Nadal Back to Site of Last Claycourt Loss at Rome
by Staff | April 26th, 2009, 11:17 pm

It’s Rafael Nadal’s claycourt world, and all the other players on tour are just spectators. ADHEREL

After winning his first two tournaments of the claycourt season at the Masters Monte Carlo and Barcelona, the Spaniard enters the Masters Rome this week in an attempt to revenge last year’s second-round loss to countryman and former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. In last year’s final, No. 3-seeded Novak Djokovic came from a set down to defeat unseeded Stan Wawrinka 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Only the honeymooning Andy Roddick is missing from the Top 8 seeds which also include Roger Federer, Djokovic, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro, Fernando Verdasco, Nikolay Davydenko and Gilles Simon.

Nadal’s quarter could have a decidedly American flavor, with potential meetings against Sam Querrey in the second round and James Blake in the third. Opening-round matches in the top quarter include (9) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Richard Gasquet in an all-French meeting, Nicolas Almagro vs. Ernests Gulbis, and Mardy Fish vs. Igor Andreev, with the winner to face Verdasco.

Murray is the top dog in the second quarter, and after a bye will open against the winner of Nicolas Kiefer and qualifier Juan Monaco. No. 12 seed Fernando Gonzalez starts against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, with a third-round meeting with No. 7 Davydenko looming in the third round.

The defending champ Djokovic has an easy start, and will likely meet the winner of the first-round meeting between No. 13 Tommy Robredo and former No. 1 Marat Safin in the third round, and Del Potro or the defending runner-up Wawrinka in the quarters.

Federer in the bottom quarter will start against either Ivo Karlovic or Jan Hernych. The No. 2-ranked Swiss is looking at a meeting with nemesis Radek Stepanek in the third round, and Simon or David Ferrer in the quarters.

Likely quarterfinals are Nadal vs. Verdasco, Murray vs. Davydenko, Djokovic vs. Del Potro, and Federer vs. Ferrer.

Nadal won the Rome title from 2005-07.

You Might Like:
Nadal Wins Title, Djokovic Ranking Drop in Rome
Federer Falls Off Again in SF Loss to Djokovic at Rome
Nadal Overcomes Rain, Zverev for Comeback Championship Win at ATP Rome
Sharapova Outlasts Gassed Suarez Navarro in WTA Rome Final
The Whack Mile

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

53 Comments for Nadal Back to Site of Last Claycourt Loss at Rome

zola Says:

Hopefully no blisters this time for Rafa.
It has been good preparation for Rafa and Rome will be another great one. Match by match, stroke by stroke, I hope Rafa can re-gain his form.

It is hard to transition from hard surfaces to clay. The movement and bounce and everything else is different. So the more practice they have the better.

this is a link from Barcelona. They have two fun traditions. A champange chase and a pool toss for the champion!

Tj Says:

Nadal has yet to play a tough match on clay, so he should be ok.

Hope Fed can get to Semi.

Kiran Says:

I hope nadal sweep all the clay court tournaments till French Open. After All he is the KING OF CLAY

Vamos Rafa…

Colin Says:

“It’s Rafael Nadal’s claycourt world”.
Once again we have the confident assumption that things can’t go wrong. But as most of us know only too well, they can.
Nadal wants to avenge (not “revenge”)his loss in Rome last year. But why did he lose anyway? Because something went wrong. It may be 90% certain nothing will go wrong this week, but it isn’t 100%.
As I’ve said on forums a hundred times, if any of us could reliably forecast the future, we wouldn’t be online, we’d be relaxing on our private yacht and counting the millions won from gambling.

Duro Says:

Colin, you’re a gambler. Only a gambler knows that nothing is 100% sure…

Mckelvey Says:

I love this site i dont comment , i just read , ryt on Colin !!!!

zola Says:

that’s true. Nothing is 100%. No one thought Rafa would be ousted in the first round of a clay tournament like he did in Rome. So anything is possible.

But on a good day for Rafa, when there are no blisters/injuries, etc., the probabbilities for him to win a clay match against any of the rest of the ATP players is a high one.

Rome started already and Kiefer and Chela down. ( Chela lost to C. Rochus) and Blake is a set down against a qualifuer. he was a break up but lost his serve and is now in danger of being broken.

Blake is now No 16 and defends 250 points from last year. A loss will take him further down in the ranking.

jane Says:

Colin, you’re 100% right that nothing is ever a 100% certain (or next to nothing anyhow). Otherwise, why would we watch? Let’s hope things are not utterly predictable in the next few weeks.

jane Says:

For me, I’d rather see Rafa lose one of the MS events in Rome or Madrid (if he plays there) and see him win the French Open again; I’d like to see if he can equal Borg there. I think he could potential get worn out winning everything between Monte Carlo and the French which may cause him to faulter at the one that matters.

But that, of course, would definitely be exciting and unpredictable, so I wouldn’t be devastated or anything. I just think his team should be thinking along these lines as well – what matters more? Another Grand Slam or winning everything on clay up to it?

I mean in 2007 Rafa lost at Hamburg, in 2008, he lost at Rome, but he’s always won the French. Plus, prior to that he never went as deep at the hard court events.

Anyhow, it’ll be interesting to see if Rafa can defend everything he accomplished last year – on clay, grass and hard. It will be a great accomplishment if he can!

zola Says:

**I’d rather see Rafa lose one of the MS events in Rome or Madrid (if he plays there) and see him win the French Open again; I’d like to see if he can equal Borg there.***

I do too. I think the loss in Rome last year was a blessing. He could take that week off and get stronger for RG.

He has alwayas talked about “Madrid” as a “maybe”. But it is s Spanish tournament and who knows if he can skip it or not, plus, lots of penalties. So, yeah, he has enough points and I really don’t care if he loses in Rome or in Madrid.

The only concern is that he seems to be improving match by match and if playing in Rome or Madrid help him improve his game, then that’s something else. But just for points,…Nah!

Colin Says:

That ATP article “Battle for No 2” is really about two dung beetles fighting over the spoils. Sorry, couldn’t resist that – must be my schoolboy mind.

jane Says:

Colin – I don’t get it – dung beetles? Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a “schoolboy” – lol.

This part, this year’s race points, is what interests me, since it reflects how the top guys have been playing thus far *this year*:

In 2009, Nadal and Murray have accumulated the most points in nearly four months of action (as of 20 Apr.) with both players leading the ATP World Tour with three titles and a 29-3 match record. Here’s a look at the Top 5 players based on 2009 results only:

Ranking Points
1) Rafael Nadal 4,605
2) Andy Murray 2,980
3) Novak Djokovic 2,420
4) Roger Federer 2,100
5) Andy Roddick 2,000

It would be poetic justice if Roddick were to pass Federer in the rankings this year.

Fedex Says:

I don’t think, Rafa thinks like how you suggested, Jane. Rafa’s strength is that he plays everypoint like a match point. He never switches off. Like many things in life, too much of a thing, however good, can be fatally bad. Rafa just does not know how to switch off. He is the exact opposite of Sampras/Federer gameplan, where they up the ante at the big points. (Ofcourse, fed realised the hard way that plan doesn’t work against everyone). Nadal is more in the hewitt and agassi cast, where you give your best every freaking point.

You can already see Nadal devoid of joy on the court- the been there, done that feeling. Once he wins US open, what really is left? He will be in the top 5 GOATs along with Federer, Borg, Sampras and Laver. He will have to win 20 GS to rise to the top of that group, with a unanimous vote from the tennis world. 12 or 15GS will keep him in the same group. It is going to be fun to see how many French Opens he is going to win though. Outside of clay, Nadal is just one of the pack. Infact, I would love to see other players like murray, cilic, tsonga, gulbis or even gasquet, however a headcase he is. On clay, Rafa is truly one of a kind

Fedex Says:

Federer better come out of his funk, soon. He doesnt want to get passed by every tom DICK and harry :)

Roger himself has always said it is either No.1 or nothing, but just seeing how his game matches poorly against Nadal and Murray, he should not let the no.2 ranking slip. Then again, he has beaten them all, so it really is all about how good he is playing. If he brings his prime game, no player other than safin at his prime can match him off of the clay. Lets face it, he is the greatest player ever to play tennis, outside of clay. Losing to hungry young players can hardly change that. Murray/nadal and djokovic have to do a lot more to convince the tennis gurus that their best on grass/hardcourt is superior to Roger’s best. Nadal has obviously done that on clay.

MMT Says:

Jane: “For me, I’d rather see Rafa lose one of the MS events in Rome or Madrid (if he plays there) and see him win the French Open again; I’d like to see if he can equal Borg there.”

One (very) minor clarification – Nadal will surpass Borg’s consecutive FO titles if he wins this year, but he will still be 1 short of his overall 6 titles until he wins it next year :-)

As it stand, I don’t know why he would bother playing Madrid – nothing to defend and he could probably use the rest for the FO, given that he’ll probably get to the final in Rome.

Has anyone ever swept all the clay MS titles and the FO? I don’t think so.

zola Says:

with all due respect, tennis is not just the hard courts. If most of the tennis was not play on hard courts, federer’s position in tennis history might have been a bit different. So he is lucky in that way.

Besides, he has lost to Djoko, Murray and Rafa in his prime time. Who knows what the best of Murray or Rafa or Djokovic could do against best of Federer? I don’t think either of them ( Rafa, Djoko, Murray) have reached their prime. Maybe that was another piece of luck for Federer not to have to face them in their full potential. But that is tennis for you. Things go generation by generation.

zola Says:

I gues the main reasons Rafa would want to play Madrid is that it is his country’s tournament and also he will be penalized by ATP.

In his earlier pressers he said that he “maybe” playing Madrid. I hope he doesn’t!

jane Says:

MMT, “Nadal will surpass Borg’s consecutive FO titles if he wins this year, but he will still be 1 short of his overall 6 titles ” Ah, thanks once again for your acumen in tennis history – I knew Borg had 6, but didn’t realize that there is something else at stake here, i.e., consecutive vs. overall number of titles.


zola says “If most of the tennis was not play on hard courts, federer’s position in tennis history might have been a bit different. So he is lucky in that way.”

I did a calculation of this a while back, and actually the clay / hard court split is not that drastic. 35 events vs. 21 (not counting DC or year-end championships because only 8 go) or 56% versus 34%. It is the grass surface that is given short-shrift.

So to give more credit to Federer, I don’t think he is “lucky” that there are 14 more hard court than clay events in the calendar year; he needed to do well on clay as well as grass to dominate in the way that he did, and he was able to do just that. Rafa has now mastered grass and does extremely well on hard courts too, although I still think he is most vulnerable on that surface. Similarly, Djoko and Murray are good on all surfaces. I think to be at the top now, a player has to do well on all surfaces, even if he is dominant on only hard courts or clay courts.

jane Says:

Fedex, while you may have it in for Roddick, I still say if he were to surpass Fed, if only in the race rankings, but particularly in the regular rankings, it would be somewhat satisfying given how valiantly Roddick has fought against Federer, both in his prime and now. Moreover, Roddick has fought against time and change in the sport, continually doing what he can to round out and improve his game, and even if you dislike the guy personally, he deserves credit. It’s been said a number of times already: no other player, beside Federer, currently on the tour has been in the top ten for as long. Surely that is of merit. One needn’t be the best to be admired. :)

zola Says:

well, there are two hard court GS events to 1 each on clay and grass.

of the 9 master series, 3 is on clay, non on grass and 6 on hard courts.

Maybe timewise, yes. Clay tkaes about 30% of the time. But depending on tournaments, hard is the dominant one.

maybe “lucky” is not the right word. I am sure federer would have won many GS titles, but still I am not sure how it would have played out if say there were things were the reverse.

jane Says:

zola, I should add that the one advantage to the hard court vs/ clay court split being in favor of hard courts, if not drastically, is that there are two slams on hard as well as more Masters Series events on hard, particularly because of the final indoor hard court season. Therefore, in that regard, a player who does better on hard courts than clay courts can accumulate more points in the calendar year. Perhaps this was part of the reason Federer held off Rafa and others for so long; however, once Rafa mastered one other surface (grass) and is now mastering another (hard) then he was in the running for number 1.

But that players like Murray, Djokovic, JMDP and Tsonga are already able to play well on at least two surfaces if not all of them, and that there are challengers like Roddick (grass + hard), Verdasco (clay + hard), Davydenko (clay + hard) still around, to me it means that no one will stay number one as long as Federer did for a while – unless Rafa can dominate all the surfaces, which I don’t think is likely. He’ll stay number 1 this year, I think, but after that, who knows?! Guess we’ll have to wait & see.

tennisontherocks Says:

I think Rafa should play as many clay events as long as they don’t affect his RG chances. I know MC/Barcelona/Rome/Madrid titles don’t add much to his legacy, but they allow him to build up sizable ranking points with minimum stress on his body. Then he can basically go deep in all tourneys for the rest of the year and still stay near the top. I look at it as maximizing your strengths. And he is not alone in doing so. Typically all great players had only a couple of years where they played great for entire year on all the surfaces. But then they focused the most on their ‘best surface or slams’ and rest was bonus. Roger managed to do so for 3-4 years in row and now we expect that from everyone.

jane Says:

zola says “Maybe timewise, yes. Clay tkaes about 30% of the time. But depending on tournaments, hard is the dominant one.”

Also 34% of the calendar is played on clay.

It’s the points difference (i.e., the caliber) of the events that really matters, as you and I just both acknowledged; that’s where hard courts still have the advantage.

Although if it’s true that some hard courts are slower, or being slowed down (i.e., as some have said about the AO) then I supposed that balances things out somewhat.

Fedex Says:


Saying someone is not the best does not mean they are not admired :)

To me, there is a definite difference between players like Roger, Rafa, Sampras agassi and 2nd tier players. Maybe you see andy roddick in those legendary players for whatever reason, but most tennis analysts would not. That is no disrespect to Roddick. Trying to hype up andy is as much a mistake as demeaning his achievements!

jane Says:

Fedex, I take your point; and I am not saying Roddick is one of the most legendary players ever, but that he deserves accolades for what he has managed to achieve. I am not trying to “hype” him up either, only to give credit where it’s due. He was an exciting player to watch when he was young, and still is, especially now that his fitness has improved. I just think, given all of the beat downs Fed has handed him, a little revenge – in the form of passing Fed in the rankings for a couple weeks or beating him at a slam – would be sweet. No one has been denied more at slams by Fed, have they?

jane Says:

Here’s Fed’s pre-Rome interview; interesting what he says about confidence.,,11444~1640169,00.html

jane Says:

Just to point out – at the above link you can also find Djoko, Murray and Rafa’s pre-Rome video taped interviews as well! *_* Enjoy.

Duro Says:

Jane, you owe me your opinion re Novak’s draw. I think it couldn’t be any better.

jane Says:

Hello Duro – well, I think it’s a pretty good draw all things considered.

Both Robredo and Safin could trouble Novak, and have on other surfaces, but I think Novak would have to have an “off” day to lose the entire match to either one; but you never know, esp. with Robredo who can get hot on clay. On the other side, I think Wawrinka or JMDP are tough on clay, too, but again, I think Nole should come through; he has the game to beat both of them. On the lower half there are Fed, Stepanek, Simon (though he’s not yet found his best form this year) and Ferrer among others who could make it to the semis. I would think Fed should come through, so if Novak does too, they should meet in the semis, and based on current form, I’d give Novak has a good shot at winning that one – I wouldn’t have said the same last year, but Novak has been playing into form the last few events whereas I am not sure Roger has. That could be a very good match.

Ideally, I’d like to see Novak at least get to the finals as he has so many points to defend here. So that’s why I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Colin Says:

Jane, are you American? Maybe that feeble joke of mine would click only in the UK, where “Number Two” is the traditional little kid name for poo, “Number One” being pee. My God, I’ve turned this forum into infant school!

jane Says:

Oh – now I get it. Doh! No, I am Canadian. LOL, Colin.

Duro Says:

Ok, but if Murray pulls out a surprise and make it to the finals (you know past whom), I think Nole will win this tournament. Hardly, but possible.

Kimmi Says:

“I don’t think either of them ( Rafa, Djoko, Murray) have reached their prime”

Different players pick at different times in their carrier. Nadal has been on the up-ward curve for a while now. I thought Nadal played at a very high level last year from MC to olympics but then faded at the end of the year. Even if Nadal won the AO this year, I don’t think he had played as good as last year yet. To me it will be interesting to see how he perform thru the US and subsequent hard court season.

We have already seen how good Nadal can play on clay, I thought last year was magnificent, the way he demolish everybody in the FO was unbelivable. As many have comment Nadal needs to play a lot of matches to reach his season peak, lets see what he does this year but also I believe people like djokovic and Murray have started to study Nadal weaknesses and try to take advantage, same as the way players got to study Federer’s game.

So, its all interesting time for tennis fans

Kimmi Says:

Meant to say “Different players peak at different times in their carrier”

Colin Says:

Jane, it has just struck me that the term is used in the USA. Did you see the Batman movie in which Danny de Vito played The Penguin, who was abandoned by his parents? He says “I was their Number One son, but they treated me like Number Two”. Apparently Canadians are not so infantile, or they have cleaner minds!
To return to something I’ve said before, about British type weather seeming to spread round the world – so they had rain in Rome, did they? Great stuff! If it rains hard enough, they’ll be playing on mud.

jane Says:

Nah, we’re infantile; I just didn’t place the reference Colin; too slow today I guess. Yes, inclement weather in Rome – I read an article about Murray’s doubles match, which he lost to Tsonga and his partner and Murray was saying it was the wind that was bothersome as dust was blowing in the player’s eyes. Now that can’t be fun.

I guess it’s sunny and calm then in England?

zola Says:

to me the players reach their potential when they stop improving. It means they cannot get any better or they don’t have a desire to. Right now Federer is in that state ( maybe he will surprise me in Rome or RG). But Rafa still can improve a lot. He can start from his serve. He did not win AO for nothing. He won, because he improved his forehand, court posiutioning, slice, volley, …and he can improve further.
On clay, Ferrer who played him the Barcelona final last year and this year, said that Rafa plays more aggressively this year. So he is still improving.

Djoko can improve his fitness and his net game, his slice and Murray can also improve his shots ( whic are already nice) a bit more. He did not know how to play in the wind in IW and still can improve his fitness. The three of them are hungry and eager to get better. So I think there is still room for the three of them.

I am also glad that Rafa has now new challenge and has to get better otherwise these guys can easily catch up with is great motivation for Rafa.

zola Says:

btw, Del Potro if now No 5, right behind Murray. I think he will be in the discussion pretty soon.

zola Says:

oops, if=is

Fedex Says:

Fair enough Jane.


You should get used to the fact that Nadal’s record will always be biased towards clay-courts. I am sorry, but Nadal’s magic doesnt translate so well to other surfaces. He’s definitely good on those surfaces but nowhere as good as Federer or Sampras were. Sampras is the ideal offensive player, Nadal is the ideal defensive player and Federer is the closest to a balance of those two. That is how I see it.

zola Says:

I am fine with Rafa’s achievements on clay and other surfaces. I enjoy watching him play, doesn’t matter clay or hard. He is still 22. Hopefully he can translate some of his magic to other surfaces.

But what I was trying to say, was that it is a lot about the surface. whether it is Rafa or Sampras or Roger, they all excell mostly on one surface. If the GSs were divided equally between clay and hard, the number of GSs won by either of them could have been different.

zola Says:

btw, Fedex,

I owe you and rsutherland a “thank you” for the heat that you got a few days ago. I did not say it then becasue it would have taken things the wrong way. But I really appreciated your comments.

sar Says:

Novak has a new trainer,that’s a start and he has motivation. He could take it all.

Colin Says:

As far back as the days of Borg, MacEnroe and Lendl, I used to wish all tennis was played on the same surface, so you’d know where you were, and know unequivocably who was best. As a Brit, I naturally thought that surface ought to be grass!
Of course, sometimes, as during Federer’s prime, it would have taken away a sense of anticipation, as one person would dominate for a long time.
As for Nadal, Zola, do you think he’s got time to improve much more? Despite his age, I think he’s going to burn out sooner rather than later. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last year at full throttle. He’s already had an injury (remember that last set bagel against Murray) where usually the injuries have come later in the year.

Kimmi Says:

Zola:”to me the players reach their potential when they stop improving. It means they cannot get any better or they don’t have a desire to. Right now Federer is in that state”.

Rafa is improving I agree and thats is very good for him. But what I believe is once a player reach their peak, there is very little they can do. A player can improve a serve,volleys, slice etc, but a tennis game is not just about one or two things..the whole game that makes a player needs to go together. Thats why I think Federer has reached his peak btn 2004 to 2007, after that he started to decay little by little.

Saying federer cannot improve is not true, federer can still improve his game but i don’t think he can go back to his peak years…i don’t think federer can be as fast as he used to be, so what he can do is to improve his again to match his current level.

So same thing will happen to Rafa. He can improve whatever he wants but if he is lacking that speed (since we all know his game is built in this) which gives him his court coverage then he will not be as good as now. And this is just a matter of time, some players have longer peak time than others so we will see how he does. But so far I think he is either on his peak or just about to reach it.

zola Says:

oops, I did not say Federer cannot improve. I said this is his state right now.

well, of course aging is a big factor, but some players can compensate for speed with other changes in their games. So, to me, as long as they are getting better in their games and are having better results, they are still ascending. But you are right that the process can be slower or faster depending on age or just the player.

zola Says:

***As for Nadal, Zola, do you think he’s got time to improve much more? Despite his age, I think he’s going to burn out sooner rather than later. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last year at full throttle. He’s already had an injury (remember that last set bagel against Murray) where usually the injuries have come later in the year.

I have no idea! I am just taking it match by match and tournament by tournament just like Rafa. You are right. Things might be different next year. Who knows? so better enjoy the good times while it lasts!

Fedex Says:


I do agree Nadal is young and he may rake up crazy numbers on other surfaces, but like Kimmi, I have my reservations. I think Federer is the more balanced player among the 2, but definitely these 2 along with laver will be the top 3 in tennis when all is said and done. Nadal will have a much bigger say in what the order among these brilliant athletes is. Ofcourse, Nadal is more close to achieving the career slam that is the measure of balance on all surfaces, in one sense. (He even won the olympics :) Lets wait and enjoy this fun ride.

You are welcome Zola. It is not too hard for anyone to see, when people post with the agenda of picking on great champions like Roger and Rafa. I am sure it is frustrating to be a Roddick fan, but hey, you dont have to keep demeaning whoever is the best player in the world to bring them to his level. I guess we are pampered as Roger and Rafa fans :) I try to understand that, but some people just cross the line too often. Let me just say, people like you make me appreciate Rafa more :) and unfortunately, the few A-rod fans out here make me dislike him. I do think, he works really really hard but he could really use some wonderful fans like you :)


zola Says:

I wrote to Colin in the other thread that I have no idea how many titles Rafa can have. who knows? and I am sure Federer will collect some more, no doubt about it. Rafa is trying to take the pressure off his knees by losing weight and ending points quicker, but when he is in trouble he goes back to his defensive mode and the matches can take 10 hours!

You know he had a scare at 19 with a serious foot injury and there were doubts about him being able to continue playing. So he too perhaps knows that nothing is forever. I am just happy watch what he is doing now. I am aware that Federer is still hungry for FO and to break Sampras’s record and Djoko, Murray and Del Potro ( among others) are still getting better on all surfaces….Seriously I think it is a great time.

Roddick is a fun guy and he has several good fans here. That was an isolated incident and is more personal ( long story!)…Anyway, please know that I am very thankful.

well, seems Federer is relaxed and determined and has worked hard for Rome. Still the biggest threat for Rafa in RG! oh man!

btw, Grand Slam is a possibility, but very remote. Rafa has to defend RG and Wimbledon and by the time he gets to US Open, he is usually very tires ( on his worst surface). But perhaps one year he needs to do some compromise on his calendar to be able to win US Open. I think one of the reasons he win AO was the good rest he had before.

Von Says:

sar: I don’t know if you saw my post on the thread where you mentioned i should email you? Unfortunately, I erased some of my contacts by mistake, so if it’s not too much of a porblem, could you give it to me again. Thanks.

Yeah, long, long story.

jane Says:

zola, I agree with your point that “I think one of the reasons [Rafa won the] AO was the good rest he had before.”

I think the AO surface is a little slower, too, so that might suit Rafa’s game more. And it’s certainly not impossible for him to win the USO since he’s got as far as the semis, but maybe you’re right that one year he’ll have to make the adjustments needed so he has the energy to win that event. Mind you he got to the semis AND played the Olympics last year, so that is a sign in his favor.

zola Says:

true. AO surface is slower and I think that helped Rafa. He also changed his forehand a bit and served very well. he hasn’t served that well since.

Momentum is also a great factor. The past 2-3 years it was Roger coming to the US Open having won wimbledon. Rafa was a bit more disappointed and deflated. The reverse happened this year. I think Roger’s odd losses were probably because he was down. The Olympics win helped him a lot in winning US Open.

Yes, this year no olympics. But again, a lot will depend on what happens in FO and Wimbledon. Also it will be helpful of Rafa can get some rest. But if he can manage somehoiw to win FO for the 5th time and Wimbledon for the second, the hype going to the US Open will be too much…
anyway, too far ahead to even think about it. let’s see what happens in Rome.

Top story: Australian Open Closer To Finalizing Dates
Most Recent story: WTA Set To Rename Events In Alignment With ATP