What Do We Read Into Rafa’s Return After One Week? It Is Time To Panic Or Time To Chill?
by Sean Randall | February 11th, 2013, 11:03 am

Oh to be a fly on the wall at the Novak Djokovic household last night. Watching Rafael Nadal get pushed around by journeyman Horacio Zeballos Sunday in the Vina Del Mar final got me thinking, what would the current World No. 1 have done to the King of Clay? Fortunately for Nadal, Djokovic was long way away, just like the French Open.

As for the match, give credit to Zeballos, who served out of his mind and really took it right at Rafa in collecting the win of his lifetime. After pounding Jeremy Chardy in the semifinals, all expectations were for the same against the Argentine but that’s why we play the game. In the end though, Nadal just isn’t Nadal, at least not yet anyway. And that’s nothing to lose hope over.

Let’s remember, the guy hasn’t played in seven months and this isn’t the women’s tour on which players like Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters can miss long periods of time and then come back and immediately dominate like nothing happened. It just doesn’t work like that in the men’s game – never has and probably never will.

Even Andre Agassi, who fell to No. 141 in the rankings, lost his first tournament final during his 1997 comeback, and that was at a CHALLENGER to someone named Christian Vinck in his hometown of Las Vegas! So let’s not get completely carried away.

The good news for the Nadal camp and his fans is that the real goal, the French Open, is still three months away. And that gives Rafa plenty of time to work back into form, which I think he will do. Rafa will also be back on court this week at a tougher, deeper Sao Paulo field (Nicolas Almagro will also be there), so he’ll quickly wash away the disappointing taste from that Sunday shocker. And we know Uncle Toni won’t have any of Rafa getting down on himself.

The bad news, well according to Rafa, is his knee is still bugging him. Uh oh!

As I said last week, I just don’t know how you play your knee back into shape. To me, that’s a medical mystery. So I really have to wonder how long until that joint breaks down again. I honestly hope I’m wrong but that’s going to be the endgame here.

In the meantime, I think we do need to let this play out a little longer – if he comes away with zero titles after this Latin Swing, then panic! Rafa had some good, vintage moments last week along with some bad, but that’s to be expected in any comeback in just about any sport.

That said, it’s hard not to raise your eyebrows at that result yesterday. And while it may not signify much in the bigger picture right now, Nadal’s loss yesterday should give a lot of hope to the other players, including Djokovic who now looks to be the favorite to complete his career Grand Slam at the French Open this spring. Subject to change of course. It’s still February, so chill.

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130 Comments for What Do We Read Into Rafa’s Return After One Week? It Is Time To Panic Or Time To Chill?

Michael Says:

Every one is impatient and wants Nadal rollicking right away. But it is easy to be an arm chair critique rather than being in ground zero. Ofcourse this is not the start Rafa would have hoped for. Yet, I think he has still more tournaments to pick up his form and Rolland Garros is still far away. But I think this time it is going to be quite tough for Rafa to make it eight. His stumbling block would be who else, but Novak Djokovic. I do not think this version of Rafa can face Novak on court. He would be blasted away. The caveat here is Nadal’s level of improvement. If he manages to make it big, then he is in with a chance.

jeff Says:


patzin Says:

I think this is the week Rafa wanted; to play well enough to test his body/knee and win a few matches. To make 2 finals, playing 9 matches in 6 days; rather amazing, I would say. He had a great return to the Tour, and with hope will improve with each match. So I say, time to Chill; let it happen as does every process. Too many expectations of those on the outside looking in.

trufan Says:

After 7 months off of tennis, its not that surprising for Nadal to lose to a lowly ranked player, even on clay. It was a close match anyway.

I don’t think we can read too much into it. 7 months is a long time.

However, Nadal is not 21 or 22. He will be 27 in 4 months. That’s when EVERY player has fallen off the cliff, or just simply retired. Remember Fed in 2008? Mono notwithstanding, that was his 27th year in life – and he just didn’t have that invincibility around him, or ever since.

Nadal just isn’t going to have that aura around him, even on clay. This win, even if we can’t read too much into it, has got to give a lot of confidence to every player who faces him now, on clay. Add to it Djoke’s hot form, Murray’s newly found top form – and Nadal turning 27 – seems like its tough days ahead for Nadal.

Even if his knee is OK.

trufan Says:

The real test will be IW. If Nadal plays there. That’s hard courts, and all top players playing.

If he is smart, he will just skip IW and Miami, and just rest up straight for the clay swing. He is not getting to No. 1 anyway, so why risk his only safe slam – the French? Right now, an 8th French Open title would mean more to his legacy than just about anything else he can do in life.

Giles Says:

Just read a tweet from Jon Wertheim ( senior sports writer Sports Illustrated).
“Column coming later today. How can so many of you declare Nadal “broken” on the basis of one event after 200+ days off?”
Good question Jon directed to the idiots out there!

Giles Says:

GG. What are you talking about? Speak English please so I can understand.

Giles Says:

trufan. Don’t worry too much. I am sure Rafa will do what is best for him

alison Says:

Patzin fantastic post,lets just wait and see what unfolds.
Michael constructive post after all nothing worth while ever did come easy.

Sean Randall Says:

Gregoire Gentil, removed. That’s not the road I want to take.

Giles Says:

Thanks Sean

RZ Says:

I think Rafa will play better in the weeks to come, but I also think the other guys now have more belief that they can beat him. Good to see someone like Zeballos take advantage of the situation to play his game and win.

Ben Pronin Says:

Well Sean beat me to the write up. No surprise there.

Anyways, I agree with him. No need for panic. But I’m also not really sure how he’s supposed to get over the knee pain. I read somewhere that he’s simply trying to avoid surgery, but if all else fails, he might have to resort to it. I don’t remember where I read this though and it was pretty much that vague.

But as for this result, here’s my assessment:

Physically, he’s in pretty good shape. The match was almost 3 hours long, on clay, and he’s ok. I watched bits and pieces of his matches all week and spent the most time on his opening round and this final. And there was a pretty vast improvement. He was hitting the forehand with more depth and authority. He was trying to go for his backhand a lot more, although it didn’t really work out because it’s just not at that level yet. He’s been serving pretty well all week. And his movement is returning big time. In the first round when he barely got to drop shots he would dink them into the bottom of the net. Yesterday, he anticipated much better and was making with the magic hands, although, again, not as effective as he would like.

The biggest thing, I think, is that he lacks that killer instinct. In the last game, he was content to just wait for mistakes, retreating very far behind the baseline. Nadal, when he’s super confident and playing his best, is extremely aggressive during these pressure moments. Instead, he’s broken at love because Zabellos took big cuts at the ball and they paid off. He knew he had an opportunity and all credit to him for making the most of it.

Nadal is playing 2005/06 style right now. Not trusting himself to be aggressive. It worked half a decade ago, but it’s not going to be enough now, not even against the 73rd ranked player in the world. It is still time to chill, though, and he’ll surely get better. But I don’t know that we can really put any kind of time table on when he’ll be back to full form, or close to it. Obviously the ideal would be in 3 months time, but there’s simply no guarantee.

Rusty or not, it’s still a big deal that Nadal lost a clay court final (only his 5th!) after being up a set. Regardless of the opponent. (This only happened once before, when he ran out of gas against Federer in Hamburg).

jamie Says:

Djokovic is more likely to win an 8th AO title than Nadal is to win an 8th RG title. Nadal looks done and dusted. Djokovic still has many years ahead of him of prime tennis.

Brando Says:

Geez folks whatever happened to that wonderful thing – PERSPECTIVE?

A few things:

1- Rafa has not played a single match or 7 whole months. Over 200 days.

That is a significant amount of time from the ever evolving and changing game.

2- He said prior to the tournament that:

A- The results DO NOT matter to him as much here as to see how his knee holds up

B- He said that what he wants is as much TIME ON COURT as opposed to anything else.

The VINA DEL MAR title is not make or break for him.

It’s just his 1st tourny in 7 months- and fact is it’s been a resounding success for him.


Is being RU in your first tourny back a bad thing?

Is rafa getting 8 matches under his belt a bad thing for him in his first tourny on his comeback trail?

The clear answer is NO!

This final was very good for him IMO as:

1- It exposed the fact that rafa is RUSTY- he seemed to tire the longer the match went on, showing signs of fatigue. Naturally after being so short of match practice such things are to be expected.

2- It LOWERS people’s expectation of him: I think had he won people would have created a false picture of his reality when in actuality he’s a man making a comeback after such a long time trying to get back to his former level.

In ANY SPORT that takes TIME!


The man himself said his aim is to be 100% by MONTE CARLO- NOT VINA DEL MAR!


He has another 4 tournies prior to that and all he wants and needs is: MORE TIME on court.

The story here should be about ZEBALLOS: a talented player who a while back was regarded by many as one to watch for the future.

Rafa showed his class and praised him, as folks should also do so:

Zeballos said the two chatted briefly, and Nadal offered some advice.

“He told me: ‘Enjoy this title, this is your first, so just enjoy it,’ ” Zeballos said.


alison Says:

Brando thanks for the link,and a fantastic post too.

nadalista Says:

Rather listen to the people who play the game, the professionals:


“Not playing has hurt him,” he said. “Four or five tournaments back should get him back in form. I’d say this was the perfect time to play Rafa considering the confidence factor and everything.”

Every one is entitled to my opinion Says:

It’s time to chill. Rafa did say he wasn’t expecting too much that he just wants time on court. The match was close and he had chances against an on fire Zeballos.

I think the expectations of others far exceeded his own expectations.

nadalista Says:

Hahaha, Fed is a Rafa fanboy!

“I saw a few pictures of Rafa, last week. I see he’s still a left-hander – and his shirts looked good. I’m happy to see him back and playing on the Tour. That’s a good thing.”

alison Says:

^Nice words from the great Roger about the great Rafa^.

Brando Says:

Respect to the FED- he’s always backed rafa and been a supporter of his!

Greatness recognizes greatness!

Humble Rafa Says:

I saw a few pictures of Rafa, last week. I see he’s still a left-hander

I see your backhand is still not worth anything.

Humble Rafa Says:

Even an un-abashed Rafa-hater, Peter Bodo, keeps it real:

I have to be careful with future Pulitzer prize winner Bodo. My left gave him an interview, that won wide praise from the media, but the man is not stable.

Humble Rafa Says:

*left knee

mike Says:

I am not worried at all about him losing this match or the next few and I could careless if he doesn’t win a major this year what I do care about is if his knee will ever recover. I don’t want to see 1 great player (Novak) dominate a decade of tennis. Having Nadal come in after Fed had been dominating made Tennis relevant. Now that Novak and Murray (though I think he could be a Roddick) play so well it would be nice to have nadal in there at full power competing. All I care about is a successful recovery.

Giles Says:

HR. yr post 1.38 pm LMAO

madmax Says:

Humble Rafa Says:
I saw a few pictures of Rafa, last week. I see he’s still a left-hander

I see your backhand is still not worth anything.

February 11th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Yeah right HR. Fed, despite your acidic comment, does have one of the best back handers in the business. Go check out WTF 2011, against Rafa. Plenty more where that came from.

alison Says:

Mike i whole heartedly agree,as a fan and as much as i would love for him to keep winning GS the reality is nothing lasts forever,a decline will happen to Rafa as it does to every player eventually,hes an all time great now,hes along side Borg and Laver now with 11 GS,and theres no disgace in that,back in 2009 when he missed wimbledon,i just wanted him back playing tennis,then he had 6 GS and i was delighted with that,i never thought for a single minute that he would win another 5,just to have him back playing is great news,titles care are an added bonus,im not greedy im happy he has what he has,i just hope for an open and well contested year,not just one player dominating.

trufan Says:

Giles, I don’t worry about people I don’t know (nadal or whoever, how does it matter!!).

That said, this loss has got to sting a little bit, since it was clay, the guy was ranked No. 73, he was a set up, then he was a break up in the final set.

Everyone gets old mate!! Fed is as good as retired, so nobody cares that much anymore. He has 17 slams. Your boy nadal is now getting to 27, and is stuck at 11 slams, with questionable knees and younger competition already up there.

He can no longer rely on being 22-23 years old, beating up on a player 5 years older, with a one-handed backhand – because he is not likely to face him much anymore!! Its the Djokovic’s of the world that will beat him to a pulp again.

alison Says:

^Stuck on 11 GS fair enough,not too shabby though,only 3 men in history with more^.

jamie Says:

^Eventually it will be 4 men with more slams than Nadal. Nole will end up with 14 slams, he will be one of the men with more slams than Nadal^.

trufan Says:

Alison, I agree. I think regardless what people say, Nadal has been one of the great players in tennis history, and perhaps the best clay courter ever.

11 is a darn good number!

alison Says:

^Whatever still not too shabby for Rafa,this Rafa fan is more than happy with what her favorite has achieved in his career,about Novak time will tell,if he does then good for him^.

alison Says:

Thankyou Trufan much appreciated,nice post.

jamie Says:


Djokovic will win like 8 more slams, get used to his domination or get another hobbie. :o)

Giles Says:

trufan. “It’s the Djokovic’s of the world that will beat him to a pulp again”. Strong words. So if a player loses a tennis match you regard that loss as being “beaten to a pulp”? People like you should stick to worrying about your favs. As I said don’t worry about Rafa and save your vocal energy for your fav. Some you lose and some you win. That’s life. That’s sport in case you don’t understand. Can you imagine one person or one team winning everything all the time? What a boring and unexciting world this would be. #VamosKing

Giles Says:

World number 77 Sijsling beat World number 8 Tsonga in Rotterdam. Maybe some posters will say Tsonga was “beaten to a pulp” and is now in decline! Hahaha

alison Says:

Jamie i hate to burst your bubble but not everyones enjoyment of the sport of tennis begins and ends with just the one player,yes many of us have our own personal favorites but its quite possible we also enjoy watching many players,its called been a fan not a fanatic,sometimes its a case of hero worshipping that goes way too far.

Brando Says:


Don’t waste your time with truidiot- it’s just not worth it!

Haters like him/she/whatever are just nothing but petty opportunist’s who are quick to get a dig in when the one they despise is on a bit of a downer!

Re Djokovic: A few interesting thoughts:

1- To my knowledge yet not ONE HOUSE DJOKOVIC ever knocked rafa or his fans during the 7 wins in a row.

2- Not ONE HOUSE RAFA fan mocked a djokovic fan during rafa’s 3 wins in a row.



Nole fans know that despite the 7 wins rafa still has beaten him more than ANYONE on the tour, as well having the game to beat on the big stage in the big matches since he has either done so (FO, USO, WIMBY) or was damn near close to doing so (AO, MI).

Plus he’s a legend.

Rafa fans meanwhile know and recognize that novak more than ANY OTHER PLAYER has best stood up to rafa and his game.

They respect nole’s skill and game for that.

Hence: a MUTUAL RESPECT without any of the nasty bantering!

Here’s a question though:

Why don’t the haters talk about their OWN FAV’S ability to beat rafa instead of going on about novak?

Oh yes, i forget- they KNOW that he has a hard time doing so!

How many GS matches in a row is rafa winning at the moment against their fav again?

Er… let’s not go there i guess- do not want them to squirm with misery now do we?

Nor do we want to go their petty level either!

LOL, pathetic pot shots from pathetic haters!

Brando Says:


A certain ROGER FEDERER saying some kind words regarding his famed rival and fellow legend:


Giles Says:

Brando. Excellent post.

alison Says:

Not to sound nitpicky as i love JWT,but i would say this Rafa makes the final in his 1st touney back,im just wondering when was the last time Joe actually made a final?

alison Says:

Wogboys not around tonight,but LVC lost 2/0 at home to West Brom even after dominating for most of the match :0(,what a crock of horsesh*t,totally gutted.

Ben Pronin Says:

Man, Tsonga is in some kind of whirl. Embarrassing loss. That simple.

mat4 Says:


I just started a post about… I don’t really know how to name it. But the point was, when you don’t have anything nice or interesting to write about a player who is not your fav, don’t write it. But you did it before me.

@Brando, alison, nadalista…

About Rafa’s return: I made a few posts a few days ago — it is difficult to foresee anything right now. All of this was expected, Zeballos great performance in the final excepted. I watched he highlights, and it seems he played really good. It seems also that Rafa tries to revert to the new service motion too. As a Novak’s fan, I secretly hope he won’t be successful with that..

About JWT:

I just wrote something else, then deleted it. I know what happen when he worked with Eric Winogradsky (Tsonga spoke of it himself, although in different terms): Eric tried to improve his backhand, his baseline game. It didn’t work the way Jo wanted. He just was patient enough. Two years later, he has to do it all over again. He is more mature now, and I hope he understands that changes in his game are not easy to do, and that a few setbacks are normal.

mat4 Says:

[…] He just wasN’T patient enough.

alison Says:

Mat4 its great to here a post from a sensible Nole fan rather than some of the drivel that a certain fan keeps on spouting,however i wont lose my cool as i did enough of that the other day,i didnt see the match live,so i dont know how well Rafa played im only going by what other posters are saying,so it will be interesting to see how he progresses with a new service motion,ill get a better indication when i next watch him play live,many said he seved pretty well this week,and thats regarded as the worst part of his game,except for at the USO in 2010.

mat4 Says:


Just rewatched the TB of the second set to check that serve. But most of the time the angle was such that I couldn’t see his left arm at the moment of the toss, so I am not certain.

mat4 Says:


Jo made a final last September, and another one in October.

Kimmi Says:

great link mat4. maybe somebody else post it but i didn’t see it. nice to read rafa. he never get to too much detail in his english interviews. this is great read.

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

LOL! Funny to see rafa fans begging for respect from djokovic.

As Jamie’s posts show Djokovic fans are confident he will end up as the 2nd best player of this era. There really shouldn’t be much doubt about this, but whatever little doubt remains, Djokovic will address it.

Good joke comparing Novak’s 7 in a row thrashing of Nadal to rafa’s 3 straight on clay [what’s new?]. Novak thrashed the butt-picker on 3 different surfaces and 3 different GS.

Most Djokovic fans [like Jane] were once rafa fans who changed to djokovic fans because Rafa was not able to beat Roger in other slams. Remember djokovic beat Roger at a slam [other than FO, which is for losers anyway] before Rafa did. Djokovic beat federer in 2008 AO where as rafa’s first non-french slam win over Federer came at 2008 Wimbledon.

Guess who handed Novak the more painful losses during his no.1 reign? Federer – he beat him at FO and wimbledon and almost knocked him out at USopen. Guess who was a bigger threat to Novak’s no.1? no, Not NADULL. Roger and he even snatched it away from his younger [6years] rival for a while. Obviously, Djokovic fans will be more approving of Rafa, because the dude is a non-factor for half of the season and a so-so in half of the slams.

As far as Nadal’s head to head against Djokovic. Take out clay, where djokovic plays nadal a lot more than he should and only because djokovic is much better on clay than nadal is outside clay. Almost 50% of their meetings are on clay. Where as, if nadal was not so one-dimensional, they should have only met 25% of the time on clay. It is like Djokovic is penalised for being a better multi-surface player than the butt-picker.

jane Says:

Not that it matters much, but I was never a Rafa fan insofar as he was never my top favourite player, though I have always appreciated his tenacity and as a character I liked his initial rebel style. I was a Roddick fan for a long while (before Fed even came round) and also Safin to a degree, though he was a frustrating one! But since 2007 Nole has been my fave.

jane Says:

And in fact it was Nole’s play versus Rafa at IW (loss) and Miami (win) in 2007 that got me hooked, especially when he threw his shoes into the crowd when he won Miami in 2007, the youngest champ there; he seemed like such a cool dude, who mixed defence and offense with aplomb.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I’m surprised to see people debate about Rafa’s future based on his loss. Maybe it’s just the hatred towards the guy having beaten Roger so many times in Grand Slams. It’s a pity.

But as a fan of tennis, it’s great to have Rafa back on the court. Also happy to hear from him that he is not curtailing his schedule towards only clay, rather play all tournaments and try and get back to No 1. In today’s tennis probably 26 is not an old age. Tennis has become so much athletic that these guys might play their best tennis post 25 yrs. So Rafa might have a peak 5 more years in his career if his knees holds up. His only problem could be motivation if he gets hampered often by the injury.

Maybe MonteCarlo is the right place to start judging his level. Till then, for me it’s more of an exhibition stuff where he is not putting his best but practicing enough to keep himself match fit. This is not to disrespect his opponents but to keep things in perspective.

All I wish is a healthy Rafa.

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

“So Rafa might have a peak 5 more years in his career if his knees holds up. ”

Right! and if your mommy had balls, she would be your father! just saying!

Brazil Federer Fan Says:


Back then, you wanted a more “equal world” when Federer was winning everything outside clay. In 2004, 05, 06 and 07 – Federer won 11 out of the 12 slams outside clay.

Surely, to most it did not look like rafa will be the 1st to stop that streak and they were right. Djokovic stopped that streak in 2008. I know a lot of rafa fans on this site and tennis and espn forums who defected to djokovic around that time. I don’t blame them. Definitely Djokovic is a more complete player than the butt-picker, no?

I and many posters then, still saw you as more of a rafa-fan than a roddick fan. You were definitely very critical of federer then, more than some of the rafa fans or fed haters of the time.

The point still stands. There are a lot of djokovic fans who defected from the nadal coterie. Still, you can see the genuine djokovic fans who put nadal fans in their place. Particularly if you claim that Rafa is a better player than djokovic on hardcourts or indoor.

Rafa is better than djokovic on clay, On hardcourts and indoors, djokovic is the better player. On grass, the jury is still out. There is definitely a better chance djokovic will end his career as the 2nd best player of this era.

jane Says:

” Particularly if you claim that Rafa is a better player than djokovic on hardcourts or indoor.”

I don’t recall claiming this. Nole has won more HC slams and two WTFs, so his record is better on those surfaces than Rafa’s thus far.

Rafa is more accomplished on grass and clay with more slams overall.

Hoping Nole gets the FO so he gets the calendar slam.

As for second best of this era, thus far it’s Rafa because he has 11 slams, which is 5 more than Nole, almost double. That’s only fair, going by slam titles, which is what most seem to use to judge these sorts of things.

I was a Roddick fan from 2001; still remember when he used to wear the visor, and when he played Hewiit at the USO in 2001. Found those two whipper snappers rather fun to watch in fact, all that youth and hot-headedness. I always appreciated Roddick’s work ethic; it’s too bad he could never solve the Fed puzzle: just a bad match up I guess.

jane Says:

I mean career not calendar slam…

Wog boy Says:


“Hoping Nole gets the FO so he gets the calendar slam.”

You might just said something that could turn out to be prophecy.

Wog boy Says:

“could” or “can” … whatever is correct?

Brazil Federer Fan Says:


That part was not intended for you. I was explaining my stance.

If Djokovic wins FO, he will have a good shot at calendar slam too :)

Regarding Roddick, well he was not a very smart player. It also did not help him that the courts and conditions have been slowed down. Then again Federer is not a novice on faster courts. He does have 7 year end championships. [They are always played on some of the fastest surfaces if not the fastest].

No one can deny that Roddick is the GOAT of press conferences and interviews. I hope we will soon see him as a commentator. He was the imitation-King before djokovic took over.

Talking of imitations, I love djokovic’s imitations of nadal with the exaggarated butt-picking. priceless stuff!

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

Going just by slamcounts, Djokovic is nearer to rafa than rafa is to federer [6slams].

Djokovic is in the peak of his health, but most experts think Rafa is past his prime and as Sean mentioned, the end game is going to be rafa’s career being ended by those knees. It looks more realistic that Djokovic will overtake nadal’s slam-count. Ofcourse federer haters can keep wishing, but nadal with those mushy knees will be toast sooner than later.

Let the end game begin.

Indian Ninja Says:

As a rafa fan, it is sad to read this article. I have knee tendinitis and some of the days the pain makes me cry. I would be sad if Rafa has to wind up his career because of these knees, but I can understand. It is a pain that can trouble even the toughest people.

I am happy just to see Rafa play and as long as he plays, I will be rooting for him. Let us wait and see who wins french open.

courbon. Says:

@Alison:Just not your day…Nadal lost, LVC lost, Manchester United 12 points gap…..

nadalista Says:

Nirmal Kumar says:

“I’m surprised to see people debate about Rafa’s future based on his loss. Maybe it’s just the hatred towards the guy having beaten Roger so many times in Grand Slams. It’s a pity.”

This is why us Rafans just let your fellow Fedfans (the nutty wing of which you are not a member)vent their spleen, hopefully this reduces their pain………..

The pain must be unbearable.

A pity indeed.

As a human being, it pains me to see another person suffering so……

st4rs Says:

All these discussions! Rafa isn’t gonna be the same. He isn’t getting younger, he isn’t completely healing unless full operation done, age factor alone isn’t gonna help him in movement and endurance departments, so no matter what people are talking, read my lips, he isn’t gonna be the same. I am sorry friends.

nadalista Says:

Potito Starace,

“I’m really happy because Potito and I are very good friends.”



“You can’t be on good terms with yourself much if you obsessively hate people you have never met”

mat4 Says:

About respect, fans, Rafa, Novak, etc., a confusing post from a confused poster.

I always try, in my posts, to respect other posters. I think that some among the Rafa or Fed fans are very nice, kind “etheral” persons, deserving respect and kindness.

Then, about Rafa. As a tennis fan, I would like him to make a great come back, to regain his previous form. It is simply good for tennis.

As a Novak fan, not really. Because, between them, it is not a rivalry — it is a true war of attrition, with injuries, slumps, consequences for both. It is not tennis, but more than tennis, a physical and psychological war.

Against Fed, it all goes so fast. You lose or win with your racquet, and with your tennis.

Murray is a bad match up for Novak, but when Novak plays at his best, when Andy is not just the superior player on the court, there is usually a moment when, after a tense battle, Andy just lets it go.

Rafa — never. The way Rafa plays at his best, you have first to break his body, then his will before winning a match. And I believe that those efforts are bad for Novak, and could shorten his career. I think that Rafa was the cause of Novak’s slump in 2009 and 2010, but, on the other side, it was the catalyst that helped him forge his character and pushed him so high in 2011.

So, my only hope is that Novak has improved, and that Rafa can’t improve his game. And, as a Novak fan, I don’t want to see anything like the AO final again, or like the USO final in 2011. I don’t want Novak to play Rafa in final after final. Rafa just doesn’t know when he is beaten. Victories against him all have something… pyrrhic.

mat4 Says:

To sum it up: somebody has to explain Rafa that his sport is tennis, not ultima fight…

Giles Says:

Tennis and ultima fight go together, no???

Wog boy Says:

When I think about those ten or so finals, cagefighting comes to my mind.

mat4 Says:




alison Says:

So to be a genuine Novak fan,you have to put the Rafa fans in their rightfull place,is this the new tennis x law,ok right glad to know we have got that one clear,i always thought it was for fans to give their own personal opinions,didnt realise it was all about pecking order between fan groups.

alison Says:

Courbon TBH it was enough for me that Rafa even made the final on his 1st tourney back,my expectations were not that high anyway,too much too soon,its all about him getting used to playing again,as for LVC well they were never going to catch Man UTD anyway,but that was a horrendous result last night,all my favorite teams lost this weekend LFC,CCFC,YCFC:-(.

alison Says:

BFF just to say as a Rafa fan,your quite right Novak could probably go on to surpass Rafa in GS,i cant speak for other Rafa fans,but i know im happy with Rafas legacy,in that he sits along side Borg and Laver with 11 GS,up there with the all time greats,not too shabby for Rafa,2nd or 3rd best player in this era? is it really that big a deal?its only a game hardly the end of the world is it?

mat4 Says:


I hope Rafa will equal Roger’s number of slams.

Just a few short of Novak’s final number..


mat4 Says:

But, let’s be realistic: nothing of that will happen.

Then, a few thoughts: imagine Novak, or Andy, born in 1981(2), and Roger born in 1987.

How many slams would they have won? Would Andy have won only one slam at 25, playing 6 finals? Would Novak have 6 slams at 25? More? Less?

Imagine Roger, at 19, 20, playing against Andy and Novak at 25?

Wog boy Says:


mat4 started it ..

nadalista Says:

Interesting interview with Patrick Mouratoglou, especially his explanation of differences in players’ recovery periods:

“Wouldn’t drugs also help with endurance?

It counts. But again, there are many other ways to recover better. First of all, how you play, if you use a lot of energy or not playing, if you are fluid. Rafa (Nadal) uses unbelievable energy, but Federer does not use half of what Rafa uses. Even (Novak) Djokovic, I’m not surprised he recovers so well. First of all he has the perfect body for tennis, not one kilogramme of fat. Not too heavy muscles, which is very important and the body is unbelievably flexible and his body is very well balanced and if you look at the way he plays, he doesn’t use too much energy. He’s close to the baseline, so he runs much less. You look how much he runs compared to the others. All those things have to be taken into account in terms of recovery.”


Wog boy Says:


Jim Courier said that for Novak and his movement during AO final, to put it this way, very efficient movement compare to Andy’s.

wilfried Says:

@Brazilian federer fan
@ Mat4
BBF, a bit off topic for the current thread but coming back to a recently discussed topic on a former thread.
You were right in criticizing my comment.
I collected more data to have a bigger sample and looked at all the tournaments between the start of 2009 up till now in which Tsonga participated, hereby focusing on the tournaments in which Tsonga was not 1st seed, not 2d seed, not 3d seed nor 4th seed.
I counted 48 tournaments in which these seed-criteria were met, examined for each of them in which quarter of the draw Tsonga landed, and looked at the distribution of the results.
The observed frequencies turned out to be quite close to the expected frequencies (48/4 = 12) : 9times in the 1stquarter, 14 times in the 2d quarter, 14 times in the 3d quarter and 11 times in the 4th quarter
When these data are sorted at seed level, the distribution remains in the same line with the general pattern.
So indeed it is plausible to accept that the draws are likely made in a random way.

But this being said, we can also focus on the only tournaments in which both Tsonga and Nadal participated together and repeat the same exercise.
In this case, there are not 48 tournaments but only 39 tournaments in examination.
These tournaments are:
(1) 2009 Australian Open (Tsonga 2d quarter-5th seed – place 64 (128); Nadal 1st quarter)
(2) 2009 Rotterdam (Tsonga 1st quarter -7th seed – place 7; Nadal 1st quarter)
(3) 2009 Indian Wells (Tsonga 3d -11th seed – place 80 (96); Nadal 1st quarter)
(4) 2009 Miami (Tsonga 3d quarter – 10th – seed place 80 (96) ; Nadal 1st quarter)
(5) 2009 Rome (Tsonga 1st quarter – 9th seed – place 9 (96); Nadal 1st quarter)
(6) 2009 Madrid (Tsonga 2d quarter – 9th seed – place 25 (96); Nadal 1st quarter)
(7) 2009 Roland Garros (Tsonga 3d quarter – 9th seed – place 80(128); Nadal 1st quarter)
(8) 2009Canada (Tsonga 1st quarter- 7th seed – place 16 (56) ; Nadal 4th quarter)
(9) 2009 Cincinnati (Tsonga 4th quarter -7th seed – place 49(56); Nadal 4th quarter)
(10) 2009 US Open (Tsonga 3d quarter – 7th seed – place 65 (128); Nadal 3d quarter)
(11) 2009 Shanghai (Tsonga 2d quarter -5th seed – place32(56); Nadal 1st quarter)
(12) 2009 Paris (Tsonga 4th quarter -8th seed – place 49 (64) ; Nadal 4th quarter)
(13) 2010 Australian Open (Tsonga 2d quarter- 10th seed – place 49(128); Nadal 4th quarter)
(14) 2010 Indian Wells (Tsonga 2d quarter- 9th seed – place 49 (96); Nadal 3d quarter)
(15) 2010 Miami (Tsonga 3d quarter – 8th seed – place 65 (96) ; Nadal 3d quarter)
(16) 2010 Monte Carlo (Tsonga 4th quarter – 5th seed – place 49 (56); Nadal 4th quarter)
(17) 2010 Rome (Tsonga 3d quarter – 7th seed – place 33 (56) ; Nadal 2d quarter)
(18) 2010 Madrid (Tsonga 4th quarter – 7th seed – place 49 (56) ; Nadal 4th quarter)
(19) 2010 Roland Garros (Tsonga 2d quarter – 8th seed – place 64(128); Nadal 4th quarter)
(20) 2010 Wimbledon (Tsonga 3d quarter – 10th seed – place 80(128); Nadal 4th quarter)
(21) 2010 Shanghai (Tsonga 2d quarter – 12th seed – place 25( 64) ; Nadal 1st quarter)
(22) 2011 Australian Open (Tsonga 2d quarter- 13th seed – place 48(128); Nadal 1st quarter)
(23) 2011 Indian Wells (Tsonga 1st quarter- 15th seed – place 16(128); Nadal 1st quarter)
(24) 2011 Miami (Tsonga 1st quarter – 15th seed – place 16(128); Nadal 1st quarter)
(25) 2011 Monte Carlo (Tsonga 1st quarter- 12th seed – place 9 (64); Nadal 1st quarter)
(26) 2011 Madrid (Tsonga 2d quarter- not seeded – place 26 (64); Nadal 1st quarter)
(27) 2011 Rome (Tsonga 2d quarter – not seeded – place 20.(64); Nadal 1st quarter)
(28) 2011 Roland Garros (Tsonga 3d quarter- 17th seed – place 88 (128); Nadal 1st quarter)
(29) 2011 Queens (Tsonga 1st quarter- 5th seed – place 16(64); Nadal 1st quarter)
(30) 2011 Wimbledon (Tsonga 3d quarter- 12th seed – place 80 (128); Nadal 1st quarter)
(31) 2011 Montreal (Tsonga 2d quarter- 13th seed – place 24 (64); Nadal 4th quarter)
(32) 2011 Cincinnati (Tsonga 3d quarter- 15th seed – place 41(64); Nadal 4th quarter)
(33) 2011 US Open (Tsonga 2d quarter- 11th seed place 49(128); Nadal 4th quarter)
(34) 2012 Australian Open (Tsonga 2d quarter- 6th seed place 64(128); Nadal 4th quarter)
(35) 2012 Indian Wells (Tsonga 4d quarter – 6th seed -place 97(128); Nadal 4th quarter)
(36) 2012 Miami (Tsonga 4th quarter – 6th seed – place 97(128); Nadal 4th quarter)
(37) 2012 Rome (Tsonga 1st quarter- 5th seed – place 16(64); Nadal 4th quarter)
(38) 2012 Roland Garros (Tsonga 1st quarter- 5th seed – place 32(128); Nadal 4th quarter)
(39) 2012 Wimbledon (Tsonga 4th quarter -5th seed – place 97(128); Nadal 4th quarter)

When we have a closer look at these data, we can easily see that Tsonga and Nadal were both drawn in the same quarter exactly 15 times (out of 39).
In case the draw is made in a random way, Tsonga should have a ¼ chance of being drawn in the same quarter as Nadal and a ¾ chance of being drawn in another quarter than Nadal.
The binomial distribution seems appropriate to calculate the probability of this scenario: with n= 39, p=1/4 , q= ¾ and P(X=15), we get a probability of 2,35 %.
Using the Pearson’s chi-squared “goodness of fit” to test the nul hypothesis that the data fit indeed with a binomial distribution, we get the following statistic: [((15 – 9,75)^2 + (24 – 29,25)^2] = 3,77.
This value is very close to the critical p-value of the chi-squared distribution with 1 degree of freedom (3,84) (at confidence level of 5%).
It’s true where there is only 1 degree of freedom, the approximation is not 100 % reliable if expected frequencies are below 10. In this case, the expected frequencies were (1/4)*39 = 9,75 and (3/4)*39 = 27,25, which implies that the conditions were almost met, but not entirely (9,5 < 10 !).
My conclusion: the nul-hypothesis has to be accepted, but almost could be rejected with the statistic I got.

nadalista Says:

This is what the haters can’t stand about Rafa (well, in addition to THAT other statistic), the respect and high esteem fellow players have for him:


“I’m shocked. I’ve beaten one of the best players of tennis history, the Argentine told reporters. “It’s an incredible sensation. I still think I’m dreaming. It’s an honor playing against him. I enjoyed being with him at the locker room, eating with him. He’s a great guy, I would like to ask him if he’s from this planet.”

wilfried Says:

It should be: [((15 – 9,75)^2 / 9,75) + ((24 – 29,25)^2/29,25] = 3,77.

alison Says:

Mat4 everything you say is a possibility,but ATM that is all it is,dont get me wrong theres nothing wrong in making predictions,we all do it,however what does get annoying is one poster or another thinking that they have a monopoly on knowing about what will happen in the future more than anyone else,name calling other posters for having their own personal opinions,when their opinions are no better or worse than anyone elses.

wilfried Says:

I have nothing against Nadal or any player.
The comment is given by way of example has to do with the randomness of the draws. I was not focusing on Nadal by the way but on Tsonga’s draws.

alison Says:

Nadalista thanks for the link nice words from Zeballos.

nadalista Says:


Sorry, mine was just a random comment, not directed at you or your comment at all. Sorry if it appeared that way………..

mat4 Says:

@alison, WB:

Joking aside, I wasn’t thinking primarily about the number of trophies, but about the psychological impact. I really think that Rafa and Novak almost destroyed each other (injuries, crisis, slumps), but, in the process, this was what elevated each other to new heights, although they were walking, both, for a long time, on the edge of a knife.

But we see how the “spanish-serbian-swiss” wall affected Murray, probably DelPo, Ferrer…

Then… Roger is one of the toughest player in clutch situations ever, this man is made of steel, but Rafa made him cry, and for his part, Roger made Andy cried, too.

So, I don’t want to predict, I am not Jamie and I am very disturbed by his posts, but I ask myself sometimes if there is a potential Federer, out there, that just can’t make it, that even doesn’t try to believe that he can make it. I wonder if Fed would have done it if he had to face, at his beginnings, Rafa, Novak and Andy at their prime.

mat4 Says:

In this context, you have to put some of Novak’s retirements: in Rome, against Fed, at RG, against Rafa. I don’t believe that he had physical issues — although it could have been of psychosomatic provenance — but it was just the mountain he had to climb. Novak didn’t cry — he just retired.

alison Says:

Mat4 i agree i have a hard time taking Jamie seriously as an actuall fan of tennis,he seems more like a Novak hero woshipper,someone who believes their own favorite is bigger than the game itself,mind you all fan groups suffer with that,anway if Fed were the same age as the rest in their peaks hmm,its a tricky one that one,personally IMO i dont really think it would have made a difference,Feds always been more talented than the others and can still beat them if his game is on,its an interesting theory though,and great that even now Feds still playing at the level that he is.

mat4 Says:


About Jamie: I believe he is a provocateur. He made me lose my temper one or two times, so I just skip his posts now. I don’t believe he is a Novak fan, nor an Andy fan, nor a tennis fan at all.

Then, I didn’t think about if Fed were the same age, but if he were younger, having to make his path to the top against Djokovic, Nadal, Murray at their peak.

Look at Murray. He is very gifted, good hands, exceptional movement, with a “feel” (to quote Wilander) for the ball. He lost five finals in slams. Today, I sometimes have the impression that he just can’t sustain the emotive, psychological tension until the end. We know Fed was a nervous young player, who needed time to mature. Imagine him playing his first final at 21 and loose, then loose three or four semis in a row against the same players.

From Vajda’s interview, I know that Novak just stopped, for a while, believing he can make it. My inner feeling that the semi against Roger, at the USO 2010 changed it, but he left three years in the process. Then, just look at Djokovic when he starts a match against Federer: he is always very, very nervous.

Murray’s case is even more obvious: although he has improved his game, I don’t think he would have been able to win the USO without such favourable circumstances. It is not a question of tennis, but of a mental stronghold built against younger opponents. Look at the semi of the AO: Federer almost sneaked a victory, although Murray played better.

mat4 Says:


I am not quite certain that one can use only statistical tools. First, I don’t believe that everything can be “fixed”. Then, the affinities of the organisers are not the same. I mentioned that in Rome and MC, Djokovic, in his prime, was never in Rafa’s half. Then, in 2011 the ranking among the top four changed, and that changed the logic of the draw too.

If we analyse only the slams, the sample is, unfortunately, too small.

Then, I feel that only the greatest stars are “protected”, but one can not fail to notice that Roger’s draws are very difficult since he left IMG, and Novak’s lands with players against whom he leads 10-1, 9-0 in H2H… So, the only thing that was very obvious, for me, was the Federer-Djokovic semis, and I think it is mathematically clear, despite the limited sample, that the draws were fixed. For the rest… one can just wonder.

Anyway, as a linguist, I am in awe about your knowledge of maths.

Brazil Federer Fan Says:


Very impressive work with the data. I am glad you can understand my point.

I agree with your math too, but my beef remains the same, how do you account for nadal and tsonga’s variations in rankings?

Remember my examples of 2009 AO and 2010 AO and 2009 USO and 2010 USO? where fed-djokovic happened all 4 times inspite of draws giving us the ideal distribution?

The binomial distribution assumes the probability of success remains constant, but with varying rankings, I donot think this assumption holds. Even making this assumption, we have got what? 2.35%? remember the chance of getting hit by lightning is around 1/700000. Yet, it happens – not once or twice but several 100 times [maybe even in thousands] in a year.

Again, great work with the data.

as for the fixing of the draws – between armstrong’s confessions and the fixing scandal in football, fixing draws or for that matter, fixing matches in tennis must not be a big deal at all. maybe even doping. I just don’t think the math and the numbers are strong enough to show us a “trend/pattern”.

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

Alison : so, nadalista tells us Nirmal Kumar [who all federer fans know is a black sheep] is a true federer fan. and you get to decide the benchmark for a true djokovic fan?

How about you guys decide who is a true rafa fan? Is there anyone who fits that? or do truth and rafa not go together?

You dont have to answer. I can see it from the posts. A fair poster will get fair responses. Rafatards like giles, nadalista, roy and others will be given responses in the language they understand. I would advise you to give your sermons to them.

MMT Says:

I don’t think we can reach any conclusions based on this tournament – it’s his first tournament back, and the field was not the strongest so even if he won, you wouldn’t conclude that he’s necessarily back in business. Having lost to a player playing the best tennis of his career, I don’t think there’s much there.

As a matter of fact, he could have a terrible time of it for the next year, and still have a great period after that – Federer looked like he was done and dusted in 2008, then starting with the US Open won 3 of next 4 majors, and counting Wimbledon 2008 made 7 finals in a row. And Nadal, for his part, after bagging it at Roland Garros in 2009, he went on to have the best year of his career in 2010.

We’ll see…

nadalista Says:

Brazil Federer Fan,

My post was not directed at you, unless this is your way of confirming you are a member of the nutty wing of Fedfandom, or your way of trying to engage me in conversation. Sorry, not interested.

Do not mention my name in your posts, I never mention yours in mine, not now, not ever.

Gardons votre distance, s’il te plais……..


Leon Says:

Excuse me, it seems becoming hilarious. I mean the fixed-draw-statistics debates.
Did you guys see a live draw procedure? I followed the last two GS online, USO and AO.
Let’s speak about No.3-4 scattering.
USO: an official organizer representative (don’t remember who, but not a child or undoubtedly neutral person for sure) pulls one OF TWO tokens from a pot (cup). It’s no rocket science to make them just a bit (but invisible for any person not properly instructed) different.
AO: the same scene, but in a way, even worse: the act was performed by Pat Cash who, as far as I can judge from the media, has his personal preferences.
After that…all these calculations and talks at the scientific conferences by some Estonian lady…binomial distributions…Are you kidding me?
That said, I am far from stating the draw fixed. Who knows. Just don’t care. None of my business. That’s the draw for you. If you want to be the best, you should be that not by a tiny margin. 17 to 11 looks good, for example (OK, OK, it’s a joke).

[As for probability theory itself – BFF is completely right when reminding that the number of events is still too small to serve as a proof “in the court” – we speak about 20 or so at best. It’s not the case of an improbable outcome like the water in the tea-pot starting to boil without heating (which is “possible” theoretically with the probability of such a fluctuation like exp(-N) where N is of the order of google). But all this stuff is definitely not for a tennis site, for heavens sake. Send your paper to PNAS for peer review, but please don’t scare poor linguist…]

skeezer Says:


Good find @ 6:27

RZ Says:

On a slightly different topic, Rafa has brought up again that hard courts are bad for the players. http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/8939354/rafael-nadal-blasts-atp-says-playing-cement-health-risk

I think he has a point but since these tournaments care mostly about profit, they’re not likely to change to clay, grass, or indoor. I also think there are plenty of clay court and indoor tournaments on the ATP/WTA schedule already; it’d be nice to see more grass court tournaments! I won’t hold my breath though…

trufan Says:

Not too many players seem to have injuries due to hard courts, do they? Nadal’s style of play has as much to do with his knee problems as the surface.

On another note, since it was written over and over again:

Its interesting that Nadal is 12-2 on both Federer and Djokovic on clay.

Outside of clay, Nadal is 6-8 against Fed and 7-12 against Djokovic.

So a combined 24-4 on clay against Fed and Djokovic, his main competition during his career.

15-20 outside of clay.

If that doesn’t tell you anything, you need to renew the prescription for your meds.

RZ Says:

^Looks like Tennis-X was working on their own blog post on it that went up a few minutes after I added this. Discussion moves over there…

trufan Says:

Also, what Djokovic has done by winning his 6th slam is that he is now in the conversation with Nadal and Fed. Heck, right now, it terms of number of slams, EVEN NOW:

Federer = Nadal + Djokovic

And Nadal is closer to Djokovic than to Fed in terms of no of slams. I bet it stays that way.

volley Says:



Brazil Federer Fan Says:


Like your post! :)

trufan : it is 13-20 outside of clay. not 15-20! but i guess we get the point.

Ben Pronin Says:

It tells you Nadal is a able to compete with them even on his less preferable surfaces but they can barely hold on candle to him on his best surface.

volley Says:

“Not too many players seem to have injuries due to hard courts, do they?”

the ones who play at the highest level seem to, if not during their careers then certainly afterwards. agassi describes in his book the severe back pain he he had late in his career. lendl retired due to his chronic back pain and still suffers from it to this day. connors has had a hip replacement and 2 knee surgeries. there are probably more cases we don’t know about because the players aren’t as high profile. a study of this problem would be illuminating.

mat4 Says:


I haven’t watched the draws, so I didn’t know that it was so easy… to do it.

No, you don’t need stats to prove that it is fixed. It was just so obvious. And, although I am not as astute as Jamie, but I’ll make a prediction: at the FO, if Ferrer is the 4th seed and Rafa the 5th, they will be in the same quarter.

Anyway, great post.

BTW: what is 17 to 11?

mat4 Says:

Anyway, just to mention it, since 2011, when both Djokovic and Nadal peaked, they have played 10 matches, Rafa leads 3-2 on clay, and the result is 0-5 on all other surfaces.

In that span, although Roger was in decline, he is 2-2 against against Rafa on hard, and 0-2 on clay.

If we sum it up, we have:

7-2 on hard,
2-4 on clay,
9-6 total.

Not that bad, especially since we consider that is it the first true period of Rafa’s career when he is not ducking his opponents on hardcourts (for different reasons, of course; I don’t say he always does it on purpose).

Ben Pronin Says:

As of now, Nadal’s peak is 2010. Although 2011 would have been even better if not for Djokovic.

Ducking opponents on hard is an interesting way to put it. Another way to put it is he wasn’t that good on hard courts before but now he dominates the field and only loses to the very best.

Leon Says:

thanks. Of course, I’d rather agree with you – in that part that here we needn’t statistics (unless we are some big gov clerks to fool people) and we, as any mortals, may have our personal perceptions – which, again, have nothing to do with statistical proof.
Concerning your last question: I regret mentioning that. Just a moment of weakness of a “balanced” fan.

mat4 Says:

I remember a RF interview at the USO, when asked about a Fedal final he answered: “I was there. Is it my fault if he didn’t make it?”

Unfortunately for Roger and Novak, they made those semis and those finals on clay, just helping Rafa to build a mental stronghold over them. Hopefully, Novak managed to overcome it.

In this light, Rafa avoiding to play the AO becomes understandable: just like he said, losing in Vina del Mar means nothing, but losing at the AO, especially against a top ten player (it is not only the other top four that matter, but all the big hitters at the top: Berdych, Tsonga, Del Potro) could be costly in the long run.

nadalista Says:

So what would the numbers look like @mat4 if you use 2010 as Rafa’s peak period, which as Ben Pronin says (and I agree), is more reflective of Rafa’s “peakness” than 2011?

mat4 Says:


“Concerning your last question: I regret mentioning that. Just a moment of weakness of a “balanced” fan.”

First, there is nothing to regret. The first thing I learned in chess is that winning doesn’t matter, but enjoying the win. As a fan, I feel it is you legitimated right to rejoice and make fun when you can.

Anyway, we don’t need to be serious all the time.

Then, I REALLY don’t know what it is.

mat4 Says:


You answered too early, when I was clarifying my previous post. In essence, I don’t disagree with you.

mat4 Says:


Hi, glad you’re here.

First, I was just trying to deepen Trufan’s post above, and add some details. Then, in 2010, there are to few matches so it is meaningless.

But if sum it all, since Rafa’s peak, in 2010 (Rafa mentions that in 2012, before the injury, he played his best tennis, and considering his age and results, we should add 2011), overall it is

10-9 for Fed/Djoko vs Rafa.

Just to mention that 2010 was the Novak’s worst season since 2006, and that Fed was already in decline, against Rafa at his peak.

Ah, those numbers, those stats..


nadalista Says:

Thanks @mat4. Look, numbers don’t lie so I like to see these kind of stats. I am sure the players pay attention to them as well.

Then we can interpret to out hearts’ content of course!

mat4 Says:



Leon Says:

thanks again, although I am aware of that my “legitimated right”. What I regret is to use it in such a low fashion. I can’t believe you really don’t know. As if you are such an avid fan to count Novak’s slams only!
About RN presence and RF interview, remember that post-FO-09? “Did you miss Rafa in the final?” – “Me? Not at all. Maybe you, guys. It was nice to have somebody else for a change”. Also, see recent Kolya’s answer concerning RN return to the tour.
As grendel said, “funny lot, champions”.
Finally, about chess. I was a pro chess player in my early years. Don’t tell me that “winning doesn’t matter”, hehe. And I have to say, in the context of the last RN philippics about hard courts, that ANY pro sport, even chess, aims anything but health, obviously. I wonder how RN choices the subjects of his claims so poorly, time and time again. My sympathy.

Ben Pronin Says:

It’s still ridiculous that Federer and Djokovic have to combine to hold just a 10-9 record over Nadal.

Yeah, 2011 should definitely be included as a part of Rafa’s peak.

Mat4, true. I think all of the wins by Nadal over those guys on clay definitely translated to the other surfaces, especially against Federer.

nadalista Says:

I love Celtic’s brand of football: swashbuckling, breathless, go for broke……….and then Juve score!

mat4 Says:


“It’s still ridiculous that Federer and Djokovic have to combine to hold just a 10-9 record over Nadal.”

Ben, they don’t combine.


I don’t know how I could forget THAT 17-11! I thought it was something about H2H…

You played chess? Of course, winning matters! But bragging after a win… what a pleasure…

mat4 Says:


I found that study from the Estonian scientist, Katarina Pijetlovic. Very interesting stuff. There is also a link:


The pdf (easy to google) repeats what I was thinking all along.

mat4 Says:


Novak is 7-4, Roger 3-5. But you don’t really sum up their results. It is not 2 really against 1.

Anyway, it was just a joke.

Ben Pronin Says:

I didn’t think things through… I haven’t slept much lately.

mat4 Says:

I feel stupid (as usual). I wrote about draw fixing on this site a few years ago, but fail to notice that, in the meantime, not only Dave mentioned the above study, but Tennis-x stuff wrote about the (im)probability of the draws such as they were.

wilfried Says:

Thanks a lot for the comments and mentioning that study from the Estonian scientist, Katarina Pijetlovic. I didn’t know the existence of that study.
After having read the conclusions of that study I fully agree with you, Leon, that there isn’t any need to talk about it any further. I won’t do either.

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