Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal, Who’s The Pick? Also Andy Murray-David Ferrer
by Sean Randall | June 2nd, 2015, 6:58 pm
  • 330 Comments

So here we go, the match we all want to see. Sorry Monte Carlo, but this is the real one. This one has a lot on the line.

Is Rafa still the King of Clay? Will Novak Djokovic ever win the French and complete the career Grand Slam? Let’s get to it.

Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal
There are the numbers. A lot of them.

23-20 Rafa leads. 6-0 Rafa leads at the French Open. And on and on.

Looking at the head-to-head numbers, the fact Nadal is 1043242-1 on clay in best-of-5, Rafa should win tomorrow, but he won’t. He won’t because he’s not as good as he was. He won’t because he’s losing to guys like Fabio Fognini and dropping sets to Jack Sock. (If you are losing sets to someone named Jack Sock, how are you going to beat Novak Djokovic?)

The only chance Rafa has is if Novak gets tight, and that’s possible. I think that’s what happened last year after Novak won the first set against Nadal in the French Open final. He started seeing the end and that was it. He blinked.

This year though, Nadal just hasn’t looked good at all. There are patches, but patches won’t beat someone Djokovic, a world No. 1. Patches will beat Andrey Kuznetsov and the aforementioned Sock, but to beat Novak you need play a complete match, at top level. That’s three sets. And I don’t think Rafa has that in him right now.

Now maybe I’m wrong and Rafa somehow corrects what’s been troubling him – short shots (and shorts!), high error count, weak serving and court positioning issues. Most of that comes from confidence which he can get back.

The problem is against Novak even if he is firing on all cylinders, Novak just matches up so well against him. From the forehand to the backhand and especially the return of serve which will allow Novak to gain control early when Rafa serves up that second offering.

So for Novak to win, he just needs to play his game, go for his shots and attack Rafa’s second serve. It’s routine really.

For Rafa, he needs to be confident in his game, serve well and serve big, and hit his targets off the ground. And use the Chatrier court which has only let him down once. It’s his home away from home.

Honestly, like Stan did, Novak should run away with the match. But I think mentally he’ll keep Rafa around to make things interesting.

And part of me thinks Rafa’s still the man. He’s still the King, and I really want to pick him here. But every King falls eventually, even if it is on his 29th birthday.
The Pick: Novak in 4

Andy Murray v David Ferrer
“Second fiddle” is what Murray calls this match. And it might turn out to be the better one if Rafa doesn’t up his level.

Other than the demise of Rafa, Murray has been the story of this clay season. Since tying the knot in April, Murray’s run off a remarkable 14 straight matches and his first two clay titles, including a win over Nadal in a lopsided Madrid final.

And he’s looked all business so far in Paris. He’s dropped a couple of sets but no harm, no foul. That’s usual for him.

Wednesday, however, he gets his first real clay test at the French Open in David Ferrer. Murray leads 9-6 but on the clay is where Ferrer is up 4-0.

Much like the Nadal-Djokovic match, the eye test tells me Murray’s the better player while the aging Ferrer just isn’t the same guy he was when they last played on this same dirt three years ago.

To me, when Murray’s playing well he just does everything better than David. Of course if he’s playing bad then it’s a big advantage to Ferrer. That’s how it is for the 33-year-old Ferrer these days. Against the big names, rarely is the match on his racquet.

So I expect Murray to show up and bring his game and return the semifinals. But Ferrer will push him.
The Pick: Murray in 4

As for surprises, about the only things that would shock me would be if both Nadal and Ferrer won in straight sets. Otherwise, the better players on the season should win.

ESPN2 will have live coverage in the U.S. starting at 8am ET with the two simultaneous women’s semis and then the men. It should be a great morning of tennis.


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330 Comments for Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal, Who’s The Pick? Also Andy Murray-David Ferrer

judee Says:

I think and hope rafa in 5 he will play better than his other matches he has to


judee Says:

if rafa loos it’s going to affect his ranking but it’s not going to be a problem because he doesn’t have any points and can gain a lot after the grass season


django Says:

Do we know the weather?0


Markus Says:

Sean Randall has spoken. What shall we do to break the jinx?


Mathews Says:

Rafa played a great game with Sock. Sock was hitting the ball the WAY Novak was hitting. If Rafa play a steady game, he will be in semi-final


skeezer Says:

Rafa is the favorite, he has won 9 of his 14 Slams at this place. He owns it. It would be a total disaster for him to lose at FO in the prime age of Tennis. Just don’t see it. However, as I had mentioned when he was losing all these Clay tournaments earlier, it doesn’t matter…….. Unless of course he loses here ……also. Then they will look back at this Clay season and find NOW, he does not own this surface anymore. He will be beatable, not unstoppable as he once was. The downhill slope will begin.
Nole? Nole has a hope, a fools hope at best. But his history on this surface could start right here, with a win over Rafa on the most pretigious Clay court tournament of all, could mark another historic year for him.
Rafa is the favorite, but Nole can prove here and now that ….wrong.


Vami Says:

@Mathews
Yep, everybody knows that Sock is better than Djokovic. I don’t understand why they have to play tomorrow at all?

My head hurts every time I read expert opinions before matches. This site is better after the matches, everybody is much smarter then.

I have no clue who is going to win tomorrow. I guess whoever has the better day. I hope I’ll enjoy some good tennis, missed both matches today.


Wog Boy Says:

Is not good enough to hit the ball “the WAY Novak is hitting”, his name is still not Novak Djokovic nor is his game Nole’s game.
Rafa is favorite.


mat4 Says:

The situation is quite critical for us, poor Nolefans. Both Sean and Tignor have predicted a Novak win tomorrow. It is not a jinx, it is double jinx. Novak is jinxed.

He played better in this tournament, like he did since that USO 2013. But on the Chatrier, Novak has a lot of advantages. The court is big and very slow. The balls are slow. It will be very difficult for Novak to make a winner. He will have to play a risky game, while Rafa just has to run the balls down.

On the other hand, Rafa is slower, and he started to fatigue much earlier than he usually did. It will be a difficult task, but Novak has a chance. But he has to play his very best.

So, let’s wait and see.


mat4 Says:

BTW, there are no similarities between Jack Sock and Novak Djokovic. I am certain that if the match was played on the Lenglen, Novak would certainly win. But the Chatrier is even slower than MC.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeeze, “total disaster” if Rafa doesn’t win? Come on man, that’s ridiculous hyperbole. It is never a disaster to not win a slam. 127 entrants will not win this slam. A) Rafa has won this slam 9 times, so his legacy as the greatest clay player of all time is untouchable.

B) Losing a slam, or having a poor result for a few months, is not an uncorrectable, clear sign of decline. It MAY be, but it is certainly not an absolute proof. There were a lot of Slams Fed did not win, and a lot of poor months, before he won Wimby in 2012, and the same again before making WImby finals last year. Rafa will lose eventually. It will not be a disaster, it will simply be the end of one of the great streaks in tennis history. When Borg, or Lendl, or Djokovic, or Federer had crazy win streaks, it was not a ‘disaster’ for them to lose. It did not mean irrevocable decline. It meant… they lost a tennis match.

Winning a Slam is hard. 127 out of 128 lose. Not a disaster.


django Says:

Rafa is the favorite until Novak beats him…that simple.


chris ford1 Says:

Weather is predicted for tomorrow in Paris to be 21 Deg and 8-13 km wind. (70F , 6-9 mph)
For Friday though, minimal wind, very warm and humid. 23 Deg Celsius, 89-90 DEG.

For David Ferrer, his best opportunity since 2013. Very much against the odds, but beat Murray and hope the winner of Novak-Rafa is exhausted. Should he make it to the Final, he has handled Tsonga and Stan on clay.
‘Twould be amazing, but it could happen for Ferru.
And Tsonga and Stan – one of them will move on, and be a 1st time finalist at Roland Garros.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

django, well said. But (there’s so many buts, right? Like in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, “Let’s talk about your big but.”) watching him serve against Sock… man, Novak will eat that weak stuff up! I hope Rafa was just holding back because he knew he had could


Tennis Vagabond Says:

ahhh, hit submit by accident! I hope Rafa was holding back for consistency because he knew he didn’t need killer serves. He’ll have to throw the kitchen sink at Novak.

And if anyone is hoping for a mental breakdown from Novak… well, I won’t say it won’t happen, but Rafa is going to have to catalyze it first!


skeezer Says:

TV,
In the context of this Clay season, yes. He has not done well (by his standards)in this Clay season, which he has basically owned for how many years?….AND loses FO, yeah…to me..a disaster season for him. Look at his history during the past Clay seasons vs this one. But if he wins FO this year, all is forgotten. He’ll be the master of Clay yet again for 2015.


Dan Martin Says:

I’ve got a few of my own posts and a few reposted things about this match at http://tennisabides.com – The mental hurdle for Nole is going to be committing to do what he has to to win the match knowing how tough Rafa is.


chris ford1 Says:

Skeezer, a bit melodramatic today! Feds down and the “dal” part of Fedal is in high risk.

1. Rafa is hardly finished if he loses one match at RG. Not a “total disaster” at all.

2. Novak’s history on clay does not start “only” if he wins RG this year. He is already in the Top 10 in clay winning percent, surpassed by Rafa of course. They are the only 2 active players on that list. And Djokovic has 8 French Open QFs or better, and as the only guy to beat Nadal several times on clay – has more than a “fools hope” this time. 2nd best clay player of his era..

3. Those points in 500 clay and the three clay Master’s 1000 events matter. They were always Rafa’s 2nd half of his Clay Bastion of ATP points. Keeping him in the top 3. Most years, he got more points from those events than winning RG.
Now they matter for Djokovic and Murray. Don’t think Murray will overtake Nole this year before end of year, but even now, he may be the only one left with a realistic shot. But MC and Rome obviously added to Nole’s lead.


django Says:

TV
I don’t wanna get my hopes up. Loved Pee Wee’s movie. So many great lines in there and people, Large Marge, Francis, Dottie, lol!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Chris, I beg to differ. The man who has made, what, 5 French finals? and has one trophy is the second best clay courter of the era. Clay success is not simply measured by who beat Rafa more times! Interestingly, Fed and Novak are 4-4 on clay.

Skeeze, I see your point in terms of the whole season, but I think you’re setting a low bar for ‘disaster’. And nobody knows yet if it is the decline.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

django, I don’t need to watch it. I lived it!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Man, I need to watch that movie again!


django Says:

Yes, always a good one, TV. Thanks for the reminder. Remember, there is no basement in the Alamo.


AndyMira Says:

Are you sure sean?Vs sock i admit,he shouldn’t lose the third set but he is able to clawed back to win the fourth..that shows the mental strength and self belief that he lacked of before has re-emerged..don’t forget,as high and mighty as nole is right now,he himself has a ghost lurking somewhere here on philip chatrier..


Sivaji Says:

Nadal looses in “straight” sets just like MC. So what??.. END to his FO reign dated back to 2010 then what else.. bla bla.
The truth is this is not end of world. Rafa will bounce back. He has many tournaments to play this year.


Bertie Says:

Logic says Djokovic should win in straight sets, but when has logic ever won a tennis match? My head says Djokovic, my heart says Nadal. Its the great uncertainty, until its a certainty, then it will be obvious.

Anyway I want them to duke it out for over 6 hours until darkness is falling, so they are a little tired when they play Murray in the semis. Murray to steal the crown from Rafa beating Frenchie Tsonga in the final. Plus if Murray plays Nole, he has to eventually beat him. Although that might have to wait until Wimby, oh picking tennis matches these days is far harder than a few years ago.


Margot Says:

@mat4
Alas it is a triple jinx! Courier agrees with Sean.


montecarlo Says:

Ferrer in 3 easy sets and Nadal in 4 tough sets


Michael Says:

It is a real pity that a Summit meeting is being held at a Camp room. It should not have happened. But it did and we have to accept it. That sums up the quarter final Titanic clash between Novak against Rafa. And what a match it is supposed to be ?

Well, going by their respective form, Novak surely has the edge. But, we do not know what is in offing as Rafa has won here an unprecedented 9 times and has weathered many a storm in the past. He is almost unbeatable and the only time that he lost is way back in 2009 to a man named Soderling who still recalls vividly the moments that he experienced after dethroning the Emperor and is still cherished by him. There has not been an another player who managed to replicate Soderling’s feat. The two men who ran close here to beat Rafa were Isner and Novak. And it is with such an imposing record that Rafa is stroding like a colossus at this venue. Will Novak unshackle him and manage to vitiate his record ?

Well the match is in Novak’s racquet literally. If he plays well, he will surely beat Rafa. As Sean has pointed out, he matches up very well against Rafa and returns his serves better than he does against other players. He is the Aggressor who makes Rafa run more on the court and his double handed back hand down the line shots bothers Rafa in both the flanks. So, Novak is all spruced up coming as he after a sequence of victories at Master Series tournaments and seemingly very near to his incredible level in 2011. Considering all these, he should beat Rafa and enter the history books. But the only hitch here is that if he gets tight due to the pressure of not winning here before and that breaks his game offering an opening to Rafa to take advantage of and kill Novak’s dream yet again ? So, folks, we can keep our fingers crossed. But, the Novak Vs Rafa encounter always offer excitement, evoke our curiousity and is a sumptuous treat for Tennis fans as they are so well matched more so particulary at this venue.


Navdeep Says:

Happy birthday Rafa . Celebrate it with a big win


Michael Says:

And coming to the Roger Vs Wawarinka match, well it was Wawarinka’s day where he everything touched turned to Gold. Roger had just no answers to a rampaging Wawarinka who was out hitting him in both the flanks. Roger was just left to defend and succumb to the inevitable. Ofcourse, he has an imposing record against Wawarinka with a H2H reading 16-2. But past history made no difference here and Wawarinka was like one possessed who was on a Terminator mission. Seemingly, after the match, Roger looked greatly disturbed despite the customary hand shake he had with Wawarinka. I think the score line disturbed him where he was outclassed in every department and right from the start it looked like Wawarinka’s victory was almost sealed. Roger’s only chance emanated from the let up in Wawarinka’s level, but unfortunately it was a day, he was most consistent and Roger’s dreams of another final at Rolland Garros lie shattered.


Michael Says:

There is a wrong notion that the winner of Novak Vs Rafa’s match would go on to win the tournament. I do not think anything is certain. The players who have impressed me at this stage are Tsonga, Wawarinka and Andy too. They are hard nut to crack and things are not going to be easy as being imagined. I think it is anybody’s tournament this time. But, Novak right now appears to be the favourite followed by the rest.


Michael Says:

Another historical number that might be pleasing to Rafa and his legion of fans. Rafa has not lost on his birthday.


Navdeep Says:

I think if nole and wowrinka makes the final, then it’s anybody’s game but if Rafa makes it their then no one can take on him even on a beast mode.Rafa’s grip on the surface is just unbelievable.


Jatt Says:

Sean,

“Losing sets to someone named jack sock…” ?
jack sock may not be a big name but he is a very improved player. This jack sock is playing in the 4th round of a grand slam and that too on clay…which is not bad at all. And he did beat dimitrov a top 10 player here..


Rick Says:

Hasn’t lost on his bbirthday means nothing, but superstition!


Rick Says:

Roger was tired. Or he would had put up a fight with Warinka !


Rick Says:

Hey Nithish, if Rafa couldn’t hold his serve well against these uunseeded guys. He is in for serious trouble against Nole. And will be serving worse, when he is nervous!


Honleuraise Says:

So Roger was tired was he

That’s the name of the game when it comes to the Slams.

When Nadal beat him at the AO he had played one of he most gruelling SF five setters imaginable less than 24 hours before!

Sorry Rick. Tired or not, he was outplayed fair and square from the off.


Rick Says:

Michael, who the hell is Soderling?


Honleuraise Says:

Margot

If Andy is to do it, he will have to do it in four sets. Ferrer will not let go if it goes to a fifth set. He’s been to two QFs and two SFs at RG already and that was before he found his feet on clay.


Rick Says:

In the old days, when Rafa is being challenged. He could hangs in there. These days he gets nervous. Fogoni thumped him twice! And also that game with Sock, there were many fans stopped watching. Because he won the first two sets so easily. All thought that he would had won in three. And these days, Rafa’s game is so shaky.


Nitesh Says:

whoever wins this will be remembered


Michael Says:

Rick,

Your Question : Who the hell is Soderling ??

My answer : Are you serious ????


Rick Says:

Friend of that Lukas’ guy at Wimbledon?


Michael Says:

I agree with Jatt.

Jack Sock is not a push over. So, losing out a set to him doesn’t rule out chances for Rafa against Novak. Sock did go for the kill and it paid for one set. To his misfortune, he couldn’t be consistent. There have been numerous instances in the past when Champions have under performed in the initial rounds to find their groove during the finishing stages of the tournament. So, performance in initial rounds, is not a percursor of the things to come. I can relate to numerous examples in this regard from Tennis history.


Rick Says:

This will be an easy win for Nole. If in luck, Rafa will wins a set. In the first few sets, Rafa might gets himself into trouble holding his serve.


Rick Says:

Rafa has to be consistent against guys like Murray or Nole. They will not give Rafa free gifts like Sock did! And ,Rafa is ready for it. Like he used to.


Rick Says:

And Rafa had performed badly for the 500 event at Barcelona. So this one is Nole for the taking for sure!


Rick Says:

Nole coming into the French for having won two tennis master series. And was thumping a seeded player in the fourth round, he is definitely a favor to win.


Navdeep Says:

Rick,
Just say Rafa will loose. You dont have to come with every type of statistics just to make one point. It’ getting a bit irritating now.


Giles Says:

Happy birthday Rafa. Hope you have a fabulous day and a great year ahead.
Vamos!


Giles Says:

Rick. You have really excelled yourself with all your gibberish. What is it you really want to say?


Rick Says:

People came up with theirs. So I have to come up with mine! Rafa is vulnerable since his return. If Nole wins, doesn’t mean that he will wins French. But he has better chan than others, because Tsonga, Murray or Warinka. All had beaten Nole previously. And Warinka even beat Nole in Australia.


Colin Says:

When any great player comes in to a match, his supporters always bombard us with numbers, but his opponent is not playing the stats – he’s playing the man, and that means the man as he is on the day. If you looked at the records, there was no way Fed could lose to Stan.

Of course, the guy on the wrong end of the stats has to have the mental strength to ignore the numbers. That’s what Stan did have, and what I’d expect Nole to have today. I stress “expect” because as I’ve been banging on for years, we cannot ever KNOW the future.


SL Says:

Murray should take Ferrer if he plays well. But Ferrer has always been trouble for Andy on clay, he is tricky. Andy should come through this one though even if he drops a set. He is clearly the second best player at the moment even if Federer is ranked 2.

Nadal – Djokovic is really not the big match up its being made out to be. At Nadal’s current level, he could lose to many others on Chatrier (the court advantage is a lot of hype).

Sock generally had a poor match (he is after all not a top 20 player) and made tons of unforced errors, so Nadal won even though he himself was ordinary, too many errors, weak serving, very nervy, not enough depth. To use that as an indicator against Novak he will lose badly.

Logic says Novak is much the better player should win comfortably in straight sets. Of course, tennis matches are played on the court, not on a website, so anything could happen. It would be a big upset if Rafa wins.


KatH Says:

Honleuraise + SL

Unfortunately agree – David never let’s go – he’s a Rotweiler (I love those dogs) and I marvel at David’s tenacity.

@ Margot
I’ll not be able to watch – will close my eyes and clutch crystals — if, by 5.00pm UK time, Andy is losing I’ll switch it off and watch POINTLESS.


SL Says:

With all respect to Ferrer and to the (great) Nadal, having Andy and Novak square off in the semis would really make this tournament.

That would be THE real match of the tournament, between the two best players in the world currently. I am surprised no one has been talking about that at all, everyone has been so obsessed with Djokovic – Nadal from the beginning.


KatH Says:

SL

Maybe because no one can guarantee who will win either of today’s quarters….


Navdeep Says:

Novak and andy ! oh please ! that’s the most boring match up ever and that too an a slow clay court . No matter what, Andy is not a challenger for nole in BO5 on clay.


metan Says:

Happy Birthday Rafa. Win or loss you are still the clay king.

Vamos Rafa!


SL Says:

@ KatH, Of course, I meant from the beginning of the tournament. It was not guaranteed that Nadal would show up against Djokovic either for the quarters, but we were all obsessed with it from the time the draw was made.

@ Navdeep, How is Andy more boring than Rafa on any court ? Not that I think either of them is boring. But Murray and Djokovic on current form both playing well has to be a great match to look forward to, no ?

Anyway, the truth will out in the next 5 hours. If Nadal given the way he has played in the past one year can beat Djokovic in the form he has been in the same period, we will have to say Rafael Nadal is unparalleled in terms of strength of character on a tennis court.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Many Happy Returns of the day to RAFA,HAPPY BIRTHDAY KOC….:)….


Navdeep Says:

SL,
I agree that Andy is back to his near best but still their is no way he can take on Novak who is at the height of his powers. Novak is clear favourite against anyone including Rafa but Rafa is so good here that until he loses, he is the man to beat. On Grass andy-nole would be great but on clay i just dont see it. And i am not saying Andy is boring it’s their (nole-andy) matchup that is.


Pitchaboy Says:

When Borg lost Wimby to McEnroe, he knew he was done.
When Rafa loses FO, he will know he is done.


Markus Says:

The stature of the Big 4 automatically elevates any match where they play against each other in any combination. I don’t find any of them boring. Some may be long but long does not always mean boring.


Noonen Says:

I know someone who is going to be bummed when Novak wins against Nadal today–that finger-wagging creep named Roger Federer. Man I loved it when he lost yesterday and left the court with his head down.


Markus Says:

Daniel, are you there and ready for The Match?


Giles Says:

Here’s hoping both the Spaniards come out victorious today.
Vamos!


roy Says:

rafa’s lost set to sock means nothing. over the years he’s had a five setter with isner, played four hours and four sets with mathieu, lost sets to daniel brands, klizan …

but it would be hard to bet a house on him in this match considering current confidence levels of both players and the dynamic between them these days.


Ben Pronin Says:

The idea that Federer doesn’t like Djokovic is simply a joke. All year Federer has done nothing but praise Djokovic for his work ethic and his overall greatness.

As fans who hate our favorites’ rivals, we wonder why someone like Federer says he’s happy when Nadal wins or breaks his records or whatever. I think it’s pretty simple. Federer appreciates greatness. Whether it’s past legends or current legends that hold an overwhelming h2h against him. He appreciates greatness and he understands pretty much as well as anyone what it takes to reach the highest levels.

So maybe in 2008 when Djokovic was still a brash young guy with just 1 slam and a few Masters to his name going around claiming he was the next number 1, Federer got peeved. Not only did Federer find it insulting to himself but he probably found it insulting to Nadal, too, who had been on top with him for a few years. For this young guy to suddenly claim he was going to be the best with little to back it up, I guess the champion in Federer was offended. And Djokovic ended up treading water for years and there were rumors that he didn’t work as hard as the other guys. But that all changed in 2010. And now Federer says things like “I wonder if everyone wants to improve as much as Djokovic” or something like that. Whatever issues they had some 7 years ago are long gone. They both have a lot of respect for each other. They don’t need to be best friends to appreciate what each of them brings to tennis.


Wog Boy Says:

“The idea that Federer doesn’t like Djokovic is simply a joke. All year Federer has done nothing but praise Djokovic for his work ethic and his overall greatness.”

Did he have a choice but to say what he said about the player who is the best tennis player in the world by big margin? Roger is smart enough to know what to say and when to say.
Sorry Ben, but it is not a joke, Roger doesn’t like Nole, never was and never will, same applies for Nole and Djokovic family, if you watched Rome final you could see that, but that doesn’t mean they don’t respect each other.
That is the difference between original Nole fans and Roger fans who became Nole fans (for various resons), you will always try to show us how Roger is good and at the end of the day you will always be Federer fans first and then Nole fans and we are back to begining.


Ben Pronin Says:

Where’s the evidence? One incident in 2008? And when has Federer ever cared about being PC? You think someone directly asked him “do you think everyone works as hard as Djokovic?” or something?

It’s a joke and you’re just trying to stir up animosity for no reason. What is the beginning? I’ve been a big Djokovic fan since early 2007 when he started rising up. Djokovic was also the first player I ever watched live when he beat Monfils in 5 in the first round of the 05 US Open. That was a crazy match.

Anyways, there is no actual dislike. They’re not best friends, but they respect each other. Djokovic said he talked to Federer about raising his kid while playing on tour. Does that sound like people who don’t like each other?


Skeezer Says:

Ben nailed it. 8:43 post is just envious of a better player who has had and will have a better career.

Anyone thought about the draw from here, the effort from this side of the draw now? First Nole and Rafa face off, then probably play Murray, then probably Tsonga/Stan? Wow, that is a tough series of matches coming up!


Wog Boy Says:

I forgot to say, that never lost love between two of them hasn’t started in 2008, you are very wrong Ben, it started in 2006 during DC match between Swiss and Serbia and it started by Roger and his nasty comments when he labled Nole “a joke” and he used every chance since to put him down, like after he lost in Montreal in 2007, there is nice article from 2012 about Roger-Nole “relationship”, have a look:

http://tennis-column.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/the-relationship-between-federer-and.html?m=1


Markus Says:

Unlike some posters here, some tennis players become more mature with age. They start out young, full of ambition and sometimes brash. Towards the end of their careers once they get that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, they come to respect to others who do the same. All these greats are like that. They cheer on the next greats the way those that preceded them did for them.


MMT Says:

Wog Boy: I wrote that piece about the relationship between Federer and Djokovic, and I have to say, it wasn’t intended as evidence that Federer has, “….used every chance since to put him down…”. That’s the kind of claim that Djokovic’s father made and THAT claim is ridiculous.

But I stand by piece that 1) they’re not each other’s biggest fans and 2) that’s good for the game. All this “we’re all friends” is, in my opinion, BS and not good for ratings.


Ben Pronin Says:

So basically you proved my point. When Djokovic was starting to come up he was very brash and claiming he was going to usurp Federer with very little results to back it up. Starting in 06 proves my point. Nothing has happened since Djokovic became an all time great.

The 2011 examples are hilarious overstated. And I’m not even going to bother.

These 2 have been playing each other for a decade now. That they started off not liking each other has some merit but is irrelevant because it’s not the case anymore. Federer appreciates and respects Djokovic’s greatness. Especially since Federer simply didn’t think Djokovic would be this good. When Djokovic and Murray were coming up everyone thought Murray would be way better, Federer included. So when Federer says that he’s overly impressed with how hard Djokovic works and how much he’s improved, it’s the easiest thing in the world to believe because it’s very clearly true.

I’m not trying to defend Federer because I’m his fan. It’s just stupid to pretend there’s an issue where there isn’t. Talk about making a mountain out of a speck of dust.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Wog, you must be one smart dude. Not only do you have privileged insight into Fed and Novak’s minds, but apparently you are onto the psychology of all fans. It doesn’t occur to you that not every fan is a bitter partisan with spite to their opponents, seeing tennis as a proxy war between the good and bad? No, couldn’t be that some of just enjoy the sport. Get the bile out man. Relax. Your constant flame wars are so tiresome. Don’t you ever get bored of righteous indignation?
Anger, hate, spittle, and spite. We love tennis here!


Giles Says:

TV. You tell him. Good on you.


Daniel Says:

Prime event people. My seat are great, on top of FTF seata behind the court. Better view here than side court, much more looks of ball range, depth and heights.
Hope forma great match.

Serena was smacking return winners at will.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Markus, excellent comment. I started following tennis blogs quite a few years ago, thinking, WoW! This is great! People who share my enthusiasm for the sport! I can actually talk about tennis without being ostracized at the party! And from that moment to today I am just gobsmacked at how much hatred and biliousness there is. Its so silly, immature, whatever you want to call it.

But there are still some people here trying to have a chat, you just have to skip over some posts to find a conversation thread.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Daniel, that is fantastic! Congratulations. DO you have a favourite? I like both guys, hard to choose for me. I prefer watching Novak, normally, but I’d love to see Rafa prove his doubters wrong as well. I can enjoy the match without too much angst anyways.


mat4 Says:

@MMT:

I didn’t know about your blog. I see you have great posts there. Very impressed, and pleased.


kriket Says:

This is the biggest match this year so far.


Wog Boy Says:

TV,
You are barking at the wrong tree. Nothing you said applied to me but you are free to have your opinion, guess what you are all Roger fans. Did I hit a nerve? No need to get aggressive TV.


Ben Pronin Says:

TV, tennis fans are the worst. Gobsmacked doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Holy moly people it’s finally happening.


mat4 Says:

Here, though, I have to defend WB. There was much more than MMT wrote in his brilliant article. Novak really announced loud and clear, even in 2006/7, that he would be the next numero uno. The press did its part, too, from article by Peter Bodo where he announce Novak as the new, “streamlined” Federer. And in 2007 and 2008, it looked like it: Novak was still playing with his Wilson racquet, served better than today, made frequent foray to the net. He lacked the big FH, but had a efficient two-handers.

There was also that incident at the filming of some Wilson commercials, which cost Novak his contract with the American company.

But, just like Ben said, the situation has slowly changed for the better, although some antipathy remains.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Yes, Wog, I am a Fed fan. Obviously, morally deficient. You are self-parodying. But thanks for your leave to have my opinion.


Skeezer Says:

“guess what you are all Roger fans. Did I hit a nerve? ”
Nope. We are good. Nerves have never been better :-). Yours?

Nole plays a solid first game


Ben Pronin Says:

Jesus Nadal already running every ridiculous shot down and only missing by a hair. This will be a war.


jatin Says:

This is the match of the tournament. Cannot prevent myself from watching it.
Hope the best player wins. So many things are at stake for both of these players.

Game on . Enjoy


kriket Says:

2-0


Markus Says:

I’m gonna get so fat if this goes 5 sets. I have 5 big bags of potato chips lined up. One for each set.


Ben Pronin Says:

Those were some horrible forehands from Nadal on break point. Right in the middle of the court and very short.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Novak is looking good. With those service returns, this could get ugly. For once, it feels like Rafa could have more problems with mental jitters than Novak.

And man, look at those frozen rope groundstrokes from Novak.


Skeezer Says:

Nole looks solid in every way after game 2. Up a break already. Exposing Rafa’s movement (lack thereof).


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t think my office is cold but I can’t stop shaking.


gonzalowski Says:

Well, for sure Rafa must improve from here… no???


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

Me too. I took all the medications I had for my heart condition, but it is still thumping.

So far, so good.


filla Says:

15 – 3 On points!!!


jatin Says:

Oh man.. Novak is into something. 4-0
Rafa must improve, it seems like he is full of nerves right now.


kriket Says:

ooppps, is it gonna be a bagel.


SGreen Says:

As a first impetuous reaction, this may turn out to be a straight set beat down. I wouldn’t be surprised.


filla Says:

4-0 !!!


Okiegal Says:

Love Novak’s choice if colors today…..Orange and black…..Oklahoma State University. Now if Rafa would wear crimson and cream, my favorite team from Oklahoma, the Sooners, I’d be a happy camper! Looking dismal for Rafa, atm.


senthilvel Says:

Remember – 2006 Finals.. Federer leading 5-0 !!


Ben Pronin Says:

That was the craziest point ever but holy crap do I wanna punch that guy in the face. Daniel, is he sitting near you? Go punch him please.

But as for the match, this looks like MC 2013 right now. Assuming Djokovic wins this set, it’s going to get a whole lot closer after this.


kriket Says:

Rafa celebrating Novaks unforced errors. I guess he’ll take whatever he can.


Nithish Says:

nadal got one break back


Ben Pronin Says:

Ugh. Novak just hitting extra hard now. Don’t pull a 2013 USO please.


S Green Says:

That was one poor game Djokovic played. That could haunt.


Markus Says:

After an impeccable first 4 games, Djokovic is now spraying shots all over the place!


S Green Says:

Too many UEs from Djokovic in the post-exhilaration of those first 4 games.


Skeezer Says:

Rafa locating his serves smarter now. Serving at the body, then it opens up angles later. See if he keeps that strategy going forward.


Markus Says:

Nadal starting to settle down while Djokovic is starting to push too hard.


S Green Says:

Rafa just made a hole in Nole’s mind. As a consequence, Nole is faltering too quickly.


Ben Pronin Says:

Yep, 2013 US Open all over again.


senthilvel Says:

If Djoker loses this match.. it will just crush him…


S Green Says:

Last couple of points, tennis at its best, thanks to these two Titans.


Markus Says:

Djokovic starting to look frustrated. Not good.


Skeezer Says:

Wow. Just wow. Now we have a battle.


jatin Says:

And now Novak is showing nerves.
4-3


Markus Says:

Yikes!


kriket Says:

Novak beat himself in this set. Those net errors were really unexplainable.


Markus Says:

Djokovic’s shots look so strained in the last few games while Nadal’s look more free flowing.


Ben Pronin Says:

If you’re going to lose the first set, don’t go up 4-0 first. This is horrible.


Markus Says:

If Djokovic loses this set, he has only himself to blame for those supposedly easy net shots.


S Green Says:

Nole needs to have a firm grip on his nerve if he wants to win this match. It is that simple.


jatin Says:

Its a battle going on in the other court as well.
Murray broke Ferrer, only to get broken by him.
1-1


mat4 Says:

Novak hasn’t lost this set yet. There is still lot to play.


mat4 Says:

Novak hasn’t lost this set yet. There is still a lot to play.


the_mind_reels Says:

Amazing ability from Nadal to claw his way back into this set. If there’s one player in recent times who has shown unbelievable mental resolve, though, it’s Djokovic.

Let’s see how this set finishes up.


tennisfansince76 Says:

Novak a little bit funky in shot selection so far


kriket Says:

Come on Novak. Convert!


mat4 Says:

Merci Cédric!


Emily Says:

May be playing Devil’s advocate, but Nole has been playing 30 seconds b/w points, and Rafa gets the warning at deuce! That was the info I saw, and these warnings need to be given to both players


Markus Says:

This is shaping up yo be the match I was expecting for.


S Green Says:

Nadal is probably the best drop-volleyer I have seen in recent history, though he uses it very sparingly, yet most efficiently.


Markus Says:

I don’t know what’s going to happen to Djokovic if he loses this set.


skeezer Says:

This court is slow as Molasses.


kriket Says:

And he converts the 6th set point. 1-0 Nole!


jatin Says:

Great set of tennis. Some relentless play by Novak, followed by gutsy comeback by Rafa which again followed by tremendous mental stength shown by Novak to seal the set.

The drama has just started


Markus Says:

Is Novak nervous? What happened to his … well forget about it. He just won the first set.


courbon Says:

One thing slower then this court is stoned snail…


mat4 Says:

Despite Nadal’s evident advantage because of the court, Novak still manages to win the first set. A great feat! And let’s not forget that Rafa ran twice as more as Novak.

But there is a lot to play still. Let’s not rejoice before the end.

Meanwhile, on the Lenglen a great battle too, very tense, although Andy has the lead.


sienna Says:

Nadal fights for his life. Hell rip his heart out of joker dead body and bite like warrior….


Okiegal Says:

To water or not to water?? Is Novak is thinking back to the year where there was a rained on court?


tennisfansince76 Says:

Novak a little mentally shaky in first set but still manages to win


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Yes Mat, Rafa is putting on a lot of miles on his legs. I hope this doesn’t cause him to take more risks with those droppers from the baseline.

I expected Novak to feast on Rafa’s serve, but they both are having no problems. Is Novak serving at a lower speed, or is it the court?

Emily, I agree with you, it seems like Novak is taking longer to me. Maybe they made a bet.


skeezer Says:

Rafa continues to be successful serving into Nole’s body.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Just two service winners for Novak.


mat4 Says:

Novak is upset because the court wasn’t watered between the sets.


mat4 Says:

And we just saw why…


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Before the Tsonga match the umpire set clear guidelines for watering. Was this not done here?


senthilvel Says:

Rafa in four sets!!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Apropos of nothing, I love Novak’s salute to his adversaries best shots. I have seen many Xers criticize it but I think its one of the most charming ‘habits’ in the game, and I don’t see it costing him any killer instinct.


sienna Says:

djokovic keeps moaning like a child about the court. he should focus.


mat4 Says:

Novak is doing the same thing he did last year: missing chances and sleeping a bit in the second set. It doesn’t look good.


Markus Says:

Nadal is playing tremendously well considering all the knocks he has been getting about his game and confidence prior to the French. He is playing like the Nadal who has won 9 titles here.


mat4 Says:

Crunch time coming! I think that Novak will try to break in the following game.


kriket Says:

That’s it. Novak puts pressure on Rafas server in a crucial game and breaks him. Serving for the secnod set now.


courbon Says:

Mat 4, correct-and he did it!


mat4 Says:

Is Rafa British? I don’t believe that the commentators would root for him so much if it was Andy Murray playing.


mat4 Says:

…hat the British commentators would root so much if it was Andy Murray playing…


jatin Says:

Has Rafa ever been down to 2 sets to 0 in Roland garros ??
Its Novak match now. He is playing tremendously well even though Rafa is putting everything he has in this match.


kriket Says:

made it. 2-0


Gordon Says:

That’s it Sienna – you tell him how to do it. 😜


mat4 Says:

Do you think that Rafa will reveal that he was in fact injured if he loses?


courbon Says:

Dobicu srcku do kraja meca….


mat4 Says:

@Courbon:

Moi aussi :-)


Gordon Says:

Markus – Shouldn’t you mean Nadal is playing tremendously well considering how crappy he looked in the clay events leading up to this tournament?


Eric Says:

I guess I was right the first time…


Skeezer Says:

mat4,
Lol was just thinking the same thing. If not from him, from the like of a giles type.


S Green Says:

A straight-set beatdown remains a possibility, as much as 3-2 and 2-3.


Markus Says:

@Gordon: That’s another way of puting it. But this match is still far from over.


sienna Says:

Nadal hufs and pufs a few points but cannot back it up. He would lose to many players in top 20 atm even at Garros.


andrea Says:

rafa’s shots just don’t have the sting and the depth they used to. he might be playing a touch more conservatively in this match, but novak is moving him around like a yo-yo. seems like every service game of nadal’s is going the distance.

wow. botched overhead and horrible volley…..


Rick Says:

Told you! Rafa is struggling with his serve! He had problems with unseeded guy at his favourite stadium. He will.get.thumped ny Nole! But it is no gurantee for Nole to won this year. EEspecially if he has to play his nemesis Warinka in the final. It would be difficult for him, to go 5 sets with Warinka!


kriket Says:

Is Rafa falling apart in the third? I’m thinking Novak has to end this in straights otherwise there’s no telling what could happen.


squirrel_0209 Says:

Skeezer Says:

mat4,
Lol was just thinking the same thing. If not from him, from the like of a giles type.
——-

hahahaha, you make me laugh Skeeze! so true! ;)

Ajde Nole!!


mat4 Says:

Had a look at the stats. The match, when you look at them, seems like a beat down. Novak won 19 points +, made 33 winners to 14, number of UE 24 for both.


TGIT Says:

Humblerafa

now

Rafahumbled


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa has definitely upped his game from the last few months, but he’s still not the player he was last year. The forehand doesn’t have the bite, he is hitting uncharacteristic UEs, and the serve is weak. Novak is really playing impressively aggressive, for the most part, and he is dictating most of the points. Rafa’s miraculous defense is really keeping him in the match more than his strokes.


Skeezer Says:

Rafa brought his A game today. No excuses. Best day on Clay so far this season.
So should be no excuses. Atm Nole is just flat out beating him and the better player. The only question remaining is can Nole close it out?.


Eric Says:

Poor Rafa. :(

In other news, go Andy, David, Stan, and Tsonga!


squirrel_0209 Says:

I feel like Stan is the clear second favourite to win this edition of French Open. Wonder if many agree with this…


Hippy Chick Says:

Its been an amazing run but they all end eventually,the guys won the title 9 times so no complaints from me,i dont quite hear the fat lady singing but the better player has almost won,congrats Novak and fans….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeeze, if you mean me, I’m not making excuses for Rafa at all. He’s healthy, fit and its not like he’s just back from injury, he’s been playing all season. But this is not the player he was at last years French.


Emily Says:

I agree, especially if Stan plays like yesterday


S Green Says:

A bagel would be a nice extra gift for Novak fans!


Eric Says:

mat4, you are right, and it’s only getting worse; now there’s a 21 point margin (84-63), working out to over 57% of points for Novak. Usually even a straight-set win is only about 52-54%, at least, so far as I remember. (I only calculate these things for close matches I care about, of course, so your routine 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 second-round beatdown may be more like 54-58%.)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

And I agree, this is the best he’s played on clay this year.


Gordon Says:

Marcus – we seem to be half way through the “far from over” part of the match, no?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

So… if Rafa, on clay, is clearly a level below Novak, it really makes you wonder how far Novak can take his dominance on the tour. Who can challenge him, and where?


kriket Says:

3-0. He has to end this asap, he will surely need his energy for the upcoming matches.


chris ford1 Says:

No one is invincible, forever, in sport.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa is demonstrating that right now.


Eric Says:

Anyway, clearly Djokovic is at the peak of his powers, as we knew before the tournament started. This is a surprisingly comprehensive win, but it is not so different from what their form and results suggested. For a moment I convinced myself that Rafa would defy the laws of physics at his magic home away from home, but, nope.


Rick Says:

TOLD YOU! If Rafa was struggling to held his serve against those unseeded guys. He will pays his price! Well, if he is lucky than he would wins this set. If not like I had expected, Nole wins in three!


Pitchaboy Says:

Even the net is against Rafa


Skeezer Says:

TV,
No not you, I didn’t see your post when I posted. No biggie. Was talking about this season only.

For those watching, this is an historic moment in Tennis.


mat4 Says:

This result is in line with 5 of their 6 last matches on clay. The only exception was RG last year.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Eric, indeed comprehensive.

The comment above about Borg/McCenroe may be right on. I don’t believe Rafa will consider retirement after this, but it really is an open question if he can compete at Novak’s level again.

Novak needs to find another tour to play on. He’s frankly too good for this one!


Rick Says:

This is just hype, everyone thought it would be an epic. But with Rafa playing horrible stuffs like this. This is another clay court defeat for Rafa this year.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I also don’t think Novak is at his absolute peak. Could be the court, but he’s not at the Miracle level we’ve seen frequently over the last year


chris ford1 Says:

Tennis Vagabond – Djoker can’t win everything. Too many surfaces, high competition, and in tennis like golf a player can rise and have a career run. (Tsonga at Montreal, Cilic at USO). Dr Ivo, Isner, or Ronic could have a day where their serve is unbeatable.
Who could beat Djokovic?
Don’t know but Wimbledon is a lot more open now than clay where only a handful have a viable chance and rarely lose outside that handful of “clay elite”. Cincinnati and USO have always troubled Djokovic in the final…He could run out of gas and hit the wall like he did in 2011 and lose a lot in the fall season.
Muzz or Stan/Tsonga could still beat him here. It is a Battle of the Titans and SHOULD have been the final, but 2 more matches against a tough opponent await.


mat4 Says:

Rafa plays great tennis. It’s just that someone has figured out how to play against him, and can do it at least for two sets. We’ll see if he can make it three. I hope so.

Novak is simply the better player since the fall 2013, better than Rafa ever was.


SX1 Says:

Djokovic doing the same thing to nadal what nadal used to do to Federer.


Okiegal Says:

@Chick……Hello, my dear!! So glad you are among the living! Agree with you, it has been a great run for our guy. I had to agree with the odds makers on this one too……this is the Serbian’s year for sure……..no doubt about it. I will be pulling for Scot from here on out.

C’mon Andy!!


mat4 Says:

Only 5-1 in the third. Nole has a little chance to win, who knows? against the clay king.

Good gift for Rafa’s anniversary.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Didn’t someone predict 10 games or less for Rafa?


mat4 Says:

… sorry, birthday…


SX1 Says:

will any journalist dare to ask him to retire after match??


Gordon Says:

Sean, Sean, Sean! Wrong again; you said Nadal would win a set!!!!!! 😝


kriket Says:

Nadal seems as if he’s given up.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

As far as a clash of the titans, I mean, conceptually yes because of the history, but I think Murray or Stan are playing better than Rafa right now, so I don’t expect this to be Novak’s “challenge of the tournament” that we all thought it would be.


mat4 Says:

Did Novak wish Rafa a happy birthday when they met at the net?


Pitchaboy Says:

Nadal is a man 3 to 4 years past his prime and Fed is 7 years past his. Novak is the lucky No. 1 in a pathetically weak younger generation. That is the brutal truth.


S Green Says:

I’d take the breadstick. Nole played his best tennis, besides one short lapse in the 1st set.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Hahaha, this is my first time hearing Novak’s French, and it is not exactly conversational level. Still, good on him for trying. Evidently the one thing he’s not excellent at on the clay court.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Je n’ai pas plus des mots! Love it!


gonzalowski Says:

Congrats to Nole. Maybe this hasn’t been his 2015 RG’s biggest challenge, anyway.
Hope Rafa A game recovers, not sure about this.

:(


SL Says:

I know a lot of Rafa fans have found it hard to accept, but the writing has been on the wall for a year. He is just not the player he was, and not just Novak, many others are beating him and beating him comfortably on all surfaces, including clay.

Novak himself did not play a great match, had too many unforced errors, and looked shaky at times, but honestly Nadal was never in with a chance, he was so poor.

Nadal is in permanent decline and his major winning days are over.

Novak is definitely on for the calendar grand slam this year, the circumstances, with his own solid form, Rafa falling off the cliff, Federer, well, pushing 34 and inconsistent, the “next gen” not up to scratch, its on his racket, unless..

Andy can find himself and pose a real challenge, as he is very much capable of doing tennis wise. Whether he can do it mentally is anybody’s guess.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Is it really happening that Federer is staying on top of the game LONGER than Rafa? How far will Rafa drop in the rankings?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

WOw, Rog has a longer single slam winning streak than Rafa here, didn’t expect THAT stat.


andrea Says:

what a performance from novak. rafa just dismantled.


skeezer Says:

Rafa will now be out of the top 10 @ 29. WOW. Congrats to Nole and his beloved fanbase. A truly great dominant win.


Bob Lewis Says:

What a match by Novak. Rafa is a great champion, but Novak is simply on another planet this year. On the way to his first French title, and perhaps much bigger things. What’s that famous dish on the Denny’s menu again?

Focusing on the here and now, it will take a tremendous effort by the other participants to bring down this Super Serb. Nole is too focused, too good.


Markus Says:

@Noonen:

Did you notice how Nadal walked off the court with his head down after losing to Djokovic? It was much like Federer yesterday as you said. Unlike you though, I don’t love it or rejoice about it. I have so much respect for what Nadal has accomplished gloat over his misfortunes.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Who would have expected that Novak and Andy could meet in the semis with both of them FRESH?


SL Says:

@ Tennis Vagabond. I hate to brag, but I did predict Nadal wins less than 10 games, and @ Giles called me mad… :-D

Of course, I got both the first two semis wrong.. so I had to get something right.


Navdeep Says:

Well played nole. Now go and complete your career slam. As for Rafa, you are always my champ afterall, 70-2 is not a bad record . See you on grass courts.


Gordon Says:

At least when Rafa dethroned Fed at Wimbledon it was one for the ages. This one was really more of a whimper than a bang.


Krishna Says:

Wow a straight sets win for Djokovic over Nadal! Nadal is out of the French Open!


Hippy Chick Says:

Okie hi and thanks,i had no expectations about this match,would love to see Andy make the final now,but also i cant help but feeling what a nice story it would be for Jo to make the final and win the title too,and im pulling for him over Stan….


Nithish Says:

Congrats nole for becoming the 2nd man to defeat rafa in french open


Okiegal Says:

I’m surprised that some of the know it all tennis fans on this forum could even write a post saying Rafa was the favorite against Novak today. I don’t claim to know everything about tennis but I could see the handwriting on the wall……Rafa’s losses on clay before the Frenchie told me the tale. Wise up fellas! Lol. Congratulations to Novak fans….He will get his first FO and he deserves it!!

C’mon Andy….Hope to see you beat Novak!


Zozza Says:

Form didn’t lie
Nadal was lucky to win last year
This year he has been losing to everyone on clay
Fognini beat him twice
I said it long ago he is in decline
Djokovic is better than Nadal at the moment by long way !
Nadal won’t win another slam either will Federer
They both past their best !

But 9 French opens is great effort
Today after losing first set Nadal struggled to get into the match he was thrashed by the number one player in the world
No shame losing to Djokovic in this form

Nadal would’ve struggled to beat Murray also
The flogging Murray gave him in Madrid was something no one will forget
Today I’ll admit I am shocked at 6-1 final set
But Nadal’s serve isn’t good enough

All the Djokovic fans can finally rejoice
Djokovic beat a Nadal past his prime

Nadal Federer both past their primes


Bob Lewis Says:

Don’t think Federer could beat Nadal on this court if he were spotted two sets. Nole GOAT! :P


Navdeep Says:

To beat Novak, Rafa needed to play his best tennis which didn happened. First serve and forehand desserted him completely. I dont think he actually even hit a DTL FH.


Markus Says:

@Gordon: You rephrase my words excellently. :-)
It wasn’t very exciting but you can’t blame Djokovic for that. I’m glad it wasn’t too gruelling. He should be ready for another match or two.


Okiegal Says:

@Chick……Once a poster asked if I agreed with you on everything….maybe I do….I’m pulling for Jo over Stan too.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

SL, that prediction was more impressive than the win.


Emily Says:

I have massive respect for both guys and while I want Stan to win, it’s clear Novak is the favorite.

More positive to give Novak props, rather than revel in Rafa’s loss


Snowbird Says:

Rafa can say bye bye for his 10th FO this year, but there’s always next year.The best man won.

This is not an excuse, but could the lack of depth and strength of Rafa’s returns since he returned from his surgery earlier this year be the result of his appendicitis surgery? I think Rafa had made some serious demands on his health by returning so quickly after the abdominal surgery. IMO, he hindered his recuperation. Maybe, Rafa can open up about that situation. Again, I’m not making an excuse for his play in this match, but his overall performance in general.


Navdeep Says:

SL, well done you were spot on. I mean predicting about rafa not winning more than 10 games at RG ! Brilliant


Daniel Says:

Almost had a heart attack when Djoko blow the 4-0 lead in firta set with 2 FH erros in the net. Credit to Nadal who at that point was serving hard and not giving easy misses.

Middle second set he felt the pressure and missed some FH DTL and that was it. his balls were short and Djoko was dictating. That was marvelous to watch.

Surprised that crowd was 70-80 pro Nadal and not a bunch of spaniards, the crowd as a whole.

Who was it here that said Nadal wouldn’t make 10 games?! He / She was spot on.

What we learn from this is regardless of your name or how many times you won a tournament if you are not playjng great tennis pre or during a particular Slam you are not going to win it. There was nothing in Nadal’s game or recent form and how Djoko was playing sugested otherwise. Just his 70-1 record on RG, now 70-2 thanks to Djoko and one of the most impressive Grand Slams matches wins ever.

The irony is he can lose to Murray who is dominating Ferrer or Wawrinka in the final. It is half way done for him but the way he isnplaying and shifted to attackijg second serves mid second set can’t see him not winnijg the title in 5 days. He could very well do it without losing a set, although I think Murray wins 1.

Super congrats Djoko. Can’t believe ai just saw this display live. One of my happiest tennis moments ever!!!!


chris ford1 Says:

It wasn’t Rafa at his best, that’s for sure, but in Djokovic’s mind, the ultimate challenge for him, he said, was to beat Nadal. Beat him at Roland Garros.

Job accomplished.
Probably get an hour to savor it then Boris and Marjan and Co. are going to grab him by the ear and drag him into the reality that Andy is playing great clay court tennis, just brushed aside the Little Beast. Time to get ready for the next match. And if he gets through Muzz, he can’t take either Stan or Jo lightly. And Wimbledon is all too soon after the FO ends, and Nole will of course want to quickly focus after he is done at Roland Garros to play his best at Wimbledon.

Probably feels like celebrating wildly, maybe even rewarding himself with a fingertip sized bit of chocolate – but tough, Nole..
But that has to wait until his time at the French ends. And Wimbledon is done. Then a deserved big celebration for himself and team, then a nice vacation before the N American grind starts.


Bob Lewis Says:

Who thinks that even the primest Federer would have defeated Nadal today, especially in this fashion? Nole Nole Nole #1. Nole Nole Nole #1! No1e! Let’s kill Murray next!!


Markus Says:

An appendectomy is a minor surgery and needsvery little time for complete recovery. So no, it should not have any effect on his game.


jane Says:

so proud of novak. whether he wins the title or not, that was a very lovely victory for him! HUGS to novak’s longtime fans around here.

nole’s now the only player to beat federer at all four slams and nadal at all four slams.

sincere commies to rafa, but now maybe he can properly celebrate his birthday for once, and for the first time in a long while he has a lot of time to prep for grass tennis.


Dan the Man Says:

Rafa won’t be out of the top 10 with this loss, he will be at #10, unless Tsonga wins his semi tomorrow. If that were to happen he would fall another spot to #11. The bright spot for him is that he has almost no ranking points to defend other than the 4R points from Wimbledon, so he can rise up a few spots if he has a good rest of the year. It won’t be enough to make top 4 by year end, though, unless he has some crazy breakthrough at Wimbledon or in the hardcourt season to the US Open.


jatin Says:

Feeling sad for Rafa.. :(
But this happens to every player. Remind me of the time when I saw fed losing to berdych at wimby 2010.
Djokovic is looking unbeatable right now..


jane Says:

daniel @ 12:34, lucky you! thanks for your summary.


Emily Says:

Based on the quotes, Rafa is giving Novak lots of credit and accepting this loss the best way possible.


mat4 Says:

It seems that you just didn’t follow the stats. First, that was one on TV: Rafa was serving harder, he had more depth, and more spin on his shot this year compared to 2014. But I noticed before that he looked slower, and if Novak could give his best — which was not certain — he would have a good chance. But he had to play his best for three sets at least, to be lucky, and his match against Gasquet was a deception.

Then, Novak made 45 winners to 16, the number of UE was 30 for both players, the total number of points 102 to 71. It was a beat down, a humiliation.

The third set was a cat and mouse game. The weather was in Novak’s favour — it was sunny, but they watered he court before the match, and after the second set. It immediately meant less spin and less BH errors. I didn’t believe that Novak would find a way through Rafa’s defence, but his shot selection was excellent, especially when, at 4-4 in the first set, he went for a higher % of first serves, with less pop. That serve was the key of the match: Rafa just didn’t read it, and he returned too short. After the first set, he didn’t have a BP.


Snowbird Says:

@Markus, 12:20pm, nice and classy!

@Okie, 12:24pm, ditto. I think it was damage control at work.


SL Says:

@ Bob Lewis. I think not just a Fed in his prime, many players in today’s top 10 would have beaten Nadal today on this court the way he played. Perhaps you did not notice how short he was dropping the ball, as he has been for many months now. That’s just good food not just for Novak but most other good baseliners today to chew up.

@ Snowbird. @ Markus. The fact is even before Rafa’s health minor issues he was having serious problems last year, he was dropping way too short and was making too many errors. He did manage to pull out the French, but was not really playing well at all. The injury excuses are really just excuses, but to his credit, Nadal has not blamed his recent performances on fitness at all, quite the opposite.

@ Navdeep. Thank you. Let’s hope the Murray (assuming he wins) – Novak semi is a better match than this one was. I agree that Djokovic is the heavy favorite, but Murray can make it a good contest if he plays to potential.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

I’ve finally managed not to jinx Novak…


chris ford1 Says:

One early stat from the Guardian. Novak’s forehand winner that set up triple match point was his 23rd forehand winner of the match.
Rafa had 3 forehand winners.


SG1 Says:

Think that only Stan has a shot at taking out Novak. And I think he’s got a shot if he can get to the final.

He’s just a power house out there. He has a better serve than Rafa and he can create space on a tennis court because he hits so massively from both wings. Federer looked completely outgunned against Stan. Anyone find that Federer’s shots look like they’re landing a little shorter than usual? It also seems like he was forced to hit a lot of defensive slice backhands.


Wog Boy Says:

Congrats to all Nole fans, real ones, but this is only one step towards that missing link, still long way to go, it is not time for celebration.
Commiserations to Rafa fans.


Navdeep Says:

Chris ford1,
That’s the difference maker. Nadal forehand was just not their.


sienna Says:

Nadal the wannabe Goat was just not ready to compete.


Daniel Says:

TV, Djoko was having trouble with the sun. Everytine a shade came in when he was serving agaisnt the sun (close to where I was) he hit aces or decent first serves.

Imagine if it was not hot and sunny?!

Apart from the first set Nadal
Never had breakchances again, he was 2-5 before saving a bunch of set points down 4-5 and again set points down 5-6 when Djoko eventually break.

The “drop shot” duel was excellent as well. Nadal hit 2 down set points and it takes some nervea to go that. He won both points.

I think Murray with hos return agressivr game can trouble Djoko more but also depends on his second serve as well. Both will clash with some strakes going on, Murray unbeated in clay this year after 16-0 and Djoko 15-0 with 2 titles in MC and Rome, plus this is Djoko’s 27 match win in a row right?

Tsonga doesn’t have a chance, under tuff moments he crumble. Wawrinka os a whole other animal. He can trounle Novak and that final could be a clash


django Says:

Chris Ford, sounds like a plan.
I did not think Nole would pull it off TBH.


mat4 Says:

@WB:

Thanks, WB, if you still count me as a real Novak fan, it is.

And yes, there is still a long way to go, facing great champions in the semi and the finale, whoever there are: Murray, Ferrer, Tsonga, Wawrinka, they all have proven that they are in great shape and that they can win the tournament.

Let’s hope that Novak will continue to play this well, that’s all we can do, and with a little luck, a good result will ensue.


Snowbird Says:

@SL, thanks for your reply. Don’t you think the problems last year began with the appendicitis? I think Rafa should have had the surgery done last year instead of taking the antibiotics and then given himself at least 6 months to recuperate. A problem with the abdomen makes it very difficlt to hit with force.

@SG1, I think Murray has a chance to beat Djokovic, but they both play similarly, so it’s a toss up.

I agree Stan has the game and power to match Djokovic, and can do it, but he has such a glass brain, that it’s difficult to bet on him. Tsonga also has the game, but he gets tired at the end stages of a slam. Perhaps, he might want to avenge his 2008 loss. Anything can happen, and all tennis fans are in for some very good matches to watch. May the best man win!


Pitchaboy Says:

Not to take away from Novak, but he is beating two “near dead” snakes called Roger and Rafa. Nadal of 2010 would beat Nadal 2015 6-0 6-0,6-0


SG1 Says:

Interested to see how the rest of the year will unfold for Nadal. Grass has historically been a surface that has made him unhealthy.

He’ll have to try to save his year at the USO, I think, because I just can’t seem him wining another Wimbledon. Too many scars on those knee joints at this point and too many other big guys out there that can take him out of his comfort zone.

Ultimately, this is somewhat of a recovery year for Rafa (a bit like 2009). Next year’s Euro Clay Season and FO will likely be the indicator as to whether or not he’s done.


SG1 Says:

@SG1, I think Murray has a chance to beat Djokovic, but they both play similarly, so it’s a toss up.

———————-

I don’t see him having any chance against Novak on red clay.


Daniel Says:

Dan, the problem for Nadla is that he is not going to get a great seeding for Wimbledon also, he has poor resulta last 2 years and another player could pass him dependong on rankings. So he can be draw at R16 for one of the other Big 4, Djoko, Fed and Murray who all are very dangerous in Wimbledon.


Markus Says:

I’m watching Murray, so naturally, he loses his 1 break lead then gets broken for Ferrer now to serve for fhe 3rd set. Grrrr!!!
I’m turning the TV off now,


mat4 Says:

So, Rafa was injured tout de même… he had appendicitis last year…


mat4 Says:

BTW, although Andy leads 2-0, he hasn’t won his match yet. Let’s wait a bit.


Daniel Says:

Damm, Ferrer won 3rd set saving 1 Match Point. Hope Murray finishes this in 4 otherwise Djoko smiling😜


mat4 Says:

BTW, Novak has just qualified for the WTF.


Ben Pronin Says:

Not sure how Murray lost that third set. Both guys are playing very up and down and never at the same time, it seems.

I can see Murray upsetting Djokovic. But that’s what it would be, an upset, because Djokovic is definitely the favorite.


Daniel Says:

SG1,

Next year by this time Nadal will be 30. He has 2 Quarter finals in 2 Slams which are the slowest. Although his resulta in US Open is good, 2 wins and 1 runner up, I just can’t see him winning there, more than 5 guys can easily beat him there.
Wimbeldon to me he is out of the picture a long time. Acrually this loss raises a lot of question marks, but some
Expect player to be re inventing themselves and not everybody is Federer who is on his 3.0 version and even still only has 1 Slam final of note in last 2 years.

nadal may not recover from this, is yet to be seen if he will play good close to 30 or can rebounce for this loss. If he can win titles after 5 clay tourney with 1 final haow is he gonna do it in the fast part of the season?! Not realistically in my view.


SL Says:

@ Snowbird. Actually I don’t think that’s entirely true. Rafa was struggling even in the lead up to the French 2014, not as bad as now, but he was. He then had two ordinary grass outings (losing to Dustin Brown and Kyrgios), and then could hardly win a match on the hard, either before or after his injury/appendicitis. Yes, he could have had the appendicitis dealt with earlier, and it was a hindrance, but its not the key reason for his decline. His pace of shot in this French is the same as before, the statistics show that clearly, its depth that is the problem, and that has to do more with timing than power. Also, he is making more errors than before statistically, and that too has to do with a slight loss of mobility which cannot be due to appendix. That’s just my point of view.

Agree with you completely on your Stan and Andy analysis. And may the best man win.

Right now Andy seems to be having some trouble with the Ferrier though…


Tom Says:

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! No1e THUMPED him as many of his fans called it (like me)! Bye Nadal fans. Enjoy the rest of the year as our guy starts creeping up on your boy’s 14. And spare me he’s losing to Andy or Stan. Save those posts because you’ll look petty.


Snowbird Says:

@SG1, Thanks for your analysis. I was hesitant to put the appendix stuff out there, but am just curious to hear other fans’ thoughts on the matter of playing after abdominal surgery..

Perhaps Rafa can rebound but I doubt he’d ever revert to the Rafa who won the FO prior to 2014. Age has a funny way of letting us know that we’re not invincible.


jane Says:

“our guy”, “your boy”…
they’re just tennis players.


Bob Lewis Says:

@SL:

Well, if Federer were a current, young top 10 player w/o all the baggage and tough losses…plausible. But I’m not convinced that even the 2009 champion version of Federer would win today. He just played so differently when Nadal is on the other side of the net.


Tom Says:

I’m kind of hinting I’m Serbian Jane. Sorry if you it offends you… LOL!!!


Emily Says:

And spare me he’s losing to Andy or Stan. Save those posts because you’ll look petty.

As opposed to how you’re looking right now?


Wog Boy Says:

@mat4,
Of course I count you, what would we do without you.


squirrel_0209 Says:

Really Emily? What did he say?

Yeah, hope Stan can win!


Emily Says:

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! No1e THUMPED him as many of his fans called it (like me)! Bye Nadal fans. Enjoy the rest of the year as our guy starts creeping up on your boy’s 14.

Little petty for me, but moving on to the semis


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Jane=sanity

I think Stan has the best shot at taking out Novak, but who knows if he can hold lightning in a bottle that long.

Novak could be in for a LONG period of dominance, I mean years. Murray is the only guy who is currently playing that has the POTENTIAL to raise his level and challenge Novak, especially at Wimbledon, but he is famed for playing below his potential.
Fed is not going to get better. The Lost Generation (Milos, Kei, Dmitrov), I don’t think, have that much room left to improve.

Could the young Australians grow into threats? Could be, but they’re not showing it yet. They are the only non-Murray hope for a real challenge to Novak, possibly for several years. Novak could much up Slams and rewrite the stats books in the next few years, and really at an advance age to be doing so.

Is there any other than the Ks coming up? Is the next serious challenger still in juniors?


calmdownplease Says:

A breadstick from Andy!

He’s looking good
Not beating Novak on clay good but he.has.a.chance
If it is very hot
And it’s going to be over 30 degrees apparently
It’s all good


skeezer Says:

“jane Says:
“our guy”, “your boy”…
they’re just tennis players.”

Adeptly put!


Margot Says:

Lol Nole takes the motorway, Andy as usual takes the scenic rout. YAYYYYYYY!
Lol what was said again, “Andy will NEVER beat Ferrer on clay.” And “Ferrer in 3.”
Gotta wonder if people had actually been watching any tennis lately.


calmdownplease Says:

Nadal was terrible
I don’t know why anybody thought he had a chance
He’ll be back, but I think FO ’16 will be his last one, win or lose.


senthilvel Says:

Ok. French Open Done. Bad luck continues for Nadal – Meets Murray @ Wimbledon 4th Round(No ranking pumping up – last 3 years very bad record in grass) .


Snowbird Says:

@SL 1:12pm, thanks for your thoughts.


calmdownplease Says:

I hope semis go as long as each other
It would be terrible if the winner of Novak Murray
was too gassed and the other side won due to this.

“Andy will NEVER beat Ferrer on clay.”

Who said this?


Giles Says:

Didn’t I tell you Jane was jinxing Rafa? I was right.
I reckon Murphy is playing well enough to win the FO on Sunday. Let’s see.


sienna Says:

if Federer was a current young top 10 player …. he would bag atleast 3 clay slams after his career.


Margot Says:

@CDP
Giles and Monte Carlo predicted the sets.
@KatH
Were you pleased? Andy managed, “Merci beaucoup” to Amelie “wub”


skeezer Says:

Don’t know if their was a longer than 2:31 min interview that Rafa gave after the match, but the one I saw gotta say Rafa gave a class interview. Much respect for that. No excuses. He gave imo a honest assessment of the match also. Hope for his fan base he comes back soon.


calmdownplease Says:

I knew Andy would beat Ferrer
And Novak would probably win in straights
The latter was inevitable
Nadal has no confidence and has to rely on lesser players for wins
Just like Andy had to for a long time there.
Wouldn’t it be AWESOME Margot, if Andy got AO revenge…..
(and rather ironic to boot)
I’m not predicting it however, hehe
But he must put in a renewed performance for a possible Wimbledon encounter!
or tennis will effectively be in another weak era!


Toilet Break Says:

Time for Nadal to show fake injury and skip rest of the season and come back in next year AO get injured again n come back in clay swing and play FO and get injured again and skip rest of the season.


Margot Says:

AWESOME CDP! Lol might need my smelling sats then…;) But more likely to happen at Wimbledon I think.


sienna Says:

this Nadal would nothave beaten 05/ 06 Federer.


calmdownplease Says:

Much more
But if Novak massacres him Friday (which I seriously doubt)
He’ll be even more difficult to put away on the grass, so he has to make some kind of statement here.

I remember Rome in ’11 when Novak was winning everything, a court not so different than this one
And Andy served for it in the 3rd
Perhaps we should do some kind of voodoo ritual and hope for the spirit of William Wallace or some other famous dead Scot to assist?
Although a heat wave would be a start!


sienna Says:

so is he dropping out of top 10 ? silverlining after 4th R Wimbly he has nothing to lose.


jane Says:

yes, giles. that *must be* why novak won. my jinxing powers. woot!


Margot Says:

@CDP
The weather gods have already answered our prayers….gonna be hot as heck ;)
@jane
Go Andole!
And Giles “must’ve” jinxed Ferrer :) If only we had such power :)


Markus Says:

Andy won?! He gives me heartburn…didn’t see it…but I’m happy nevertheless!


calmdownplease Says:

I’ll have my sunglasses on and maybe a jug (or two) of Pims at my disposal too
Allegedly!


Markus Says:

@Jane: I have that power. I can make Andy lose by watching.


jane Says:

soda pop weighed in:

Robin Söderling ‏@RSoderling 2h2 hours ago
Unbelievable level from Novak. Big congrats! And what an amazing fighting spirit by Rafa, as always…such a role model for all youngsters


Giles Says:

Jane. Full marks for trying so hard a d succeeding. I must try it sometime and see if it works for me.
Joker is the heavy favourite for the title now. Can’t see anyone beating him. Heavy heavy favourite!


Giles Says:

Markus. You’re like a pendulum.


calmdownplease Says:

nothing Rafa did Today was `amazing`
unfortunately for him


Margot Says:

Lol Markus, apparently RZ has that “power” too..;)


calmdownplease Says:

Tactically Andy cannot become distracted by Novak this time, it’s his own fault if he does
I genuinely believe he is now ready to make it very difficult for Novak, he will not implode again and there is little pressure on him for this one.
Novak will have to beat Andy without help from Andy
Also, Im sure he is now aware of the changes Novak has added to his game such as the net rushes to be ready for it this time
I’m not expecting any surprises in this one but on a hot day with faster conditions
Well, ya never know….
It’s not like Andy is going in against Rafa at his best on clay, as great as he is Novak is not the same.


calmdownplease Says:

But even if he plays his best ever on clay Novak will still probably prevail
Unless we see something new here


Tom Says:

Andy is going down. No1e is determined and clay is not a surface Andy has been known to do well on (especially against No1e). Conditions will not matter because as I recall, Australia was hotter and last time I saw Andy complaining about his legs down there. Paris is not Melbourne. We can all pray I guess ;-)


Pitchaboy Says:

Ironically, the guy winning the weaker section of the draw is likely to win. Andy and Novak will be a 4 plus hours dog fight.


calmdownplease Says:

Well Tomovic, or whatever you’re actually called.
True Paris is not Melbourne and that Final was 6 months ago and included a Murray meltdown to top it off
Won’t be happening this time however
Let’s pray Novak does the job quickly eh?
or he might be gassed for Stan who took him out of the AO not too long ago
As for `esp clay`
Wrong, they’ve only played on it twice before
And the last one was VERY close….
And the conditions WILL matter…


calmdownplease Says:

`4 plus hours dog fight`

4 hours is fine

5 hours + might not be


KatH Says:

@ Margo

I’ve got a huge grin (shows I need the dentist urgent|)- but who cares….
Didn’t mind the bonus either “Merci beaucoup” courtesy of Amelie – as you’ve indicated there is evidently a quality about her that keeps Andy relatively calm/focused.


KatH Says:

@ Margot

as to your WUB – events often have a way of rightening themselves!!

It often surprises me.

Keep happy!!!

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