Nadal Fights Off Federer, Faces Djokovic For ATP Finals Title; Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | November 10th, 2013, 10:20 pm

After just over 11 months of play we are down to the final ATP singles contest on the calender, and fittingly it matches up the two best tennis players in the world, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Both guys advanced over Swiss opposition in straight set fashion in the semis of the year-end ATP Finals played in London.

Nadal resumed his dominance over Roger Federer defeating the 32-year-old 7-5, 6-3. Federer did his best to hang around, playing an aggressive brand of tennis and taking it to Nadal. But Rafa is just the stronger, better player right now and he was able to eventually break Federer down and take the match, though it wasn’t easy.

Nadal served for the first set at 5-4 but was promptly re-broken by Federer. Nadal then broke again and then at 6-5 was able to close the door.

“I saved a few important breakpoints, very important ones, and then I played a good game when I had the break,” Nadal said. “The key of the match was probably the 5‑All after he had the break back in the first set when I was serving for the set. Had the break another time. Put 6‑5 in my favor. That was very important.”

After the first, Federer really never got back into the match as he had in previous tussles with the top guys this fall. Perhaps the long win yesterday over Del Potro depleted his reserves.

“He was playing more consistent,” admitted Federer. “He was playing more solid. He plays the way he always plays. I just couldn’t come up with the shots when I needed them, forehand or serve, moving forward.
It’s unbelievable that he gets away with playing so far back indoors these days, but that’s the conditions. So credit to him for making that work for him.”

For Federer, despite the loss the season ends on an upswing and with some much-needed momentum. After just one Top 10 win during the year Federer picked up three in the last couple of weeks and he really pushed Djokovic in two matches. So maybe the back ailment really did damage his game, or maybe he just plays better indoors. We’ll find out in two months when new season starts up outdoors, but it’s a positive sign to what concludes a disappointing season for Roger.

In the second semi, Novak Djokovic got down a break to Stan Wawrinka before cruising 6-3, 6-3 to win his 21st straight match. The Serb looked patchy yesterday in a meaningless affair with Richard Gasquet, but today he was all business.

“One break is not enough, especially at the beginning,” said Wawrinka. “I had the feeling that I was playing good, hitting well the ball. But I think I don’t have enough energy today. I think I was little bit late physically. Against him, that’s make a big difference. I didn’t find a way how to move really inside the court when he give me a few balls.”

So our last tournament final is set, and the participants know each other very, very well.

Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic
Nadal and Novak will meet for the 39th time, 6th this season. Nadal, like he does over just about everybody in the Top 40 at present, has the lead in this series 22-16 winning three of five this year.

But Djokovic won their most recent match in Beijing and overall on hardcourts it’s Novak with the advantage 12-7. Rafa does lead Novak 2-1 in matches at the ATP Finals however this is their first encounter at the event this decade.

And after a long season, the two come in playing at a high level and both should be fit.

“Well, we both had a great seasons, especially him,” said Djokovic. “He finishes No. 1 of the world deservedly. Of course, whenever we play each other, it’s a huge challenge and we want to win. This is the probably most competitive tournament that we have after Grand Slams in our sport, and we both want to crown this season in the best possible way and end it with a title.”

And it’s a title Nadal’s never ever won. As I said when the tournament began, indoors doesn’t suit Nadal but Rafa wants this one, one of the few big events he’s yet to capture.

“Is true that this tournament is special and I never had the chance to win here,” Nadal said. “But I know remain a lot of work, probably the most difficult one. And that’s fine, no? I think if I don’t play my best tomorrow, I don’t gonna have chances. I need to play more aggressive.”

The slower, grittier court surface has, I think, helped Rafa this week. And in general, this has been the best season to date for Rafa on the hardcourts, a fact even Novak acknowledges.

“He has immensely improved on hard court,” Djokovic said. “Comparing to all the other surfaces in our sport, this is probably his least preferable, but not this year. This year he has had incredible success. He’s more aggressive. He’s using his serve better.”

Still, the court favors Djokovc. And he’s also the defending champion, on a streak and despite losing out of the No. 1 ranking, he’s got points to earn that will help him down the road. Plus, he matches up nicely against Rafa and with the lower bouncing balls this week, that should help Novak even more.

In a way, after all he’s been through and all he’s accomplished, it would be the fitting storybook ending for Nadal to take the title tomorrow. But often in real life it doesn’t work out that way. Maybe when and if the tournament ever gets moved to clay or back outdoors, Nadal will finally get that elusive win. Just not now.
The pick: Djokovic in two

ESPN2 has live coverage of the final at 3pm ET.

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157 Comments for Nadal Fights Off Federer, Faces Djokovic For ATP Finals Title; Who’s The Pick?

TGIT Says:

While Rafa is current GOAT. Djoko will get this in two. He will not waste those Nadal 2nd serves like the other guy.

Patson Says:

We agree on this one Sean. Novak in two.

Skeezer Says:

Re;current GOAT.
Please ask Rafa. His opinion trumps yours. With respect, but please pay attention.
Rafa duture GOAT? Maybe, but not atm. Per Rafa, which vamosheads believe he is tennis God, says Fed is undenialble GOAT. Please help tell them the reality of the truth he says.
Thank you.

WTF Says:

Whoever wins this will go undefeated and claim the bonus cash.

WTF Says:

TGIT: No such thing as a “current” GOAT. The AT stands for ‘all time’.

You can call him currently the best player in the world or best player of 2013, but not of all time. There’s still some work to do there.

Skeezer Says:

^preach it

Perfect fan Says:

Great win and temperament shown by rafa….he do play on a diff league against roger and stay solid throughout the match. Good to see him reach the finals on a memorable year for him….however, to win against nole is looking bit diff as nole will be much more motivated and will be itching to get this win and land one final punch of the season. However, if rafa does….kudos to this great man.

Now, being a fedfan….i have not lost my heart and faith on roger….i still believe that there is one more strong season left in him. Seeing his matches since basel, I have seen him play his usual self of the past but the only diff has been the confidence on crucial points of the matches….where the old fed used to succeed with his rock solid self-confidence. I think, he jus have to work on that in this off season.

Allez roger….we love u no matter what :)

WTF Says:

“Now, being a fedfan….i have not lost my heart and faith on roger….i still believe that there is one more strong season left in him.”

Well let’s hope that strong season is stronger than this one. To be fair, it shouldn’t be too difficult to beat 2013..

I can’t see him beating Rafa or Nole though, or even Murray.

Michael Says:

Roger put it rather bluntly after the match. He just didn’t deserve to it after failing to capitalise on the opportunities that he had and against a player like Rafa that could be fatal. He had an early chance to break in the first set at 3-2 when he just overhit a simple forehand down the line shot. That made the difference between victory and defeat in the first set. And once Rafa won that first set, it was a mere formality and the usual process was carried out on court. Rafa just made the ball dead on some of the returns and took considerable pace off it troubling Roger who couldn’t find the rythm to play such balls. And that sliced backhand which worked so well against Del Potro just disappeared and even the drop shots by Roger failed. Roger just hasn’t got the confidence to play Rafa. Well, he didn’t even have it in his prime, so how he can have now when he is aging and pretty inconsistent ? This is Roger’s territory and he could have atleast extended it to three sets if he played well, but that was not to be. Finally, the match was a dampener compared to phenomenal expectations that it raised. Now it is too many times close to comfort for Roger to be beaten by Rafa pretty easily.

Perfect fan Says:

@ WTF: Thanx for reading and highlighting my second paragraph….no need to mention the first as that has to be taken for granted, isn’t it?

Well wat did I mention in the 2nd….that caught ur leering eyes and u thought of spitting venom into it. Is it too bad for a fan to be hopeful of his fav to have a good season ahead….did I mention something that fed is going to win 2 or 3 slams and return to no. 1 which made u so uncomfortable and cringe at ur seat….then why wtf….WHY??

Didn’t I gave enuff respect to rafa in my last post or did I nullified his victory against roger saying he has been doing?? Why the hate wtf? I m not asking u to change ur nature….all I m asking is that don’t drag me into this hate club. Did I ever said anything or projected rafa in the bad light….ever? So pls don’t drag my words into the midst of this hate sh!t….i request!

Rafa did have one hell of a season and he had that aftr one painful 2012 season whr roger had a grt season….i m sure u mus have gone thru the pain and realize that feeling. So enjoy ur fav’s achievements more than getting sadistic enjoyment out of someone else failure….coz u nvr know wats thr in store in future.

I hope u understand!!

Michael Says:

I cannot share the unbridled optimism expressed by Sean taking Novak’s victory as granted. Ofcourse, he has a slight edge but with the way Rafa is playing he can definitely make a match out of it. Ofcourse, Novak knows how to play Rafa and he has shown us in the past. But Rafa is hungry and wants to win this elusive title at all costs since it is just a few of the precious ones that is missing in his star studded cabinet. So, even if Novak manages to win this one, it should be in three sets. I would be rather surprised if it is not the case.

skeezer Says:

“Well, he didn’t even have it in his prime, so how he can have now when he is aging and pretty inconsistent ?”

Hold on there. He has beaten Rafa multiple times. In fact he thumped him a big lesson @WTF 2011, with a 6-0, 6-3 beatdown of epic proportions. Some post here like Fed never has beaten Rafa. Hehe…
Rafa has a h2h advantage, sure,but Rafa is fully aware Fed has and can beat him. Maybe that is why Rafa is always “up and alert” when they play. He has to play well, or he could easily lose. Nowadays, with age, it certainly looks bleak, but he’s playing on house money and its’s all gravy. His records are all time.
Enjoy the game Fed as long as you can!

Rogerisclass Says:

Perfect fan Says: Allez roger….we love u no matter what :)

agree. My favorite is always Roger.

Yes, his HtoH with Nadal is too bad, It is unrelated for me. Roger has many great records too much.

Why is he the 1st place of a favorite player for 11 consecutive years?
Even the worst season, Roger wins the 9th sportsmanship prize? by Players’ vote. He is awarded more than Edberg to whom the name is attached.

I wish, Roger’s name is given to these prizes.

2014 becomes a season better than this year for Roger. good luck Roger :)

Rogerisclass Says:

nadal Win 32-year-old Roger for the first time by indoor? Many of their games are CLAY from the first. 15 times?
And as for Roger, the old age of age started. also almost the slow sucafe.

Roger continues a challenge. win or lose. He is an eternal champion, ever.

I love Roger.

Michael Says:


For all things said and done, the H2H is a rather embarrassing 22-10 not doing any credit to Roger’s legacy. For all his histronics, this would definitely be a black mark in his career, however we might try to give a spin to it. I am a great fan of Roger, but I am pretty discomfited with the way he is losing to Rafa, not even going down with a fight. I am not disappointed that he is losing to Rafa. It is only the way in which he is losing which troubles his fans like me. Where is that commitment, resolve, will and determination that he showed against Del Potro. Commitment was completely lacking there in court and it seemed Roger was reconciled to his defeat and going through the motions. Rafa was not doing anything great there on court except that he was serving quite well. If only Roger had taken his chances, he could have made a match out of it. But it is not to be.

Michael Says:


For all things said and done, the H2H is a rather embarrassing 22-10 not doing any credit to Roger. For all his histronics, this would definitely be a black mark in his resume, however we might try to give a spin to it as his fans. Let us be frank and call spade a spade. I am a great fan of Roger, but I am pretty discomfited with the way he is losing to Rafa, not even going down with a fight. I am not disappointed that he is losing to Rafa. It is only the way in which he is losing which troubles his fans like me. Where is that commitment, resolve, will and determination that he showed against Del Potro. Commitment was completely lacking there in court and it seemed Roger was reconciled to his defeat and going through the motions. Rafa was not doing anything great there on court except that he was serving quite well. If only Roger had taken his chances, he could have made a match out of it. But it is not to be.

Giles Says:
Vamos Rafa!

James Says:

I don’t think it’s going to be a straight set match. Rafa wants this title. It’s gonna take a lot from Novak even indoors to stop a motivated Nadal.

My pick would be Nadal in 3;)

Giles Says:

^^^ I’m with you.

TGIT Says:

Rafa is sure on his way to GOATdom.

What always irks my about Roger is how he just gives up against Rafa. It happens so often it can drive a FedFan crazy. The loss yesterday could have been easier to take if he fought until the last point. Against Rafa he just shrugs his shoulders and says oh well.

To be objective FedFans we never ever ever see Rafa just give up. That is his greatest asset.

With Roger you get the feeling the whole Rafa thing is annoying and wouldn’t it just be better if he stayed out of my way to the trophy. I don’t see Roger adjusting to Rafa it seems like he could not be bothered.

That lack of passion and commitment against your only true rival drives this FedFan crazy.

metan Says:

Rafa is a fighter. It’s not gonna be straight. RAFAEL NADAL Shows that you can do it!!!
Millions of luck!!

ven Says:

It is biased review i feel 2 straight sets? If novak loses it becase he is tired or may be more intrested on davis cup, I can see it as a very close match

hawkeye Says:

Michael Says:
I cannot share the unbridled optimism expressed by Sean taking Novak’s victory as granted.

Whhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Are you implying that the impartial objective writers on are biased? Why is it “optimism”?

hawkeye Says:

A win at today’s echo would simply be icing on the cakes for Rafa but not critical in the grand scheme.

With a Nole win, Rafole would be 3-3 on the year.

Rafa would have his victories from the French Open, the US Open and the Montreal Masters.

Nole’s would be from Monte Carlo, Beijing and today’s friendly.

I think we can all agree on which trio is better for Rafa’s GOAT legacy, no? Well, all but one of us anyways, lol.

Nole is a slight favourite according to oddsmakers today which is about right given the conditions but Rafa surprises me continually.

Good luck to both guys today!

hawkeye Says:

Welcome back, RogerIsClass (aka OverestimationNadal on Yahoo, rogervic on the now defunct tennis and still, to this day, my personal favourite, RogerLoverF).

You’ve been sorely missed. Have you been alright? I was concerned!

You are much more, how we say,,,, creative than some of the federazzi sock puppets. You, sir, are no sock puppet.

You are Roger’s most obsessed fan on the internet.

Alexandra Says:

I agree that Djokovic is the favourite here, but I hope it’s not a straight-setter. The best two players of this year are in the final so I’m hoping for a great match. Federer and Wawrinka were a bit lucky to make the semis, so the right guys won yesterday.

WTF Says:

“@ WTF: Thanx for reading and highlighting my second paragraph….no need to mention the first as that has to be taken for granted, isn’t it? ”

Didn’t have anything to say about the first paragraph. It was a completely different topic (Nadal) that I wasn’t going to add to.

I was only interested in the Federer discussion. He says he’s “feeling confident and excited” about 2014. I don’t see much to be confident about based on what I’ve seen this year. I don’t know how he manages to remain so upbeat. He was always disappointed and hurt when he took tough losses in the days he was DOMINATING. Now he’s a shadow of his former self and when he keeps losing, he keeps telling himself that it’s all good, and it’s always on his racket win or lose, he can still come back and win 5 titles a year.

I think that’s delusional.

jamie Says:

^Let’s see if you post my message.

WTF Says:

“Didn’t I gave enuff respect to rafa in my last post or did I nullified his victory against roger saying he has been doing?? Why the hate wtf? I m not asking u to change ur nature….all I m asking is that don’t drag me into this hate club. Did I ever said anything or projected rafa in the bad light….ever? So pls don’t drag my words into the midst of this hate sh!t….i request!”

I don’t care what you have to say about Rafa. It’s not about him, I’m not interested in that and it has nothing to do with the Federer bit I was responding to. I just find it amusing that he can be so deluded.

What I have to say about Federer has nothing to do with Nadal. I’m not a cheerleader for any player. Don’t mistake my criticism of Federer as a defense of Nadal.

jamie Says:

Nadal wll win.

Patson Says:

I’d like to share an interesting piece of information with you.

Squash , which like tennis, is a game played in a knock-out format. There was a guy named Jahangir Khan who’s considered the greatest squash player of all time. He has some awesome records including going undefeated for 555 matches ( 5 years ) alongside his 10 British opens and 6 World opens. He played during the 1980s but what really established him as the undisputed all-time-greatest-player of squash beyond any reason of doubt was his head-to-head against another younger all-time great named Jansher Khan. In their head-to-head, Jansher lead 19-18 by the end of their respective careers. It remained even (almost) despite the fact that Jahangir was 5-6 years older than Jansher. Jahangir had proved that nobody could conquer him, except age.

hawkeye Says:

Head says Nole but Rafa finds ways to overcome so we will see, no?


Perfect fan Says:

“I just find it amusing that he can be so deluded.”

What did roger speak abt wtf that u feel he is deluded?? Is it that he said he is hoping to have a much better season next year or that he said to be hoping for 5 titles….does that make him sound delusional??

Ok tell me one thing honestly wtf….did u ever even once before the start of 2013 thought that roger may end up with jus one title….did u?? i bet not. then how r u so sure wats gonna happen in 2014. may be roger will not win a single title….but i wnt be surprised a bit if he gets a slam too (doesn’t matter how its looking on paper rite now).

But the point is….does it really sound that delusional to u that roger is aspiring to win at least 5 titles in 2014?? is it my friend?? now tell me how many in their wildest of dreams thought that rafa will have this kinda season in 2013 with 5 masters (3 on hard), 2 slams and end up with 10 or more titles….how many wtf??

So u saying roger aspiring to win 5 titles doesn’t sound realistic in this world full of sanity….well! it may come true but u saying fed is delusional to have set a goal like that for 2014 is plain hatred for fed and nothing else.

Comm’n if gasquet or say raonic say now that his goal for 2014 is to win wimbledon….i think its commendable and laudable but not many players can do that which fed does before start of every season….set goals….and which irks haters like u to the fullest….plain and simple.

We all set goals….doesn’t matter it comes true or not but we always give our best and try to pursue what goals we set. If u r any diff., then u r delusional my friend.

courbon Says:

@ hawkeye: Great post.There is no favourite-this match is very close!More important then Master 1000 but not as Glam Sam-hence 1500 points.
Not critical win for Nadal, more important for Novak to reduce point gap in 2014.
Whoever wins, I’m happy they are both in the final-It just feels right.

hawkeye Says:

Should be a good one courbon and congrats to Nole, you, patson and his NoleFam for him making the finals and also for if he wins today.

He is an amazing player to watch. I still marvel at how he solved his mental demons in 2011. He always had the skills.

Yes, in points it is more significant than a Masters but I put it just below a 1000 level tournament because of the indoor and RR aspect and that the players are so often exhausted this time of year.

Glorified exho is a slight exaggeration (don’t tell skeezer, his comprehension skills are somewhat lacking).

Sirius Says:

Just because a certain someone hasn’t won the WTF, it doesn’t become an exho. That person knows the importance of the tournament, wants to win it as much as anyone.

You’re playing the best players of the tour, no? So is got to be very very important to win, no?

Sean Randall Says:

Hawkeye, your drivel is growing really, really tiresome. Wise up or take a hike.

jamie Says:

Sean will be wrong with the prediction.

Nadal will win.

Sean Randall Says:

Thank you jamie, I guess now I don’t need to watch!

hawkeye Says:

Sure Sean will do my absolute best. So sorry I haven’t lived up to the high standards here. I will try to do better.

Just curious, whose your favourite player?

Sean Randall Says:

hawkeye, it certainly isn’t Djokovic, It isn’t Nadal. It isn’t even Federer…

It’s Gael Monfils!

hawkeye Says:

Monfils is awesome! Too bad he can’t stay serious but perhaps that is part of his charm. Who else could get the Americans rooting for a Frenchman against their own. Sure part of that was wanting to see more drama as the late night went on, but, other than Federer, not sure anyone else could have done that.

OK, but who before Gael was your fave?

WTF Says:

“What did roger speak abt wtf that u feel he is deluded??”

Just about everything he says. Every time he opens his mouth after losing to me sounds like he is out of touch with reality.

Perfect fan Says:

@ WTF: I was eagerly waiting for this answer of urs….which very much proves ur feelings for fed.

Now, i m sure i don’t have to bother u anymore….suit urself wtf.

thanx for sharing and sparing time for me pal :)

WTF Says:

“But on the other surfaces, if I am playing well, it’s more in my racquet than in anybody else’s racquet.”

Here’s a quote. It’s a pretty arrogant thing to say and doesn’t give enough credit to the people who beat him. In many of these losses, I don’t think it was on his racket at all.

“Ok tell me one thing honestly wtf….did u ever even once before the start of 2013 thought that roger may end up with jus one title….did u?? i bet not. ”

Nope. Disappointment even by my standards.

“then how r u so sure wats gonna happen in 2014.”

Because he’s getting older, not younger.

“But the point is….does it really sound that delusional to u that roger is aspiring to win at least 5 titles in 2014?? is it my friend??”

He can aspire all he wants, I don’t think it’s realistic though.

“now tell me how many in their wildest of dreams thought that rafa will have this kinda season in 2013 with 5 masters (3 on hard), 2 slams and end up with 10 or more titles….how many wtf??”

He’s not past the age of achieving these things. It’s not unrealistic that he’d win 2 slams. He’s had better seasons than this, for example 2010. Remember, in spite of a fantastic season he only narrowly edged out Nole for year end #1.

I didn’t expect him to win 5 masters, or beat Nole at the USO. But at the same time, I didn’t think it was unfathomable either.

“So u saying roger aspiring to win 5 titles doesn’t sound realistic in this world full of sanity….well! it may come true but u saying fed is delusional to have set a goal like that for 2014 is plain hatred for fed and nothing else.”

To win these titles, he’s going to have to beat top 10 players. Until the WTF this past week he’d only won ONE match against a top 10 opponent. He’d even lost a bunch to terrible players way below him.

“Comm’n if gasquet or say raonic say now that his goal for 2014 is to win wimbledon….”

The point is, they would never say that. Even Nadal never said that. And when he did win it, he said he’d never imagined it even in his wildest dreams. Or something to that effect.

“We all set goals….doesn’t matter it comes true or not but we always give our best and try to pursue what goals we set.”

Set your goals. Keep them realistic. If they’re not, then keep them to yourself.

“If u r any diff., then u r delusional my friend.”

I am most certainly not your friend.

James Says:

jamie, I hope you’re right about Nadal winning the final. Djokovic is on a roll right now and it is Nadal who needs to play extremely well to end the Serb’s 20+ winning streak.

Melissa Says:

It doesn’t matter who will be the winner, but I’m sure that we’ll watch awesome match this night.

Steve 27 Says:

What are the odds?

hawkeye Says:

Nole the favourite about 3:2 which I think is about right on paper.

madmax Says:

well, Federer has every reason to feel he can win 5 titles. He is still top 8, and he is still going for it. Cannot expect Fed to stay at No.1 or No. 2 forever. Just not feasible.

What is really interesting, (can’t remember who said it earlier, was it WTF?), or it could have been Michael, why is it that Fed has such a problem with Rafa and the head to head which is “embarrassing”.

You see, federer cannot win. Firstly, if he had not won against Delpo on saturday, then he would have been accused of tanking. Instead, he won a gripping, exhausting match, and was ready to fight the next door.

Did so very well to break in the first set, lost the opportunity to capitalise and that is what sucks. He misses his opportunities and that is what has become so frustrating.

I watched him against nadal at the semi finals in London a few years ago, God, I wish I could explain to you how he played. He was absolutely magical. Aggressive, direct, he was running all over the court, Nadal had no chance. Absolutely no chance.

Watching him play at Madrid (TV this time), again, one always expects rafa to win, but again, Roger beat him and that was a joy, because of course, against Rafa, he is always the underdog.

What can fed do?

Well, go to 41 seconds here and he explains exactly the problems he has with rafa’s game. He is clear, direct and honest and does not shy away from the problems he has with his game.

Nadal being a leftie and Fed being the opposite. So unless he gets the practice in manoeuvering the ball around the court or returning in a different way, Fed is always going to be met with this mental block.

Rafa just plays in an exceptional way that Roger is not used to playing. He can play against the Delpos, the novaks (and keep it close), and the murrays even, he keeps it close, but with Rafa, his game is so different that he can only beat him on occasion, over the last 5 years especially, so unless he is prepared to bring in the younger lefties on tour to practice with him in Dubai prior to the brisbane tournament and then the Australian tournament, I really don’t know what Federer can do.

Anyway who is interested in listening to what Federer has to say, please respond responsibly and not in a childish way. So no time wasters please.

Tennis.x used to be a place for academic, intelligent discussion before the TT brigade moved over. I hope that Sean and Ben are able to moderate responses more and keep a check on the trouble makers.

van orten Says:

today I came to the conclusiin that whatever happens in the end it will never change nor diminish neither ones accomplishment.. for me the last ten years were awesome to watch..and I will cherish anyones records no matter the hard facts may suggest. there is no number one. some stats are for eternity but I like thinking about what sport is all about. to try ur luck .. and being number two or three or one doesnt matter in the end. there is some good tennis ahead of us. lots of drama too..!!

nilam Says:

I do not see why Djokovic is seen as the big favorite to win the final. This is a slow surface with good bounce and both of them like such conditions. Djokovic has had quite a few mental lapses in this tournament and Nadal will not let him get away with it. It just boils down to who will play better on the day. I think Nadal also wants it more. I am confident Nadal will be up for it since he almost always plays at a consistently decent level. Djokovic is more up and down. He will have to raise his level and be very consistent to win it. Nadal will probably be much more aggressive compared to his earlier matches. I hope we get a cracking final and neither player lets us down.

Giles Says:

Armada win the doubles finals! Well done guys!

Okiegal Says:

Roger didn’t have enough gas in the tank to finish off Rafa……had he played Rafa that particular day….He very well could have won. The lefty troubles Roger…..Rafa is in his head. Has been for a long time. Rafa’ s hard court game is a whole lot better than it used to be . Rafa has made much needed adjustments.


Okiegal Says:

Taping this one to go with this years French Open and US Open. If rafa wins I will keep it forever…if Novak wins I will delete. That is just how I roll!!! LOL

Vamos Rafa!!!! Win or lose…..this has been an amazing year. Best of luck for today from your numero uno fan from the GREAT STATE OF OKLAHOMA!!!!

Rick Says:


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa !
Good luck Champ!

Rick Says:

Sean picked Nole as the winner, not because he thinks Nole could wins Simply beacause he enjoys to write Rafa off and wishing that someone to make him to pay the price for always beating Roger to ruin his parties!

Okiegal Says:

@ van orten

On the subject of rankings, Rafa has said I have been number 2 a lot more than number 1. I personally think he has always been more comfortable at 2 than 1…but whoever wins today….I just hope we see great tennis from both.

Vamos Rafa!! (Cut those angles off today..Novak’ s danger zone) and here we go!!!

Rick Says:

Rafa will be more fresh for the final. Having playing so much tennis for a month or two! Nole gotta be tired!

Okiegal Says:

One point nine million at stake today……
WOWZER!!! For hitting little yellow balls around. That blows this Okie’s mind!!

Hawkeye Says:

Sean is a Monfils fan.

Rick Says:

Playing basketball get better money than tennis!

Daniel Says:

Wow, theoint Nadal was broken he hit all balls on the rising pretty flat and Djoko was abble to defend and eventually agtack for a Nadal mistake. Excelent points so far!!

Daniel Says:

Nadal’s BH is short

Rick Says:

Sean faked, so he won’t get criticise by Rafa fans for favouring other players.

Hawkeye Says:

Naaaaawwwwwww! Really????

Rick Says:

Nole with the early lead, will chokes like he did at the French in the fifth set this year!

Daniel Says:

Djoko knows he had the ball. He was 1 point away from being 4-0 and serve when he msised a BH DTL. Now Nadal serving to even the set.

Daniel Says:

This Nadal on HC is a whole different Nadal. That return inside the court fisrt sevrve was insane.

Rick Says:

Then this will be all Rafa’s! Haha

squirrel Says:

Djokovic without BH DTL is gonna have a hard time winning tonight…

Sirius Says:

Incredible NovHULK!

Patson Says:

Nole all the way.

Okiegal Says:



tennisfansince76 Says:

Some insane pts

Okiegal Says:

Rafa……be patient!


van orten Says:

crazy tennis !!!

Okiegal Says:

First set, Novak…Boo hoo!

Vamos, Rafa….it ain’t over till the fat lady sings!!

tennisfansince76 Says:

Better player won the first set. Now let’s see if rafa can play a notch higher and take 2sets in a row

courbon Says:

Lots of errors from both but some points are just out of this world…

squirrel Says:

come on Nadal!I want a three-setter,haha

Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa!

van orten Says:

the thing i notice is though that rafa plays shorter indoors. that is obvious to see. and more unforced errors with a lot of balls that nearly make it over the net. djoker takes normally full advantage of that on a good day

tennisfansince76 Says:

Vamos nole!

squirrel Says:

wait…is it 2011 now??what the hell Nadal!

van orten Says:

the only player i know who returns 6 first serves of rafa in a row is nole. insane returning in that e game.

Daniel Says:

Djoko really deserves some credit here. The way Nadal is playing he would have destroyed almost everybody but with Djokovic is not enough. Djoko is the player who best handles BH attack and ven tough he is missingba few BH DTL this shot is making a difference.
Let’s see if he will hold and consolidate the break.

Nikola Says:

Bring Federer to Play Novak this is boring.

Daniel Says:

The problem for Nadal and hos agressive mode is that you make more mistakes and he played his whole career not making many. Now he is trying to be so agressive forcing second sets, he made a lot of DF, and forehand errors going inside out. Partof the game

courbon Says:

Novak-Keep calm and carry on…

Patson Says:

Never doubted Nole from the beginning.

tennisfansince76 Says:

In this match Djokovic offense is overwhelming Nadal’s defense and Djokovic defence is neutralizing Nadal’s offense

Okiegal Says:

Well, I guess I will have to concede…My man isn’t gonna win this one today…….I was wanting to see Novak play like he did in New York……but not today. He has got a long reach, to say the least.How he gets to those balls…..amazing.

Vamos, Rafa….yesss…..held serve. I may have given up, but I’ll bet Rafa’s wheels are turning…..what can I do to turn this match around!!!

mat4 Says:

A normal match. Nothing unexpected.

Hawkeye Says:

Sorry to say this one is “done and dusted” like Koenig would say.

Indoors is not for Rafa unfortunately. Sunnier days ahead!

Congrats to courbon, patson and NoleFam on his win. He played as well as he needed to. Your guy was too strong today.

Still, an amazing year for Nadal.

Ajde Nole!!!
Vamos Rafa!!!

mat4 Says:

The big question is:

Which knee is hurting Rafa in this match?

tennisfansince76 Says:

@mat4 ha ha ha I’d say both!

tennisfansince76 Says:

I’ll say this in favour of Nadal. Rarely does he die. He must be killed.

van orten Says:

still 90% chance nadal wins this set

andrea Says:

yes! straight set win. nadal camp has to wonder wtf? finally goes 3-0 and their man still can’t get over the finish line. i guess it’s just not his tournament to win. the hole in the resume continues.

congrats to both players.

oggy Says:

@van orten: but a 100% that he doesn’t ;)

Well done Nole!

shamboozie Says:

Let me guess. Kneedal was rusty cause he had an extra day’s rest.

Krishna Says:

Congrats Nole! :)

courbon Says:


@ Patson: Big High Five!! I doubted-you didn’t!
I’m opening bottle of rakija ( in tradition of our friend Wog Boy ) and getting drunk.After all misery this year,last two months he lift me up !

@ mat 4:Magnifique victoire!

Okiegal Says:

CONGRATS To Novak fans. He was the best today. Would loved to have seen 3 sets…..but not today. I said on another thread, if Rafa hadn’t won another match in 2013…….He won French open and US open this year. He has had an amazing 2013!!

VAMOS RAFA….looking forward to 2014…..

courbon Says:

@ hawkeye: Thanks man, sorry for your man. With all trophys Rafa picked this year I’m sure you’ll be fine…

Comisseration to all Nadal fans, notably Brando, metan, Hippy Chic, James, Holdserve and anybody I forgot to mention

@ Jamie: You are the worst amateur astrologer in the world!

Hawkeye Says:

Wow you can really tell by his celebration what that win meant to Nole. Nice to see

Rafa likely very disappointed he was unable to bring his best but Nole very strong.

shamboozie Says:

Nadalites are quite. I beg the ATP to make all courts slower and/or clay. Congrats to all Nole fans. If I could suggest something. Ask your guy to remian Nr.2. That way he will always be more motivated to beat the number 1

shamboozie Says:


tennisfansince76 Says:

Well that wraps up 2013. Nadal finishes 1 Djokovic 2. Next year could be interesting. In order to finish 1 two things must be accomplished. You must be consistent and you must win big matches. Who will do that next year? Nadal unquestionably did it best this past year. It is interesting to contemplate that had Djokovic been more consistent he could have finished ahead of Nadal.

Ben Pronin Says:

All in all, great finish to the year for Djokovic. Hopefully the streak will continue in Davis Cup and next year.

shamboozie Says:

@ Jamie. Let the predictions start.

Hawkeye Says:

Win or lose, nothing but pure class from Nadal.

Vamos!!! Very well spoken.

shamboozie Says:

@ Ben Pronin:

You the TMF will make any inroads in the coming year?

courbon Says:

@ Ben Pronin: Novak definetely got his Mojo back.
He should win his two single matches but I doubt Serbia can win, Tipsarevic is in terrible form and Chezs are much better double team.I think Serbian coach will risk and put Novak to play with Zimonjic-Novak services is good and his net play has improved a lot.Those two thing make you decent double player.We will see…

Ben Pronin Says:

Courbon I was thinking the same. Novak will win but I see the Czechs pulling it out in the end.

I think Federer will have a better 2014 than 2013. How much better? I don’t know. But he did well here and that only bodes well of his chances. I think he should focus on his fitness during the off season.

James Says:

Congrats Nole fans, courbon, mat4, Patson, and other Nole fans.

Well deserved win.
Rafa had no answer to whatever Novak threw at him. Novak just too good for Nadal today.

the DA Says:

That was rather anticlimatic. Impressive turnaround from Nole after the USO defeat. It will be interesting to see what happens in Jan 2014.

courbon Says:

@ hawkeye: You would not expect anything else from Rafael.He is always gracious in defeat ( or winning for that mater )

James Says:

I was disappointed to see Rafa playing very defensively to begin the match. When Novak broke his serve, I had no confidence in Rafa making a comeback. He never looked in control at any point. He looked a bit too nervous to me.

Rafa played his best game when Novak was serving for the championship. Had he played like that from the start, he could have been more competitive in the match.

Skeezer Says:

Congrats to the KING of hard courts. Didn’t have to play another 3 setter to win? Wow.
Great win and congrats to the Nole fandom!!

courbon Says:

‘ Ben Pronin: Could not agree more-I mentioned other day myself-Fed needs to concentrate on fitness.Mental aspect will adjust itself if he is fit and can play 3 setter’s-Confidence mends mental fragility. Novak is good example.

P.S.-I didn’t not know your favourite is Monfils ( I thought was Delpo ).I just missed him playing in small tournament in Bordeaux 3 months ago but I will probably see him next year in Metz, Marseille and other French tournaments.I decide to move my ass and see the live play ( take my daughter that just started playing ) next year.

courbon Says:

@ James: I’m afraid is that classic-better being hunter then hunted…Rafa was too nervous as you said.Lot’s of DF, not great second serve ( which was very improved this year! )…I guess, he is just tired.Well, this year is finished so we will see what 2014 brings>

courbon Says:

Goodnight everyone.

James Says:

I hope Rafa learns from this match and do better next time.

A great year for Nadal despite another final loss to Djokovic.

Also hope the GOAT talks to cool down on TX after this loss;)

Ben Pronin Says:

I think Sean has been calling Monfils his favorite for years now. I don’t know how he manages, but it’s understandable. The guy can be a delight to watch. I still hold a grudge for his wins over Safin, though.

Giles Says:

Thank you Rafa for an absolutely amazing year. You have made your fans very proud. 2 Grand Slams, 5 Masters and last but not least capping 2013 as the Year End World #1 after missing the AO, Miami and being knocked out of Wimbledon. Phenomenal! Hope you enjoy the Neckar Cup next and thereafter the Exos. Then it s time for a much needed rest. Wishing you a healthy and successful 2014. Can’t wait.
Vamos Champion!
Stay Healthy.
P. S. This WhatTF was never gonna be easy. Don’t worry Champ, all your fans still love and admire you.

mat4 Says:

The whole saison was a big mind game between those two. First, Rafa choosing his battles, building confidence and instating doubts in the minds of other players.

Then, Novak avoiding Rafa on clay after the MC win.

And one point that decided the saison, when Novak touched the net at RG. Rafa played exceptionally well the end of the match, though.

This point brought him the USO two: he was dominated for one set already, but it gave him confidence to fight back at 4-4, 0-40.

I think that now, the situation has changed again: Rafa had to play on Novak’s turf, he lost twice. He will have his chances at the AO, but the surface is now faster, and Novak will be able to hit through Rafa’s defence. Then, I believe that Novak won’t lose his time in the after season.

James Says:

@courbon, I don’t think it had anything to do with exhaustion. Rafa needed to play his best to stand a chance against an in form Djokovic. He came out playing like a fish out of water.

I really doubt he believed he could beat Djokovic today. The confidence just wasn’t there today. Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that Novak is overall a better HC player.

The rest of the tour will need to play very very well to stop this Novak.

Good night, courbon! :)

courbon Says:

@ Ben Pronin: So I got it wrong then.sean supports Monfils and you support Delpo, right?

Ben Pronin Says:

Mostly I back Djokovic. I back Federer, too, but I’m at peace with what he’s accomplished.

Hawkeye Says:

I never stopped being a Sampras fan until he officially retired.

van orten Says:

yeah thats tge spirit…me at peace too. ao will be faster next year??

Giles Says:

@James. Have you forgotten that this is Rafa’s worst surface, indoor HC? Rafa has become a very hood HC player but just not indoors. He likes the elements, sun and fresh air. So, joker beats him on his worst surface and I am sensing gloom and doom for Rafa and all things bright and beautiful for joker. Have some faith in Rafa please instead of talking up joker because of this win.
Vamos Rafa.

courbon Says:

@ Ben Pronin: Ok, I got it. Your post are quite reserved sometimes ( not like mine over the top celebrations! ) so hard to guess who was your favorite at the moment ( You seems like somebody following tennis for long time and Fed being your previous favourite as you mentioned ). Well, then we both had a pleasant evening. Goodnight, speak to you soon.

Giles Says:

I don’t think joker ever believed he would lose the #1 ranking to Rafa. Didn’t he say he would fight to the very end? The moment he lost it to Rafa he was on a mission. Even though Rafa played it down, I think his main goal was to end the year as #1 and he achieved it. The WhatTF would have been nice too but hey, you can’t have everything.

shamboozie Says:

Good night Gilford. It is way past your bedtime. All toddlers should be gone now!!!!!!

Milos Says:

I miss jane and Duro on this forum. True Nole fans :-( Always enjoyed reading their comments.

James Says:

@Giles, I’ve followed Nadal’s matches for years (well, not every tournament). I like his chances on every surface when he is confident. I was disappointed with him today not because he lost the match but because he just didn’t play as good as he did against Fed and Berdych.

This was like 2011 all over again. Rafa just let Novak dictate nearly every point.

Towards the end of the match, he started playing with some fight. This gives me hope that Rafa can and will do well next year even against Novak.

I trust Rafa to play much better in Melbourne.

2013 has ended for tennis. 2014 with Novak playing this good, Nadal and Murray to be there, hopefully, it’s gonna be very interesting.

Patson Says:


High five buddy ! Always thought Nole would win it easily. He’s just a beast on hard-courts, indoors or outdoors.

Adje Nole !

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal doesn’t “let” Novak do anything. When Djokovic stands so close to the baseline and hits everything deep and on the rise like that, it robs Nadal of a lot of time. Especially when Djokovic executes at this level. Nadal can still attack but it’s really outside of his comfort zone to be uber aggressive. Match point was a great indication of this. He was destroying the ball with his forehand but Djokovic just kept getting it back until Nadal went for too much. This is what Nadal usually does. But for Djokovic this is plan B, plan A is to hug the baseline. Whoever takes better control of the point wins. It sounds obvious but you can see it in their points very clearly. Today, Djokovic executed too well. There was little Nadal could do without playing above himself.

Patson Says:

Thanks for all the congrats … the better player on the day won.

Brando Says:

@Courbon and Patson:

Congratulations on your favorite’s win.

It was a convincing performance, well earned, not really in doubt prior to match, during and certainly not after.

Novak deserves commendation on how he has performed post USO: he has been superb.

Congrats once again and I look forward to conversing with you guys in 2014!

Take care and enjoy a happy, merry winter time!

Brando Says:

@Rafa fans:

All I really have to say is: keep your spirits up.

Yes- it would have been fantastic had he won.

Yes- it’s never nice losing to major rival.

But perspective must be kept regardless of how hard it maybe to do so:

This is Rafa’s worst surface.

And despite this he has won 4 matches, a 1,000 points and fought valiantly in the final today.

That’s much better than the last time anyone won 10 titles in a season: Novak in 2011, a RR exit.

So all in all:

Be proud of how Rafa has performed this week, and absolutely enjoy the fact that the season is now at an end and Rafa achievement’s in 2013 stand taller than all due to what he has performed on court over the entire year.

He’s been immense.

I’ll see you all-hopefully- in 2014 till then:

Be merry, happy and enjoy the upcoming season of goodwill!

Your fellow Rafa fan


James Says:

Good point, Ben, but Rafa wasn’t trying to assert himself even when he had his chances. He went back to his old defensive style, waiting for an error from the opponent.

He also didn’t serve well right from his first service game.

I’m afraid, the way he played today, even Fed would have beaten him.

James Says:

Great post, @Brando.

2013 indeed is Rafa Nadal’s year regardless of his WTF final loss to Novak.

Like I said in one of my previous posts, I liked how he played in the last couple of games. It showed he can play much better than he did in previous games.

Have a good night, and lovely English winter;)

Jazzcomedian Says:

I knew Federer had absolutely no chance after a grueling 2 1/2 hour match against Del Potro against a rested Nadal–who is a physical beast. If he’d had a day off before playing Nadal he would’ve had a much better chance–but he had to play the hand he was dealt. However the last three weeks have shown that a healthy Federer can still be a force. The last three weeks he’s made final, semi, semi at Basil, Paris, and London. And he had to beat an in form 25 year old Del Potro twice to do it. Gasquet is no chump either, and he took Djokovic to three sets. He was in the toughest group and got through to the semis at 32, fighting like an alley cat. That’s a real positive. He finished the year strong, and the players realize that. They know he’s stopped the rot. He’s not playing any exhibitions this off-season for the first time in years to rest and train.

I think he’ll have a good year next year if he remains healthy, and free of that troublesome back pain, and I expect him to make a statement at the Aussie Open to that effect even if he doesn’t win it.

It’s rightfully Nadal and Djokovic’s time now, just as it was Federer’s time when he was 26 and 27. A 32 year old in superior shape is still not equal to a 26 year old in superior shape. That’s why we have “prime years”. You judge a player’s greatness by their prime not their twilight years. That is what we remember them for–their primes. Do people remember Willie Mays for dropping a fly ball with the Mets, or Muhammad Ali getting his clock cleaned by Trevor Berbick? When Nadal, and Djokovic are 32, if they’re still playing, the same thing is going to happen to them when they meet the 26 and 27 year olds in their prime. There is absolutely no way they’ll still be making those supernatural defensive gets, and playing 6 hour matches. But so what. They have taken the ability to hit offensively from extreme defensive positions, and stamina to an otherworldly level. The bottom line is that like Federer, they are once in a lifetime players. We are blessed as tennis fans, and we should treat their respective fans on tennis sites regardless of who our favorite is, with the same class, and respect that they show each other. It’s inspiring.

Decline is inevitable in the cycle of life and sport. It’s gotten every tennis player. Ascend, peak, plateau, descend. It’s inescapable. All one can do is try to control the rate of descent. Even the “little engine that could” David Ferrer at 31 suffered some surprising defeats to lesser players this year.

It’s only going to get harder for Federer–which is natural. If you read Federer’s interviews he’s accepted that reality. It’s the media, and fans who haven’t so far. And if he’s still in the top 20 at 35 or 36 like Tommy Haas is now, that will be an incredible achievement–just as it is for Haas. It will only burnish his legacy. He’s brought an artistry, grace, and fluidity to the game that will never be surpassed, and I’ve seen everybody since Lew
Hoad–a bigger, stronger right- handed version of Laver.

Federer is, and will deservedly remain the most popular player in the game until he retires win, lose, or draw.

tennisfansince76 Says:

@jazzcomedian great post. Spot on analysis. I think I’ll let your sublime entry be the last thing I read on tennisx until the Australian open.

Okiegal Says:

Someone made a comment on this thread that this tournament was missing from Rafa’s resume……well duh…..I think there is a major grand slam missing in Novak’s.

Congratulations to his fans, a well deserved victory. I think Rafa came out very nervous. If he could have played the whole match like he did that last game, maybe a 3 setter…but not today. He has had a great year……back to the drawing board, Rafa.

Vamos, Rafa!!!!!!!

Kimberly Says:

Congrats to Nole fans on a nice win. 2014 should be interesting. Can’t wait! Great year for both rafa and Nole. I would love to see some other strong contenders these two seem so far above everyone else except perhaps Murray who outside of wimbledon was basically injured the majority of the year. Would love to see four or five strong contenders each tournament. With of course nadal overcoming them all and winning everything!

skeezer Says:

Fabulous insightful post, a joy to read, thanks!

I agree. Hope there is some youngblood that stirs the pot next year. C’mon Dolphins, wtf?

Patson Says:


Great post. When age catches Nole, and he’s not at the height of his powers, I’ll remember this post of yours. Hopefully, I’ll be able to cope with the inevitable reality like you.

Michael Says:

Madmax and JazzComedian – Great posts. Very interesting !!

I Love Tennis Says:


Thanks for the great post, nice to read. Well thought and put things into perspective.

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