vastly overrrated. Even at his best, Kei cannot beat a big powerful player who is playing very well. It’s a function of size and power.


Humble Rafa Says:

If I lose to some Scottish dude on clay…the world is doomed.


jalep Says:

Markus. I respect your opinion but we are not talking about who will win FO. Just about a master’s 1000 at a place on clay that has little resemblance to clay in Paris.

Rafa is the favorite in Madrid and in Paris, sure. Madrid is just a better place for Andy to get his first clay win over Rafa. The Madridlians will help motivate him…especially if they whistle at him and cheer his errors. He he. ..


Nitesh Says:

Rafa will win as he is the king of clay & he has a summer palace in Andy’s brain & today he’s gonna visit it


Zozza Says:

Murray is playing very well but I feel Nadal is once again finding his form for Roland Garros at the right time …. If I recall he beat Berdych last year can’t remember the tournament to find some form heading into the French open !
Probably isn’t at his best yet but I feel he is the true threat to stopping djoky from winning his French slam in Paris !

Time will tell but I hope nadal’s confidence can grow so he has the best chance possible of 10 slams in Paris ….

Old racquet seems to be working well


Hisyam Lee Says:

Kei Nishikori is 2014 finalist to Rafa, not 2013,


Margot Says:

Liked your write up Sean but you forgot to mention Maresmo’s role in Andy’s resurgence. Tsk. Tsk.
To me she has been pivotal and I hope to God she can continue to have a role after the babe’s born.
Goodness, she looked knackered last night!
As to the match? As always all us Andy fans hope for is Andy fights the good fight…..and a win would be very nice indeed ;)
Talking of knackered, Andy’s muttering about withdrawing from next tourny. Hope he doesn’t, needs a couple of matches at sea level!


peter Says:

If rafa brings his A game, murray wil get demolished. No chance.

Last year Murray was playing well at RG all the way till he met Nadal.. then he was shown a masterclass.


Sidney Says:

Andy definitely has a chance against Rafa on any surface. If Fognini can beat Rafa twice on clay in 4 months, surely Andy can do it once in his lifetime?

Then again we’re talking of the king on the opposite half of the court. And he’s probably pissed by those 2 Fog losses. And motivated as well to get back to form before RG.

Hope to see a close, exciting, and competitive match in the final. I think Madrid needs one more than either Rafa or Andy, TBH.


KatH Says:

I agree with Jalep – It really feels like it is Andy’s moment – the stars have re-aligned, so to speak.

As to his withdrawal from Rome – I think its not such a bad idea – he needs to rest – over the past 2 weeks he’s been challenged both physically and mentally and could well benefit from a break.


Colin Says:

@Travis Bickle
For goodness sake, I hoped we’d heard the last of that misused word “Pusher”.

Neither Rafa nor Andy pushes the ball. Rafa puts huge topspin on it, driving the other guy back – an extreme version of what Bjorn Borg used to do. Andy employs constant variety, seldom playing two shots in a row with the same weight or spin.

While you’re at it, why don’t you call Rafa a moonballer. A claim does not become true by mere repetition.

Margot, after that election result, I can finally say, if I could afford it I’d leave the UK.


Margot Says:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05wpwcn#auto

Just for you Colin, John Finnemore at 17.24. Genius.
And how many 4hand winners did Andy have against Kei? “Pusher” right…..not.


KatH Says:

The bets are against wee Murray – As Sean Connery might say “I hope he beats the Living Daylights” (out of the Humble Nadal)

@Colin
Intrigued – why would you want to leave the UK? (sorri everybody else – appreciate this is a Tennis thread)


the DA Says:

@Travis Bickle – Push? Yep he “pushed” 24 winners past Kei’s 19. In the AO SF in 2013 he “pushed” 62 winners to Federer’s 43. In the USO final with Djokovic he had 31 FH winners to Nole’s 40. It’s a cherished myth and it’s time to bury it.


Markus Says:

@jalep: My comment covers all clay surfaces including Rome. It’s between Rafa and Novak. Not sure about Rome, that’s as predictable as a coin toss, but Nadal will win Roland Garros. Federer will not matter in both. Murray’s recent form is laudable but it would be too big a leap to expect him to win against Nadal and Djokovic on clay.


Daniel Says:

Also, a lot in the line in this match ranking wise.
Murray could get a leap to move closer to Federer by winning and Nadal will drop to 5 if he loses. He will have to win Rome to get a #4 seed for RG.


donna Says:

Love to see Murray beat Rafa but it won’t happen if Rafa does bring his a game.


Dan Martin Says:

I’ve got my picks up http://tennisabides.com – I think Murray made a great move bringing Bjorkman in to his team. Both players are playing at a great level.


Calmdownplease Says:

Travis Bickle is a pusher.
A pusher of stupidity
Get in there Muzz, you’re long due a win like this. And if Kei can give Nadal a lesson in Madrid (as he did before the injury in last years final) you have a shot too.
Although less of one at sea level.


Calmdownplease Says:

`Last year Murray was playing well at RG all the way till he met Nadal.. then he was shown a masterclass.

People are so thick…
Andy did not play even close to his best in that match as Rafa said immediately afterwards
Too many long matches after recently coming back from surgery
I will say that Andy might start to feel it if it goes long. But he is able to play with more variety against Nadal, and it’s only over 3 sets
so It’s less attritional than the Novak ping pong altercations (and much more fun to watch).
Let’s hope he is ready.
I’ve seen him play very well against Rafa on clay before dropping off.
Andy def has a chance but he must be aggressive esp at this altitude.


Muhammed Says:

Before reading these comments I sort of wanted Andy to win but now somehow I’d like Rafael to kick hiss ass. Some people are just blindly stupid. I’m talking about you CDP.


Daniel Says:

Agree CDP, last year RG Murray wasn’t playing not even close to what he is now.

If Nadal doesn’t have a great serving day as he did agaisnt Berdych (70+ first serves in), Murray can do some damage. He is very agressive on return.

Also, Nadal played all his matches under sun light during day and today he will play his first match 7pm local time. Murray us used to this conditions. Some spin from
Nadal will denied by the abscense of sun.
I think will be closer to what some think. But of course Murray showed some mental letdowns this season and Nadal somehow is in his head, if he can overcome this issues he has a decent shot.


jalep Says:

@Markus. I enjoy your posts…even if I mostly disagree with you. You have wisdom and wit, for sure. If we all agreed on everything, how boring a sports blog would be!

What my point was is that this thread is about who is the pick to win Madrid. You are more interested, it sounds like, in speculating ahead and in Rafa v Nole. Apologies – nothing wrong with that. Cheers.


Margot Says:

@Dan Martin 9.46
I usually like what you write but this time GRRRR what’s all this bigging up Jonas about? He has worked with Andy for 2 minutes and has now flown home. Amelie has been with Andy for over a year now and deserves so much of the credit for the improvements in Andy’s game.
Meanwhile hoping:
His first serve is rocketing
His maintains his aggressive ROS
He comes off that bloody baseline.
May the force be with you Andy :)


Alexandra Says:

Actually Rafa will fall to No.7 if he loses today.

If both bring their A-games there is no way for Andy to win. The question is more how Rafa will play today. People make to much of this altitude-thing. It’s Rafa’s seventh Madrid final after all.
I agree he could have problems because he has played all matches during the day, and their Rome match last year was awfully close. We will see.


KatH Says:

I’ve forgotten the name of the American who was “into” crystals so I’m telling Margot who says “May the force be with you Andy” (PS: hoping I won’t be grabbing them too often).


Calmdownplease Says:

`Some people are just blindly stupid. I’m talking about you CDP…`

I couldn’t possibly care less what the likes of you think!
Who possibly could?!
And how easy it is for you to change your little mind
So run along now
c’mon
SHOO!


Margot Says:

Grab ‘em as much as you like girl! Whatever it takes! Soooooo nervous. Eeeeeeek!
All andy fans hold hands now and send Andy good Karma!


Calmdownplease Says:

Im MC he was bossing Rafa around for set and half and then folded like a cheap suit
Rome however was for a longer duration and he was up a break before the fold
Maybe this time he has worked up enough confidence to see it through
Although I agree that if Rafa has his A Clay Game on
Andy will not win regardless.


Humble Rafa Says:

To all recent converts and now fans of Mr. Lady Forehand.

I now understand that you support Scottish independence even though you have nothing do with the country.

I understand..ownership hurts.


Daniel Says:

Wow Murray, what a start. Nadal with a bunch of unuaual erros as well.


jane Says:

andy is on a roll, 3-0.


Calmdownplease Says:

following the usual pattern of recent matches
So I cant get excited, although he looks like he’s good so far


Daniel Says:

12-2 Murray in points and he made no mistakes so far.


Calmdownplease Says:

I mean he looks pretty good so far

lol


Calmdownplease Says:

Nadal looks nervous


Calmdownplease Says:

Rafa needed that hold to settle


Calmdownplease Says:

thank goodness the FS is firing
This makes Andy more dangerous,
As dangerous as he is supposed to be


lapinroyal Says:

Rafa hold and take the lead in this set 1-3… LOL


FedExpress Says:

Nadal is done


Calmdownplease Says:

great FH to close it out
good stuff!


Daniel Says:

Well, Murray definetely is agressive today, painting the lines with deep balls. He had a bunch of second serves and even so Nadal couldn’t pressure him.


Calmdownplease Says:

He can be more aggressive up there in Madrid
It pays and he seems to be handling the bounce well enough too


FedExpress Says:

murray shows how shit birdshit has been yesterday by returning nadals serve


FedExpress Says:

dull fist pumping for what?


Calmdownplease Says:

now hold serve muzz


Daniel Says:

Mureay givig two games to love on Nadal’s serve is not good. He suddenly start missing returns.


Rick Says:

Sean picked Rafa to win. Hope he doesn’t jinx him ! He jinxed him at Monte Carlo. Things usually go against his picks.


Daniel Says:

To go to Nadal FH Murray has to do more, he hit middle courr and Nadal FH DTL. Double BP.


Daniel Says:

Saveb both BP’s.


Daniel Says:

Nove FH DTL deep. Advantage Murray. Close this game with a good serve. His first serve percentage is still low, 51-52


jane Says:

andy’s took his time serving and remaining calm as rafa was pushing for a break. rafa’s been hitting a lot of forehands long.


Margot Says:

I don’t think Andy is playing that well TBH it’s just up till now Rafa has been poor.
Andy’s 1st serve% is way down and he’s way too far back.
Expecting Rafa to come back roaring at any mo.


Calmdownplease Says:

Phew its getting tougher but
There doesn’t seem to be an A Game beckoning from Rafa.
So its up to Andy to maintain his nice deep aggressive play and keep him under pressure.
Easier said than done of course


Daniel Says:

Nice volley by Nadal. Oddly he is better today at the net than at the back of the court.


Calmdownplease Says:

Nadal is def improving Andy really needs to snatch this set now and keep the 2nd serves down.


Daniel Says:

Indeed Margot, the 3 games Nadal won was 40-0. He just was bad in those first 3 games


Calmdownplease Says:

Andy hasn’t come to the net at all
I wonder what Bjorkman thinks about that


Daniel Says:

But Murray is hotting hard, some shots Nadal is not able to control and hitting the net or long a lot


Margot Says:

Rafa has started winning his service games to love.
An ominous sign.
Hope Andy gets a set at least! But I still maintain he’s not at his best, so unlikely to beat Rafa, alas.


Daniel Says:

2 more good serves.


jane Says:

since that first break rafa’s been holding easily.
andy just needs to hold once more and set 1 is in the bag.
30-15


Calmdownplease Says:

FH has let him down quite a bit recently


Daniel Says:

Murray how can you not kill that sitter shot?! Now BP


Daniel Says:

Nice Serve FH winner combo


Rick Says:

Sean please do us a favour! Don’t ever pick a winner! I don’t know where you learnt your spells and curses from? They are sure deadly! And I am scared!


Wimbledon Says:

A very interesting first set. Rafa loses just 4 points in total on his serve and with that the set.


Calmdownplease Says:

`But I still maintain he’s not at his best, so unlikely to beat Rafa, alas.`

Agreed but Andy can also get better in situ
First things first however
Set 1 to the Muzz!


jane Says:

and he fights off a bp to take the first, a very confident and calm performance from andy in set one.


Daniel Says:

Murray could have come to the net and even so didn’t. I would like to see him come in just to surprise Nadal.

At least he gets the set with two great points.

But he is not making any moves in Nadal’s serve anynore and Nadal had BP’s in 2 Murray games after 3-0. Murray better clean his first serve as he did this last game and puts more pressure on Nadal serve.


Margot Says:

Praise the lord, a set!
@CDP
Shall we play the drinking game? You know every time the coms mention the m(marriage) word, we raise a glass.
Have started already…hic


Margot Says:

Amelie will be very cross about this lack of net attack! Tsk! Tsk!


Calmdownplease Says:

Im writing something so I (jjjuuussstt) can’t!
it wont help me anyway M
And I think my liver has earned a break for now lol


Calmdownplease Says:

well deserved but early break
Told you he could get better M
(And Rafa could get worse)


lapinroyal Says:

Masha became the unlikely “Queen of clay” after wining her second RG… Would Muzz pull that trick too? :shock:


Daniel Says:

2-0 Murray. Looking tuff for Nadal today


Calmdownplease Says:

Very efficient Love Hold
Rafa looks very underconfident.
And less composed than Andy for this.
I’m starting to believe!!!!!!!!


Margot Says:

@CDP
But Andy fans have learned to live on the edge of a cliff.


lapinroyal Says:

Muzz slide side-way for the FH?!?


Calmdownplease Says:

oh Ive been over the edge from time to time dear ;)


jane Says:

more than a set margot. a good lead in the second set!


Rick Says:

Murray in 2 sets. Because Sean picked Rafa to win in two.


Calmdownplease Says:

If Andy wins it has absolutely nothing to do with Sean lol


Daniel Says:

Brave shot for Rafa. If he missed this drop could be 15-40 and almost match over if Murray opened 3-0 serve.


lapinroyal Says:

Rafa forgot his FH on the run some where…


Calmdownplease Says:

He can seem to extract errors every time he goes deep on the FH
But i wish he would come in too!


Daniel Says:

Massive BH cross court. Murray is attackig all second serves whenever he can. Deuce


Rick Says:

Usually takes awhile for a player to get back after injuries. 20130was a miracle for Rafa. Del Potro, Murray all took awhile to play like they used to be.


Calmdownplease Says:

the key difference Today is the great and very aggressive returning


Calmdownplease Says:

Imagine missing THAT!


Daniel Says:

My god, how can he msisea this shot. Ball of the match. He can lose this match in this shot!!


lapinroyal Says:

Nooooo on break point…


jalep Says:

It’s a bit early here for me to play a drinking game lol Margot.

Oh Kim is there looking gorgeous.


Daniel Says:

FH DTL winner.


Calmdownplease Says:

If Andy really has this win
My god no one can say he hasn’t earned it
hehe


lapinroyal Says:

Well nice response to break Rafa after that swing-volley…


jane Says:

double break!


Daniel Says:

Yew, Nadal missed the ball before the net to got broken. Murray return is sublime this set.
3-0 Lead and full of confidence as he is now can’t see him losing. Impressive run this last two weeks.


Margot Says:

But it wasn’t a Wimbledon moment after all, Daniel.
Phewwwwwww!
Andy’s backhand has got better and better. Painting those lines.
EEEEEEKKKK! My heart!


lapinroyal Says:

the ball-girls still look as gracious as Milos trying ballet dancing…


Calmdownplease Says:

I think when one factors in that he beat Nishi in straights who was THE player of the tourney (until he met Muzz)
The signs were there.


Calmdownplease Says:

Very Classy Madrid crowd
All things considered


lapinroyal Says:

Who was the last person bagel Rafa on clay?


jalep Says:

4-0 Andy.


Calmdownplease Says:

Rafa cannot sustain the rallies at all
Muzz could still lose this of course but it would be a pretty weird twilight zone type meltdown/event


lapinroyal Says:

Muzz look like Petra…


courbon Says:

Somebody call ambulance quick-I think Margot will get heart attack from happines!


Calmdownplease Says:

my goodness Andy can even SMASH Today
Smashing!


Humble Rafa Says:

At this point I will lose to Shreikapova.


Rick Says:

Rafa getting thumped by anyone on clay. Fogonni, Andy and Nole!


Calmdownplease Says:

Andy and Nole are NOT `ANYONE`


jalep Says:

Oh it’s never over until the last ball with Rafa.


the DA Says:

We’re all having heart palpitations. Even though he’s up a double break it’s far from over. I don’t care how poorly Rafa is playing. If Andy blinks and Rafa see’s an opening, he will charge through it. If he does the lawnmower celebration – hide!


Margot Says:

Silly Courbon.;)
Not over yet and whatever Andy fans do, jumping the gun is not one of them. That cliff edge you know…….


Calmdownplease Says:

Absolutely
Rafa could still turn it around
Its more up to Muzz now however I think


Zozza Says:

Murray is smashing Nadal on clay … Who could’ve thought this could happen ?
Not me but Murray surely now is a big threat at Roland Garros … For Nadal it’s a wake up call he isn’t play consistent tennis at the moment !
Today was a disaster for Nadal who will drop to 7 in the rankings …. With only Rome left before Paris it’s gonna be hard to see Nadal winning Roland Garros after this embarrassing effort


Daniel Says:

Murray playing with fire, DF 15-30.


Rick Says:

Fognini beat him very easily on clay! This is kinda ugly when he runs into the top ! Even Fed will has a chance thumping him on clay!


Calmdownplease Says:

Of course he was going to start DF
please dont choke dude


Humble Rafa Says:

Do Scotsmen choke?


Daniel Says:

5-1, with tuis hold can’t see him losing this anymore. He can even close it out the next game as Nadal will serve under huge pressure.


Calmdownplease Says:

he should go all out now to BS Rafa
For the sake of my nervous system thank you


jalep Says:

5-1 Andy


Rick Says:

Definitely not the Rafa he used to be. Fed could beats him with the way that he is playing since his return!


FedExpress Says:

i am loving this

to lose against murray on clay. nadal managed somehow to reach a new low after beaten twice by fognini


jalep Says:

He still has to serve for the match…shhhh…


Daniel Says:

Now he will serve for his biggest title since Wimbledon 2013.

What a turn of events this clay season now Murray coming in as a contender.


Angel Says:

Nadal is OVER!!!


Zozza Says:

Nadal was very nervous today his first final in longtime … It seems he isn’t ready to win big finals yet !
Clearly a lot of work yet to do if he wants to be where he once was on top …. Fognini beat him twice which tells you onething others will beat him too !
Federer can beat him on this form indeed … Anyone can if he plays this nervous
Rome is coming hopefully Nadal can play better than today
Murray great effort


chris ford1 Says:

The Fog is hardly a nobody. He is an excellent clay player.
Hope Nole and his Team are paying attention to the carve job Andy is doing on Rafa. Not just for Rafa’s weaknesses but thinking there may a new force on clay.
The Muzzahsaurus!
One of two mysteries in tennis may be ending.
Why hasn’t a 6 foot strong, fast, gifted athlete with great hand eye cordination learned how to serve well? Especially since if she finally did serve up to her capabilities, she could exploit being one of the best women on tour at net??? Come on Vika!
The second was how a guy with great speed, stamina, power – having every skillset needed to win on clay being excptional – nevertheless sucked. All his career.
Until 2015.
I think we only have one great mystery in tennis left.


lapinroyal Says:

“Nadal is OVER!!!”
People said this about Roger too… ;-)


Daniel Says:

MP after annawful return in the stands by Nadal.


Margot Says:

OMG! He only went and bloody did it!
ANDEEEEE!!


lapinroyal Says:

Bravo Muzz… well deserve victory!


FedExpress Says:

RIP nadal


jalep Says:

Dare I say it? I was…um…right.


jane Says:

astonishing beatdown by murray. wowsers!

it shows clearly why and how it’s andy who has been novak’s toughest rival this year. he’s feeling it!

congrats to andy’s fans – what a great win! he’s now number 2 in the live race, which reflects the kind of year he’s having.


lapinroyal Says:

PS: The last people bagel Rafa on clay is it Roger (hamburg 2007)?


Humble Rafa Says:

In shock


courbon Says:

@ Margot: I was saying for last couple of years that I could not understand why Andy has bad clay record.His game is well suited for clay.And today he is giving the answer-he can play clay very well and lets not for a moment think that Rafa is playing badly today.Is just that Murray is very good on any surface.Happy for your man…

Nadal is not over.He is playing better and better and will be favorite for RG as always.


Andrea Says:

Wow. Nasal skunked for titles during clay court season since?????? That last return of serve was strange.


Rick Says:

Its all depends on the way Rafa plays. If someone else win the French this year. Just like 2009!


FedExpress Says:

shut up sky sports panel

Murray and 2nd fav for RG?!?!?!??!

wow


courbon Says:

Sorry Margor-I meant Murphy obviously…


Angel Says:

Nadal won’t win more Slams!!! His body is done!!!


Daniel Says:

Wow, 2 second serves, one return to the moon and another meak in the net, totally without confidence shot.

Nadal is definetely in decline. Ocasionaly he will have good days (as yesterday) but sometimes he will have bad days like today, something he never, ever have before. Time catches on everybody.

The way Murray won is intimidating, totally in control untroubled. Liked his second serve as well which was very deep avoiding attack.

This way Murray can overtake Fed as #2 after Wimbledon depending on their results.

Also this match was not long so I think Murray should go to Romenand keep the trend. Nothing better for a tennis player than winning. If Djoko loses early Murrya can even have an opening in Rome.
But agree that if he gets taxing matches playing a potential semis with Dioko tired would not be ideal.
Mmajor congrats to Murray and his camp.

If I were Nadal I’ll marry Xisxa tomorrow, before RG.
First time ever Nadal enter Rome titlest in European Clay.


Calmdownplease Says:

Yeah congrats to Muzz
And congrats to us Muzzans, the suffering is over
After many false dawns
Andy is finally B-A-C-K
Cant wait till Wimbles


jalep Says:

Congratulations huge ones to Andy and fans.

To Rafa fans. This is his toughest clay court. Sorry. ..but 2 big tournaments to go. No time to give up. I think the cushy draw did him no favors in Madrid.


brando Says:

Just came here to congratulate Andy Murray and his fans on the win. well done, much deserved due to hardship of recent years and I believe you’ll win a slam this year. Also thank you: for giving me one player I reckon for with some heart.


Daniel Says:

Now let’s see if the Nadal-Murray fan love will continue here;-)


Rick Says:

Now that Rafahas problems playing against guys like Murray, Nole even Fed. He is getting nervous playing them!


lapinroyal Says:

Muzz is now in the very select club of “beating Rafa on clay in final”; Roger, Nole and Zeballos…


Gordon Says:

Murray played extremely well and was focussed. When he blew a point he got down and won the subsequent point. We have seen Murray play well before.

But…

I have never seen Nadal play so poorly in a final. The little Spanish human backboard was mistiming so many shots that even had Murray been off a bit the Scot could have had a chance.

Looking ahead to Rome – if all goes according to plan Nadal will face Wawrinka in the WF, Federer in the SF and Murray or Djokovic in the final.

And in Roland Garros who knows where the #7 seed will wind up?


lapinroyal Says:

“And in Roland Garros who knows where the #7 seed will wind up?”
I think after Rome.


Rick Says:

And things always go wrong, when Sean is picking Rafa to win . Things are usually going well for Rafa when Sean picked against him.


Zozza Says:

Nerves got Nadal today
He simply played a terrible match
Revenge for the smashing Nadal gave him last year at Roland Garros
Which only proves that Murray is getting better on clay !
But this smashing Nadal got handed to him today will only give other players more confidence against him
However with Rome coming it will be interesting how Nadal responds to ranked number 7
Another possible meeting with his nemesis Fognini is surely on the cards
On this performance today
Nadal is 4th favourite for Paris behind Federer Murray Djokovic !
Murray has belief now that he can win on clay
I hope he plays in Rome

Nadal is too inconsistent … Played great against Berdych
But was blown away by Murray early he never settled into the match
Thrashing bashing mauling whatever you can call it … I know Nadal can play better than this !


lapinroyal Says:

Raonic end up in number 4 next week for the first time thank to Muzz!


lapinroyal Says:

Rafa have Rome finale to defend. So he is trailing Kei by 650 and Berdych by 660 point for the 4 place seeding at RG, as Milos won’t be playing…


brando Says:

Rafa and my fellow fans: being objective: it’ s over. The writing is on the wall. we won’t win Roland Garros. Too much is wrong at the moment to list or mention. I won’t expand on my view just say that was a match rafa knew he had to win and to me he just bottled it. It’s just not happening for him right now in the big matches and he’s just too, too easy to beat for opponents since he crumbles mentally. they don’t have to do much to win since across the net they see a fading champion. I don’t blame him. He owes us nothing considering all that he’s given. Life has its circle and so does tennis. All has to come to an end and it needs no good explanation. Do I see rafa returning? Yes. But not right for a while. He’s mentally too fragile right now. This wont happen but: I think rafa should take a break from the tour. Clear his mind. He seems a worried, anxiety ridden man who cannot trust himself to perform since he’s too doubt ridden. He’s fine health wise. He can handle the field still I believe. But mentally: kaput, AWOL. He needs to find himself and only then he can return performance wise. But he won’t do that right now since he’s a king who’s experience a fall on his turf (clay). He should leave the tour and take a break. Clear his mind.


FedExpress Says:

did murray really write on the camera lense

“marriage works”?


Rick Says:

Rafa getting nervous playing the top guys, can’t even put up a fight with them on clay.


lapinroyal Says:

@FedEx
He did!!!


Rick Says:

Rafa’s mental game is gone!


FedExpress Says:

bet federer will give nadal the lost confidence after getting thrashed by him


the DA Says:

Come on!! Obviously Rafa was subpar but he has won many matches playing less than his best. Usually the other guy blinks – that’s why we Muzz fans were so cautious but Andy has turned a corner. Even after the DF, the shock misses and the dispiriting winners from Rafa – he didn’t crumble. He kept up his game plan and stayed aggressive enough to put a shred of doubt in Rafa’s mind.

Anyway – Andy now has 10 Masters 1000 titles. This is now the 5th Masters tournament he has won twice – and the only one on 2 different surfaces. Oh and it’s CLAY. It’s nuts. I’m going to get a big drink. Cheers to Margot, KatH and the other Andy fans. Commiserations Rafa fans. Form is temporary, class is permanent


Calmdownplease Says:

`to lose against murray on clay. nadal managed somehow to reach a new low after beaten twice by fognini`

LAME ANALYSIS
Can you go away please?
I’m sure you have some kittens to drown or something
Thank you!
And at least Nadal made the final.


Daniel Says:

Nadal likes sun on clay. All matches he lost this year were noght time or in the shadows. If RG is dump, huge chance for an upset, if sunny a player will need a day of his life to beat him.


Margot Says:

Big hugs to jalep, you called it. Thanks to everyone for the congrats.
Hugs of joy to the other Murray nuts on here, DA, Colin, KatH and you too CDP!
And now please can Amelie start getting some credit.
Sean? Dan? Brando? et al


Giles Says:

Sh!t happens and it happened today. That’s all!


FedExpress Says:

@cdp

hahaha. truth hurts.


courbon Says:

Brando- I think you are wrong.He is not over.He probably will not have another 2010 or 2013 but he is not over.Too big warrior to fade so quick and sudden.Time will tell, right?


django Says:

Rafa fans am sad for you today. He’s my second favorite. Back to the drawing board.


Calmdownplease Says:

What Fedex?
The truth that you are an embittered, charm free zone?
I doubt you’ve grasped that yet.
It would require some self awareness..


Rick Says:

Will Nole be like Federer to complete a career Slams for not having to beat Rafa in the final? Because of Rafa’s seeding, if he runs into Kei or Fognini. He could be gone!


Giles Says:

Now let’s hope Murphy stops crumbling against joker. How many times this year? I’ve lost count.


Zozza Says:

Brando
Let’s wait & see how he performs in Rome
Another early loss there won’t help but remember Paris is best of 5 sets which should help
Today Murray played great so give him credit
Nerves are killing Nadal everyone knows that but it’s not over for Nadal until he loses in Paris
When that happens it’s over for him
Retirement is close
He showed good signs against Berdych but today he was beaten by a more mentally tough Murray who just played with conviction
Murray is now a massive threat in Rome plus Paris on this form !
For Nadal this year can’t end any quicker
He needs to play more tennis not take a break
With more tennis he will get better but this year is a disaster so far … Rome will be impossible to win playing like this
I fear someone giving Nadal 6-0 6-0 thrashing soon
Djokovic would have on today’s form !
Roland Garros will be impossible to win on this current form but Nadal will always be the king of Paris until he gets beaten
Players are lining up to beat him he isn’t invincible anymore especially on this current form
Today nerves beat him plus a fired up Murray
Rome Djokovic ?
Paris Djokovic ?

Time will tell ????


FedExpress Says:

@cdp

STFU and enjoy ur mans victory


Rick Says:

Will Nole finally wins the French like Federer did in 2009?


Colin Says:

There was no need for Andy to come to the net more, as people here kept saying he should. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he won by a good margin. I don’t think Bjorkman will be dissatisfied; he wasn’t hired to make Andy play in a particula style, but to help him WIN. And he just did.

Keep up the good work, Andy. You won’t get a kiss on the cheek from a reigning monarch if you win Wimbledon again..


Giles Says:

@brando. I just cannot believe you wrote that post. Unbelievable to say the least! I might have expected that post from HC but definitely not you.
Very disappointed!


Calmdownplease Says:

I don’t need to STFU
YOU NEED TO, DI**WAD
Fed didn’t even make past a twenty year old and here we have you circling around like some diseased old vulture
Just go away you classless oaf
or I’ll have to sort you OUT.


Tommy Says:

Boy, so many Rafa fans were ready to proclaim he was back that this might make you think twice. He lost to a guy who is terrible on clay (Andy). If he meets up with No1e and loses again in Rome his psyche will not be able to handle it. However, I will concede, No1e HAS to beat Rafa in Paris this year. If he does, those footsteps behind him by No1e catching him will get much louder.


brando Says:

@Courbon: I’m just being very honest my friend. To me: rafa is just gone mentally. That’s it. It’s all that is his issue right now. Physically, gamewise: he’s fine. But mentally he’s gone. And it’s that which gave him his edge. It’s the most important thing at the top level. Who is Rafael Nadal? What’s his strength? Too perform at the highest level when the pressure is on. They call him the beast for a reason. But this guy is not there mentally. I cannot lie to myself and not recognize what my eyes see: a overly anxious, lacking in belief individual who lacks in trust in himself. Who believes he shall lose in big ones. Thats not rafa: but it’s the guy on court right now who bears his name. I accept it. The old saying is: mind over matter. Right now rafa’s mind is in a rut. Its a problem. We should focus on the solution: to me he needs a time out. A break from all tennis. Clear his mind. Have some fun, relax. Maybe even marry his lady xisca. Have some joy in his life. Then return. What’s the worst that can happen? He losses RG? He’s won 9 already. He has a disaster year? He’s got the career of a legend already. So he should leave I feel. Take a break. Since I cannot see him rediscovering his mentality on court on clay now. He’s burdened by the expectations that come with being Rafael Nadal on clay.


Rick Says:

Even if Rafa doesn’t win, I hope that Murray or Kei plays Nole in the French final and beat him!


Markus Says:

I was so wrong to think Murray had no chance against Nadal on clay at all.

I am so happy I was so wrong. I’m always happy when Murray wins, regardless of who he beats. But against Nadal, on clay,on a Masters! That’s happiest error in judgment I’ve ever had.

Congratulations Andy and his followers. Andy should have married Kim sooner!


FedExpress Says:

@cdp

lost in a 3rd TB. no shame in that. unlike murray against coric in dubai this year


Margot Says:

Lol Markus the M word, drink!


brando Says:

@Zozza: it’s a mental issue. Which is the toughest of all for me. I think rafa should hire a psychologist for a brief while. Why not? Someone who can help him navigate through this mental hurdle. He’s a human being after all: we all have our low moments. We are fragile creatures after all. I think he should seek some help as it can help. Just to sit down, be honest, share your anxieties and have a supporting voice that can help you is only beneficial I believe.


courbon Says:

Brando: I got your point and you are right.My point is this-mental weakness can be sudenly change.Look Novak after Wimbledon-he got tougher mentallyy.Or even in 2011-while he improved his game , he also improved mentally a lot.
Also, there is one thing a notice last four years_every time we all collectivly or individually think somebody is over-tennis Gods do opposite.Last year we thought Novak is declining and then…,?Federer was dismissed in 2013 as finished and he is having a good year.Nadal after 2012 was announced finished and then 2013 happened…I just


Calmdownplease Says:

get lost Fedexpress
No one gives a ducks feathery behind about your opinions on the Dubai 250!
Go play the Banjo and have sex with your sister or something.
Your sense of occasion, is truly EMBARRASSING.


courbon Says:

.I just think always opposite happens.
Sure , Rafa is not good right now but for me is too early to dismiss him as finished.


jalep Says:

Margot – *hugs of joy on you* phew…have a drink cheers!


Zozza Says:

Brando

You could be right nerves killed him today so did Murray
But he can’t take a break
He must play all the tennis he can right now
I feel other players are lining up to beat him on clay which was unheard of years ago !
At the moment after today’s terrible beat down by Murray
He won’t win Rome nor Paris … No way !

I fear Nadal might not make the second week of Paris
He could be ranked lower than 7 if he goes out early in Rome


django Says:

Tommy you are absolutely right about all of it.


the DA Says:

BTW Margot & Colin, I’ve finally found out what the blonde young man in Andy’s team (Richard Hampson) does: he a sports psychologist! Who knew? Seems to be helping.


chris ford1 Says:

In the midst of the exuberance – remember, this is Madrid. Fast clay. Thin air. Not the slow clay of sea level MC, Barcelona, Rome, and RG that Rafa loves. In his whole career, only one player has beaten him more than once on slow clay.
Novak.
And Novak Djokovic readily admits Rafa is the better player on slow clay..on average.

Djokovic, team, and family relaxed in Italy. He still practiced and trained while Madrid was on. But had fun. Been in Roma a few days. Seems to be enjoying himself – pic with two of his favorite Italian WTA pals:
https://twitter.com/DjokerNole/statuses/597011884710174720

We shall see if Rafa can regroup. Obviously, Murray put Rafa’s back up against a cliff. The King of Clay is a great champion. We will see if he can rise to this latest crisis.


Margot Says:

Ooh that’s interesting. But he looks so young and sort of…a bit tough. Perhaps Andy is now scared of losing ;)


Zozza Says:

Murray will win Wimbledon on this form
He will beat Djokovic playing this well
Murray could be ranked 2 by the end of the year
Federer won’t win anymore slams
Murray vs Djokovic is the new big 2
Nadal will be ranked 7 or 8 by Paris
Possibly meet Djokovic in the quarters
The organisers can put him equal 1st in ranking considering he has won 9 French opens but on this form he won’t make the final …. It’s time to reflect on nadals legacy in tennis !
I feel this year is his biggest disaster but hopefully next year will be his last year of tennis … He seems to be on his last legs


brando Says:

@Colon, Margot and the DA: apologies about not referencing you guys earlier. Put that down to a rafa fan immediately being dejected after a win that he needed. After that though: congratulations on the win. I was impressed with Andy’s mentally more than anything today, this week, post marriage. It’s always been his Achilles heel and the biggest point of frustration for me. But he seems to have a handle on that and seems in a better place. Whatever he’s doing he needs to continue doing as it’s the right thing for him. I’m confident he’ll win a slam or 2 within the next 18 months. He warrants it after his derailed 2 years. All the best.


brando Says:

@Courbon: I understand your reasoning. For me though it’s all about solving this issue and seeing as its mental I think he needs to: hire a sports psychologist or take a break. Something just to clear his cluttered, anxiety ridden mind. He can and I believe will fix this. But for me it’s about the: how? I think it’s hard to solve such a problem right now on clay: he’s created a monster reputation for himself here that is a burden right now for him.


Daniel Says:

If somehow Nadal loses to Fed in semis in Rome than things will be tough for him as he would have lost to all big 4 in clay Masters. But they have to play 3 matches each to reach that far.

Today some of his mistakes were very strange, misstimeing really bad. But Rome is a new week, he start woth 2 very easy winnable matches and then see how it goes. He got the best QF right now who is Wawrinka, playing worst than him. And Fed is a question mark. Maybe getting a win over Fed in Rome’s semis is just what the doctor orders and fce who ever survives the other side (Djokoo/Murray/Kei) who could be battling 3 setters before finals. A lot can happen. But he sure is in a vilnerable point right now as never seem before on clay.


Steve Says:

another opportunity to promote Murray and make us think he is within touching distance of the Big 3.

He has not beaten the Big 3 in 12 attempts since 2013 and he never won a clay court final in his entire career and then, all of a sudden, miraculously wins a 250 event immediately followed by a 1000 event against the king of Clay whose game just all of a sudden, conveniently, disappeared.

This reminded me of those 2 ‘sole’ slams that Murray won against Djoko. Similarly it came out of nowhere and the commentators were totally surprised just like today, and then Murray couldn’t repeat it – Djoko too was subdued in those two particular finals and also (uncharacteristically) made far too many unforced erros, just like Nadal did today.

Don’t be fooled people.


courbon Says:

Brando-point taken, agree about needed help.Novak got Becker…what about Rafa getting Borg along side Tony? (-:


Bob Lewis Says:

Federer won’t reach the semis


Bob Lewis Says:

Credit to the Muggah. Impressive win.


Bob Lewis Says:

Beating Nadal in Paris is still the ultimate challenge. Madrid clay has always been a weird surface, along with the much higher elevation than normal tournaments.


Bob Lewis Says:

Both Federinka and Ballerinka are still paying the piper for their Davis cup win?


KatH Says:

Oh boy, oh boy – I wonder why a few people thought it was close???!!

—I Hope Andy does not play Rome….I want him to go deep, deep into the French – he really needs a rest – has earned one. — Nadal isn’t off the radar – you got to be rested to take success forward.

Jalep – you were right and so was I. But the draw was not cushy in my simple view.

Agree with Colin re. strategy.

Scotsmen don’t choke – they hold their fire (re. Uk recent election events).

Margot – always, always, share your joy.

Most of all I am ecstatic – (and if crystals don’t hold the “force” they certainly tell you what is going on with your eyes closed). – yes
I’m a weirdo.


mat4 Says:

Kudos to Murphy, he played a good, sensible match.

BTW, I predicted he would win this tournament, I felt he played very well this year and that he was bound to finally break the spell of clay, but I certainly couldn’t see that he would play so convincing.


chris ford1 Says:

Daniel – Saying Nadal will get a confidence boost if he beats Federer is like saying Serena will feel more confident if she can only beat Sharapova next time out.
On the other hand, if Rafa LOSES to Federer……


Gordon Says:

CalmDownPlease – your posts are making your name very ironic. Just ignore those you consider not worth reading and you’ll find you will be in a better place. 😊


Colin Says:

Murray has often been accused of bad manners, but he was quite sensitive when he won, no snarling and triumphal punching the air – just a happy smile.

That trophy is weird. It looks like some specially nasty weapon from one of those old Hong Kong chop-socky movies!


jalep Says:

KatH. I think I didn’t make myself clear. Didn’t mean Andy’s draw was cushy. Rafa’s was however, and I think Rafa needs, or it helps him to have a tougher draw. Just my opinion.


jane Says:

hi mat4: hope you’ll be around for rome matches. :)


jane Says:

aww, that’s a sweet picture chrisford1. thanks for sharing it. novak looks so happy flanked by those lovely italian ladies.


Daniel Says:

chrisford,

Nadal knows who Fed is and that´s why he always deliever agaisnt him, he goes after careful because he knows what Fed can do.

But I agree with you, if he loses to Fed (in this age), in Rome…

I think his big test in Rome is going to be Isner, who played great both clay Masters so far, and oddly lost matches because he didn~t won tiebreaks (agains Nadal in MC and agaisnt erdch 2 days ago). He is serving fine and goign for the kill, plus he is a ,atch that shift the dynamics completely so Nadal will have a giant server in the middle of his playing himself into form next week. Isner can capitilize on his fragil state of mind. will see…

Also would like to see Wawrinka playing great agaim, the way the draw is he can reach semis getting passed by Monaco and Simon, he has the power to do so and he is yet to play a decent week on clay this year.


brando Says:

@Courbon: there is a difference though. Novak hired Becker because there was a forced vacancy with vajda wanting to cut his time on the road. Now unless uncle Toni wants to call it time as a a coach rafa won’t be hiring anyone at all. Especially with this situation: it’s a mental issue and that’s on him not any coach. So I think a sports psychologist might help. But a Borg and Nadal duo would be insane to see.


brando Says:

@Daniel: Agree completely. Isner is a tough, tough draw. Considering how Isner is playing well on clay and Rafael obviously not at his best: that is a 50/50 match which right now I can see rafa possibly losing. Agree about Fed also. Rafael ALWAYS respects fed and his talent so IF he met fed and beat him it would be a very good thing since he would feel he’s defeated a top class player. My fear is: a Madrid repeat. He might work his way through to the final but there he’ll get a beat down because mentally he’ll cave in again. I think it would be good for rafa if he faces Novak. It sounds crazy but it would be the ONE match people would say: okay he’s better than rafa, so rafa is not the fav here. He could relax and just fight. Try to improve. Right now though he’s struggling but he’s also expected to dominate which is more pressure.


Travis Bickle Says:

Great job Andy Murray!
Beating Nadal in font of Spanish crowd is always sweet. I did not expect this outcome, but am very happy I was wrong since I do like Murray.
I just caution overjoyed Myrray’s fans that Nadal was very sub-par today. I predicted yesterday that when two pushers like these two meet, the winner will be the better pusher, which was generally Nadal.
Today, due to Nadal’s poor form, Murray was better pusher and won long exchanges. To beat in-form Nadal, Murray would have to create winners and he is simply not capable to do that.

Today they played 17 games and Murray had 11 winners!?! That’s about a single winner every two games – the rest were opponents errors, which is a definition of pusher tennis…
In any case win is a win, and lifting that dildo-like trophy in front of subdued Spaniards led by Manolo Santana has to be super sweet!


Muhammad Says:

Rafael wasn’t even close to his level in Monte Carlo. Andy played solid but didn’t have to do anything extraordinary, he was handed the win. I wouldn’t read too much into this poor performance; Refael is still number 1 favorite to take Paris.
Rome is hard to predict, other things usually play in because RG is always so close. Novak once “lost” to Tomas, not sure about Rafaels 100% commitment there every time either.
I hope the real Roger will show up in Rome, his bad luck has to stop somewhere.


Colin Says:

@ Brando

“Colon” !!

That’s a nice thing to call me!


mat4 Says:

@jane: I hope I’ll have some time for myself soon.

I watched the match and thought that Murray had played quite well. The court seemed a bit heavy, though. I don’t think he played “pusher tennis”. Most of Rafa’s errors were forced errors, although he couldn’t control the ball the way he often did in the past, and I firmly believe that the stats are misleading here.

Rafa definitely is not the player he used to be: he is slower, and looks like he has lost 10 pounds or more. The serve and the ROS were the keys of that match, especially the way both players returned the opponent’s second ball. While Andy was very aggressive, Rafa returns landed usually short and Murphy had a lot of easy points after serving.

Murphy’s BH was exquisite, BTW, and a big factor in this win. It is the second time in a row Andy wins against Rafa by playing the same kind of game, with focus, patience and tenacity.


KatH Says:

I totally disagree with TB and Muhammad – Murray was the better player.


Margot Says:

Tsk Tsk TB. Poking that snake pit again. Sorry, too happy bare my fangs.;)


jane Says:

mat4 i agree, andy’s serving, returning and depth of shot were all key factors. but also court positioning. rafa was way too far back at times, which hurts him against opponents who are willing to step in, as novak did at monte carlo and andy did today. he also made lots of usual forehand errors – hitting balls long repeatedly.

i agree with brando and others who suggest that rafa might be still struggling mentally as well.


Brando Says:

@Colin:

LOL Colin, I apologise greatly about that one. I was typing on the phone when I sent that post, so auto-correct must have interfered and led to that obvious error.

My bad, congrats nonetheless!


Wog Boy Says:

Congrats to Andy’s fans, nice win.

Commiserations to Rafa fans, don’t worry, he’ll get back his confidence in Roma…if RF makes SF..


Wog Boy Says:

@chris ford1

I am not sure Foginin will be happy to see that photo with Pennetta looking so happy and resting her hand on Nole’s stomach..in such relaxing manner, she has beautiful smile.

As for Nole practicing in Roma, I heard he was doing his bike rides on the hills above Monaco prior coming to Roma, holiday was only for a few days.


Wog Boy Says:

^^Fognini


Brando Says:

Andy Murray-the victor and honest professional.

Nick Bolleteri- the world class coach.

Peter Bodo- the award winning writer.

3 noted personnel in the tennis world all agree on 1 point post match:

Rafa was off and played below par.

I have to agree with them. Andy got it spot on: ‘I played as well as I could but I am sure Rafa feel’s he could do alot better than that’.

Me too Muzza! He can do alot better than that! We all know it!

Tactically, game wise: Muzza got it spot on. And I don’t really blame Rafa either for his tennis.
It’s the MENTAL DEPARTMENT that Rafa flopped big time on.

Just assess the sets:

Set 1:

Very poor, nervous start from Rafa. But from 0-3 down he was arguably Murray’s equal.

Damage was done due to the nery start, going 0-3 behind.

Set 2:

Again. Edgy, nervy start. Loses his serve, gets tight and is 0-2 down. Wilt’s furthermore and it’s 0-3 and match over.

Just look at the number of uncharacteristic errors he made today. I have not seen Rafa put so many balls long without any real pressure on the stroke.

All due his mind:

He’s too edgy, nervous and anxious on court.

THIS- not anything for me- is leading him to collapse as he is. The truth is:

Andy had a easier time v Rafa than against Kei or Kolhs. THAT should not happen on clay.

Ditto Novak at MC. Rafa was easier than Birdman. Ditto Fognini. Easier than Andujar.It’s because:

Rafa right now makes it easy to beat him. He’s nervous, anxious ridden and offers little resistance. When he fights back it’s usually at a time when the damage really is well and truly done.

And it’s been like this for a while.

Australian Open: Berdych match. He said it himself he was ‘assisting’ Berdych in the first 2 set’s, making life easy for him with his play and when he fought back (he was his usual self in set 3) it was just too damn late.

So he needs to sort out his mind. ASAP.

Start aggressively, be focused.

IF you know you’re edgy, then ATTACK. Have a ‘damn if I now I am going down, then i’ll go down on MY TERMS: attacking, swinging and being aggressive’.

Now aggressive does not mean looking to hit winner’s on every stroke. No. But to hit every stroke with intensity, conviction and determination.

He can fix this:

But he needs to TOUGHEN UP AND FIGHT.


lapinroyal Says:

@mat
Your text on lesAs become more and more accurate… Rafa don’t have the luxury to loose yet another clay tournment before the French open. But Rafa is not only one that play subpar, Kei worry me as well…


Wog Boy Says:

“That trophy is weird.”

That trophy looks like a certain thing from adult shop..just with the spikes..maybe that’s new model?


RZ Says:

Congrats to Andy Murray, and also to Amelie Mauresmo – who is noticeably absent from the list of possible reasons why Murray is playing so well at the beginning of this article.


Tennis Fan Says:

Wow, Nadal looked terrible today. Murray didn’t look that great either and he still won. Bad news for Nadal fans. the top of the men’s game is becoming a gaping hole just looking for a new champion. Nishikori or Raonic by Wimbldon next year is my best guess.


mat4 Says:

@LR:

I am trying to find some free time to finish an article about RG and Djokovic, but it just doesn’t happen these days.

And it just becomes so complicated: we are in the midst of a generational change, and it is difficult to assess the weight of the fading of the older stars and the rising of the new ones in this change.

But I believe more and more firmly that this year will be the year of a shift.


Wog Boy Says:

“..the top of the men’s game is becoming a gaping hole just looking for a new champion.”

I didn’t quite get it, there is no hole, No1e is at the top and has been there for a while and I don’t think he is planning to go anytime soon, Andy is there too, if you haven’t notice before.


lapinroyal Says:

@mat
“year will be the year of a shift”
YAY… except for the mental state of Rafa, the of the big-4 still hagging there!


lapinroyal Says:

…the OTHER MEMBERS of the big-4… oops!


mat4 Says:

@LR:

I posted on lesAS…

And Berdych has had a great season so far. So, of course, things are in some way the same, but nonetheless, I feel that, to quote Dylan, “slow train’s coming”.


Calmdownplease Says:

Rafa is experiencing the same problems as Andy has for similar reasons.
He can beat the rest, but not the very best, Yet.
It’s difficult coming back from injuries/surgeries,
it takes time
But at the same time everyone else is moving on.
Andy should have his confidence boost by now.
Rafa will have it too, at some point
But RG might be a bit too early…
We’ll see


Daniel Says:

“and lifting that dildo-like trophy” quote of the day. LOL

Indeed that trophy is awful. I like the colour tough but not the tree shape dildo format.


jane Says:

wog boy, @ 5:56. precisely.

mat4, i’d love to read it. please post a link if you manage to finish that one.


Daniel Says:

Rankings wise, Raonic will drop to 6 or 7 after Rome as he is defending semis point and will not play. The #4 spot for RG will be a race between Kei, Berdych and Nadal in Rome. Kei needs at least quarters and hope for Fed to go through the other way because for him another semis Between Berdych and Nadal can put one of them in front of him as one of them could win the title. Unless he goes to finals (beating Djoko and Murray), a tall order at this point.

But for Nadal is simple, if he doesn’t win Rome he is out of top 4 seednin RG, potentially playing Djoko or Murray in Quarters.
This will be an interesting week as Nadal will have a final push to try winning a title otherwise he will enter RG with no European Clay title, something that never happened before.


Wog Boy Says:

Raonic is not sure for FO, he will undergo foot operation for pinched nerve (they believe that is the cause of pain) duting Rome masters and he is defending QF in Paris and SF in London. Good luck to him, but having foot operation is always risky, ask Tipsa.


danica Says:

Congrats to Andy’s fans. I also thought he would have his chance and make use of it and I am glad he did it. I wrote he would win in three sets on another forum since honestly, I never thought it would be this easy.

Rafa had his brilliant moments but his performance was a far cry from Rafa of old. The other day, the Tennis Channel rerun the Rome final with Rafa and Coria and that was some match. Absolutely great tennis from both. That Rafa and that Coria would have beaten this Rafa of today easily.

Let’s see how Rome will play out.

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