Rafael Nadal: “Rafa 2010 Had Something More Special Than Rafa 2011”

by Tom Gainey | October 12th, 2011, 10:25 am

Rafael Nadal just won his second round match at the Shanghai Rolex Masters this morning. Nadal easily defeated his countryman Guillermo Garcia Lopez 63, 62.

But yesterday, Nadal held a pre-tournament press conference where he made some interesting comments.

Nadal all but said that his game in 2010 (when he finished No. 1) would beat his current game.

“I believe Rafa 2010 had something more special than Rafa 2011, especially in tough situations,” Nadal said. “That’s the true. Win or lose depends on very, very, very small things. And probably these very, very small things I did a little bit better in 2010 than 2011.”

Nadal also countered Andy Murray’s remarks that the overall standard in tennis has gone up.

“I not agree,” Nadal said. “I think Djokovic, yes. I played worse than last year. I was very regular, probably even more regular than last year. But I played a little bit worse, I think. I think Roger played well, but he lost a few matches than in the past he never gonna lose.

“But I am not agree with what Andy said,” Nadal added. “I think the level , no, wasn’t better than 2010 or 2009. I think was similar. For my part and Roger’s part a little bit worse for the moment.”

Nadal plays Florian Mayer tomorrow in the third round.

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54 Comments for Rafael Nadal: “Rafa 2010 Had Something More Special Than Rafa 2011”

senthil Says:

Nadal and federer has always support each other. Nice one from nadal. Federer level in 2006 Fall is the best ever !! Check Madrid + basel + Finals in shanghai.

blank Says:

Admitting that they (Nadal & Federer) are not as successful as before is tantamount to admitting that all their super successful days came when tennis was being played at a lower level. They are never going to say that and they never should. It’s simply cannot be proven one way or the other. So only just judge them based on what they have achieved.

Murray just beat Nadal so he is going out and saying all this – implying that he and Djokovic have somehow raised the bar. True for Djokovic. Murray – too early to say that. He needs to win a GS first.

Senthil Says:

Reply to blank,

Compare 2008 and 2011 Now !! There are simliarities

Djokovic won Aus open by losing only one set beating Federer in Semi finals in Straight sets.

Nadal won against Federer – beating easily. Djokovic Lost in Semifinal.

No one can forget wimbledon 2008, Greatest final ever. Nadal won that. Djokovic Lost in 3rd round to safin.

Federer won US open by beating Murray. Djokovic failed to recover from 2 sets to 1 in Semifinal against Federer.

In 2011, Real difference is -> Wimbledon and US Open where federer lost from 2 sets to love lead.. Thats it.. No one will lose from 2 sets up in their prime.

This tells me that standard gone down in 2011. Federer went down 2 steps, Djoker,nadal and Murray went up 1 notch.

Brando Says:

I think What rafa meant was for him and roger this year was not as good as before- and based on their results, which means trophies won, then a combined total of 4 makes it pretty awful. So they have clearly dipped- solely based on results. As for andy, his performance has improved at slam level but he has 4 trophies for his year- 1 MS, 1 500 and two 250 pt tourny’s. That’s not raising the level to say the least. Only nole has truly improved, being as dominant as rafa last year and federer before. IMHO the level is still the same it’s just a role reversal this year with nole replacing rafa as the dominant número uno, whilst andy has improved (and I’m happy for him) but it hasn’t been dramatic enough too say he’s raised the level.

blank Says:


That tells me the recent results are due to Federer’s level (and now maybe sligtly Nadal’s) going down, more than the overall level picking up. Somethin’s gotta give…that’s why this ‘level up/down’ think is so hard to argue. Maybe Federer’s level dipped, Djokovic gained confidence from that and with maybe few other factors is now producing superlative results.

tennisfan Says:

I think its all about mind and confidence. He is not very underconfident of his play-thanks to Djoker. Maybe this can help understand his situation better:

jane Says:

I think Nole’s level went up, and Fed’s level dipped. But I think Fed’s level has dipped prior to this year, in that he has not been as consistent for a number of years now, imo. Even now, he still produces very high levels of play, like at the FO, but he doesn’t maintain them like he used in 04-07. And naturally so. Nadal in 2010 had a better serve and more confidence, but otherwise he seems about the same. In 2008 Nole didn’t have as good or as consistent of results as he did this year obviously: there is not that much comparison, other than the AO & FO perhaps. He lost first round in some Masters and while he went to semis at USO, it didn’t seem like he could beat Fed. Too much going on. He won the YEC, but Fed, Nadal and Muzza were all knocked out. His level was very good, but not great like this year. It’s almost like Fed’s become less consistent and Nole has become more consistent. Nadal was very consistent this year; he just lost in the finals. Murray as well has become more consistent. So maybe thereis lies the difference, at least in part.

Polo Says:

Based simply on how they have been playing this year: Federer’s level has definitely gone down. Djokovic’s went up. Nadal is probably about the same. Murray, I don’t really know what to say.

Nadal most likely misses Federer in the finals in all events for obvious reasons.

Humble Rafa Says:

Murray, I don’t really know what to say.

Mr. Lady Forehand is a genious at winning tournaments that don’t matter. He likes to choke on the big ones.

Senthil Says:

2012 Will show true standard of tennis. If Djokovic wins again wimbledon next year, then boredom of simliar surfaces will emerge. Truly Djokovic will be one of the greatest hard court player of all time.

I feel Djokovic win in wimbledon 2011 is absoulte surprise. If Roger retires, then wimbledon will be worst affected tournment by his absense.

marrisv Says:

Another thing that has dipped for Nadal, along with the serve is his backhand this year. It was extremely bad in the tokyo finals. He just doesn’t seem to have confidence to hit it aggressively and instead giving it air looping it. That shot breaks down with consistent hitting to the backhand corner. – exploited by Djokovic this year and Murray last week.

skeezerweezer Says:

Fed has already set the standard, not 2012. Fed is 30, it. Is not unreasonable to see why his level has dipped. Father time always wins. With Rafa @ 25 i would be more worried about that at this stage of his career.

Colin Says:

Here we go again – it’s always Murray who’s in the wrong. Whether or not you agree with him that the overall standard has risen, surely saying that is more modest than talking about himself. By the way, isn’t there something a little strange about the down-to-earth Nadal referring to himself in the third person?
As for the “lady forehand” nonsense from this other person – it was too good for your idol on Sunday, chum. And as regards “choking”, is that worse than surrendering, which is what Nadal was doing toward the end of the Tokyo final?

Little Wing Says:


Rafa responded to a question posed by a reporter and according the presser transcript the question was: So Rafa 2010 would beat Rafa 2011?

alison hodge Says:

i dont really think theres any right or wrong answer here,you can make a case for either senario,even if roger and rafas level has dipped and noles level has gone up significantly,its made this year more interesting,its to there great credit that even on a bad year,rafas still ranked no 2 after 7 years on tour,and has still made 10 finals this year,and roger after all these years as a 30 year old is still ranked no 3,both still remain at the very pinacle of mens tennis even on there worst of years,now how fantastic is that.

Polo Says:

Those top 4 guys remain almost untouchable to the lower ranked players. Federer in spite of a slight dip in his game which is expected because of the age factor, remains extremely tough to beat. Same with Nadal who would have had another spectacular year had it not been for that guy named Novak. Novak is a very determined and ambitious guy who would do his best to be the best in the game. He just did that. Murray, is still finding his way, but deserves to be in that stellar group. If he could manage to fix some tweaks in his game the way Novak did with his, I see no reason why he should no rock. None of the other players can lay claim to be deserving of membership to that group.

Ana Says:

Talking about federer, here is an article as per which his record will also be broken:http://bit.ly/nQAplv!


Michael Says:

I do not think the level of Tennis has gone up, rather it appears that the level of Federer and Nadal has gone down a wee bit. Now the other players are feeling more confident whenever they face them. That aura of invincibility surrounding these two Tennis Giants is gone. That being said, I still feel that both Federer and Nadal are playing good Tennis but not enough to win Championships. The only player who has raised his level quite a bit is Novak Djokovic. He is full of confidence and his mental resolve and determination is praiseworthy of admiration. I am sure the Champions they are both Federer and Nadal will bounce back with flying colours. Afterall how can you discount great Champions ??

Michael Says:

Nadal has still some miles to go to prove that he is in the league of the “GREATEST FEDERER”. Out of his 10 majors, six are in his favourite Paris surface. Out of his 19 Grand slam Masters titles nearly fifteen of them are on his favourite Clay court surface. Nadal is yet to win the most difficult test in Tennis and ie. Barclays World Series Championship which involves the best players in a calendar year. He is also yet to prove his consistency in keeping the World No. 1 ranking. Remember Federer has a record of 237 consecutive weeks as World No.1. That shows the consistency, determination, resolve and resilience of this Great Champion. Ofcourse Nadal has a wonderful record considering his age, but he has still some miles to go to prove that he is in the league of Federer. At the moment, my order of Greats in the Professional era would be Federer, Borg, Nadal, Connors, Lendl, Mcenroe etc etc.

Blah Says:

Im calling murray mr. lady forehand from now on, thanks again humble rafa!

margot Says:

So he’s “Mr lady forehand” from now on, is he? My, my you guys must be really worried.
Insults are cheap and easy to make.

Wog boy Says:

“I do not think the level of Tennis has gone up, rather it appears that level of Federer and Nadal has gone down a WEE BIT.”
“The only player who has raised his level QUITE A BIT is Novak Djokovic.”
My humble knowledge of the English language tells me that you contradict yourself.
Is it so hard to admit that Novak has raised the level of Tennis, and now Nadal has to catch up? Nadal is playing as good as he was playing last year, winning against all players with the same ease as last year but one, Novak Djokovic.
Nick Bollettieri said that, Sampras too and now Murray, I tend to trust their opinion more than yours, Michael, no bad feelings, sorry.
And by the way my invitation for cheese pastry (gibanica) is still on. If Nadal likes it I am pretty sure you will too.
Regards from Sydney.
P.S. Bernard Tomic will not fill the shoes of Pat Rafter or Lleyton Hewitt, not to mention other great Aussie champs, he is too cocky for real a champion.
Murray is struggling against Wawrinka…again.

Wog boy Says:

Wawrinka is taking MOT……..bad boy Wawrinka :-))

Wog boy Says:

Wawrinka is done. Go Andy

grendel Says:

actually, some impressive forehands from Murray today…

Kimmi Says:

aaaah, great match. rafa saved the setpoint.

Wog boy Says:

What a first set, good on you FM.

Wog boy Says:


skeezerweezer Says:

Rafa just lost to #23 in the world in his second match of the Tourney, WTF? Times are sinking for the Beast of 2010 and former #1.

Dory Says:

Whoa Nadal lost just like that! Florian Mayer played okay, not spectacular as the commentators are exaggerating. The title is for Murray to take! With the big three missing, but also Tsonga and Fish, no JMDP, no Soderling. Murray can win his first and last Masters 1000 of the year. I just hope Novak wins Paris Masters and Federer wins WTF!!!

Dory Says:

My bad Murray’s SECOND Masters 1000. How CAN I forget Cincinnati????

Brando Says:

WOW! If I were part rafa’s team, then I’d say skip Paris just play WTF and Davis cup finals- he needs a break considering his results.

Humble Rafa Says:

Rafa just lost to #23 in the world in his second match of the Tourney, WTF? Times are sinking for the Beast of 2010 and former #1.

It is a confidence thing. Moonballing doesn’t work anymore. My serve has no pop. I have Novak inside my head. Problems at home. Tough life.

jamie Says:

“I just hope Novak wins Paris Masters and Federer wins WTF”!!!

Nole will win Paris Masters and the WTF.

Mark my words.

Kimberly Says:

wow, WTF. Agree with Skeezer, this is starting to remind me of 2009 quickly. Hopefully he can undergo another transformation in 2012. Disappointing 2011 for sure for me. I didn’t see the match though. I was whipping someone up on the tennis court :) and had no idea he was losing.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Wog Boy, I agree that Novak has raised the level of tennis overall (Novak 2011 > Rafa 2010), but I do not agree that Nadal is playing as well as he did last year. 2011 just keeps getting worse, and I’m ready for 2012 already! I just hope Rafa can help Spain capture the DC title and not get whitewashed at WTF like he did in 2009.

Brando Says:

Yep, I agree. This year does look like 2009 for rafa. Only thing is he won 5 trophies that season, this year he is on 3- w/o a single non clay title for over a year. That said, I think he and even roger will come back next year, very strongly.

Colin Says:

Dip in form for Rafa, or overall rise in standard? Today’s result might be used either side of the argument. Rafa off-form? Well, he has lost twice in a few days. Improved overall standard? Rafa’s loss today was to someone outside the top 20.

Brando Says:

“He played really well, I didn’t,” said Nadal. “I felt that I was not playing badly from the baseline. But my return, when he was serving the first serve, was terrible tonight. I only won four points in the whole match on his first serve.”
“For me today is a disappointing day. I felt that I did everything right. I was in the right line since the week before the US Open,” added Nadal, who lost in the final at Flushing Meadows to Novak Djokovic. :-(

Brando Says:

@colin: did not watch the match, so do not know which side today’s result points to, BUT one thing is clear, rafa is having a tough time atm- a definite slump for him. Ps, I hope all is well with you?

Michael Says:

Rafa is exhausted both mentally and physically. He needs to rest and re-group and come out all guns blazing in 2012. He does well in even years. As for the rest of this year I hope he skips Paris and concentrates on the WTF and Davis Cup. VAMOS RAFA!!!

El Flaco Says:

Rafa does have trouble returning 1st serves from time to time. There are many players that have had huge serving days against him that aren’t known for that. Baghdatis in Cincy(20+ aces), G-Lo in Asia last year, Melzer in China last year and Mayer this year.

I thought Rafa had somewhat rectified the issue by going to the defensive chip return off both the forehand and backhand. The idea is to get many 1st serve returns in play and put pressure on his opponents with his defense. He did that against Roddick this year at the USO. Granted Roddick played like crap, but Rafa got a lot of 1st serve returns in play.

alison hodge Says:

micheal i could not agree with both of your posts more,and this is coming from a fan of rafa too,however its like rafa said roger is arguably the greatest ever to to pick up a racket,and to be honest i have never had an issue with rafa winning more slams than roger,im just delighted ne has 10 and like you say will go down as one of the greats,who wouldnt be happy with that,in terms of the wtf im sure he has plenty of time to do just that,got to the final last year who knows maybe he can go one better this year,if not so what daveydenko won it in 2009,i dont think rafa would swap any of his slams for a wtf.

tennisfansince76 Says:

@Dory Murray won Cincy as well

Wog boy Says:

@Lulu Iberica; Thanks, you may be right for second part of the year but not for the first 6 months where damage was done and Nadal lost confindence. As for DC,sorry, I will go for Argentina, they need it more than Spain and I always was Nalbadian fan and I love Delpo. I realy hope he can join Novak and Andy in top 3.there is something humble in Delpo that the other two( RF & Nadal) dont have, apart of great game when he is 100%.

Wog boy Says:

Confidence….. not confiNdence
Really..,,,,,,,not reaLy
I am getting there :-))

Michael Says:

Wog Boy, I realize that I did contradict myself with my statement. Sorry for it. Obviously what I meant is that Djokovic had a remarkable year and is peaking while Nadal and Federer could’nt live upto expectation. From what I see, I can make it out that the level of Nadal and Federer have gone down. Nadal is now not even invincible on Clay and is finding it difficult to overcome opponents in his favourite surface. Remember the match against Isner at the French OPen. Ofcourse Nadal did make many finals but if you are Nadal, you are expected to win and that is the price you pay for greatness. As regards Federer he had a disappointing year losing matches he should have won. The sad thing is that he could not finish matches when he was leading two sets to love. That is a big let down for Federer and a bit demoralizing for him. Hope he turns new leaf and show to us that he has still not worn out. He has nothing to prove, but his fans (particularly me) will be very happy if he goes on to win another Major.

Michael Says:

Wog Boy, I am not sure about Nadal. But if Federer produces the magic of his years of domination he will dismantle the likes of Djokovic with tremendous ease. Unfortunately, the Federer of today is making too many unforced errors at crucial moments. That makes the life of opponents very easy.

Michael Says:

Alison, But Rafa needs to win the World series championship atleast once. He has something to prove there. All great Champions prior to him have done that. Not winning that will be a big black mark in his career.

alison hodge Says:

micheal he has plenty of time to do just that,as i said on the other thread, got to the final last year ,maybe he will go one better this year,and even if he doesnt do it this year,its not as if he wont get another chance,although obviously i wont get any easier and im not saying otherwise,other than that rafa has very little left to proove,personally i think id rather be in rafas shoes,as aposed to muzza,nole whos had a fantastic year,but still has much to proove,or like i say daveydenko with that one wtf,but no grand slam.

Michael Says:

Alison, Rafa is in the list of Greats. It is too premature to compare the likes of Djokovic, Murray etc. with Nadal. They have everything to prove while Nadal has set certain benchmark of excellence. I was only comparing Nadal with Federer and that is a compliment for Nadal.

alison hodge Says:

micheal yeah i agree i love rafa,and i love the compliment about been compared to roger,thanks for that,i dont think rafa would have been the player he is today without roger,to be honest i dont have an issue with rafa winning more than roger,im just delighted he has his 10 slams,a career grand slam,etc etc,and only a handfull of men to have more grand slams,is more than enough for me,a wtf is the only thing left for him now,sorry no animosity was taken or meant on my part.

Wog boy Says:

Well…well…well, Mayer falling apart ;-(

Lou Says:

Rafa needs to learn and impeove his serve if he has to have a chance against Nole. Look at nole, he has improved so much! http://bit.ly/qTlozk :Djokovic’s 2011 stats and his No.1 ranking!

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