Rafael Nadal Returns Home For First Time in Two Months [Video]
by Tom Gainey | September 22nd, 2011, 12:49 pm

Here’s another one of those “Rafael Nadal at the airport” videos that I just love. Nadal is once again pushing his luggage cart through the terminal while fans and press all want a piece of him.

Nadal said he’s back in Mallorca for the first time in two months after the US swing, Davis Cup and a brief appearance for a commercial shoot in Barcelona.

“I’m at Barcelona’s airport, waiting for my flight to Mallorca. It’s been two months without being at home… and I’m looking forward to it!! :)” Nadal posted yesterday on facebook.

Nadal will take a week off to rest and relax before heading for the “Asiatic Tour” to play Tokyo and then Shanghai.

Despite Novak Djokovic’s incredible year, Nadal still has a mathematical chance to pass the Serb for the year-end No. 1 ATP ranking.

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84 Comments for Rafael Nadal Returns Home For First Time in Two Months [Video]

Michael Says:

Come on Rafa. If anyone can pull it off it is you!! VAMOS RAFAAAA!!!!!

Lou Says:

Rafael nadal is a fighter and he will be back soon! meanwhile am really excited to watch him play against Del Potro- How exciting that will be:http://bit.ly/owcb66

Humble Rafa Says:

I hope the knee machine arrives on time. Need that more than anything else. The screws seems okay for now.

To do list

1) Buy the Egg. Need it

2) Get Novak out of my head. Easier said than done.

3) Make sure The Arrogant One practices hard to beat Djoker, so I don’t have to.

4) Work on lining up bottles properly during change over

5) Don’t ready any Djoker stats. Especially about people who lose to him x times in a row.

6) Fire Uncle Toni and get a real coach.

i am it Says:

Yes, Rafa has a mathematical, though remote, shot at the year-end No. 1, if he wins everything from here on.

The numbers from this year:
Djoko 13,295 points out of 12 countable events.
Rafa 9,110 points out of 13 countable events.

In the worst case, let’s say Djoko does not play any match from this moment through the end= 13,295.

In the best case, let’s say Rafa plays all six and wins all matches: 9,110 (current)+ 250 (Bangkok) +500 (Tokyo) +1000 (Shanghai)+ 500 (Valencia) + 1000 (Paris) + 1,500 (London) = 13,860

Were this improbable to happen, Rafa would end the year as No. 1, with 565 points ahead of Djokovic’s total.

Would that not be an anticlimax if 1-Slam winner were to deprive the 3-Slam winner of the top spot?
Would such occurrence lead to the questioning of the proverbial assumption that Slams are the ultimate determinant of the ranking or players’ achievement in a season/career?

These hypotheses may not require serious responses as not many seriously think Djoko still has to win more to seal the No.1 for this year.

Brando Says:

LMAO HR! There is no real chance for rafa to end up no.1 and in all honesty novak deserves it massively. The real contest is for 3rd in the ranking between roger and andy. I think the difference is less than 1,300 points and roger has more to defend. Would be nice if Murray can finish 3rd after his best grand slam season ever.

Humble Rafa Says:

Roger will end the year #4. He has way too much to defend between now and end of the year.

RZ Says:

Rafa could do it, but most of the last few tournaments are held on indoor courts, Rafa’s weakest surface. So it’ll be difficult, but not impossible. My guess is that Djokovic plays enough matches to keep his #1 ranking at the end of the year.

Humble Rafa Says:

Looking at the poll on the first page, “Who would win more slams going forward”.

Roger 29
Your Truly 22

Damn Roger maniacs everywhere.

Ace Says:

i am it Says:

In the worst case, let’s say Djoko does not play any match from this moment through the end= 13,295.


If Djoko does not play any match from here, he would lose points from last year tournments. So the points would be less than 13,295.

Is this not correct?

margot Says:

Yay Brando! Let’s hear it for Andy :) If it should happen, done it on merit too, rather than default as when Rafa got injured.

dari Says:

Brando, margot, a step in the direction of Murray getting to no. 3- fed has pulled out of shanghai- where he has finalist points. I don’t really care if Rog is at 3 or 4, and don’t think he does either. I think he has the attitude of “there’s no.1 and then there,is the rest” as long as he is in top 4. Maybe we will get a shake up in the draw at AO if he is number four!
As Andy is my second fave, I do not mind one bit if he passes fed, that would be great news, as long as its from great results and not just fed’s lack of/poor play.
Anyway, rest up Rog.

jane Says:

Why did Fed pull out?

sandra Says:

Novak has 14 720 points on the ATP list or not?

sandra Says:

1 Djokovic, Novak (SRB) 14,720 0 19
2 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 10,620 0 21
3 Federer, Roger (SUI) 8,380 0 20
4 Murray, Andy (GBR) 7,165 0 19
Novak still has 14 720 points on the ATP list or not?

jane Says:

sandra and Ace – I believe “i am it” was figuring out the potential year end scenario based on the RACE points (so not the rolling rankings), which are the points earned *this season* alone, and thus the points from last year are already removed. SO:

According to ATP rankings (rolling, i.e., still including last year’s points on remaining events), Nole still has 14,720 points.

But according to the RACE points (earned only this year, last year’s points removed, and total used to decide which players earn the right to go to London World Tour Finals), Nole has 13,295.

I hope that clarifies the distinction! :)

alison hodge Says:

i dread to think of the amount of points nole will have to defend next year,hes the one now whos king of the castle,he will be under the pressure that rafa was this year and roger before him,getting to the top is one thing staying there is another thing altogether,dont get me wrong hes had an amazing year,and he deserves every minute of his success,next year will be very interesting,and i wish nole all the luck in the world,i think to be honest he will really need it.

alison hodge Says:

@dari i wonder if the draws will pan out differently,should roger and andy swap places in the rankings,ie nole and andy in the same half,and roger and rafa in the same half,for a change,as there seems to have been alot of repeat clashes just lately.

Ace Says:

Ok, understood now.

Djoko will surely be the year end NO-1.

Thanks Jane.

Lolly Says:

Rafa forever!!!!

Kimberly Says:

i don’t think Rafa is playing Bangkok and Valencia.

Marylynn Says:


Michael Says:

I totally agree Marylynn. It is so frustrating that these journos are totally ignoring the fact that the Djoker has an unfair advantage over the rest of the players. Does he in fact have access to the EGG other than in NewJersey?? I would like to know.

grendel Says:


rogerafa Says:


Any player can use it without any sanction. It is not all that expensive. Novak is doing it in his own wisdom and willing to risk any possible unknown ill-effects. His decision to stay, during the USO, at the place where the pod was available certainly raises questions about his credibility as far as his statements regarding using it only twice are concerned. He seemed to be in damage-control mode even though it is not illegal. The pod could at least partially explain the dramatic improvement in his stamina and endurance. A lot of people raised questions after that grueling AO semi final in 2009. This year’s Miami final was even more startling because nobody expected Nadal to be outlasted in tough conditions.

What Djokovic has done is not illegal. WADA says it is against the spirit of sports. Therefore, you can say, at the most, that it is unethical or immoral. Who knows, others might be using it too.

Ben Pronin Says:

There was an article about the ethics of the pod that used WADA’s own guidelines to prove that the pod should be illegal, even though it’s not (yet).

The biggest problem with this is that Djokovic was dumb enough to admit it. Hence the damage control. What do you expect the journalists to say?

At least the pod is legal. There are plenty of illegalities going on in tennis that journalists pretty much completely overlook. What would you be more concerned about, your kid smoking cigarettes or your kid smoking pot? Pot’s illegal, so it’s a more significant concern.

Same thing here, don’t be mad and grumpy because Djokovic is using something questionable, but legal, to beat up on everyone, including your favorites.

A new guy has taken over the tennis steroids blog and he’s a lot better than the original creator. He actually tries to dig pretty deep into the happenings/secrets of the ITF, WADA, and so on. And the best part is he’s constantly hounding the journalists for not doing their jobs.

jane Says:

Everyone seems to forget Nole’s history of long matches because of his retirements. He has played, and won, loads of long matches, going back to 2007 and probably before. His match of 2007 versus Steps was one of (or the?) longest matches at the USO, ever. He played many long grueling matches at Wimbledon that same year. Look at his marathon matches on clay with Nadal throughout 2009 – but especially at Madrid. Longest best of three match ever! In five set matches that have gone the distance, Nole is 12 wins and 5 losses. Many of those were long before 2009, when he tried that hyperbaric chamber.

Yes, he has had respiratory issues and problems dealing with heat (and personally I think some of it was stress-related too) in the past. He still seems to struggle at times, but changing his diet has helped, and he hired a new trainer mid 2009.

Nole’s record, his match playing history, shows that he has always been capable of lasting through long tough matches. So stamina, per se, was not the problem. Mental strength, respiratory problems, and also heat were the issues as far as I can tell.

Of course there is his actual tennis game. What about his serve or his forehand? His serve was a liability off and on from mid-2008 until mid-2010. And it can still go off, which is likely partly to blame for his shoulder and back issues. But this year, his serve was better, and he got many easy points off it. His forehand is also more aggressive; he goes for sharp angles. He always had a great backhand, but his coach said they specificially worked on dealing with topspin shots via his backhand, so he could hit them “down”, & flatter. And his return is just a gift.

Anyhow, whatever WADA decide about the chamber is up to them. For now, it is not illegal. And as far as I know, there are only about 11 of them worldwide… Something like that.

Michael Says:

Does anyone know if djoker has access to the EGG at every tournament or if not which ones?

Anna Says:

I don’t think it’s a new found confidence, or a gluten free diet that’s created Nole’s dominance this year. Nor do I think it’s necessarily the egg-pod, or all of the above. Whatever it is, I do hope they one day let us in on it, because it quite possibly could help cripples stand up and walk again. That’s just how dominant Nole has become in 1 year. In my mind it’s a little suspicious because there’s no real precidence that I know of. At least not the way Nole’s done it. A year ago Nadal and Fed fans were bashing each other around the net with little thought to Novak. I ask myself, did Rafa lose his strength or skill, and the answer is “no”. He’s been the best except for one man. One man who has remarkably eclipsed him in such a way that he seems superhuman. If there head to head were 4-3, or 5-2 this year, I could better accept. But 6-0 against a tough as nails Rafa is just hard to swallow. The possibility of him doing it next year is just as real. If he did it this year, why not next? And the year after that. It really does change the dynamic of tennis in more than just one way.

Marylynn Says:

grendel – In response to your comments. I would say that you’ve had a problem with your brain long before my post – and I’d say it was a SMALL problem. IN response to some: yes, Christina McHale and John Isner tried it one time. And if it is not declared illegal by WADA (which I believe it will be) than this POD will change the sport of tennis as we know it. It will control the players. Only 20 in the world but this is how it works: It uses a computer-controlled valve and a vacuum pump to simulate high altitude and compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals. The company claims that spending up to 20 minutes in the pod 3 times a week can boost athletic performance by improving circulation, boosting Oxygen Rich Red Blood Cells, removing lacti acid and possibly even stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis and stem-cell productin. This is how it begins; apparatus such as this soon control the athlete hence the sport. I hope it is soon ruled not legal, especially before the 2010 Olympics. Personally, I believe it will. But who knows anymore – everything is about MONEY – and less about INTEGRITY.

Ben Pronin Says:

“But who knows anymore – everything is about MONEY – and less about INTEGRITY.”


Michael Says:

Long shot. Maybe the djoker is using black magic!!

Marylynn Says:

Added Post: I am not saying Djokovic is not a great, I’ve always said that he was. In fact, his game has always given Nadal trouble. But statistics are not wrong. And statistically, Djkovic stats have improved- almost doubled. I knew that and found that strange even before his usage of the CVAC Pod was brought out. Some of you people act as if using this apparatus would not give a player the advantage. How could you not know and believe that it most certainly would and does. Those of you who think not, are in denial. What if, say, the top 10 players all begin using this thing; then what will become of the rest of the tour (11 to 100). I actually heard that this machine is banned in bicycling.

Marylynn Says:

TO Ben Pronin – THANK YOU.

jane Says:

I think cyclists have used it, maybe even Lance Armstrong. Read that somewhere.

Ice bath chambers also remove lactic acid; PRP also enhances blood /tissue regeneration. Going up to the mountains enhances oxygen absorption. There will always be above board, experiemental and also questionable methods in sports. And there will illegal methods too. But as medicine and sports combined become more and more technologicalized, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more new affordable contraptions.

rogerafa Says:

Nobody doubts Novak’s quality as a player. He can be a nightmare when he is at his best. He has always had a great game but the only stumbling block was his physical conditioning. Heat and humidity do affect stamina and endurance. The European summer is the kindest in this respect because the weather is almost always pretty mild. You can also afford to play back to back long matches on natural surfaces like grass and clay. I can’t recall one instance from the past where Novak hasn’t struggled in heat and/or humidity. Hence the reference to the Miami final where even Nadal was struggling in the end. There were matches in the past which started in late afternoon and he’d struggle but once the shadows came in, he’d start playing much better. There is a reason he plays so well in the evening sessions.
Madrid may be the “longest” 3-set match but the amount of time both these guys waste between points will always make the match longer than they actually ought to be. Five-setters need not always be long matches.

In this highly-competitive game, where any extra advantage could turn out to be a decisive one, recovering fast after a tough match can be extremely helpful especially if the next match is shortly afterwards. Sometimes the turnaround is as little as 16 hours.

The point is he clearly had issues in the past in tough conditions. I am not talking about his ability to win five-setters or long matches under reasonably mild conditions. The Miami reference should have made that clear. Whatever may be the reason, his physical ability has seen an obvious and dramatic improvement and I am speculating that the pod could be partially responsible for it. In fact, a few months back, I read somewhere that an exotic chinese potion had helped his endurance immensely:) Whatever it is, he isn’t doing anything illegal so far as we can tell.

Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic still does that, plays below par until the lights go on, then he turns up the heat.

Anna Says:

Ice baths are common place amongst tennis players, but I’m pretty sure prp (athletes bag there own blood and insert an oxygen enriched supply back into the body) during tournaments is banned. I agree Jane, there will always be above board, experimental, and illegal methods in sports. The CVAC machine though, while not illegal, is not exactly a contraption either. There’s some science involved, with more to come.
As Ben said, the CVAC isn’t exactly pot (at this point), but there’s definitely some smoke involved. And where there’s smoke their’s …..
(sorry, couldn’t help myself).

skeezerweezer Says:

In regards to other posters accusing Nole of the EGG and blaming his wins on it, please provide documentation on his usage that says so(see below).

From Marilynn and the quote “The company claims that spending up to 20 minutes in the pod 3 times a week can boost athletic performance….”

So where is the facts that Nole did this? Where is the quote that he admitted this? This is all so silly. The reality is , he would have to have a “traveling EGG” with him…..He has admitted to using it only a couple of times….period. Not 6 world beating finals.

Marylynn Says:

Tennis journalists, Mr. Tignor, Mr. Bodo an others, I think all of you need to check out The Science of Sports (Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas. I truly feel that you and the other tennis journalists are spineless, lack courage, and lack the courage of your true convictions. In other words, you are afraid to speak about something so relevant to the professional sport of Tennis that it’s pathetically sad. I’m referring of course to the CVAC System – Djokovic’s Pod the Red Blood Cell Enhancer / blood doping apparatus. All of you speak of him as if he were a Tennis god. Well he in my opinion, he lacks values and integrity, honesty and a sense of his true self; and thinks nothing of tainting tennis by gaining a sports advantage by using this Pod. What if all of the top 10 tennis pklayers on tour begin using this hyperbaric chamber, what an unfair advantage for the others in the top 100, and how sad for tennis. It will never be the same. What happened to hard training and natural enhancement. I hope USTA / WADA ban this high tech apparatus – especially before the 2012 Olympics. But for all I know even the Tennis World feels money is worth more than integrity.

Ben Pronin Says:

Marylynn, it sounds like you just have it in for Djokovic. The pod isn’t blood doping, it’s just similar. It’s also similar to high altitude training, so let’s make sure no tennis player trains on any mountains, right?

There is nothing to convict Djokovic of here. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes of the tennis world that is deemed illegal by WADA and the ITF that journalists completely overlook.

“What happened to hard training and natural enhancement.”

Welcome to the 21st century of professional sports.

Skeezerweezer Says:

^ totally agree Ben.

Marylynn you still don’t answer the main issue here in accusing Novak of illegal performance enhancement. Tell us where he used it, and how many times over the last year when he made his incredible run? And how did he lose to Fed at FO during this outstanding “performance upgrade”. Fed must have a bigger Egg. Also, when Fed had 2 match points at USO, oh wait….It was the Egg that did Fed in.

Maybe there is another reason all the journalists don’t write anymore about it. There is no story.

The company claims you have to use it 3 times a week for 20 minutes regularly for it to be effective. Where did he say he used it and how many times?

Face it, this is all about Rafa, not Novak. For some it seems, Rafa is 2 cute to them to have been beaten so many times by somebody else. Get use to it. Ya know, PRP and all. Sour grapes.

alison hodge Says:

im not an expert on whats legal and whats not,but from what i can gather nole is not doing anything wrong,and anyway it would make all the success hes had in such a fantastic year seem rather hollow if you have to resort to cheating to achieve it,i mean what would be the point,if you cannot go to bed at night and sleep with a clear concience,you have to live and die by your actions right or wrong.

alison hodge Says:

i think people should lay of nole hes having a superb year and deserves every minute of his success,hes worked hard this year will it last next year who knows only time will tell,yes i admit im a rafa fan and love roger too,and yes i admit i am peeved off that nole has crashed the fedal party,lol,but thats life everthing moves on times change unfortunatly like it or not,he beat rafa 6 times fair and square,i dont like it but there you go thats life,damn you nole for been so annoyingly good lol.

Kimberly Says:

I could be wrong but I have a great feeling the tide will turn for rafa next year and he will have a great year ( by his standards, he had a good year this year despite what he thinks). Then I have a terrible feeling in 2013 that rafa career will end. Sort of similar to jamies psychic on the second. Hope I am right on the first and wrong on the second. We can check back in two years!

Skeezerweezer Says:

alison & K,

Aplogies if i seem like jumpin on Rafa at times, but its the maniacal rafa fans that are the ones. Not posters like you. Rafa is a great player and I cannot begin to think what the tennis landscape would look like without him. He has brought uniqueness, fun, and a crazy powerful FH like no other. He will be competing back for #1 in 2012, you kidding me with his attitude and determination? It would have been a desolate an unexciting place without him. Fed is seeing the sun setting soon and it is good to have a Novak come into the picture, along with some up and comers to create a new painting that I am sure Rafa will leave holding the brush in this generation coming.

jane Says:

As I say, why not look at the actual tactical changes in Nole’s game? The way he learned to hit with the topspin or exploit Rafa’s backhand side. His return game and how he attacks Rafa’s serve?

His diet, his confidence, his training, his tactial work, his newfound maturity. All that out the window to the egg?

If we look at Novak’s matches versus Fed this year, the truth is they weren’t that much different than they’ve always been. He has always played Fed closely. Always. Even back in 2007 you could see how close they could play each other. Nole lost one, and, let’s face it, almost two, to Fed this year. He could’ve been in more trouble at the AO in their match too. Fed should’ve had one set there for sure, when he was leading 5-2. But Fed’s level has dropped off somewhat, or it is more uneven, so that also accounts for Nole winning a bit more right?

What has changed is Nole vs. Rafa. And Rafa has had some issues this year. He retired at the AO with an injury. He had fevers in Doha and Rome. He had a foot injury in Wombledon and throughout, so didn’t prep as well for USO as he wanted. Then he burned his fingers. SO! Rafa had a rough year. Maybe he wasn’t at his best? Combine that with the few new tactics Nole and Vajda came up with and Nole wins. Look at Nole’s history with Rafa – their H2H was skewed due to clay. And even on that surface their matches were always battles!

Nole got his serve back and his confidence back at the end of last year / beginning of this year. That counts for a lot.

PLUS, he had been number 3 in the world for FOUR YEARS running.He had been number 2 a couple of times also. He didn’t just rise up and crash the duopoly. As BOTH FED AND RAFA have said, Nole has always been a fantastic pllayer, and he has always been threatening their reigns.

I am Nole’s fan, proudly and unabashedly, so I know I tend to see the positives. I see him as a hard worker, a fighter, a joker, and likeable, maturing-every-day number one. Go Nole! Others dislike him, or are fans of rivals, so they see, perhaps, in some cases, more the negatives.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

But i have laid out a lot of * facts* that show tthat Nole’s supposedly “overnight transformation” in stamina, or game, or whatever, is not true. His tennis and success has been a work in progress, with some stalls, since 2007 (when he broke into the top ten).

jane Says:

Great post at 1:51 skeezer, and I totally agree. Rafa is awesome. And may Muzza also rise up and grab some slams too! Go Murray!

alison hodge Says:

thanks skeezer i really enjoyed reading your post,i think thats all you can do is to see things from every angle,and try not to get swayed by fan favouritism,roger,rafa and nole are all amazing players and have made there mark for generations to come,we should enjoy watching them while they are here,as it will be a very sad day when they are gone,thats for sure.

Anna Says:

It’s not about Rafa, in spite of how cute you think he is Skeezer, and actually it’s not about Nole either. It’s me wrapping my mind around something so unexpected and remarkable, and I’m not the only one. Even the best analysts weren’t predicting this at the beginning of the year. It was suppose to be about some of the newcomers breaking through, a mixed dominance at the top with Murray, or Djokovich improving over the previous year. That’s what made sense to me, not Nole completely crushing any and all competition after so many years of trying to do just that. But hey, that’s me, I’m a bit of a math/stats gal who rarely goes for the long shot. I’ve already said I have no idea the why’s or wherefores of Nole’s success. I had assumed that hard work and natural enhancements (as Ben said) was part of every players training from the beginning, particularly if they were in the top 5. One thing for sure, I’ve watched him play like a man possessed and there was no doubt that on the court he was the better player. And I should also say that I’ve always like Novak. Not just his incredible tennis, but his passion for the game. He’s waited a long time for just one of the great wins he’s had this year. He’s definitely payed his dues, so NO, it’s not about sour grapes, it’s about watching something “extraordinary” in sports. So Skeezer, I suppose nothing surprises you, you’ve seen it all, done it all, your the man!!

Anna Says:

Jane – Just read your post. Thanks for that. It certainly comes closer to explaining Nole’s success than anything else I’ve read. As you know I’m a Rafa fan, but I don’t begrudge Nole his great year (well maybe a little bit). My heart has gone out to Nole more than once the last couple of years (Madrid 09 especially), and I thought his congrats to Rafa at the 2010 USO was the most generous gesture I’ve ever seen by a sportsman. So congrats on your favs great year.

Anna Says:

Skeezer – It’s nice to know your not responsible for the vitriol you level toward Rafa. It’s those nasty Nadal fans.

jane Says:

Thanks Anna. I personally think both Muzza and Nole look up to Rafa and Fed, based on their comments. Maybe even a little more to Rafa, since he is closer to their ages, and since he was the guy to work hard to conquer Fed when basically almost no one else on the tour could. Those latter two, Fed and Rafa, set the bar so high, and Muzza and Nole have been doing chin ups on that bar ever since, getting stronger and learning. ;)

Skeezerweezer Says:


Wow. Thanks.

Mila Says:

“Fed and Rafa, set the bar so high, and Muzza and Nole have been doing chin ups on that bar ever since, getting stronger and learning. ;)”

jane, doing chin ups means putting your chin up and below the bar over and over.
Therefore, I think Muzza is like one of those fat kids on playground who is hanging from the bar and his mum is yelling “c’mon Andrew you can do it” but he tries and tries and best he can do is to reach the bar with the top of his curly hair.
Novak, on the other hand, stop doing chin ups, he finds them not challenging any more – he is sitting on the bar and eating a gluten-free sandwich…

jane Says:

Lol Mila, but I think your picture of Murray is skewed. Muzza has a winning versus Fed (8-6)! Also, he plays Rafa really closely, so maybe he will be sitting up soon? He may even snatch number 3 before the end of this year. And Murray is close in his matches with Nole sometimes too, in Rome he could’ve (should’ve?) won, and he was beating Nole in Cincy; regardless of Nole’s shoulder, Muzza was playing great there and might’ve beat him regardless. He just has that final hump (bar) to get over, and he will do it.

Mila Says:


I sure hope so. I find him extremely likable and easy to cheer for – he is full of humanity and vulnerability and he does not hide it on court! And on top of all that, his natural talent is rather extraordinary, unbelievable almost. I wish every GS final in future would be the replay of AO 2011! OK, maybe not exact replay (Novak’s win) every single time, I’d give every fourth one to Andy.

Kimmi Says:

i find muzza performance vs rafa in GS getting worse and worse. he played rafa very close before, beat him at the USO 2008 and AO cant remember the year. after that it has been all rafa…the matches are getting easier for rafa to win too for some reason, now that he is been on rafa side every GS it is even more apparent. I don’t know what has gone wrong with muzza. I hope he can find that game again..aggression. I believe muzza’s game of 2008/2009 would give rafa and any other top player a huge problem.

grendel Says:

jane – the h2h of Murray with Fed is misleading, because Murray’s talent is not what is at issue. of course he is capable of beating Federer, especially in 3 setters. The problem has been in the final stages of the grand slams. Something is lacking. he has the same problem (in slams) against Nadal (despite beating him worthily at US Open 2008,why couldn’t he build on that?) and one lamentable display against Djokovic.

To say “he will do it” is an act of faith and desire, an exhortation – it’s not, imo, a seriously calculated prediction. That’s not to say he won’t do it. With someone of his talent, you just never can tell. That’s about as much as anyone can say about this enigmatic character.

grendel Says:

Kimmi, I agree with you absolutely. Nadal retired in the AO match Murray won, so hard to draw conclusions from that. But now, Murray doesn’t remotely look like beating Nadal in a slam. If Djokovic keeps his standard going, hard to see what he can do there, too. Still, the unexpected can always happen – it’s a bit of luck Murray needs, I should have thought.

Marylynn Says:

This new CVAC System Hyperbaric Pod has not been deemed legal, it’s just that it has not yet been deemed illegal. The manufacturers of this New Pod, namely CVAC Systems which are California based, claim that spending up to 20 minutes in the pod 3 times a week can boos athletic performance by …boosting oxygen rich red blood cells, removing lactic acid (this is ok) and possibly even stimulating mitochondral biogenesis and stem cell production. The Manufactuer also clarifies that their pod is different from other pressurized chambers on the market because it combines altitude pressure with cyclic compression. Because the pressure, temperature, air density in the CVAC pod can be adjusted, the company says it enhances an athletes ability to adapt o a range of conditions. CVAC Systems Chief Executive Allen Ruszkowski says the treatment seems to have many of the same effects on the body as intense excercise. He claims that the technology may be twice as effective at helping the body absorb oxygen as blood doping – a banned form of performance enhancement. Now Dont You Think This is An Unfair Advantage For Any Professional Tennis Player??? Before we know it many professional tennis players will be using it.

jane Says:

I am not sure that Murray is getting worse versus Rafa at slams: here are their meetings –

2007 AO, Rafa won, 5 sets
2008, Wimbledon, Rafa won, 3 easy sets
2008, USO, Murray won, 4 sets
2010, AO, Murray won, but Nadal retired 3rd set (Murray 2)
2010, Wimbledon, Rafa won, 3 tight sets
2011, FO, Rafa won, 3 tight sets
2011, Wimbledon, Rafa won, 4 sets, Murray “went away”
2011, USO, Rafa won, 4 sets, topsy-turvy

Murray has gotten closer on grass over the past three years. That is clear. He may’ve gotten further away on hard, BUT Rafa has become a better hardcourt player over the years, too, so it works both ways.

Also, I think grendel may be right that there is a mental block for Murray, because since 07-08 when Murray was breaking through, the pressure on him and the expectations of him have increased exponentially. But I still think it is coming. And I do admit that is partly a statement of desire; however, he achieved his best most consistent results at the slams this year, and that is a fact.

Mary Lynn Says:

TO: Ben Pronin

“What happened to hard training and natural enhancement.”

Welcome to the 21st century of professional sports.


grendel Says:

” he achieved his best most consistent results at the slams this year, and that is a fact.” True, but of questionable relevance, I’d have thought. he is, after all, the *4 player, and no one questions his credentials to be so. It’s those last 2 steps that are the problem, and if anything, they are proving more elusive now than they ever have done.
I think saying things like “Rafa won in 3 tight sets” as if this shows how close Murray is getting is illusory. Great players play as well as they need to, for there is the question of storing energy for the sterner battles ahead. personally, I never saw Rafa as being in the slightest danger against Murray – but that’s my take.

Wimbledon was different, but to argue Murray “went away” is a strange debating point because this is one of the problems, this going away business – since few query Murray’s talent. Murray had the best of the first set, he was getting on top in the 2nd, and then he had a simply inexplicable lapse. When that ridiculous smash went sailing out, the cameras shot to Nadal, urgently raising his finger to signal out. There was something about Nadal’s posture then which indicated to me that he knew he had Murray. He understands his Murray in the way that only someone who has got down in the pit to fight it out with his opponent can. Nadal can be as kind as he wants in his words after the event, all that means nothing.

Look, I really hope Murray gets a slam, or 2 or 3. And he might, too. We all have to hope for the unexpected.

jane Says:

I think the consistent results at the slams is important for Murray, and here is why: every year prior to this one, Muzza had lost early or to someone unexpected at one slam or another. This year, he lost ONLY to the top two guys: Rafa 3x’s and Nole once. To me it does matter whether the sets were close or not. It suggests a few good points here or there, or, yes, a bit of luck, and things could turn.

I saw with Nole at the USO. He was always “painfully” close (from my prespective) to winning: 2007, sets points in 2 of the sets; 2008 he wins a set; 2009 all tiebreaks, or one 7-5 set, but again, very close. It seemed to me a lot of it was *mental*. Nole just couldn’t get over the hump.

But BOOM! Along came 2010. And do you know what? Inside I believed, this year, Nole is going to do it, he is going to beat Fed at the USO. And he did. It was a marathon, a battle, a crap shoot, but he did it. It was the beginning of a big turn around for Nole in his belief in himself, which I think bled into his fantastic year this year.

Of course the difference between Nole and Murray is that Nole had a slam already, which could arguably reduce pressure. But it could also increase it in another way because people are expecting, “when is the next one?”

But for me, once Murray breaks through Rafa, just once, he will win slams. I believe it.

Kimberly Says:

Jane, I didn’t think Murray was in striking distance in any of the matches this year that he lost in any of the grand slams other than Wimbledon, and even that was questionable.he was completely outplayed in the other three. You can use the excuses, nerves for the final at AO, the ankle at Roland garros, tired from the isner match at USO but I never felt he had a chance in any of them. And if you mentally go away in a grand slam match, like you say he did at wimbledon, then you don’t deserve to win. Rafa didn’t go away when novak was serving for the championship at USO (still lost) but at least fought and Novak didn’t go away when federer had two match points.

jane Says:

I hear you Kimberly. But the fact that Murray could still get sets shows he has the game. And if he is getting mentally stronger against the rest (i.e., not losing to Wawa, or Cilic, or Hotsauce, or Berdych, or Tonsga, or any of the other guys who’ve knocked him out of slams prior to this year) then it is quite possible that mental strength, that belief will transfer over to his matches against the top guys, esp. Rafa, who seems to have MUrray’s number a.t.m.

There is another difference between Muzza and Nole which I didn’t think of before, besides the fact that Nole had a slam prior to his run this year, and that is the fact that Nole has had a reliable and consistent coach since 2006 (he kept Vajda even during the Martin experiment). Murray on the other hand has gone from Gilbert, to MacLauglin (sp?) to Corretja (sp?) with his mom and trainer as constants. But he hasn’t had a constant guiding voice, which he may need? Nole had other stuff tripping him up, like his racquet switch, his respiratory issues, his dramas off court, but it seems like he has ironed it all out now. Maybe the final piece of the puzzle for Muzza will be a coach? Or maybe Murray is more stubborn and that isn’t the issue. Not sure.

Skeezerweezer Says:


For the umpteenth time,

“spending up to 20 minutes in the pod 3 times a week can boost athletic performance by …boosting oxygen rich red blood cells, removing lactic acid (this is ok) and possibly even stimulating mitochondral biogenesis and stem cell production”

So show us links where Novak has done this…..”20 minutes in the pod 3 times a week”…in 2011, and 2010. Geez already..

tennis coach Says:

Agree with you SW,

Ben Pronin Says:

Taking a set off of a player doesn’t mean anything. With Federer and Nadal and now Djokovic’s dominance, it just seems like a big deal, but it’s not. Federer lost sets to plenty of random players during his best years. And Nadal’s lost plenty of sets to random players on clay. Point is, Murray taking a set off of Nadal doesn’t mean anything.

Murray is Nadal’s whipping boy. He played one good set against him and that was the first set of Wimbledon. Besides that, Nadal was never in any danger. Djokovic was in bigger danger of losing to Nadal in the final despite the scoreline being so lopsided in some of the sets.

Marylynn, seriously, get over the pod. There are bigger fish to fry.

Anna Says:

For the sake of something different, I’d love to see Nole/Murray, Rafa/Roger semi-final. Would a change in ranking between Andy and Roger make that more feasible.

Ben Pronin Says:

Nothing would make it more feasible.

margot Says:

jane: u r putting up a gr8 case for Andy! Keep it up. Fact is he has had his best slam year. He needs to build on that.
Am reading Tignor’s ” High Strung.” I never read non-fiction but am finding it absolutely fascinating about the “wild west” years, as he calls them, of tennis when amateur turned pro. Think someone on here said he writes “poetically” and so he does. Clearly Johnny Mac was his favourite player of those times, and mine too. For Connors the court was a “boxing” ring.” For Mac a “canvas.” Gr8 stuff.
Actually Andy reminds me of Mac in many ways, but Mac channelled the angst into winning, whereas, alas, Andy can’t seem to do that…at the moment…;)

jane Says:

margot, huzzah! :) Well, it is coming from a sincere place anyhow. I believe it. And I think it is just a matter of time for Murray.

Ah, I should read Tignor’s book too: have always enjoyed his style and periodically stop over at tennis.com just for his words. He is one of the best tennis journalist going right now (though I know some disagree).

grendel Says:

Anna – leaving aside Ben’s point (which is altogether another matter) – Fed and Murray swapping ranks does not theoretically make any difference, since seeds 3 and 4 are randomly allocated to meet seeds 1 and 2. I agree, it would certainly make a change.

@jane:”To me it does matter whether the sets were close or not.” But how do you define close? The way tennis is scored, a player can win 7-6,7-6,7-6 and yet thoroughly dominate his opponent. I didn’t see Murray as getting genuinely close to Nadal. Nadal did what he needed to do – no more, no less.
I’m not convinced about the comparison with Djokovic. For two reasons:1)mental – when he was almost beating Federer, it really did seem to be just a matter of time before he pulled the big one off. Despite the mental lapses, the underlying belief appeared to be there. I always found Djokovic/Federer tussles incredibly tense. And 2) Djokovic has a much bigger game than Murray, and so far as I can see, you do really need a big game to beat Nadal. For Murray to beat Nadal, his own exquisite game has to be on song for the entire 5 setter – a tall order. I think, actually, when Murray deservedly beat Nadal in 2008 US final, he was helped by the match being split into two days. Because to concentrate for 5 sets on the trot against Nadal without heavy weaponry (apart from the first serve, always supposing it’s working)is too much.

mat4 Says:

A few notes:

About the EGG: First, I think that the company selling it is using Djokovic to make good publicity for its device. It is overhyped. Then, let’s just notice that the Swiss, French and Norwegian ski federations have similar hypobaric chambers, that every member of their respective national teams has to use for 15 days, 12 hours a day. So, 3 times 20 mn a week looks like a joke. And when national sports federation use similar – and more expensive devices – the WADA recommendation looks also like a joke. It is clear that such devices won’t be ruled out.

What about hyperbaric chambers? Did you know that Hewitt has one? Stosur used it, BTW.

About doping in general:

I watched the other day an old match between Sampras and Lendl. They looked very beefed 15 years ago already. I go to the THASP site from time to time, but much of what I can read there is nonsense. Nothing started with Nadal, or Djokovic, or even Serena, the favorite suspects on that site.

I think I wrote it somewhere here already, sorry to repeat: in the final, Rafa and Novak played effectively about 50 minutes, hit the ball about 900 times (a middleweight boxer tries to hit his rival more than 700 times in 12 rounds), so it doesn’t look above human possibilities. In the last 20 years or so, nutrition has improved, recovery techniques have improved, racquets, strings, shoes are better. You don’t need to dope to play a five setter.

margot Says:

grendel: that’s an interesting point re Andy’s 2008 win against Rafa, benefitting from a rain break. Next slam semi/final I pray for a two day match right?
Also explains a bit why Andy can do it in Masters. Obviously concentration over 5 is an issue, but over 3 his “exquisite” game holds together much better.
With acknowledgements to Tignor let’s play:
For Andy the court is a canvas, like Mac.
For Fed, what about a stage? And for Nole and Rafa?
Can’t recommend book enough.

jamie Says:

Nadal like Michael Jackson?


See at 1:16

jane Says:

margot, for Nole definitely a stage, right? He is SO conscious of the audience. For Rafa, it must be a “ring” (in the boxing and/or matador sense) yes? I think for Fed, maybe a canvas too?

grendel Says:

course I meant semi-final us open, not final. this getting older business is serious stuff, what they told you all those years ago is all true, but then it was theory, something to ponder over, now you get to see it at first hand, generally a day later….

margot Says:

jane: Tignor has Connors in a ring, rightly I think. Rafa does not in any behave the way Connors did, which was just awful, but Rafa always looks ready for combat, also has big forehand like Connors.
Tignor says “Gonzalez used the court as a refuge, Nastase saw it as a stage” Another “bad boy”…. Nole’s got a long way to go yet ..;)
Did you know Gerulaitis was a big recreational drug user? They couldn’t have had ANY testing in those days!
Am feeling quite nostalgic for that “wild west” time. Pleasing the media and the sponsors has become the name of the game now.

jane Says:

margot “Pleasing the media and the sponsors has become the name of the game now.”

Yeah. :/ There is something to be said for public relations and political correctness…but then again, like most things in life, it’s a trade off: something gained; something lost. What have we lost since the “wild west” of tennis in Tignor’s words? Being candid? Wildness obviously …

margot Says:

jane: I would say we’ve lost honesty. Perhaps the players being true to themselves? Look at the stick Andy’s getting now. Would be surprised if he ever says anything vaguely honest in public, ever again.

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