Rafa Hits Rock Bottom Thurs. at Wimbledon; Friday Highlights
by Jeremy Davis | July 2nd, 2015, 11:53 pm
  • 85 Comments

You knew it was going to be a match if you knew their history — unheralded German-via-Jamaica’s Dustin Brown beating Rafael Nadal last year at the ATP event in Halle.


Fluke? No. That was when Rafa was even functional.

This year, the same Dustin Brown, but a mentally decimated Rafa. If you were into online tennis betting, you bet the house. And you won.

On Thursday at Wimbledon Dustin Brown became the fourth consecutive non-Top 100 player to beat Nadal at Wimbledon, triumphing 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

If you needed to test the temperature of the match, you needed to only watch the first game with Brown serving — sick drop shot to win the first point, insane over-the-shoulder two-handed-backhand put-away to the win the second point, ace to win the third point, and sicker drop shot to win the service game at love. Game on, and game over.

“It was easy for me to play my game against him because I had nothing to lose,” Brown said. “I am lucky to have played him twice on my favorite surface. I wouldn’t want to play him on hard court or clay. Here it was great to play serve-and-volley so well and to do it for that long. I knew what the plan was. I wanted to take him out of his comfort zone and I held it together for the whole match.”

For Rafa it was no surprise facing Brown’s astounding grasscourt arsenal of drop shots, slices and huge hitting. It is nevertheless back to the drawing board to try and bounce back for the second half of the 2015 tennis season.

“I was ready to compete,” Nadal said. “I lost. Obviously this is a bad moment for me. I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic. I am a good loser. I always accept. I am not happy, but I accept that I am not good enough. I don’t know if I will be back to the level of 2008 or other years. If I don’t make that happen — well, I played five finals here, and took the trophy home two times, so it’s not bad.”

That doesn’t sounds good. More from Rafa when the U.S. hardcourt season gets underway, unless he chooses to take to the dirt to regain some confidence.

So, game over. Nothing more to write about. Unless it’s the grass-certified American Sam Querrey getting absolutely housed by No. 2 seed Roger Federer, who en route to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win hit the sickest between-the-legs lob you’ll ever see, just for shits and giggles.

“You want to go over and give him a high five sometimes, but you can’t do that,” Querrey said of standing on the other side of the net during the brilliance. “You want to beat him, but he’s fun to watch.�”

Federer will next meet unseeded big-serving Aussie Sam Groth.

Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 3 Andy Murray who rolled Dutchman Robin Haase 6-1, 6-1, 6-4, and No. 6 Tomas Berdych who overpowered Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

On the upset tip Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili outlasted No. 15 Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, and Canuck Vasek Pospisil used his all-court game to temper the tortured No. 30 seed Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

Other seeds into the third round were No. 12 Gilles Simon over Blaz Kavcic in four, No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga straight-setting Albert Ramos, No. 18 Gael Monfils straight-setting Adrian Mannarino, No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut outlasting Benoit Paire in five, No. 22 Viktor Troicki beating Aljaz Bedene in four, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic edging Alexandr Dolgopolov 13-11 in the fifth, and No. 25 Andreas Seppi stopping Croat riser Borna Coric 6-1 in the fifth.

On the women’s side three Top 10 seeded players moved into the third round, and one went home.

Winners in straight sets were No. 2 Petra Kvitova rolling Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-2, 6-0; No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki fending off a late charge from unheralded Czech Denisa Allertova 6-1, 7-6(6); and No. 10 Angelique Kerber dispatching of the big-hitting Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-2.

“I’m very pleased how is everything going so far,” said Kvitova, who in two matches has lost three games. “I can’t really say surprised. I think I’m kind of handling it better than 2012 when I was defending my first title. I’m nervous before each match when I’m going to play here, especially first round…I’m trying to really enjoy it. Of course, playing here on the grass which really suits my game.”

She will next meet former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, who came from a set down to beat Russian Evgeniya Rodina, and who she is 4-2 against career.

“It’s always big challenge to face her,” the Czech said. “Former No. 1 player. It’s always little bit special. Always she has sort of weapon to play. Especially her backhand, it’s really great. I played her in Rome. I never played her on grass. It’s really different.”

Kerber, somewhat flying under the radar, will next meet No. 20 seed Garbine Muguruza.

“I’m feeling good, I’m playing good on grass and I like to play on this surface so I’m really having fun out there and trying to play good tennis,” Kerber said. “I’m really looking from round to round about my next opponent, and that’s it.”

No. 8 Ekaterina Makarova was an upset victim, ousted by Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova. She was one of four seeded upsets on the day, joined in the seed graveyard by No. 17 Elina Svitolina who feel to Casey Dellacqua 7-6(3), 6-3; No. 25 Alize Cornet who was outlasted by Belarus qualifier Olga Govortsova 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-1; and former world No. 2 and No. 26 seed Svetlana Kuznetova who was tripped up by Czech Krystina Pliskova 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Other seeded winners Thursday were No. 13 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 18 Sabine Lisicki who needed to come from a set down to beat American Christina McHale 6-1 in the third, No. 20 Garbine Muguruza who needed three sets to subdue Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, No. 21 Madison Keys, and No. 31 Camila Giorgi.

Bacsinszky will have her hands full next against the dark horse Lisicki.

“I’m adapting myself quite well to any kind of courts, and I think my game is getting better and better on grass,” the Swiss said. “Actually you can do a lot of stuff on grass, as long as you understand the game of the surface…It’s going to definitely be a very difficult match for me. I don’t put myself as the favorite, but the opposite, because I think she has some great weapons.”

Friday at Wimbledon offers a monstrous number of highlight matches to look for:

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [11] vs. Richard Gasquet  (FRA) [21]
Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. Bernard Tomic  (AUS) [27]
Serena Williams (USA) [1] vs. Heather Watson  (GBR)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [4] vs. Fernando Verdasco  (ESP)
Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] vs. John Isner  (USA) [17]
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [26] vs. Milos Raonic  (CAN) [7]
Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Lucie Safarova  (CZE) [6]
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) vs. Venus Williams  (USA) [16]
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) v. David Goffin  (BEL) [16]
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Samantha Stosur  (AUS) [22]
Belinda Bencic (SUI) [30] vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands  (USA)

 


You Might Like:
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Querrey, Blake Head Rock-bottom ATP L.A. Field
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85 Comments for Rafa Hits Rock Bottom Thurs. at Wimbledon; Friday Highlights

sheila Says:

i am a roger federer fan, not a rafael nadal fan, but, i totally respect nadal for the champion he is & i believe he will bounce back. he’s only 29yrs old & he’s going through a bad patch. he is too great a tennis player not to figure things out.


skeezer Says:

From RIP to Rock Bottom. Lol. Here come the fan whiners….
Foul! Blasphemy! Curse you all! Bad, bad, bad.
Bottom line; its not how bad Nadal played, it was how great a 102 ranked player schooled Nadal on grass. So good that you tube has a 15 minute highlight reel of Dustins sick shotmaking.


Damien Mills Says:

As much as Rafa isn’t high on my favourites list, I’m feeling kind of empty watching him fall away as sharply as this. I know Fed had a rough year in 2013 and came back, and Rafa just as easily could do the same, but there’s something different about this champion’s fall off the proverbial pedestal – it brings no joy whatsoever. At least nowhere near the joy I thought it would.
Commiserations to die-hard Rafa fans, this must be tough.


Miles Says:

Sheila, Nadal has been in decline for 2 years now. Even winning the French Open in 2014 was a close run thing for him and that was the year that journeyman opponents started to take a set off him on clay – something that simply hadn’t happened when he was at his peak.

So the signs have been there for a while and Nadal now looks as if he could lose against any top 10 player.

Federer’s difficult 2013 was very different as he clearly had back issues for the whole season (and in 2012 he’d had a great season), so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to think that if he sorted out his back, his form would improve.

Nadal just looks spent – he’s sweating buckets from the first game in matches and he looks like he’s lost a lot of muscle mass. I believe his attritutional game has finally caught up ith him.

The surprising thing is just how many in the media are in denial about it.


sienna Says:

Kyrgios puts the long sleeve on his toss arm instead serve arm.
given recent interviews that should be ok.


Gordon Says:

I’m feeling for Rafa and I have mixed thoughts on the subject of his “demise.” Yes he has lost now 4 times in a row to lower ranked players at Wimbledon but during that period he did win 2 French Opens. I’m not willing to write an obit just yet.

However,

As recently as 6 years ago any tennis player who was 29 was not really being seriously considered as a super threat at the majors. The longevity of Roger Federer’s ability to maintain a high level of the game has many thinking any player can play well into their 30s. They can, but at a high level? This remains to be seen as far as Nadal is concerned.

However,

Roger Federer’s resurgence, should we wish to call it that has been the result of a change in his game. The addition of Edberg has made a huge difference in how Fed now plays the game. Perhaps it is time Nadal look outside of the family for some coaching help. Perhaps do what Nole did; keep your coach but bring in someone like Becker to add advice and new dimensions to the game.

Toni brings much comfort to Nadal’s game, but I don’t see him as a student of tennis; Rafa’s game needs retooling, and Toni may not have the skills to orchestrate the needed changes.


sienna Says:

if Kyrgios stop focussing on the minor stuff hè could win this match. He is aan clown.


sienna Says:

Kyrgios nearly disqualified
when his racket bounced in audiëntie. he wastafel lucky aan man caught his racket.


brando Says:

NICK KYRGIOS: beats milos raonic, avenges last years loss and is through to R16. I have to say: I think Nick is a definite future Wimbledon champion. For sure. Maybe not this year but sooner rather than later since his game is tailor made for grass. Add in a aggressive winning attitude then I see no drawbacks. I would be extremely surprised if by end of 2017 he has not atleast reached a slam final. I’d expect him to win one by then. I think Wimbledon, USO and AO are on for him but after clay season this year: even RG. He very much represents the future of how tennis is going.


brando Says:

PS: key for nick is fitness work and professionalism. Should he be more healthy and dedicated then really it’s his for the taking. But should he be injury prone and continue with his ‘(insert description of your choice)’ attitude then I can see him ruin his chance. It’s on him: how much do you want it and are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes? That simple.


brando Says:

RAONIC, DIMITROV, KEI all out pre R16. Overrated generation? I’ll cut Kei the slack since he was injured, is a slam finalist, major talent and really nature-height and fitness- holds him back as opposed to talent and fight. He has those qualities. But I stand by my assessment of raonic and grigor. Milos? Limited game. A update on Isner and not much else. Grigor? Terribly weak mentally. IF you haven’t got it upstairs you ain’t lifting major titles. Period. They are not young, upcoming etc. They’ve been around a real while. It’s just they are not as good as the media hype.


brando Says:

NADAL WANTS A NEW COACH….. BUT TONI AIN’T BUDGING: (BBC) Three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe has told Rafael Nadal to “get a new damn coach”, McEnroe said the 29-year-old should drop his long-term coach, uncle Toni Nadal after his second-round exit.
“It might be time for some fresh blood in the Nadal camp,The 56-year-old added: “Are we even allowed to say that? Uncle Toni’s going to be upset.
“I know Carlos Costa, who manages Nadal, and he’s had other people.
“They have tried to gently persuade Uncle Toni – who has done a magnificent job from when Rafa was a little kid. Clearly at this stage it would appear that some fresh ideas are in order.”"


brando Says:

So a 7 time major champion and respected commentator in John McEnroe has stated what I and many here have said: toni needs to go and a new coach has to come in. The good news? Seems like McEnroe has spoken with the Nadal camp and seemingly subtle indications are that Rafael wants a change. Rafa will NEVER publicly or even overtly say he wants it since his bond with Toni is too deep for him to do such a move. But it seems his camp is angling towards the ONLY way that is possible: gently persuading Toni to such a move. The bad news is: ONLY Toni can allow such a thing to happen and it seems he’s reluctant to do such thing. My take: clearly rafa needs outside help. Many people can see it. I’m pleased he seems open minded to it and that his camp wants to head that way. BUT uncle Toni is a major stumbling block and really holds all the cards. If he says no, then it’s a NO. I just hope Toni has his nephews interest ahead of his own since his nephew needs a change, wants it but respects him even to leave it on Toni as to what he wants even if it detriments rafa. I hope Toni can appreciate the loyalty and to the right thing: leave himself. Or take a backseat role like vajda for Novak.


Daniel Says:

Brando, Raonic just came back from a foot surgery so I’ll cut him some slack too.

Dimi definitely doens’t have the mentality, too bad. Maybe he’ll find it some day. Wawa did, in later age, so can he.

Think Kyrgios is favorite to go to another Quarters here as he will play Gasket next and a potential Quarters with Wawa. Actually, with his serve he has a chance against Wawa to even make semis. He could be the history of this tourney, will see.

Djoko having no problems with Tomic as expected.


Giles Says:

@ Brando. Yr post July 3rd at 10.48 am. “and seemingly subtle indications are that Rafael wants a change”. Wow. Where did you read that? Can you post a link please?


Humble Rafa Says:

toni needs to go and a new coach has to come in.

That’s not smart thing to say. New coach can bring me nothing. Uncle Toni is the best coach before, during and after matches.

His skills in every department (including “strategic interviews”) cannot be replicated by anyone ever.

Do not slander my good uncle.


Tennisfan Says:

I highly doubt Rafa’s camp would divulge that kind of info to an outsider and loudmouth like McEnroe. He loves to be involved in this kind of drama- for instance his shameless gossiping about the whole Stan-Mirka fiasco last year, where he acted like he was some kind of insider and witness to the whole issue.
I think the only reliable source of info on the topic is Nadal himself or direct representatives from his team.


Humble Rafa Says:

Clearly at this stage it would appear that some fresh ideas are in order.””

Like what ideas? Become a right hander. Hate for uncle Toni is unwarranted.


Okiegal Says:

I thought a couple of years Uncle T was going to cut back on going to Rafa’s match because of his children. I can’t see any difference at all. Will he coach his kids should they play tennis?? Rafa plainly says it’s not his uncle’s fault when he loses, clearly his own. Maybe Mac does know something….after all he nailed the Mirka/Stan fiasco!! :)


Humble Rafa Says:

Whatever you do, please don’t bury me with the Big Lady. I deserve some breathing room.


Okiegal Says:

Rafa hits rock bottom…….so has TENNIS-X!


Humble Rafa Says:

Humble Nation,

Thanks for your nice wishes ahead of my funeral.


chris ford1 Says:

Little long but bear with me. Reporters asked Djokovic today if he thought Rafa should dump
Uncle Toni and get a new one. Djokovic said of course not. Maybe he needs to change some things – but Toni is an excellent adviser. Cynics piped up that the only reason Djokovic said that is that he hopes Rafa is destroyed so he has less competition.

Djokovic is an unusual one. Very bright, quirky, nice guy. He doesn’t see Rafa or nay other player as “The Enemy”, but as admirable challengers. Sure he wants to win. But knows that the game, and he personally, benefits from many titanic clashes with Nadal and that true sports rivalry is such a big positive element in athlete’s lives.
Nadal should look at Djokovic’s approach to coaching and support in general. Novak does not believe “there can only be One Coach”. Or just one doctor. Or equipment provider giving advice. He wanted a few things he was not able to get from his long time coach Marian Vajda, but was quite happy with all the other things Marian did. And Vajda had two kids and a wife he wanted to spend more time with and not be on the road all the time with Nole. What they decided on when Boris came on board was that Boris would be Head Coach, and Marian would cut his time commitment and stay on as coach and advisor on matters like sports science with a reduced time commitment.
It has worked well for Djokovic, Vajda, and Boris.
Something like that can work for Rafa. He needs more than what Uncle Toni can do. Toni has no answers for some of the things Rafa is now struggling with. And he too wants more time freed for activities away from the Tour…family and Nadal businesses. So a head coach to remold elements of Nadal’s prep and his match play looks to be a good thing. With Uncle Toni kept on to continue working in an emeritus status. Still the best to observe Rafa and from experience know when slight problems Rafa shows could get worse – still the best to fix most things in Rafa’s conditioning and tennis play skillset. But Uncle Toni doesn’t have answers to certain things, Nadal’s game has stagnated and not improved. It is past due time for Nadal to rejuggle his team.
Like Djokovic. Like Fed. Like Murray. Like Stan. But especially Djokovic, who created an optimal triumvirate for himself, a new high profile coach, and a friend and mentor that grew Novak into a great player.
(An aside…Becker is pretty much dropped old lifestyle choices that made him appear dissolute and prematurely aged and embraced most of the healthy lifestyle philosophy of Team Nole. He looks so much better these days. Choosing to join up with Djokovic may be the smartest thing Boris has done in a long while.)


chris ford1 Says:

Little long but bear with me. Reporters asked Djokovic today if he thought Rafa should dump
Uncle Toni and get a new one. Djokovic said of course not. Maybe he needs to change some things – but Toni is an excellent adviser. Cynics piped up that the only reason Djokovic said that is that he hopes Rafa is destroyed so he has less competition.

Djokovic is an unusual one. Very bright, quirky, nice guy. He doesn’t see Rafa or nay other player as “The Enemy”, but as admirable challengers. Sure he wants to win. But knows that the game, and he personally, benefits from many titanic clashes with Nadal and that true sports rivalry is such a big positive element in athlete’s lives.
Nadal should look at Djokovic’s approach to coaching and support in general. Novak does not believe “there can only be One Coach”. Or just one doctor. Or equipment provider giving advice. He wanted a few things he was not able to get from his long time coach Marian Vajda, but was quite happy with all the other things Marian did. And Vajda had two kids and a wife he wanted to spend more time with and not be on the road all the time with Nole. What they decided on when Boris came on board was that Boris would be Head Coach, and Marian would cut his time commitment and stay on as coach and advisor on matters like sports science with a reduced time commitment.
It has worked well for Djokovic, Vajda, and Boris.
Something like that can work for Rafa. He needs more than what Uncle Toni can do. Toni has no answers for some of the things Rafa is now struggling with. And he too wants more time freed for activities away from the Tour…family and Nadal businesses. So a head coach to remold elements of Nadal’s prep and his match play looks to be a good thing. With Uncle Toni kept on to continue working in an emeritus status. Still the best to observe Rafa and from experience know when slight problems Rafa shows could get worse – still the best to fix most things in Rafa’s conditioning and tennis play skillset. But Uncle Toni doesn’t have answers to certain things, Nadal’s game has stagnated and not improved. It is past due time for Nadal to rejuggle his team.
Like Djokovic. Like Fed. Like Murray. Like Stan. But especially Djokovic, who created an optimal triumvirate for himself, a new high profile coach, and a friend and mentor that grew Novak into a great player.
(An aside…Becker is pretty much dropped old lifestyle choices that made him appear dissolute and prematurely aged and embraced most of the healthy lifestyle philosophy of Team Nole. He looks so much better these days. Choosing to join up with Djokovic may be the smartest thing Boris has done in a long while.)


Brando Says:

@CF1:

Excellent post and I agree.

I think Novak deeply admires Rafa and has called him on numerous occasions the best competitor the game has seen and someone who could be the best of all. Rafa also deeply respects Novak: publicly calling him one of the best of all time already, a special player who he regards as the toughest he has ever faced. Rafa probably rates Novak as the best he’s ever faced but obviously will never be able to say that publicly since he’ll have WW3 to deal with from a certain corner in tennis fraternity.

Both these guys respect each other big time, their talent and above all else: like one another personally. I agree:

Rafa needs to emulate Novak.

Put Uncle Toni in a Vajda role. He doesn’t have to dismiss Toni, just reshape his role and level of input. Then hire a new coach like Novak with new ideas. Also emulate Novak’s fitness routine interms of diet and exercise. Rafa sweats more than ever before, he even looks heavier than before. Surely there is a cause, reason for that. Investigate it and address it like Novak did with his gluten issue.

Rafa needs to be open minded and willing to change like Novak. I hope he does so as Nole has evolved, ditto Andy and Roger. So does Rafa if he ever wants to return to a competitive level with his peers. Rather than trying to recapture past glories he needs to embrace the present and try and evolve into a newer model of himself.

I’ll end on what Nole said about Rafa in Paris:

He’s 29. He’s still young. Sure this is a down moment for him but that’s normal to experience at some time in a career. He can use this as a chance to improve and develop his game further than previously. I think that’s spot on and how Rafa should view this period:

A chance to improve his game.


Okiegal Says:

@Brando and CF1

Who would be a good choice for Rafa if he did get another coach?? Just curious about your opinion…..


danica Says:

CF1,
Is this your post? I read it first underneath a Yahoo article.

BTW,
totally agree with both CF1 and Brando. Rafa needs new, fresh look at the game, specialists in different disciplines, one of which is surely a sport psychologist. Somebody earlier said that although not a Rafa fan, they feel empty and sad to see him perform this way. Same here. He is a great guy, great player, I don’t want to see him go in disgrace if you will. How painful all this must be for him! I almost want him to take a break, gather himself, work hard on all aspects of the game, recharge batteries and mentally bring himself to that stage where he will feel invincible. He needs to change something. I am afraid uncle Toni’s ego may be the biggest obstacle :(.


Patson Says:

May be Nadal can find some inspiration after watching this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXxw-zXRqOs

“Fear is why you fail.”


sienna Says:

the tony transition should have been made years ago if longterm stay on tour was wished for.


sienna Says:

and the Djoker comments by chrissy ford are based on the same principles as his sportmenship conduct in acknowledging a shot of opponent.
HE DOESNOT MEAN IT.

He only acknowledge when winning the match and he likes Nadal because he can handle him.

I read comments about Serena by the usual suspects Hippy Chick Fedespress that were of the charts.
Incredible moderation didnt step up.
atleast Serena gave praise by clapping a big point by her opponent. In a vital game of match.

and for not giving autographs? wel thats her call. I would nt have stayed when I got booed just because I ask referee to step in when calls from stands interphered with my game.

the britts look evenmore patrionist or even worse natoonalistic as the french.
especially the laughing and shear jubelation after Serena missed.

I am glad she came through and spoiled the party.


sienna Says:

wow I like some tribute made for athletes but this is insane. Where is Monty Pyton when needed.


alice Says:

I left a comment on another thread, about Rafa’s problems being primarily mental and his needing help and change. I also wrote that I think now that Toni is not only not helping but being a hindrance. Also that Rafa seems to be in thrall to his relationship with Toni so that he doesn’t seem to be able to initiate change or make his own decisions. Would be really grateful for any feedback as this is so painful to watch now.


alice Says:

Have just very quickly read some of the comments here. Danica I so much agree with your comment about Toni’s ego being the problem. For a man who spouts on and on about humility and being humble you have to say that his ego is massive!!
Listening to the disparity between the attitudes he forces on Rafa and how he himself talks and behaves is becoming utterly infuriating.
It’s Rafa alone and exposed out there while he sits preaching on the sidelines.


Giles Says:

LMAO. Can’t believe I’m reading this cr@p about Toni’s ego and the general Toni bashing. Hello, Toni has has been instrumental in helping Rafa amass FOURTEEN Grand Slams, yes that’s right 14! Suddenly he’s become the bad guy. Why so? Rafa is on court playing, not Toni. Rafa’s problems at the moment are mainly mental and only Rafa can sort out this aspect of the puzzle not to mention the last 7 months filled with injuries and of course the operation. He just needs more time and this fan is willing to wait however long it takes for him to get back on track. He will be back!


alice Says:

Glad you find it funny Giles. A lot of people are looking at Toni and his input so it’s difficult to believe that they are all deluded. Why can ‘only’ Rafa sort this out?? other players have help, why not him? How do you know that Rafa wouldn’t have won 14 or perhaps even more slams without Toni? Many of the core features of Rafa’s game were chalked up to Toni but now turn out to be initiated by Rafa himself.
If you want Rafa to hang around wasting valuable time then fine,but this problem isn’t suddenly miraculously going away.
I’m not saying ditch Toni anyway, but that he needs new fresh input same as Djoker with Vajda and so on.


Giles Says:

Alice my dear you can ask for fresh input, fresh eyes, fresh salad or what you will. Nothing’s gonna change in the Nadal camp so just accept it and live with it. Do people honestly think that Rafa is gonna make changes after all these years on tour, especially one concerning a family member? No siree, ain’t gonna happen!
And don’t criticise Toni just because things aren’t going well at the moment for Rafa. He must be one of the few people in this world who wants the best for Rafa. They will work it out!
BTW are you a Rafa Fan?


Tennisfan Says:

I think people point fingers at Toni because the only other alternative is that Rafa is no longer physically or mentally capable to play at the top tier. I do think he should try something new and see if it works, even if it is as drastic as changing his coach of 14 years. Realistically, I don’t think that will happen, but who knows. Meanwhile, the media circus will continue with asking pro and current players about what Rafa should do. They’re all just co-workers (or acquaintances in the case of people like JMac), why would they know details about the others’ coaching intents etc. Heaven forbid if they ask Roger these questions, the hate and angst from Rafa kads will be unbearable.


Patson Says:

I’m going to go Dr. Phil here but I frigging refuse to believe Nadal is done when Dustin Brown, the very next match, ends up losing to Troicki — who himself lost to Nadal in Stuttgart. Is Nadal’s game SOOOOOOOOO off ? I don’t think so. Here’s what I think: Going out early the last 4 years has hurt his confidence at Wimbledon specifically. You look at 2013 and even in that spectacular year, he lost to Darcis in the first round ! He has Wimbophobia. It’s mental, and this is not necessarily related to the fact that his game is rusty. No, although that’s true, but Wimbophobia makes him nervous. Think of Wimbledon has that office boss he dreads. When ever Wimbledon shows up, Nadal starts screwing up even the simplest of tasks. It all started with Rosol, and it continues till this day.


jane Says:

“Wimbophobia” :)


Hippy Chick Says:

^Wimbophobia double:):)lol….^


Patson Says:

Right jane ?

Glad Nole is going to strong. Go Nole ! Hell I’m pumped up about his chances. Was a bit downcast after he lost the French; seems like he’s back now.


Hippy Chick Says:

Anyway hes won the title twice which aint too shabby,and everyone knows its the creme de la creme of tennis GS,some can only dream about winning even one,so surely twos a dream come true….


Patson Says:

@Hippy

I agree HOWEVER, I DO NOT think a champion should be going out to Nobodies. Nadal NEEDS to fix his Wimbledon woes. It’s ok to go out in the 2nd week but somebody of Nadal’s stature, should not be going out in the 1st week of any major. That’s what I believe. It just does not befit a great champion, it just doesn’t.


alice Says:

@ patson

wimbophobia!! ha ha I so wish that was all it was
but it sure doesn’t look like it given the dreadful stuff he was playing on the clay.
forehandophobia looks more like it given that he only has to miss one to go to pieces for the rest of an entire match!
I like Djoker a lot so I will be supporting him now Rafa is out.


Wog Boy Says:

@alice, make sure Giles doesn’t know you’ll be cheering Nole, you’ll be struck out of Rafa fans register:)


alice Says:

@wog boy

don’t worry Giles and I am emphatically NOT on the same page.
As for the fanatics who criticise Rafa supporters for liking his rivals….who cares?! that is a ridiculous attitude.


Giles Says:

Alice. You are going off on a tangent now. Count me out, support whoever the hell you like.
Murphy will take the Wimbledon title this year!


Hippy Chick Says:

Alice your free to be a fan of whom you like,a couple of years ago some posters on this forum were saying isnt it funny that Rafa fans are now cheering on Murray like it was some tennis-x written law that you shouldnt have a second favorite?….


Giles Says:

Somebody should advise Popsicle to fix his teeth! Lol


Brando Says:

@Patson:

Your a poster I like but I vehemently disagree about your take:

This NOT a Wimbledon only issue.

I agree that even if Rafa was firing this year he’d probably still lose early at Wimby and your right, a player of his status and record needs to address that. But really this issue for Rafa is way, way beyond Wimbeldon. I mean explain this to me:

Rafael Nadal was 1/7 for clay events won this year, and only 2/7 in clay finals played.

That’s beyond ridiculous for who Rafa is on Clay.

And look at the roll call of his losses this year:

Berrer, Fognini twice, Verdasco, Dolgopolov and Brown.

He also lost to Raonic with MP’s and to his pigeon Berdych in the most dismally one sided of fashions.

Heck:

He’s won 2 250 titles in over a year!

So to me his problems are major and go beyond something little here and there. It’s like your fav Novak said the other day:

He has issues that he needs to address. It’s not Wimbledon blues only at all.


Patson Says:

@alice

Forehandophobia exacerbates in Wimbledon which ends up becoming Wimforeophobia … OK I’ve definitely not making any sense now, this even worse by Dr. Phil’s standards. And THANK YOU for your support for Nole. Welcome to the Nole club … here’s your beer, and a bag of chips, and a shirt with Nole on it ….. and hey, you people standing on the sides ! come in … come in … everyone … come in … lots of beer … lots of free food as well … come on now.

3 2 1 Ajde Nole !


Brando Says:

@Okie:

Hi Okie and likewise its good seeing you around re post on other thread. To answer your question who would I like to see coaching Rafa ideally:

Novak Djokovic.

LOL, wouldn’t it be good if Rafa’s movement was better, returns more aggressive and all his shots landing consistently deep.

And a bit of confident personality added to the mix. In the dream world Novak would be Mr Ideal for Rafa’s game.

Novak needs to retire and embrace 6 figure checks for Rafa and sign up for the job. LOL, I can only wish.

But realistically speaking:

ANYONE not named Toni Nadal. Right now I am of the mindframe that Toni is detrimental and hurting Rafa and his game. Too many people who know more about tennis than I can ever do so like John McEnroe, Brad Gilbert, Tim Henman etc are saying Rafa needs to get rid of Toni. Even Novak himself did not expressly say get rid, but maybe relegate Toni to a different role.

I cannot see Rafa addressing his issues with Toni still at the helm since Toni will still insist on carrying out the old methodology and right now it’s blatantly obvious that will not work any longer.

Rafa and tennis- the way the game is played, how opponents play against rafa etc- have changed and Rafa needs to change himself to address it.

It’s just Toni’s ego is in the way i feel.


Hippy Chick Says:

Patson sorry pass lol,its Murraymania for me now with Rafa out,Mat4 once said he wished i was a Nole fan to which i replied in the words of the late great Margret Thatcher the ladys not for turning lol….


Hippy Chick Says:

Sienna @3.39am July 4th,i just think its rude when players cannot spare a few minute to sign autographs,after all where would these players be without the fans,as for moderation some people get away with blue murder on this forum,what i said was shut up surely mild in comparison?….


sienna Says:

Serena is not so good in hiding her feelings or stepping over irritations.
It just makes her human she signs plenty autographs. just now she didnt.


Okiegal Says:

Andy said c’mon when Seppi’s ball went long…..is that a crime? It was yesterday when Serena did it..


Okiegal Says:

But none the less, C’MON ANDY!!


alice Says:

@ patson

hey thanks for the chips and beer!!
beer especially is needed by rafa fans right now…great bucket-loads of it!
I really like Nole so am all in for this one….
not quite so sure about the t-shirt though….

he was very classy about the RG loss so would be nice to see him do good here.

PS can rafa please borrow Nole’s game for a few months…just 2 or 3??


Okiegal Says:

@Brando, thanks for the reply. Well, we can’t have Novak! I’m perplexed by everything having to do with Rafa and his career atm. Something needs to be changed, but he emphatically states, he’s the problem and not his uncle! Would it be weird if I suggested Andre??


alice Says:

@brando

‘toni’s ego is in the way..’

I agree 1,000% with this and it really is a bit much that this man who has preached humility and being humble at Rafa to the point of undermining him can’t take any of his own medicine.
He’s a power of no good for him at the moment.


Okiegal Says:

I’m going out on a limb here. If Murray should lose this match, will the MTO be the reason?? The commentators are really down playing the long break between the games……And btw I don’t think for a second he will lose this match. C’mon Andy!!


Giles Says:

alice. You seem to be in wonderland with your posts. Lay off Toni. You are talking gibberish at the moment.


Patson Says:

@Alice

Sure ! I think Nole can lend him his game for 2 months: December this year, and February next year. Does that work ? :-p

@Alice, Brando

You have a fair point about Toni; however, leaving Toni now is not the right thing to do — and may even result in worse results. I would want him to wait till the end of the season and then make a decision. Leaving him now is a decision made in haste. Let’s imagine the possibility that he gets some wins in Montreal, and then goes on to do well in the hard-court season, and makes a deep run at the US open. Also, let’s imagine he does well in the post-US open tournaments. Doing well doesn’t imply winning but getting to the semi-finals and/or finals. Would that still merit jettisoning Toni ? I’m not so sure. Rafa and Toni’s relationship is very very different. It can actually backfire badly if the break-up is turbulent. It needs ALOT of thought.

He needs a break right now and Toni needs to continue to analyze what Rafa needs to do for the hard-court season. Also, Nadal needs to sharpen his weapons. His weapons have gotten blunt. Again, Toni should realize that. If the results remain poor for the rest of the season, despite Rafa putting all the hard work, then I’ll join the “dump Toni’ bandwagon in order to get some fresh perspective. I’ll reserve my judgement for now.


Patson Says:

I think Nadal fans, and Nadal, and everybody else, is frustrated right now — and rightly so. Being a Djokovic fan, we’ve had our fair share of those moments. Gotto keep believing in your guy. It’s not like tennis has changed RADICALLY since 2013. NOTHING has changed. So, the argument that fresh ideas need to be brought in because the game has changed isn’t valid. I also don’t think Toni has ran out of ideas. This is a bad patch. It kind of reminds me of what Nadal went through back in 2009 after losing to Soderling. I recall he didn’t win a tournament for a year (he probably won Monte Carlo in 2010). But he came back didn’t he ?

You can lose confidence guys. It can happen to the best of us. Stick with your man and believe in his team. They’ve done it before, they can do it again.


Giles Says:

@Patson. I’m seeing more positive posts from you on Rafa than some of the Rafans on here. Many thanks.


Giles Says:

http://thetennisisland.com/2015/07/03/rafael-nadal-where-to-now/
I think this is a pretty good summation of Rafa’s plight ATM


alice Says:

@ patson

2 months in the off season that’s not very generous of you! I was hoping to borrow Nole’s game for the summer including the US Open!
Toni has already given interviews saying that they have virtually no chance of winning there – ok that’s realistic but the whole tone of it isn’t going to inspire a lot of confidence in anyone let alone Rafa himself.
I agree that the game hasn’t changed much and that Rafa doesn’t need to suddenly radically alter his game. He’s not getting beaten because his game has lost its potency. He’s getting beaten because he is fried mentally and he can’t access his game, especially his forehand, in the first place. The only shot which really needs change and to be worked on is his serve which should be fixed.
But this problem with his mental state is deep and severe – it was going on last spring before he suddenly got it together and won RG. Now after injury it’s back again with a vengeance and is a hell of a lot worse. Most players seek psychological help but Toni is pretty reactionary on that front and in any case one could make a case that he is part of the problem. Rafa said in his autobiography that
‘he(Toni)is the reason why I am more insecure than I should be’ and cited that as the reason why he struggled in early rounds of slams in particular. Well this complex has now run riot and if Toni is part of the problem then it’s hard to see him being the solution.
Yes,absolutely there should be no acrimony, no bad break up, Toni should at least stay on in some capacity but there has to be a fresh look now of the kind supplied by Edberg or Becker with presumably the kind of psychological help nearly everyone else uses.
Can Rafa with his tendency toward injury really afford to wait until the end of the season?? That is very very risky. (If Toni stays on and they have a rejig then if that doesn’t work they can always revert back anyway).
But loads of people (ex players, commentators and journos) are saying that change is needed and the feel of the team is very stale and weary at the moment.
Am on board with you guys now supporting Nole for the title!!


skeezer Says:

“NOTHING has changed”.
Oh yeah things have changed. Players believe they can beat Rafa now, and they do. The fear is and intimidation he use to bring is gone. Thats huge. They have found ways to beat the beast. The talk is in the locker room.
Why is this conversation all about Rafa and he is playing bad? Yes, he is for. Sure out of sorts lately but players are finally figuring his game out and taken appropriate action, it’s not all about Rafa playing bad. The 100+ ranked plares have been beating him for years now.


Brando Says:

@Okiegal:

No worries. Andre is a great suggestion since he ain’t Uncle Toni. Truthfully speaking: if you dream it, you can maybe see it and then make it happen. I just cannot really envisage a change in the setup. I do feel it’s much needed, even overdue, but Rafa’s reality is his reality: the man ain’t going to fire his Uncle no matter what the situation. He’ll likely leave the game than blame his Uncle and fire him.

So it’s on Toni to leave and right now: there is ZERO indication that he shall do such a thing. I’m afraid it’s a case of: there’s no point saying it should happen since there is a very, very slim chance it is ever going to happen.

@Alice:

I agree with you. It is ironic isn’t it? The man who preaches humility suddenly has his ego in the way of betterment for his nephew.

Practice what you preach Toni, no?


Brando Says:

@Patson:

I appreciate your positivity and reasoned thinking but I just have to disagree for the following:

1. The likelihood of Rafa improving from now until end of season is slim:

Rafa turned pro in 2001. In the 14 years till date we have all learnt what he is like a player and what periods in the season he performs best. Historically: after USO Rafa is average at best. He’s ONLY won 1 major title in the fall and that was 10 years ago!

10 years!

So I don’t see how that is going to change in this year of all years, especially when you consider the simple truth of Rafa’s game: it just does not suit the courts of the fall. There are better players out there even in Rafa’s peak who do better.

So the chance of success in the fall- if anything- look bleaker than usual and usually they aren’t pretty great anyhow even when he’s had a brilliant first 8 months to the season.

Then there’s USO series:

I just do not see how Rafa- suddenly and magically- can start playing better HC tennis than Nole, Muzza, Wawa. Those 3 are streets ahead of him right now. And the likes of Federer, Kyrgios, Raonic, Berdych even have stronger cases than Rafa for USO series.

I just do not see how Rafa can suddenly waltz in to Montreal and start outperforming those guys. He will turn up with doubts, and for good reason. Those guys will turn up much more confident, game sharp and all together in a better place.

And oh: all those guys suit HC better than Rafa.

2. IF Rafa bombs on clay, WHY should we expect better on HC?

Rafa’s best surface is clay. He went 1/7 this year there. That’s just abject for a top player but for the King of Clay: atrocious beyond belief.

Now seeing as that is his level on his best turf: WHY expect better on a surface he’s longed claimed it takes a toll on him physically?

What credible evidence is there to expect better?

3. Rafa has NOT won 5 matches in ANY event for 14 months:

Since RG last year Rafa has not played a single event where he has won 5 matches in. Not 1 paltry event!

So WHY should we believe realistically that shall all change now heading into fast HC and the fall?

I just see no logical reason at all!

Bottomline:

I don’t want to sound negative or think as such. But when I look and assess Rafa’s situation this is just how I see it realistically. I think the season is a write off and he should just go ahead and start working for 2016 since I think deep, deep down:

Rafa does NOT expect to win or achieve much in the rest of the year. Publicly he’s stated his goal for the remainder of the year is qualification for WTF.

That just tells you everything about where his mind is right now!


calmdownplease Says:

Uncle Toni doesn’t have to be `gotten rid of`
He just kinda has to well, you know, move a bit more to the left and someone kinda has to move a bit into the right
A star coach addition yes!
Its happening all the time since Andy got the ball rolling with it.
But no ceremonial executions of Uncle T
It really isn’t necessary, he really doesnt deserve that. He doesn’t even get paid as far as I understand it!


alice Says:

@ brando

I am not particularly anti-Toni but my sense that he is a big great roadblock to any kind of change has led me to become very fed up and irritated.
I don’t have much understanding of where he’s coming from at the moment or what on earth he’s doing. Sending Rafa out on the practice court to hit his forehand a million times isn’t going to solve anything if he’s so nervous he can’t hit it during a match.
I expect you have seen Toni’s comments about Rafa having no chance at the US Open – that’s hardly going to help is it even though it’s entirely realistic. And then Rafa never does anything much post USO so he’s just going out like the proverbial lamb to be slaughtered if his game is off. How on earth does any of this help anything?
The only straw I grab at was Toni telling the Spanish press that he and Rafa couldn’t continue like this for 2 more years. 2 more years!! I should certainly hope not, but maybe it is a sign that even in terms of his very slow evolutionary cycles he realises that something has to give.
I think hanging around waiting and not making changes could potentially makes things worse not better.
Sorry to be so grim but I can’t see the upside if they just carry on like this and I’m sure that many ex-players and commentators agree. (A fair number have spoken out already and I’m sure many more are thinking it).


alice Says:

@ calmdownplease

NO, no public executions…but the reason Rafa supporters are getting so down on Toni is that they feel that he is a block to any kind of change. I desperately want to see an ex-great come in and help with most probably a psychologist as well. As you rightly say Murray started this and where he went I would like to see Rafa follow. As you say, Toni can remain in the wings to provide family back-up and continuity. But we all fear that Toni will not allow this to happen – he told Melissa Isaacson of ESPN just before the BRown match that he wasn’t going to allow changes and that having him there as sole coach was ‘good for Rafa’. The tone of this is so draconian that I hope that he was joking …but hey you never know and it’s driving us all a bit nuts.
I think you would feel the same if your fave was in the same position??


madmax Says:

It is a shame in terms of Rafa’s performance at Wimbledon, but I do not think that this is it for him. He is more than willing and able to continue playing and wanting to work hard to get back the top. It may be time for a dose of long, hard reality.

He seems to be lacking the mental capacity to believe in himself.

I remember, 7 years ago, 2008, Fed was getting slated, left, right and centre. Fed fans were constantly talking (including me) about Fed getting a sports psychologist to help out – who knows if he did this?

I don’t think it would do Rafa any harm at all.

He comes from a wealthy, respected and powerful family, together with an extended family, so at the core, is Uncle Toni. I think it would be too much of a shock to the system if they were to part, particularly at is stage of his career.

May be take a back step, but I think Toni would be too proud for that.

Rafa will pick himself up and pull himself together somewhere along the line. We just don’t know when or how right now.

It’s so strange that he came into wimbledon with such confidence and a grass court title too.


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/domgg
Good article – makes a lot of sense


alice Says:

madmax.

Good to read your thoughts!! I too would like him to get help with his nerves in the form of a sports psychologist or similar but Toni doesn’t seem to have much truck with that kind of thing. Quite recently, he even disagreed with the idea that tennis was a mental game but more about power in the body! So that scarcely bodes well in terms of his addressing the core problem which is his anxiety on court.
And Rafa’s struggles are way way worse than Fed’s in 2008 nor are they new as he struggled with nerves in the spring of last year. I am not saying ditch Toni but your phrase about Toni having too much pride to take a back step and allow a new super coach evidently is a source of deep frustration for many Rafa supporters. Some say pride some say ego but the idea that he would allow Rafa to suffer when remedies could be put in place is pretty insupportable. Think for example if Fed was being placed in such a position (I take it you are a Fed fan.?). Maybe he and Rafa will see things through and I hope so but there are many people now who think it could be done a lot faster and better by adding other people.
I wasn’t surprised at all when he lost at Wimby. His collapse in the third set against Djoker at RG was very damaging and he imploded again against Dolgo. As soon as I saw the draw I thought he could lose to Brown (that just about says it all frankly!)
Many thanks for your thoughts…lovely to see Fed playing so well and I hope he gets to the final- he’s the player I like most left in that half of the draw.


Brando Says:

Interesting take on Rafa by 7 time major winner Mats Wilander:

‘I don’t think Rafa needs to fire Toni since he’s a huge emotional support for Rafa. BUT he should maybe take a walk down the street and see what is on offer out there. Everyone has improved and he needs to add on his game such as work on his FH which is now inconsistent. For me he’s still young enough to deal with his issues’.

‘Would I coach Rafa if he asked? I think Edberg said it best when he said that he had zero plans to coach but then Federer called. I think Rafa fits into that category where IF he calls you can see alot of people changing their plans’.

Interesting and agreeable take by Mats for me:

Keep Uncle Toni.

BUT relegate him down somewhat. And hire a new coach just to freshen up his game, mentality. Have a new lease of life.

And use your name:

I think Rafael Nadal makes the phone call asking someone to coach him, then very,very, very few- if any- would say no.

ALL would atleast give it some long hard consideration.

I think Rafa needs to go shopping for a supercoach: think of what you want to achieve gamewise, pick the best candidate for it and then:

Make them a offer they cannot refuse! p


Patson Says:

@skeezer

“Why is this conversation all about Rafa and he is playing bad?”

Because when we look at his game, he makes too many unnecessary unforced errors and things that he was doing routinely in the past, he’s not doing them anymore ? A lot of people agree with that statement — may be not Chris Chase though.

” The 100+ ranked plares have been beating him for years now.”

“players are finally figuring his game out and taken appropriate action, it’s not all about Rafa playing bad”

At Wimbledon only. Might I add, Nadal bummed at Wimbledon 2013 despite having the most successful season (even more so than 2010 in terms of tourneys won). This says more about Nadal than anybody else. It says that he has lost confidence at Wimbledon. Then, there’s also the fact that he had an operation last year. I mean, every comeback can’ t be like 2013.

“finally figuring his game out”

You want to know what figuring out a player means ? Nadal vs Federer — Nadal sending forehands to Fed’s backhand since 10000 BC and winning. That’s what figuring out means. I don’t think there’s anything that’s been figured out about Nadal that people didn’t know already. I think his own tennis is visibly a notch below, and the fact that he has always been more vulnerable at Wimbledon.


Patson Says:

Folks, I’m not a Nadal fan by any means, but the argument that the “game has changed and hence Nadal will not/cannot succeed” just looks farcical. People make adjustments ? Sure. Do those adjustments suggest that the “game” has changed ? Heck no. The adjustments players do are generally a few month’s work which they do all the time. A player’s fortunes can change in a matter of months.
Tennis is a game of a few points — the critical ones; whoever wins those generally wins the match. You probably want to make adjustments that give you the edge during those critical points.


Mary Says:

Patson

A+++


Okiegal Says:

It’s all upstairs for Rafa…..that is where the problem lies. Just like he was against Novak. Didn’t have the belief in himself. He said his confidence level is way down which interferes with his shot making. He just doesn’t have the confidence to go for his shots anymore. It’s all between the ears. I will agree with Skeezer on one point….it’s true that some of the players have figured out his game. I’m sure other players years back had to. But Rafa was executing his game back then as opposed to now. He is mentally fragile. How can you fire a coach when you don’t even pay him?? Lol I have read that Tony gets no salary…..close, so very close family ties. Tony is going nowhere. When Rafa won FO last year it was his Uncle Tony he was trying to get to. Tony will have to leave on his own accord, imho.


skeezer Says:

“At Wimbledon only.”
Excuse me, why don’t you post the win/loss stats this past Clay season?
“Because when we look at his game…”
So who is we? All of you?
“finally figuring his game out”
Ahhh now the onion is peeled. All of the sudden this is about Fed vs Rafa? Lol. What this is really about is its all about Rafa, an not about giving credit and due to the players that have beat him. If only he wasn’t injured( he claimed after the fact vs Sod ). If only he wasn’t sick, and now if only he wasn’t mentally there.. If if if. Well, sorry to tell you but he doesn’t get If excuses for not winning. The guy on the other side is hitting winners, hitting aces, hitting through Rafa, breaking up his rhythm and out running there butt off to beat Rafa. They are the just better player that day. This has been a pattern as it was pointed out.
Fail. Is Rafa not playing his best? Maybe. But give credit where credit is due. The other guy can make you pkay badly by his pressure, Nole’s great return of serve when on does this to players


Kimberly Says:

Courier said the Dustin brown match was the worst match he had ever seen Nadal play. Does everyone agree?


Wog Boy Says:

Courier is knowledgeable, smart and not biased commentator, is it Rafa’s worst game…I don’t know, but Rafa definitely played very much below Rafa’s standards.

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