Novak Djokovic Beats Rafael Nadal In Thriller While Andy Murray Impresses; Rome SF Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | May 13th, 2016, 6:11 pm
  • 225 Comments

He played better, he’s getting closer, but Rafael Nadal still cannot solve the Novak Djokovic riddle right now. And few can! Today, Nadal lost his 7th straight to his rival in the Rome quarterfinals 7-5, 7-6(4) in a very good, very entertaining match.

“Certainly winning against Nadal on clay doesn’t happen often, doesn’t happen every day,” Djokovic said. “So it is one of the ultimate challenges if not the ultimate challenge we have in sports. So I’m going to take this as a boost of confidence, no doubt, for the rest of this tournament and then of course for French Open.”

Djokovic, though, began the match much like he did yesterday when he was force fed a bagel by another lefty, Thomaz Bellucci. Nadal jumped out early grabbing a break thanks to a rather sloppy start from the Serb.

Neither player was in form but things heated up quickly.

Djokovic served 0-30, 2-4 but managed to scrape out a long, bruising hold. The body blows didn’t stop there as Djokovic continued to find the range eventually breaking Rafa in another long game to level at 4-all.

Nadal stopped Djokovic’s momentum to square it a five, but capping it with this incredible point, Djokovic won five of the last six games to take the opening set 7-5.

Nadal, however, wouldn’t allow himself to get down. In a blink he was back up a break and led 3-1 before once again Djokovic clawed his way back to level. And then Rafa’s nerves got the best of him once again.

Serving 5-4 in the second, Nadal – almost on cue since we’ve seen it so much from him – failed to convert any of the five set points he had in that game. Novak played well on many of them, but if you’re Rafa, you’re the King of Clay, you’re the 7-time Rome champion, you have to convert once of those! He didn’t, Djokovic broke back and eventually took the tiebreak.

“I was fortunate in important moments,” said Djokovic after his 14th straight win in Rome. “But I managed to take him out of his comfort zone in important moments and didn’t give him always the same look. I thought he played high quality tennis. He tried to step in. He was trying to play aggressive. But towards the end, I guess I was a bit more fortunate.

“I think the last 20 minutes of the match was a very high quality of tennis, entertaining, of course, for the crowd, for us players, as well.”

Nadal showed some signs of life – had a decent serving day, especially on his second serve and hit with some depth. Djokovic played pretty well. The end is the same. That’s 15 straight sets for Djokovic against Rafa and he’s now won 7 straight sets against Nadal on clay.

“I am playing well,” Nadal said. “It was a beautiful match, a little bit unlucky for me today, so many chances in the first set. I have to congratulate him. When somebody is winning as much as he is doing last year and months, two years, we know the dynamics are so important. He was hitting great shots in important moments.”

Does a match like this help Rafa? I don’t know. Those five set points in the second will probably keep him up a few nights. He did show some good form, but there’s little to believe he can win three sets off Djokovic right now on clay.

“In general I’m playing well in the most of the matches most of the time,” Nadal added. “And today I was there mentally fighting for every point, hitting good shots. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s better for me best-of-five or best-of-three. Is something that I don’t think about it now. The only thing that I think is I have been very, very, very close this afternoon, and that’s positive.

“I have been competing at the highest level against the best player. Play a match like this, best player of the world, that’s the only thing that give me the confidence.”

Djokovic will now face Kei Nishikori who brushed off Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-5 (wait, Djokovic-Nadal wasn’t the final?)

“He is a tough opponent,” Nishikori said. “He hits very heavy on both wings. Great backhands. Not many weaknesses.

“It was really a battle of groundstrokes from the baseline. At the moment I’m playing really well. I returned well. I tried to stay because he has a great kick serve.”

Earlier in the day, Andy Murray continued to prove why he’s a real threat in Paris. A day after embarrassing Tomas Berdych with a double bagel, David Goffin found himself eating his own breakfast snack courtesy of an opening set Murray breadstick.

Goffin got on track in the second pushing the Scot, but after several breaks of serve Murray hung on for a tough 6-1, 7-5 victory.

“I knew that he must have been playing well coming into the match, and I went in expecting it to be very tough. He got off to the best possible start. But it was very hard from that end of the court. You’re playing right into the wind,” Murray said, “But the most pleasing thing about the match today was each time I got broken, I broke back right away, so I never allowed him to get any momentum.”

Murray’s opponent in the final is the surprising Frenchman Lucas Pouille. The 22-year-old only got into the draw via a “Lucky Loser” when his countryman JW Tsonga withdrew. And today he received a second reward thanks to a walkover from Juan Monaco who was unable to play due to a left hip injury.

Lucky Lucas it is. Let’s see how lucky my picks will be.

Andy Murray v Lucas Pouille
What a great draw for Murray. I said at the start of the week Murray had to happy with his draw. Well, he’s got to be even happier now having to face the 52nd-ranked Pouille for a spot in a Masters final. Pouille, though, is a decent player who hits the ball pretty hard and could be tricky if he gets into a zone.

“He’s very good,” said Murray of Pouille. “By the end of this year he’ll be up close to the Top 20 in the world, potentially higher. I think after this tournament he will be around 30, at least. It’s going to be a difficult match for me. I don’t expect it to be easy.”

(Murray also famously tweeted Pouille’s countrywoman Caroline Garcia would become No. 1 some day!)

While just 22 Pouille is certainly on an upward trajectory, it’s hard seeing him pull the upset here. Murray’s playing too well right and clay really is starting to become his best surface.

“I think I’m getting rewarded now for the work that I put in over the years on this surface,” said Murray. “Obviously took me time to feel comfortable on it. But I didn’t sort of just give up on clay and say, ‘You know what? This isn’t my surface. I’m not going to prepare for it properly or train hard.’”
The pick: Murray in two

Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori
Wait, didn’t these two just play? Yup, for the second straight week they meeting the semifinals, and it’s the fourth time already this year after Australia and Miami. And I think the result is going to be the same.

That said, I don’t think Djokovic is as sharp as he would like to be. I don’t know if that’s the court, the wind, maybe fatigue from Madrid, but whatever it is he’s not up to par. So Nishikori has a chance here, just like Nadal did today.

I just have to think Djokovic will correct the mistakes and come out with intensity from first ball.
The pick: Djokovic in two

Tennis Channel has live coverage once again from 6am ET. It looks like another Djokovic-Murray matchup, can either Nishikori or Pouille player spoiler?

SATURDAY ROME SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
WTA – [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs M. Keys (USA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [LL] L. Pouille (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs I. Begu (ROU)

Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] K. Nishikori (JPN)
ATP – [PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)


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225 Comments for Novak Djokovic Beats Rafael Nadal In Thriller While Andy Murray Impresses; Rome SF Picks And Pans

Wog Boy Says:

I don’t agree with Sean about Nole in two sets. Watched all Nishikoris matches but Thiem one. He hits the ball with such authority and confidence that I am not even sure Nole will win.

Question before I watch recorded Nole/Rafa match, did Nole had fans on his side?


Travis Bickle Says:

Let’s see: playing Nishikori on Saturday and Murray on Sunday Djoker could gain … not much! He beats both of them routinely and does need any confidence after today (he just dismantled resurgent Nadal in straight sets on clay)

However, Djoker could overexert himself, risk an injury and deplete his physical reserves a bit too much prior Roland Garros.

By looking at this predicament, I honestly think his benefit/cost ratio is heavily skewed towards cost, i.e. negligible gain but significant risk.

If I was his manager I would tell him to pull “Federer” and say he has stomach illness (Miami) or bad back (Madrid) and simply go home and rest this weekend. In that case, he would be at 100% physically at the start of RG. No need to get involved in two grueling baseline contests this weekend with not much to gain.


Wog Boy Says:

It’s going to be cold and rainy, whose advantage that would be, Nole’s or Nishi’s?
I don’t think in Andy’s match the weather will matter:)


James Says:

26-23, Djoke-Nadal. Now I wonder what the H2H fanatics will say? Nadal has become Djokovic’s pigeon more than Fed was Nadal’s. That was largely on clay, and largely happened after 2007, once Fed turned 27 and Nadal reached his prime at 22. Plus the one-handed backhand issue on clay courts.

With Djoke, there is no room for such factors. Djoke is only one year younger to Nadal, both have a two-handed backhand – and now Djoke beats Nadal regularly EVEN on Nadal’s favorite surface, clay. Boy, these guys might play against each other another 10/20 times – wonder where this H2H will end up. Even on clay Djoke now has 7 victories over Nadal, by far the most of any player.

Outside of clay its 19-9 (7-14 on clay). Fed versus Nadal is 9-10 outside of clay, 2-13 on clay. Wow.


mat4 Says:

WB:

No, the public seemed to be on Rafa’s side generally, although, when Novak won that first set, the whole stadium was on its feet. But Novak had more fans, even in such circumstances, that he has anywhere else.


Wog Boy Says:

BTW, does anybody remembers that Steve O poster, Rafa fan that use to post here on “broken” English (though occasionally he would write on perfectly good English;), he use to remind and warn us when ever Rafa’s new win against Roger or Nole was coming, like “it is 19 wins, tomorrow 20 is coming..” and like that until 23 in Nole case…and then he disappeared.
If you are around Steve O (I am sure you are), just to let you know it is 26:23 now…in Nole’s favour;)


Wog Boy Says:

Thanks mat4, that’s strange since I remember their final in Rome and Nole had fans clearly on his side.

I can see James beat me with h2h post:)


Daniel Says:

The crowd was behind Nadal more in set 2, as they wanted a third, but they were cheering Djoko’s shots a lot, impossible not to if you are a tennis fan. He had at least 10 amazing points, jaw droppers.


Daniel Says:

Ferrer will be out of top 10 next Monday. I think nobody from the top 8 will want to play him round of 16.

Who ever from top 4 gets Berdych in his quarter in RG will have the easy draw, he is not sure even to reach that far. Tonga also would be better than Nadal or Kei. As he withdraw from Rome, is not on top form, but will have local support.


Wog Boy Says:

Those Nole fans in red caps looked good:)


Wog Boy Says:

That was sloppy game by Nole when he got broken, Rafa didn’t do anything special to get first brake…it is so easy to watch when you know result:)


Dave Says:

Wog Boy,

I agree with you 100%. Kei would have to have a total meltdown not to at least take it to 3 sets, if not win. He is in form. Djokovic has been off balance all tournament. He pulled it out today and showed spurts of good form when he needed to, but he hasn’t been at his best all tournament. Kei looks the best that he has looked all year. I wouldn’t want to play him in The French Open QF’s either. Although he did need a medical time out for his groin today. So he might not be able to physically hold up at the French Open anyways.


Wog Boy Says:

Dave,

I am watching last night match now and I don’t know if this the best from Nadal but this is definitely not the best from Nole. It is only 4:3 in the first set but doesn’t even look annoyed by not playing his best.


Wog Boy Says:

This is correct thread:
Just to correct myself about that poster, I think it was”Steve 27″ or something like that, not “Steve O”, it’s been long time since he disappeared so I can remember which number he used :)


Humble Rafa Says:

That was an informational match. So a loss here won’t bother me.


Pauly Says:

Murray will win Rome
He’s rested more in form on clay & can finally beat Djokovic after his very lucky win over the still very nervous Nadal
5 set points can’t convert one ?
Gimme a break that’s mental nerves


Pauly Says:

In all fairness to Nadal
Had he not hurt his back in Melbourne 2014
Or injured his wrist after Wimbledon
Things would’ve been different
Nadal isn’t Djokovic’s pidgeon like 2011
He’ just hasn’t been lucky enough to avoid constant injuries . Imagine Djokovic had all Nadal’s injuries ?
At the moment Nadal is doing his best which isn’t enough but he might have some well deserved luck soon ?


Dave Says:

Pauly,

I’m not so sure about Murray beating Djokovic. He has struggled against him a lot in the past few years. Never beaten him on clay. I won’t go that far in saying Murray should win. If Murray plays Nishikori, Than Murray should win. But if Nole gets to the finals, I think he will be looking to make another statement against his other main rival at the moment before the French Open. No point in giving Murray extra confidence.


Travis Bickle Says:

Humble Rafa reminded me to tell you something I forgot earlier:

Novak’s first set against Bellucci was an informational set. Novak won’t admit it publicly because he is much more insincere than Federer who is a beacon of honesty and humbly admitted that when his loses are’information-gathering’ missions. No wonder he is perenial Steffi Edberg Award winner for sincerity, humility, honesty, fairness, etc…


Wog Boy Says:

I am impressed with Nole, he hit two OHs on set point:)


anki Says:

Nishi is the in form player this tournament along with Murray. I want Novak to pull out citing some illness. He shouldn’t wear himself out just before the RG. Even in the post match interview he said that he wasn’t 100%, shouldn’t even bother about this tournament now IMO. Also, I really hope Rafa is in Andy’s half in the French Open. Those two along with Stan when he is in the zone are the ones who can beat Djoko. Impressed with the way Kei has been playing off late, but I don’t think he will be favoured against Novak in a best of five match.


Wog Boy Says:

I am pretty sure this was an informal tournament for Nole, to see where he stands atm on the court very similar to FO one. After watching his first two matches and this one against Rafa,he is yet to peak, so I can see him going out against Nishikori.


chrisford1 Says:

James – 26-23, Djoke-Nadal. Now I wonder what the H2H fanatics will say? Nadal has become Djokovic’s pigeon more than Fed was Nadal’s.
————–
Since the h2h with Fed is 23-11 and Fed has not won a match against Nadal at ANY Slam since 2007, either your match is bad, or you are confident Roger is equal to the task of a lot of catching up to do with Nadal.
And with a winning record against everyone on Tour save the bizarre exception of Davydenko, Rafa is nobody’s pigeon. With Djokovic, as Novak noted, Rafa had a winning h2h with him all his professional career until this year, and the h2h is too close to make any call on who did better.


Wog Boy Says:

@11:38pm

Should say “informational” not “informal”


chrisford1 Says:

At this point, no one really knows what is going on with Djokovic and his teams assessment of matters. He might be feeling full of energy, great and want to play it out at Roma. Beating his 3 biggest clay threats in a row would be a powerful thing..

And if Nish falls fairly easily, then they may think Andy will not want to give it his all in the Final, “saving himself” for the French Open, and be easier to beat than most fans and reporters believe. Team Nole may think that having it out with Andy yet again is better than calling in sick or doing a Tomic.


roy Says:

the difference on clay between nadal and novak now is mental. nadal was up in both sets, served for the second. novak has the confidence in key moments. but the actual physical level is probably back to what it was in 13/14, basically neck and neck. and novak is looking more vulnerable to other players on the surface this year.


Pauly Says:

Djokovic Murray Nadal in that order can win French open … Wawrinka might get hot again but let’s wait n see before saying he can defend Paris title
The draw for Roland Garros will be very interesting indeed I have a feeling Nadal might be in Murray’s half ?
Nothing would be more interesting in watching Nadal vs Djokovic final … On hot sunny day just thrilling to be there watching
I still feel Nadal has one French open in him just not sure if he can make final ?
Djokovic isn’t his only Enemy
Murray Nishikori Wawrinka if playing well can beat him also so fingers crossed for Nadal


Pauly Says:

Roy

Mental is 100% spot on
Nadal was playing well especially in second set
Had he won that set it could’ve been even better match like Madrid 2009
Where Djokovic was the better player but Nadal won 2 tie breaks
Brutal tennis


Michael Says:

Congratulations to both the players for offering us Tennis lovers a sublime quality match with high voltage intensity. The match was tense and gripping from beginning to end and it is difficult to believe that it ended tamely in straight sets which certainly a match of this quality doesn’t frankly deserve with both players showing their tenacity, resolve and deterimination to take the honours.

It has been some time since we saw Rafa put up such a valiant fight against Novak. And he did play a very good match but was a tad unlucky in not taking the match to the distance. In the second set, as Sean rightly pointed out, he should have converted one of those numerous set points despite the fact that Novak offered a dogged resistance coming up with brilliant shots at the right moments.

This once again only serves to underline the well known factor that mentally Novak is stronger than Rafa and matches up with him quite well. It is the psychological make up which plays a major part in those crucial moments along with the presence of mind. And the fact that Nadal is losing repeatedly to Novak is not helping his cause either where he has become his bunny of late. But the silverlining for him is that he made a valiant fight out of this match and took the battle right up to Novak’s door steps.

And for Novak, this was a match he could not afford to lose to his main rival right before Rolland Garros where his opponent has dominated like a colossus with incredible haul of 9 titles and surely this win has kept the momentum with him and psychogically it would be a dampner for his opponent. Moreover in five sets, I do not think Rafa can dislodge Novak even on Clay.


skeezer Says:

“It was a beautiful match”.
Glad Rafa thought so.
“That’s 15 straight sets for Djokovic against Rafa and he’s now won 7 straight sets against Nadal on clay.”
Am sure Nole thought it was beautiful also.


Pauly Says:

Nadal can’t win one set against Djokovic
How can he beat him over 5 ?
Had Nadal got one set with 5 set points for heavens sake I feel that would’ve put doubt in Djokovic’s mind about winning Paris but crisis avoided
You give Nadal one set he will take three
Very lucky for Djokovic however in Paris that Phillip chartrier favours one man for than anyone he’s won it 9 times 💪
However this year I feel Djokovic vs Murray final
Can’t see anyone beating Djokovic at this stage
As for Nadal he will need luck


montecarlo Says:

Nadal was the better player in this match although he lost. As everyone is claiming it isn’t that mental block, it’s more about luck right now. There is no other way to define 3-4 blind shots which landed in for djokovic on crucial moments of this match. Even Djokovic himself said that he was very very lucky to win those crucial points. But luck doesn’t favour Djokovic at French Open so he won’t win it.


Margot Says:

Gonna take a MMT line here…in the first set Rafa’s forehand was all over the shop, can’t find match stats anywhere, but something like 23 UEs. Nole, not playing especially well at the start, ramped himself up and, not surprisingly, took the set.
However, in the 2nd, Rafa’s forehand was on fire and UE error count went down.
However, Nole still won the set. Why? In the first place Nole’s ROS is best on planet at the mo and Rafa served rather predictably, especially to the ad court, I think. In the second, Nole plays the clutch points better than anyone on the planet.
Please explain, how this is, in any way, “mental.”


Wog Boy Says:

Margot,

Right on cue, I watched the match without any pressure since I knew result and it wasn’t luck that brought him victory, it was his game, confidence in his shots and being able to raise his level and defend when it mattered.
Luck has nothing to do with that, luck goes both ways, some shots that Rafa hits can be called luck, but it is not if you are aiming at the court on the other side of the net.
Nole look disinterested until he broke back in the first and then he really raised the game, Rafa raiesed his game in second but Nole followed him, Nole’s drop shots didn’t work at all, but Rafa’s were just accurate and played at the right moment.
I don’t see how anyone intheir right mind can say Rafa was better and deserved to win, if he was better he would have won, full stop!


Pauly Says:

Watched higlights of the match
Nadal was very nervous especially serving For second set if that’s not mental fear then what is it ?
He had little luck though but we must move on to the important match
Murray vs Djokovic ?
I think Murray can finally win one


Pauly Says:

Wogboy

Nadal’s drop shots weren’t all perfect
Haven’t you forgotten set point
Had that gone over anything could’ve happened in the 3rd set
Djokovic was lucky there was no third set


Wog Boy Says:

One more thing, I don’t know if this was best of Rafa, I’ll leave that to his fans, but I know this wasn’t best of Nole and yet he won.


Wog Boy Says:

Pauly,

You can’t have them all perfect but 90% were.


Pauly Says:

WOGBOY

People who understand tennis must realise Nadal is not the player he once was on clay especially
But huge improvement from 2015 form
Djokovic can play better but so can Nadal especially on clay it all hangs in the balance in Paris
Nadal has 9 Djokovic ZERO
I think Djokovic is due for one in Paris
As I said long ago Nadal was very lucky in 2014 to win Paris especially with back injury that really hurt him deep down when he couldn’t fight Wawrinka in Australia
I still think that injury plus bad loss ruined 2015
However it’s 2016 hopefully we will see more quality tennis from the top players


Margot Says:

@ Wog Boy
You make your own “luck,” as they say.


J-Kath Says:

Well, it is a delight to find a thread without demeaning remarks about Andy. It won’t last of course, but while it does God Bless America.

Forecasts for FO…my 2 cents says Kei usually has the potential to win 3-set matches (watch out Nole) but rarely can depend on his stamina to win 5-setters.

Stan is playing Geneva…maybe he can bring himself back to par. Other big names are playing next week….the race is on. Meanwhile, the results of today and tomorrow – Nole wins.

@ Margot: Try Flashscore for stats.


gonzalowski Says:

I think it wasn’t luck, as Wog boy says, it was Djokovic’s game, and his confidence, bigger than Nadal’s one.
I don’t know if Rafa is Novak’s pigeon (it annoys me as a fan :) , maybe it’s too much to say, I think Rafa can still raise his level of confidence for Paris against Nole, and take 3 sets from him, although it seems Nole had more reserve.
Valiant fight, as Michael says, and IMo it’s the most valuable thing from Rafa.


George Says:

I believe that Nadal here played one of the matches of his life (on par with 2013FOSF), but Djokovic was just awesome. Beating 100% Nadal on one of his favourite courts while trailing in both sets 2:4 is an incredible confidence boost for Djokovic. After losing to Vesely, being shaken by Robert and Belucci, this is a huge step forward in the right direction. It will be difficult to beat him in RG.


George Says:

Just one more thing. Djokovic is constantly improving. For me, he is better today than in 2015 and in 2015 he was better than in 2011.


Pauly Says:

George

Roland Garros is his nightmare
Every year he is favourite but never wins
As for beating 100% Nadal ludricrous
Nadal of 2016 is not Nadal of old
He is just improving 2016 version
Djokovic is fitter than Nadal that’s the key to winning
Could anyone outlast Nadal in endurance stamina in the past … Hell NO

Murray is the one who might surprise in Paris


Pauly Says:

How can anyone beat the GODFATHER of CLAY if he was 100% ?
9 French opens to ZERO
Gimme a break

Djokovic is playing better than Nadal that’s all it is
If they were both playing their best on clay
Nadal would win 7 out of 10 matches
As for Paris I just hope they can put Nadal in Murrays half so Nadal can play Djokovic in final


George Says:

@Pauly: The best clay match I watched ever, excluding the one played yesterday, was RG2013SF. I do hope that the final of RG2016 played by Djokovic and Nadal will be even better.


mat4 Says:

Novak seems to slowly losing his imperious form from last year. Indeed, it seems that he needed a bit of rest, and probably should have skipped Rome, especially when he saw the brutal draw he had. But then, he had a three weeks rest after MC, and there is a week rest before RG. It should help him.

He’s still the favourite for RG, but a few players are favourites with him: Murray, NIshikori, Nadal. I believe that Novak will play with the energy of despair, but one can’t know. The future is not ours to see.


J-Kath Says:

“As for Paris I just hope they can put Nadal in Murrays half so Nadal can play Djokovic in final”

I knew it wouldn’t last!
So now it’s down to match-fixing.


Pauly Says:

George

Madrid 2009
Best match 3 sets over 4 hours


chrisford1 Says:

Mat4 – A lot of people fret regularly about Djokovic tiring, overextending himself, burning out from almost always going deep in any event he enters. But this is a pretty smart guy. And after his 2011 late season burnout, he has turned scheduling and knowing how much he has in reserve into a science. I am pretty confident he and his team are always monitoring readiness against commitments.
Sometimes he does get tired, for unavoidable reasons like Juan Martin del Potro classic match at Wimbledon in 2013. Or loses mental focus as that can never be 100% perfect – like in Montreal 2013 against Rafa.

————
From Rafa’s press conference, some very gracious and encouraging remarks:

“”I’m not disappointed. I was competing at the highest level against the best player. Playing a match like that gives me confidence. I’m happy to be part of this rivalry, we’ll talk about this when we finish our career, hopefully a long time from now.”

“I feel lucky and unlucky at the same time, to be playing in the same era as Novak.”

Fine words from the other man in a classic match played. Nadal knows he played great. He is encouraged and is now seeing the good possibility of many more years as a top player. He sees the beauty in it, the rivalry…even though it has cost him being called the GOAT, getting a YEC. He has cost Novak too.
But with Rafa, he got injured in the 2009 Madrid classic. He wasn’t himself the rest of the year. The knee slowly got worse, contributing to his loss in the FO, having to skip Wimbledon and not defend his title, still hurting at the USO. Then the knee got better in 2010, he was by far the best player, his mastery over Federer was obvious. Djokovic was still not the player he was in 2008, struggling with form and mental doubt. Talk of Rafa as the eventual GOAT was everywhere. Then 2011 and Novak 2.0 happened. Rafa was just as good in 2011 as 10, IMO. Djokovic was slightly better. Djokovic is why Rafa is sitting on 14 Slams and zero WTCs, instead of 17-20 Slans and 1-2 Barclay’s Championships.


mat4 Says:

CF1:

The masterminds behind Novak’s scheduling are Vajda and Phil-Gritsch. Generally speaking, when the conditions are not too humid, Novak recovers pretty well. But, let’s wait and see. Although, to say it frankly, I don’t know why, but I feel that he will finally win that elusive Roland Garros.


J-Kath Says:

First set “down the hatch”. C’mon Andy, get your 2nd set and no mucking about.


Giles Says:

I don’t know why, but I feel he won’t win that elusive Roland Garros EVER!! Talkin’ ‘ bout joker.


Giles Says:

Lol. Scheduling needs to be masterminded? More cr@ pola from joker fans!!


Daniel Says:

Andy came to practice drop shots today,maybe thesis the shot he want to use on clay against Djoko. Nadal was using yesterday with great success.


J-Kath Says:

Well Daniel, he may or may not succeed…but he certainly sped thru this match.


BBB Says:

The thing about Djokovic is that he always seems to have the ability to ramp up to another level. So even when a match is close, it’s no guarantee that the other player was close to actually winning it, as Djokovic seems to be able to elevate his game still further. It’s hard for me to believe that match came down to a few lucky shots.


gee Says:

Nadal was hanging on by a thread at the 2012-13 French opens.
He was also fortunate because Nole was never confident in the 2008 Olympics.
Just like fed was lucky against old injured Agassi at 2005 us open, In 2007 U.S. open, 2008 U.S. open, thanks to Roddick, 2009 wimbledon, 2010 Aussie open, & 2012 wimbledon.
Fed at this best still lost to a sloppy Novak too.
Nadal destroyed Fed when he was only good on clay in 2004-2006.

Nadal lost a bunch of masters events to Novak. Eventually, he lost the head to head advantage.
No one else drastically turned a big head to head deficit around like Nole did.
Even Isner almost took advantage of Nadal in a French 5 setter.
Stop acting like Nadal was unbeatable.


lakie Says:

The thing about Djokovic is that he always seems to have lucky shots which win him the match. USO 2010, USO 2011 against Federer…..Rome 2016 against Nadal…..wait…. when a player pulls out so many lucky shots at critical moments you have to think again. It is not luck, it is genius…


Dave Says:

Don’t forget about how many match points he saved against Tsonga in the French Open Semi-Finals in the 4th set of that match. It was like 4 or 5 match points that he saved and then of course went on to win the match easily in the 5th set.


Dave Says:

Murray has pretty much guaranteed himself the number 2 seed at Wimbledon now. Unless he loses super early at the French Open and Federer makes the Semi-finals or Finals, which I don’t see happening. Good for Murray. He gets to avoid Djokovic until the finals of the big tournaments now. That’s good for him.


George Says:

Trailing in 2 consecutive sets 2:4 against Nadal on clay court in Rome (not grass, not hard, not even Madrid clay) and winning both is quite an achievement and great encouragement for Djokovic.


anki Says:

Murray is playing so well on clay so far. Even better than last year. I have a feeling that he will win the French open this year, sadly.


George Says:

@anki: Why sadly? I am happy that the best player wins.


J-Kath Says:

Good-on U George.

@ Anki: My feeling is Rafa will win….PS: Nothing is a given at this stage. I’d rather Andy won Wimbledon again.

Anyway we can all wish him happy birthday tomorrow….hope Nole’s going to give him his best birthday present…a week later Andy can return the favour.


J-Kath Says:

I just read a rumour that Nishikori has withdrawn…..anyone know for sure?


BBB Says:

I’m watching Tennis Channel, and I think it’s live, and they are prepping for the match….


anki Says:

Haha, because I want Novak to win it. Kinda feel he deserves to after coming close so many times. Andy can win the wimbledon and Rafa, the US Open.All good and sorted…:)


courbon Says:

Anki, they should have a metting.Novak gets RG, Andy AO and Rafa US Open.And they give Fed Wimbledon for a retiring present…that would be easy and all happy…


BBB Says:

Can we also have a time machine so that Lendl gets Wimbledon?


Green Lady Says:

Courbon would love Rafa to win another AO, Murray another W, Novak can have a FO, and Federer another USO ….


mat4 Says:

The worst beginning possible…


mat4 Says:

Novak is trying to shorten points.


J-Kath Says:

Yes Mat 4

And who said Kei was withdrawing because of his hip!!! Would like to know where that came from….ah well. Long way to go.


Vami Says:

@mat4
Don’t worry, he’s tanking. He has Kei in his pocket for RG and they both know it. Novak will lose this one which is a good thing.


Giles Says:

Come on Kei. Get the Serb!


mat4 Says:

I am worry about the injury, not about the result. I don’t think he’s tanking. They simply don’t do it, with the exception of Tomic the Tank engine…


mat4 Says:

J-Kath,

trying to see a sign of that ailing hip, but nothing so far.


Van Persie Says:

Agree with you yoday, Giles.
Go Kei!


Vami Says:

@mat4
Don’t tell me his loss to Berdych in Rome wasn’t tanking? This is not much different but back then he didn’t wan’t to play Nadal before RG, now he has Nadal’s scalp already which is great.
Just look at him, he doesn’t want to play. This match is meaningless. And after Kei he’d need to play Andy “the tough draw” Murray, another demanding match. Loosing here is the best thing for him.


mat4 Says:

It’s over right now. Novak simply can’t hit a ball on the run.


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s shots lacks a bit of power and depth today. Didn’t saw the beginning but tuings doesn’t look good right now.

First set Kei 6-2.


mat4 Says:

Daniel, he injured his ankle in the first game.


Daniel Says:

Losing here won’t mean much for him.

Can boosy Kei and make him one dark horse for Garros.

Also Kei will improve his ranking points. Ater RG, Wawa will drop out of top 5, Nadal and Kei will pass him.

For Nadal, keep top 4 ranking for Wimbledon as well.


Van Persie Says:

Becker is not at all worried.


Daniel Says:

Djoko won’t tank, he is is used to winning that he will go throught the motions.

1-0 and triple BP on Kei’s serve now


Van Persie Says:

Mat4,

There is no big ankle issue. Nole has a scratch there.


J-Kath Says:

I think Jane and Wogboy could give an opinion. I don’t think it is in Nole’s nature to tank. Once done, it never goes away from the mind when tough match needs to be met with tougher approach. Just saying….


Daniel Says:

Djoko missing this many return shows that he is not 100% foccused. Nishikori doesn’t have a huge serve to get this many free points on serve on clay.


Giles Says:

Joker doesn’t tank? Lol. Reminder Paris Bercy (?) against Sam Querry!!!


Vami Says:

Everybody tanks when there’s a good reason, not just Tomic. He’s just the stupid one.


mat4 Says:

I just don’t believe Novak is tanking. That’s not in his “holistic” approach to life and sport. And Becker IS worried.


Green Lady Says:

J-Kath exactly, im not byeing it either, i think these players have too much pride, besides its disrespectful to the fans who pay to watch, and takes credit from the opponent, i think Novak has more integrity for the sport, and more respect for his opponent than to do that, not only that but if hes tanking in one tourney to save himself for another, would be a risky strategy if it doesnt pay off, my two cents ….


J-Kath Says:

Nole is not tanking – he is a top professional, I don’t think he would ever do that….he is steadily improving…it’s all to play for.


Giles Says:

Not everyone tanks, speak for your fave. Supposed to be the #1. Pfffffffft


Van Persie Says:

He’s not tanking. He’s just not 100 % there. But Jane and WB will know better ;)


BBB Says:

He’s been grumpy all week. Maybe his parents shouldn’t come to *any* tournaments…..


Vami Says:

Okay, then he’s not tanking. He’s only not playing to win this one.
Kei is BTW a great clay player but a notch below Novak and Rafa, he’s #3 on clay in my book (sorry Andy fans). A good practice session for Novak.


BBB Says:

His play is really picking up.


Green Lady Says:

Well Novaks seems to be getting more into Kies service games now, so theres some way to go yet,Noles gradually getting back into this match ….


Dave Says:

On break point it looked like Kei double faulted and it wasn’t called.


mat4 Says:

I don’t agree with you, Vami. With an improved serve, Andy is no 1/2/3 with Novak and Rafa.


Daniel Says:

Djoko just can’t break Kei today, too many break chances, he should have closed the set already, triple BP in first game and now 2 goes as well.


Vami Says:

0:9 on the break points; that’s Rafa “I’m on a silent ban and the ATP won’t let me beat these schmucks” like.


Vami Says:

@mat4
That’s just my opinion, I’m not convinced about Andy although he’s likely going to win this tournament. You don’t just become a great clay court player over night, there’s a reason why he never won anything in the past. Both Novak and Rafa would be super happy to see him in the final of RG.


J-Kath Says:

Excellent post GL.

Vami…You really believe Novak would tank? If you really believe that you must be terribly upset that a champion like Novak has to resort to that kind of behaviour.


Daniel Says:

Set point after this perfect drop. IF he wins start serving Third set. Crowds fully behind him now.


Van orten Says:

What a tank Job by djoker . He is just not there . He doesn’t want this . His ankle is swollen..oops he has just won the second set lol …ave Maria and Jesus


Daniel Says:

And he finally breaks in the right time, close the set 6-4 and still in the match.

Now that again his body is warm up he is in the match. Won’t be surprised if he finds another gear and wins this.


Green Lady Says:

Order restored, tanking what a load of BS, not in his D.N.A ….
He will win this now ….


J-Kath Says:

Don’t be sorry Vami. I am beginning to see exactly who you are.


Dave Says:

Vami,

I agree with you 100%. Nadal and Djokovic would be happy to see Murray in the final at the French Open. No question about it. Murray has improved on clay, but still isn’t amazing on clay.


mat4 Says:

@Vami:

Of course, these are just opinions. Hope that neither him nor Rafa play the final if Novak makes it.


Giles Says:

Tanker, faker, you name it, that’s joker.


Green Lady Says:

I dont think Stan was ever amazing on clay, then HELLO look who won RG last year ….


Giles Says:

There’s only one schmuck on here and that is the poster May 14th at 3 45 pm


mat4 Says:

Novak continues to tank…


Van orten Says:

The ultimate tanker


Dave Says:

Clay was always Stan’s best surface. I heard announcers say it many times. That’s why they were surprised he hadn’t done better at the French Open. He needs slower surfaces to set up that powerful backhand and forehand. That’s why his 2 majors have been on the 2 slowest surfaces. And he hasn’t done as well at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.


Green Lady Says:

And there ya go Novak breaks start of the third set, maybe hes saving the tank for tomorrow ….


Green Lady Says:

Mat4 /Van Orton lol ….


Van Persie Says:

Van Orten, still alive? :)


mat4 Says:

Van Orten and Van Persie, are you from the same team?


J-Kath Says:

Okey doke…believe it’s over 3-0.for Nole 3rd set and stats are awesome.

Off now
Ciao.


Green Lady Says:

Mat4 nice to see you here ;-)) ….


Van Persie Says:

Mat4, Van Orten was the muse for my moniker :)


mat4 Says:

Yes, and I feel nice with the old bunch of Tx posters. Great to be with you all for this match!


Green Lady Says:

Mat4 looks like young Novak will take this now ….


Daniel Says:

Wow, he won another point defending smash, unbelievable


mat4 Says:

Yes, Daniel, nobody tanks like Novak. Even on smashes.


Daniel Says:

BP for Novak, virtually MP. Kei losing his cool


Daniel Says:

Seems overtime he is on the verge of losing something triggers in him and he is able to produce his best.

Finals tomorrow at 5 pm so he should have enough time to rest.

Once he is in finals, favorite, regardless of last 3 grueling matches.


Daniel Says:

^seems everytime….


Giles Says:

Joker came back from the dead. What a champion or faker. Lol


Daniel Says:

Djoko choose drops shot, who’ll have went for BH DTL and point was his and double break.


Van Persie Says:

If Nole wins this, not so sure he needs another hardcore match tomorrow


Van orten Says:

Yeah I am still alive van p. You know I hurt my knee then I had a stomachbug followed by a bad back …


Van Persie Says:

VO, good one;) What will be next?


mat4 Says:

If he wins this…


mat4 Says:

Nishi is playing superb tennis.


Vami Says:

Novak doesn’t care now if he wins or not, he invested nothing emotionally in this match.
He’s going to behave the same in the final (if he somehow manages to get there, I doubt it). If Kei can’t win this than I was wrong about putting him in front of Andy.

@JK
I don’t think I apologized to anyone, what “sorry” are you talking about?


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s defense this tourney is remarkable, he won several points with amazing gets.


Dave Says:

Nadal and now Nishikori throwing literally everything they have at Djokovic, back to back matches. This is insane tennis.


Van Persie Says:

Exactly Dave, and Nole was not even at his best


gee Says:

Roger Fred couldn’t beat the Current ‘weakest’ era’s players and needed Houdini escapes in Ramirez-Hidalgo type matches in 2006/2007.
Of course, mononucleosis or Mirka didn’t cause his withdrawals
& losses.

Fred was just really old at age 25 after facing the honest genius Roddick at Wimbledon.

Info for Fred 3.5.


Giles Says:

Some posters are really dumb saying joker hasn’t invested nothing emotionally. They’ve been on court for almost 3 hours now!!!!


Vami Says:

@gee
How the hell you managed to squeeze your Roger hate talk in this one? Do you have those text ready for copy/paste at will?


Vami Says:

Novak super casual in the TB.


kriket Says:

easy does it :)


mat4 Says:

Although he tried his best, he still won somehow.


Van Persie Says:

Nole played today and during entire week for his parents….and for the fans, who have supported him there. That was a compromise


Van orten Says:

The thousand lives of Novak Djokovic, episode 735


Wog Boy Says:

Routine win;)


Pauly Says:

Wow

Djokovic won by a whisker
Murray surely has to win final
How much energy does Djokovic have


Dave Says:

I think Nole got some good information in this match. That is literally the best I have seen Nishikori ever play until the tiebreak of course. That was insane. What a tank job by Djokovic. How could he tank like that?


Van Persie Says:

Hope it will not affect him at the FO…


Daniel Says:

And he does it again.

If he beat Andy tomorrow with his B+ game there will be quite a statement for RG. His tourney to lose there.

Of course he had patches of briliance but not consistant throughout the week.


Green Lady Says:

Well played Novak N.I.D, another Masters final, quite the year hes having, quite the rivalry with Andy, second week in a row on clay, lets see if we get a different result ….


Wog Boy Says:

Does anybody knows Nishikori time between serves, his Serena like like casual walking iafter points s f..ing annoying..


Giles Says:

Faker will sleep in his Pod tonite.


Vami Says:

I apologize to Andy supporters for putting Kei in front of him, when he couldn’t beat this “I don’t care” Novak today he can’t be #3.

So Novak is really on another level. For the folks out there that believe that Tomic is the only tanker, it is not only “I don’t want to win” but also “I don’t care” or “the next tournament is more important to me” (Tomic, again) too. Nobody can convince me that Novak cared 100% today.


Van Persie Says:

VO, Believe me or not, was nice to “see” you again ;)


Pauly Says:

No one but Murray wanted Nishikori to win
Djokovic winning is better for the crowd
Better match to watch
He needs to beat Murray now if he does he will finally lift French open title long deserved get the monkey off his back . Great final coming hopefully Murray can play well


mat4 Says:

@Vami,

Novak played yesterday a tense and emotionally grinding match against Rafa. He came in a cold evening, hurt his ankle straight away, and couldn’t move well for more than a set. I understand that he looked a bit flat, but, no, I don’t believe he was trying to tank.


Pauly Says:

GILES

Isn’t 9 enough ?
Let Djokovic win 1
Show some respect he’s better than your man Rafa
Can’t deny that 7-0 since 2014
Rafa needs to show the world why he’s king of clay in Paris only way to reach double figures but he needs 3 sets sadly can’t win one let alone three ?


Vami Says:

@Pauly
For you info, I’m a Novak supporter (I hate the word “fan”, Hitler had fans) and I wanted him to win. But there’s a bigger fish to catch out there pretty soon. It’s great that he managed to win without spending any mental energy at all.


Vami Says:

Has anyone else noticed that Novak “talks with his hands” much more than usual in Italy? When in Rome behave like the Romans!


Van orten Says:

Van p . I Will be around when it all ends ;)


FedExpress Says:

turn up, play crap and still win the tournament.

mentally wrack opposition. two MBs and still cant close the deal nishi.


Van Persie Says:

VO, I am sure you will ;)…You will have to wait a bit longer though :)


Dave Says:

I don’t think it matters if he beats Murray tomorrow. If Murray has Nadal on his half of the draw, I don’t even see him making the final. And if it’s Djokovic vs Murray in the final, Djokovic can’t possibly get blasted off the court like Stan. That’s the only thing that works, and Murray doesn’t have that kind of consistent firepower. He is to scared to go for it all match. So that’s my take on it. Everyone has their opinion. If Murray doesn’t beat Djokovic tomorrow, then that would have to hurt big time. This is the best chance he will get. Djokovic just played 5.5 hours of intense, high octane tennis where he was pushed to the limit. He will have maybe 20 hours or less to recover. Andy better beat him. And he still might not.


Pauly Says:

Dave

If Djokovic tanked he would’ve lost today I think he was tired & didn’t play his best but it was only Nishikori on the other side so no worries
Nishikori isn’t capable of winning French open


Dave Says:

Murray played less than an hour today and maybe an hour and 30 minutes the day before. So 2.5 hours vs 5.5 hours and over 24 hours of rest time. Today was barely even a practice session for Murray.


Dave Says:

Pauly,

Was it not obvious that I was joking? Who plays with more heart than Djokovic. He was going nuts with emotion today. He is the last person I would ever have thought tanked today.


mat4 Says:

Juan-Jose expressed the opinion that Novak should skip Rome. I agreed with him. He had a brutal draw, the weather conditions were bad (it’s too cold), and he is in a position where he has not only to win, but to win all the time.

Overall, he doesn’t serve well, he doesn’t return well, and his game is not clicking. Can he rise his level tomorrow? He certainly needs to. It wouldn’t bode well if, after a difficult win in Madrid, he loses easily here against Murray.


Vami Says:

@mat4
I live in the west but I’m not a westerner. A lot of my friends here (Canada) don’t believe in tanking, match fixing etc., which I find very naive. I’ve tried to explain tanking above, it’s not just not wanting to win but also not caring enough. Any result tonight would work for Novak, he was very casual. I expect Andy to take him tomorrow or perhaps he might have a personal agenda against a fellow big 4 and try harder than tonight, we’ll see.
Novak’s only threat in the later rounds at RG will be Nadal who’s ready 100% (the silent ban is over, he regained his “lost confidence” and magically retrieved his “lost step”). Andy’s only chance at best of 5 is Novak having an exceptionally crappy day and him serving like in the second set in Madrid all day long.


Pauly Says:

Vami

I’m Nadal supporter who loves watching close matches of quality so if Djokovic is too good for Nadal just have to accept it . However I’m still hopeful Nadal can win 10 French opens must be positive


Dave Says:

So Djokovic will have less than 18 hours between matches. Not good after a match this physical.


Pauly Says:

Dave

Good humour Djokovic never tanks
He’s not Tomic the Tomas of tank engines


mat4 Says:

BTW, now it’s clear that Nishi is a half-choker.


Pauly Says:

Dave

Djokovic will beat Murray
He loves Rome too much to lose this one
Murray has had easy run but if he doesn’t show up tomorrow his confidence will get hurt bigtime
This is the perfect time to make statement for Murray & beat very tired Djokovic


George Says:

Nishikori was awesome; he had so many answers. However, Djokovic is a mental monster. I disagree with Pauly that Nishikori is not capable of winning RG; he is very much so.


FedExpress Says:

and now the commentators should stop praising nishis 3 set record. he is a choker.


FedExpress Says:

hahahah. murray wont beat nole on a slow court. he had his chances in madrid and couldnt do it.


Van orten Says:

Fed will win the French


Pauly Says:

George

Remember CILIC he was mental monster also for Nishikori hahahahaha 😂😂😂
Don’t be naive George Nishikori isn’t capable of winning no slam unless the others give it to him on a plate
Djokovic Nadal Murray for the French open
Biggest threat is Wawrinka with his hitting power
That’s if he gets hot


Green Lady Says:

Surprised Jamies not here with his crystal ball predicting Novak to win everything ….


Van Persie Says:

Van Orten,

Did Mary Jane pop up?


Pauly Says:

James

Predicted that Murray Nadal Nishikori Federer all Djokovic’s pidgeons
But he didn’t mention the Stanimal wonder why ?
Djokovic was Wawrinka ‘s pidgeon last year hit for six as they say in cricket terms
Bring on the main event Roland Garros 👏👏👏


Dave Says:

Nishikori will need to hope that it’s Federer or Wawrinka in his QF. He can beat both them on Clay. I don’t give him much of a chance against Murray or Djokovic and than if he were to somehow win his QF match, win 2 more matches. I just don’t see it. Also, if Nishikori is battling his body physically with the groin and other things, I don’t think his body will hold up for 7 matches. I don’t remember Nishikori playing this many matches to start the season leading up to the French. There is no way his body isn’t hurting.


Pauly Says:

Dave

Stamina endurance the younger version of Nadal was number one in these qualities I recall
Now Djokovic is fittest player
Nishikori winning 7 matches on clay in two weeks
No way ! He’s just not fit enough nor has the stamina
He won’t beat Federer nor Wawrinka nor Nadal nor Murray nor Djokovic forget him in slams
I’m just waiting for the French open draw to see if the organisers want Djokovic vs Nadal final should they make it of course ? Nothing is guaranteed in tennis
But fans would prefer to see them in opposite half
Djokovic would of course prefer to play Murray in final of Roland Garros


gee Says:

Any result would’ve been an insult to the Spastic Nole floons & Fred fanboys.

At least Kei, murray & Nole get along even with no slam win.
You can’t say much for the fraud fedal ‘relationship’.


Jun Says:

Laver’s Houdini err co-GOAT escapes, again!

Feel bad for Kei. He did his best (again), but not enough (again). He’s really trying to improve this year and maybe win one of these big titles. He’s got the game, that’s for sure.

Congrats to Andy and his fans (again!) He’s improved a lot on clay, enough to now consistently challenge for the big clay titles. Maybe he doesn’t need a coach?


Vami Says:

I hope Andy will re-hire Amelie. It worked for me.


Dave Says:

Sorry Pauly,

But, Federer struggles against Nishikori at the best of times. I really don’t see him beating Nishikori in his current form on clay. He is 4 and 2 against Nishikori and is 0 and 1 on clay. With 3 matches on Federer’s favorite indoor hardcourt and 1 on his very favorite grass.


Wog Boy Says:

If ever was the time for Nole to lose final it is tomorrow, I hate him coming to FO with a pressure of those stupid streak, this time consecutive wins in finals. Completely unnecessary pressure, come on Andy, you can do it.

BTW, I want to thank (my mother, wife, kids and mistress) all Roger and Rafa fans for watching for the three hours one and only No1e…I know, I know, it is hard to watch and think “if only our man can play like this”, but very respectful towards Numero Uno, thank you my dear friends.


Pauly Says:

Wogboy

You confident current Numero Uno can win the big one in Paris ?
These masters titles mean little in comparison to slams
The former Numero Uno has 9 😂


Pauly Says:

Dave

Stop right there
Praising Nishikori won’t do him any favours
He’s not with the big boys never will be


chrisford1 Says:

Surprised no one commented on Novaks dork move. Thwackd himself in the ankle, hard – trying to knock damp clay off his shoe soles wih his racket. Needed medical attention.

Fortunately his ankles are likely one of his strongest body parts.

There is that thought that Team Nole knows exactly what it is doing. Try and take out Djokovic’s biggest rivals on the eve of the French Open. Test how well you can rise to the occasion after a tough semi. He takes it to Andy here, it may wreak havoc on Andy’s confidence for the FO, Queens, Wimbledon, and the Olympics.
Theoretically – Andy has the strongest chance. Easy draw with no grueling QF of SF, played Nole close in Madrid, is in better form than in Madrid. On paper.
However, Andy is desperate to end his losing streak to Djokovic. And it just seems Novak is hungrier to win, able to find a way most days, knowing how to win ugly. And Andy and his team and fans likely worry Andy might strain himself or something in the Rome final, so he might want to hold back a little.


Dave Says:

Roger is not with the big boys anymore on clay. Nishikori has better results then Federer in the past few years. Federer barely beat Nishikori last year in the WTF on Federer’s perferred surface. And Nishikori was in terrible form to end the season. Nishikori looks in the best form I have ever seen him. According to the surface clay, I just don’t see Federer, bad back and all, beating Nishikori in a best of 5 set match on clay if they were to meet in the QF’s. So that is how I feel Pauly. I am sure many would agree with me on this as well. Never underestimate anyone. That’s the best advice I can give today. I do respect your comments Pauly. Just have to disagree with you on this one. And I realize that you really aren’t into Nishikori at all. But from a tennis standpoint, he showed us the goods. Even Nole said that Nishikori was harder to deal with as far as from the groundstrokes than against Rafa yesterday. And I would have to agree with Nole on that. Nishikori punished the ball all day.


Dave Says:

Checking the weather forecast at Roland Garros today, it’s calling for rain the whole first week with cold conditions. That could be a bit of a setback if Rafa has to play anyone with fire power the first week. He might be tested very early, if that is the case. His form is so good right now, I don’t know if it will even matter.


BBB Says:

So weird to tank yet win.


jalep Says:

Sometimes when I read a match thread here I wonder if I watched the same match. This is one of those times. But it’s okay, completely okay.


mat4 Says:

@jalep:

What makes you say so? What’s your take?

@Vami:

I do believe in tanking, match fixing, draw fixing, etc., and I am not naive, far from it. But while Novak seemed flat and clearly wasn’t at his best (he couldn’t hit a DTL from either side), there was no way he was tanking this. When you see him hug the kids that were rooting for him, at the end of the match, it’s clear that, like a pro, he did all that he could to win.


BBB Says:

Exactly – Novak was flat. Why is it such a big deal that he’s won as much as he has? Because it’s really hard to put in the max effort day in, day out, week after week. He had to play Nadal yesterday, in a quarterfinal no less – it’s not in the least surprising that he would be flat today. Yet he pulled it out, because he’s unusually gifted at doing just enough to win.


mat4 Says:

We are often too severe toward players. They’re human, after all. So many things affects their results, and we tend to forget it.


jalep Says:

Hello mat4
Thanks for asking. I loved the 3rd set. And watched the match again tonight. Thought it was a great effort/performance from both players in the end. Nole had a match point on Kei’s serve at 4-5, in the 3rd set, Kei saved it and held to 5-5 – spectacular hold. Nole showed how much he wanted the match in the end and was making incredible shots. Yes Kei choked in the tb and it makes those here hoping he’d win frustrated and angry – but it’s an exaggeration to say he’s a failure.

Hitting himself with his racquet disrupted his focus and threw him off for the entire first set and halfway through the second. That’s my take on it. Mom and pop Djokovic were there watching and he wanted the win. But it’s confusing when your ankle is bleeding, you don’t know if you broke something or what, and Kei is across the net…

Tanking and all that you mention is real and happens but Nole wasn’t tanking or even disinterested, imo. There’s different types of tanking. We, you and I, always used to agree on such things and more that I won’t mention. Things that others find appalling.

I absolutely love Kei Nishikori too – couldn’t feel more different about him than some here.

Immediately after the match I was concerned that Nole would be tired and perhaps have a swollen ankle in the morning. Straight after the match I felt Andy would win the final. Given more thought, I think Nole should be able to pull it off, ankle permitting. It won’t be the end of the world if he doesn’t but it looks to me like he wants it. Cheers mat4. Happy posting. 😘


mat4 Says:

That’s how I saw myself the match too. Novak looked a bit flat, it was cold and his muscles, after the previous match, were probably aching, he hurt his ankle, and Kei played great, attacking tennis.


Pauly Says:

Dave

You got to be kidding
Predicting the weather for Roland Garros
Funny man


FedExpress Says:

nishikori was better than fed the past years and has better results dave? lol

3 gs finals since 2014


Wog Boy Says:

You should learn to read posts thoroughly, Dave was talking about clay:

“Roger is not with the big boys anymore on clay. Nishikori has better results then Federer in the past few years.”

Am I right Dave?


Giles Says:

Joker fans cocky much. Need to be brought down to Earth for sure. Perhaps in the next 3 weeks? That would be just dandy!
Headlines : Poor Nole loses yet again at the French Open.


Dave Says:

Exactly Wog Boy. The past 2 years.


Dave Says:

I don’t know why it’s hard for some to admit that Federer is not a threat on clay anymore. His movement looks limited compared to other surfaces. Go check out the odds for Federer winning the French Open this year. He won’t even be in the top 4 players. Maybe not even in the top 5. He would have to hope to get Berdych in his QF. Than hope that Djokovic or Murray loses before the Semi-finals. Than hope that Nadal loses to someone else. The only players that I give Federer a slight chance against at the French Open of the players that are more favored to win it are, Wawrinka and Murray. I don’t give him any chance against Nadal or Djokovic in a best of 5 set match on clay. So Federers only chance is that Nadal and Djokovic lose to other players and Federer stays away from them in the draw so that this can happen. That’s literally the only chance I see if this happening.


Alexandra Says:

Rafa is good enough to be competitive for big titles again. That is enough for me right now.Especially after last season, it’s several steps up.If he wins a slam again or not, I don’t know. Andy is in good form, and doesn’t win slams either.
And there is a reason Fed originally didn’t want to play on clay that much. But now he had to re-schedule. Maybe he should concentrate on getting fit for Wimbledon and afterwards.


Rick Says:

If Rafa could gets Jokervic out of his mind. He would had won in 2 the other day. He was leading in both sets. Just choked. Nishikori also troubles to Jokervic the other. Jokervic is definitely not the same player on clay.


Wog Boy Says:

“If Rafa could gets Jokervic out of his mind. He would had won in 2 the other day.”

“Da su babi muda bila bi deda”

Or to translate: “If grandma had balls she would be grandpa.”


skeezer Says:

Dave,
Fed looks limited because of the back. You played tennis with a sore back? Believe me, it for sure limits your footwork and movement. Additionally, u all harp on Fed being irrevelant now. Lets see if Novak is even able to play on tour @ 34.


skeezer Says:

Some of these Novak fans are worse than the rafafanatics, lol.
Both still tryin to pee on Fed to make there fav more fake glorious.
17.


Wog Boy Says:

“Lets see if Novak is even able to play on tour @ 34.”

Some of these fedfanatics make really stupid questions and are even worse than rafafanatics. Why Nole has to stay to play until 34 if he doesn’t feel like it and what is he going to prove by staying to play until 34/5, absolutely nothing, but whatever rocks your boat?!


Dave Says:

Skeezer,

I think Federer is very relevant on Grass and hardcourts. Please tell me when the last time Federer made it past the QF’s of the French Open? When is the last time Federer won a clay title that was above a 250 tournament? A long time ago. And he hasn’t always had a bad back for the last 3 years.


Wog Boy Says:

Definitely not bad back in 2014/15, by the GOAT’s own words that was the best tennis he ever played, and as George said “who are we to question Roger”, if we believe him when he says he is injured, we should equally believe him when he says he played his best tennis in 2014/15.


Dave Says:

2012 in Madrid when they decided to make the clay blue. Madrid is the only clay court that suits Federer’s game because it is faster than the other clay surfaces. The French Open does not suit Federer anymore. In 2012 he got beaten pretty easily in straight sets by Djokovic in the Semi Finals at the French Open. So 4 years ago was the last time Federer achieved a title of 500 level or better and got past the QF’s at the French Open. When we are talking about the only major on clay, I don’t think he is that relevant anymore. You can have your opinion. I respect that. I also have mine.

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