Rafael Nadal Has A Bad Shoulder, And That’s Why He’s Playing Abu Dhabi This Week!
by Sean Randall | December 29th, 2011, 12:53 pm

What better way to begin the 2012 season than by talking about injuries in tennis. Without even a flip of a coin or a the call of a score, the pro tennis tours have already been hit by a spate of ailments to some pretty big names.

Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova have already withdrawn from tournaments next week – though let’s be honest top stars on the WTA circuit often shun their own WTA events. And the women are not alone. Robin Soderling is still fighting mono. Marin Cilic and James Blake are nursing knees while Lleyton Hewitt is battling a bad toe.

And our favorite swashbuckling Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, has already fired his first preemptive injury strike. Today, the oft-injured Nadal announced that the shoulder that was ailing him a month ago is …guess what …still an issue.

“I had a problem before London with my shoulder and I had to stop for about 10 days before the (ATP) finals,” Nadal said to the AP Thursday in Abu Dhabi. “It felt better but again it resurfaced. In December, I did not have enough time to practice because of that.”

Bottom line Nadal said, the shoulder is “not 100 percent”. Uh oh.

We haven’t even started and he’s already damaged goods?

The good news for Rafa is the Australian Open is still 17 days away. But instead of further rest, rehab and treatment Nadal has decided to soldier on. He must have that urge again to pay the bills. Who doesn’t, especially in this economy?

Nadal and his bad shoulder are scheduled to play tomorrow at the Abu Dhabi exhibition and then he’ll head to Doha where he’ll officially start his 2012 ATP season on Monday.

Nadal then tried to quiet critics by adding that he’ll also take the full month of February off to refuel and recover from this early season stretch. It’s a smart move but I have to ask, why not dial it down these next few weeks to be better prepared for Australia? I guess the lure of all those oil millions is just too great to pass up.

Of course the list is long of Nadal’s injury woes. Bad knees. Bad ab muscles. Bad feet. Bad legs. Bad outfits. And now we add shoulder. And unlike wisdom teeth or burnt fingers, I can’t help but think playing with a bad shoulder is a good thing, especially at the start of what will be a long Olympic season.

And notwithstanding, should Nadal lose in Doha or Australia, he now has that shoulder to blame. Perfect. Here we go again.

Honestly, I like and admire Rafa and maybe here – I hope – his words/quotes/meaning just got lost in translation because this injury routine is wearing awfully thin. It’s an act he has to drop.

Let’s hope some things do really change on New Year’s Day, and not just the date.

You Might Like:
Sick Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Abu Dhabi Final; Nadal Beats Wawrinka
Rafael Nadal Sets Return To Tennis At… Abu Dhabi?
Knee Issues? Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Abu Dhabi, Still Entered In Brisbane
Nadal, Federer Falter Setting Up ‘Loser Bowl’ Saturday In Abu Dhabi
Novak Djokovic: My Injuries Are In The Past, I Am Fully Recovered Physically and Mentally

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

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

183 Comments for Rafael Nadal Has A Bad Shoulder, And That’s Why He’s Playing Abu Dhabi This Week!

Katarina Says:

I almost forgot why I decided to follow you on twitter,now I rememberd!Exelent point of this post!Keep it coming!:))

Max Says:

Hahaha, perfect post :-)

Brando Says:

Agree with sean here. Personally, as radical as it may sound, I think rafa should not only skip the middle east leg of his calendar but also the aus open. He’ll have plenty of time to heal and focus on the Indian wells to olympics part of the season which he seems to be prioritising for 2012.

wayne Says:

money talks, injuries walk

Dan Martin Says:

I think skipping Australia would be a bad idea. Even if it is 3 out of 5 sets, Rafa will get a day off between matches. I think skipping the exo matches and Doha makes sense. Taking Feb. off does too.

Dan Martin Says:

Sean how does one follow you on twitter?

Brando Says:

@Dan Martin:

It depends on how he feels about his chances there. If he thinks he can compete against the likes of nole, roger, andy in the business end of the tourny, thats IF he gets there, then he should go for it.

If he doubts himself, then he should skip it i feel. Get himself mentally and physically in the best possible condition to hit the indian wells to olympic games part of the season. That’s always been the main part of his calendar, so he should focus on that i feel.

Fred Says:

I don’t believe in Nadal’s shoulder “injury” for damn minute!

Were he really injured he would have politely said NO to the hundred of thousands of $ he has cashed for playing this week.

year after year after year Nadal keeps blasting the calendar but conveniently seems to forget that HE makes HIS own calendar.He should be able to prioritize the slams and Masters Series and the hell with the rest but he has not stopped himself from playing every bloody week.

Nadal’s shoulder isn’t injured or he would have not only pulled out of London but the DC as well which he did NOT do.Nadal’s ego has suffered at the end of the Serb but pride is keeping him from figuring this out.Nadal seeing that he has beating Federer more on clay than any other surface and owns the Swiss in their head to head though he was gonna dominate the ATP but Djokovic had other plans.Losing to Djokovic in Madrid;Rome and Wimbledon broke Nadal’s spirit.

BRANDO according to Nadal himself;his priority for 2012 is to surpass Borg’s record at Roland Garros.

Nadal in his own words

“Me motiva poder superar a Borg en Roland Garros”



I’d love for Federer to win both Roland Garros;Wimbledon and the Olympics and for Djokovic to win the AO and the USO and for Nadal to finish 2012 slam-less to see how he’d react

Thangs Says:

Nole had shoulder problem before USO..he withdrew once and played USO..There were no noises that time..Hmmmmm..

Kimmi Says:

lol sean’s article

alison hodge Says:

i dont know what or why rafas injuries right now, would have anything to do with his priority of beating borgs record of winning the fo in may/june,which is months away yet, when rafas not even hit a ball yet.

jamie Says:


Federer is done winning slams.

He already won his last slam.

Get it through your thick skull.

skeezerweezer Says:

“I can’t help but think playing with a bad shoulder is a good thing, especially at the start of what will be a long Olympic season.
And notwithstanding, should Nadal lose in Doha or Australia, he now has that shoulder to blame. Perfect. Here we go again.”

Spot on Sean, WTF?

Welcome to the ongoing mind gaming Rafa Injury train of excuses, a non-stop track to nowhere. Are u dinged or really injured? Lots of players play dinged, so? However, If your really injured, rest, get well and don’t play. Shut up already and play with no excuses or sit and watch someone else play.

jamie Says:

10 Predictions for the 2012 ATP Season


Novak Djokovic Loses a Step but Still Wins Two Slams

Rafael Nadal Wins the French Open

Roger Federer Fails To Make a Grand Slam Final

Andy Murray Wins a Slam

David Ferrer Fails To Make 2012 ATP World Tour Finals

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Makes Two Grand Slam Semifinals…and Loses Both

Mardy Fish Falls out of Top 25

Bernard Tomic Cracks the Top 25

Juan Martin Del Potro Makes Few Headlines in 2012

Retirement Predictions: Will 2012 Be Juan Carlos Ferrero’s Last Stand?

jamie Says:

These are all sensible predictions.

I agree with them.

Sara G Says:

Even though Rafa is a young man, he’s been playing a number of years starting at a very young age. As intensely as Rafa plays and pushes his physical body to the limits, it is not surprising that there are consequences.

alison hodge Says:

jamie i take it those predictions are yours, not your online pyschic friend, as she said something very different if i remember rightly?

Michael Says:

Along came Fred who said ‘i don’t believe in Nadal’s shoulder ‘injury’ for damn minute!’. Why don’t u believe him? Do u think he visited his doctor in Barcelona just for a joy ride? Did u believe the CVAC’ s shoulder and back Injuries? I certainly did not. How come he played Paris having cited those injuries? Ah yes, to collect his bonus pool!!! This is a perfect blog 4 all u Rafa haters. Stew in your own juice!!

jamie Says:

They are from http://bleacherreport.com

Not mine.

They are very similar to what that woman told me.

She told me:

Federer will not win anymore slams. Olympics is a great possibility though.

Nole’s chart is perfect for the AO.

Nadal’s chart is the best looking by far for the FO. Right now he is going through a lousy Lunar year. Hence all the injuries and illnesses.

Murray’s chart is awesome for the second semester of 2012. Should win Wimbledon OR the USO.

Del Potro also has a great chart for the second semester of 2012. He will shine in the second semester but the chart is not as great as Murray’s.

I guess Nole wins whatever slam Murray does not win of Wimbledon or the USO.


AO Nole
FO Nadal
Wimbledon Nole or Murray
USO Nole or Murray

Nole wins 2(AO and one of Wimbledon/USO), Nadal wins 1(FO) and Murray stuns the world and wins 1 slam(Wimbledon or USO).

alison hodge Says:

er well said micheal,i was looking for the right words to freds post but could not think of them,haters will always hate,whoever they are,thank god for the fair posters.

jamie Says:

Roger Federer Fails To Make a Grand Slam Final

Makes a lot of sense.

2010 reaches just one slam final and wins it

2011 reaches just one slam final and loses it

The natural progression says:

2012 reaches no slam finals

He goes from winning the only final he reaches to then losing the only final he reaches to not reaching a final. He is just getting worse and worse. Older.

Don’t let the WTF fool you.

The top players were tired and injured. It was BO3. Indoors.

He lost from 2 sets up at Wimbledon and the USO this year. Alarming.

BO5 is very different from BO3.

Plus slams are played OUTDOORS.

Kimmi Says:

jamie – it is easy to know if your friend’s predictions are correct. AO is around the corner.

Just a question: If your friend’s get AO predictions wrong, does it mean all other that followed are wrong too? I shouldn’t think so but it will be nice to hear her views?

alison hodge Says:

just a thought was it jamie or his pyschic, that said rafa would loose at the fo,and nole would complete a career grand slam?hmm like kimmi says it would be nice to hear her views.

alison hodge Says:

sorry a calendar grand slam.

jamie Says:

Kimmi: I met her after the FO.

She predicted that Nole would win Wimbledon and the USO. I was stunned that she got the Wimbledon winner right. I thought Fedal would win Wimbledon.

She is good.

Nobody is perfect.

But apparently Nole has an amazing chart for the AO. She sees him winning.

Even if she is wrong for the AO, I will still believe her other predictions for the rest of 2012 because she is really good.

jamie Says:

alison hodge: I met her AFTER the FO.

Whatever I predicted BEFORE the FO was my own prediction.

Check out my old posts, I never mentioned a psychic BEFORE the FO this year.

Humble Rafa Says:

And our favorite swashbuckling Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, has already fired his first preemptive injury strike.

Of course the list is long of Nadal’s injury woes. Bad knees. Bad ab muscles. Bad feet. Bad legs. Bad outfits. And now we add shoulder. And unlike wisdom teeth or burnt fingers,

My outfits were and are just fine. The outfits are chosen to coordinate with my butt picking routine.

If someone gave you a million dollars to show up in a oil rich country, would you not show up. Even I didn’t have a shoulder to play, I will show up to collect my check (with the other hand).
All top players are like that.

I have class, unlike Novak, who plays in $10K charity events. I stick the big ones and the ones that line up my pockets.

May I also remind you that, Roger LIVES in Dubai. Close the millions of dollars and the oil.

And please, stop picking on me. I have the ATP tour on my back, now a tennis blog.

Hello Rafa Nation! Go, do your thing. Call them names. Irritate them etc. What ever it takes to restore the “good, loving, humble, easy going, cuddly” Rafa I really am.

steve-o Says:

Nadal is not injured, otherwise he wouldn’t be playing. End of story.

van orten Says:

“But instead of further rest, rehab and treatment Nadal has decided to soldier on” hahaha made my day !!!!

skeezerweezer Says:

” I will show up to collect my check (with the other hand).”


roy Says:

if nadal doesn’t have a shoulder problem why is his first serve [even more] garbage now. why did he win less first serve points last year than in the previous 5 or so seasons.
evidence suggests he has a shoulder issue.

and anybody who believes you can play professional sport for a decade and not have injuries is quite ridiculous.
yes federer is rarely injured. he has genetic luck.
this is not the norm. there are countless atp players out there with perpetual injuries, not because they’re faking anything, but because that’s the reality of professional sport.

Humble Rafa Says:

yes federer is rarely injured. he has genetic luck.

Your Humble Highness feels that he is only slightly less injured than other players. He talks about it less. People tell me, it is a part of his “Classy” thing, which I am not familiar with.

Unlike me, Fed gets his head messed up easily. For example, I can talk abt injuries all day log and play like a King. Roger can’t do it, it messes with his head.

DC Says:

Humble Rafa
I can talk abt injuries all day log and play like a King.
And when has Rafa talked about injury and won.He always talks about his injuries when he is loosing or he thinks he is going to loose, like he is doing now.

Fed doesn’t talk about his injuries because it gets his head messed up!! -what bull.He doesn’t talk about his injuries either because he doesn’t have many or he doesn’t like to talk about them, just like the rest of us here who don’t go around elaborating their medical issues here.

Gannu Says:

Sean…that was an awesome piece..loved it…laughed big time ;-) and humble rafa – u are just a treat with ur comments..u just make me laugh evrytime u post….

wish all of u a very happy new year and fed fans lets hope our man wins atleast one gslam this year!…bring on 2012…eagerly waiting..

Michael Says:

@Gannu. And what exactly is awesome about Sean’s piece? He is just trying to Incite the Rafa haters. Sadism to the endth degree!!!!!!

van orten Says:

so djoker and fed lacking clearly intensity today…

Kimmi Says:

WOW! djokovic killing federer at the moment

Kimmi Says:

this match is going to end very quickly. djokovic is very good but federer with lots of UE. six straights games for djokovic. oh dear lord!

van orten Says:

fed clearly not giving a shit today..but its ok wanted him to win though but ok no big deal..i am almost sure djoker will lose to nadal tomorrow

Kimmi Says:

van orten – why djokovic will lose to rafa. he is playing very well imo.

federer will probably be bagelled today..

Kimmi Says:

DF does not help federer..

van orten Says:

as a fan i would be pretty pissed about his performance he could at least try to play better

Kimmi Says:

8 games in a row for nole. hmmm

van orten Says:

i meant djoker will not lose to nadal tomorrow

van orten Says:

people feel free to destroy feds chances now for AO hahahhaha …pls read as much as u can into that miserable performance from fed at an exo match

Aravind Says:

Djokovic hitting some clean winners. Federer not playing with much intensity, but to be fair Nole is playing at GOD level right now.. If he were to keep up this level, he is going to humiliate the rest of the field for the second year! He makes ROS look so effortless and on a fast paced hardcourt, he simply is the best player there is right now..

Kimmi Says:

At least it not a bagel.

van orten Says:

fed wants to leave abu dhabi as fast as possible hahaha

Kimmi Says:

I agree aravand. nole was in God like mode today. that was a great performance. for federer not so much.

Congrats to djokovic.

van orten Says:

even if he was in god mode i doubt fed will play like that in AO!!! serve and volleying on second serves and clearly not tracking down balls he normally easily does…this was an exo and i m pissed we couldnt see more tennis ..so roger not so good performance god knows why

Brando Says:

Mmm, we shouldn’t read too much into this, but regardless of whatever happens this year I think nole has clearly taken over from federer and can now be seen as the undisputed beast on outdoor hardcourts. He’s just too good on his favourite surface. Federer won’t be affected by this at all, and shall still do well at aus open.

Kimmi Says:

its probably best for rafa to lose to ferrer. he doesn’t want to give djokovic the satisfaction of beating him again this year, does he?

Brando Says:

@kimmi: I agree. Rafa doesn’t want to lose to nole again, but on the other side of the coin, more match practise, there isn’t a big difference at all really between 6 or 7 losses, it is an exhibition after all….

dave Says:

Newsflash: Federer takes whole of Friday off without announcing he intended to take the whole of Friday off to rest his legs. As I predicted, Federer strolled to a quick loss to Djokovic to let the Serb kill himself and (hopefully) Nadal before Doha and Australian Open starts. Did all this while meeting his obligations to his management company IMG to play in this event and collecting his million dollar plus appearance fee.

Why does Nadal need to tell the world he has to take February off to rest his “nagging shoulder injury”? There are no no mandatory tennis tourneys between end of Australian Open in late January to Indian Wells in second week of March. There is absolutely no need for Nadal to give any reason for not playing in February… unless Nadal is yet again dipping into the well of dubious injuries, sicknesses, lack of passion and other issues to premptively downplay any losses, amplify wins and play with the minds of his rivals. It pays to have a paid publicist to exploit the trust of the tennis public.

On November 3rd, the coach of Nadal’s practice partner reported that “(Nadal’s) foot is also not 100%” (hmm, “not 100%”, well trained to use the right words) so Nadal “elected to continue to train at home next week”. Lol, whatever training Nadal did at Manacor the next week is supposed to have led to “I had a problem before London with my shoulder and I had to stop for about 10 days before the (ATP) finals” which started on November 20. Uncle Toni, Nadal’s physio and his team must be incompetent to allow Nadal’s never-ending list of injuries to grow even though he did not play an ATP match between October 13 to November 20. Amazing how all Nadal’s whining magically disappeared when he played on clay (Davis Cup) just days after the World Tour Finals. Then, even though Nadal has not played an official match between December 4 to 30, his injuries have increased again.

Even at the start of every new year, Nadal seems to whine about some ailment (yet still plays this exhibition event). At 2011 Doha, Nadal was whining about being sick, yet still continued to play doubles after losing singles in the semifinals to his nemesis Davydenko. The sick Nadal won the doubles event.

In late December 2007 and early January 2008, Federer was already sick (he did not know at the time that he had mononucleosis). Federer, who did not play Doha, was scheduled to play only the AAMI Kooyong Classic exhibition event. Immediately upon arriving in Australia on January 4, Federer had developed a secondary illness (food poisoning due to a stomach virus) that got so bad he was hospitalized for a day or so over the weekend. On January 7, Federer announced his withdrawal from the AAMI Kooyong exhibition due to illness. After resting for a few more days, he resumed practice (while Australian media reported Federer looked sick on the practice courts) and entered the 2008 Australian open without playing a competitive match since November 23, 2007. What’s hilarious is that — even as Federer was genuinely sick with two illnesses — the news media was reporting that Nadal was also ailing (fatigue, see bottom of link). It seems that Nadal comes up with some excuse every year, even at the start of the year.

Aravind Says:

Question is whether Rafa wants to play Djokovic again in an exhibition match. There is nothing much for Rafa to gain here. Even if he beats Djokovic here, it will be by pushing himself to the limit. With AO so close and with Doha next week it may not make sense. Even if he were to win, it will not count as a win. He may not get any psychological edge here.
But knowing Rafa, I think he will throw his best here. He was in a similar situation in 2010 when he had all those losses towards close of 2009 and he won the exhibition match against Soderling, which he was very happy about. I think he is going to try to beat Djokovic, but if Djokovic plays like today, nothing Rafa does may suffice..

john Says:

hey guys seems like some problem in roger’s eye,he was very rusty,this is the first time i was enjoying roger’s errors..because there was no winner by roger at all… nole played unbelievable

Wog boy Says:

I just opened a bottle of 2007 Chardonnay Viognier, sat down with my wifey to enjoy tennis and wine (she was after wine not tennis) and it was finished before I finished second glass. I am not going to comment on Federers game because it was none, I don’t know why but at least he could put a little bit more effort, for the sake of people who payed to watch including myself, Foxtel doesn’t come free. Then i looked at back label on the bottle and saw quote:
“For all that has been: Thank You.
For all that will be: Yes.”
Dag Hammarskjold 1905-1961

I don’t know when he sais this but I know if my man Novak keep doing what he was and is doing now I will say this to him at the end of 2012.


van orten Says:

well all the people who are at abu dhabi have plenty of money i guess so they wont care about paying the entrance hahaha but at least fed could have tried a bit …but maybe it is for the better

jamie Says:

Djokovic trashes Federer. Ouch.


madmax Says:


We get it. You don’t like federer. Do you have to keep going on about it on every where there is to post?

Wog boy, it wasn’t a good match. Disappointing really and I was expecting federer to offer more, but then I am hoping he will come up with the goods at the AO, there is still plenty of time to right the wrongs.

jamie Says:

Federer won’t beat Djokovic at the AO. Just no.

Aravind Says:

Hmm.. Ferrer leading 5-0 against Nadal.. Who saw this happen? Ferrer had a tough match against Tsonga yesterday.. Nadal looking a little undercooked.. Ferrer and Djokovic seem to be really playing to win here. Nadal and Federer may have one eye on Doha and may not want to give 100% here..

Kimmi Says:

mmh, now it is ferrer’s turn to kill rafa

grendel Says:

“Federer won’t be affected by this at all, and shall still do well at aus open.” (Brando)

I think I agree with the first sentiment, though it is impossible to be quite sure. That’s because Federer may indeed have a fairly cavalier attitude to exhos, you can’t just ignore the performance of his opponent. I didn’t see the match, but it is at least conceivable that Djokovic gave Federer something to think about. None of us can tell, but these players know each other inside out as only dedicated professionals can, and – who knows? – maybe Djokovic exhibited some turns of play which surprised Federer. But then again, maybe not.

As for Brando’s second sentiment, “doing well” is not an absolute but is relative to expectations. I don’t mean that Federer will regard himself as having failed if he doesn’t win the AO. He is much more realistic than that. It’s all about how he loses – if he loses.

Kimmi Says:

after losing 5 straights games. rafa win a game. at least he wont be bageled

grendel Says:

Speaking to El Pais, the Spanish newspaper this week, Nadal, refreshingly, admitted, “Many times [this year], I had the feeling that I had no control of my matches”.

Kimmi Says:

rafa with lots of UEs. ferrer more stable and aggressive. another easy win. congrats to ferrer.

now losers roger and rafa plays tomorrow for the third place ha ha.

Kimmi Says:

its very unfortunately we didn’t get the best matches these players are capable to produce. How dull this exo has been so far. lets hope tomorrow will be better.

grendel Says:

Kimmi – do you think Nadal was anxious to avoid Djokovic? He knows there will certainly be critical encounters quite soon – he’d rather wait till he is properly prepared? Or do you think these matches are too trivial to count much one way or the other?

Wog boy Says:

Believe it or not tennis starts 10pm , NYE, this year and is going to finish about 2am next year Sydney time. I am going to finish this year with tennis and start next one with tennis. I might switch at midnight just to watch bit of fireworks at Sydney harbour and then back to tennis :)

jane Says:

I missed the matches, but it seems the results are rather strange. Exos are like that I guess. Did Nole come to net much, anyone know?

Kimmi Says:

grendel – i am sure rafa is glad that he did not have to play djokovic yet, weather he avoided him purpose or not i couldn’t tell.

losing to djokovic so soon again wont help him for sure. Djokovic has affected him the whole of 2011, any win against him (exo or not) will help him to turn things around but not the loss for sure.

Kimmi Says:

jane – djokovic didn’t go to the net much. it was federer who was going to the net a lot and getting passed. djokovic defense was incredible and the BH down the line killed federer.

Wog boy Says:

Kimmi, you are spot on.

jane Says:

Thanks Kimmi. Just read a summary and neither guy read too much into this by the sounds of it, although Nole felt he played well, he also said

“…fans shouldn’t read too much into his win over Federer, against whom he had a 4-1 record in 2011, including victories at the Australian Open and US Open.

Djokovic attributed his win in Abu Dhabi to having a match under his belt – a win over Gael Monfils on Thursday – and a quick start that gave him momentum and prompted Federer to make several unforced errors.

“He has won over 15 matches at the end of 2011 so I’m sure he won’t feel down after this loss here,” Djokovic said. “His main goal here is to get a couple of matches under his belt as it is for all of us.”

And Fed said something about not chasing down groundstrokes, which we know he can do, and that Nole is a good frontrunner.

Am off to read about Nadal and Ferrer. I am wondering how Rafa’s shoulder looked, if his serve is hindered.

Probably Rafa and Fed are saving their bigger efforts for Doha, whereas Nole has no more scheduled matches pre-AO, so he was likely giving more here.

skeezerweezer Says:


“now losers roger and rafa plays tomorrow for the third place ha ha.”

Your right ;). Based on today, maybe they should just flip a coin and go have beers already :)

Federer fan Says:

Dear Jamie

Your friend who predicted things. What sort of astrology did she use? What have you got against Roger, you seem to be a hater? Roger will be back.

dave Says:

Nadal didn’t take the bait to play Djokovic. Despite being crushed by Ferrer at the 2011 Australian Open — losing 58% of total points — Nadal did the smart thing to lose to Ferrer.

By Federer tanking so obviously to Djokovic — not even bothering to practice his footwork or chase down balls or eved play in exo mode — his message to Novak was clear: this exo match means nothing to Roger. As well, Roger hasn’t revealed his hand, while Novak has shown both Federer and Nadal where his game is at and what he has worked on. Few saw a suddenly-improved Djokovic coming at the 2011 Australian because he practiced hard for over 3 weeks in Australia (partly with Murray) without playing a warm-up ATP event. No advantage of surprise this time.

Now Ferrer — with his 5-6 win-loss against Djokovic — will play hard to try to repeat his 75-min 6-3, 6-1 WTF victory over Djokovic, where he won 61% of total points. Having fallen into the trap, Djokovic’s pride will probably drive him to play hard to show that his loss to Ferrer was a fluke.

Meanwhile, Roger and Rafa are winking at each other. Now they just have to decide who should win tomorrow (probably Federer, since Nadal won last year).

Btw, Federer’s value to the IMG co-produced Mubadala exhibition event was much more than his playing tennis. Federer did a tennis clinic, talked to kids, signed autographs, etc. and his celebrity helped make the event a success.

jane Says:

Apparently Rafa didn’t serve well but also read thatFerrer’s forehand was very good.

Wog boy Says:

Skeeze, it is good to go to bed with lough, and I am going like that, thanks to you :-) Good one :)

jane Says:

Best tennis photos of 2011 according to the National Post. There are some interesting ones of Serena – how can she play tennis with finger nails that long? :)


grendel Says:

” i am sure rafa is glad that he did not have to play djokovic yet, weather he avoided him purpose or not i couldn’t tell.” – Kimmi. Judicious, and perfectly expressed, I do admire (and envy) that plain style, it’s so effective in conveying what can, and cannot, be known.

Dan Martin Says:

Sean – how do I follow you on twitter? My twitter is danmartintennis or tennisabides – anyone should feel free to follow me. I love the tennix-x community even the humble members of the tennis nation.

Federer fan Says:


I found out that you are a federer hater. Why do you hate him so much? You are a nasty person. You like dopers and cheaters.

So seems your psychic friend is also a federer hater right. Has her predictions been correct? Is she a fan of Nole?

jamie Says:

Federer is finished winning slams.

Wake up already.

jamie Says:

Federer fan:

Her favorite players are Federer and Del Potro.

Federer fan Says:

I am surprised that she has written Roger off already. Call herself Roger fan.

You Jamie are so rude. Roger isn’t finished winning Slams.

grendel Says:

jane – some of those photos are telling.

jamie Says:

She loves Federer. Likes Del Potro. Is neutral about Nole but enjoys it when he destroys Nadal. She hates Nadal a lot.

I personally don’t understand astrology at all so I just repeat what she tells me from time to time.

She did say that despite Federer being done winning slams, he will win more titles than Nadal in 2012 and 2013. Nadal will get injured a lot in 2012 and 2013. Federer will be healthier but it is not written in the stars that Federer will win another slam. Apparently Nadal has one more slam win left, unlike Federer.

Nole will continue being the best player in 2012 and 2013.

She sees Murray winning a slam in the second semester of 2012(his chart is amazing for the second semester of 2012) which I find shocking since it seems he is a bottler that will never win a slam.

Federer fan Says:

Thank you Jamie for explaining it to me.

Did she say who will go up in the rankings? I hope that Federer will win a Grand Slam. Alot of psychic are not always right. She might be right or wrong. You never know.

Federer fan Says:

What sort of tournaments do you friend think Roger will win Jamie?

jamie Says:

Federer fan:

He has good chances at the Olympics. She sees him winning important titles but not a slam. Don’t know why. She said: “He will win important titles in 2012 and 2013 but not a slam.”

Of course she could be wrong. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes.

But she definitely sees Federer winning more titles than Nadal in 2012 and 2013.

Federer fan Says:

Thanks Jamie

What about the rankings will they change?

jamie Says:

She also said Nole will continue dominating in 2012 and 2013.

jamie Says:

She didn’t say anything about the rankings.

Honestly, I don’t know what to think.

If she sees Federer winning more titles than Nadal in 2012 and 2013, I don’t understand why he won’t win a slam. It’s strange.

But I’m no psychic.

Federer fan Says:

That is interesting about who will take the number two ranking?

Federer fan Says:

That is strange isn’t it. Who is your favourite player Jamie?

Cymru08 Says:

Rafa, shut up about your injuries, it’s getting old! Well played, Nole. The man to beat in 2012!

Michael Says:

@Jamie. Is your psychic reputable or a quack? Plenty of quacks around. You r quoting her all over the place and then conclude with ‘of course she could be wrong. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes’!!!!! Obviously u don’t believe any of her predictions (after all ‘she could be wrong’) !! Try and stop the bloggers getting too excited over gibberish! Thank you!

Federer fan Says:


Like I said that psychic people are not always correct. I know someone was right and wrong. No-one is perfect.

We got to wait and see what the outcome is for 2012.

margot Says:

grendel, there’a a nice little spoof of “The Killing” on Youtube, something like “Hurder, Gurder, Murder”
Michael: too late, too late I’m afraid…I’m already way over excited by Jamie’s psychic’s predictions…of course I believe every word…..;)

Federer fan Says:

Really Margot

I certainly dont want Djokovic and Nadal dominating men tennis

Humble Rafa Says:

I usually do better than what Roger did against Novak. :)

Nice thumping.

Humble Rafa Says:

Rafa, shut up about your injuries, it’s getting old!

Talking Roger’s greatness doesn’t get old. Talking about my injuries gets old.

Whatever floats your boat mate. Can I get some of the Fed Coolaid?

dari Says:

I always thought Jamie was joking about the psychic, but youre giving very detailed accounts. Ps I wish I had a tennis loving psychic friend, what a combo!
Regarding this exho- I say good on Nole shaking off those late year injuries and to Rog- just bring it at the AO!

jamie Says:

She predicted Nole would win Wimbledon and the USO this year, she was right.

dari Says:

Its sooo rafa- like to mis-spell kool-aid.
I admire you, humble

jamie Says:

Another of her predictions is that Federer will end up with another woman eventually. She does not see Federer and Mirka married forever…..

Federer fan Says:


Your friend thinks that Roger will have an affair? I think it might be a fan of his.

jamie Says:

I like Nole and Murray.

jamie Says:

Federer fan:

More than an affair.

She sees him spending the rest of his life with that other woman.

Federer fan Says:

Oh really

Does Roger know who that woman is?

jamie Says:


I believe her predictions. But even psychics sometimes make mistakes. Most of the time they are right. But human beings are not machines. Duh.

jamie Says:

Federer fan:

Jeez. I don’t know if Fed has a gf.

But my friend does not see the Fed-Mirka relationship lasting forever.

jamie Says:

Speaking of predictions:


Sunset for Federer, Tough Grind for Nadal and More Money for Sharapova in 2012, notes GaneshaSpeaks.com

drop_shot17 Says:

Bang on! Couldn’t agree more. I’m a Fedfan but I’m not a Rafa hater. The only thing I hate about the Spaniard is his never-ending blabber about injuries every time he loses a match! Really Rafa. This is just an exho! No need to find excuses.

Federer fan Says:


Roger is happily married to Mirka. I don’t think he will have an affair. You could ask your friend, is the woman a fan of Federer or a woman that Roger knows.

I don’t think Roger is having an affair. Roger is very faithful to his wife. They got Children together.

jamie Says:

Federer fan must be very young. LOL.

Federer fan Says:


I am alot older than Roger. Roger loves his wife.

Well your friend seem that she is hoping that it is her that he will spend the rest of his life with.

Well, there are plenty of girls of my age would love to have Roger.

Federer fan Says:

I wouldn’t mind having Roger as my husband. There again your friend could be wrong.

Is your friend thinks that Roger is having an affair now? He hasn’t got the time to have another relationship.

grendel Says:

margot – I tried your hurder, gurder, murder without success. Apparently Sophie Grabol, the Sarah Lundt character, had a cameo in the Xmas Day Absolutely Fabulous, but I missed it. Not sure about Joanne Lumley. I thought the second The Killing not as good as the first – those grieving parents were real one offs. I did like that fat justice minister. There’s one more series. If you like Scandinavian gloom, I’ve come across an Icelandic thriller writer who dollops gloom in spades, but sort of quietly. The most restrained inspector I’ve come across. After nearly dying in the snow as a child – and losing his brother – this is said of him:”The elder brother recovered from his frostbite but was said to be left gloomy and withdrawn by his ordeal”. Sounds like something from an old saga, updated. the author is called: Arnaldur Indridason.

jamie Says:

Federer fan:

She sees Federer with another woman in the future.

She didn’t say exactly when.

jane Says:

grendel, i love Scandinavian gloom, will check out that author. Someone just sent me Nesbo’s first book to read.

Hi margot, I like the psychic’s predictions too. :)

Cymru08 Says:

Humble Rafa, what on Earth are you talking about? I support Rafa but won’t kiss his backside. I’ve had more than enough of his injury talk to last a lifetime. It certainly doesn’t make me a Fed fan.

Kimmi Says:

djokovic win against fed is not very surprising to me, although i was expecting federer to give a better fight but i am certainly surprised by the way ferrer beat rafa today. i thought Ferrer was serving great, yesterday too against tsonga. Too bad there is no match stat i can reference too. In the third set against tsonga there was a time i seriously thought he was serving only first serves. big serves and accurate. I swear he must have served at 90s or near there. tsonga was finding very tough to return.

I remember an incident in rafa/ferrer match today. at this time ferrer had won 5 straight games. it was 0-4 in the second set, rafa serving. rafa fought hard to win his service game. after he won the game, he raise his hand..as if saying “sigh! i have won a game at last”. I thought rafa would not do that in a serious match..maybe he would, i don’t know. it just looked strange.

Kissmygrits Says:

Injuries are a part of the game as long as players do not control their schedule. Back in the olden days, players would actually sign up for tournaments when they were READY to play. NOW, the tournaments somehow have become mandatory as if the players WORK for the ATP and WTA instead of being independent contractors (which they are). Three words: STRONG Player’s Union

Kissmygrits Says:

BTW, Djokovic is seriously injured and will not retain his #1 this year. He has trouble bouncing back from tough matches now just watch.

alison hodge Says:

jamie your pyschic friend may be right or she may be wrong,but to hate rafa or any other player is not very spiritual of her, and its not the kind of terminology a true spiritual person would use,maybe she needs to take a good look at herself.

Cymru08 Says:

Kissmygrits, if Nole is ”seriously injured”, just wait till he’s fully fit…

carlo Says:

Mirka wants a word with your psychic, Jamie.

Gordon Says:

Federer today was first beaten on the baseline, to recover, he tried to juice the serve and it did not work out. He tried to move to the net and was killed by passing shots. In simple words he did not have any solution to resolve Djokovic game. I am glad that Novak is feeling better and is in a good mood to repeat last season. Loking forward for him to get a career Grand Slam and Olympic gold this year.

alison hodge Says:

i doubt very much that roger and rafa are really that upset about todays results,by the sounds of things i think both were just gearing up for some practice ahead of the ao,i dont think i will read too much into these matches.

Humble Rafa Says:

i dont think i will read too much into these matches.

Yes. If Roger had won, even though, it was only an exo, fans of the Arrogant One will be on cloud nine.

If that happened, the fans of the “Egg Lover” will be saying, “Oh, that was just an exo”.

What goes around, comes around.

Humble Rafa Says:

Mirka wants a word with your psychic, Jamie.

I was about to say that. Ha Ha


Thanks for not checking with your psychic about Xisca. It is a “several night stands for several years” relationship, that is all. Nothing more. No love.

andrea Says:

hmmm…interesting results today. looks like novak is right back in top form..federer spanked. at least nadal won’t have to ‘start’ the year with another loss to novak…

goat galz Says:

Don’t write the old man off yet. GOAT still can win one but it’s going to be difficult. My next favorite is going to be Novak. He alone will prevent Rafa from getting near 16.
ta ta dolls

C.O.Z. Says:

Jamie. We’re talking about tennis. let’s leave players’ personal relationships out of the conversation.

About the article:
I have to say it is tiring that Nadal always seems to have an injury as an excuse. He might be getting twinges or whatever, but other people just get on with it. It’s obviously not that bad if he’s made the decision not to take time off now and rest for the Aussie Open. I mean, he’s playing an EXHIBITION for goodness’ sake!

A comment on Dave’s post:
Yes, Roger obviously tanked to Novak. I turned it off after the first set because I knew what was going on, and as a fan of Roger’s, I knew why he didn’t give it 100%, but I was also disappointed he wouldn’t put on a show for the crowd that paid to see him.
Also, let’s remember, having a bye isn’t always a good thing. If you’re playing someone like Novak, you don’t want to go in with less practice.
Novak had something to prove, unlike Roger at the moment. He’s not playing any tournaments leading up to the AO, and he had such a poor end to the season. He wanted to assert his dominance now. He gave it 100% against Roger and I expect him to do so against Ferrer, but I also think Ferrer will give 100% because he always does. That’s his way.
I expect Novak to win tomorrow, but if Ferrer wins, then things might get more interesting, because Novak, as I said, will play to win.

Ferrer happens to be my favourite Spanish player right now so I hope he wins.

The Fedal match might be fun. They know they’re only playing for match practice so I expect they’ll put on a good show to make up for such poor performances yesterday. They’re very used to doing exhibitions against each other, after all.

jane Says:

Found highlights of the Fed vs Nole exo match for anyone else who missed it:


Kimmi Says:

C.O.Z – “The Fedal match might be fun. They know they’re only playing for match practice so I expect they’ll put on a good show to make up for such poor performances yesterday.”

I am hoping for a good show from both matches coz its been dismal so far.

mat4 Says:

@Dave, C.O.Z.

Do you honestly think that Roger Federer would tank a match against Novak Djokovic? A match he is paid at least 500 000 $ for? And you are fans of Roger?

Come on… The truth is that he was rusty, at the beginning, and after that, a bit nervous. Against Djokovic, his game relies heavily on his serve, and he was not serving well. So think happend.

I am absolutely convinced that Roger would never tank a match, especially against Novak. And also that Novak would never tank a match against Roger. Grow up.

mat4 Says:

BTW, let’s not forget that Novak played great. The truth about that match, the players told it in their pressers. Literally.

grendel Says:

Kimmi – Ferrer’s serve can be underated. He can’t get free points easily a la Federer or Roddick (as was) or Tsonga or Berdych and so on – even Gasquet or Monfils or Troicki – the list is endless. But he can be bloody hard to put away, rather as Nadal can be. There’s just enough oomf on his serve to allow him, at least initially, control of the rally. So why doesn’t he win more biguns? I suppose there’s times when you need to blast the other fellow. On break points, of course, but also just from time to time to give you a blow. Ferrer’s game is such that he’s got to be straining to keep the ascendancy all the time, and in the end, that must be ennervating – and perhaps accounts for those odd little walkabouts you are sometimes surprised to see Ferrer fall into.
b.t.w., sounds like a good idea, Ferrer doing 2 first serves. It’s a gamble, but hardly outlandishly so and could be very productive.

grendel Says:

mat4 – I take it you watched the Fed/Novak match? How did Djokovic serve? That seems to me the key to Djokovic this year. If he serves like he did even in the US Open final, he’s going to struggle I’d have thought. But if he’s got his serve back, he may become unplayable .

mat4 Says:

… so things happen…

Djokovic showed his new gameplan against Monfils, and I have to admit that I like it: very aggressive, going to the net often, shortening the rallies… He needs a better volley, definitively, but with practice and matches, he will probably improve. He already has a good drop volley.

After his change of racquet his game became more “nadalesque”, with more spin, longer rallies, but this year he almost reverted to his roots, and the game he presented in the first set against Monfils is the natural evolution of his style of play from 2008.

Wog boy Says:

Wow, wow,wow
Thank you very much, nicely done, nice clip to wake up with. Music just great and flows with Nole.


You can not give 100% unless the other side makes you do so and it wasn’t other side in yesterdy’s match, sadly.


Can you understand commetator:-) Thanks, I didn’t hear Serbian commentators for long time, but I stiil prefer JohnMcEnroe, sorry mate, and he is coming to do AO for Foxtel, I just love him, even he is not always right.

mat4 Says:


Honestly, I don’t know what to answer. It looked to me he is serving better than he did at the USO, but not at the level he served in Australia. The problem, here, is that Roger was returning awfully bad, except for a short stretch. But after that, Djokovic improved his second serve (the ball wasn’t kicking high enough, so he searched the lines and made an ace). I feel he could have worked more on his serve.

But, on the other side, his forehand has improved (he was already n. 2 with forehand winners last year), he is more aggressive, he follows often to the net… If he finds his serve from 2008 (he won’t) he will look like a Roger with an improved backhand and return. I think that’s what he is aiming for. (His crosscourt backhand also looked more powerfull. Generally, Djokovic played very, very flat.)

mat4 Says:

If Djokovic manages to maintain the level of play he showed against Roger, or for stretches against Monfils, he has excellent chances to stay at the top. For my part, it would make me very happy, no matter his results.

grendel Says:

mat4 – the quality of your link is much better than jane’s – but I was unable to fast forward it, so actually had to go through the knock up! Anyway, on the basis of Djokovic’s first 2 service games, he seemed looser to me than he has done, not that I am much acquainted with him. His serves were contained – perhaps protecting the old shoulder? – but he appeared to let one or two quite fast ones go. I guess it’s looking good.

About “tanking”. Of course Federer wouldn’t tank as such. But I doubt if he comes to the match fully committed. This is a man who paces himself very carefully through the season, and I’d have thought that applies emotionally as well as physically.

grendel Says:

goat galz – shhhhh! don’t let the cat outta the bag…..I mean, the opposition can do it,and their aspersions can be dismissed as they would say that, but the home team’s supposed to pretend strict neutrality in these matters…One thing, it does show the somewhat chancy nature of records. They’re fun, and we all wet our pants over them – but even so, there’s a sense in which you can take them a bit too seriosuly…

Kimberly Says:

ahhh, who cares about Rafa (of course if he was looking great my attitude might be different), the HEAT are back on. I know this is a tennis forum but I have been posting on ESPN and no one likes me there and everyone says mean things to me, especially Celtics fans.

Not sounding good for Rafa at all. Federer always loses this exho. I remember he lost to Soderling two years ago then played great and won the Australian Open weeks later. Rafa usually gives every match, every point his all and his comments sound very unlike him. Expecting to lose but just want match play? Odd. I wonder if something is going on behind the scenes, what it could be I haven’t the slightest. But he owes it to us fans to FESS UP!

Perhaps he has achieved enough that he only cares about slams and is not going to risk injury to win other events? THats the answer i like.

Jamie, I wouldn’t mind hearing who the psychic says is going to win the NCAAF championship bowl game, the NBA championship and the Superbowl. Or do her powers only pertain to tennis and Roger Federer’s love life. LOL.

jane Says:

Wog Boy, no I could not understand the commentator. It was the first link I found on youtube for the match. I will have to have a look at mat4’s for more detail, etc.

Humble Rafa Says:

the HEAT are back on. I know this is a tennis forum but I have been posting on ESPN and no one likes me there and everyone says mean things to me, especially Celtics fans.

How on earth can you support a team that features Lebron James?

Recently he had a shoot for ESPN. The camera man was not allowed to directly talk to the king. The camera man would say “can you ask Lebron to turn left” to a Lebron handler who was 2 feet away, who would then Lebron, who was another 2 feet away, “Lebron, turn left man”. The camera man who had filmed Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and other big stars, said he hadn’t seen a star so full of himself like Lebron. He also brought his own DJ team for a 45 minute shoot.

Good luck, taking your talents to South Beach.

Kimmi, people don’t hate you, they hate your team. End of story.

Humble Rafa Says:

Your Humble Highness DOES know the difference between Kimmi and Kimberly. That was meant for Kimberly.

mat4 Says:


My link is in Spanish. But you will be satisfied: if Nole plays 10% better, or at least at this level, he will be very hard to beat.

When he gets tense, he plays with more spin, especially his forehand. But in two matches in Abu Dhabi, he has played the way I always wanted him to play.

It’s fair to say that Roger was too loose, he missed some forehands he doesn’t miss usually, but Nole was imperial from both sides. Notice the way he changes the direction of his backhand: Roger’s USO strategy, to deny angles on the backhand, clearly didn’t work today. Novak played changed from crosscourt to down the line whenever he wanted. His crosscourt on the run forehand is one of the best in the game, and – he improved there too – he finishes point right away whenever he steps in the court.

His main weakness are deep, angled volleys. He doesn’t know how to play them.

mat4 Says:

… Novak changed from crosscourt to down the line backhand whenever he wanted…

mat4 Says:


Something I heard from Robbie Koenig: “It’s like ham and eggs: the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.”

English is sometimes such an interesting language.

Kimberly Says:

Humble Rafa—does Lebron James and D-Wade not meet your standards of humility as they do not go into their pressers saying “i play really bad” “i need to play my best to win against this terrible opponent” etc etc. I believe they do use some injury explanations, but not as well as Kobe Bryant does. He may be even better than you.

Tennislover Says:

I have always wondered how seriously these players take the exos especially if they are at the start of the season. It must not be very easy for a player to just “tank” a match especially if it happens to be against their main rivals. After all, there is the question of ego and pride. No matter how one cuts it, Federer won’t like to lose nine games on the trot against anybody leave aside one of his biggest rivals. He was rusty but he wasn’t awful. Djokovic was extremely sharp and appears to have strengthened his strengths still further. I thought he served very well and ripped some screaming groundies. His ROS and defense were great as usual. He made one attempt – rather woeful one I must say – at s&v too. I don’t know if I have ever seen him do that.

In some contexts, these matches can be very meaningful. As mat4 said, it was important for Djokovic to make a statement both to Federer and the rest of the tour especially after his post-USO troubles. I was quite surprised by the intensity and extremely high level of play by him in an exo. It will be silly to base anything about a long season on just one match but this match proved at least one thing: as of now, Djokovic appears to be back to his very best and there is nothing to worry about in Nole land.

jane Says:

mat4, lol, at the ham and eggs comment. Had never heard that one.

Tennislover “He made one attempt – rather woeful one I must say – at s&v too. I don’t know if I have ever seen him do that.”

Well, if you watched the Wimbledon final, Nole made a rather smashing and successful attempt at s&v to set up match point. It’s etched in my memory. It always looks so good against the grass for some reason. :)

Tennislover Says:

I knew I was missing something. I did watch the wimby final and it was indeed very smart play by Djokovic as it had an element of surprise at a very tense stage of the match. Any other instances apart from that? I guess there must be some more. I watch a lot of his matches but I guess his fans are more likely to recall such instances.

mat4 Says:


Just read a tweet from Ivo Karlovic about Canada:

“I’m in Canada! The land of Raonic, Dancevic and Nestorovic.”

Though I have to admit I didn’t understand at first.

mat4 Says:


Djokovic used to play s&v at 40/0 every time until 2009.

Against Monfils, he followed every attacking ball to the net. Against Federer he was more conservative.

But although it was an exho, 5-1 in the last year boosts your confidence. And although I believe that Novak’s technical improvements are more important than his mental attitude (but things go together, usually), I have no doubts that he will be more relax, more confident in their next match.

Tennislover Says:

mat4: Memories can be short but I really can’t believe that I have so much difficulty recalling such instances. By your account, it used to be rather frequent too. I hope you are talking about following the serve to the net as against approaching the net on the back of strong groundies. I didn’t watch the Monfils match but following attacking balls to the net isn’t exactly s&v.

As for 5-1, I agree it will definitely boost his confidence. However, I was talking generally about the concerns regarding his physical and mental state going into the new season. With the kind of year he had, he was always going to be the man to beat in 2012 too. In fact, it could be an even more dominant year if Nadal does not find his best fitness and form and something tells me that he will struggle even more this year. Murray appears to be the only hope if he can find some inspiration.

mat4 Says:

One thing I thought about a bit. But I can’t be serious.

Roger and Rafa have a special relation, great respect for each other… Even Roger mentions this rivalry as something special.

But in reality, he should turn his eyes toward Djokovic, and focus on that rivalry. That rivalry should be the special one.

Why? A bunch of reasons.

First, he leads in the H2H.

Second, he won all his GS finals against Djoko (yes, there was only one, but…).

Third, the win at the FO will always be remembered: Djokovic was at the height of his power, and Roger take the GS from him (that will be the story in ten years).

Fourth, his defeats at the USO will always be remembered, too.

More important than are two things: the H2H between Roger and Rafa lost of his importance after Djoko’s six wins against Rafa (I read somewhere that Rafa was practising a lot flat strokes, and today I had the opportunity to see two staggering crosscourt backhands he unleashed against Ferrer);

then, if things don’t change between Novak and Rafa, his GS record should remain safe.

So, it is time to change from one favorite rivalry to another. Rafa and Novak will stick to theirs, I believe.

(Is it possible Nike buys Sergio Tacchini?)

Just jocking. Am I?

jane Says:

Thanks mat4, watched the whole match. Nole’s forehand and backhand both looked strong. He was hitting deep and using angles well throughout, using the whole court and defending well too. His serve looked a little vulnerable at times though. I worry about that, always, after living through late 09 to late 10 when he was beginning to get it back.

mat4 Says:


Yes, I am quite certain about the serve and volley. It was a Vajda’s idea, to rush to the net at 40/0.

Until the change of racquet, Djokovic served much better. I remember his fifth set against Baghdatis in Wimbledon, when he often served over 205 km/h. That’s the key of his outstanding results in TB in 2007 and 2008.

Novak’s problem was he was impatient. He underestimated Federer’s virtuosity and Nadal’s will.

So he tried to find shortcuts: a racquet giving more power than his Wilson. (But he couldn’t hit a forehand flat, after that, he lost his kicked second serve, and a lot of speed and especially precision on the first.)

Than, try a new coach. Now we see that basically, Todd Martin didn’t do anything wrong. But Nole was too impatient and couldn’t make up his mind. So he lost 2009, then 2010. Two years for nothing.

It is clear now that Vajda had a vision, a plan. He wasn’t a great player, but he is obviously an excellent coach. He understands that you have to take one step at a time. And he knows what he want to achieve in the end. We had a taste of it against Monfils.

Michael Says:

Nadal played to lose against Ferrer. He chickened out not to play against Novak in the finals. That was very clear watching his match against Ferrer. Ofcourse, there is always the injury card to help out for Nadal and he did not disappoint us once again.

margot Says:

Sorry grendel, miss-spelling. Just Google “Hurda Gurda Murder You tube” and up it comes! Barnaby makes a guest appearance.
My favourite tec is Rebus and Rankin’s newbie is pretty good too. Some Scandinavian gloom , just too gloomy for me. Very unsure about “Tattoo” trilogy for example, seems very gratuitous at times.
re tennis, don’t think we can read too much into an exhibition can we, think we’re all starving for some real tennis…;)

madmax Says:

Djokovic said fans shouldn’t read too much into his win over Federer, against whom he had a 4-1 record in 2011, including victories at the Australian Open and U.S. Open.

Djokovic attributed his win in Abu Dhabi to having a match under his belt — a win over Gael Monfils on Thursday — and a quick start that gave him momentum and prompted Federer to make several unforced errors.

“He has won over 15 matches at the end of 2011, so I’m sure he won’t feel down after this loss here,” Djokovic said. “His main goal here is to get a couple of matches under his belt, as it is for all of us.”

Federer apologized to the crowd for disappointing them with his quick exit and promised to play better Saturday when faces Nadal for third place.

He said he felt “good overall” and “was moving well,” but that he just was unable to chase down Djokovic’s groundstrokes that repeatedly caught the corners.

“It’s surprising when it goes quick and you are on the losing side. It’s not so comfortable sometimes,” Federer said.

He called Djokovic a good front-runner.

“You try hard and try different things and it’s not working. He was playing really well,” Federer said. “Unfortunately, it was a short-lived match but we know he is a very good front-runner. He took the lead in both sets quite early and that made it difficult because conditions were pretty quick and my game was not good enough today to make it more competitive.”

Earlier, Spain’s world number two Rafael Nadal beat Federer 6-1 7-5 in the third-fourth place play-off.

Ferrer, who beat Nadal in the semi-finals, had his serve broken five times by Djokovic and went 3-0 down in each set before succumbing to defeat.

Meanwhile, Nadal and Federer will next play in the season-opening Qatar Open, which starts on 2 January.

The Spaniard, winner of 10 Grand Slam titles, is nursing a sore shoulder, but looked impressive against his long-time rival Federer.

“It was a positive match,” he said. “I played better than yesterday and that was the most important thing.”

Federer played down his two defeats in Abu Dhabi, saying the time spent on court will serve him well ahead of his first tournament of the new season in Qatar.

“It’s about getting ready and feeling fine out there and enjoying a great atmosphere here and having the chance to play world-class players,” Federer said.

“Obviously I could tell Novak and Rafa are playing really well. That is not a surprise to me. I expected them to be in good shape for next year and they proved that to me this weekend.”

Difficult to find proper interviews at these exhibition matches, but here are some of the comments from novak, rafa and roger.

Hopefully the AO will be more competitive. I didn’t really see the competitive Roger I saw a few weeks ago, although Novak is taking every match seriously!

Watch out!

madmax Says:

jamie Says:
Federer is finished winning slams.

Wake up already.

December 30th, 2011 at 10:44 am

I actually believe that Jamie is going to fall in love with Fed. That’s all he talks about, writes about, thinks about. He is quite funny really. A great laugh.

Well, just got to enjoy these exhibitions really. A friend of mine says it is all tactical, and Roger is a wiley one when it comes to tactics. He can see where Novak’s game is out and go way thinking about his attacking game for next time they meet.

You gotta love Roger. Even if you are named Jamie!

alison hodge Says:

great posts madmax.

grendel Says:

mat4 – “It was a Vajda’s idea, to rush to the net at 40/0.” Are we talking about Wimbledon final? If my memory serves, Djokovic didn’t rush the net, but was actually quite tentative moving forward.

margot – tattoo trilogy owes more to American Crime lit. than Swedish imo. has nothing whatever in common with the Icelandic author I mentioned. This whole Scandinavian business was started by Henning Mankell (Wallender), and he remains by far the best. When I first read him, I was put in mind of Graham Greene – for atmosphere. Greene actually set one of his books in Sweden – England Made Me.

Expect you’re over the moon about Lendl. It’s a fascinating choice, and one eagerly looks to see if it makes any difference. I remember in the days immediately post Roche, some were touting for Lendl to be Federer’s coach. Doubt it would have worked – but I think this pairing might, if only because Murray is in a sense desperate (he knows that the window won’t stay open much longer), and so he might actually listen…

margot Says:

grendel, no not quite ecstatic, am a cautious Cancerian by nature!
Have u checked Hurda yet? Agree re Mankell and Larsson. Have you seen “Jar City”? Yikes that’s bleak. Quite a lot of Scandinavian stuff around. Was a prog about it in BBC 3 or 4 recently.

grendel Says:

“Have you seen “Jar City”?” How do you mean, seen it? Is it a film or something? I’ve read it – it’s Indridason’s first novel, and pretty good, too. Moving, too – I think because he shows how when certain courses of action are set in motion, sometimes before even the birth of the protagonist, the movement toward catastrophe is unavoidable. And he does it all so quietly.
Yes, I saw the clip – sorry, thought it was a bit laboured.

On the other thread, you say Lendl has no experience in coaching. It is certainly true that a great coach does not need to have been a great player, and conversely a great player may be a poor coach. I have this feeling about Lendl, though – he’s a man who likes to work out problems, he finds that satisfying, and I suspect he’s intrigued by the nature of the Murray problem. A problem is of no real interest if it is irresolvable, so we have to assume Lendl believes Murray is grand slam champion material. So it becomes a question of tackling the problem in the correct way, and therefore finding the correct way. That will be stimulating for Lendl – the question is, does Murray have the flexibility and humility to learn?

jane Says:

I like the way you put that about Lendl. And wasn’t it Lendl himself who had approached Murray last year? Seems to me I recall that. So he must believe he can help Murray over the hump. Murray’s had some time to think about it and he has chosen to go with Ivan. That suggests he is open. I think it is a good sign.

madmax Says:

Hi alison hodge!

Makes a change to post something which is positive about Federer and not get taken in by the underlying doom from you know who.

Post later Alison.

Not sure about the Lendl coach for murray. Just heard that Lendl hasn’t coached before? But got to trust in Murray’s judgment.

alison hodge Says:

by madmaxs post i really dont understand why people say roger is arrogant ,when he said how well both novak and rafa have been playing,win or loose roger always behaves in a classy manor,come what may.

madmax Says:

alison, I agree. Also, it’s great to read papers of repute who report fairly and by people who have followed tennis for many years.

After a fairly uneventful christmas, it’s nice to see what people are writing after the break, allegedly saying what was supposed to have been said and all, but people will choose to believe what they want to believe. Doesn’t matter really, so many people here post great, great insightful posts, interesting too.

I saw the photo that Jamie posted of Fed’s corker blister or boil or whatever you want to call it. It looks horrible so Jamie is right there, but treatment for most boils is heat application, so I reckon fed is in the best place to be honest – in the heat and the sun – could be over active sweat glands Jamie, or ingrowing facial hair?

what do you think? As long as it doesn’t affect his tennis, that’s what matters.

alison hodge Says:

madmax its probably like margot says,rogers maybe just a bit run down,bad diet, lack of sleep,bearing in mind he plays tennis all year around,and is bringing up two small children,i dont suppose for a minute theres anything to worry about,come the ao im sure roger will be just fine,i love rafa but rogers amazing and im sure he will have a terrific year and bag more grand slams,i dont really pay much attention to what jamie says,as any pychic worth there salt would never use the word hate,the way she did about rafa,as pyschics are supposed to be about positivity not negativity,spirituality is a gift and to hate anyone,whoever they are makes a complete mockery of everything she supposedly stands for.

Dory Says:

Nadal’s cursed at the Oz Open. He won’t get past the quarters this year too IMHO.

Top story: Djokovic Impressed By Sinner's Professionalism