Nadal Picks Up Big Win Over Nishikori, But Can He Beat Djokovic? Indian Wells SF Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | March 19th, 2016, 1:26 am
  • 258 Comments

Rafael Nadal needed a big win and he got one Friday at the Indian Wells Masters Series. The former No. 1 has languished all year and entered the first Masters event without even a Top 50 win on the season! But this week in the desert where he’s won three times before he’s finally found some confidence and some game.

Playing his best match of the year, Rafa notched his first Top 10 win beating World No. 6 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-3.

“[Nishikori] started so quickly, hitting all the balls very well and serving great,” Nadal said. “Then he started to miss some first serves, and I returned his second serves aggressively. That was so important in the development of the match.

“My return was important. At the same time, my serve was enough good for this match.”

It didn’t look good early for Rafa who found himself down 1-3 and points to go down 1-4 (and two breaks down would have done in Nadal). But a late challenge by Nadal kept him within a break. Things then click. Rafa stormed back winning 8 of the next 9 games before Nishikori regained his composure. But it was too late for the Japenese who whipped Nadal the last time they played over the summer.

“I felt strong mentally,” Nadal said. “I had the right energy. I was able to fight for every ball. I was able to keep going during the whole match and believe in myself again, and that made me play with more energy and less nerves.

“That’s so important for me. It’s the way I’ve played my whole career. This week has been very, very positive.”

If you missed Rafa of the old, you saw some hope today that that Rafa still exists. The question is, can he do it again tomorrow against the boogeyman, Novak Djokovic?

Djokovic looked a little patchy against JW Tsonga but he got through in straight sets 7-6(2), 7-6(2) to win his 15th straight match at Indian Wells and 20th win of the year.

“I felt like I was playing well, very solid; had the match under control; serving 5-4, 30/0,” said Djokovic. “Then all of a sudden, I was not putting a first serve in. He started mixing up with a slice and decided to play a bit different tactically. That got me off a little bit the balance and the rhythm. He started playing better. He started swinging more freely from the forehand corner, especially. It was very close.

“But, I take positives out of today’s match, the fact that I have played somebody that was feeling good throughout the week, somebody that serves very, very big and plays very quick and efficient, precise forehands. He gave me a lot of trouble today to win in straight sets and to win in two tie-breaks. I think it’s going to help definitely my confidence and mentally I will take that.”

So the semifinals are set. We’ll have a multi-time former champion against a first-timer Sunday. Who will it be? On to my picks!

David Goffin v Milos Raonic
I think it’s pretty clear as soon as the Big 4 era crumbles, that is Djokovic comes off his high, Milos Raonic is going major, major factor. Maybe even a No. 1. His time will come. For now it’s trying to win a first Masters.

Raonic skipped out on the post-Australian fluff mending an adductor his ripped during his semifinal loss to Murray in Melbourne. But he’s returned in full flight at Indian Wells reaching his second straight final in the desert, this time without losing a set after impressive wins over Tomas Berdych and the other night Gael Monfils.

Across the net Saturday will be the surprise of the tournament, David Goffin. Did anyone have the Belgian making it this far? No one I bet.

Goffin’s had quite the trip, saving match points against Frances Tiafoe in his opener, staying focused just enough in the Stan Wawrinka rollercoaster and then out-toughing Marin Cilic in the heat. And for what it’s worth, he’s beaten Milos Roanic before in Basel 18 months ago.

“A tall one and a small one,” assessed Goffin. “Big server. I think it’s good conditions for him here with small balls and balls are really fast, so it’s tough to return. But I have weapons to return, like I did today against Marin, and I beat Milos once in Basel.”

While Goffin’s a better player now than when he beat Milos, but Raonic is way better.

“He’s playing well. He’s taking the ball early,” Raonic said Thursday. “He’s trying to maybe not overpower but take away time from his opponents.

“You see that he’s trying to take time away and maybe getting guys to panic and not set up their swings. But I think when it comes to that kind of stuff I’m pretty good at getting things to my term. If he wants to stay on the baseline I’m going to have to try to push him back.”

And with his power Raonic can and will push him back, and do more. And while he might not have the raw talent of Goffin, the Canadian’s serve and experience decides it for me.
The Pick: Raonic in two

Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal
At the start of the event I didn’t see Act 48 in this rivalry happening, not with the draw and not with the way Nadal stumbled into the event after two losses on clay. But credit to Rafa, he got some good wins this week beating Fernando Verdasco, Alex Zverev and today Nishikori and is playing well.

And while I’ll root hard for him Saturday, he’s not getting another win, not against Djokovic. Novak’s owned Nadal of late winning the last five and 11 straight sets since their French Open final in 2014. And the matches haven’t even been close including a 6-1, 6-2 destruction in Doha which gave Djokovic the 24-23 series lead.

“I won the past couple of times we played against each other, so maybe that can give me a slight mental advantage coming into the court,” said Djokovic. “But everything is open. It’s the semifinals. We both have won multiple titles here and hopefully we can come up with some good tennis. I’m hoping I can deliver my best game tomorrow.”

However, Novak hasn’t been in peak form this week, so there’s some hope. I just don’t think Rafa has the sustained firepower – especially off the weakening serve – to rattle Djokovic who will be up to play his rival.

Rafa used to have a decent serve followed by the massive forehand. Now the serve is weak and the forehand just doesn’t have the zip, though don’t ask Nishikori that.

And everything in Nadal’s game plays right into Novak’s strength. He’ll punish Rafa’s serve and then wear him down from the ground, forcing him into bad misses, as we’ve seen. So unless Djokovic has a really awful day, Nadal’s in trouble here.

Djokovic has won the title four times including the last two years, so he loves the court. Nadal likes it, too. But Rafa also likes Chatrier and remember what Novak did to Nadal on his 29th birthday?

“I enjoy a rivalry against Rafa,” said Djokovic. “It’s probably the most exciting rivalry I have in my career. Hopefully we can play many more matches.”

And they will.
The Pick: Djokovic in two

ESPN has live coverage starting a 2pm ET.

INDIAN WELLS SATURDAY SCHEDULE
STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – [15] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [12] M. Raonic (CAN)
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)

Not Before 4:00 pm
WTA – Doubles Final – J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) vs B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / C. Vandeweghe (USA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – Doubles Final – [6] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) or F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs [7] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)


You Might Like:
Rafael Nadal v Kei Nishikori, Novak Djokovic v JW Tsonga; Indian Wells Friday Picks And Pans
Djokovic v Murray, Federer v Nishikori; Wednesday Miami QF Picks And Pans
Novak Djokovic v Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka v Kei Nishikori; US Open SF Picks And Pans
Andy Murray v Kei Nishikori, Juan Martin Del Potro v Stan Wawrinka; US Open Wed. Pick And Pans
Murray v Wawrinka, Nadal v Thiem; French Open SF Picks And Pans

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258 Comments for Nadal Picks Up Big Win Over Nishikori, But Can He Beat Djokovic? Indian Wells SF Picks And Pans

dh Says:

Rafa will win. Enough of this unbearable Djokovich dominance. I’ll be very satisified if Rafa can will himself back to his old form thru Roland Garros. Then, Djokovich can do whatever the F he wants. I don’t care how many Slams he wins (as long as he never gets the French). Let Rafa have something, homeboy. Break him off a lil piece.


Michael Says:

I have to agree with the picks of Sean. Although Rafa is indeed playing well and has rediscovered some of the confidence which had deserted him especially after that topsy turvy match against Zverev where he was staring down the barrel and yet won helped by his Opponent who made a complete mess of the high volley. Beating Nishikori in straight sets would have done his sapping confidence a world of good and he would be upto the task against Novak.

But, Novak knows how to play against Rafa and the match up suits him more than anybody else. So, it is really a tough ask for Rafa despite the fact that he is playing well after some time. The key for the match would yet again be the quality of Rafa’s first serves and Novak’s return. The match is literally in Novak’s racquet and he can lose only if there is a precipitious fall in his form complemented by an exceptional play by Rafa !!


SnotNosedKid Says:

Nadal: ass.handed.to him.
Goffin: same.


Pauly Says:

Nadal isn’t at his best level yet but he is peaking for the clay court season … Big thanks to Zverev for firing Nadal’s confidence up
I think Nadal can put up better showing than DOHA
But this surface suits Djokovic more so I predict
6-3 6-4 Djokovic win
What worries me about Nadal is onething SERVE is his Achilles heels especially against best returners & the leg speed isn’t as good so Djokovic comfortably in straight sets … Unless miracles happen & Nadal is in beast mode ?
Hopefully he will get primed for the clay season … This IW tournament has been good for him
Thanks to Zverev again … He’s a good choker


Van Persie Says:

Watching Nole yesterday it reminded me on his form from Canada and Cincy last year, where he looked unmotivated and out of shape…He might win today, but it will be not like in Doha.
Goffin has no chance against Milos today, unforyunately.


Van Persie Says:

But I guess Nole’s thoughts are already toward clay courts…


anki Says:

Rafa would be my pick in three sets. Novak has looked so uncomfortable throughout the week. Rafa is fired up coming from a convincing win over Kei. Tsonga, with no proper back hand dragged Novak to two TB’s. Shows how subpar Nole was. On the other hand Goffin is gona get destroyed by Raonic.


Giles Says:

@dh. My thoughts exactly. :)


Jac Says:

Djokovic 6-1(2), 6-4
Raonic 6-7, 6-4(3), 6-2

If i had to put my money.


Pauly Says:

Djokovic beats Nadal by making fast starts that’s his plan to beat Nadal … It works !
Nadal must hold onto his serve early or else it’s another thumping


sisay Says:

I want to see on sunday nole sharing the record with rafa for most masters 1000 titles…but it won’t be easy as rafa won’t be willing to share it with anyone. Good luck nole…


Giles Says:

Zozza. You are such a delightful fan. NOT.
If anyone needs a thumping IT IS YOU! 😡😡😡😡


Van Persie Says:

Sisay, I want the same ;)


BBB Says:

The thing with Djokovic is that his form in one match isn’t much of a predictor for his form in the following match. He’s often able to ratchet up his game just enough to beat whoever’s in front him.


Pauly Says:

GILES

You’re funny man
If anyone needs a thumping it’s not Nadal at the moment
But you might need to stop making threats on this website or else you’ll get big thumping 😡😡😡


Pauly Says:

GILES loves ZOZZA

when is the wedding ?


Pauly Says:

GILES is a paranoid SCHIZOPRENIC


Daniel Says:

Tsonga hit some explosive FH flat and seeveal shots were very very deep close to the baseline.

Nadal doesn’t do that and he has spin which will allow time to Djokovic. Djoko’s serve and return are better so only a really sub par Djoko can lose. And he doesn’t even need to play hos best to beat Nadal anymore, when he does the score is like Doha. Nadal is also inconsistent this tourney, he bagels Zverev only to be down 1-4 next set. he bagales Verdasco only to lose serve twice.


Giles Says:

Daniel is obsessed with Nadal. Change the record pleeeeaaaase!


Giles Says:

Zozza is a very funny name, no? What does it mean? 🙄


Dave Says:

No more predictions from me. I’m just going to watch the match and enjoy it. I think the last truly epic match that Nadal and Nole played was the 2013 French Open Semi-Finals. So these matches just don’t happen anymore. I’m not expecting anything epic, but hopefully decent enough.


Daniel Says:

Giles, Nadal and Djoko are playing, everybody here is talking about them. Get over it and go sell crazy to somebody else!


sisay Says:

Pouly…the wedding…giles with zozza is very funny. I am still loughing…

Van persie…just beleive we gonna get our wish on sunday…i already started imagening novac with the trophy…


sisay Says:

…and i wanna attend that wedding lol


Green Lady Says:

It would be great again to see another classic battle between the two men, but sadly i think those days are long gone,Rafa hasnt beaten Novak since FO 2014 ,so i doubt going on current form,and theres been nothing to suggest today would be any different, i mean the guy aint even won a set of Novak since then, i think when Novak fans say Rafa will win this (GET THAT RF,NOVAK FANS NOT RAFA FANS), they are merely been polite ….

BTW The FO semi in 2013, was by far one of the most overated matches ive ever seen ….


Giles Says:

Daniel. Lol. But you go on and on and on about Nadal even if he’s not playiing. I call that obsession in its entirety. In a way I don’t blame you. he’s.very special, no?


Van Persie Says:

Sisay, hope you are right regarding tomorrow and we see our guy with the trophey ;)
I guess Nole would play Milos, IF he wins against Rafa today…and Milos is vey good ar the moment


jane Says:

Daniel, awesome quote by Jack! “As good as it gets” 😊👏🏻


Green Lady Says:

Van Persie im sure your guy will win the trophy,hes winning everything ATM ….


Daniel Says:

Yeah Jane,

Love that movie kkkk


Green Lady Says:

Although hes a great actor, i must admit that i find Jack Nicholson a bit creepy TBH ….


Okiegal Says:

Rain, hail, sleet, snow or even an Oklahoma tornado is gonna keep Novak from winning this tournament….heck I think he could win it on one leg with an arm tied behind his back…….just saying….. :) BTW I know a lot about tornadoes……..(not sure how to spell the plural form…os or oes??) lol


Okiegal Says:

@Green Lady….You must have seen our dear Jack in “The Shining”……..LOL


Van Persie Says:

GL,

As Nole fan, I am not so sure for today, yet for tomorrow

Okie,

You have asked GL, but as I am a big fan of Jack,have to say, that I loved that movie :)


Okiegal Says:

I wish I could remember some good movie quotes….I can only remember three…..”Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”…….and “What we have here is a failure to communicate” from the movie Cool Hand Luke and Woodrow Call saying “I won’t tolerate rudeness in a man” from Lonesome Dove. Maybe not exact but close enough. Two great movies and the best mini series I have ever seen!!


Van Persie Says:

Okie,

I will give you good quote for Rafa fans: “Tomorrow is another day” ;)


Okiegal Says:

Goffin has picked it up a bit and then could not hold his serve…..Rafa like……but having said that, Rafa is doing better and I am loving his renewed fighting spirit!!


Okiegal Says:

He has broken Milos again!


Green Lady Says:

Okie The Shinnning is a brilliant film, he was great in Terms Of Endearment too, he has been in some brilliant film, playing brilliant roles and characters, no question ….

I agree about Novak, and im also glad your here to chat to, it gets a bit lonely here sometimes, when talk is only about one player and the dominance ATM, i dont blame them hes the man of the hour, you just feel a bit suffocated after a while, another reason i havent posted as much ….


Green Lady Says:

Shinning ….


Okiegal Says:

Looks like a 3 setter after all…..


Okiegal Says:

@VP…..yes, our dear Scarlett…..I do remember that one too! lol


mat4 Says:

David won the second set. I believed (oh, how easy it is aftermath) that he wouldn’t be cannon fodder in this semi: he outplayed Stan but almost choked, then he played better than Cilic, so I expected that he will eventually improve in the department of “nerves management”.

He has his chance against Goliath.


mat4 Says:

Hi, all you Nolefans! jane, Daniel, and all the others present now.

Hi, Okie and Morgana.


Van Persie Says:

Would be glad for Goffin, if he wjns today. very talented…but looks so tiny and fragile among the others


mat4 Says:

Sarah, there are matches that morph great talents into great players. I believe that the match against Stan changed Goffin.


mat4 Says:

Ignore what I just wrote…


Van Persie Says:

Hi Mat4,

I always liked Goffin…I first watched a match of him in 2012, FO. was against Nole.


Green Lady Says:

Hi Mat4, if you saw my dress, for my up and coming handfasting, then you would think i was Morganas double, im still mulling it over about my monikor ….


Van Persie Says:

To late, Mat4…Answered aleady :D
Still think that Goffin is talented


mat4 Says:

@VP:

You English is ever-changing, and it leaves me quite confused. Just like your monikor: once a girl, then a boy.

But let’s hope David can still break back.


jane Says:

hey mat4… hoping for a good match today. meaning novak wins. ;)


mat4 Says:

@jane:

You know me, I am pretty indifferent, who cares about results? But then, there is Giles, so I hope for a Novak win just to make him happy a bit…


Van Persie Says:

Mat 4,

I will change mymonikor in Sarah Van Persie. Van Persie is not a first name ;)

My English is changing? What do you mean?


mat4 Says:

Great point!


Van Persie Says:

Game over. Feel sorry for Goffin…
Congrats for The Milos fans


mat4 Says:

And it’s over. The ATP version of “big babe” tennis. I believe that there are here some Canadians rooting for Milosh, so I guess I should congratulate them — whoever difficult it is and who cares if my tender heart bleeds for David Goffin, life is cruel, I know — so kudos, jane! My only consolation is that we won in DC, but…

Just kidding, of course. :-)


J-Kath Says:

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest…….


Van Persie Says:

^^..that’s TX ;)


mat4 Says:

J-K:

What happen to the other?

Btw, erratum: however, not whoever…


Green Lady Says:

J-Kath yeah, i identify with that film, especially been a bit mad and all ….


Okiegal Says:

Hi mat4…..I am here and I hope Rafa shows up today…..the crowd seems to like both of these guys, I think Rafa has the edge on that but not on coming out the winner…not intending to be negative about him……he is looking better but not where he needs to be to beat the #1 player of the world, Hope we see a good competitive match with lots of exciting points…….


mat4 Says:

It’s going to start soon. Go Novak! We want a 27th…

To quote Queen: we want it all…


mat4 Says:

@Okie:

I hope quite for the contrary: an uncompetitive match where Novak wins easily. But, I guess it won’t be neither your way, neither mine. Or not.


Van Persie Says:

yep, it’ time!

Hajde Nole!


Van Persie Says:

it’s


Okiegal Says:

@Green Lady….I too haven’t been posting much either. Going to lots of basketball games lately and now it is college tournament time. I will have to cheer my Sooners on tomorrow!!


J-Kath Says:

Mat4

I’d be delighted to tell you if I knew what you were talking about….intrigued….


Daniel Says:

Lot’s of errors by Djoko, but even so not an “easy” game for Nadal, it was 30-30 than Djoko missed 2 balls not doing much.

Let’s see how Djoko serve now.


Daniel Says:

Hmm, the DF from yesterday continue.


Daniel Says:

2 in a row, WTF


Green Lady Says:

Okie i completely agree, im not really expecting anything other than a Novak ….


Van Persie Says:

and Rafa broke


Daniel Says:

Djoko unlucky with the net. Break Nadal, Djoko slow start.

Let’s see of this break wake him up.


Van Persie Says:

That’s more like it! rebreak


Daniel Says:

Djoko dominating from back of the court, 2 points Nadal won was an ace and a second serve return error by Djoko.

Looks like Djoko indeed woke up and maybe the sun bother him in those DF the other side of the net. Now they will change sides.


mat4 Says:

Rafa is playing unbelievable. Novak is subpar so far. Let’s hope he can still manage to win.


Green Lady Says:

Okie enjoy your basketball ;))….


Daniel Says:

Djoko serve off and 9 UE in 4 games. Not looking good for him.


Van Persie Says:

seems like Rafa is back


jane Says:

novak’s definitely not at his best yet.
still too many loose errors.
looks hot today…


Daniel Says:

Don’t think Rafa is playing unbelievable mat4, he is just not missing much while Djoko already made 10 UE.

But his FH does looks good.

3-2. Djoko needs a easy hold now. Last game was 30-30.

If Djoko serve is not up to the task this could very well be one of the most competitive matches they can play in a while.

For Nadal this is already the first time he is up 3-2 in a set in a long long time.


Okiegal Says:

@Green Lady…..I will but it’s all about me and Rafa today!! L


Daniel Says:

Nadal tactics is to counter punch cross court, won a few of those points.


Green Lady Says:

Okie i have just turned the tennis on, as a certain Australian film star was on Ant and Decs Saturday night take-away, the guy was in Kings Lynne last week, which is only about 20 miles away from me, and i still missed him argh, anyway now its Rafas time lol ….


Daniel Says:

Nadal almost missed that volley. Both BP’s saved.


Van Persie Says:

wow…wat a point


Daniel Says:

Nadal pissed of because he missed the shot, another BP.


jane Says:

a couple of nice shots from novak in this game but a dumb play at 30-40 where he backed up instead of stepping in.

rafa’s been using body serves a lot.


Daniel Says:

IW really is a slow court.


Rafafan Says:

Novak is off par. All the luck has gone Rafa’s way. Still is he on serve – just barely.


Daniel Says:

Some of Nadal’s shots are so short that are making Djoko miss easy balls. Nadal is alternating some deep shots with some short ones, but not intentionally. Djoko has to adapt better.


mat4 Says:

This court looks insane. We have two players making usually 5,6 UE per sets, and now they just can’t hit an attacking shot. Yesterday, I thought it was the wind, but now, I just don’t know what to think.


Daniel Says:

Easy and fast hold by Djoko, 4-4


Daniel Says:

Nice FH by Nadal!!


jane Says:

yes, and novak acknowledged that FH too.
rafa’s intensity and game seem back to me.
and he clearly loves these conditions.


Daniel Says:

Nadal is playing better, but Djoko is in all his service games not missing any returns anymore. If Djoko keep holding his serve and play a return game with no mistake he can create more chances.


Daniel Says:

Novak should come to net just to surprise Nadal. He had several shots he could come in but stayed behind and Nadal return was will high net clearance.


Okiegal Says:

I think Hilary Swank is pulling for Rafa……


Daniel Says:

Nadal with a set point after a great return. Looks like Djoko hear me but didn’t work and he lost both points at the net.


Okiegal Says:

WOWZER!!!!!


Daniel Says:

Game Djoko! Can’t believe he didn’t come to the net last inside out FH. He is kind of afraid to come in.


Van Persie Says:

Nole is to predictible today, IMO


Daniel Says:

Djoko have to hold to force a breaker. Already a way more competitive match than last encounter. What a difference a MP saved makes (Zverev), Nadal looks like a complete different player.


Daniel Says:

Yeah VP, he should try to wrong foot more and come to the net when he hits a good angle shot, not just after a deep shot.


jane Says:

to me, novak looks disinterested at times
rafa looks way more intense.
nole’s focus has been off all week.


Okiegal Says:

Does anyone know if Moya was there today and where is Boris?? Are they still on board with them??


jane Says:

boris doesn’t travel to some events where marian is present.
vajda is there this week.

i have no idea about moya but i assume he’s still raonic’s coach; after all, it’s a brand new partnership.


Van Persie Says:

WTF? DF again ?


Daniel Says:

Djoko gifting mini break with a DF.


Daniel Says:

4-1 Djoko and 2 serves, tiebreak on his racquet now after this great return.


Daniel Says:

Djoko missing lobby.


Van Persie Says:

now he might serve well, pls Nole!


Daniel Says:

Djoko and smash. He should have went FH inside out as Nadal was already running to cover BH side. Bad shot selection


Daniel Says:

Set point Djoko on Nadal serve, now go on and make a fantastic return to close the deal.


Daniel Says:

Yeah!!!!! Will start serving first second set.


Van Persie Says:

Ok, I can now enjoy a cigarette…


courbon Says:

That was intense…Set for Novak, but is Rafas game I’m impressed.Great fighting spirit.


Tom Says:

Poor Rafa, gave it his all and… Just fell short. Still looking for that first set win since June 2014. Way more competitive today than I thought it was going to be. I think No1e underestimated Rafa today as he look like was standing around admiring a few of the shots he thought Rafa wouldn’t get to. Also, the unforced errors today so far, ugh. I know the sun had something to do with a few of them but come on. The commentators are right- Nadal has been running around more today which means No1e has been dictating play more. I just don’t see Rafa being able to beat No1e in a 5 setter unless he goes up 2-0… and a few other factors go his way (like No1e’s health etc.).


jane Says:

tight set… novak with 21 errors, jeepers!


Daniel Says:

Great effort by Nadal but still came short and not able to win a set, at least he had a set point. Let’s see next set if he’ll keep the level or losing this set will affect his focus.


courbon Says:

Ok, I can now enjoy my splif…


mat4 Says:

I have to repeat it: Rafa played unbelievable tennis, on his favourite hard court which suits him like a glove.

Then, like jane said, Novak seems completely disinterested, without focus, playing in stretches, a few good points here, a serve or two.

Let’s hope Novak can play at least a little better.


mat4 Says:

Now, the big question is: can Novak make it 10-1 in the last 11 and 14 sets in a row? Hard task.


Daniel Says:

1-0 Novak second set. Important game for both now. If he breaks Nadal it will show using tiebreak affected him.


courbon Says:

Mat 4, I did not hear it first time-can you repeat it again?


Okiegal Says:

Great play from Rafa even though he lost the 1st set. He is looking so much better…..which is a sigh of relief for his fans. What is the worst thing about his game is not being able to back up the break…..lacking there big time……. :(


jane Says:

courbon, lol…


courbon Says:

Jane-Wrong decision.That court is so slow and now is even slower ( for me )…


mat4 Says:

Novak continues to fight despite the odds.


Giles Says:

Make the Serb work his @ss out for it Rafa!


Daniel Says:

Wow, now Djoko’s time to counter punch. deuce


Daniel Says:

3 excellent straight points by Djoko, BP.


Daniel Says:

Djoko should again kept in the FH corner, wrong footing.


mat4 Says:

Rafa is playing better and better.


Van Persie Says:

Rafa gives his best out there, and still not enough


Daniel Says:

Yeah mat4, it’s like he is swinging more freely, and his shots are way deeper than before.

Well, looks like this is the game of the match. If Djoko breaks he will win in straight, if Nadal holds he is still alive.


Daniel Says:

And Nadal holds, 1-1


RF Says:

Well this just shows Novak at most be pushed to a tie-break even if Rafa plays the best he can. Kinda reminds me of how Fed used to own Roddick; that’s how lop-sided it has been for the last couple of years.


Pauly Says:

The only positive news for Nadal even though he will lose today is the upcoming clay court season
That’s his favourite surface


jane Says:

when novak plays well it’s so beautiful to me. :D
those shots right on the shoelaces… woooo-hooo!

still early though
still on serve


mat4 Says:

This match is just unwatchable. Novak missing so many opportunities. Rafa playing so well.


Van Persie Says:

Pauly, master of puppets,

Hello :)


RF Says:

To push Nole to a tie-break, Rafa needs to start the set with a break, because he’s going to get broken at least once by Nole in every set. Nole wins this set 6-1 or 6-3. He’s so at ease with Rafa’s serve, it’s not even funny.


Pauly Says:

Van persie

Sadly Djokovic is no puppet so Nadal isn’t the puppet master today … But Nadal fans will take heart knowing that he is playing better which bodes well for clay season


RF Says:

For Rafa, holding serve for him is almost as difficult as breaking Nole. I actually don’t think it has anything to do with Rafa getting slower. It’s just that Nole is SOOOO comfortable with Rafa’s serve, and Rafa’s serve hasn’t evolved over the years. And that’s why it’s hard to see how he can ever beat Nole.


Daniel Says:

Another 40-15 game Nadal is complicating, deuce.


Daniel Says:

What a fantastic BH DTL


Daniel Says:

Djoko made the shot looks easier hitting on the rise.


Green Lady Says:

But Nadal fans will take heart? …. hmm shouldnt it be as a fan i take heart ….


Daniel Says:

Also Nadal is serving better today, no DF


jane Says:

yeah he has over 80% first serves in


Dave Says:

Djokovic is not returning well today against the easiest server that he has faced this week. This is by far the most unreturned serves he has had against any player this week on 100 mph serves and some of them 80mph. I’m not watching the same match if anyone thinks this has been a good return day for Djokovic. So many errors on returns today.


Pauly Says:

Nadal isn’t serving like US open 2010 is he ?
No didn’t think so … But the King of grinders is still grinding away trying to hold serve again & again what a struggle
Nadal did once say he liked winning matches by struggling Coz it felt more satisfying victory but surely not this much


RF Says:

When a set goes to tie-break between Rafa and Nole, you’d notice that probably one of Nole’s service games would’ve gone to deuce, while for Rafa, at least 3 of his service games would’ve gone to deuce. That just says Rafa is under ENORMOUS pressure all the time on his serve. There are really two options for him: Improve his serve (that ain’t gonna happen since he didn’t do that in his entire career), or improve his return of serve to push Nole (which is VERY hard because Nole’s serve is PRETTY darn good). So Rafa already has a handicap, and unless either of these two facts change, the only way Rafa will ever win is by winning a match by winning tie-breaks. And that will only happen once in a blue moon.


Daniel Says:

Humm, Double BP for Djoko, think ow this is it. Nadal getting angry with himself.


Van Persie Says:

Finaly! He broke!!


jane Says:

yes, esp backhand returns are off today for novak.
but rafa has used a lot of body serves, and those have generally served him well. they worked against kei too.


Daniel Says:

Dave is right, the match only was competitive first set because Djoko’s return is not up to his standards. Even this set both times Nadal hold Djoko had BP in one game and the there went 6 min with Nadal winning a bunch of free points, from the back of the court it is still Djoko’s show.


Van Persie Says:

Nole is not Zverev, hope it will be over soon


Pauly Says:

Nadal must improve his serve this is his Achilles heel
Can’t run like before so he must do something about that serve surely or he might never beat Djokovic on hardcourt again


Dave Says:

I am shocked how many of Djokovic’s returns have landed long today. Even on the game he broke, it happened twice I think. Something is off with him today for sure in that department. You would think Rafa was serving like Federer getting that many free points on his serve and still spending 80% of the match on his own serve.


RF Says:

@Pauly

Naah he can’t now, he’s already 29 and his left arm doesn’t have the power that his right hand has since he’s a natural righty, not a lefty. The only way he can improve his serve is by serving with his more powerful right hand and get some speed and then switch to the left immediately during game-play. Otherwise, the only way he’ll beat Nole is wihen Nole has a fever.


mat4 Says:

Novak played so bad so far that even Rafa looked good…


Daniel Says:

Wow, 5-2 Djoko. Nadal will have to hold to say alice. If Djoko breaks, even with Nadal fighting first set order will be restored as Djoko could have wrapped this set sooner.

As I said earlier or yesterday, Djoko doesn’t have to play his absolute best to beat Nadal anymore.


Pauly Says:

Game over soon … Back to the drawing board uncle Toni


Daniel Says:

What a defensive lobby, 0-15


courbon Says:

That was lob of century…WOOOOH!


jane Says:

lobovic…


Daniel Says:

Wow, winner from 2 meters from baseline, 0-30 2 points away from another final and chance to tie record Masters title won.

Triple MP.


Pauly Says:

Daniel

I disagree … On clay Djokovic must play his best or else no French open if Nadal is on the other side of the court
Disappointing Second set from Nadal


Green Lady Says:

Congrats Novak and fans, not a bad effort from Nadal …..


Daniel Says:

Damm Djoko, 3 chances gone.


Daniel Says:

Just because we complain he started hitting one crazy return after another.


Van Persie Says:

Wow, what a return from Nole..5th MP


Green Lady Says:

This performance wouldve been good enough against almost anybody else, congrats Novak on your 28 masters title, Raonic wont beat him ….


Van Persie Says:

6th MP…


Daniel Says:

6th MP< now is the time, avoid having to serve for the match.


Van Persie Says:

Gamme, set and match Djokovic! xxxx


mat4 Says:

I am glad for Giles that Rafa played so well. He even saved 6 match points!


courbon Says:

Finally!
That last game was just spectacular tennis from Novak.
Commiserations to Nadal fans and cheers to Nole fans


Tom Says:

Well, that was pretty routine in the 2nd. Still a way to go Rafa..


Van Persie Says:

Wish all Nole-, Rafa- and other players fans good night or good day, and so on ;)


Daniel Says:

And he does it after another on the foot return. And another easy set 6-2.

6 straight win, in straight sets. Going for another Master and 27th title. During clay season he will be already leader in Masters title.

Let’s see if Raonic can serve his way out tomorrow.

As for Nadal, until he wins a set, can’t see him beating Djoko. mAybe on clay if he keeps playing like today, but I still think he is vulnerable to other players and he has to build his way like he did this tournament. Unlike to have to play Djoko yet again.


Pauly Says:

Poor effort in second set
Nadal needed that first set badly
Oh well that’s life another masters Win for Djokovic coming
For Nadal clay coming hopefully he can play better & try to improve that serve or this rivalry is a joke


courbon Says:

Mat 4-Giles can not see what you wrote-he just smashed his computer screen…


jane Says:

novak finally loosened up at the end and played some lovely points. this is his 6h IW final, a tie with fed.


Wog Boy Says:

High quolity match, Rafa is fully back, commiserations to nice Rafa fans.
I just didn’t want Nole to serve for the match..


RF Says:

Congrats to Novak fans, and as for Rafa fans, I’d guess it’s better not to keep your hopes high when he plays against Nole in the future. As a Fed fan, at least I know he’ll win a set against Nole, and even a 3-setter if Fed plays his absolute best (just like Dubai).

Novak’s title to lose now, but then isn’t that the case for every title ?


mat4 Says:

@Courbon:

You know, I couldn’t imagine that I possibly could be so nice and have a thought for Giles.

@jane:

;-)


J-Kath Says:

Yes Nole pulled it off….but Nadal is improving.

Nole normally would race thru Milos, but he’s a bit weary….I hope he is fully recovered for the final, if so, he’ll definitely win.


Pauly Says:

GILES is Djokovic’s number fan he just comes on this site to parade as Nadal fan
He’s a fraud this GILES idiot


mat4 Says:

Hi, WB! Did you also have a tender thought for Giles?


mat4 Says:

@Pauly:

I completely agree with you. Indeed he is.


Okiegal Says:

Congrats Novak fans….but not surprised…having said that I am very pleased with Rafa’s play this week and I am sure he will be a little happier with himself, but madder than a hatter because he couldn’t back up the break…..he is kicking himself in the backside about now…..It was a fun match all the way around. Saw some great shot making today from two great competitors! I am looking forward to the finals…..Novak in 3!!


Green Lady Says:

Courbon,Mat4,Wogboy etc its Novaks time, the guys virtually unbeatable, no complaints, better player won congrats ….


Wog Boy Says:

Rafa’s serve was very effective today, Nole just can’t handle kick serve on his BH, like yesterday against Tsonga, his team has to address that asap since the players are going to exploit that.


mat4 Says:

@J.-K.:

Milos has a good chance tomorrow. He served well today, was very aggressive, and Novak doesn’t look his usual self, so I guess it’s open.


Pauly Says:

RF

Federer can’t beat Nadal
But with clay coming it’s gonna be good to see Nadal vs Djokovic again … Might even take set off him


RF Says:

@Pauly

Not true. The last time Fed and Nadal played, Fed won.


mat4 Says:

@Morgana:

Sorry, but you know the sarcasm wasn’t directed at you, nor at Okie. The match was tense and Rafa fought bravely.


Green Lady Says:

Right Okie, no expectations anymore, as Markus said Rafa doesnt really expected to beat Novak anymore, its just some of the smug pillocks that frequent this forum that get irritating, a bunch of bloody know it alls ….


RF Says:

@WogBoy

I don’t think Rafa’s serve was effective at all. I think about 50% of his games went to deuce. The first set only went to a tie-break because Nole screwed up his first service game with 2 Double faults which meant Rafa only had to win 2 points to break him. And that’s the ONLY game when Nole was broken. One could argue that Nole should’ve broken one more time in the first set; that set should never have gone to a tie-break.


Pauly Says:

Monte Carlo here we come … Nadal won’t want to play Djokovic anytime soon but there are indeed other players who can beat Djokovic especially on clay so hopefully Nadal can be hopeful that happens
As for the match today … Not going up 3-0 in the first set cost Nadal this match had he won that first set his confidence would’ve been sky high


RF Says:

@Pauly

There’s Miami before Monte Carlo which Nole has to win, and for a change, he might have to beat Fed who might put a much stiffer challenge.


Dave Says:

RF,

I am with Wog Boy on this one. Go and replay the match and check out how many free points Nadal got on his kick serve today. He got more free points on his serve against Nole than anyone else got against Nole all week. If it weren’t for those free points, it would have been another blow out. Nole did not handle the kick serve well at all. He returned amazing in the last game of the match. That’s pretty much it.


Vami Says:

I’d love to see this Rafa against Roger in Miami.


Pauly Says:

Serve was not effective at all … Nadal will be angry at himself for the first set slip up he even had set point at 5-4
Must take your chances against Djokovic or any other player or else you will pay for it like Nadal did today
Must move on today … I predicted 6-4 6-3 Djokovic I was right in oneway … Nadal won 7 games !
Hardcourt suits Djokovic’s game so does Nadal’s serve


Pauly Says:

RF

Miami is somewhere Nadal has never won
I don’t think he will win ever there … But in his mind Monte Carlo is where his chances improve
Must take set off Djokovic surely on clay


Green Lady Says:

Mat4 no problems ….


Pauly Says:

Sorry I was wrong

Nadal won 8 games
I can’t count


Pauly Says:

Let’s move on to Miami
RF … It will be good to see Nadal vs Federer
I think Djokovic will win Miami also


Humble Rafa Says:

Nadal won 8 games
I can’t count

Counting is one of many things you can’t do. We forgive you in the spirit of Humbleness.


jane Says:

why does novak have to win miami?


Wog Boy Says:

RF,
If it wasn’t fir the serve it would be 6:2, 6:1..


RF Says:

@Pauly

Rafa may very well land in Nole’s quarter, in which case, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa loses before the quarter-finals.


Pauly Says:

Humble Rafa

Good luck to Nadal Miami plus of course clay court season
Still hopeful of 10th French open
He can beat Djokovic in Paris


RF Says:

@Wog Boy

If Nole hadn’t served those 2 double-faults in his first service game, the first set was supposed to be 6-4. May be some would consider that progress, but I’m not sure if it really is.


Pauly Says:

Jane

Djokovic can let Nadal win Miami if that’s ok


Pauly Says:

Djokovic isn’t playing his best
That’s why Nadal had chance today
Otherwise only clay is Nadal’s last stand
Lose on clay then it’s over there’s no where else for Nadal to hide sadly


jane Says:

for novak fans:

Djokovic is only 2nd man in Open Era to beat one rival 25 times. His coach @TheBorisBecker did it too.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cd8lP4dW8AQ7DX4.jpg


Pauly Says:

To all the Nadal fans

Don’t lose faith … I’m not Coz clay is not hardcourt
Nadal might have pretty good year I feel
Where there’s life there’s hope
That’s enough for now
Cya everyone
GILES must be celebrating Djokovic’s win


RF Says:

@Pauly

I thought Giles was a hard-core (and an extreeeeemely zealous) Rafa fan. What are you talking about ?


skeezer Says:

That was the best I have seen Rafa play in a long long time. Still, when the crunch time came he couldn’t do it. His serve was improved, very important going forward. His one lone strategy was effective, serving AT Nole. But he still needs to consistently get his balls deeper in rallies. Impressed today with his movement….overall much better.

Nole would have dictated imo this much much better if the match was on a different HC surface. This is one HC surface that helps Rafa immensely, it’s taylor made for Rafa’s game. For those who watched it notice how Nole was reaching and lunging for balls that were in his wheelhouse? He is usually very dialed in when great technique when a ball is in his wheelhouse
Rafa’s spin on this court created havoc on the bounces….Nole is going to have a much better time during the Clay season where it is slow but the bounce is something that is consistent.


Pauly Says:

RF

GILES is a closet Djokovic fan
He’s also very disturbed individual who might be suffering from schizophrenia
Enough said


jane Says:

commies to nice rafa fans – i think the signs are good for him and his interview is very positive.

i am curious to see how delpo will do in miami as well.

——–

and one more “cheers” for novak fans and then i am off … two great finals tomorrow. vika/serena and novak/milos.

“Since his son Stefan was born, Djokovic has reached 17 consecutive finals at elite events (5GS, 10 Masters, 2 WTFs).” (lendl has 18 finals in a row, but not of elite events, i.e., masters or higher)


Nikola Says:

@Pauly

Man. You don’t anything smarter to do, then post every 10 seconds here? You are pathetic.


J-Kath Says:

Mat 4 @ 6.43pm

The slight doubt I have re. Nole winning the final (apart from possible weariness) is when you look at the stats….seems like he’s having more difficulty than usual with his 2nd serve??? In the first set, Nadal’s 2nd serve was better re. stats.


chrisford1 Says:

DH – “Rafa will win. Enough of this unbearable Djokovich dominance. I’ll be very satisified if Rafa can will himself back to his old form thru Roland Garros. Then, Djokovich can do whatever the F he wants. I don’t care how many Slams he wins (as long as he never gets the French). Let Rafa have something, homeboy.”

========
1. One of these days, Rafa will beat Novak. Just not near as many times as before. Same with Fed.
2. Rafa will get a bit better, but I don’t think it is in his power to will himself to be better than Novak any more.
3. I believe Novak would be happy to see Rafa back, but he himself rather wants the French Open quite a bit, if I can use a big understatement. And another Olympic medal. Like to see Novak win gold. Be nice to see Rafa grab a couple of Masters this year. And certainly the big one that has always eluded Rafa, the year end Champion trophy.
4. Love to see Djokovic win the French, Wimbledon, then Olympic gold. Then it would perhaps be even more fun if Novak is knocked out of the USO by some servebot or Raonic having a super serve day. Just so purists an argue that he failed and never got the arbitrary 4 Slams in a row in one calendar year that purists believe is the Ultimate – just a mere 5 Slams in a row and a gold.
5. It seems that just one year, two years ago, Fedal fans were saying Rafa was back to owning Djoker (2013), or Fed was on the verge of taking his Rightful by Grace of God #1 Ranking from Nole (2014). Now the Fedalistas are moaning about Djokovics ‘unbearable dominance”. Pray tell….how is 1 year of blowing the Two Greats with Higher Slamcounts away a length of time the constitutes ‘unbearable dominance”??


Markus Says:

Good job again by Djokovic. I like how he always acts very respectfully towards his opponents. None of those over the top celebratory antics. Good job again.

Nadal played a good first set. He seems to be on the way back but this match will probably give Novak more focus with an eye on the French. This match only served to make Novak realize that Nadal remains a formidable force on clay. He needs that. Sometimes winning easily over everybody can make one a bit complacent.


mat4 Says:

@J.-K.:

Stats are very favourable to Nole: 17-1 in sets this year, 7 top ten wins, didn’t lose a final since Cincy, has won the last 8 sets against Milosh… but the ball is round, the match starts from scratch, and, in hot air, windy conditions, and a very gripping surface, the only shot one can rely too is the serve. And Milosh serves very, very well.

Lately, Novak has been able to tame that serve, but I feel that Milosh is more mature now, that he can mix more, and he’s very offensive, going very often to the net where he was very efficient today.

So… I guess that the player in better form will win — something everybody knew already, so I wrote just another common place.

Let’s wait and see. But I feel that Milosh has a chance, just like I believed that Rafa had one on this surface that suits him very well, and overall he played quite well.


RF Says:

Confidence is a product of mental toughness and the belief in the strength of your weapons. I think Rafa hasn’t lost the former but I do think he’s unable to sharpen his weapons. What he needs is be able to develop weapons which will give him the confidence that he can beat Novak. As much as people are praising Nadal’s serve , and as much as his kick serve was good, the fact is that 50% of his service games went to deuce. Come on, you can’t tell me that person served well. May be relative to his earlier matches when may be 705 of his games were going to deuce, yes, he served better. But those horrendous numbers to begin with.

On clay, serve matters relatively lesser but it still does, and even if we argue that Nole’s better serve advantage is nullified by that surface, the question is how often would he be able to break Nole. Even on that front and that surface, Nole is a superior returner of serve. Rafa needs to get to a point where his serve hurts Nole. Sadly, I don’t see how that can ever happen.

Nole’s stranglehold will only be broken by somebody other than Fed , Nadal, and Murray. A Zverev, or a Raonic may be. The big 4 have reached their max potential, and there is not much they can do to improve their games any further.


RF Says:

Correction: 705 = 70%


Markus Says:

I’d like to see a male counterpart of Steffi Graf.


RF Says:

Well actually, Djokovic can improve but not the other 3. Definitely not Rafa. Fed’s got the age handicap but the old man keeps fighting on and it’s a miracle he still is in the top 3.


mat4 Says:

Hi, CF1.


J-Kath Says:

Mat4

My comment re. Nole+serve was limited to tonight…not overall. Because he’s been so good before is really why I was quite surprised with the stats.

It’s nearly midnight with me – so I’m off. Cheers.


mat4 Says:

Nice post, RF, and I mostly agree. Although I don’t see in Zverev a future no 1, nor in 2K. I watched some of those youngsters lately, and the only one that has impressed me was 4K last year, although he still has a lot to improve, especially on the serve. But to be injured so young is not a good sign.

I’ll try to see Fritz as soon as possible. I read a lot of good things about him, but, just like in the cases of 2K or Zverev, it could be out of despair to see somebody beating the old dogs running the show.


mat4 Says:

Cheers, J.-K.


chrisford1 Says:

Jane – “for novak fans:

Djokovic is only 2nd man in Open Era to beat one rival 25 times. His coach @TheBorisBecker did it too.”

==============
Jane, as the next 3-4 years go by, Djokovic will see record after record of some sort of stat important to many fans fall before his consistent excellence. It will be hard to keep up with them all.
25 wins by Becker over Edberg was awesome. With Rafa, best perspective is Nadal has a winning record over everyone outside the red herring of Davydenko. Bigger trophy head than Edberg’s on a mantlepiece, for sure.

The present day active rivalries have the 2 closest and most played in the Open Era, for men.
48 Djokovic-Nadal
45 Djokovic-Federer

Then you have 3 other active rivalries that are not close, as the 8th, 9th, and 10th most played.
34 Fedal (23-11)
31 Djokovic-Murray (22-9)
30 Nadal – Ferru (24-6)

As the 3rd most played is Lendl-McEnroe at 36, each of these lesser rivalries still active have potential to get into the top 5 most played before Ferrer and the Big 4 finish their careers.
My guess is Andy-Novak will end up #3 and Fedal has a chance to be #4 all-time when either Rafa or Fed is done.


Vami Says:

An entertaining match, at least in the first set. Novak was returning too risky, aiming for the lines and making too many return errors. I’m not sure about the stats for longer point runs but I had a feeling that almost every time the ball was in a little bit longer that Novak was the boss.


RF Says:

@mat4

Thanks. History is a good predictor of who would break a man’s stranglehold. Nadal announced his arrival by beating Fed in 2004, and then repeatedly beating him on clay when he was 18. Fed announced his arrival by beating Sampras @ Wimbledon when he was 20. Novak beat Nadal and Fed at the Rogers cup in 2007 when he himself was 20, and before he turned 21, he had won the Aus open. Even if we look at Murray, he announced his arrival back in 2008 by beating Fed @ Dubai, beating Nadal @ the US open in 2008 (the two players who were the top dogs in 2008). He was 21 at that time.

So if that trend continues, the next person who will be the big thing, and who’s supposed to beat the top dog when the top dog has a stranglehold, is probably going to be around 20-21 years old. That’s the age when somebody beats the top dog.


Wog Boy Says:

What surprised me, just little bit, was how Nole was calm in the second set. I think he realized Rafa tactic with serving those curly kick serves targeting his BH and those body serves where Nole had to move out of the way to hit his FH and he decided to take care of his service game, which he did and wait for his chance to brake Rafa, iin his look during second set it was certain degree of certainty that he will break Rafa sooner or later… but those 6 MP made me nervous in case Nole had to serve for the match..


chrisford1 Says:

Hi back, Mat4. Good comments on your indifference, but thinking the sport is still good if it helps Giles get his blood flowing.

===========
RF – I agree that the challenger to Djokovic, even his replacement at #1 in 2-3 years will not come from the other Big 4 players.
But I disagree when you say ..or I was going to disagree on all 4 Big 4 now being tapped out on improvements…then I saw you corrected yourself – “Well actually, Djokovic can improve but not the other 3.”
And that is scary. The guy is still improving as a person and a player, and quite driven to do so.


Tom Says:

Not to be mean but what exactly gives you some of you Rafanatics hope that he will beat No1e at all at this point? He still can’t take a set from him when he clearly wasn’t dialed in at the start let alone win a best of 5 when you he’ll be dialed up for the French especially after last year. It’s like Fed fans hoping he can beat him in a best of 5. Maybe if they made te majors a best of 3 you might actually have hope.


Daniel Says:

Djoko is still the king of slow HC, AO won and another final in IW wjere he can make history yet again and win a 5th title, 3 in a row (something Fed did before as well 04′-06′ and get the shared first place with 27 Masters).

No doubt he will lead Master total this year. Nadal never won Mimai, neither Shangai nor Paris and only 1 title in Cincy, which let’s face it, is not happeoning again. So he will have 3 Masters on Clay and maybe Canada. And last 2 year he only got 1 Masters, in Madrid after a retirement from Nishikori.

Federer also play lessand less plus coming back from injury, hard to see him winning multiple Masters, so max Fed can reach Nadal or geta close to 30, same for Nadal. While Djokohas potential to go way beyond 30 (whichhe can reach this season if he wins tomorrow).


RF Says:

@Tom

People tend to support their player based on emotions, and with the hope that this time things *might* be different. If fans lost hope in their player, the stadiums would only have Novak fans in them, and that’s not good for business, and the sport. Besides, being hopeless doesn’t feel nice at all.


Tom Says:

Daniel the only thing Nadal will win this year is Madrid because No1e DJOKOVIC will not show up to spite the Spanish fans again. He may win another one if No1e doesn’t show up ;-)


mat4 Says:

CF1, Tom:

I am sorry I was so cynical during the match (“he played unbelievable” is Rafa’s favourite expression whenever he loses) but, along many very nice and sensible rafans here (and fedfans, and EVEN andyfans), there are a few… I’ll pass the epithet — who deserve to be mocked.

And yes, CF1, sport is good sometimes. Especially when you win.


mat4 Says:

@Daniel:

You seem to be young: you are so optimistic, and I envy you (being young and optimistic!)

When I taught, I use to tell the story of the old cat and the young mouse to my students before the exams. You know, an old cat caught a young mouse, and the mouse told him: “Don’t eat me now, I am so skinny, so little, but in a few months, I’ll be fat and big, a much better lunch…” but the cat eat him on the spot.

Youth is so full of hope, but old age is merciless.


Daniel Says:

mat4, confidence of youth😜
I am not thay young, 35. Had my share of learning curve and some beatdowns.

But let’s face it, Djoko winning 4 Masters this year if he indeed wins IW tomorrow would be that surprising?
He is safe to win at least 1 clay masters. Some say he is more vulnerable there but I think os the comtrary, fewer playees can beat him on clau whereas on HC there os always a bog serve or somebody in the zone. Clay basically nullify that and you have to be consistant, able to grind, miss litle and counter attack. All abalities Djoko is top 3.

And he will win Masters in the end of the year as well.

Nadal only has a shor in IW, which he always played great and with huge sucess and clay.

Federer last 4 Masters, specially now that he will be a bit rusty and worried about knew.

I would be very surprised if Djoko doesn’t win minimum 3 Masters this season.
Tomorrow will have the veridict, maybe he saved his vest for last. After 3 tiebreaks get a 6-2 set and maybe he can break Raonc enouh to avoos tiebreaks.


Margot Says:

RF @8.11
To add to your post, a youngster of 21 will also have the element of surprise to his advantage when playing an “old dog.” Might beat him the first time, but probably not the second, unless of course he is the “real deal” we’ve all been holding our breath waiting for.
Quite a lot of hubris floating round here…”only Nole can improve.” Ho hum, we shall see.
Am totally out of the tennis loop as time is a bit off and I won’t pay Murdoch’s shilling. But might fork out for tennistv if Andy promises to play well………..;)


RF Says:

@Margot

True but here’s the thing: even beating Novak once will be a HUUUUUUGE thing, because it takes a MASSIVE effort for anybody to beat Novak these days. Also, in case you think Andy too can improve — sure he can. But I think he needs Lendl’s services once more in his career. The only person who was able to change Andy’s body language when the going got tough was Lendl. He needs someone he respects, and may be even fears a bit, in his box to get the absolute best out of him.


RF Says:

And to add: a 20 year old beating a world no. 1 may go on to lose a few but give him a few more years, and he may turn into the next Nadal, Fed, or a Djokovic. After all, that was the path these folks took as well.


J-Kath Says:

Andy is the best self-bullying player in the game – he berates himself more often than any coach could ever do – even Lendl.

Andy started the trend of hiring celebrity coaches,but that’s not what he wants now. He is more comfortable within a supportive team concept/arrangement – Amelie, Delgado, Leon.

Look at GB v Belgium Davis Cup – David Goffin’s coach kept up a tirade at the breaks – very vocal and agitated indeed. Leon Smith remained quietly supportive – letting Andy calm down – speak or not speak. That’s what Andy wants.

So within this almost “a family” support arrangement will Andy reach his potential? It is reasonable to believe that Nole will be No.1 and Andy will be No.2 for probably another 2 years.


Margot Says:

Hi Kath :) How’s you?
Agree, on both counts. Andy now has a very supportive “family” around him and hopefully he’ll calm down a bit, tho us Andy fans recognise it wouldn’t be our Andy without some expletives. Perhaps when Sophia starts watching him…..;)
and secondly, doubt if he can ever catch Nole but No 2 for a couple of years is on, without doubt.
And…………if I see the ” L. word once more I’ll start swearing so loudly you’ll all be able hear me.
Lendl is gone, gone gone. And he’s not coming back.
Time to move on.


J-Kath Says:

Margot

Fine, I think. Many tasks still around to do.

Good to hear from U. Thanks for asking. Good rugby – Wales. Not too bad Scotland…improving.

See yah at Miami – metaphorically speaking.


Margot Says:

Am glad Kath :) Yep, see you.

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