Rafael Nadal: Roger’s Had A Great Start To 2017 But Novak And Andy Are Still The Favorites
by Tom Gainey | March 25th, 2017, 1:02 pm

Despite Roger Federer’s fantastic start of 2017 winning the Australian Open and Indian Wells, Rafael Nadal still says that Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are the top players.

Both Djokovic and Murray have combined to reach just one final, and that was when they played each other in Doha at the start of the year. Since then, it’s been upset after upset. But Nadal points out, it’s still very early in the season.

“We have nine Masters 1000s, we only played one,” Nadal reminded the press Friday. “We have four Grand Slams, we only played one. We have a lot of 500 tournaments, we only played couple of them. So it’s true that Roger start unbelievable and that’s great. Is true that probably Andy and Novak didn’t start as well as they did last couple of years.

“But in my opinion, they are probably favorites because they have been there for the last couple of years playing more consistently than what we did. So it’s very early.”

Nadal, himself, has enjoyed a fine start so he too is in the mix for a top finish.

“I feel that I am playing well. I can talk about myself,” he said. “Just let’s see what happens here, and let’s see what happens especially for me after this tournament that I have five tournaments that probably – not the most important of the year, but one of the most important.”

After beating the rain and Dudi Sela yesterday, Nadal resumes his bid for a first Miami title Sunday against Philipp Kohlschreiber.

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33 Comments for Rafael Nadal: Roger’s Had A Great Start To 2017 But Novak And Andy Are Still The Favorites

Leo Says:

He’s right. It will be a big surprise for me if Andy and Novak don’t bounce back sometime soon. Rog still has some work to do.

Kat_YYZ Says:

“Both Djokovic and Murray have combined to reach just one final, and that was when they played each other in Doha…”

Um, Murray won Dubai.

Humble Rafa Says:

Humble will always any opportunity to talk down the Arrogant One because the world needs more humility.

madmax Says:

Of course Novak and Andy are the favourites. Who is saying anything different?

Roger is making hay right now, and so he should. An incredible comeback, surpassing everyone’s, even his, expectations.

Come the day when they are all in the same tournament. Oh, I forgot, they were. Australian Open.

James Says:

Hey, Roger is 35. Djoke and Murray are 29, Nadal is 30. Every time they lose to Fed now, they should really think hard about their game, losing to a 35 year old guy. On the other end of the age spectrum, Kyrgios is beating up on Djoke.

2017 looks more wide open than any year past in a long time. Perhaps 2002 was the last time there was so much uncertainty about who will really end up at the top at the end of the year.

LUCY Says:

Of course we would expect both Djoko and Murray to bounce back but at least they have both won a tournament each – at Qatar and Dubai respectively, so all is not lost! Roger is doing amazingly well of course and is a threat on any day but it’s early in the season and a lot can change in sport in a short time!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa is right. I expect Murray and Novak to retain their spots. But James, I think you’re right: there’s more uncertainty than we’ve had in a long time.

skeezer Says:

Anyone watching Rafa’s match? He is really stinkin up the place so far. Ugh

Daniel Says:

Just turn the TV and saw he was getting bagled!

skeezer Says:

I expect the second to be better. But notice he is playing reactionary tennis, and his side to side movement is really lacking, especially when he needs to hit and recover.
Maybe he initially thought Kohls would be easy?

Daniel Says:

Nadal complaining with Bernardes but the replay showed the ball touched two times before he hit it.

Daniel Says:

He is leaving balls short, almost all the time.

skeezer Says:

Really shocked that Kohls is playing this well. I mean the guy usually has a weak BH.
You’re right about Rafa, his groundies landing short, serve has less bite too. Of coursw this has been going in for awhile now…

Daniel Says:

Nadal breaks and holds, 5-2. Looks like there will be a third set.

Daniel Says:

Kohls start missing too much. 1-1, and Nadal serving first third set, which will be an advantage in the later stages.

Daniel Says:

Nadal running away with the match now, won last 6 games after 2-2 second set.

FedExpress Says:

kohlschreiber you tried, but you failed “miserably”.

first vs murray and now against nadal.

steve-o Says:

Don’t think Nadal likes the conditions at this tournament–the air is so humid that the ball gets soggy, doesn’t bounce as high and the court doesn’t take the topspin quite as well as IW. Lets the opponent hit through him a bit more often.

Anyway, he always improves as he progresses in a tournament, so I’d not expect such a lapse in the next couple rounds.

Kimberly Says:

Saw it live with Colin. Nadal sets a good example. Gets bageled. Takes a bathroom break. Resets. Makes changes. Plays. Wins. Stays positive at 0-6 1-0 a huge vamos, showing is there to fight. Amazing. An example to all.

skeezer Says:

Yep, that is the thing with Rafa, he gives it his all, no matter what the score. Great example of how to be a fighter on the court.

Markus Says:

As a Federer fan, Nadal has always been the biggest thorn on Federer’s side. But how can you not appreciate this guy? What a fighter! I would so much love Federer to have a second Fench but for me, the next best thing would be for Nadal to win his tenth.

Kimberly Says:

it really is impressive that he was able to do that. Because Kohlschreiber was on fire. Amazing how he can stay with it and keep searching for solutions. at 0-6 he holds serve, that’s it and acts like he just won wimbeldon. And shows his opponent how he is still invested in the match.

Kimberly Says:

was on the grandstand yesterday when it poured on everyone and Dominic Thiem performed one of the most epic racket smashes of the season

Kimberly Says:

And will be tomorrow at Del Potro Federer

skeezer Says:

Rafa is not a shoulder slump kinda guy, you know, like you know who.

skeezer Says:

Church is gone, now their fav is Almazan food.

Okiegal Says:

@Kimberly……I’m pea green with envy that you are seeing these matches………Oh not…. really glad you and you son are getting to go and witness these champions play tennis. Blow a subtle kiss ๐Ÿ˜˜ to Rafa for me!! That first set was a bummer…..I thought to myself can he pull this one out of the fire and by golly he did! Have fun Miss Kimberly and Colin!!๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ

Okiegal Says:

@Markus…..so sweet of you to say nice things about Rafa……I want him to get his 10th too!! I’m greedy I know I am…..I admit it……LOL ๐Ÿ‘‘ of clay!!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Markus, I agree. If it can’t be Fed, let it be Rafa. He is the epitome of fighting spirit.
Kimberley, that is fantastic that you can see such great matches. Hope you enjoy tomorrow. Please let us know about the atmosphere. BTW, good to have you back.

AndyMira Says:

@Okie…Of coz mama bear!Didn’t chu know that markus and TV are some of the most nicest and kindest male poster’s on TX?We should treat them a virtual dinner if rafa win 10th FO mama bear!

Kimberly Says:

Rafa match was great! And Nishikori Verdasco was very entertaining.Then we watched Young/Paire and Nadal/Kohlschreiber. Tomorrow however, should be epic. Miami has a huge Argetnian population who will be supporting Del Potro however there were several people from Mexico and South America who flew to Miami just to see Roger play at the Tiafoe match! Thank you TV for the welcome back! Miami Open has been a great tournament and much more coming.

chrisford Says:

It would be better for Nadal to win the WTF or a 2nd Australian Open vs a FO, which would pigeonhole him as a “one-dimensional” clay courter winning 2/3rds of his titles and match wins on clay. And, “out of his natural element and not as good a player” winning off clay “a bit”.
But for Djokovic defeats and injuries he got playing Djoker, this is a guy that could have picked up a lot more Slams (4-5), won the WTF in 2013, been the “co-GOAT”. He is clearly an all-surface player, and his career rep should have with it recognition that Nadal won more matches and big titles off clay than any other player not named Federer or Djokovic.
(But he does massively suck when he plays indoors, normally. A curious and very dismal record for such a great in the sport.)

skeezer Says:

The member of the “Church” mentions Rafa to act all relevant, but fails as in the same post it does the Church thingy;
“But for Djokovic …”
What is next, weak era post?
Kimberly LIVE @ Miami. Love the reporting, keep it a comin’.

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