Surprise! Rafael Nadal Says Knee Is “Doing Well”
by Tom Gainey | April 2nd, 2012, 6:22 pm

Just days after injury concerns with his left knee forced him out of the Sony Ericsson Open Miami tournament, Rafael Nadal now says his ailing knee is doing well and that he’ll be ready to play the Monte Carlo Masters.

“Hi all. Already in Mallorca wanted to send a message to all my fans. Went to one of my doctors today and the knee is doing well. I expect to be soon practicing and ready to the next competition. Thanks all for your support!!” Nadal posted via Facebook.

Rafa said he first felt discomfort before Indian Wells, but in Miami, where he also played doubles, the pain in his left knee grew to a level which prevented him from taking the court against Andy Murray in the Miami semifinals on Friday.

Nadal is expected to play in Monte Carlo in two weeks, then Barcelona before Masters events in Madrid and Rome as a lead-up to the French Open.

You Might Like:
Stan Wawrinka Withdraws From Rotterdam Due To A Knee Injury
Rafael Nadal Is Still Unsure If He’ll Play The US Open, This Knee Injury Is Different [Video]
Rafael Nadal Pulls Out Of Federer Match, Miami Due To Knee
Uh Oh: Rafael Nadal’s Left Knee Is Flaring Up Again, He Hopes It’s Nothing Serious
Li Na Withdraws From Summer Events Including US Open Due To Knee

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

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

174 Comments for Surprise! Rafael Nadal Says Knee Is “Doing Well”

mat4 Says:

Why am I not surprised? I almost wrote a post about Rafa ducking the competition two days ago.

Kimmi Says:

how could the knee be not fine last friday and then three days later it is fine to compete at high level? i would like to have what he is having.

Dave Says:

he should be ultra cautious leading up to the French. Winning Miami means squat! He wants to be in good shape for the grueling French-Wimbledon double and the olympics
where he intends to play singles and doubles. He does not have to play a schedule that suits the fans, if he pulls out of a tournament so be it.

kay Says:

As to Kimmi’s comments, I’ve injured my knee several times and truly with a day or so of rest, and if you can get the inflammation down, you’re up and going in no time. But for even and day or two it’s impossible but day three or four it can be good again! The human body is an amazing healing machine! Vamos Rafa!

Don Says:

Rafa was smart not to continue playing and to get a medical evaluation before risking further injury to his knee. A player has to make health and injury status a higher priority than playing in a given match. Otherwise, he/she will have a short tennis career. Rafa doesn’t duck competition because he is afraid he will lose a match. I think his history bears that out. Did he duck out of playing over 5 hours against the Joker at the Aussie open, a match he came close to winning?

Ora Reed Says:

I’m happy for Rafa whether he plays or not. The point is it’s entertainment. Fans can’t dictate who should play who.

Nick Says:

Wish my knee had such recuperative ability. Busted it 5 years ago, after surgery, rehab et,it has never been the same again, or even close to normal

cheryl Says:

He has injections into the knee and rests with no practice for a week which will leave him one week to practice before Monte Carlo. When he says his knees are doing well he probably means it is the old problem and nothing new so he knows the treatment will work as it has in the past.

dan Says:

Hi all. Already in Mallorca wanted to send a message to all my fans. Went to one of my dealers today and the knee is doing well. I expect to be soon practicing and ready to the next competition. Thanks all for your support!

Kimberly Says:

CHris Fowler says Rafa is the biggest hypochondriac ever. I think this is true to some extent. I think he is super tuned in to his body and every niggle he fears is the career ending injury and he overreacts.

To say he is ducking competition is ludicrous. When has he ever not wanted to compete? Last time I checked he showed up at every semi final and final where he had to play murray and djoker. Despite what he says I thought he played well the last set against Tsonga. He was in with a chance.

The hyprocrisy of many of the posters here is hilarious. When its one of their favs they say oh no rest up feel better. Come on, why is no one questioning Ana Ivanovic “hip” injury withdrawal v. Sharapova yet there she was playing Miami less than a week later.

And make excuses, come on. Lets see last time I checked Murray lost to Nadal at Montecarlo because of his elbow, Roland Garros because of his ankle, Wimbledon? not sure why but there is a reason i am sure, and US Open because he had a long match before and was tired. Federer lost at the Australian Open because of his back. Meanwhile, most Nadal fans give no excuse nor does Rafa for his multiple losses to Novak other than that Novak was simply better or his WTF match or IW to Roger. Heck, Federer losses to OTHER people now even blamed on Rafa (losing to Roddick since Rafa resigned from the council what a joke and an insult to Federer, he is way too mentally strong to let that affect his match)

When Novak finally loses to Rafa and I say when not if, I’m sure the excuses will pour out, Novak not playing his best, was tired, injured, shoulder, knee whatever.

But Rafa showed up at every match where Novak was supposed to play and Murray was to play time and time again. In fact, at RG he beat Murray BEFORE it was determined that he would be playing Federer, when it was almost assumed Novak would be there. If he was scared to play Murray, why beat Tsonga. It would have been easy to lose and not too embarassing to lose to the #6 player.

SOrry for the rant and rave.

mat4 Says:


In fact, you don’t need to be sorry. You are quite right, I was obviously wrong. Good points.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Great post, Kimberly! I think Dave is right also — Rafa is being cautious for the clay and grass season. At first I was worried about the knee, but one or two days after his withdrawal he was already posting very positively on facebook. He should be fine for Monte Carlo.

karl tres Says:

nadal withdraw from miami because he dont get the night match:

nadal : i want to play at night
tournament: why?
nadal : its too hot and wet in day, i will get more tired, better djokovic than me
tournament: but djokovic want to play at night too, and he is number 1
nadal : i dont care, i play at night or no more rafa for you
tournament: sorry
nadal : @$%$@$@ you!!!!

next day…

nadal : they called my bluf, i will had to play at daY
uncle tony: what!!! you are the start, you wont play
nadal : i can play
uncle tony: yeah, but you wont… so next year they will know we dont take a NO for an answer
nadal : but the fans, what i will say?
uncle tony: just pull the injury card
nadal : again?

William Lau Says:

Nadal is a good player. I have been following his progress all these years. He has work-outs, practices and reached the top and then slided to No 2 inthe world of tennis. I always beleive that at a competition, the Ball is “round”. The match can go either way. This depends on many factors – his form, mood, mental disposition, physical condition etc, Look at the four top players – Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray. Sometimes, they win and other times they lose. At the Indian Wells, Djokovic was edged out by Isner who at the final was thrashed by Federer. Well this phenonmenon will go on and on. I look forward to the Monte Carlo – let us welcome Nadal back and play a good game of tennis. Fans all over the world just like to see this Gang of Four at the competition. Say what you may, they are also the crowd drawers.

marko Says:


As a fan of Novak, I think you’re right.. I also think there may be some truth to the hypochondriac “theory”, but it’s just so hard to say for certain because Nadal wears his heart on his sleeve during the pressers. It’s just harder to compare the ups and downs of Nadal’s physical state to other players because others tend not to broadcast it so much. Just tough to determine whether he’s really being a hypochondriac or is simply voicing the every day ups and downs all the pros go through. I don’t know.

If/when Rafa beats Novak, I honestly don’t think there will be too many excuses. We all know that it can’t last forever. I just hope there isn’t TOO much gloating from Rafa fans when/if that day comes.

Kimberly Says:

Marko, anyone who gloats after one win fiollwong seven losses in a row would be pretty foolish. He would need to beat Novak seven times in a row before I could consider gloating. Even then it wouldn’t really be at the Novak fans as they haven’t really even gloated

Lulu Iberica Says:


I promise not to gloat! Unless Novak got some kind of major injury, I don’t see Rafa beating him routinely in the future. It would be more like, “Yay! Rafa finally got a win! He fought like hell and finally did it!” I hope I get to say that after Monte Carlo, or more importantly, Roland Garros!

Eric Says:

“Heck, Federer losses to OTHER people now even blamed on Rafa…”

To be fair, Kimberly, that was only the crazies and Dave (whose high-level executive experience gives him special insight into Roger’s mind).

I don’t think there’s anything that special about Rafa and injuries. He has tendinitis; it’s going to flare up and cause him problems from time to time. There’s no dark conspiracy behind it. Is it annoying that he talks about his injuries in almost every interview for months on end? Sure, but if that’s the worst thing he does, are we really complaining?

Admire what he does on the court, don’t hate on what he says in the press room.

Peekineeze Says:

Whatever. Tendinitis doesn’t heal in 3 days. If his tendinitis was bad enough to keep him from playing on Friday he wouldn’t be better by Monday. Rafa didnt want anything to do with Novak on that ultra slow hard court. I declare shenanigans!

mat4 Says:

@Kimberly, Lulu:

I certainly shall not mind if you gloat. Come on! It is even your duty, as Rafa fans. I certainly don’t enjoy when Skeezer reminds us about the GOAT whenever Roger wins a tournament, I was very disappointed when Novak lost at the USO or in the semi of RG, but… c’est de bonne guerre. We don’t have to be always politically correct. Can’t we make fun of each others and of our favs from time to time?

jane Says:

Kimberly, you go girl. :) I’m sure Rafa would’ve played if he felt he could do so without risking further damage. Heck, if we buy the theory that Murray lost because he was rusty (only or mainly) then maybe Rafa even helped Nole tighten his hold on number 1 by winning Miami, now wouldn’t that be ironic? ;) I am sure that isn’t the case though either. After all, it takes two to tango, and those two would’ve been the ones on the court yesterday.

Brando Says:


Brilliant post by both- you said EXACTLY what needed to be said.

Fran Says:

Rafa underwent PRP injection in the knee, same thing he had in the spring of 2010 between Monte Carlo and Rome. He wrote openly about the procedure in his book. It’s a relatively new treatment, nothing scandalous or BS about it.

Kimberly Says:

Thanks to all, Brando, lulu, Jane, mat4, Marko.

And no offense but Murray’s performance v tipsarevic wasn’t anything to run away from. And Karl tres, the person playing (or in Murray’s case not playing:( ) could have been said to have the advantage as the conditions for the final could be said to be more similar to the conditions of the day match as everyone knows the court plays vastly different in day and night in Miami. So in a way playig the day sifinal could be said to be an advantage for the final. But it didn’t turn out to be anything for Murray as he never played the match!

Denise Cumberland Says:

Well written Kimberly, Rafa is not afraid to play anybody and would NEVER cite injury to pull-out of playing a match either. You are 100% correct in what you say. Rafa is going to compete at the very highest level this year and will raise many trophys aloft too!!!!! Vamos Rafa!

Brando Says:


You have my respect. Your an ardent federer fan, an easy oppurtunity was there for you to take a pot shot at rafa- and yet you refrained. You choose to put a sound post instead- i like that!

And your right. Why should rafa risk his chances in the clay/grass swing for the sake of the miami tourny?

This was always a precautionary measure that rafa took-nothing more, nothing less. Wise move i say.

He’s clearly looking to listen to his body and learn from the mistakes he’s made in the past- shouldn’t ANY athlete do the same?

Surely it is health first- as opposed to the wishes of fans, personal ambition etc.

Glad to hear things are better- wish rafa a successful return!

Wheeler Says:

That’s just too bad. I was hoping he would be injured nicely before the clay season and would miss some big tournaments like the French Open. Let’s all hope he gets injured.

mat4 Says:


Me too. Though I hoped Roger would be injured too. Since there are good friends, they could watch the French together on Canal+ and have some beer.

Humble Rafa Says:

As some of you may be aware, Your Humble Highness and His knee operate independently. My left knee just informed that him and his brother, the right knee are doing just fine. They don’t remember anything that happened 4 days ago.

Now, we are one happy family. Ready to run like a rabbit on a clay court and moon ball opponents.

Thank you, Twins.

Humble Rafa Says:

I don’t see Rafa beating him routinely in the future. It would be more like, “Yay! Rafa finally got a win!

My entire “head space” is rented to the Egg Lover. That Yay moment may arrive too late.

Angel Says:

10 months without a title Rafa, if you don’t win Montecarlo you are done.

jpg Says:

it was 11pm when rafa posted; he had already returned to mallorca after going to dr. in vitoria (300+ miles from Mallorca) for knee infiltration procedure. after a few days rest can begin to prep for clay – recovery expected after procedure! Do you guys NOT remember the stat of: OUT OF 777 MATCHES THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND TIME HE HAS RETIRED FROM TOURNAMENT. People need to get their facts straight or else continue to sound like an idiot….

RZ Says:

Last week when Rafa resigned from the ATP Council, he said in his statement something like “When I do something, I do it thoroughly. I can’t hold back.” (Sorry for the bad paraphrasing – I’m too lazy to look it up.) I’m beginning to think his worries about his knees might follow the same pattern. Perhaps he isn’t a hypochondriac, but maybe he just really obsesses over any potential for injury. That may explain why he’s always talking about possible injuries.

marko Says:

@Kimberly & Lulu,

that’s precisely why I keep coming back to this blog.. Even when people might not disagree, or are fans of rivals, the comments are much more civil, sympathetic, and the atmosphere is just so much better than at some other places (like for example).

Sajanpawar Says:

Before Miami there was no talk about knee problem.Now Rafa says he had knee problem before Indian wells.Did loss to Federer made the statements to change.Before IW he did not play any tournament for long time.Looks funny.

skeezerweezer Says:

“I certainly don’t enjoy when Skeezer reminds us about the GOAT whenever Roger wins a tournament”

mat4…I would not be doing that and try to be ever so more humble if ant-fed fans would treat his legendary status with respect. But just ain’t so.

Wrt Nole, or Rafa of that matter….when they win a tournament ( or slam ) the opposite comes out from there hurd that there favs should be instantly held in the same GOAT career atmosphere as Fed. Woohoo. Frankly …I will no let that pass by until they really DO get close( in there respectful overall careers ), then I will back off….and fairly so!

wrt Rafa, I agree with Kimberly that Rafa has “issues”, Hypo…OCD..whatever…we all have something, no? . But I take offense to the fact that the injury excuse issue is getting passed on to other players as well. Sure, tour players talk about injuries and as such. But Rafa is the Tennis versions of the ” Boy who cried Wolf “. He was so injured that he had to WD from a semi-final Masters 1000 but a few days later he is practicing and declared fine to his fans. Who else in the history of the sport has consistently mentioned injury status publicly “before a tournament , during a tournament, after a tournament, and oh yeah, I was injured the last tournament also, just so you all know?????? It’s obvious he has nicks and scrapes, but as someone posted above “OUT OF 777 MATCHES THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND TIME HE HAS RETIRED FROM TOURNAMENT”…so how does anyone know really how bad his supposedly career ending injuries are that he repeatedly mentions to everyone all the time?

Frankly, this is one of the last posts about Rafa’s excuses for me, its getting really old and I really don’t care. I am sure Rafa fanatics will be very happy about it, but when you lambast me, just remember the youth of tennis is looking up to our tennis heroes, today, and the are watching the role models they are going to emulate. What role model of today would like like your tennis child prodigy to follow?

To each there own. Out.

King Federer Says:

Please don’t lump djokovic/rafa/murray with federer.

How many times has Fed taken a medical time out in the last 8years or so? 1 time in shanghai 2008.

How many times has fed retired mid-way in a match in a 1000+ match career? Zero, nada, zilch.

How much is the average time between serves for fed in most of his matches? around 20seconds.

How many times does Roger look up to his box for “support” in matches? very rarely.

You now answer the same question for the other 3. You will then realize fed is a class apart. The guy plays old-school “respect the rules” tennis. Obviously the other 3 regularly push the envelope regarding rules and want to win by hook or crook. i don’t fault them, it is the umps who should step up and make sure they don’t let things out of hand and the atp becomes a circus like the WTA.

There is a reason fed is popular with fans and peers alike. 9 atp fan favorite awards in a row and 7 out of 8 sportsmanship awards [voted by his peers]. So, please dont besmear fed. You make a fool out of yourself if you are saying he is in the same league as murray/joker/nadal when talking about injury abuse.

King Federer Says:

Skeezer Weezer :

Good points. I like it how rafa fans want to make this look like the 1st time rafa played the injury card. Now, if you are answering psycho fans, I can cite some ret@rded nadal/djokovic fans and bash the whole fans of those 2, but if you want to argue on some rational point, here is the deal :

The issue is NOT about WHY rafa did this – ducking djokovic/not. Couldn’t care less. This injury drama is a regular circus with rafa, starting from way back in 2006. Rafa says he has had knee problems in mallorca before IW, yet he signed up for doubles duty at both places? Really? what kind of logic tells you to play more when you suspect you are injured? It must be the stuff of genius.

Fed Fan 2 Says:

Nadal injured? What phantom injury does he have? Was there ever a doubt in anyone’s mind that he would be ready for Monte Carlo?

Dan Martin Says:

Rafa has a right to talk about whatever he wants, but he has rubbed Delpo & Fish (more ?) the wrong way by talking about injuries. All of these guys have use related injuries where nagging problems exist. Most don’t talk much about these injuries. Rafa has the right to talk about them and players and fans have the right to react.

roy Says:

“How many times has Fed taken a medical time out in the last 8years or so? 1 time in shanghai 2008.
How many times has fed retired mid-way in a match in a 1000+ match career? Zero, nada, zilch.”

lack of injury has nothing to do with superior sportsmanship. if you are linking lack of injury to sportsmanship you clearly aren’t too bright, despite claiming to make ‘rational’ arguments.

‘You will then realize fed is a class apart. The guy plays old-school “respect the rules” tennis. ‘

for example, asking for an umpire to fix hawkeye because it was losing him the match at wimbledon 07?

for example, smashing his racket when losing a match?
[see a pattern here?]
unfortunately for your super rational argument there, it turns out nadal has been far more respectful of his equipment [believe it or not part of the ‘old school’ code] than your hero.

not to mention, murray and djoker and nadal are far more gracious in defeat.
djoker regularly congratulates good play on court, something i’ve never seen federer do.
nadal, murray and djoker have never disparaged federer’s game, where as there are countless examples of federer doing this to his rivals.

and finally, when losing a grandslam final, neither nadal or djoker have ever bawled like 5year olds to draw the attention away from the victor onto themselves.
it’s true murray did shed some tears, but he wasn’t a 25+man with 13slams and his behaviour was downright manly compared to federer’s display which even left mirka embarassed.

and if you still think federer is such a class act and incredible sportsman, perhaps you should watch federer in his early career, acting like an utter brat on court.
kicking his racket around, shouting at opponents [hewitt, davis cup] for congratulating a good shot…

yes he’s such am incredible class act when everything is going well. but you measure a man by how he behaves in crisis.

King Federer Says:

I like it how you have smartly not talked about medical time outs and retirements which ACTUALLY are related to injuries but come out with racquet breaking and press conferences and anything but things related to injury.

I like this gem about Federer crying in 2009 AO to steal rafa’s thunder. How about when he cried at the 2006 AO when he won the AO? I guess that was because he was trying to steal rafa’s thunder who had the world at his mercy with another “injury” where he withdrew from the tournament.

If I had to pick getting emotional seems a smaller offense than cheating or breaking rules, but hey some people would justify even their favorite dopes or does other illegal activity. about getting emotional, i would rather the guy cried a few minutes at the end of a tournament than have him jumping like a gorilla with ants up its @$$ for every freaking point. then again, to each his own.

so you see we can give whatever spin we want about people we don’t like, but I would like you to comment on the retirement/MTO abuse records of the top 4. I am guessing you dont want to talk about it, do you roy?

King Federer Says:

More on the class act of rafa who did NOT disparage djokovic last year when he kept repeating to everyone who would listen that Djokovic is winning everything now but he will have to repeat everything next year. That is definitely giving so much credit to a guy who has had a year that rafa never had in his entire career.

King Federer Says:

Another question : If rafa/murray/djokovic are so graceful towards their competitots, how come only 1 of them has won the sportsmanship award [voted by fellow players] in the last 8 years?

How come tennis fans dont pick this either voting Fed as fan favorite even in years where rafa/nole ran the table? Why does fed consistently get more support than rafa/nole/murray in any neutral arena? Maybe, just maybe, that federer is not the monster that Mr. roy and his friends make us believe?

steve-o Says:

I beg to differ from Kimberly. Unlike most top athletes, I don’t believe Nadal has any idea what is going on with his own body.

He treats his own body like a teenager joyriding in a borrowed car, always running himself into the ground heedlessly, pummeling the ball without a care for the impact on his body.

He wouldn’t be able to play as he does if the deep-seated connection between mind and body hadn’t been severed by some means; the normal self-preservation instincts that we all have would kick in, and he’d hesitate to chase down balls. This is the harsh, brutal training that Toni Nadal has imposed on him. He has been turned into a tennis machine.

I’m of the opinion that he’s a malingerer and a hypochondriac. I speculate that his “injuries” are psychosomatic manifestations of his mental state; they may be some way his mind has of compensating for the broken connection between mind and body. When he feels depressed or loses, then he often believes he is injured.

He may believe, at some level, that he has these crippling injuries that come suddenly and depart just as suddenly. He may even believe that he feels pain. But I don’t think he has any serious physical problems.

If you take what the guy says at face value, he needs MRIs for twinges in his foot and knee to make sure they aren’t serious. An athlete who genuinely understood his body and was sensitive to its rhythms probably wouldn’t need an MRI to make sure of such things; he’d be able to tell from the degree of pain whether it was serious enough to need medical attention or just the sort of minor niggles that any pro athlete has from time to time.

What is clear is that his “injuries” have had negligible impact on his performance. In 2011, Nadal made 10 finals, three majors and 5 Masters. It took Djokovic to defeat him in six of those finals.

Again in 2012 he made a Grand Slam final and two semis of Masters. Not a bad record at all.

To paraphrase Kimmi, 99.99% of the tour would love to have whatever “injuries” Nadal is having, given his degree of success.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

roy : For all your ridiculous rants about Roger’s sportsmanship, I urge you to read Roddick’s interview after his victory against Roger. Apparently, he spent more time with Roger so he would be a much better person than any stupid poster here to make a judgement on Roger. And this interview was done after be beat Roger.

Lenny Says:

Here come the usual, disgusting, biased-against-Rafa insinuations. The allegation that Rafa of all people is afraid of competing is utterly laughable in the face of the evidence.

As for his recovery not being possible, I had achilles bursitis a few months ago, and the pain was so excruciating, I couldn’t walk, leave alone do anything else. 2 days of RICE, and I was back to normal. SO, yeah, it’s completely possible if you know how to take care.

Tran Says:

Haha, just like that. I would also like to start clay court tournaments feeling undefeated :-))))))

Jeanius Says:

But than again Lenny, all Rafa fans and himself are aliens. No wonder you need no time to heal. Just saying

mat4 Says:


I am not sure that I understood you or that you understood me well about the GOAT thing.

My point was that though I perhaps don’t like when you brag, I would gloat much more often if I were at your place. And I think it is OK.

A few ideas: when Roger won Indian Wells, I would have written:

1) “Was Rafa ill? I can’t believe he was ok and still lost. He was so unlucky and certainly has tendonitis.”

2) After the final ace on match point: “Great match from Rafa. He played his best. I am so disappointed with a subpar Roger.”

3) After the final against Isner: “Roger showed once again that he had problem with the return.”

4) Dubai final: “There are no doubts that Andy absolutely deserves to be no 4 in the world.” “Roger looked very tired.” “Andy beat the no 1 in the world, so he was in great form. It must be a bad match-up/Roger was just lucky/it is just a matter of time when he will overcome Roger… in 2016…”

And I warn you: if Nole wins RG, I will be insupportable, unbearable, etc. I’ll write immediately about the new GOAT. greatest of greats, goatest of goats. If he lose, you won’t see me at least one month.

eco5 Says:

You guys all need to read this Economist blog:

Some people seem to think that this is a wise move Rafael Nadal chose, but I would say that this is almost cheating and betraying spectators, given the fact that many of the ATP rules have been changed to this Spaniard’s advantage, such as 3 set matches instead of the past 5 or the increasingly slow courts, and yet this guy still keeps complaining about the status quo. If this Spaniard is a good player, how come he quit his job as vice president of the ATP Player Council right before Federer’s lost match last week???

Stella Says:

The Miami tournament still went on. Nadal was not missed and the same will be said if he loses RG. Tennis is not about any 1 player.
If he was truly injured he would have taken more time off to recupe but it seems like he was just being cautious.
Hope he does well on the clay!

Frank Says:

He does NOT say the knee is doing “well” He says the knee is doing “better.” You just changed “better” to “well” to add your own spin.

Hola a todos. Quería saludaros desde Mallorca. Hoy estuve con uno de mis médicos y la rodilla va mejor. Espero estar pronto entrenando y listo para la competición. Una vez más, gracias a todos por vuestro apoyo!!

Kathy Harden Says:

Nadal – when withdrawing from Miami semi-final, Nadal stated in a couple of articles that his match with Murray would be very competitive (meaning that if he won he would likely be in no shape to face Nole) – thus he made the decision to prevent further damage. (If he’d taken on Murray and lost, he would simply have aggravated the knee for no good reason).

All of that’s ok – but looking forward – given that at least one knee has history – the question is can Nadal ever again win a GS or even a Masters – at some stage in both these types of matches there will be a couple of hefty competitive games. Can he seriously consider making what is a permanent weakness a permanent disability? Is that knee ever going to improve if he continues to play with such physicality, which is what his game is about.

Federer – he will be no. 2 by end of 2012. And that will be it – his clock is running fast now – despite recent successes and further sucesses this year he hasnt got a lengthy future as a top player.

Djokovic – too soon to say how long he will wish to compete at his current level – his game is also very physical. But predict he will still be no. 1 at end of 2012.

Murray – Predict he will overtake Nadal by end of 2012 as will Federer.

Brando Says:

@mat4: IF djokovic wins RG, there will be people saying he’s the GOAT. IMHO, they’ll be wrong- BUT they’ll make people realise this goat thing is ABSOLUTE BS created up by fans. When Sampras retired I remember people said he was the GOAT, then federer, then people said who knows- what rafa surpasses federer’s GS total- it mus. Be him then? Now less than 16 months after djokovic wins his 2nd slam, potentially his 6th people believe him to be the goat. 3 different GOATS in 3 years- it’s all absolute BS, some stupid thing fans/ media have started Nd will keep on running with. Watch how the next guy to be successful after nole, will be another GOAT! LMAO!

Kathy Harden Says:

Editor – please remove my name and mail address from the open site.

zola Says:

What a surprise to see a title like this in tennis-x and from no one but Tom Gainey!

I just watched Rafa-Tsonga match replay last night. You could see towards the end of the match that Rafa was visibly in pain. His knee has been bothering him since the AO.

Anyone who has played an hour of tennis in their life know how demanding the sport is on the knees, especially on the hard courts. Why should Rafa risk his health and play with an injured knee?
The fact that Rafa practices doesn’t mean the knee is 100%. He has played with injections in the previous years. He did not want to be out completely the way he did in 2009. Is that a crime?

IW and Miami serve no purpose. They lead to nothing! It was wise for Rafa to pull out, get his knee examined and get ready for the long season ahead.

the_mind_reels Says:

My two cents is that a lot of guys are generally carrying injuries, some bigger and some smaller, for a decent chunk of the season. For recreational players, sure, you can expect to go out on the court and not have any blisters on your feet or hands, no aches in your legs, or whatever. These guys, even with the best physios and trainers, are going to have to play through the pain that comes from putting your body through this level of competition week in and week out.

So, when Nadal tells the press that he’s been feeling some pain actually since *before* Indian Wells in his knee, which he did, that gives half of people on here a reason to jump on him and cite his loss to Federer as due to his knees, and it gives the other half a reason to jump on him for always making excuses. I didn’t read his presser after that match, but I don’t think he came out and said that he lost because of his knees. He probably feels pain in his knees after every match, whether he wins or loses.

A withdrawal from a tournament is likely indication of a larger injury, which I’m assuming is why Nadal pulled out, but anything up to pulling out from a tournament — so, “Ow, my knee/back/elbow was hurting back in IW” — doesn’t seem worth reading much into given that most of these guys are probably carrying lingering or (at this point) slightly chronic injuries with them anywhere they go. Federer’s back flares up at times, Murray is often grabbing at his hamstrings, and Djokovic sometimes has various parts of his quads/knees taped up. It’s part of the game, for better or for worse, which is why I’m less inclined to downplay injuries or withdrawals in the context of results. If someone *could* have had an amazing year but they were injured, or they *were* going to win a major but they were injured, well, either way they didn’t, and that’s part of the sport. It’s a normal thing that all of these guys experience.

Ajet Says:

whatever rafa will say, will always draw both the opposite parties: the pro-rafa ones as well as the anti-rafa ones. i dunnow why people’re complaining if nadal feels his knees’re doing better than previously! rafa pulled out justifieldy imo due to his knees which must be bothering him. that is perfectly valid! and it is not beyond the realms of impossibilty either that the knees which’re far from dislodged would feel much better sfter 3-4 days rest! and for an athlete, the feel-good factor is so important! he was not feeling ready t play the brutal sports of tennis some days ago, but now that his doctor told him that he’s probabaly out of danger and can stop being too concerned about his knees, rafa conveyedthe message to his fans! GOOD FOR HIM!

why others so bothered about this and why so surprised??? ypu can say l you want like nadal feared murray/djoker or was fakin injury or stuff, but really i believe nadal on this issue! it’s not impossible for him to feel better after some days rest and treatment and consultataion wth his physician! and being the passionate guy that he’s, i don’t blame him if he’s again eager to get back to court to compete after doctor’s positive asuurance!

Ajet Says:

i mean ”and it is not beyond the realms of possibilty” in my previous post and not ”and it is not beyond the realms of impossibilty”

Rose Says:

What terrible, bias journalism. Poorly written and just stirring the pot. If Rafa did play injured in Miami, he would have injured his knee even more and been out for the clay season. Obviously by the title of your article, you dislike Nadal.

Raju Says:

Rafa made a right and perfect decision by withdrawing from Miami. He knew about his body better than anyone. And he knew how important each tournament in terms of calculating points for his No. 1 position in ATP rankings. To be honest, Nadal was struggling with his serve. He was not at his best (in service) as he was when he won US open in 2010. Nadal, right now changed his game to a little extent to hit more winners in order to finish a point on his will but he did not attain to perfection. Thus he was committing more unforced errors. He knew he needs couple of tournaments before he hits more winners with perfection. Now coming to Miami semis withdraw, he lost not more than 300 ATP points. But instead he kept his chasing of ATP points to an easy way which means next time when he comes he is sure to make semis and will not lose any points. Now coming to his future tournaments, he knew he has to keep up his Monte-Carlo which for sure he will do and he will keep up his Barcelona too. The next is Clay masters, he is sure of making to finals but the real challenge is to Novak to win those two clay masters to keep up his No. 1 rank intact else it will be Rafa who will be digging into Novak. If Rafa wins both the clay masters in May and keeps his RG in Paris then with a win at Wimbledon he will be the No. 1 again.

RZ Says:

@mat4: “goatest of goats.” Too funny!

maximillian Says:

I prefer Novak to Rafa but I lie both of them

If I were Rafa and facing grueling duel(s) with Murray and Djokovic on aching knees, I would do the same regardless of win/loss chances. Rafa correctly pulled out of the tournament, giving himself a few extra days of rest and switching to the softer surface (cla).

As Novak put it nicely (albeit being accused of being hypochondriac, loser, chicken, etc.): “I would not sacrifice my health and jeopardize my career for winning any tournament. It is not worth it.”

Rafa did the right thing!

Humble Rafa Says:

AOAT – Arrogant one of all time.

serbian hammer Says:

Loud and clear,Novak wins everything.

Kimberly Says:

And I warn you: if Nole wins RG, I will be insupportable, unbearable, etc. I’ll write immediately about the new GOAT. greatest of greats, goatest of goats. If he lose, you won’t see me at least one month.


LOOOOOOOOL,although the Djoker slam would be very impressive no one has done in a long time yes?

stu Says:

Kimberly, on the ATP, I don’t think anyone has done it, ever.

mat4 Says:


No doubt the GOAT story is pure BS. But if Nole wins the FO… I’ll be the GOAT of all the braggarts, swaggerers, blusterers on this site (words from Google Translate). I’ll brag and I’ll gloat — a new word: I’ll GOAT.

So… since Roger is the GOAT, GOAT means nothing. This is a word that can have a deep, almost existential and true meaning only if, in the near futur, Nole becomes the goat.

Brando Says:

@mat4: LOL- i won’t blame you. What a joke this GOAT thing has turned out to be, LMAO!

mat4 Says:


On the other side, most of the time, here, we just keep writing about that. I was even surprised when I found a blog about “the foot soldiers of tennis”: no Rog, Rafa, Nole… is it possible?

I watched Pico Monaco – who is an interesting, excellent player – last year just once. I miss most of Step’s matches. Mardy Fish played some beautiful tennis last summer, but I’ve seen so little of it. But I have seen the AO semi twice, the Madrid final four times, I even watched the FO semi a few times (and it wasn’t easy for me).

Is it a curse or a fortune that Roger, Rafa and Novak are synonyms for men tennis nowadays?

Ajet Says:

my heart goes out to the goats over here! ;)

Ajet Says:

And Humble Rafa= HOAT(Humblest Of All Time)!

Dave Says:

Folks, the ‘Dave’ at April 2nd, 2012 at 7:17 pm is not me.

At most two more three-set matches in Miami (semifinals and final) means squat to Nadal’s chances between French Open to Olympics. Really, why should an extra 2 to 5 hours of exercise change anything? However losing to Murray or, worse, Djokovic could further impact everyone’s confidence going into the clay season.

I already predicted that Nadal’s knees would be magically fine just a few days after ducking a match with Andy Murray. And I have already gone into much length on why I doubted Nadal’s announcements of ‘knee injury’ were really serious in the first place. No need to repeat again. How gullible are some people to keep falling for his never ending injury excuses year after year after year.

Of course it is time for Nadal’s knees to be better again. After all Nadal needs to start practicing (where the public might see him, even in Mallorca) for Monte Carlo where he might have to face both Djokovic and Murray (depending on how the draw goes). And who knows, Federer might even consider entering as a wild card, though I suspect he would not mind seeing his top rivals burn themselves out over the next three clay Masters.

Nuff said. This version of Dave is taking a break. I’m tired and need to rest my ailing wrists and knees and research capabilities until Monte Carlo… or probably Rome. Reading the ATP rulebook did me in :)

Hasta la vista… enjoy yourselves and be nice to each other.

Ajet Says:

have a nice break dave! and come back in time for montecarlo!

Daniel Says:

Roy says: “nadal, murray and djoker have never disparaged federer’s game, where as there are countless examples of federer doing this to his rivals.”

Just to make a funny comment: How could any one who enjoy tennis dispared Fed’s game, specially a professional player?:

alison hodge Says:

i think its probably understandable that people doubt his motives,but for me rafa did the smart thing by pulling out of miami if he was not 100 percent fit,especially with the clay court season coming up,im sure he would like to make a statement there by kick starting his season with some titles,although im not sure playing barcelona is a smart move ,hmm hope he knows what hes doing.

Ajet Says:

”Just to make a funny comment: How could any one who enjoy tennis dispared Fed’s game, specially a professional player?”

hahaha, you’re right daniel! ;)

Dan Martin Says:

I think Rafa is sincere in his public expressions of concern for his health as well as public declarations of improvement. As a matter of taste, I prefer less information about the process of how an athlete gets ready to play and the doubts and questions about health/preparedness etc. that all athletes walk through. People are free to have a different taste about it. I do think Fish last year at Wimbledon and the YEC was upset w/ Rafa. JMDP at Wimbledon also was frustrated during their match.

Kimberly Says:

Dave, I said earlier, Murray wasn’t exactly so impressive in the match against Tipsarevic that someone should run away. I don’t see why Rafa would opt to lose points when the match was certainly at least 50% chance to go in his favor.

mat4 Says:


Don’t bother. Let Rafa walk the walk.

The story about ducking is good for a joke, nothing more.

skeezerweezer Says:

^ Yeah and don’t support the idea Rafa was ducking, never have…..once Rafa is committed to play on the court he plays 120%

Humble Rafa Says:

Just a gentle reminder to the Rafa Nation. The clay court season is about to begin. I need to win a title badly and I need your help.

Go to the “internets” to spread the positive message. The web is “infested” with haters talking about my injuries.

Humbly Yours!

Daniel Says:

Brando and mat4,

you are dismissing the GOAT debate, but the point is what we are seeing in tennis is unprecedented, we may have 3 top 3 players with career Slam in a few weeks. When or did this ever happen before?!

The whole hype is because we have in a Span of 5 years 3 different players winning 3 Slam per year: Fed in 07′, Nadal in 10′ and Djoko in 11′, again, when did this ever happened before. One thing is too be successful but the GOAT accolades the 3 of them are having is justified, Djoko is 24 and have 5 Slams, he may stay with 5 or go beyond 10, who knows, but the potential is there, for all of them. Even with one dominate plater things can change at any tourney, and the whole drama of watching it is expecting when. It started in AO 2008 with Djoko, than Wimby 2008 for Nadal, than RG 2009 for Fed, than US Open 2010 for Nadal and last AO 2011 for Djoko. He has won 4 of the last 5 Slams, you can count in one hand how many players did this.

magdalene Says:

Funny headline. Why the surprise? You mean you don’t expect Nadal to get better?

Don’t understand all this over-reactions and mean comments, as if Nadal is the only one getting injured. Cut Nadal some crap. Don’t pass sarcastic remarks over your own beliefs and assumptions. Go and pay your attention to other players and give them some sympathy. There are so many other tennis players injured out there. Nadal’s not the only one and he’s not the first tennis player to withdraw from tournaments with injuries. Nadal has chronic tendonitis throughout his career and this can flare up at any time. We only wish him well and hope he recovers quickly.

Nadal says his knee is better but that does NOT mean he’s practising yet. Don’t twist his words to suit your purpose. He expects to practise only when his knee has recovered which may be end of the week or next week. Nadal is one of the best players in the game and fully deserves our respect.

Nadal IS definitely missed at tournaments. When he’s not there, you can feel the buzz and spark die down. My friends and were there at the Sony Ericsson Open and you can hear lots of people in the crowd talking about it and missing him.

Of course the audience will be there as tickets are already bought way in advance but the enthusiasm, buzz and excitement when Nadal is around is not.

jane Says:

Daniel, there is a writer writing a book about this notion “you are dismissing the GOAT debate, but the point is what we are seeing in tennis is unprecedented, we may have 3 top 3 players with career Slam in a few weeks. When or did this ever happen before?!” – i.e., that there are a few greats playing now. He posts at sometimes; here’s a blurb about it.

Personally, I prefer to say that there are a number of greats and not one GOAT, but it is certainly a lively concept. The debate over it is seemingly endless, which is somehow appropriate. At least until we witness whether or not the world will end later this year.

mat4 Says:


I am not dismissing the GOAT debate. In truth, I have gone farther: it is already clear to me that we have a few goats around and I would like to initiate a new, more interesting debate: who is the GOAT of all GOATs, the GOATEST?


Who can there be any debate there? Since the open era, one man got all the records in the book. What is there to debate about?

mat4 Says:

How can there be…


Wog boy Says:

Nice read, I loved the comments , too, thanks for link:)

mat4 Says:


Scoop and Dan write often very interesting articles, and their choice of topics is unusual and refreshing.

Wog boy Says:

“refreshing”…..right word.
To be honest I don’t go nor I know all those blogs, don’t have time either. I stick with tennis-x and very few more and check all those links that you are posting and enjoy reading “refreshing” ones like this one :) That is good enough for me , for now on.


i think people should stop this cynicism and appreciate the physicality of the game. Rafa has never backed away from competition and he’s not about to start now. people should give him a break!

Daniel Says:

Who can there be any debate there? Since the open era, one man got all the records in the book. What is there to debate about?

This I agree with:)

Lenny Says:

@Jeanius SHHHHH. Now I have to keel you.

tennisfansince76 Says:

some people have mentioned that after June we might have 3 active players w/ career slams which is unprecedented. to me this is just a sign of how all the surfaces have come closer together. it is simply much easier to win wimbledon and the french together now. the style of play required to win each used to be so far apart that it was very difficult for a player to make the adjustment. that Borg did was amazing. think of some examples. Mats Wilander in the year he won three slams was eliminated very early at W. Kuerten a 3 time FO winner got only as far as the QFs at W once and was easily eliminated by agassi. Lendl made the finals twice but never looked comfortable on the green stuff. how many W’s would he win w/ the current conditions? if W went back to the old conditions Nadal, and Djoker would have big problems and Fed might have a harder time too. there was always the chance of being served off the court by some monster delivery. there is much less chance of that now although serves are still more dangerous on grass.

Brando Says:


Come on now daniel, whilst i’ll give you that 3 career slams winners would be amazing and seemingly suggest that this era is the best ever- but thats just by going on the cover of the book.

IF you look closely you’ll realise that all the surface are virtually the same now- it’s no coincidence that these guys- potentially- have all brought up their career slams in the space of a mere 3 years!

I think we shall have alot of players getting career slams in the future- so many that the achievement will be made redundant.

I don’t deny that fed, rafa and nole are brilliant players, BUT i strongly believe that the immense similarity of the surfaces has made things easier for them and raised their stock to a greater level than it actually is worthy of.

I’m a rafa fan and i believe fed is the ONLY one out this era who has a chance of replicating his present success on the surfaces of the past.

Rafa and nole would struggle big time!

I think the godfather of the game rafa and nole play- Bjorn Borg- is greater than both!

He’s the ONLY one who claim to better than rafa on clay, and is plain better than both on grass.

What does that leaves us with? Indoor courts? His record is better than both on that surface.

ONLY on hardcourts does his record look weak- and even then his record is brilliant.

Brando Says:

And 1 more thing: i find it someewhat silly that people are already placing nole in the same category as federer and nadal.

It’s just plain silly.

IF nole were to retire today what would his career look like:

1- A monstrous 2011- federer had 2 of those (2006, 2007), Mcenroe had 1 too. Exactly how many people place mcenroe in the top 5 of all time, even though he has more slams than nole and has been RU at FO?

2- The Aus Open and YEC in 2008. I think most people see 2008 as nadals year. Federer himself won a slam and was RU in 2 others. So nole is 3rd on that year.

3- This year. Aprils just started things can quite easily dramatically change.

Beyond that their is nothing much that EVEN andy murray himself hasn’t matched or surpassed.

IMHO he has a long way to go before he can be placed with federer and nadal.

Nole’s ONLY dominated 1 year, and had brilliant starts in 2 others.

Fed and rafa have won AT LEAST a slam and finished inside the top 2 for 7 STRAIGHT YEARS.


Just because we like a player, lets not exaggerate his place in tennis history.

Like tennis channel placed it- the guys outside top 30 ATM.

mat4 Says:


I don’t agree. It is not only about the surfaces, and not only about the balls or the racquets: this view is too simplified.

First, we have a distortion caused by the fact that Federer, Djokovic and Nadal play well on every surface, and their game is very complete. We should take it in account.

Another factor we seem to forget is that, today, players have more complete games that they ever had. Take Tipsarevic p.e. He serves well, has an excellent ground game, good backhand, good forehand, his transition game is without weakness, his volleying is not outstanding, but good. Or Mardy Fish. You could write the same about him. Or even Gilles Simon. Or Berdych.

A big part of the truth is that players, today, work much more, they have less obvious weaknesses.

Brando Says:

P.S: The above post is a reflection of what i believe is nole’s present position. No doubt he can quite obviously- and most likely will- finish alot higher in the pantheon of the game’s greats by the time he finishes.

Daniel Says:

Brando, agree with most of what you say.

Only thing is, Novak alreayd has 30 titles, which you overlooked.

Totally agree about the slowing down the courts and the sucess of Nadal and Djoko.

We tend to anticipate things and creat the hype. I am guilty of going with the trend on this one. I remember back in 2006 when Fed repeated a 3 year Slam (after 2004), he had 7 and people where proclaim him the futre GOAT, turn out they were right. This because they sense this things and realize they were watching greatness. Only major injury or mental collapse could stop Fed, and a certain Spaniard. We saw those in the past as well, both McEnroe and Borg, so it could happen again, even for Djoko.

The way I see it, I am watcing greatness again, Saw it with Fed, couldn’t believe when Nadal raised his level (saw it again) and I am seeing it with Djoko.
This may hurt the Nadal fans, and I as a Fed fan may be biased, but game wise to me, even with Novak not having Rafa’s huge forehand (which we hardly ever see this days, he should just smack the hell out of the ball as he used to), Djoko has more game than Nadal!
And that is why, for everybody non Fed or Nadal fan, he is destiny for big things.
Specially the way he won matches mentally surpassing this greats who were above him (Fed and Nadal). Not every player done this in the past as well.

But also I agree with Dave, eventually the law of avarages will get him. He won too many close matches where either he shouldn’t extend the match or could have lost. For example: Wimb and US Open 2011 (but that is credit to Rafa, no way he would lose those Slams in straights); Fed 2011 US Open, Murray 2011 AO, Nadal 2011 AO. He had let’s say, a bit of luck in all of this matches. At leats in some patches we though he would lose, specailly the last 3 Slams agaisnt Nadal, all this matches had drama even with Novak looking supreme and sure winner (something Nadal didn’t look in either of them). How he reacts and regroup when he loses a Slam match again is the big factor. But, after what he did after RG 2011 and that crushing defeat to Fed I won’t think he will fold.

Brando Says:


I agree with most of your post too.

When i see fed, rafa and nole- do’nt get me wrong- i also feel lucky to be able to watch them. No doubt a blessing i recognise.

Re nole having more game than rafa? No offence taken as a rafa fan here. From a technical point of view, i can see it being a valid point. BUT for me rafa- with his game- is a COMPLETE ONE OFF. The kind you will not see again. Nole’s game can be replicated- in fact there are similarities with others on tour- rafa’s is a unique ONE OFF. You won’t see it again.

As for nole’s lucky breaks? I couldn’t agree more with you on this point.

First things first- nole DESERVED each and every trophy he has won in the last 16 months- he’s earnt them for sure!

BUT he could have easily lost some WITHOUT major luck:

1: Rome 2011: Had murray not choked and served it out- and post match he himself said he should have- then nole would have lost there.

2: Wimby 2011: He was fortunate that federer got knocked out early in the tourny. He faced a qualifier in the qtrs, a streaky player in tsonga in the SF, and a nadal who has NEVER looked more mentally weak on court, IMHO, than he did on that day in the final. I know i am in the minority here, BUT i’m not convinced at nole’s game on grass. Let’s see what happen’s this year on the green stuff.

3: USO 2011: Fed should have served it out- as simple as that.

4- AUS 2012: Murray had him in the SF, and as nadal said, should have won had he not completely switched of in the 4th set. And then rafa had him 4-2 in the 5th, missing that easy open court BH.

5- Miami 2012: Facing a murray in the final who was undercooked with 2 walkovers, monaco in the SF- come on now, that is a lucky break.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Your post @ 1:16 in itself was brilliant.

Daniel Says:


Forgot about the Rome Murray match, and agree that Wimby 2011 was the first time Nadal looked scared in a Slam final. Not even his first Wimby final when he lost first set 6-0 to Fed he looked the way he did in the firts 2 sets.

I rememebr Wimby 2011, Djoko got totally under the radar, everybody was expecting his clash with Fed and already thinking of a Fedal final. Suddelnly that bizarre tsonga match where Fed for the first time lost a Slam match after being 2-0, and worst, being broken in the opening game in the last 3 sets. How on earth did that happen. Tsonga was serving so well that he didn’t have the time to realize what he was about to do and choke as I and Fed probably was expecting. After that, Djoko saw the light, literally! Last person he wanted to face in Wimby 2011 was Fed after the RG match. Indeed as Jaime’s psych says, his chart should look great in that period!:)

Brando Says:

@Skeez: Thanks.

@Daniel: Your right re fed. NEVER did he lose from 2 sets up, and boom it happened to him in that tourny. And if you remember fed was the fav going into wimby- and its my belief that had he met nole, he would have won. And you are right rafa was scared in that match. We don’t need a body language expert to tell us that he looked completely DEVOID of any self belief in his game against nole.

I was honestly cringing whilst watching it- rafa was just looking dreadfully vulnerable and mentally weak in that final.

It really was a JACKPOT tourny for nole.

ameyaw Says:

@kwesi. i knew right from the moment federer was defeated by roddick that nadal will definately withdraw if djokovic is not beaten before semi.i posted a comment at b/r that nadal will not miss any of the clay tournament because he was faking injury and in less than 4 days nadal is miraculously healed. now kwesi if nadal has never backed away from any match how come i could be so precise.

mat4 Says:



Your post @ 1:16 in itself was brilliant.”

I read that post to see what it was all about. Then I found what is all about.

Nasty Skeezer. It was really a jab under the belt.

mat4 Says:


IMHO, had Fed met Nole in the semi of Wimbledon, he would have lost. Proof: he lost against Tsonga, who was easily defeated by Djokovic…

Then, if Borg managed to won Wimbledon, Rafa certainly would have done it in the second part of the seventies, even with a ping-pong racquet. And if you put Ivanisevic 6 times in a Wimby final against Djokovic, he would have lost each and every time.

I just wrote BS, but the argumentation above is of the same level.

Ajet Says:

I can’t believe(happily though ;)) that Brando @1.16 and afterwards has written some of the GREATEST POSTS EVER! And I again can’t believe that(again happily though! ;)) Daniel has accepted the reality reflecting those posts in the most graceful manner ever! And skeeze also just gave Brando one of his greatest compliments ever! Reading the posts of Brando, Daniel and Skeeze written at 1.16 and afterwards indeed for today gave me THE GREATEST SATISFACTION EVER!!!

Ajet Says:

ok guys, now time for me to run away from this site in THE FASTEST MANNER EVER!!!


mat4 Says:

And don’t come back!

Ajet Says:


before running away, just gotta say that you picked a right point. This point that Brando made ”2: Wimby 2011: He was fortunate that federer got knocked out early in the tourny” I WHOLEHEARTEDLY EVER DISAGREE WITH!!! i would instead say fed was luckiest ever not to face rejuvenated djoker there!


mat4 Says:

You came back…

Sienna Says:

I have consulted a

This is how the year unfolds.

MonteCarlo – Djokovic
Barcelona – Murray
Madrid – Federer
Rome – Djokovic
Garros – Federer
Halle – Federer
Queens – Murray
Wimbledon – Federer
Olympic – Federer
After this
Federer #1, Djokovic #2, Murray #3, Nadal #4.

Battle for #1 en 2 is tigth and it takes too much of mine powers to read the actual outcome of events after Olympics. Remember I also have a European football cup to predict…..

Ben Pronin Says:

Brando, just for fun, here’s how easy it is to spin things another way:

1) Rome 2011: Djokovic never should have let Murray into the match to begin with. But it was to be expected considering how much tennis Djokovic had played up to that point, winning Madrid and Belgrade then coming to Rome. Murray never should have been serving for the match in the first place.

2) Wimbledon 2011: Yes Tsonga is streaky, but he has a fantastic record against Djokovic. That was only the 3rd time in 8 tries Djokovic beat him. And in the final, the first set was extremely close until Nadal blinked at the end. And I believe that the way Djokovic played in the second set was maybe the best tennis I have ever seen from anyone anywhere. Nadal is the greatest Wimbledon champion of this generation after Federer, mentally weak or not, the warrior had no excuse for losing to Djokovic on this surface.

3) Djokovic should have won the first set, or at least not have gone awol in the beginning of the second set. Federer never should have been up 2 sets to begin with.

4) Djokovic was clearly struggling to move to his right side in the second set. Once he stepped up, besides the tiebreaker, it was smooth sailing. Again, he let Murray into the match when he shouldn’t have.

5) If Murray had won, everyone would be complaining how he was lucky to have had 2 walkovers since it made him super fresh whereas Djokovic was obviously tired from all the tennis he had played coming in. Both arguments, in my opinion, are stupid. The better player won because he was the better player.

Kiedis Says:

Poor translation of this:

“Hola a todos. Quería saludaros desde Mallorca. Hoy estuve con uno de mis médicos y la rodilla va mejor. Espero estar pronto entrenando y listo para la competición. Una vez más, gracias a todos por vuestro apoyo!!”

He says his knee is improving after treatment and he hopes can be out there training soon. As Rafa said, he had discomfort in his knee and the pain got worse with every match. Two tough matches more could jeopardize his clay season. He did the right thing under the circumstances, but you know, haters gonna hate.

bojana Says:

I mast say something : it is really funny how some people think that they know that Nole was lucky because he did not play Federer there or there,they know what would happen.If you gays go that way the same could be said for Federer many times.For gods sake way you gays do not accept once for ever that Nole defeated the gay who defeated Federer.
Really gays if that make You so happy,You count Federer as the best for past,for now,for the future hundred years who cares.Do that,but do not take Noles achievement from him and from us-his funs.

skeezerweezer Says:

mat4 1:28

Tipsy will NEVER have a good as volley game as Johnny Mac, nor a better transition game than Edberg. Borg imho had by far the best control of topspin ever, on MORE difficult surfaces.

Don’t agree the game is more “complete”( err…trying not to mention Fed here…), in fact I agree more with T76 that the all surfaces ( – Indoors ) makes them HAVE to play from the backcourt, unless your a John Isner who has to serve at 140+ and be 20′ 11″( even then he had to serve in the 70% range to take down Nole ) , but he is not the norm…and there skills may be great from the baseline but the rest of the game compared to the past greats is not there.

Rackets and balls have changed…nothing new there, technology has been changing for decades, while varied playing tennis surfaces have not…until the last decade.

mat4 Says:


Of course that Tipsy will never have a transition game like Edberg, or a volley like JMac.

That was not the point. But why don’t you compare him to Thierry Tulasnes or Jose Higuerras? Two baseliners, just like he is? Why don’t you compare Ferrer with Thomas Muster?

We tend to write only about the surfaces, but other facets of the game are important too. The luxilon string, f.e. Did Pete really declined so fast, or did he have to face much more spin, faster and lowerballs all of a sudden?

We also tend to focus on the speed of the surface, but much more important, for me, is the height of the rebound.

And when you make abstraction of the top three, it will be clear that different kinds of players win on different surfaces.

And this story about diversity of surface… is BS. Clay excepted, all surface were very fast thirty years ago, be it carpet, wood, or grass. The racquets were not that powerful. The game, today, is faster then ever.

Ben Pronin Says:

A big part of Sampras’s decline was due to him being too stubborn to upgrade his racquet. Yes the spins became crazier and he tried to use his 85 sq in racquet head to combat that.

mat4 Says:

And until 1990 claycourt specialists were able to play well on faster surfaces. Borg won Wimbledon. Connors won on clay and grass. Wilander won on clay and grass. Orantes did it too. Vilas too.

All of a sudden, in the nineties, nada. Nothing. It wasn’t a question of diversity. It was a wicked evolution of the game. All of a sudden, you had a Stich, a Krajicek, an Ivanisevic, a Zivojinovic… Ivanisevic made… how many… four Wimb finals? He could barely hit a backhand. Zivojinovic couldn’t barely move. You had entire sets where the returner couldn’t make a point.

So, to dismiss the exceptional results of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic on this base simply isn’t serious.

Tom Gainey Says:

To those questioning, there was no translation. The quote from Nadal in my post was taken verbatim from his Facebook page:

harry Says:

@mat4 (8:33 pm), i think there is a reason why big servers became dominant on grass during the nineties.

Mid to late 80s was the transition from wooden racquets to graphite racquets. Consequently, all of a sudden, the serves became faster for the existing grass courts (and even hard courts) and the returning abilities of the players.

By the early 2000s, although racquets and strings continued to get better, i think that the training methods started to catch up; and so did a gradual slowing down of the courts (start). So in my opinion (although I started watching tennis only from the early nineties), nineties were unique era for servers.

skeezerweezer Says:

mat 4

“That was not the point.” But that is way you said,

We tend to write only about the surfaces
( no…we don’t )
, but other facets of the game are important too. The luxilon string, f.e.

(Racket technologies, strings…speghetti? have changed over the decades….it has evolved. Nothing new there other than it is what is expected. But to make all the surfaces closer to the same. No way Jose. That is new and imho calculating )

Did Pete really declined so fast, or did he have to face much more spin, faster and lowerballs all of a sudden?

( Pete was already on his way out….he was very close to retirement by then except for his 2001 USO win. What happened the year before that?????)

We also tend to focus on the speed of the surface, but much more important, for me, is the height of the rebound

( And what is the cause of that? Mostly Clay/Very sandy HC’s or “the strings’…the “rackets”….nah…mostly the surface)

And this story about diversity of surface… is BS. Clay excepted, all surface were very fast thirty years ago, be it carpet, wood, or grass

(You forgot HC…….BUT overall regardless they were surely more diverse than they are today…..)

mat4 Says:


This is vicious arguing. First, you misquoted me, then you made your point. I reread my post: it was clear enough. You had to put a lot of efforts to compare Tipsy with Edberg or JMac.

My point was that the unification of the surfaces wasn’t the prime factor in the changes of the game.

Do you remember Victor Pecci? He played the final of RG, mostly rushing to the net. Manuel Orantes played serve and volley on clay most of the time. The so vaunted Lendl FH? Cibulkova has a more powerful FH today. Take Mac’s example. He had the best hands that I have seen on the net, a great return, but Wimby became a turf reserved to bigger servers. And they didn’t need to do much more than to serve. We thought that JMac had declined. The truth is rather that the evolution of material made his game obsolete.

No. Luxilon strings made the revolution. Pete’s game was so economic, he could stay at the very top – among the top 5 – till 35 didn’t the spin become so vicious.

Then, the balls are important too. At Wimbledon, the surface isn’t so slowed down, but the balls are heavier than ever. Just remember how much a change of balls, last year, impacted the game in Roland Garros: the game looked suddenly so faster.

I don’t disagree with the theory that there is an effort to slow down the game a bit. But look what happened at the Paris masters two years ago: Llodra eliminated Djokovic and Monfils beat Federer. That was because playing of such a surface isn’t about the craft, the technique anymore, but about serve and luck.

The power of the racquets, on the other side, allows to retrieve many balls that would have been clear winners. When Federer approaches the net his inside out FH’s speed is 80, 90 mph. But the new strings and racquet technology allows Nadal or Ferrer to make improbable passing shots.

So, would Fed have won so many titles on faster surfaces and with lively balls? No. The greatest star of the game, with 9 Wimb in a row would have been Karlovic, a player who doesn’t know to make a backhand.

alison hodge Says:

just to say thanks to skeezer for the rafa link bacardi champions drink responsibly,and nice to see an article saying something positive for a change,as its a positive article the haters wont want to know though,which is a shame.

skeezerweezer Says:


grrrrr…ruff ruff.

May I ask, ever played on grass?

skeezerweezer Says:


Re; article, yes it is:)

skeezerweezer Says:


Re; article, yes it is:)

Ajet Says:

Rafa=Lucky Bast@#$!!!

Hot model photo shoot+ hotter girlfriend dating+ hottest girl fans dying to meet him!!!


Naughty skeeze, you search the right nadal articles for pleasant reading! ;)

alison hodge Says:

wow love it thanks skeezer,hes gorgeous and so is she,and although its not in my nature to say this,but i hate her lol, a)for been so beautiful,and b)for having rafa wrapped around her like that,Ajets right some people really do have all the luck lol,thanks again skeezer.

Kimberly Says:

my son, colino6 follows challenger tournaments on my iphone app and apparently in tallahassee there is a tennis player from the US named “Tennys” hahaha, he is like 480 something in the world, he lost his first match

tennisfansince76 Says:

@ mat4 And until 1990 claycourt specialists were able to play well on faster surfaces. Borg won Wimbledon. Connors won on clay and grass. Wilander won on clay and grass. Orantes did it too. Vilas too.

i have to take issue w/ you here mat4. before 1990 there was a far larger gap btw clay court specialists and their performance on fast courts than there is now. that is where the word clay court specialist comes from. there really isn’t such a thing now. lets leave Borg out of it because he was exceptional. he did have to alter his game alot to win W. he started out as a patsy serving clay courter. check out his serve from 1976 USO!

Borg beefed his serve way up and played a lot more S&V on the grass of W.

as for Vilas and orantes neither did anything of note on grass. check out Orantes Wiki page

Orantes was a clay court specialist the very thing you deny. almsot all of his wins are on clay. he does almost nothiing on hard and nada on grass. he won the USO on green clay in 1975 and made 2 QFS. in 1978 when the USO switched to fast hard he went out in round 1! a former champion. he was a non factor at W except for an anomalous semi back in 1972 ( similar to sampras’s anomolous semi at RG ). the fact is Orantes played and won almost exclusively on clay. if the USO back in 1975 was played on fast HC no way Orantes would have won.

as for Vilas he was also a clay court specialist. i grant you he was better than orantes on other surfaces but still a far better and more formidable player on clay than any other surface. don’t be fooled by his 2 AO wins on grass. nobody played the AO in those days. vilas won his 2 AO against John Marks and John Sadri hardly top flight grass court competition. at W Vilas best results are 2 QFs. but mostly he went out in the early rounds. he was never a threat to win there, a FO champion and a nonfactor at W. that is telling.

most instructive is to look at the USO. from 75-77 on green clay Vilas hit SF, SF and champ. after the switch he went out before the QF’s every year except 1982 when he played Connors. and don’t be fooled because he took 1 set. i remember that match. Connors feasted on Vilas’s loopy topspin strokes that day. he simply overpowered him.

let’s take Connors now. he was an all time great and good on all surfaces. but that doesn’t mean he was equally effective on all surfaces. he was best on a hard court. he was a 2 time W champion, 4 time 2nd place and 4 time SF. but he was not quite as good on grass as hard court i don’t think. he was hampered by his lack of a powerful serve although he compensated somewhat w/ lefty spin and sneaky serve volley. as an example take his 2 matches against mcenroe in 1982 at W and the USO. at W mcenroe the consummate grass court player w/ the superlative S&V game absolutely whomped Connors. he made it look like they didn’t belong on the same court together. 2 months later on a regular bouncing HC they played a classic 5 setter won by mcenroe by a break of serve in the 5th.

on clay he was also good. he did make 4 SF’s at RG after he started to play there late in his career. but he was not near as good there as he was on grass or hard court. and far more likely to be beat by players he wouldn’t really lose to on another surface.

and lastly lets take a look at Wilander. a good all court player i’ll grant you but better on clay good on HC and on grass so so. he is a 3 time FO champion. he won the AO once on rebound ace ( we’ll throw out his 2 pre 1988 AO grass court wins as insignifigant). he won one USO on fast hard and lost once in the finals. and how about the big W? not much of a factor. the best he ever did was QF and he was never ever a real factor there. in 1988
the year he won AO, FO and USO he went out meekly in the QFs at the big W.

alright mat4 i think i’ve made my case. clay court specialization is a thing of the past not of today. you used to have clay court specialization much more than now. i agree w/ the pts made about luxilon and the balls being factors but the bottom line is the transition from FO to big W is far less of a sharp divide than it used to be.

cj Says:

Love Nadal. If he feels he needs to lay off his knee, so be it. Nevermind the critics because we love to criticize just for something to say. Vamos Rafa!

King Federer Says:

” So, would Fed have won so many titles on faster surfaces and with lively balls? No. The greatest star of the game, with 9 Wimb in a row would have been Karlovic, a player who doesn’t know to make a backhand. ”

now you are just talking out of your @$$. even in the 90s, no way karlovic wins a wimby with fed in the draw. even in the fastcourt 90s, ivanisevic – a much better server than karlovic could not get past sampras – a much poorer returner than fed. If you had the 90s fast wimbledon courts. it is very likely that fed would still have 5-6 wimbledons, it is not like he is a chump on fast courts like nadal. the dude still has 4 cincinnati, 5 USO and 6 YEC, all with comparable speed to the 90s courts. the losers might have been nole and rafa with berdych/tsonga who might not have lost those finals in 2010 and semis in 2011. ( rafa and nole together have 2 USOs and 1 Year end championship to put fed’s fast court achievements into perspective)

i think A-rod might have won the 2009 wimbledon by edging fed out if it were in 90s wimbledon conditions.

King Federer Says:

and that sports illustrated pics? i got one word – photoshop. my granny would look sizzling if I put my photoshop skills. rafa looks way artificial. he looks way cool on a tennis court when he is revving up his forehand!

mat4 Says:


No, you didn’t make your point.

First, I maintained that the speed of the surface was not the only element that changed the game, and that things are just more complicated that they seem. I understand also quite well the basic thesis hidden behind, related mainly to the Rafa-Fed rivalry.

Let’s start with the McEnroe-Connors rivalry. Jimmy lead in their H2H until 1983. I don’t need to remind you that at that time JMac made the transition from a wooden racquet to his Dunlop and started to dominate Connors, who wasn’t able to do that, although he tried, until circa 1986, if I remember well. It wasn’t a story of a grass specialist against a hard court specialist, but the story of a shift in material, a shift that the older player wasn’t unable to make.

Why dismiss Wilander’s victory at the AO in 1983? He beat JMac in the QF or the SF. He beat also Edberg the following year.

When I took Manolo Orantes as an example, I was mostly remembering him as a serve and volley player. Don’t forget that in the ’70, when the open era started, players didn’t travel that much, and European players played mostly on clay. (Today, in France, the courts are mostly hard courts, but it wasn’t the same then. My club had four clay courts, than in 1978 16 hard courts were built.) A spanish speaking player like Orantes played mostly in Europe and South America, but he served, rushed to the net, sliced his BH, and had he played more tournaments in Australia and North America, his results on hard would have been much better. Don’t forget, too, that he was born in 1949, and that in 1978 he was almost 30 years old, past his prime.

I am not quite certain about it, but I believe that an evident correlation between nationality and favourite surface can be found.

About the “beefing” of Borg’s serve. How fast did he serve after that? I am not quite certain, too, but I believe that he served, with all the improvements, like Jelena Jankovic today. I rewatched some sequences on youtube but you can’t tell from them. He didn’t serve much better that Connors, and also, he didn’t play always serve and volley.

Borg played with string strung at about 30 kg, and for that time had a vicious spin. He used about the same strategy used by Nadal today: high bouncing balls on the opponent’s BH. But just like Rafa, he could play low bouncing balls on grass, and the slice didn’t hurt him much.

I have to go for now. But it is a very interesting topic and it is a pleasure to read your arguments. I am certain that we will end with a more complete and balanced view of the question.

Humble Rafa Says:

I heard a crack in my knee during practice. Nothing to worry about, just a reminder.

alison hodge Says:

your humble highness look after that knee,looking forward to seeing you play again on your best surface the clay,and may i say how hot you are looking in those swimwear ads in sports illustrated,if or when you do decide to retire from tennis,may i sugest a new career in modeling,you are one sexy guy lol.

King Federer Says:

wasn’t j-mac about 7years younger than jimmy? have you ever tried playing a one on one sport like tennis, badminton or table tennis with some one comparable abilities [ maybe even lesser talented than you] but 4-5 years or more young?

didn’t lendl win his last 17 matches with connors?
lendl was 5-10 or something in H2H and ended 20+ to 10 or something.

mat4 Says:

@King Federer:

Yes, there was the age difference. I checked their H2H and Jimmy was winning his fair share until 1983. He won just two matches after that. But it is certainly a fact that we have to consider.

The story about Lendl and Jimbo was a bit different. The racquet, the age certainly had their parts in their H2H, but there was also a shift in Lendl’s way of playing against Connors. I don’t know when it started, but in the latter years Lendl sliced a lot, played without pace, throw a lot of “junk”, and Connors, who played mainly flat shots, started to make errors.

I found in a recent article that Ash did it in the 1975 Wimbledon final. I watched that match, but I was too young to remember anything whatsoever.

mat4 Says:

… Ashe… sorry.

Dan Martin Says: Here is my take on the first stage of 2012 on the ATP and WTA tours

mat4 Says:

@King Federer, 3:53:

Yes, I made some hasty assumptions. But…

Ivanisevic better server than Karlovic… You can’t be serious.

Fed better returner than Pete… How can you be sure?

For the rest, it is debatable.

And one thing more: I try to respect every poster on this blog. You can earn my respect with clever argumentation and tennis knowledge, and humour, of course. But if you ever write again … I shall just ignore you.

mat4 Says:

@Dan Martin:

Read your excellent take.

I have some reserves about Murray. In fact, I don’t know what to think about him. I see in his interviews that he is very ambitious: he talks about the no 1 rank, the Olympic gold, he looks very optimistic in his pressers… He played a good semi in Dubai, but then again, he lost early in IW, and was beaten soundly in the finals he played, against players he matches up well.

There is another thing. He speaks about new strategies against Novak, Rafa, Roger… but every time they made some adjustments, he is unable to adjust himself.

I don’t know.

Wog boy Says:

mat4, since Lendl became his coach ( rather mentor), Andy is playing tough gay, no more this…no more that. It looks like they are trying to make more changes to his menthal aproach than to his game. We all know what kind of reputation Lendl had as Jim Courier said as commentator during last year AO ” he (Lendl) didn’t make to many friends and he certainly wasn’t mine but he is tennis legend”. Difference between two of them is that It was Ivan’s true personality, that was him and it is not Andy’s and to try to make him and change him in to different tough guy, Lendl style, is not going to work. I didn’t like all the fuss and talking when Andy hired Lendl, it looked to me bit immature, honeymoon is over and if there is not results by the end of grass season this relationship can end up abruptly and Lendl wouldn’t care less but Andy will be hurt, very much so and I will be sorry for him because I like
guy, he is good man.
I don’t know wheather I was able to express myself so you could see my point.

Wog boy Says:

mat4, I would like to hear your opinion on my post about Murray which is awaiting moderation, I don’t know why:-) I didn’t use any bad words :)

mat4 Says:

@Wog boy:

First, what does wog mean?

Then, I can’t help you. I am very confused when assessing Murray. I liked him very much a few years ago. Now, I barely can watch his matches. I am in awe when I think about his speed and his strength. But I also remember that he changed overnight. (Strange that Baghdatis looked much stronger–it is perhaps a false impression, though–since he started working with Maclagan.) He has the heaviest, most powerful backhand in the game, but his forehand is timid. He can play a very offensive tennis, but most of the time he avoids taking any risk.

I don’t know. He could become the most dominant player in the game, but he could stay what he is now, a choker.

Wog boy Says:

Wog was derogatory name (insult) for the people of mediteranean origIn ( Greeks, Italians) and eastern Europeans in 60’s and 70’s and still is. If you said that to any of those peple back then there is a good chance they would kick the heck out of you. I came here in 80’s and worked in Aussie company and was only one from nonenglish speaking background but with high school knowledge of english what was good enough, by that time lot of non Aussie people second generation start to make jokes about Wogs, Convicts (first settlers), Pomes (English people) etc. When I was going to pub with my workmates we made jokes end were calling each other those names but that doesn’t mean you can call Wog somebody on street when you pick his accent because you can end up with blue eye and it is not PC either:) there is nice film, comedy “Wog Boy” about Greek boy growing up in Melbourne and pretty much is accurate and explains better what I was saying. My wife has prrety good memories about her Aussie neighborous who hellped them when they came in Aussieland in 60’s in one of nice working class saburbs in Sydney west that doesn’t exist any more as such. They were good hearted people. If you have a chance see the movie “Wog Boy” you will not regret, you will have a nice laugh with a glass of nice drink and you will understan what I was talking about.

tennisfansince76 Says:

w/ all due respect Mat4 i believe i did make my pt. first off i completely agree w/ you that court speed is not the only determinant. the balls, strings and raquets make a big difference too. raquets and strings have made for more power aand spin and then alot of tournaments have slowed down their surfaces and used heavier balls.

if i remember rightly w used to use fast balls and the FO used to use (not 100% sure but i seem to remember) the pressureless tretorn balls. so each tournament exxagerated the tendency of the courts w/ the balls they used. now it is the opposite. teh FO is using speedier balls and W heavier slower balls thus making them tend to be closer to the middle rather than inhabiting extremes of speed of play as they used to.

i dismiss Wilander’s AO victory because players didn’t care as much about the AO back then. i really don’t know how to expalin his victory over Jmac. its a fluke, an anomaly. but at W the grass court tournament that all the players covet he never made a dent. never even made a final as Lendl did(how much would Lendl have loved to play under the current W conditions? it would have transformed his quixotic quest to be a W champion into an eminently doable task). i mean come on. in 1988 the year he won 3/4 grand slams Wilander lost in the QF’s to Miloslav Mecir 63 61 63! thats a thumping.

on to Orantes. i actually saw him play at the Volvo international ( North Conway NH ) in the 70’s. he was most definitely not a S&V player although he could use it as a tactic. he hit w/ a lot of spin both slice and topspin. you might be thinking of manolo santana ( spain’s last W champ before Nadal). he could be a junk baller. that was how he beat Connors at 1975 USO. i reiterate he was a non factor w/ a few exceptions outside of clay.

you are correct about the regionalism. a lot of south americans and some europeans used to be clay court specialists. and by specialist i mean a lot of them didn’t bother to play on any surface other than clay.

Borg served much much harder from 1977 on than he had previously. you are correct that he did not serve better than connors in the 1976 clip i posted. in fact connors probably had the better serve there. from 1977 on that was not the case. Borg specifically worked on his serve to be more effective on grass. thereafter he always had a big advantage in aces and service winners against Connors.

as for jimmy vs Mac well there were other factors than the raquets. in 1983 Mac said he started being a lot more aggressive against Connors. he tried to end pts quickly and avoid to many long rallies. he started chip and charging the connors serve a lot more. also Connors was using a graphite frame during 1984 ( he blamed a losing streak on it and reverted to the t2000 until 1987)
i definitely give Mc a bigger edge on grass against connors than on hard. i remember specifically that he had a kick 2nd serve at W that connors just could not handle but at the USO connors was eating that thing up for breakfast lunch and dinner.

i think there was more HC tennis in america than other places in those times. you are right about that. although there was a lot of green clay in the US. what really broke it was when the USO switched from green clay to HC in 1978. then all the lead up tournies switched to that. sfter that there was not much clay court tennis in the US.

anyway great discussion.

Dan Martin Says:

Mat4 Thanks for reading my take on things. I think Murray is athletically as gifted as Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Great sprinting speed and good feel for the ball. He is also 6’3″. If I were coaching Andy, I’d urge him to try to serve bigger. He can blast aces and service winners. It would at first undermine his grinding and counter-punching style, but if he held serve more easily even 5% more often, his return game is at worst 3rd in the world. Holds plus breaks = wins. Also, big serves would take some wear and tear off of his body.

steve-o Says:

Though he’s very fast, Murray’s footwork is not as precise as Federer’s. I think that is a big reason he has trouble going on the attack, because if your feet are not in the right position you’ll make errors.

I’m no expert, but to me he strikes me as a player who got away with slightly shaky fundamentals because he’s so talented. He does have wonderful touch and variety and court sense and he sometimes relies on them to bail him out.

Plus he prefers staying way back and using his opponents’ pace against them. He’s so good at that that he didn’t have to develop an attacking game plan that he could rely on.

Lendl, reputedly a stickler for fundamentals, is surely insisting that Murray devote more of his training to footwork. But it’s the sort of thing he really should have started learning as a kid.

At his age, he probably won’t be able to attain the kind of mastery he would have if he’d started training like this at the age of ten. But still, there’s always room for improvement.

tennisfansince76 Says:

@Dan Murray already serves big, very big.the problem for him is he routinely puts in a much lower percentage of 1st serves than his rivals, under 50% many times and his 2nd serve is very attackable. i think that is what won Djoker the AO semi. he really feasted on alot of murray’s 2nd serves

Dan Martin Says:

I agree about his footwork. I think he can and must improve his footwork and second serve.

RZ Says:

Dan, I agree about Murray’s second serve. I remember watching the 2010 Aussie final and thinking that unless Murray beefs up his second serve, he’s never going to win a grand slam.

Dave Says:

cheryl: “He has injections into the knee and rests with no practice for a week which will leave him one week to practice before Monte Carlo. When he says his knees are doing well he probably means it is the old problem and nothing new so he knows the treatment will work as it has in the past.”

More likely Nadal simply meant what he said: his doctor said his knee is doing well and cleared him to start practicing soon for Monte Carlo. Nadal probably does not need to “rest with no practice for a week”. Unless his doctor specifically instructed him oterwise, Nadal should be able to practice while he does the knee regeneration injections as it will probably accelerate the healing and strengthening of his knees. Translate this article from a Spanish newspaper:

In addition to dealing with any injury, the treatement is a precautionary preventative step to prepare and protect his knees for the hard running over the next four months. This is a very safe treatment. If Nadal really needed it, he could have easily done the treatment in February (he claimed last week his knees began acting up in February while he was off tour for 5 weeks). All humans (and other mammals) have growth factors in our bodies, so Nadal’s body would not use any extra growth factors not needed (e.g.., if there is no injury). It’s likely that Nadal would have had other treatements since 2009, even if he hasn’t announced it.

[Wikipedia: ‘Some concern exists as to whether PRP treatments violate anti-doping rules, such as those maintained by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It is not clear if local injections of PRP can have a systemic impact on circulating cytokine levels, in turn affecting doping tests; it is also not clear whether PRP treatments have systemic anabolic effects or affect performance. In January 2011, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed intramuscular injections of PRP from its prohibitions after determining that there is a “lack of any current evidence concerning the use of these methods for purposes of performance enhancement”.’ This suggests that Nadal’s first treatments in 2009 were done while WADA still prohibited the use of such treatments at the time]

For any human’s knees to recover, heal and regenerate, three ingredients are needed: stem cells, growth hormone and growth factors. At Nadal’s age, his body has more than enough stem cells. As a top athlete, Nadal’s body probably produces more growth hormone than couch potatoes (in any case, the drug tests might pick up injections of growth hormone). Nadal’s body also has natural growth factors. However, adding more growth factors would accelerate the healing and regeneration process (for tendinitis, tears and arthritis) without tripping any drug tests.

The human body has many different types of growth factors that are used for different parts of a body. One of the growth factors in the injection is called “mesenchyme”. Mesenchymal cells are the undifferentiated cells used in cell growth and cell regeneration — they are the source material from which most of a mammal’s body organs and tissues are made (everything from bones, muscles, connective tissue to central nervous system). Once injected, the mesenchyme migrates to the most injured areas in the knee. Once there, the mesenchyme aligns with the damaged cells and/or tissues, becomes identical to them, and then starts replicating into new cells and eventually re-builds new tendons and other tissue. That is how the process is supposed to work (others claim the treatement does not work but merely stabbing the knee with injection needles stimulates healing or it is a placebo effect).

This “platelet-rich growth factor” treatment is relatively simple to do: Nadal probably went to the clinic a few times over the past week to get the injections into his knee area. To take advantage of the injections, Nadal is probably doing two weeks of special exercises and therapies to stimulate tissue healing and regeneration facilitated by the injected growth factors. During this process of accelerated healing and regeneration of tendon and other tissue, Nadal will probably feel some pain — it just indicates the healing is occurring. From his 2009 treatment, Nadal’s knees seem to have regenerated and improved so much that he does not even bother to use patella/knee tendon straps anymore.

Btw, there are other forms of growth factor treatments without using blood platelets (i.e., deriving the GF from other sources) and without using injections (e.g., ingesting sublingually) or even having to see a doctor (i.e., doing it on your own).

In addition to the knee regeneration, Nadal uses other modern technologies just like Djokovic does with his CVAC oxygen pod. Nadal uses the Zonair3D Bubble Pure Air (“Magic Bubble”) in combination with physiotherapy to accelerate and improve his recovery and healing after his matches.

skeezerweezer Says:

^very interesting indeed.

skeezerweezer Says:


Too bad this is not getting more attention. A poster sometime ago dug up the Egg and suggested Novak was getting an advantage by it. There was all kind of endless chatter about it. Now we have the Bubble. Oh wait, its Rafa.

Dave Says:

skeezerweezer, there are difference between the oxygen machine used by Novak and pure-air machine by Rafa. Novak’s CVAC pod claims to have the capability, simply put, to improve your body’s use of oxygen as if you had been playing and training at higher altitude. It’s the kind of advantage you get when you’re a Kenyan runner who trains in the mountains and then runs the Boston marathon at sea-level and dances past the runners. It gives you a performance advantage on the court as well as in recovery. Plus it’s cheap at $80,000 so Novak could easily buy three or four pods and ship it to the various locations of major tourneys. SI’s Jon Wertheim: “Djokovic’s CVAC pod treatment: Innovation or unfair advantage?”

Nadal’s machine is more a pure-air tent, like a weak hyperbaric oxygen chamber. You’re infusing your body with pure air as you rest or receive physio. The aim is to recover faster after matches and injuries so he can be 100% for his next match, but I doubt it gives him more than a mild performance advantage on court (unless oxygen is added to the mix). But you can argue that the richer players are able to afford such machines while the poorer players do not have such advantages.

On the other hand, there are two ways of looking at Nadal’s platelet-rich growth factors treatments. One is that these are merely concentrated amounts of growth factors that the body produces naturally anyways, so what’s the big deal? Well the body also naturally produces growth hormone, but injecting growth hormone is banned in such sports. As well, it’s open to abuse: for example, I could inject growth factors into your shoulders and arm to help give you the physical capacity to speed up your power serve (of course you have to train and groove the serve motion). And that’s why you may appear with a supersonic serve for one major tourney, but when questions are asked, you realize you could be caught and stop the practice. Poof, the serve disappears. Just a hypothetical, of course. As well, there are other growth factors (those extracted from embryos and young calves/piglets, rather than platelets) that could be used to help improve performance. At the moment there are no effective tests to detect such abuse, though WADA is apparently working on valid tests.

skeezerweezer Says:


re: Novak. Well can’t a athlete get the same result whilst working out in high Altitude? If so, why would that be controversial?

“But you can argue that the richer players are able to afford such machines while the poorer players do not have such advantages.”

Then they both have an advantage over the less fortunate because they can afford it, no?

The PRP therapy is questionable to me imo, with all the googling I have done on my own it is relatively new procedure. Has it gone through a 10 year testing cycle? Will this hurt or help his knees in the long term?. I tried to find long term benefits and/or caveats but to no avail.

mat4 Says:

@Dave, Skeezer:

About the pod: I honestly don’t believe that Novak has got that device. I really think he tried it, experimented a bit in the course of the USO, then the corporation selling it learned about it and took the occasion to get free advertising.

You need just a bit of common sense: if it was really such a big deal, don’t you think that all the other top players wouldn’t have one? Skeezer is spot on (is it English?) with his remark on this.

I know from the press that Hewitt has a hyperbarric tent for years. I have seen Rafa’s tent: I am not an expert for this so I can’t say if it is a hyperbarric chamber or not. He has to have a few, because the one I have seen has a bicycle inside, so you don’t rest inside. It was probably a hypobarric tent made to emulate conditions in high altitude.

Then, it is quite interesting to go there:

After I read Rafa’s book I thought genuinely that such accusations are nonsense, but when somebody accuses Novak of unethical practices (I don’t say that is impossible) because he can run longer than a person who has about 25 pounds more, I find it very pleasant, and disturbing, to read once again this internet page.

mat4 Says:

What is the most disturbing about Rafa are those ends of seasons.

I watched some of these winter beat-down: against Djokovic, Federer, Cilic, Davydenko, Murray… It is not that Rafa plays bad: against Djokovic in Paris 2009 he served in the range 123-125 mph, he made 10 UE in the whole match, his shots were deep (and I have the tape of that match so I am quite sure), but he just couldn’t retrieve everything like he usually does.

It is not only about the speed of the surface: Paris, in 2009, wasn’t the fast indoor court of 2010 (though the rebound wasn’t as high as it is at the USO).

You simply have one player for 7 months of the season, and another in the other 4 months. And it bothers me. Roger, Novak at least look the same the whole year (Djoko loses a few pounds in the course of the season). Those lapses, months without a title or even a final, the game he presents then, make me very suspicious.

Dave Says:

Skeezerweezer and mat4: During the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Open, Djokovic was reported to have stayed at the New Jersey home of former low-ranked ATP pro Gordon Uehling, who owns a CVAC pod. Uehling admitted to tennis writers such as Steve Tignor that Djokovic did use the CVAC at his home, so Novak couldn’t deny he never used the machine.

CVAC Systems CEO Allen Ruszkowski claimed that the technology is twice as effective at helping the body absorb oxygen as blood doping, which is banned as a performance enhancement. The World Anti-Doping Authority frowns on such equipment as going against the spirit of sport, although it is not illegal (because there is no workable test to date).

The following should explain Skeezer’s question about why would the CVAC pod be controversial if an athlete can get the same result working out in high altitude:

“CVAC Explained. As the body is tested to its limits, the endurance athlete’s muscles hunger for oxygen, which is carried from the lungs to the muscles by red blood cells. The more red blood cells available to deliver that oxygen, the higher an athlete’s aerobic capacity becomes, which leads to increased endurance and reduced physical effects of fatigue.

For decades, professional athletes have pursued ways to increase the amount of red blood cells in their bodies, both through methods considered acceptable, and through methods that are banned, including blood doping. Using a hypobaric chamber that simulates a high altitude is a common training method for athletes. Spending time in these chambers simulates the benefit an athlete might get from living at a high altitude and training at a lower altitude, a proven way to improve endurance. The higher altitude forces the body to produce more red blood cells.

But the CVAC chamber is different from traditional altitude training chambers. The CVAC chamber, instead of simply simulating a higher altitude, cycles through different altitudes. This has shown to maximize the benefits of altitude training, appearing to provide benefits that not only outweigh traditional altitude training, but also require significant less time spent in the chamber to obtain those benefits. Indeed, a study conducted at the University of Hawaii showed convincing evidence of increased arterial oxygen saturation in athletes using CVAC for just a few hours per week, as opposed to the many hours traditional altitude training requires to see tangible benefits. (see the wemjournal link below for this study)

And because of this difference between CVAC and other altitude devices, CVAC walks a fine ethical line….

Though Novak Djokovic has violated no WADA rules, his use of CVAC has raised eyebrows, considering the WADA’s public position that the technology violates the spirit of sport. Admitting to using a technology that is frowned upon by the WADA has provided ammunition to some who question Djokovic’s sudden success. Ruszkowski, when asked about Djokovic’s reluctance to admit to using the CVAC technology regularly, was convinced that Djokovic’s denial was more due to proprietary concerns than efforts to stave off controversy. “They don’t want their competition to know about it. That’s the overriding factor,” Ruszkowski said.”

Dave Says:

Skeezerweezer: Pat Cash makes the following points about Djokovic using the CVAC pod in the London Times: ). “Before using it, Djokovic habitually suffered from a dubious breathing capacity and a susceptibility to all kinds of allergies. Now he is probably the fittest, most durable player out there, as his record of 59-2 in 2011 underlines… But the majority of the players in the 128-strong men’s draw, and all the prospective qualifiers and contestants on the second and third tier Challenger and Futures circuits have no possibility of ever using such a machine, so does Djokovic have an unfair advantage?… When WADA opted against banning but contented themselves with stating they were against the spirit of the sport Cash emphasises that “their use all comes down to a player’s conscience”.”

So skeezer, when you said “Then they both (Djokovic and Nadal) have an advantage over the less fortunate because they can afford it, no?” actually most of the top ten players should be rich enough to afford a machine that costs only $80,000 (less than the price of mid-level luxury car such as an Audi A8, Mercedes S Class or BMW 7 Series). The other question is — even if they could afford it, would conservative players like Federer choose to cross the ethical line to use a CVAC pod? All athletes are constantly looking at anything that can help perform a bit better, last a bit longer, train a bit harder or recover a little bit better — while a few are willing to cross the line, but others are not. How long did it take us to think clearly about the performance results of baseball players Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens?

mat4, you need just a bit of common sense: The fact that Djokovic was willing to risk using the CVAC pod during the US Open indicates he was comfortable with its use (if you’ve used a hyperbaric chamber for teh first time, you are likely to have anxieties about how it might affect you); Djokovic is not going to admit that he is regularly using or bought such a controversial device (now that he realizes what a controversy it has stirred up); Djokovic can easily afford to buy and ship several CVAC pods to any part of the world (some of us here can probably afford to buy that machine if we wanted); he stays with a former unsuccessful pro who has a CVAC pod; and you certainly do not know whether or not know whether or not Djokovic has that device (despite your belief he does not have that device).

This wem journal study on CVAC pod found physiological effects (but it didn’t study its performance enhancement aspects)

Dave Says:

Good write ups on CVAC issues. Also why the CVAC pod should be considered differently from Rafa’s and Hewitt’s tents, hypobaric chambers and hyperbaric chambers, etc.

Later today I’ll reply on the Rafa aspects mentioned by mat4.

mat4 Says:


First, I didn’t deny that Novak Djokovic used the “egg” while playing the USO.

You mentioned there a “fine ethical line”. There is none. Swiss, Norwegian and French ski federations have all hypobarric “houses”, with control of pressure, oxygen… and all the members of their respective national teams have to use them (in France, for a month before big competitions).

The effects, in a month, are certainly more pronounced than what Djokovic could do with the pod in a few days. But if there are differences, it is not of effects, but of speed.

But when national federations use such devices, it is OK. When a player does it, “he has crossed an ethical line”.

mat4 Says:

The bottom line is that is perfectly legal.

There is one thing that I have to mention too. I watch Djokovic and Federer very often, so I can follow the evolution of their game and their form, in general. I can’t do this for Murray, or Simon, or Berdych.

So I am quite shocked when I read that Djokovic wasn’t well prepared before 2011. It is nonsense. He had breathing problems when playing in hot, humid conditions. But when you watch the Miami final, or the AO final, you can see that he still has those problems. Just compare his matches against Ferrer and Murray.

But he could always run. His stamina was never a problem and Phil-Gritsch certainly knows his job well. But most based their opinions on his match against Roddick, or against Federer in MC.

There is a pattern in his retirements, too. Usually, it was very hot, humid (he played near the sea), and most important of all, Djokovic was losing. The score was the most important factor. It took years for Djokovic to learn to accept defeat.

mat4 Says:

And finally, there is no need to try to answer the allegations about Rafa found on THASP (though you can try to answer to SNR, the author of the “case”).

For two reasons: first, because it has been already debated at length, and second, because I don’t care. There are very good chances that every member of the top 10 dopes, but they all could be clean. But this was true in 1990, too, and that didn’t stop me to enjoy tennis.

And when I think of it, I am glad that there exists devices that help them recover faster legally. At least, those devices don’t increase their strength, or their speed.

mat4 Says:


Thanks for the link to maripo… blog. Excellent site!

Dave Says:

mat4, you’re welcome. Btw, the same site you referenced about Nadal also has an interesting article on the SCIO device used on Djokovic: “Djokovic, Dr. Igor, and William Nelson”

The CVAC may be legal for now because there is no effective test, though WADA is apparently in the process of developing a test for such devices. Just because national federerations are using other devices does not let Djokovic off the hook. Djokovic has crossed a “fine ethical line” by using such a device even though WADA has publically stated that such a device “violates the spirit of sport”. Remember, WADA bans such stuff if it meets any two of the following three criteria: (1) it enhances performance; (2) it’s a health risk; and (3) it violates the “spirit of sport”. So if CVAC is proven to enhancee performance or is a health risk — and a valid test is identified — WADA would ban the CVAC.

The CVAC (Cyclical Variations in Adaptive Conditioning) System didn’t only replicate high altitude training, it claims to be better than bettered than high-altitude training, hypobaric chambers and blood doping, cycling through different altitudes which provides benefits that not only outweigh traditional altitude training, but require much less time spent in the pod.

You are presuming that Djokovic used the pod only for a few days during the 2010 US Open. As I said, it’s quite likely Djokovic owns such CVAC pods and/or has used it extensively even before the US Open. It’s unusual for top athletes to be experimenting with such devices for the first time in the middle of a grand slam — unless they have used it before.

Both the CVAC pod used by Djokovic and, when modified in how it is used, the Platelet-Rich Growth Factor Therapy used by Nadal have the potential to be used for performance enhancement. Based on what I know, the CVAC pod should be the more potent performance enhancer of the two methods.

Mark Says:

@Dave. I have read your post with some interest and I take my hat off to you for all your research. Nadal uses the plasma rich therapy to try to heal his battered knee and therefore surely the treatment is just concentrated on that part of the body a d why, if at all, would the authorities choose to ban it. On the other hand the Pod is completely different and has a different effect on the body. There is no doubt that Djoko owes all his success over the past year to the Pod. To my mind it is definitely an unfair advantage and something on which the various Authorities should step in. What do u think?

Sienna Says:


Is CVAC pod illegal in cycling? I guess due to the effects it has on the blood values most likely Cylist would be deemed suspect if they use a device like that?
So in other words they would be banned from cycling if they use the CVAC pod?

Maybe that should enlighten some spirits about the use of CVAC pod. Novakis in my view cheating his way through to destiny.

Matthew Murphy Says:

Kimmi — Rafa’s not ducking. The reason he feels like he can’t play one day and fine a couple of days later, is that tendonitis comes and goes, and once you stop, it goes away immediately. I know because I have it. You can feel fine and then during warm-ups it hits you. And it’s a sharp pain. Once you stop, you it goes away and you feel fine. Trust me, he’s not doggin it. It’s the worst because it comes and goes and is caused by pounded on hard courts. Once you stop, you feel like you could play five sets!

Top story: Djokovic, Nadal Resume Grand Slam Chase At Wimbledon; Berrettini In Nadal Half