Rafael Nadal: Djokovic Has Been Dominating Tennis Too Much The Last 2 Years, But He Deserves It
by Tom Gainey | March 26th, 2016, 2:44 pm
  • 39 Comments

Rafael Nadal met the press Friday in Miami where’s he’s never won the title, finishing runner-up four times including to his rival Novak Djokovic who he says has been dominating the sport too much lately, which isn’t necessarily good for tennis.

“It’s obvious that now is better for Novak,” Nadal said about rivalries in the sport. “I think the real thing is rivalries are good. In my opinion is not good if win a tournament every week a different player, because if there is 20 players winning tournaments different weeks, the people arrive to the tournament and nobody knows who are the favorite to win.

“It’s difficult because the people needs to support one player. So you need the stars. To create the stars you need players that have been there for a long time and players competing for the most important events very often. At the same time, it’s good to have combination of styles; it’s good to have different players that fights for the important things, and one or another can win.

“So I think happened the last 10, 12 years, and now for last year and a half, two years one is dominating maybe too much. But he deserves.”

Nadal also talked about the future of the tennis and the need for change even in the rules.

“The sport in general needs to improve in all aspects, and it’s obvious that the players today are taller than before,” Nadal said. “The racquets hits the ball harder than before, four years before.

“Same time, is true that nothing changed in our sport in terms of rules. How high is the net, everything. So for the moment is obvious that the tennis have been tremendous successful for I think a long time now. The sport is healthy, but it’s obvious at the same time we need to move to predict the future.

“I’m not talking for my generation, but for the next generation. It’s true that the people, in my opinion, likes the drama, the rallies. I don’t remember amazing matches that was only one serve and one shot. The matches that the people remember most are matches that they are slow matches with unbelievable points, and the applause of the people or the emotions of the people are not only with one serve and one shot.

“You know, the people gets emotional when the points are intense, long. If every time we make that happen less often, it’s obvious that our sport can be in trouble for the future.”

Nadal begins play this afternoon against Damir Dhzumer in his opening round match. Last year, Nadal lost to countryman Fernando Verdasco in the third round in three sets.

“The difference is I’m enjoying on court,” Nadal said comparing last year to this year. “I’m not feeling that nerves on court. I’m not feeling that strange feeling that I never felt. I am enjoying on the practices, I am enjoying on the tennis court. I feel with the right energy. I can lose, I can win, but I am happy on court. That’s the most important thing. That’s the big difference on what happen last year, what I told last year.”


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39 Comments for Rafael Nadal: Djokovic Has Been Dominating Tennis Too Much The Last 2 Years, But He Deserves It

jane Says:

rafa’s sick? second visit by trainer – getting his blood pressure checked. :/


jalep Says:

jane I posted on a different thread about it.

and this: Nole and Troicki practicing LIVE:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJqtRBoEcWQ


jane Says:

^ thanks jalep! yeah i looked at the end of it, but they had the camera on troicki’s side and i could hardly see nole. ;)

sad, but rafa just retired.


jane Says:

oh wait, they’re back on – nole and trocki? when i looked at one point the court was empty so i thought it was over.


jalep Says:

He doesn’t appear to be sweating too much, jane.

Rafa was out there midday, heat of the day practicing on that court — have been stalking practice court 4 this whole time following the other matches and scores.

They say it’s cooler now but more humid. Must be miserable. Team Nole taking a lot of breaks and staying in the shade as much as possible.


jane Says:

yeah i noticed that jalep
which is probably why i thought the practice was over when it wasn’t :)


jalep Says:

Team Nole Practice wasn’t too long. They’ve packed it up. I think. That’s good.


Pauly Says:

Stamina issues
Heat bothering him
Doesn’t look good but clay coming
Good he can get some rest & get ready for long clay counter season … He’s never won Miami never will
Nadal won’t be around for much longer


Pauly Says:

The heat never bothered Nadal in the past he played in every types of conditions never wilted only time he felt bad was 2014 French open final which he won in the 4th
Djokovic hates the heat also …
As I said get ready for the clay court season


Abhishek Says:

I believe Rafa is coming to the close of his career. If he was playing the way he did a few years back, his comments on Djokovic would not exist.


Green Lady Says:

Only saw highlights, if its to do with blood pressure, rather than just merely suffering with heat, i also suffer with my blood pressure quite alot, and believe you me, you can feel absolutely fine one minute, then something triggers it, like what youve ate or drank, or not ate or drank as the case may be, and then you feel like crap, and just have to lay down, because you feel as weak as a kitten ….


Pauly Says:

Making these stupid ass kissing about Djokovic upsets most Nadal fans … He’s accepting Djokovic is better than him
Maybe on hardcourt it’s true but never ever on clay
Nadal always had the edge against Djokovic on clay
But now he can beat him nowhere … Yes Nadal’s career is coming to an end but Hopefully it will end with some more success on clay ?
As for today … Retiring against this lowly ranked player was very much unlike Nadal he hardly ever retires from matches unless he was really sick


Okiegal Says:

They did say the Dr. said his blood pressure was OK. High humidity will sap you in a hurry. He has always liked the heat, but it is different in different areas than the kind he might be used to. He is not getting any younger either, but something was going on with him…what I don’t know.


chrisford1 Says:

What Rafa said is good to think over. He’s looking to the future, saying the sport needs to avoid another era of 1 -3 stroke serve&volley tennis with 20 John Isners in the late stages of tournaments.

Rafa is right.

And rule changes need to be contemplated. Thought on hard, not with a mind to the present, but the future. Player is beyond a certain height, raise the net 3 centimeters when he serves? All players limited to 1 serve, after the 1st point “warmup” perhaps? Use technology to cut costs by eliminating linesmen by ball contact “strips” of sensor material? (not Rafas idea but proposed by others)
Nadal does say elsewhere that tennis has had the most changes brought on by changes to training and competition equipment with the least rule changes of any sport in the last 30 years. And it is time to revisit things.
On the surfaces, Nadal of course has the opinion “more clay!”, but there is something to be said for players raised on clay tend to be better players than hardcourt ones, and that injuries go up on use of “uncushioned” hardcourts.

Yes, he lost again and looks like Nadal will never get the Miami trophy, but that is not so consequential in the scheme of things. Whereas just a few rule changes may make tennis a better sport for players and fans and grow the fanbase. And that is quite consequential.

I believe gambling should be allowed on select matches. And also believe that you either go with redistribution of some money direct to players at events or that funds from pro events are distributed to fund a system of reimbursing young talent just starting out with money for travel, shared coaches, physios. The “national” approach as seen in countries like the US and Britain keeps the players paupers while making “connected” people rich. Some old ex player everyone likes or his sister, brother in law – serving as assistant director to the director of player development working for the President and Board of the USTA getting 150-300K a year plus expenses for some nice hotels, food, 1st class travel. Worry of bought ITF officials….

Reforms are needed. It isn’t PED hurting tennis at present it seems. Other issues press more. Such as the good ol’ boy and girl network not connected to the product sucking up revenue the sport doesn’t need to lay out. Systems like the Road to the USO, paying the winner there a huge fat bonus check if they win that and enough previous long since played events in N America – as if the fans in a sport of quite a bit of inconsistent winning care at the Miami stage about this multimillion bonus check. And will come out in great numbers because if a player gets them and had IW which doesn’t need the promotion…and wins Rogers Cup and Cincinnati – where play is also mandatory and players want to win and play just as hard to advance in as a “Sacred Slam”.

Anyways, thanks for the good thoughts, and also commiserations, to Rafa


Green Lady Says:

Okie all true, anyway have no expectations anymore with Nadal, ill just watch and see what happens now….

And as Tennis Vagabond said the other day to me, im fine with Rafa or Novak surpassing Roger, as records were made to be broken, and i feel exactly the same about Novak surpassing Rafa, as its about the player not the records they have, and i dont see why posters have to be so vitriolic all the time, here here, and never a truer word spoken ….


chrisford1 Says:

Pauly – “Making these stupid ass kissing about Djokovic upsets most Nadal fans โ€ฆ Heโ€™s accepting Djokovic is better than him
Maybe on hardcourt itโ€™s true but never ever on clay
Nadal always had the edge against Djokovic on clay.”
===========

Novak has been a nightmare for Rafa even in the pre-2011 days. On clay, beginning in their classic 2009 Madrid match which left both players hobbled – Nadal with his knee and Djokovic hobbled with self doubt.
Edge to Rafa for sure, but I believe unlike just about any other player, including Fed, Nadal has had doubt on a clay match when facing Djokovic on clay for a long time. Djokovic is the only player who has beaten Nadal at every major clay event. The H2H on clay is still lopsided, but you can argue Fed had a Stanlike-zone performance that saved Nadal from Djokovic in 2011 when he was, and Uncle Toni was, in a state of animation and confusion on how to stop Djokovic after being mowed down at Madrid and Rome. And after 2011 what Novak didn’t win on clay was most times a narrow escape by Rafa from the jaws of defeat.

It will be as hard as 2011, 2015 IMO, for Rafa to escape the Djuggernaut this year on clay.
There is a career H2H clay edge and Nadal’s rep built on the past seals his rep as best clay court guy ever…but this is the present…
I wish Rafa the best after Djokovic wins the French. No guarantee, but every fan knows this is the Grandest Quest in tennis at present. And if deserving it matters, which it doesn’t in sports outcomes, it may finally be time for the 2nd greatest clay courter of this era to hold that trophy up.


Green Lady Says:

Making these stupid ass kissing comments upsets most Nadal fans ?, i think the thing thats most annoying is when some posters assume to know what the rest of us are thinking jeez ….


Purcell Says:

It happens all the time Green Lady. They even know what the players, their wives, girlfriends, kids and dogs are thinking. It’s just plain mysterious to me.


Dave Says:

Pauly,

Since 2011 Djokovic has 5 wins and 2 losses on clay at masters 1000′s. Hardly dominant. He is 6 wins and 5 losses against Rafa overall since 2011. Yes Rafa is 3 and 1 at Roland Garros. But I would still say that is a pretty close to even match up.


Dave Says:

And total sets won in those 11 clay matches since 2011 are 17 sets to 14 sets won in favor of Djokovic. My favorite match up is these 2 players playing on clay. And even though Djokovic is my favorite player and he lost this heart breaking match, the best match I have ever seen played on clay by far was the 2013 French Open Semi-Finals. I have never seen to Gladiators going at it like that during rallies for so long, hitting amazing shot after amazing shot. I have watched the extended highlights of that match Sooooooo many times, even though it’s heart breaking to watch, because I appreciate such high quality tennis. If anyone knows how I can watch the full match, I would love to watch it again. Here is the link of the extended highlights of over 50 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AgTRydkcaI


Green Lady Says:

Sorry Dave, thats my least favorite match of theirs, it will always be a bit of a bug bear due to a certain incident ….


danica Says:

Pauly,
If Rafa had to withdraw, that means he had a really, REALLY big and valid reason to do so. He would not have done so if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. I would be terrified to see him faint on the court. The conditions bothered him and he felt it was not safe for his health. Smart decision.
Feel better Rafa!


Green Lady Says:

well exactly Danica, comes to something, when even the so called fans dont believe him, at least with haters you know where you stand, with fans like that Rafa certainly doesnt need enemies jeez ….


Ahfi Says:

Not good. Hope he knows what it is.


Dave Says:

Green Lady,

I know you have stated that in the past about the 2013 match. What bothers you about that match? The shot making was amazing. The rallies were unbelievable. I have heard others say Rafa shouldn’t have been broken when serving for the match at 6 to 5 in the fourth set. I’m not saying you are one of them. That makes zero sense to me. Playing the best returner of all-time on clay, where holding serve is no sure thing. Also, Nole played an amazing return game and absolutely deserved to break Rafa. Rafa didn’t choke that game away. The only issue that’s hard to swallow is when Nole touched the net at duece. So instead of being advantage Nole, it was advantage Nadal. Nole ended up winning the next point, which would have put him up 5 to 3. Instead, Rafa broke and ended up winning the match. Those are the rules though. I’m not sure if the reply shows that the ball bounced twice before Nole touched the net. In the end Nadal won. I’m curious to know your issues with that match. Or is it their match-up all together on clay? and not just that match?


Giles Says:

Cf1. Still FOS I see.


jalep Says:

Giles, spoken for truth @ 11:05 ๐Ÿ‘


Giles Says:

jalep. Cheers. ๐Ÿ‘


Green Lady Says:

Dave the match on reflection was fine, great, whatever ? , but it will always be a tainted match for me because of that 1 particular incident that spoiled it, all i here over and over again, when people discuss it, is how unlucky Novak was because he touched the net, and people remind Rafas fans about it all the time, even the commies cant seem to resist bringing it up ad nauseum ,some things just stick in the mind, and for all the wrong reasons im afraid, no offence, but others can watch and enjoy your highlights if they wish, me though personally ill give them a miss, sorry and HAPPY EASTER BY THE WAY ….


Vami Says:

@ Jalep 11:05
I see that the racist troll managed somehow to find somebody to pathetically exchange posts with. Sad. Do you clap your hands when he derogatory talks about “certain parts of the world” too?


Green Lady Says:

Dave The Toronto Masters of the same year was a fantastic match though, with loads of great shot making from both, and whats more it was a clean match ….


Dave Says:

Green Lady,

I respect your opinion. It would be super annoying to hear over and over again that Nole would have won the match if he didn’t touch the net. No one knows for sure what would have happened. Rules are rules. Rafa won fair and square. I used to feel the way you do now about it. I did eventually get over it and decided to not worry about that one point out of 100′s of points during the match. And I wasn’t going to let it ruin an amazing match forever. That’s my opinion on that one incident. Maybe one day you will feel differently about it and decide to revisit the match as well. I do understand your feelings for sure on the matter.


J-Kath Says:

Oh my – a bit of nasty???


Green Lady Says:

Thanks Dave ;) ….


Green Lady Says:

J-Kath sorry who ? ….


J-Kath Says:

Not U Green Lady.


Vami Says:

@J-Kath
So, you noticed the “nastiness”. You’re one of the rare posters here that occasionally feed the racist troll too but somehow never register nasty racist posts from his/her side? It’s all good, to each his own.


Giles Says:

7.29 pm.
FOS!!


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