Djokovic Destroys Nadal, Rafa’s French Open Reign Is OVER! Murray Takes Out Ferrer
by Sean Randall | June 3rd, 2015, 2:36 pm
  • 225 Comments

That was emphatic. Novak Djokovic proved he’s the best there is right now absolutely crushing Rafael Nadal in their quarterfinal meeting today at the French Open 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.

In the first set, Djokovic jumped out to a 4-0 lead against the error-prone Nadal, and I wondered if the match would even last 90 minutes as Nadal looked completely out of sorts.

Playing on his 29th birthday, Rafa bounced back and started finding his groove. He scrapped his way to two breaks over a now edgy-looking Djokovic to level at 4-4. But he couldn’t sustain his level against the Serb who was too strong. Djokovic took the first set 7-5, then broke again early in the second and it was effectively over.

“You prepare for this match in the best possible way tactically, mentally, and to get out there and execute your plan. Obviously it’s easier said than done when you’re on the court with him and on the court that he has only lost once in his entire career,” Djokovic said. “But I managed to do that. Had a very strong start. Except, the second part of the first set and first part of the second, the entire match went really well for me. It’s definitely a big win, a match that I will remember for a long time.”

What we saw all year from Nadal spilled over into the match today. Short balls, weak serving, etc. And a lot of that had to do with Djokovic who played some of his best tennis at times. And that’s saying a lot considering how well he’s done this year.

“The first set was key. But then when you lose in the way I lost today, I’d say c’est la vie,” said Nadal. “It’s the way it is. If you look at the score I’d say I didn’t win enough games. He played better than I did. You have to accept it and congratulate the other player. Then you have to analyse the reasons and then work really hard. This is what I think I’ll have to do now.”

Watching the match, I thought Novak really took advantage of Nadal’s poor court positioning with the dropshot, which we saw repeatedly. And he was really cracking his forehand today while Nadal was misfiring all over the place.

Novak really looked the part too. Sharp, in charge and composed out there. Like he hadn’t lost to Nadal the last three years and six times overall in Paris.

As for Nadal, who falls to 70-2 at the French and 93-2 in best-of-5 on clay, he’s just not the same guy right now. He’s lost five straight sets now to Djokovic on clay, and really none of them were even close. And he’s losing to a lot of other people.

“I accept the defeats and there is only one sure thing: I want to work harder even than before to come back stronger,” said Nadal.

“I am going to fight. I lost in 2009 and it was not the end. I lost in 2015 and it is not the end. I hope to be back here next year with another chance.”

Of course he can get it back. He just needs to find that confidence again. The speed, the power and shots are still there. He just needs to get his head right. Will it come? Who knows. I hope it will because it was sad at times watching him struggle today.

“This month was quite positive,” said Nadal. “Even though, I must say that today was not the greatest of all days. But as I said earlier on, whether you win or lose, life must go on. Next week we will have other competitions and such is life. In my case, life will continue whether I win or lose.”

In the second semi, Andy Murray battled to take the opener then won going away 7-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. Murray has now won all 15 clay matches this year, and this was his first win over the venerable Spaniard on the slippery surface.

“I feel like obviously this year I played much better tennis on the clay,” Murray said. “I feel like I understand how I have to play on the surface better than I did in the past.”

Now Murray has the task of finally ending a 7-match losing streak to Djokovic.

“Going into the match having not lost on clay this year and having some big wins on the surface is important for me,” said Murray. “I will just keep doing what I have been doing: have a good practice tomorrow, recover, and come up with a good game plan.”

Overall, Novak leads 18-8 with this just their second meeting on clay and Novak’s won both at 2011 Rome and 2008 Monte Carlo. This will be their third straight Slam in which they meet.

“Right now I’m aware that this is a big win, which I will enjoy tonight,” Djokovic said. “But tomorrow is a new day and I have to move on. It’s only quarter-finals, and I want to fight for the title. That’s what I came here for. I have to kind of direct my thoughts to the semis.”


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225 Comments for Djokovic Destroys Nadal, Rafa’s French Open Reign Is OVER! Murray Takes Out Ferrer

jane Says:

with 9 french opens and a gazillion other clay records, i am sure rafa’s reign as the “king of clay” with remain in tact for a long time. i read that he will not drop out of the top 10 with the loss, as some had speculated.

i agree that novak began to look more and more composed as the match wore on. but he started out quite nervous.

just read a nice tweet about consistency:

Jared Pine ‏@JaredPine 13m13 minutes ago
Career semifinals reached:
1. Roger Federer 36
2. Jimmy Connors 31
3. Ivan Lendl 28
4. Novak Djokovic 27
5. Andre Agassi 26
Murray has 16.

but honestly i think i am most proud of the fact that novak has beaten federer and rafa at all four of the slams now. two of the greatest ever.

no one else has done it or is likely to do it i don’t think? i guess it may depend on how long they all keep playing and meeting. also i don’t know if anyone else is close? i think berdych and tsonga have beaten fed at 2 of the slams. rafa and fed have beaten each other at 3 of the slams as well.

anyhow, onward we go. both semis could be extremely competitive. stan might beat tsonga in straights, though, depending on which jo shows up.


jalep Says:

So excited! Checking scores from work; just saw that Nole and Andy won! Whoopie!!!!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Sean, I completely disagree with your assessment of Rafa: the speed is NOT there, the power is NOT there, the shots are NOT there. He looked like he was being outmuscled for a lot of the match. I don’t feel like I’ve ever seen that for Rafa.
His UEs were extremely high for Rafa, and he had, what 2 FH winners? So much for the power and shots being there.
As for speed, well, he’d still beat me, and he’s still ONE of the best defenders, but the old mare ain’t what she used to be.

Rafa fought hard, I don’t think nerves or mentality was an issue today. The spirit was willing.


chris ford1 Says:

Very nice afternoons work for Djokovic. Should have been the Final, but it’s not. 2 matches left, and both will be against dangerous opponents.
The one with Andy will be against a clay player that is finally having it all come together as people predicted for years it would for someone with the clay court gifts Murray has. It will also be hot and humid Friday.
And should Nole make the Final, we know more often than not Stan is a rock on slow courts. But if Tsonga beats Stan, boosted by the crowd and a streaky player knowing he can beat anyone when he is hot…Tsonga is a danger as well. If Jo gets to the Final, he probably knows this is likely to be his last great chance to get a Slam title.
Nole should be favored, but no pushovers are going to found at the last 2 steps to a French Open for Nole.
He knows this and his team knows this. He cannot let up, cannot lose focus until the French Open AND Wimbledon are done.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

As they say, the King is dead. Long live the King.


Navdeep Says:

The moment i read the heading djokovic destroys nadal, it knew it had to be sean randall. He just loves to degrade nadal everytime.


jane Says:

“@EdMcGrogan…Djokovic will now have played Federer, Nadal, and Murray at every Grand Slam tournament. #RG15″

rafa’s played andy and nole at all the slams, but not fed (uso).
fed’s played nole at all the slams but not rafa (uso) or andy (fo).
andy’s played rafa and nole at all the slams, but not fed (fo).


brando Says:

Was not going to comment and stay away for a while but saw this and had to comment: “I have much respect for Rafa. He is obviously not playing at the level we expect from him this season,” said Djokovic said, who has won six of his last seven matches against Nadal.

“But he remains a champion and it’s always a pleasure to play against him.” Thanks for the respect nole towards rafa. It was dejecting to see rafa play nowhere near his best. But that has been the story all year and one must accept it as his new reality. Congrats to you Novak on the win, thanks for the kind and honest words and if you win Roland garros this year you deserve it since you had some tough painful losses to stomach over the years. As for rafa: just gotta to move on but I think the writing is on the wall for him sadly. Just got to appreciate the fact that he’s had a tremendous career and this is natural cycle in a sportsmans career. Congrats to novak once again and also to his fans such as courbon.


Ben Pronin Says:

To be fair, Djokovic did destroy him.

I really don’t know what to make of Nadal. For one thing, he’s reached the quarters of both slams this year. That’s better than the ageless Federer. But my point here is that it’s not like he can’t play best of 5. He played a long one in Australia and won. Against Berdych, he got better as the match went on. But today, he looked gassed at the end.

And when he was mounting his comeback in the first set, he looked like the Rafa we expect to show up in big matches. And that’s what I was thinking. The first 4 games Djokovic played well and Nadal was like “oh snap, this is the real deal” and he woke up and started playing like the guy who’s won 9 titles. But Djokovic was still slightly better, returning really well, so it wasn’t shocking he managed to pull out the first set. And until 3-4 in the second set Nadal still looked strong. That to me was when the wheels fell off. He sprayed 3 or 4 forehands in a span of a few points to go down a break and give Djokovic a near comfortable hold. Then he played some great points but Djokovic responded with some holy crap points and pulled it out. Then Djokovic just ran away.

When Nadal double faulted, it was like he was saying “I don’t have the energy to fend off another return off my feet and run from corner to corner until you hit a crazy winner again”.

Mental? Physical? I don’t know. But to see a champion of Nadal’s caliber have such an insane drop off in his game, I think, is unheard of. I get he had some injuries last year but we always see him bounce back. And usually it’s because his game is just so good. But now it’s not and it’s really strange.


skeezer Says:

Navdeep,
Why singularly blame Sean for Rafa’s loss? Degrading? Its all over the news;
http://deadspin.com/novak-djokovic-just-dominated-rafael-nadal-at-the-frenc-1708746312

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/06/novak-djokovic-rafael-nadal-match-french-open-record-quarterfinals-odds-nadal-record-titles

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sport/tennis/story/french-open-nine-time-champion-nadal-crushed-djokovic-20150604

He ends his write up with some positives about his status and ends with compassion;
“I hope it will because it was sad at times watching him struggle today.” Don’t know what ya want anyone to say…


Gordon Says:

Actually the score proved that moving up Rafa’s seeding would have been a mistake. He was not deserving of getting an inflated seed; he just wasn’t that good today.

But I will not be surprised if he comes back and dominates on clay again; he is more that capable of attaining the lofty heights he once occupied.

But not this year. Djokovic – as all his new bandwagon jumping fans will tell you, is the man if the moment.


skeezer Says:

Rafa’s defense today was decent….for Clay. But if he tried defend like that on any other surface ( based on his movement today ) he would have been slaughtered.


sienna Says:

Branda s comments are cut short. Just like Rafa s groundstrokes.


Tom Says:

Gordon, bandwagon fans of Djokovic? Many of his fans are Serbs that have been rooting for him since 2007. What bandwagon are you talking about? The fans that don’t root for him at these majors like the luke-warm applause he got today in Paris? Or when he had to ask the US Open fans to root for his awesome return shot against Roger in 2011 during that comeback and then win at USO? Please do enlighten me on these bandwagon fans? Rafa has the biggest bunch if you want to get technical about it. I never see them after he loses. BTW, I’ve been around awhile. Some of you may know me better as drmatorski ;-)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Good comments above.
Ben, its not unusual really. McEnroe for example won 2 Slams + a finals in 84, then made a finals and semi in 85, and that was pretty much it for him.

Wilander won 3 Slams in 88, and never made a semis after that!

Sampras also had a really steep decline after his loss to Hewitt. Jim Courier was on top of tennis in 93, steep drop after.

Gordon, I agree. I mean, I think we all expected that Rafa would play well above the level of the last few tourneys. He played better, but not like another player. I think Stan or Andy would have beaten him today, frankly, just as they did recently. I mean no disrespect, I have HUGE respect for Rafa, but this wasn’t the match (the Finals in a QF) we expected.

Which is good news for us fans: the real finals, and hopefully best matches, are still to come.


brando Says:

@TV: I have to agree with you. My honest assessment of rafa today was…….He seemed past it. Pre match I feared more than anything that rafa would be anxious, cave in mentally and just throw the match away like he has done at times. But here though that did not happen. He tried hard. He fought tough. He gave his all today. What let him down was simple: his game just wasn’t upto the mark at all. It just wasn’t really good enough in any department. And the thing is: novak for me was not even playing at a high level. He didn’t have to be since Nadal just isn’t upto par anymore. The serve hardly seems to produce any easy points for rafa. His movement isn’t explosive or anywhere near the elite level. His FH is not consistent, reliable and above all else: a problem. In R16 at times to me it seemed Sock had the better FH. So to me: rafa today gave the best he could in his 2015 season. This is his level right now. And as a fan one just has to accept it. He turned 29 today and historically many legends start to or have tapered off by that age. Maybe it’s the same for rafa. I cannot fault his effort, fight. One just has to accept the writing on the wall that’s apparent all season: his game just isn’t as threatening as it used to be on the high level. Right now its hard to see the fix. Especially on grass next where he’s been below par for 4 years now.


brando Says:

PS: this match kinda reminded me off mayweather v pacquiao. Alot of hype, expectation. But ultimately a dud since one guy (pacquiao in fight, rafa today) just did not perform anywhere near how many expected. Truth is: I’m glad he avoided a aggressive hitter like wawrinka since then it would have been a even nightmarish shellacking. I think the game has gone aggressive and if rafa wants to hit a high level again he needs to hit the drawing board and rethink his game. Evolution to survive is necessary. Maybe hire a new coach. New thoughts, New ideas.


skeezer Says:

Brando,
Glad you acknowledged his movement as a key componet. In Tennis footwork and movement are everything. Fans get caught up in stroke errors, but if your footwork/movement is lacking, poor stroke production follows. If he is going to get back his physical mojo, he is going to have to fix that.


chris ford1 Says:

Tom, Nole has a bigger fanbase than just his Serb compatriots. Many non-Serbs here have also been rooting for him, or at least thinking he would be the next great player, since 2007.
In other news, congrats to Li Na and husband on their 1st baby, Alisa. It is befitting the sport that Asians are now making more and more headway. Kei, a cadre of solid male juniors in Korea, China has a few that could make Top 30. And Nick Kyrgios is half Malaysian.
And I welcome Nole fans coming to appreciate the guy since well after 2007. Most are not band wagoners. For a very long time, well after their rivalry was extinguished by Nadal, the media could not get over their slobbering love of Fedal and focus on “The Two Legends”…..
And Nole grew in the meantime into a true champion on and off the court. Even when Nole 2.0 came out in 2011 and did the impossible – vaulting above the then co-GOATS and winning, the media didn’t think it was going to be a long term thing. One glory year for Nole, then Fed or Rafa would rightfully be #1 again. But lots of decent fans began noticing there was a lot to like with Djokovic as a player and as a person and his fan base has been growing steadily.


Ulysses Says:

No, it proves Djokovic beat Nadal at the French Open of 2015, as had been expected considering their respective incoming forms.

It’s not rocket science; Nadal cannot expect to win the French by routinely leaving serves and forehands short, particularly not when playing against top players who, in recent times, have made a shift in their pattern of play against him (his youth would have countered such pattern changes in the past, but it’s just not as easy to do now…very tiny margins, but they matter). If Nadal played Murray, save for a mental letdown by the Scot, I would have expected a similar result. Indeed, against Ferrer, it would have been tough as well for Nadal. Again, that 1st serve though????

All that aside, lets not get ahead of ourselves. The USO was wide open for Novak to win last year, and he lost. Both Tsonga and Wawrinka have the type of craft which seems the only other effective antidote for Djokovic (other than old Nadal). Not to mention — and I may be getting ahead of myself here — Wawrinka simply doesn’t leave balls short. Like, he doesn’t, unless if he’s tanking hard, which isn’t unlikely. Should that be the final, and should the Stan that beat Federer show up, do we honestly believe Novak is a lock?


jane Says:

tignor thought the first set was one of the better ones nadal and nole have played, and indeed it was crucial according to this stat: “the winner of the first set in their previous 43 matches won 36 of them.” also, mcgrogan noted how crucial it was that novak served out the second set after nadal got him to deuce that game. obviously the third set was more one-sided.


jane Says:

ulysses, it’s not a lock. neither is the semi. perhaps i missed the posts of those who said it was, or i scrolled over.


Ruby Says:

Quite the hyperbolic headline there. Rafa has lost at the French before — it’s not a historic event, hand that claim to Soderling — and Rafa was playing far more consistently back then. I guess it makes people feel good to see the word “destroyed,” but I think Djokovic himself took a better tone, acknowledging Nadal is not in top form. That’s not his fault of course, and it’s still a great win, but it’s simply the reality. Novak played well, but he didn’t have to play transcendent tennis because Nadal didn’t make him. Hope to see some transcendent tennis yet …


brando Says:

@Skeez: thanks skeez and I agree completely. Rafa seems to me to be pretty slow these days. Peak Nadal has many prominent features: one of the more notable is his explosive movement. He used to get to the ball in plenty of time and the ball explodes of his racquet with topspin that has plenty of interest. That is no longer the case. It was apparent today but really it been the case all season long. Rafa seems labored in his movement, unusually sluggish looking in comparison to his former self and his stroke production is affected heavily. How many times did he miss his FH DTL today? He was cursing himself at how off his FH was. I think he’s right: mentally he’s good and he’s over his nervousness. Today he fought and performed as best as he could muster. But that right there is his problem now. This is his level in 2015. And he has severe issues. The following: 1- his movement is off: he has none of his explosive, energetic movement and he seems labored, even late getting to balls. 2- this affects stroke production: due to this he’s seemingly netting more shots than ever, his FH missing consistently without any pressure. 3- weak serve: he hardly seems to get any free points and facing consistent pressure on serve. 4- tame tennis: Rafael for the big boys is not a threat right now. What is there to be afraid off? He lacks in movement, serve, the FH no longer is venomous and strangely: his game lacks any power or punch. That’s where he’s at for me. So I think he needs to go back to the drawing board……..And maybe get a new coach. Accept his new reality, seek out a new mindset, philosophy on how he should at this stage in his career since clearly the old MO is no longer upto it. Federer adapted: he got Edberg. Murray dare he got Mauresomo. Rafa should perhaps seek out someone. Maybe him and Toni have run their course and it’s time he tries something new at this stage of his career. He needs to evolve for me since the old game seems hard to reimpose today. My 2 cents.


brando Says:

@Ruby: you’re post is so spot on and brilliantly sums it all up for me. Novak did not actually had to play a high level to beat rafa. At all. Sure the score was one sided, but really it hardly required much to win that’s why. And that’s why my respect for Novak grew in his honest and gracious post match reaction where he pretty much said: look rafa this year has been not his former self (a polite way of saying pretty poor). And even in his celebration he wasn’t overly ecstatic and very respectful towards rafa: he knows his great rival is way down his level. Hence my appreciation: he could have lapped it all up but he showed sheer class, respect and understanding towards rafa in his plight.


skeezer Says:

Brando,
Good advice. You should post that on Rafa’s FB page he should read it ;)


Daniel Says:

Jane,

If Djoko beats Murray in semis the only one missing will be beating Andy in Wimbledon for him to habe beat all other Big 4 in all Slams. That could be a huge achievement.

Also, an achievement that could be reached this season is that he may revert or tie both HxH with Fed and Nadal this season. He is 21-23 agaisnt Nadal (and now that the slow courr season is over if thye meet I expect him to have more vicotries than losses) and agaisnt Fed he is 19-20. This could be great for him, after years in their shadow eventually having positive HxH versus than (expected when you are younger) but doesn’t diminish his fear because he would be the only one to do it.

But first things first, Fed and Nadal are out and what matters now is getting his elusive RG. Than thinking on double digits Slams and maybe a Grand Slam this year.

A lot on the line in next few weeks.


brando Says:

@Skeezer: maybe I should! I think he needs to accept his lot: I’m 29, my game clearly doesn’t have the same effect as previously: what can I do in order to change things for the better? For me that means maybe leaving uncle Toni, seeking out a new coach, trying to retool His game and see what that can deliver. Bring in someone with a different mindset. Someone who won’t be like Uncle Toni and tell him: don’t worry it’ll come good, it’s just bad luck right now. It ain’t. It won’t. Right now the game is evolving and rafas stagnant. If you take a step back and ask yourself: has rafa improved much as a player in last 2 years? For me the answers a no. 2008? His backhand. 2010? His serve. 2013? More aggressive baseline mentality. Since then nothing much at all. He’s stagnant. Whereas Novak has improved (serve, net game, overhead), even Andy (his kick serve has picked up big time recently) and others also. Even Fed with his net game. Rafa needs to do the same. And I think Toni cannot help him there. I don’t think technically he can provide much on that front. So I think he should seek out a new voice rather than than being stubborn and sticking with the same advice since there comes a time when what previously worked: expires it sell by date. Nature’s law. Evolution. He MUST move on for me and try to adapt and do something new. It would be better for him than to stick with what clearly fails him. He’s not lacking for fight, effort or work ethic: just his game needs serious inspection, retooling and strategic rethinking. Still believe he has the weapons in his locker: just needs to figure it out on application and strategy. A new coach can do just that and revitalize him I feel.


Okiegal Says:

@Ruby 5:57…….I agree with you. That headline was uncalled for. Why would a writer use destroyed when the player has won it 9 times? We all know Rafa isn’t the same player he once was, but he will still play and continue to win matches and will undoubtedly lose some along the way. I agreed with you post in its entirety.


Ben Pronin Says:

For all you guys saying Djokovic didn’t play all that amazing, I don’t know what match you were watching. Maybe he wasn’t in God mode but he was playing great. He got almost every return back in play with some authority. He served well. He defended extremely well. And he did a great job dictating play and sticking to his game plan even when Nadal pushed back. I do think his error count was deceptively high because he didn’t appear to hit too many errors, at least not in the tightest moments.

Maybe we’re just so used to seeing this efficiency from Djokovic that it looks normal, but it’s not. Maybe a hot handed Murray or Wawrinka would’ve beaten Nadal, too, but not many others. Everyone was looking for excuses for Federer when he lost to Wawrinka but he admitted that the reason he didn’t play so well is because Wawrinka didn’t let him. I think the same applies to this match.

Anyways, Nadal does have a lot of work to do. But I don’t think he needs a new coach. It’s insane but he’s made it this far with the same coach. He’s already capable of playing just about every shot in the book. Right now he’s just struggling with some of his signature play, particularly his forehand. He ends up hitting so many short balls because when he presses and tries to be aggressive, he’s missing more often than not nowadays. It’s not like he doesn’t know how to a forehand, or Uncle Toni doesn’t know the technique to work on. But he’s struggling. For whatever reason.

I don’t know what’s wrong with Nadal. Whether it’s the injuries taking their toll or just confidence or simply a slump. But I think we wait and see. Federer hiring Edberg isn’t the best comparison. Federer has gone through several coaches even when he was number 1. Nadal never did.


django Says:

i just watched the match again without nerves this time. Rafa was just not himself and hasn’t been for a while. I was really sad for Rafa even though I wanted Novak to win a RG trophy. It’s the end of an era. Rafa is my second favorite and had Rafa won I would have backed him to win it all. Bittersweet day.


Okiegal Says:

Brando, Rafa made it pretty clear in an interview not long ago that him not winning as because of his coach nut because of his level of play. He said there would be no coach change. I think Toni will have to bow out on his own for that to ever take place. Even then, I think he would stay with Roig. He was very emphatic about not changing coaches. I agree that some new fresh eyes might would help.


NK Says:

“But I will not be surprised if he comes back and dominates on clay again; he is more that capable of attaining the lofty heights he once occupied.”

Gordon, get real. Rafa is 29 and with each passing day the competition is getting tougher. Rafa is never going to dominate on clay or elswhere, just as Federer is never going to dominate. They may yet catch their respective mojos briefly and win a few big tournaments, even a GS title, but dominate? The word stands for sustained brilliance, something that Novak is demonstrating currently. So please stop being delusional. Nadal’s days of domination are over. Period.

Okiegal, whuy is the headline uncalled for? How many times a player has won a tournament is absolutely immaterial. The headline is specific to this one match, and yes, Novak did destroy Nadal. Look at the stats. 18 break points versus 5 for Nadal. Broke Nadal 6 times versus Nadal breaking Novak twice. Djokovic never faced a break point in the second and third sets. Nadal had brak points against him in virtually every game during these two sets. Novak won over a hundred points versus 71 for Nadal. I don’t remember Novak’s winners, which I bet far outnumbered Nadal’s.

Yes, Novak destroyed Nadal. Please stop using past wins as an argument. They had nothing to do with the outcome of this one match.


Emily Says:

I thought the first set was close, but it was clear that Novak looked better on court. However, he wasn’t playing his best and had more UEs then usual. It’s sad to say, but he’ll have to play better in order to win this title since the other 3 guys left have all had some great wins.

Reading about bandwagon Novak fans, that is definitely a thing. I don’t think it applies to most posters here, but I was in the crowd during that 2010 semi, and was the only one predicting his win. Then, it was bandwagon Fed fans who were everywhere, who then all went home before the Rafa/Murray semi. This is sports, where fair weather fans abound, but it means so much more when a player you support for a long time has a great result


NK Says:

I should add that deference to a player’s past achievements should not influence a writer’s accurate depiction of reality in a specific match. Writers use the adjective “destroy” not out of malice toward any one player but to describe what transpired in a match as truthfully as possible. Writers are not paid to be soft but honest.


Ben Pronin Says:

If anyone could use some bandwagon fans, it’s Djokovic.


Gordon Says:

Tom – I meant no disrespect to those Nole fans who have always supported him. The bandwagon fans are those who see who is #1 and root for him/her, really enthusiastically until he or she is no longer on top and then suddenly they are ardent supporters of the new #1.

Frankly it’s nauseating and is disrespectful to the fans who stay with their guy/gal through thick and thin.

A bandwagon fan is someone who cheers ONLY for winners. They believe somehow it makes them more important.


jane Says:

i think novak has had “some great wins” as well. for example, 4-K was playing tremendously well and likely would’ve taken a set off many players. and of course there is beating nadal at roland garros. that’s a great win too.

as for bandwagon fans, all the top players have them, especially after breakout seasons or slam wins. most of the djokovic fans i know have been with him through thick and thin since 2007 or before. but definitely he has gained a stronger fanbase each year since 2011.


Gordon Says:

@Emily – right on!!!


Gordon Says:

NK – if you don’t think Rafa could win another French Open – just wait. He’s 4 1/2 years younger than Fed and I will not be surprised if he hoists the RG trophy at least 1 more time.

Sorry – Roland Garros is the French Open, in case you were confused.


Emily Says:

@jane, I’m not saying Novak hasn’t played well but no-one should underestimate the other 3 based on their matches thus far. It’s far from one and done


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Brando, you make a good point about Rafa’s progress. As Fed said, not everyone is willing to do the work to change like Novak has.

IMO, Rafa did his big advance in 2010: and the results showed: French, Wimbledon, USO. Domination of the tour, with a very new style: killer serve, positioning close to the baseline. The big mystery in modern tennis is: what happened to Rafa? Why did that serve and style disappear after that year? In 2011, he went back to the old serve, the old positioning and Novak took over. All credit to Rafa for coming back the way he did in 2012, but it was “old-style” Rafa. And let’s face it, Rafa 1.0 was a very successful and powerful beast, but not dominant off clay. I mean, he spoke about that publicly at the time and if memory serves Toni did as well.

So 2.0 appeared and then… what? Where did he go?

The one thing Brando that you didn’t mention as Rafa-hallmark is consistency of groundstrokes. To me, after his speed and defense, consistency of his groundstrokes, with a spin and punch no other player has ever matched in terms of rally strokes, was his second hallmark. That consistency was just not there at all today.

I do agree with Ben’s point: take nothing away from Novak today. Rafa did not roll over. Novak played incredible – but as Ben says, it was still not his top level.


peter Says:

Destroyed is a strong word, if the match was over in less than 2 hours then maybe, but it was 2 hrs and 26 minutes for 3 sets.. the scoreline is not as close as the reality of the match, much like Monte Carlo.

While nadal showed flashes of brilliance, he was not consistently playing at that level, which he had in the past. Nole played solid in all the crucial moments, and while nadal was close in the first two sets, Nole did jUST enough to stay on top. The third was straight forwARD with nadal looking tired and given up.

I do not think wawrinka or Murray would have won in this manner against nadal today. Djokovic is currently consistently playing at another level, which nobody else can match.

Murray will not have a chance against Nole. Neither is Tsonga. Wawrinka has a slim chanCE with his big serves and accurate groundstrokes.


Navdeep Says:

Skeezer,
that’s not the first time SR has posted something like this. Remember ‘ the OCD guy ‘ or yesterday while predicting the match ‘ he wont win he shouldnt win ‘.


skeezer Says:

This is laughable. So lets get this straight, there is;
-fake fan
-real fan
-bandwagen fan
-true fan
-wtf fan
Now, it’s important not that your just a fan of a player but you must declare what kind of Tennis/Player fan you are.
Hilariously ignorant( btw I for one never “cheered rafa” when he was briefly #1). It’s the fanatical that believes in all these fan descriptions. A Tennis fan has a fav, but ultimately enjoys the game for what it is and not for who looks hot.
—–
“He’s 4 1/2 years younger than Fed”
Rafa does not float on the court. Fed does. Rafa’s style pounds the court, with is body and knees. The Beast mode has caught up with him. He has more injuries in his career than anyone else in the top 4. One could easily surmise that his body is just is old if not older than Feds atm. And he looked exactly that in todays match imho.


Travis Bickle Says:

I agree with some of hurt Nadal fans here that Sean should not have used the phrase “Djokovic Destroys Nadal” in the title of this post.
I also agree with super smart Okiegal (@7:25) that you simply CAN NOT use the word destroyed on someone who has won this tournament 9 times!

The more appropriate title would be “Djokovic Edges the 9-times Champion in a Tight Three-Setter”.

You CAN NOT claim destruction when a winner of a tight three-setter has only slightly more total points and winners than the 9-times champion…
Total points (102-71)
Winners (45-16)

Also, Okiegal & co will likely remind us that the 9-times champion was much better in one important statistics – break point conversion (Rafa’s 40% to Novak’s 39%). The small fact that Novak had a slight edge in a number of breaks (7-2) does not diminish the importance of 9-times champ’s superior break point conversion rate…

In other words, keep commenting Oklahoma girl – your short hiatus was felt since it created a bit of an intellectual vacuum here.


Travis Bickle Says:

skeezer,

“Rafa does not float on the court. Fed does.”

I haven’t noticed thus far. I’ll have to pay more attention to this superhuman specimen.
You know, regular humans cannot float on the court – there is a force called gravity (bummer, I know) that keeps most of us (with apparent exception of Federer) from floating.

On another Federina site, some of them recently seriously claimed that Fed sweats and urinates Moet champagne – it does not come from the grapes as many of us foolishly thought.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeeze- that was funny, I was thinking the same thing myself. Now there are guardians of who is allowed to speak of who! Next: fealty oaths and sacred rituals.


Markus Says:

“Destroys” may be a strong and harsh word to use but it was appropriately used because that is what exactly what happened. Nadal did not win any set, got a breadstick in the last set, double-faulted at break/match point, did not break after the firs set, etc., etc. . “Destroys” was used in the context of this particualar match, not the whole history of the French Open.

“Edges” would be very misleading and inappropriate because that would imply a very closely contested match where the winner triumphed by the skin of his teeth. That was not the case at all. It was not a tight 3-setter at all. Tight first set but not three sets. It takes a lot of imagination, maybe delusion to call it a tight 3-set match.


Humble Rafa Says:

Dear Humble Nation,

Today I lost to a better opponent. I understand that Clay Court God shed a tear for me. Thank you God.

We have nothing to be ashamed of. We ruled with an iron fist for almost a decade. Keep your head high.

Next stop lawn mower station. Humble is like fine wine. More time I spend with the grass, the more grassy I become, I mean, better lawn mower.


Snowbird Says:

Reading the comments on this thread it’s obvious that most tennis fans agree that Rafa has a few problems that need to be sorted out and fixed ASAP.

For starters, a psychologist would be of great benefit to him to help restore his ebbing confidence, which is probably somewhere about 25 per cent of what it used to be. I also think Rafa may have some unresolved issues that a psychologist can help him to work through and rectify. A part-time coach in the form of a serve expert to help him beef up his serve and win free points. Someone such as Lansdorp comes to mind, but maybe he’s retired; and perhaps on a part-time basis a coach in the form of a consultant,(all of the other top 4 guys have one) who would be able to work with Uncle Tony, to impart new ideas, and get Rafa back to his winning ways again.

I don’t feel that Rafa is anywhere near retirement. He’s got some good tennis years left, and could probably win another FO, which would take him to double digit slams. A feat no other player has ever achieved.


Travis Bickle Says:

BTW, I would compare current relevance of FEDAL to that of Justin Bieber. They all had their moments of glory (keyword HAD).


skeezer Says:

TB,
LOL @ 9:32.
TV,
LOL too, You and I both know the score here…good call ;-).

HR,
Your old news. try a new act. You predicted Monfils to beat Fed. Skip the predicting, go back and try to worry about your self and improve your footwork, and go back the the muscle enhancing stuff, shirtless sleeves ( for the ladies ) and tighter shorts.


chris ford1 Says:

Be nice Travis. Fed is having a wonderful tennis twilight. He is still dangerous for everyone it seems but Rafa. And Nadal and Djokovic’s rivalry is not done with this one match. He will again go into the gladiator’s arena and be one tough “out”, and a force in the game.
The Fedal rivalry was basically ended by Nadal back in 2008. But both players march on. Looking at Djokovics back since he has more or less been in front of both since 2011, but still in the mix.


Markus Says:

LOL skeezer @9:15: So what category do I belong? I always like whoever wins because I find it admirable when one wins over so many opponents, especially if he shows consistency. So I have come to like all the Big 4. Does that make me an omnifan or maybe, a slut fan?


Okiegal Says:

@Travis Bickle……Are you making fun of me???
I’m not sure if you are being serious. The reason I’m wondering is because you said I was intellectual….
Will admit, that took me by surprise! I’ll say thanks and leave it at that. BTW, I just got back from church! My spiritual life makes me see the good in everyone! :)


Snowbird Says:

In the case of bandwagoners, I think most of us have a few players we like, but have a very special one we stamp as our No.1 “fave”. What baffles me with some fans is their attitude that they own a certain player and no other fan is entitled to share him. Additionally, I don’t understand those fans who followed a player for years when the going was good, then suddenly drops him for the new star, and behave as though the previous one never existed. It’s almost like a divorce, in with the new and out with the old.


skeezer Says:

“What baffles me with some fans is their attitude that they own a certain player and no other fan is entitled to share him”
Agree with this…way to call them out snowbird!!

Markus, LOL Slut fans? Forgot that category…good one.


Okiegal Says:

@Snowbird 10:00……..Spot on post! Some fans want to always be in the winners circle. These words from a very old rock 60s song fits me to a “t”……”I’m sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter, like birds of a feather, we stick together, I’m telling you from the start I can’t be pulled apart from my guy” It’s me and Rafa until the bitter end!!!! :) I will cheer for Andy
now, however!! C’mon Andrew!!

Skeezer, I hope you didn’t throw up with my brand of poetry!! Lol


mat4 Says:

Let’s stop writing about impressions, but check some facts.

First, Rafa, this year, served faster, had a more powerful FH and more spin than last year. Those data were shown at the beginning of the match, some can be seen in Mouratoglou’s “The Coach”. If Rafa made only 3 FH winner, it’s not because he has less pop on his FH, it’s because he couldn’t hit those FH cleanly. Let’s add also that Novak’s FH is about 10 kmh faster in avg this year. It is more difficult to defend.

Then, Novak changed his strategy against Rafa last year: instead of fixing him on one side of the court than playing the other, like he did, he started to redirect the ball into the empty part at every shot. In the six matches they played before this one, the ratio of dominance was about 1.40 each time, the RG final last year excepted. Today, it was 1.90.

Let’s check once again the serve stats: Novak and Rafa served an avg first serve at the same speed, Rafa’s second serve was a bit faster, and the overall speed of serve was for both 171 kmh.

Novak first serve % was 63%, Rafa’s 60%.

Rafa has lost some speed. It’s not much, but he can’t make those outrageous winners from defensive positions as often as he did.

Novak made him run from the beginning. He played his CC FH with more spin, and Rafa had to deal with a higher rebound on his BH, something he has problems with, like everybody.

Novak also flattened his shots, and it made Rafa’s task more difficult. He also rushed to the net to meet defensive sliced BH, so it left Rafa with one option less.

It’s not that Rafa played so badly, it was rather that Novak played clearly better.


mat4 Says:

@Snowbird:

In 2009 a Spanish coach, Oscar Borras, worked with Rafa on the serve. He improved Rafa’s serve tremendously. Everything is filmed and can be found on yt.

He didn’t ask for money, but for some recognition (it means publicity) from Rafa and Toni. But no, instead of acknowledging his work, they mentioned a “grip change” at the USO in 2010. To say that Borras improved Rafa’s serve would make Toni look incompetent (something I believe he is).

Borras sued, and of course, he lost.


Dan Martin Says:

I’ve got my picks for tomorrow’s semis up at http://tennisabides.com – As for this match, I think Nole crossed a lot of big barriers to his confidence over the past 52 weeks, but this may have been the biggest. He is now 21-23 vs. Rafa, but if RG is thrown out he is 20-17. 0-6 vs. Rafa at Roland Garros & no slam wins vs. Rafa since that titanic 2012 clash in Melbourne. Nole is playing the best tennis in the world and his mental toughness is where it was in 2011


skeezer Says:

mat4,
Although I don’t disagree with your usual superb analysis, it is simpler than that. Unlike anyone else, Nole is not afraid to rally with from the baseline and deal with his FH….in fact.. hit to his FH, because he can usually back it up with his BH and/or movement and return with measure. No one else can do this consistently has well as Nole. If you watched afa’s matches with other players in the past, his FH dictacted the match big time. The players tried to stay away from it ( including Fed ) but they could not defend it when it came into play.
Nole has exposed the FH strategy of Rafa, and other players are taking note. You cannot let his FH spin take control. You have to take it on the rise and redirect it, make him move. When you you do that you open up the court and have options to be offensive and take control.


skeezer Says:

mat4,
To add there were other key components (re; serve …like you had mentioned ) but he separates himself from others with dealing with Rafa’s FH strategy. He shows little fear of as others do by attacking it and/or dealing with it to open up the court.


Michael Says:

The King of Clay is dethroned and the aura has ended for now, but the Rafa legacy will endure for the times to come as his record shattering 9 titles at Rolland Garros is a marvellous achievement that may not be broken for atleast another two centuries. Rafa in a sense eclipsed his own record by winning nine because there has never been another professional who won 8 major titles before in a single grand slam event. To extoll this achievement, we may be at loss of words only to honour it in two words “Simply ridiculous”. Rafa is gone, but his legacy will endure for the times to come. My graceful salute to this Champion for all the feats that he has accomplished over the years.


Mr. Larvey Says:

Surprisingly, lately I haven’t seen articles bashing Novak’s decission to hire BB as his coach.


jane Says:

yeah, we should stop with the fan shaming, it’s true.


Michael Says:

Now coming to the man who made this possible by breaking his jinx at Rolland Garros against Rafa is Novak. All credit to him for persevering over the years despite a spate of disappointments all through his career particularly at this venue where he has come too close, and yet remained so far from grabbing the trophy. It definitely was not easy as his opponent was on the quest of his incredible 10th tile and had the least pressure on him, while Novak was the man with all the pressure and who was overwhelmingly touted to win the match by the Bookies and Tennis commentators perhaps for the first time when he has played against Rafa at this venue.

I think Novak summed up the experience in the match well. Rafa is definitely not at his level as he normally would be during this clay court season when he would sweep everything before him. But to the credit of Novak, he is the man who has troubled Rafa over the years and I would go on to say that he is the man Rafa (fear is a disparaging word to use) feels uncomfortable matching up with. And Tony too described Novak as a pretty complex player difficult to handle. All this played on Rafa’s mind and the first set proved very crucial. Novak just breezed past through by two break of serves and leading 4-0, but Rafa who has this notoriety of fighting qualities simply exhibited them once again on the court and with some help from a suddenly jittery Novak who was probably overwhelmed with the way he was running away with the match took advantage of the lapse in concentration and equalled 4 all. But from then on, it was always catch up for Rafa who was serving from behind. Novak had so many set points going begging and at that point it did seem that the Tennis Gods were smiling on Rafa who managed to save many break points and set points. Novak, the Tennis machine that he is, was not disappointed with this failures but just kept the pressure on Rafa and he finally succumbed. After winning the first set which was very crucial from Novak’s point of view, there was no looking back and from then Rafa looked forlorn and lost.

It is really a pity that a match which was so much hyped proved to be a damp squib with Novak winning very easily. He not only beat Rafa, he also broke his indomitable will which is famed for its endurance. Finally, what would have disappointed Rafa more is not the loss, but the way he lost it.


Michael Says:

Brando @ 4.23 am,

Evolution to survive is necessary. Maybe hire a new coach. New thoughts, New ideas.

Great counsel !! I hope Rafa takes note of your advice and act upon. But I do not think, he will give up his Uncle with whom he has an intimate bond and attachment. Afterall, he won 9 by only taking coaching from this Uncle and why leave him for just one loss.

Tony can evolve and reinvent himself as a Coach to provide a good platform to Rafa.


Michael Says:

Brando,

“I think the game has gone aggressive and if rafa wants to hit a high level again he needs to hit the drawing board and rethink his game”

I do not honestly think that is a problem with Rafa. He can tackle every bit of aggression on Court with meticulous defence. Many hitters who went for broke against him fell through unable to match his counters. The problem is only with his consistency. Everyone knows the incredible defensive abilities of Rafa as a player. But, what can be done when he is not upto the mark in his area of strength ? He only has to go back to the drawing board to excel in the game for which he is known very well.


Margot Says:

Emily @7.56
You are completely right! Good post. Andy’s long, long struggle to get a slam/his back op which so destabilised him/Ivan quitting etc etc have made the highs so very much more poignant and so very, very sweet.


Michael Says:

The irony is that Novak has beaten Rafa, a remarkable feat at Rolland Garros where he is only the second man to beat him after Soderling. Despite that he is still only in the semi finals and he has Andy and then either Tsonga or Wawarinka to counter with. So, the title is still not certain considering the way Andy played against Ferrer where he was definitely finding his feet on clay as the later is no push over on this surface and is a known warrior.

I think the lack of excitement in the quarter finals will be compensated in the semis where I am expecting some tough encounters. I still expect Novak to beat Andy, but it is going to be a very tough match, probably five sets.


sienna Says:

rafa will be seeded outside top 8 for Wimbly. That will mean he gets stumped by organisers. He will keep some privilages as former champ.
but he will likely not play center and his lockerroom placement will be different…

Te britts have their own peculiar way tot deal with lower ranked players.
but in his favor he is more loved in Londen then in Paris.


KatH Says:

A lot of strong posts – I’m pleased for Nole for his strong win – but oh dear in that last game of the match, seeing Rafa’s face – I felt so sad – he needed his girl-friend up there to hug him…

….what a birthday!

It strikes me that we’ve no longer got the “4-S” team (Serbia, Switzerland, Spain, Scotland) at the top — one way or another there is a wind of change….


Sportisto Says:

I almost had a coronary after first set :) I bet on Djokovic Wawrinka final.


KatH Says:

Sienna – the Wimbledon rankings take into account current ranking and make changes based on GRASS results over a 2-year period – I don’t think Nadal will benefit much, if at all…


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/nadalnews/status/606233688230068225
Michael. Did you say the KOC has been dethroned? Really?
Until these stats can be bettered I would say Rafa has a good chance of staying on top of the pile for many many more decades to come. It took joker nine years to come this far. With an out of form Rafa, coming back from injury with hardly any match wins joker seized his opportunity and succeeded. Rafans were not expecting any miracles yesterday but are glad that Rafa is healthy and will live to fight another day,
Good luck Champ for the rest of the season.
Vamos Rafa!


Daniel Says:

mat4,

I agree, Nadal was hitting sime powerful shots and even his second ball FH was great after a Djoko retunr and he won a lot of point ms that way. Was only mid second set and third that he played ahort a bit but Djoko improved retunr. I remember one game Nadal hit 4 second serves in a row and won to love. His aecond serve was better than othe rmatches this season, I seen no return winner from Djoko or irt was 1. There was thisntimenhe smacked a return but he was placing it deep and I even tought he should place it more to Nadal’s BH because Nadal was immediately moving to hit a FH.

Regarding error count, first set they both missed 11 which is normal for a long set played with 12 games and probably half the points of the match.

On Nadal part indeed his error count increased, but it’s been the case all season. When he went for FH DTL close to likes he mossed wide anhandfull of times but that as Skeeze says has to do with movement and timing, hebis a bit delayed or not hanfling Djoko’s powerful shots as in the past.

Until 3-4 second set he was in the match this first 7 games, there were no deuce games and they were holding serve. I recall Nadal serving down 2-3 he went 15-30 but recover. I thiught to myself, Djoko is makijg a move on Nadal’s game and eill go for broke as the set gets to an end. He broke at 3-4, had 40-15 at 5-3 and even so that game went to deuce and he hit an amazing drop volley in the line that could have been BP. Once he closed thay second set Nadal’s resolve was gone.


kriket Says:

Michael 12:33 am, agreed.

The title is right, Rafa did look destroyed come third set. He looked lost and his never say die fighting spirit was nowhere to be found. Many people say it was sad to watch. I dunno if I felt sad, but I certainly felt for him.


Zozza Says:

Djokovic will win everything my prediction is coming true however seeing Nadal getting thrashed at Roland garros reminds me of 2009
But what happened after 2009 ?
Nadal will come back & play another 2 years … Hopefully he will find the 2013 form again before retirement is announced !

Nadal of 2013 would’ve won this quarter final without a doubt !

Good luck to anyone trying to stop Djokovic winning everything this year


Hippy Chick Says:

It never ceases to amaze me why some fans cannot simply enjoy the success of their favorites without belittling the achievements of two other all time greats?….


Hippy Chick Says:

We will have a new champion at RG,but it will be a long time before we have another KOC,Rafas achievements on clay are second to none,simple as….


brando Says:

@Michael, Okiegal, django: completely agree with your posts. The truth is: everyone saw this defeat a long time coming. And the main prime reason for that is: for a long time now Rafa has not been anywhere near his standard bearing level. A reality even Djokovic acknowledged post match: that Rafael this year ain’t his usual self. Its a naked reality that everyone now accepts. But what are the symptoms for rafas downfall? For me its clear his movement is slower than before. Like I mentioned earlier it affects his stroke production, especially on FH side which he needs time to get his full follow through. His serve seems to get broken consistently in matches and hardly gains him any free points. His break point conversion and defending has been poor all year. He’s making more misses than usual: the ball goes into the net or long for a ridiculous amount of time for a player who’s game is all about consistency. And he also seems to lack power, pop on his shots. Hence: this result was hardly a surprise for many if any. It was a final nail in the coffin that many pretty much saw coming since Nadal has long displayed he ain’t his usual self. Facts are facts: he’s won ONLY a paltry 250 title in a year. That too without facing a single top 20 player. He has not defeated a top 3 player for a year. Such statistics are why many expected him to fall here and sure he did. How can he address this regression? First he must recognize he’s 29. He’s entering a new stage in his career and surely that means a new approach is due. The days of I can outlast them with my defense are surely gone. There are many who are fitter, faster right now. And a whole bunch coming through who are youthful. So he must try to change, seek a new approach. A new coach would help but clearly as Okiegal touched upon: he ain’t ever going to fire Toni. Uncle Toni has pretty much been a second father to him, one who has done so much to develop Rafael as a man as well as a tennis player so I cannot see Rafael sacking him at all. ONLY if toni decides to part ways will a change occur. The chance of that happening is hard to see at the moment. So I see this season as a write off: he has little time to make any real changes for grass- where he has real hurdles anyhow that are tough for him. He will improve in USO swing hopefully but problem is too many already are playing better, are far more inform and confident than him. Form and confidence matters immensely in tennis and right now rafa has little and many have plenty. It takes time for him to address that. Hence: I don’t see Rafael being close to his old self until 2016. I think he’ll throughout the year, but it won’t be enough to win anything significant at all since right now the issues are significant, his level is way off his desired level and the competition is too far ahead on many fronts.


Markus Says:

Hi, Happy Chic! I just want to say good morning/evening to you. Nadal lost to a player playing really well but Nadal remains the king of clay and will probably be so forever. I don’t think anybody can touch that.


Markus Says:

As regards a new coach for Nadal, can’t he just do like Djokovic, get another coach with getting rid of Uncle Toni?

As Brando said, Nadal’s movements have slowed down. This may be a function of age and the many injuries he has sustained over the years. His game is very physical which makes age a bigger liability as compared with Federer whose court movements have always been very economical. Nadal probably senses this untoward physical change and consequently, even his mental strength has become affected.


Markus Says:

As regards a new coach for Nadal, can’t he just do like Djokovic, get another coach with getting rid of Uncle Toni?

As Brando said, Nadal’s movements have slowed down. This may be a function of age and the many injuries he has sustained over the years. His game is very physical which makes age a bigger liability as compared with Federer whose court movements have always been very economical. Nadal probably senses this untoward physical change and consequently, even his mental strength has become affected.


Markus Says:

…without getting rid…


mat4 Says:

@skeez:

In the previous post I just reacted to certain post where the emphasis was on Rafa’s decline and bad play. I just wanted to show that he played bad because he was made to play bad. I wrote a few times about Novak strategy when he faces Rafa, and I agree with your comments. Yes, the key is the BH, of course.

Rafa’s avg spin at RG was, this year, 3700 rpm. Last year it was about 3400 rpm. He worked a lot with the latest Babolat equipment to control his shots, and the data I’ve seen seem to show that he improved there.

A ball with with such tremendous spin just skids from your racquet, and is very difficult to control. On clay, the rebound is very high and you have usually to hit it shoulder high. You have to had an outstanding BH to hit it deep time and time again, to redirect it DTL (to redirect it precisely), just to be able just to control the ball.

That’s was the first element of Rafa’s successes over the years. It’s still there.

The second, a very important one, was Rafa’s speed. Just watch some replays from yesterday’s match: he slides three to four yards to makes his FH gets, to retrieve balls most players wouldn’t bother to try to get. But he indeed seems slower. And it is clear that such movements put a tremendous pressure on the body, especially when you are very heavy, like Rafa is, with a physique for football, not for tennis.

My opinion about his physical decline is well known on this blog, and I won’t repeat what I think about PRP treatments, etc. While still very fast (I believe that Murray is as fast), he lost 20 cm he needs to hit his shots cleanly.

It isn’t that important when he is not under pressure. But against a player who hits with acute angles, who make you run all the time, it becomes crucial. Yesterday, it was crucial.


oreo1 Says:

Congrats Nole. Unleash that “heart of a champion” in YOU. Hear’s my song for you.https://youtu.be/FPtWSbMjQQU


brando Says:

Saw a interesting stat about yesterday that summed it up regarding rafa for me: 3 set match. 28 games played. Over a 100 points played. And yet: number of Djokovic forehand winners: 20 plus (think 23 was final total). But more tellingly and startling was the number produced by what many consider the best forehand a clay court has seen. The number of winners Rafael managed to produce in that time is a astonishing…………3. Just 3! A clear indication his forehand was off (I think we can all recall some of his alarming FH misses, Novak certainly touched on this post match) and I genuinely believe that is down his movement being slower, how his stroke production is affected by it and probably confidence has to do something with it also. A lack of belief in his game. He needs to have a solid look at his game. Look at all the data. Analyse his matches. This match is somewhat irrelevant since he’s facing Djokovic: world number one. But the errors he made here are the residue of what he’s done all year v lesser opponents. He needs to be studious and open minded about January to present this year and really dig deep to see why he’s tailed off as he has.


mat4 Says:

To address some other things. The serve, first.

Against Novak, Andy, he is forced to defend since he is under pressure from the serve. Rafa used to serve quickly as a teenager. Then, Toni gave him the advice to take his time to serve, and Rafa improved his results immediately.

But he took too much time, and now it became a problem. He can’t focus fast enough.

Then, a part of his serving was to throw the returner out of his rhythm. He is not allowed to do it so much any more. Let’s just remind that in 2013, the 45+ sec was the key in his victory against Djokovic at the USO. Just watch the game at 4-4 in the third set, at 0-40.

Yesterday, he slowed down too, but then, Cédric Mournier intervened. I guess that while Rafa thought that the Bernardes case would be a good message to the umpires, the umpires just got it wrong.

Also. He worked on his serve with Oscar Borras, then, with an incompetent coach like Toni, he regressed. I remember well the match in Miami 2011 when, under pressure, he missed most of his first serve and changed his motion.

The Borras affair was very ugly, and it shows that Rafa won’t ever change his coach. If you have read “his” book (basically, I am certain that Rafa is illiterate, with a subpar education), you know that most members of his team were amateurs, without references in tennis before working with him (dr Fuentes excepted, of course). I don’t know if it has changed, but following his career, from him numerous injuries, his peculiar technique, I can conclude that not much has changed.

Players like Berdych, Ferrer, Wawrinka, are also very heavy, but they are almost injury free.

All I can conclude is that the members of his team think of him as a goose with golden eggs, just like the family of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. The number of tournaments Rafa plays, the number of exhos he takes part in, just shows that the only thing his entourage is interested in is money.


mat4 Says:

@Brando:

It wasn’t off. He made three UE with his FH. He had to hit his FH on the run time and time again. Just rewatch the match. He played the way he usually does, but he wasn’t allow to have a look at a clean shot.

Novak is constantly improving from the beginning of 2014. Yesterday, it was clear how much: Rafa spent the match chasing shots. He was treated by his medicine on the BH, with high bouncing balls, and with penetrating, heavy shots on the FH side.

Then, he couldn’t find any rhythm on the baseline since Novak made a lot of drop shots (Rafa too): 10 in the first only.

Rafa was not allowed to play, that’s all.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Mat, correct me if I misunderstand, but your contention seems to be that Rafa is playing as well, or even better from some of your stats than previous years but Novak’s level was the entire game-changer. How does this explain losses to Fognini, Murray and Wawrinka? And not just Novak, but Jack Sock also had no problem with Nadal’s serve. Novak played brilliantly, but I don’t believe Rafa 2015 can be compared to Rafa 2014. There is a saying about statistics I’m sure you are familiar with.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I just remembered, I don’t think English is your first language, so maybe the expression I meant isn’t clear: There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics.


Markus Says:

Why I can’t leave this site is because of the many posters who are very knowledgeable about the game and are able to dissect it’s mechanics and provide interesting information and statistics for tennis fans like me who know little about the intricate nuances of the game. You make me enjoy the game even more. I don’t want to name names lest I miss anyone but you know who you are, thank you all.


Felipe Says:

Djokovic has 1 thing in mind…becoming the most succesfull player of his era.
He has a big chance to win the French, complete the career Grand slam and get his 9 slam. He surely will complete the wire to wire number 1 and as world number 1 (for a fourth time). He is dangerously closing the gap in master 1000 (27-24 Nadal) and head to head (23-21 Nadal),and by the end of the year he still have the chance to win Cincy (completing the master 1000 sweep) and the WTF (his fifth).
His determination and work ethic is second to none, and he LOVES been the best.
History is in the making, and only a few players (ultra inspired Federer, Murray, Red hot Wawrinka, any Big server in a robot like day, Nadal somehow finding his 2013 level)can stop it.


Hippy Chick Says:

Hi Markus and thanks,yeah to be honest i saw it coming so it wasnt really much of a shock,the defeat was inevitable sooner or later,it was the manner of it to tell the truth that was the dissapointing thing,anyway to put things into perspective he has nothing left to prove anymore on clay,and he has also won multiple GS on all surfaces so not too shabby,tomorrow is as they say another day,and AMs my second favorite and the one im pulling for now,best of luck to the four guys left,and may the best man win….


Ben Pronin Says:

Whether or not Nadal’s hitting harder or faster is irrelevant if he can’t get the ball in play. That’s been his issue this year, consistency. It’s an issue we’ve never seen with Nadal. In past years, even when he’s not playing well, he just doesn’t miss and eventually finds his groove. It’s sort of what happened in the first set yesterday. He started out slow, unsure, but then he got into a groove and started hitting great shots. And it last for about a set (second half of set 1, first half of set 2). And then he started missing again. Unfortunately for him, Djokovic has adopted Nadal’s tactic of staying with his opponent until he implodes. That’s not to say Djokovic wasn’t trying to be aggressive. But when Nadal was being aggressive, Djokovic, for the most part, wouldn’t miss. He defended extremely well and eventually Nadal’s shots started going wide and long and Djokovic took full advantage.

It takes 2 to tango. Djokovic played very well and Nadal did not. That’s why the score was so lopsided. We all thought it was crazy to say that Nadal wouldn’t win 10 games. But here we are. A lesser player than Djokovic would’ve let Nadal into the match more, not just in set 1. But Djokovic has too much experience and is playing too well, though. That’s why the idea that so and so would’ve done the same is simply theoretical. We don’t know how another player would’ve responded to losing a 4-0 lead and so on.


Michael Says:

Giles,

Michael. Did you say the KOC has been dethroned? Really?

I did add “for now” which missed your eyes.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Well, this is a linguistic issue, and we must examine both sides. To wit, is the King of Clay a current title, or an historic honorific? On Giles side, we may look to Elvis: he is certainly not the CURRENT King of Rock and Roll, but if we say the King of Rock and Roll, we all know we mean Elvis.
On Michael’s side, we have Queen Elizabeth. If I may be so bold, she is probably not the GREATEST Queen of all time. She doesn’t conquer anyone anymore! She opens shopping malls and waves. But if we say the Queen, in conversation, no one thinks we mean Vicky.

Muddying the waters even further, we have the sitcom King of Queens. Where does that fit in?

Troubling indeed! We will need to strike a committee to examine the issue further.


Michael Says:

Brando @ 6.49 am,

Great post !!

You talked about Rafa making changes in his game. Well, that is not going to be easy by any stretch of imagination when many aspects in your game is instinctive. It is a bit too late I believe to completely transform the way he plays. But still, I think, he can succeed even with his old self if only he is consistent from the back of the court. The problem today for Rafa is his lack of consistency. And about that power and pop, infact I was very much surprised by the lack of it in Novak’s match whereas against Sock, Rafa matched power with power. I am not sure whether Rafa tactically slowed the match to upset the rhythm of Novak who is always the aggressor.


Michael Says:

TV,

You have a great sense of humour !!


MMT Says:

Nadal has been playing with more margin this year (higher net clearance) and as a result, his shots lack penetration either in depth or speed from racquet to racquet. That makes it easier for Djokovic to dictate and change direction, exposing Nadal’s backhand line. This is precisely how Fognini beat him in Brazil and even moreso in Barcelona. This is also how Murray got him in Madrid.

The increased net clearance (this year) may explain why the match was so convincing for Novak, as well as why so many other players have been able to do the same whereas they have not been able to in the past. But ultimately the key is Djokovic’s ability to control the play with the power and depth of his strokes hit from closer to the baseline and closer to the middle of the court. If you can’t do that, you still can’t beat Nadal on clay (unless he just has a howler).

One thing that Djokovic does better than most players is change the direction of the ball (e.g. to hit down the line from a cross-court shot). Nadal’s bread and butter is the cross-court forehand, hit increasingly further and further to his opponent’s left, which forces most to play the low risk/low reward cross-court response. This feeds into Nadal’s forehand to play it even further to the left and elicit errors and/or pump it up the line when the margin increases. This, in a nutshell, is how Nadal dictates points particularly on clay. This works well for Nadal because he defends so well, he gives himself more and more chances to eventually take control of the point.

But because Djokovic can change direction off the backhand better than 99% of players, he can disrupt this pattern and force Nadal to cover the backhand and diminish his capacity to control the point with the forehand. With Nadal’s limited capacity to control with his backhand, Djokovic blunts Nadal’s best weapon and forces him to win with his weaker shot.

You could try this against Djokovic or Murray (who also defend very well) but because they are technically symmetrical (their forehands and backhands are equally strong, therefore, they don’t have to dictate with one or the other), the effect, even if it works, is not the same as when it is done to Nadal (or Federer, for that matter, who is also technically asymmetrical).

There is absolutely nothing mental about this – it’s down to Djokovic’s special talent, his technical symmetry, and the strength and fitness he has to consistently lower the risk on a high reward tactic of going up the line off of Nadal’s cross court forehand. By neutralizing this strength, it becomes very difficult to for Nadal to dictate and nobody can defend forever.

Nadal’s only solution is to get stronger/faster/more stamina and keep doing what he’s been doing for 10 years – the prospect of this is minimal. His alternative is the develop a more penetrating backhand which will allow him to dictate more as his ability to defend (naturally) declines with age.


Hippy Chick Says:

Michael TV has indeed got a great SOH i agree,much better than some that think been crude or sexist passes for for humour….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Thank you Hippy and Michael, I always enjoy your posts as well.

MMT, your analysis is actually in agreement with Mat4′s stat re: rpm. The heavier the topspin, the higher it flies over the net, the shorter it lands. Topspin is generally taught to make shots safer; they won’t fly long. But looking at Rafa’s UEs, which are simply far out of whack with his past game, he is getting all the disadvantage and none of the advantage from his topspin right now. At least Novak is strong enough that the spin is not bothering his shot as it has for so many years to so many players – also as Mat4 says, crazy topspin makes the receivers racquet torque. Not this time.


Hippy Chick Says:

^TV your welcome^….


shyam kumar Says:

Nadal is a coward man .he should have to took aretirement …


Markus Says:

Hi, shyam kumar, is that your contribution to the current scholarly discussion of Nadal’s and Djokovic’s games? Well, thanks anyway.


Gordon Says:

TV – you are of course correct. This September, when QE2 passes Queen Victoria for British Monarch longevity, will they rename Victoria Day around the world? Will the capital of British Columbia be changed to Elizabeth? Of course not.

——————-

Of all the tweets I read on yesterday’s match I thought this one by Lindsay Gibbs was the best –

“Important clarification: Winning this RG would have undoubtedly added to Nadal’s legacy, but losing this match in no way diminishes it.”

Rafa is still the King of Clay; he just lost yesterday to the best tennis player on the planet.

——————-

POP QUIZ: Now we have two married men playing each other in a semi-final at Roland Garros. When was the last time THAT happened? ❓


mat4 Says:

@TV, at 8:05 am:

No, that’s not what I wrote. The comparison was between RG 2014 and 2015. I didn’t make it clear that I didn’t take in account the previous tournaments. I watched the matches against Fognini in Barcelona, Murray in Madrid, and against Stan in Rome — in Barcelona and Madrid, Rafa was simply awful. Against Stan, he played completely the wrong way, although he had the shots.

His game was patchy at best during the clay season, although he was slowly improving.

Then, hitting two shots better doesn’t mean that, overall, one plays better.


Ben Pronin Says:

Completely agree, MMT. Thanks for that. Every match preview always states how Djokovic is the one guy who forces Nadal out of his comfort zone and when he’s already just not playing as consistently as normal, this is the result you end up with.

MMT, one question. Who’s the 1% that changes directions better than Djokovic? Not trying to be a homer but every time I watch the guy play this is what amazes me more than anything. I can only imagine how much tougher it makes to play him because it’s so hard to read where he’s going to hit.


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

I don’t know what MMT will write, but I can’t think of anybody.

There is also another thing: Novak changes the quality of his shots every time he can: depth, spin, height. I was always perplexed by the numerous UE* his opponents made without any clear reasons.

I watched tennis for 40 years now. I have never seen a player as complete as Novak. He is not flamboyant, there’s nothing outstanding in his game, but the whole is greater than the sum of parts.


KatH Says:

Hi Hippy Chick

U were missed.


Ben Pronin Says:

“there’s nothing outstanding in his game”

I hate this statement. No offense mat4, but this is just the biggest bs myth about Novak. Just yesterday Simon Barnes wrote that he doesn’t have any 10/10 shots, just a bunch of 8s and 9s. This is a load of poop.

Djokovic has the best 2 handed backhand ever. Ever. The way he can basically use it as a second forehand is something only few have done but never as ridiculously consistent. His serve is heavy and very difficult to read and he has a great second serve. His forehand is unbelievably versatile. We saw him hit heavy top spin forehands angled short and cross court to Nadal’s backhand and then huge forehands up the line that were a lot more flat. He has a great drop shot, too. His volleys are still a work in progress so that’s maybe the only area that isn’t 10/10.

But nothing outstanding about his game? The control he has on his returns is second to none. Yes, he’s not flamboyant. But he is absolutely outstanding.


MMT Says:

This is getting a little technical, so feel free to roll your eyes a bit, but I don’t actually believe the RPMs are lower, just that the net clearance is higher. If his RPMs were down, but net clearance remained the same, it would manifest as more balls hit long – but what we’ve seen from Nadal this year is more balls hit short, and it is this characteristic that has made it easier for Djokovic, and OTHERS to dictate by stepping into the court and changing direction.

In 2011, Djokovic’s strength and increased spin on the forehand in particular (along with a better serve) allowed him to dictate points against Nadal on clay as well. If you recall he won all of their encounters on clay that year. So he’s always been better at that than most players.

But this year others are able to recreate what previously only his supreme talent, footwork and hand-eye coordination could manage. I believe the difference was that Nadal changed racquets earlier in the year to give him more racquet head stability, but this affected his consistency. To compensate, he increased his net clearance, but that cost him penetration, and the result is all his initial losses on clay.

I believe, even after changing back to his old racquet, his stroke has (unwittingly) evolved to increase net clearance, and as a result the sweet spot of margin and penetration has gone off the boil, resulting in his most recent losses on clay.

I don’t believe this will carry over to grass courts, because he typically intentionally alters his stroke production and court positioning to improve penetration and move forward, so he may actually see his game improve on grass with little to no technical changes.

Where I’m concerned he’ll continue to struggle is on hard courts, where the balance of power and margin is even harder to manage and one of the reasons why generally I regard clay and grass to be his best surfaces. On clay he can (or could) play with his natural margin. On grass, the surface forced him to adopt a more aggressive posture, which is better for his game anyway.

But on hard courts, where he’ll actually have to find the right balance, the problems he’s had doing that on clay will only be compounded. That being said, nobody tweaks their game as persistently as Nadal, and if anyone can make the adjustments, he can.


Dc Says:

Nole is an awesome baseliner ; he is is no way a complete player. He misses more overhead smashes than any other top player; he seldom does S & V, never have I seen him chip annld charge. There are many situations in which he could apply these techniques and shorten the point. He probably lost a few grandslams because he could not apply these techniques and got into lengthy and exhausting baseline rallies. His so called complete game is exposed on fast courts where his winning percentage is the lowest (example Fed def Nole in Dubai)
This does not in anyway Diminish the effectiveness of his game. He is an awesome player , fun to watch , and definitely can become one of the greatest if he continues to play well.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

MMT, I believe Mat4 was citing stats showing RPMs were HIGHER, not lower, which would lead to greater net clearance and shorter balls.


MMT Says:

I don’t actually think anyone does it better than Djokovic, but there are a few players who do it as well as he does – not coincidentally Murray and Fognini come to mind. Of course, Fognini and Murray lack Djokovic’s innate strength, so they don’t do it as consistently as he does against Nadal, but if Nadal’s level drops off, there are players who can take advantage of that. Fognini was up a set and a break in China a couple of years ago, playing almost exactly the same way he did in Barcelona, but Nadal dug in an prevailed. Murray has never shown the penetration (on clay against Nadal) as he did in Madrid, and hence the result.

But the key component, that others lack, is the hand-eye coordination to change direction. Without that, the only other way to beat Nadal on clay is to bludgeon him into submission. This is an altogether higher risk/lower reward tactical approach, which only Wawrinka and/or Almagro have shown any ability to do on clay. It’s easier to do it on faster surfaces, so the universe of players who can do it is greater, but on clay it’s very limited.


elina Says:

I could see quite plainly after the Sock match that Rafa had virtually no chance against Novak. His shots seldom had any depth similar to how he lost to Soderling.

Djokovic of course was simply brilliant. It would have been a battle even if Nadal brought his very best.

However, Murray has been a quiet surprise and will give Novak a stiffer challenge than Nadal. Tsonga is a wild card that could take out Stan with the French crowd behind him but would have little chance against Novak.

Stan however has done it on the big stage before and has real chances should he bring the game he had to routinely dismantle Federer.


MMT Says:

A nod to Nishikori for going from cross-court to up the line. This because he has, in my opinion, the best hand-eye coordination in the game along with Federer and Dimitrov. He is also technically symmetrical and has a two-hander which allows him to hold the center of the court better from Nadal’s cross-court forehand in a way that Federer and Dimitrov cannot, despite their talent.


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

No offence taken, you are right here. I wrote the post in a hurry and used “outstanding” as I would in French, instead of “prevalent”, or “prominant”.

Sorry, my posts are often patchy, prone to misunderstanding, with holes. While I don’t think that his BH is the best ever (I believe that Murray’s better right now) it among the top 5 ever. His return is arguably the best ever. There was a stat, recently, I think at Dubai, that his FH is faster than Berdych’s, and it’s certainly more versatile. So, we don’t disagree here.


Ben Pronin Says:

Yeah, Nishikori is very good at changing directions, too.


Hippy Chick Says:

Thankyou KatH i have alot going on at the moment,and really busy with work,so i havent had much time to blog,and i missed you too,and with Rafa gone im pulling for Murray,and i have cleansed my crystals ready ;)….


Giles Says:

Wouldn’t it be ironic if after all the failed attempts at beating Rafa at RG his biggest hurdle, he does not win the FO this year.


Seth Says:

Ben Pronin said:

“Djokovic has the best 2 handed backhand ever. Ever. The way he can basically use it as a second forehand is something only few have done but never as ridiculously consistent. His serve is heavy and very difficult to read and he has a great second serve. His forehand is unbelievably versatile. We saw him hit heavy top spin forehands angled short and cross court to Nadal’s backhand and then huge forehands up the line that were a lot more flat. He has a great drop shot, too. His volleys are still a work in progress so that’s maybe the only area that isn’t 10/10″

Absolutely agree. The usual text of Nole is that he has no real weaknesses. While this is true, it undersells his considerable strengths. I agree about the backhand. He has the best two-hander ever. Murray’s comes close at times, but Djokovic’s BH is just devastating and his tactical acumen with it is second to none. He’s improved his FH tremendously, and his net play, while not the greatest aspect of his game, is continuously improving. He’s an incredible player.


Seth Says:

*text on Nole


skeezer Says:

“I could see quite plainly after the Sock match that Rafa had virtually no chance against Novak”
He should have demanded…err…..requested to play on Lenglen.
——
@DC well said.

I am assuming the conversation here is Nole’s baseline game, and nothing more ( re: changing direction, etc ). There are other factors also that affect Rafa’s game, such as a tall 2 hander, one who can hit flatter strokes with power, etc. Nole’s game is far from “complete….yet. But Rafa’s game has never been technically complete either, and he captured 14 Slams. Fed probably has the most complete game, and one of the reasons he has the most records.
I too was attracted to Nole’s game from the very beginning as I had never saw a better technically sound FH and 2 handed BH with control. His transition game still looks funky but what amazed me this season was his improvement in drop shot making and also handling when dropped. An improvement no doubt.


skeezer Says:

^forgot to mention his serve has steadily been improving every year also!


sienna Says:

This Nadal has nothing but (I REPEAT) absolutely notting to do with the young Bull who stopped Federer multiple times for reaching GRANDSLAM stature..


KatH Says:

Good for you Happy Chick – I’m glad you mentioned the crystals – I was thinking about them too.

Collectively we’re bound to raise Andy’s chances—–

Cheers


MMT Says:

skeezer: for sure, there’s more to Djokovic than his ground strokes – it helps to be tall (although Fognini is 5’11) and you have to have a good serve (Fognini’s/Murray’s are sufficient/good, but not exceptional). It helps to be able to reduce the margin on Nadal’s forehand down the line (which is his kills shot), but that defensive ability is limited by Nadal’s ability to pull a player further and further into the ad court corner with his forehand – particularly on clay.

The key success factor, paticularly on clay, is is that special ability to neutralize Nadal’s best shot – the crosscourt forehand – he does this better than anyone.


elina Says:

Federer’s SHBH also limiting in terms of the top echelon in the newer era also arguably incomplete with an anaemic 2-8 in slams vs Novak and Rafa combined since 2010.

Federer, Nadal and now probably Djokovic. The game continues to evolve.

Outstanding.


brando Says:

‘re Djokovic v Nadal: of course Djokovic is a tough opponent for rafa. We did not need yesterday to inform us of that. But really the truth is: Novak was not needed to beat this Nadal. I think wawrinka, Murray and Kei would have beat Rafael yesterday. Facing a inform Novak ONLY meant a clear thrashing. The problem for rafa and the reason for his mire is not Novak or even any particular player: it’s the colossal fall off with his game. Who is Nadal? A 14 time major winner……. yet last 12 months he has ONLY ONE paltry 250 title. Clearly his games off. Who is Nadal on clay? A win % of 92, serial title winner………yet this year he won 1/6 clay events entered and reached 2/6 finals: clearly his game is off. This is not to knock Novak or his win. Novak took care of business as he should and was universally expected. This is about Nadal: how he has to look at this game and seek out how to improve. Rafa lost yesterday but it shocked no one. That in itself should be a alarming reality for Rafael.


brando Says:

PS: has anyone else noticed how much and unbelievably regularly rafa sweats these days on court? It’s ridiculously bad. I recall one commentator saying it’s like he’s got a shower going on since he’s sweating so much. Why I wonder? He did in his first match I’m Doha, again in Rio and all throughout the year really. And it happens so quick. Yesterday in his opening service games he was already sweating up a bucket: why? He’s also spoken of tiredness at times this year: maybe it’s related. Noticeably: rafa seemingly wins fewer long rallies than in the past. He seems to win fewer deciding sets than in past. He sweats way more heavily. And I think has led to more time warnings: because he’s sweating alot and has to dry himself down-probably tiredness related- he’s taking more time than even previously. It’s hard to pin what his issue is or the usual since the movement has been discussed, his technical issues etc. He’s got ALOT to think and muse over.


pitchaboy Says:

Novak is plain and simple lucky to be No.1 in an era when the two great guys are basically done and the young crowd is a bunch of losers except maybe Nishikori and Raonic. He has 2 years to collect as many slams as possible before the door shuts. 17, he will not reach. There is no denying that he is the best baseline grinder there is, but a complete player, no way.


pitchaboy Says:

It is likely to be a Stan v Novak final and it will be interesting if Stan’s forehand clicks.
The grass court season will be Andy v Novak for supremacy.


brando Says:

@Michael: thanks and I agree. I think rafa has some fundamental physical issues. Not an injury no. But speed, stamina, energetic energy. Even his famed mental strength has dipped. I don’t fault him for that one since if losing big matches is a habit then its hard to stay strong, have belief. I think for now he desperately needs a good training block. Lose some weight, work on his endurance, look into his training methods etc. It’s like novak said post match: he’s rafa, he’s a champion, he’s 29 and he can and will improve. Rafa will fight hard to do so. He needs to go about it the right way that’s all. For me that would be: to reassess absolutely everything. Training, dieting, game plan, schedule etc. Just consider this a new dawn in his career and how to go about it. Maybe hire a new coach with uncle Toni as assistant. Akin to novak with vajda. He’s still around: but boris is a extra personal to help. Rafa should do the same with his setup: maybe get someone who can help Toni especially who has great expertise off clay. I don’t see this as a harmful avenue to investigate.


jane Says:

novak has been #1 on and off since 2011. rafa was number 1 in 2013. was he lucky too? isn’t that the same era or did it flip at some point?


Colin Says:

There are now two people here using the word “evolution” in referring to what they think Rafa needs to do about his game. Not an appropriate word.

Real evolution, biological evolution, takes place in a whole bunch of individuals, over many generations. It doesn’t apply to the life of one individual – unless you subscribe to Lamarck’s theory which, as used by Lysenko, was at least partly responsible for the collapse of Soviet communism. That was good for the world in general, but not for the country concerned.


pitchaboy Says:

Novak won very little in 2012 to 2014 with slams, despite being No.1, but has had a resurgence this year. The reason is the waning powers of the big two. He was desperate to win Wimby last year as he was quickly becoming just an AO specialist. He got lucky this year and should make the best use of it, which he seems to be doing.


SG1 Says:

Waiting for Sean to do his “The 7 things I think I thought while watching Novak beat Rafa” segment.


Markus Says:

Colin, you are taking “evolution” too literally.


Markus Says:

Pitchboy, you’re lucky I’m nowhere near you right now.


SG1 Says:

Joe Willy better serve big tomorrow or he’ll be swept away by a wave of nasty backhands…and a surprisingly nasty forehand.

I think the pressure will get to JWT tomorrow as it always seems to with French players at this tournament (…and the other slams come to think of it).


Jack Lewis Says:

>> Real evolution, biological evolution,
I’m pretty sure nobody is discussing biology here… Evolution has other meanings.


Eric Says:

Per the OED, evolution: “A process of gradual change occurring in a system, institution, subject, artefact, product, etc. … Also: a gradual and natural development as opposed to a sudden or instigated change.”


Markus Says:

At least now we know now how very intelligent Colin is, dropping names like Lamarck and Lysenko while eschewing the name Darwin to showing that his intelligence is above the common people’s pedestrian knowledge.


skeezer Says:

MMT,
Agreed, and yet I forgot another quality of Nole’s game, his outstanding defense and……nobody can look like Gumby on the than Nole can. The guy has rubber band limbs that are unmatched….and..he has control over them. How do you compete against that??


Markus Says:

Remove the ing in showing above before I get corrected for poor grammar.


andrea Says:

the one thing that novak does better than any other player on the tour is the depth and line painting on his corner to corner shots. he can yo yo you around with such accuracy.

still, most of nadal’s shots yesterday were landing shorter than usual. before he’d be ripping those topspin shots deep…you’d always think they’d be going out but then they’d land close to the baseline.

a combined factor of age and confidence.

still….skunked out of clay court titles for the whole season is pretty shocking. doesn’t diminish his past record, but it spells the future.


Markus Says:

Nole may not be complete as somebody said but he’s the closest to complete among the players right now.


elina Says:

Brando, now that you mention it, yes Rafa does sweat quite abnormally. Not all of the time and not necessarily related to temperature. most likely related to a growing anxiety disorder.

Good observation!


skeezer Says:

^or some governing body made (requested) him change his diet last year?
Oops thar ya go I am outta here! :-)


elina Says:

Why would you be outta here? It is quite understandable why you would accuse Federer’s Achilles heel of cheating, isn’t it?


Giles Says:

skeezer. Has nothing intelligent to say. He’s a street fighter and that’s all he’s good at. Idiottt.


Garner Says:

Nadal is awesome! I’m myself working on improving my serve, his serves are just beyond imagination. Honestly, do you think you could do something to add 10-15 MPH to your tennis serve overnight? No, right? You are wrong, take 2 minutes and listen to what double back to back winner of the US Open “Pat Rafter” has to say (Link -> http://bit.ly/ServeKiller )


brando Says:

LOL ‘re the rafa diet comment. Look: none of his know his diet or for that matter the diet of the others. All we can do is go by what our eyes see and be reasonable in our assessment about it: my eyes tell me he’s sweating more than usual. It’s quite ridiculous how bad at times. My reasonable call on it is: he must inspect and address the matter. So whether to work on his stamina, fitness, training regime, diet etc do what needs to be done to address it legitimately. This is a befuddling year for rafa in many ways: he’s seen as a mentally strong titan but continuously he drops the ball on that front. He was seen as a endurance beast who can track down any ball and switch into a offensive charge: now he seems soaked with sweat after a game. It’s puzzling to see him drop off when even though last year was a calamity: he still won a grand slam and reached the final of another. 2/3 in slam events played. So his tailing off is quite unprecedented. I think I agree with John McEnroe though: he was out 7 months so it shall take him that time to readapt, suss out his game for the tour. I think he’ll get better for sure. When though seems like a 2016 season answer to me. If anything: I think he’ll be more motivated than ever. He’ll be hungry big time to address this situation, a new challenge and sometimes the tough times can be a good thing since it gives you something anew to face as a challenge. He’s a champion: will be interested to see his response.


sienna Says:

What Rafa needs to do is play the game for the game itself with ofcourse stay somewhat on top of things.

the Fedmode. Again he should copy Federer and reinvent himself. also appreciate the fact you dont win every or any slam entered.

I think he will take Tony and say next year I want garros trophy. lets go all in onemore year.
maybe he is the kind of champion that doesnot know to stop when time is there. So I feel Rafas chipstack is large to survive a single all in…..but ….

meanwhile #17 pretty safe at the moment.
Rafa without garros 2015 titel means #17 is very very hard.
making Goat debating not so interesting.

TMF reigns firmly on top of tennisworld.


chris ford1 Says:

PITCHABOY – Novak is plain and simple lucky to be No.1 in an era when the two great guys are basically done and the young crowd is a bunch of losers except maybe Nishikori and Raonic. He has 2 years to collect as many slams as possible before the door shuts. 17, he will not reach. There is no denying that he is the best baseline grinder there is, but a complete player, no way.

======================
He has no weaknesses, as coaches and former players have said for years. Most rock solid in the best players level skills, some skills that he can get better in probably, with more work. Just areas he is not weak in that are possible to improve. Which as Fed noted, Nole strives to get addressed, so he is excellent there as well. There are also some intangibles, like the “anticipation” Djokovic does better than anyone, as Tomas Berdych says. In the Open Era, all the best players had some surface they struggled to win playing. Sampras and clay, Lendl and grass, Borg at hardcourts, Nadal at fast or indoors courts.

Fed was new – he did well on every surface.

Novak is also an all-court player. The only one at present who is in Top 10 in winning percent on all major surfaces. Roger was, but drifted out of the Top 10 in clay court win percent.

Why he almost always goes deep in any tournament he enters. He is a complete player, always striving to be better. Dedicated. His humor, goofy joking ways, drama queen emotions, unscripted interviews, quirkiness, intense curiosity and work to accomplish about many things outside tennis, being one of the nicest and friendliest people on Tour all may have worked to obscure Djokovic on many fan’s and even writer’s radar screens. Now the respect is pouring in. Finally, say Nole’s long-time fans.

That he is an all-time great player. Who arrived in the age of two guys that rewrote the records. As the understudy.
Who spent 4 years as #3 until he did something as hard as getting a Grand Slam, just as improbable. He fought until he became better than two legends in their prime in 2011. And off-court, into another champion representing the best sort of athlete and person.


sienna Says:

and of course his confidence is down. That has everything to do with the workload he is putting in. less workload means sweating more. what a no brainer.
He tried to up his fitness by playing games…. losing early rounds doesnot bring required fitness.
so he will need to put in training hours…… but the knees hurt, the back hurts….everything will hurt.


elina Says:

Maybe he should hire Cilic as coach.


brando Says:

“Maybe he should hire Cilic as coach.”: lmao, bingo that is what he should do no doubt!


Margot Says:

Only 6 players in the open era have reached the semis in all four slams…..and one of them is Andy! Yay!


Ben Pronin Says:

It’s way more than 6. Connors, McEnroe, Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Safin, Nalbandian, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray. Those all come to mind. I’d have to look up the rest.


Margot Says:

@Ben
I was quoting John Inverdale, a commentator on RG coverage in the UK. Admittedly he is a bit of a twerp ;)


Ben Pronin Says:

Perhaps he meant active players but I can’t think of the 6th. Federer, Nadal, Murray, Djokovic, and Berdych. Who’s the 6th?


sienna Says:

cilic is slamholder Rafa not.


Margot Says:

@Ben
Am wondering if I misheard and it’s 2 or more? That would knock Sampras out and probably Nalbandian I think.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Maybe he is predicting a breakout Wimbledon for Ferrer!


Eric Says:

Or Hewitt resurgent at next year’s FO?


KatH Says:

I have one Simple Simon question – what effect will weather forecasts (as is) have upon each of the 2 semi finals. Anyone? (PS: I noticed that Ferrer was more affected by the sun when he was serving than Murray).


brando Says:

It’s nothing special really to reach SF of GS since with the passage of time: more of these marks get reached with regularity and seemingly unbreakable records get broken. Just look at reality: 25 mere years ago 11 grand slams was seen as unbreakable. Fast forward to today and that mark has been surpassed 3 times already (fedal, pistol) and feasibly a 4 th time also (novak). Pete Sampras’s mark of 14 majors winner in 2002 was believed to be set for a lengthy span of time. A meager 12 years 2 players already have matched it or surpassed it: fedal. Federer had a beastly 2004. No one saw that being done again. Fast forward 7 short years and it gone done 4 times with 3 peats in 2006,2007,2010 and 2010. The point is: major records, marks fall with regularity and will always do so. It’s like rafa said last week: sure 9 Roland garros is phenomenal. But it will get passed. If I can do it who says one day someone else cannot? And it’s true: someone else ALWAYS emerges. So this record of Muzza is excellent achievement, but it’s one that is fast becoming a common occurrence. I remember once everyone used to marvel at fed being excellent at all slams. It was a rarity to only him. Then Nadal, Djokovic, Murray came. And now today even the likes of berdych, wawrinka and probably nishikori will be seen as genuine all court-slams especially- performers. The mark and level ALWAYS rises and increases with the passage of time.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

No one ever gonna score 92 goals in a hockey season Brando!!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

In seriousness Brando, there’s a big gap between saying a record will be broken and saying its nothing special.


brando Says:

@TV:LOL. I wonder what qualifies as tennis’s most ridiculous stat that will not get topped or be close to impossible to beat? In cricket there’s bradmans 99 average. Football? Peles 3 world cup. That hockey stat you mention is I imagine is impossible in hockey. Bill Russell apparently has 11 rings in basketball and that is seen as unbreakable: what’s tennis’s equivalent? As a rafa fan for him id say: 14 years and ONLY 2 best of 5 clay defeats in comparison to almost 100 wins, 98% win ratio. Maybe Roland garros if he hits 10. That would be tough to beat. Between age 18-33 you could only have 5 none winning years of you want to match that which really isn’t a lot of breathing room in ever physical game. Damn I just remembered: laver winning calendar slam. Twice. Cannot see anyone doing that twice. Or steffi grafs golden slam in 1988: all 4 majors plus Olympic gold. That is a stunning achievement and probably best in tennis history quite possibly.


Hippy Chick Says:

Sir Steve Redgraves 5 consecutive Olympic Gold Medals,Rafas has at least one GS a year for 10 consecutive years,Rafa has two tennis records and 9 GS on one surface….


brando Says:

@TV: oh sure TV. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not sneering at it and saying’meh, happens all the time’. Nope. It’s just for me more and more what previously was seen as great, unbelievable achievement eventually passes into: ‘and another one has matched or passed it’. This is only my opinion but: Federer passed the mark of 15 grand slams. As bad of rut he’s in now, it’s feasible to see rafa hit 15 too. I believe that: by 2035 we’ll see atleast another 2 maybe 3 who hit that mark and one or more maybe hitting 20 slams. Sounds ridiculous right now? I can imagine. But I see the game continually evolving and there will be more greats who will render previous high feats as standard practice at the future elite level. I really do. Look at how possibly 3 players within less than 15 years have matched or surpassed Sampras’s record of 14. I just see marks getting passed. Especially grand slams since when it comes down to it: tennis players dream of winning slams more than anything else. And eventually future brilliant will naturally gun to pass the grand slam marks of present legends. Like Rafael said: if we can someone else will.


Hippy Chick Says:

If Serena wins the FO on Saturday she will have done the career GS trple times,has that been done?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Sorry triple….


Wog Boy Says:

Sometimes all those stats, RPMs and so on are stoping us or not letting us to see the obvious. Nole had all this shots 12 minths ago, he didn’t invent the overnight and surprised Rafa with them. He won first set last year but yet he lost the match, convincingly. This was the battle of to Alfa males, Rafa is not Alfa male he use to be and that is how it works in nature, it is not just the strengh, it is willpower and mind that wins the battle. Rafa didn’t have that this time and it is big question whether he will get it back. He realise that Nole is mentally ready this time when Nole didn’t blink after leadin 4:0 just to go 4:4, by the middle of the second set Rafa started to look dejected and by the end end of the match he was dejected and this poster wasn’t happy to see him like that, it was no any joy in it, Nole won but I feel for Rafa, more so because I don’t think we will see old Rafa ever again.


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer……How do you think your Warriors will fair against the Mavs??


Eric Says:

…the Mavs?


Brando Says:

@Wog Boy:

Wog Boy, that is a brilliant and excellent post that I just agree with so completely and fully. I know me and you have had our back and forths but despite that I regard you as a quality poster and in that post you completely captured the truth so fully and absolutely. I applaud you for being honest and saying as good as your guy was- and he was good- the other guy just seems a shadow of his former self. My take was:

You are right. It was a battle of the alpha males. The tough guys. And the conclusion was logical:

The one who has been winning pretty much everything from 6 months plus oozed confidence, self belief and stability. Even when he blew a 4-0 lead which usually would be a calamity in such high stake matches: He kept his cool.

The other guy though has been losing- and losing big- for close to a year in various ways. He’s riddled with self doubt. And even on his home patch, dream conditions (Chatrier, warm conditions, big match = pumped Rafa) he could not do anything since deep, deep down: He never really believed he would win. A Nadal quote post match:

‘I’m ready to compete with Novak. I competed today. But win? No. I’m far from it’. Pretty much sums up his reality: there to fight, but I do not believe I can.

As for the performance:

- Novak:

He played well, yes. Better than Rafa? of course. But I did not really think he played at a really high level nor his best level. He still lost a 0-4 lead, and in one of his sets- think set 2- his serve % was not as high as I expected. The best way I could put it is: I expected a Novak on a different level to turn up. One who would just be insanely good. But the one who turned up was better than Rafa: but he did not have to be great or brilliant to win. I don’t even think that performance from Novak ranks as one of his best on clay. Not for me. On paper: a career best win I guess. But performance: it was not a special one from Novak since I have seen way better from him. BUT: he did not have to be. You play as well as the situation demands: this Nadal does not really demand too much at all sadly.

- Rafa:

He fought as best as he could…… BUT he looked like a player who knows he no longer has it. He lost the 3rd set because he pretty much gave up. It was sad to see. He realized he cannot win and his level is just way down. His birthday, the court, the venue that gave him so much: and finally the truth hit him hard that he’s no longer got it at the moment.

For me though, the post match was more interesting and telling than the match:

Everything seemed sad.

Novak was not celebrating big on court. He almost seemed muted. In his press conference he hardly smiled, there wasn’t a beaming, joyful self. Post match he was feeling sorry for Rafa: saying he’s in a bad patch, he’s human, these things happen. He was actually very kind, sticking up for Rafa but……. it was a bit of a pity for Rafa kind of thing.

And then Rafa: in his presser he kept his head down. Cap covering his eyes. No eye contact, And then his voice: it seemed like he was choked up, almost about to break into tears and was quite cut up.

I’ve never seen him like that. I don’t think it was the loss: just the realization of how bad his situation is.

It just had a sad feeling all around. Even Novak fans online saying how sad they feel for Rafa. And I agree with you:

I feel the old Nadal was gone. The scorecard told us Rafael Nadal was only good for 10 games on Philipe Chatrier: is that really the kinda of level of old Nadal puts on THAT court? Obviously not.

But this is the level of Rafa today in 2015: and it’s quite sad to see. I do feel it’s kind of the end of an era with him and it’s really sad to see since a Rafael Nadal in full flight was a joy even fans on the other side cherished in the world of tennis.


Eric Says:

One of the things about Djokovic is that he rarely plays his best, but always manages to win convincingly.


Okiegal Says:

@Eric…..Oops, typo…..meant the Cavs!! Thanx for pointing that out to me!


Eric Says:

OK, sorry! I wasn’t sure if there was a joke I was missing, or what…

I will answer for skeezer: Warriors in 5 or 6!


Eric Says:

(That’s the official answer. Really, I suspect it will be extremely close. The Cavs could certainly win, and I doubt that more than one or two games will be decided by more than ten points. I expect they’ll mostly be relatively low-scoring contests revolving around whether the Cavs defense manages to disrupt our offense. Injuries may also play a major role. Should be a pretty good series where both teams have the goods but there’s a clear favorite–not unlike Djokovic-Murray or something.)


kriket Says:

Re Rafa’s big comeback in 2012 was it or ’13, when he served much stronger. Someone mentioned that and wondered where did Rafa 2.0 big serve dissapear later on.

I think that it ended with Rafa’s shoulder injury towards the end of the year, and that’s the answer about his serve 2.0. I guess it was either his shoulder or that serve. I’m guessing he couldn’t keep it up due to his shoulder injury, so he came back with his old, weaker serve. Rafa’s game is the victim of his body, or is it the other way around.

Either way his body obviously couldn’t keep up with his game, and unfortunately it’s all downhill from here. I’m afraid it can’t get any better, it can only get worse for him. He will probably come back swinging at some point in time, only question is how long will he be able to keep it up. Looking at his performance from the last few years, he never could have sustained his level for long, sadly, because as a tennis fan, to me it’s fun having him around at his best.

Yesterday’s match wasn’t really that much fun to watch apart from the hype.

McEnroe even said on Eurosport after the match that it was sad to watch, and even made a joke about how his movement almost looked as if he belonged at the senior’s tournament (I guess he meant veterans, like himself), walking around like a hunchback and laughing talking about it – true McEnroe style. He took it that far.


Tennisfan Says:

I admire Serena and she deserves all her success, but the women’s tour is so boring when there isn’t even one player who can match her level on any surface. Even in Roger’s heyday there was always Nadal who challenged him on clay. Does the WTA not have any equivalent talent on offer?


Okiegal Says:

@Eric…..You may as well answer for him, I’m sure he won’t. He doesn’t like me very, cause I like Rafa. I hate that we can’t converse…..after all we are fellow Americans!! I think we are anyway. Seems like he mentioned once he lived in California…..
You didn’t miss a thing….I just got the Cavs mixed up with the Mavs…..easy mistake, huh?? :)
I knew the difference, my fingers did not!!


Markus Says:

To Hippy Chic: Steffi has 4 career slams and one of them is a calendar year grand slam and also won Olympic gold that year for what is called a Golden Slam. That may be extremely hard to duplicate, male or female. I think she was only 18 when she accomplished that.


django Says:

Kriket I can’t believe McEnroe said that stuff. He’s usually notcruel like that.


Markus Says:

Brando @ 5:43 pm: That made me feel sad.


django Says:

Brando
Excellent post. I happen to be one of those fans who feels sad for rafa. You would think I would feel huge satisfaction since Nole had to eat quite a few losses at RG thanks to rafa. It’s almost like a passing of the torch. Had rafa won I would have supported him to the end.


Colin Says:

Thanks for the OED definition Eric; surely it supports me.

Markus you’re still misusing words. My KNOWING something has nothing whatever to do with my intelligence. A significant number of the citizens of the USA (the richest and most technologically advanced nation) do not believe in Darwinian evolution or indeed any kind of evolution. Many of them have plenty of intelligence, it ‘s just that they don’t use it. In fact they actively suppress it.

By the way,you may be taking ME too seriously. To some extent, I was dragging in science to have a friendly dig at Okiegal, who’s constantly dragging in mysticism, usually with the word “spiritual”.


Markus Says:

@Colin: My 2nd comment about evoluition was harsh, unnecessary and was actually mean. I apologize. Now that I see Okiegal is back, I must watch my manners. But I am truly sorry for that post.


Okiegal Says:

@Colin…..I have mentioned having a spiritual life, but don’t own any crystals, that would be Chick! Lol You are right about one thing….. I am definitely one of those Americans who doesn’t believe in evolution…………


skeezer Says:

@Eric
You spoke for me well! Warriors in 5,6, or 7. But Warriors win!


Okiegal Says:

@Eric……I told you he wouldn’t respond to me….


Wog Boy Says:

@Brando,
Thanks, we are just humans, we argue but no hard feelings.

I saw his presser and you are right it was sad, the only time I saw him as sad was in 2011 QF match against Ferrer when he got injured and realized his chance of having all four GS is slipping away. I was there, in RL Arena, I remember Rafa standing on the service line and looking to uncle Toni with the look on his face ” this is it, I can’t play”, he went for MTO, came back and played the match to the end just to give satisfaction to Ferrer that he won fair and square, and to us fans. At one stage they showed him on the big screens and sitting on his chair and everybody could see him crying, until that moment lot of fans were cheering David as underdog but suddenly entire vibe changed and we started to cheer every Rafa point.


Okiegal Says:

@Markus……Not intending to cramp anybody’s style on this forum, sorry…..

The NBA game is getting ready to begin and I will be cheering for the Warriors! I love sports!


skeezer Says:

OK,
Sorry I am responding to u :)
Warriors!!!


Okiegal Says:

Skeezer……Thank-you! Close one going on…..Hope they can pull it off!!

C’mon Warriors!!


Okiegal Says:

New ballgame…..73-73! Wow! I’m biting nails off, this makes me so nervous……


mat4 Says:

@Colin:

BTW, most of the scientific community doesn’t believe in the theory of evolution. It is mathematically impossible. Then, in such a scenario, the DNA code is an impossibility per se.

Active suppression of knowledge is a very current scenario in the world of science, and not only science, when we’re at it. The line between science and ideology is very thin, and very often there isn’t any.


Okiegal Says:

Yippy Skippy……Warriors win first game of the series!!


Margot Says:

@mat4
You’re not going to tell me they secretly believe in “Adam and Eve” are you?
Please NO!


skeezer Says:

WARRIORS!


Nitesh Says:

Nadal since January is making a very slow comeback
. I think it will take atleast 4-6 months of work to get a set from Djokovic Murray & other top players leave aside a match. This might be the most unsuccessful yer of his carrier. It’s not at a all easy to get beaten & comeback again & still the same result. So I as a rafa &neishikori fan will always be with him wishing him all the success.


sienna Says:

claiming evolution theory is fraude equals a 5 year old saying to his mom.. youre not my mother.


Michael Says:

Alison,

It is great to see you back after a hiatus !!


Michael Says:

Brando @ 11.55 am,

Great suggestions !! Pls consider posting this in Rafa’s web site so that he takes heed of it and strive for improvements.

For me, I do not feel there is a need for Rafa to change his style of play. He can be hugely successful in what he does best. The only caveat is that he should be consistent. Today, even his famed first serve percentage is deserting him and that is posing him lot of trouble. Rafa’s serving prowess is often undermined despite the fact that the incredible consistency levels he managed to attain during his prominence was by virtue of his better serving abilities. Today, his serve is a pale shadow of what is earlier and that is causing anguish, pain and making him vulnerable.


Michael Says:

Brando @ 5.43 am,

Again a great post !!!


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus thanks i had a feeling Steffi probably had and i looked it up on Wiki,and it looks unlikely for another female player to achieve that feat,Serena would have a chance to equal that next year,for a start though i think shes focusing on all four majors this year….


Hippy Chick Says:

Thankyou Michael i had alot going on with work and personal stuff,a couple of months back my self and Okie were attacked personally by a couple of posters,they were also making unsavoury jokes regarding a players sexuality and gender,and other filthy subject matter not even tennis related,which IMO should have no placing on a sports forum,and some posters actually supported these people thinking it was quite funny,anyway its all stopped for now,i might just be a bit more choosy about when i blog though from now on….


Colin Says:

@Mat4

It is , quite simply, not true that most of the scientific community does not believe in evolution.
Simply NOT TRUE.

The anti-science mob just dig up a few – a very few – names of scientists who question evolution, and then claim it’s a majority.

One of the best-known opponents of evolution who IS actually a scientist (Michael Behe, who invented “irreducible complexity”)has had his theories publicly disowned by his own university!He made a complete fool of himself at the celebrated Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School Board court case, where he appeared as a witness for the creationists.


elina Says:

Agree with Colin. I highly doubt this. Not sure how you would prove out that theory.


M Says:

“Rafa’s French Open Reign Is OVER!”

That’s what somebody – can’t remember who – said in 2009.

#VamosRafa


Michael Says:

Alison @ 5.36 am,

It is nice to see you back. But as I have said often, you need thick skin to stay put in these forums. I am here for the love of Tennis for it provides me an opportunity to express myself about players, tournaments and exchange some useful information about the Sport in general. Like the mix of good and bad, there are many fair posters too and you can update yourself with varying aspects of the game and perceptions of different people. Above all, it is an excellent past time too and indirectly allows us to hone our language skills too.

It is indeed deplorable that these forums have become a slugfest of ugly proportions where people lack tolerance to even respect the views of other posters. The other day, I was being tutored on grammar by Calmdown please which did make me sick. Nevertheless, I just wish to move on. I also wish you to see you as a regular poster.


mat4 Says:

There are a lot of theories are taught in schools, accepted as “mainstream”, that lack any foundation, any proof whatsoever. The theory of evolution is one of those, and to doubt about his validity is scientifically right. The mainstream economic theories are other examples of “science” gone astray, and our knowledge in physics, medicine, biology, is close to shamanism, while social sciences are just ideology.

Then, I am European while “creationism” is mainly an American phenomenon. I started thinking about scientific blunders primarily in my field, linguistics, where most things we learn and teach are pseudo-science.

The creation and adaptation of life, how we learn it, is completely unproven. While I don’t believe that god created the universe in seven days, I am quite sceptical about a theory which is mathematically completely impossible, where crucial proofs miss, and where a lot of data is purposely hidden from the public, or simply discarded when they don’t fit with the accepted wisdom.


mat4 Says:

@elina:

I don’t have to prove that the theory of evolution is wrong, that’s not how science should work. Those who formulated it have to prove that this theory is right. They can’t.


Hippy Chick Says:

I love the shamanic way of life been a hippy….


mat4 Says:

Me too, HC. Long time no see. Glad you’re here again.

Top story: Federer Books Final Four Berth At ATP Finals, Thiem Advances; Last SF Spot At Stake Friday