What If I Told You Rafael Nadal’s 2013 Hardcourt Season Wasn’t All That Great?
by Sean Randall | November 27th, 2013, 3:31 pm

If you are a Rafael Nadal fan you’re probably not going to like this post. First, a hearty congratulations to the Spaniard for his remarkable return to No. 1. Last February you could have easily made the case that there was a greater chance he’d be out of the Top 5 before reaching the No. 1 ranking (or even No. 2).

Based on the severity, or what appeared to be severe, knee injury which kept him off the circuit for seven long months, it’s hard to imagine that Nadal would come back with such fury and furor, and perhaps unimaginable freshness.

Nadal ruled on the red brick once again but for most of us his most shocking performances came on the on hardcourts. Riding those ailing knees, Nadal won Indian Wells then improbably swept the summer swing collecting titles in Canada, Cincinnati and of course the US Open, which remains his last tournament trophy.

So how did he do it? After no hardcourt titles for 30 months, where did this sudden surge on cement come from?

Let me start by saying Rafa played some fantastic tennis. To his credit he won the matches he needed to and he beat the guy standing across the net. That simple. He played with more aggression and purpose than he has ever before on the the hardcourts, and it paid off.

(OK, if you are a Nadal fan you might want to stop reading right about here.)

But there’s another factor. Nadal got lucky. Real, real lucky.

Now in all sports/life, etc., there’s always an element of luck at play. That’s a fact. In Nadal’s case, however, this season he was extra fortunate – like the Tennis Gods made up for making him miss half the 2012 season.

And as opportunistic as ever, Nadal took advantage of fabulous draws and his fleeting foes.

First, Novak Djokovic went on a walkabout just about the time Nadal was hitting his stride in March. Where was Novak during Indian Wells or Miami? Floundering, that’s where.

Djokovic was riding high after Australian Open and Dubai wins and rightfully the tour seemed to be his (albeit, Nadal wasn’t around when he won the Australian – lucky Novak?). But upon returning to the US for the two Masters events all wasn’t right. And really, for whatever reason his game never fully bloomed again until post-US Open, after his engagement.

It’s a poor argument I know, but Djokovic just wasn’t the same Djokovic in the middle of the season. Had he been, I think he would have won at least one of the four North American masters stops. But this year he finished with a big fat goose egg and went five full months in the heart of the season without a title.

Yeah, that French loss to Nadal may have dispirited him over the summer but Rafa wasn’t a factor for Novak in March.

Meanwhile, Nadal’s other main rivals Roger Federer and Andy Murray were also having their own non-Rafa issues. Even at his peak Federer struggled against Nadal. Now into his 30s it’s almost a mismatch. The two legends still provide electricity when they clash and engender international headlines, but unless the match is indoors the winner is now virtually a foregone conclusion as Federer continues to age and his game regresses right before out eyes. No longer does Rafa have to worry about Roger as a real threat anymore. Unfortunately, I think those days are done.

Murray, who I would put second on hardcourt ladder behind Djokovic when healthy, is someone who can hurt Nadal. Andy has won four of the last seven times they’ve played on the hard stuff. But the Scot fell on hard times with a back injury which I think really stunted his season following his incredible Wimbledon triumph.

Another guy who has given Nadal a run is JW Tsonga, but a knee injury torpedoed his summer hardcourt hopes.

The big push this year came from Juan Martin Del Potro. The dangerous Delpo led Nadal in the Indian Wells final before coming unglued. Six months later, though, when the big guy was in full stride Delpo got his revenge in Shanghai.

Now if it sounds like I’m taking shots at Nadal, well, you’d be right. He’s the man of the moment, the man on top of the pedestal so he’s an easy target. And I’ve taken “weak era” aim at other top guys before.

I just think Nadal’s summer success on the hardcourts can be summed up like this: Djokovic played like crap, Murray was injured, Tsonga injured, Federer old and he avoided Del Potro. What’s left? Tomas Berdych?

And looking at Rafa’s four big hardcourt titles, here’s what went down:
Indian Wells: Gulbis choked, Federer had a back injury, Rafa played well to beat Berdych but Del Potro should have closed him out in the finals (was up a set with a break). Credit to Nadal for that win, though, great effort in his hardcourt debut.

Canada: Rafa needed a 3rd-set breaker to beat a sub-standard Djokovic, otherwise he benefited from an unbelievable draw which culminated by playing an overwhelmed Raonic in the championship.

Cincinnati; Another great draw getting Isner in final. Rafa did beat Berdych and Federer but overall it wasn’t a terribly impressive result.

US Open: Of his seven matches Rafa only faced two Top 20 players – mental midget Richard Gasquet in the semis and then Djokovic in final. Credit to Rafa for that Novak win, arguably his best of the season but Novak was patchy all event.

In the fall, Nadal’s hardcourt results finally corrected pulling back to normal. Djokovic and Del Potro started to catch fire and those two took over the last month or so of the season, leaving Nadal still trying to find that indoor footing once again.

Nadal did play well in London earlier this month, but again much of that thanks to an incredibly fortuitous grouping – a tired Ferrer, a debutante in Wawrinka and the weak-minded Berdych. That’s borderline stealing.

And even on clay, Djokovic beat Nadal in Monte Carlo and was up a break on the King of Clay in the semis. He’s still the King, but perhaps we are seeing some cracks?

2013 was Nadal’s best season on hardcourts, that’s true. But strange that it wasn’t his best season on clay.

This all said, of course you could make similar arguments for Djokovic, Federer and Del Potro, who also benefited from Murray and Tsonga’s absence, and even Nadal’s – let’s not forget Rafa did miss the Australian Open yet he still finished No. 1!

But am I fully buying into Nadal’s 2013 hardcourt turnaround? I just can’t. I give him credit, he played incredibly well and he was the best, most consistent guy, but to me 2013 was a “down year” in the sport and Rafa took advantage. That’s why, assuming the field (Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro and Tsonga) is back to full strength in 2014 I just don’t see a repeat of his hardcourt success next season nor even a Masters hardcourt title. And eventually even luck runs out.

You Might Like:
Rafael Nadal’s Knees Are Still Sore, He Hopes They Will Hold Up For South America [Video]
Jerzy Janowicz Won The Match, But Wasn’t Happy With His Opponent So He Let Him Know [Video]
Rafael Nadal’s Stolen Watch… It’s Been Found!
Rafael Nadal’s Early 2014 Schedule Includes Miami
Maria Sharapova Had To Return A Pair Of Leopard Underwear From Her Tournament Laundry That Wasn’t Hers

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

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

266 Comments for What If I Told You Rafael Nadal’s 2013 Hardcourt Season Wasn’t All That Great?

Slice Tennis Says:

Great article by Sean.

I think this article may pull back some of the fedfans who have moved out from here ruans federer blog.

Good job.

Slice Tennis Says:

“And eventually even luck runs out.”

But it may just get extended for longer time as you mentioned in this article:


I hope Rafa also gets lucky to enjoy 4 free years.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Sean you lost the argument straight away when you said Nadal got lucky that Novak was not at his best here,there,and everywhere,Rafa is only responsible for himself and what hes doing not what Novaks doing,saying Rafas year was less legit because he didnt face Novak is ridiculous,Novak was not good enough to make all those finals Rafa was,simple as that really.

Giles Says:

I just hope all Rafa’s opponents play like crap and choke in 2014. Oh yes, and of course hope he has the easiest draws possible. This fan doesn’t care just so long as he keeps winning. When the history books are written do you think Sean they are going to reiterate what you have said in your article namely, Rafa’s opponents being injured, playing like cr@p, choking etc? No, definitely not. All the history books will talk about is Rafa’s success, you know the big “W’s”.

Rafa fan Says:

If Nadal never wins another clay court tournament again, I think it’ll help his legacy , cos he’s so successful there that people overlook the fact he got to 5 Wimbledon finals ( winning twice), 3 US open finals ( winning twice), 2 australian open finals ( winning once), 2 ATP world tour finals, one Olympic gold on hardcourt.

Agassi wasn’t the greatest of all time, but he was one of the greats. And Nadal too is one of the GREATs ( even if u ridiculously like to subtract all his french open titles, which is like deducting 7 of FEderer or sampras’s Wimbledon titles)

Giles Says:

P.S. And of course hope Rafa stays lucky, lucky, lucky!
Vamos Champ!
Stay Healthy!

Slice Tennis Says:

“I just hope all Rafa’s opponents play like crap and choke in 2014.”

To be fair Rafa should have 4 more years like that to match the weak era enjoyed by Federer.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Agree with Giles all a player can do be it Rafa,Roger or whomever can do is beat whomever is stood in front of them at the time.

Slice Tennis Says:

“Stay Healthy!”
And lucky.

Okiegal Says:

I don’t have a lot of energy to respond to this except for one point. I too think the 2014 French Open title will be a tall order for Rafa to achieve…..not because he can’t but because the law of averages is catching up with him. I hope I’m wrong!! I would love for him to win #9!!

We have gone from weak era to weak year….whatever.

Rafa fan Says:

Give people credit where credit is due. Nadal tactically improved his game during the hard court season after is crash in Wimbledon. He moved closer to the baseline to return the serve and kept coming forward to shorten the points and cut the angles. Cos even he can’t chase down balls that fly so much faster on hard courts than clay. Even I know as a fan that he’s likely to lose if he feels under confident and retreats miles behind the baseline- it gives people easy aces.
Djokovic pushes Nadal to the limit- and physically he can match him, unlike other competitors. Also Djokovic’s down the line backhand Can counteract Nadal’s down the line forehand. That’s why you don’t notice it’s a lefty against a righty and see the typical gaps. They are both amazing players- and it wouldn’t b a rivalry like Roddick said, unless both of them have both of them have turns to win.

Thangs Says:

I am big Nadal fan and agree that nadal was lucky …But thats what it is when time and luck work together..

For nole 2011, he was damn lucky in many matchs…Had nadal won the miami, it would have been much different story for rest of 2011. He was lucky in Rome against Murray…and lucky not to face federer in wimby (Federer beat Nole in FO semi 3 weeks back)…That year was for Nole…all stars aligned in favour of him.

Federer was lucky in 2009 in FO against Hass and Del Potro…and in wimby against Roddick..

In the end, it doesn’t matter. They are the winners and thats the history..But, one thing to say is that Sean wouldn’t have felt to write a thread for Nole or Fed.

Fed was lucky bw 2004 and 2007. Nadal was lucky in Olympic semi against Nole.

Barbara Ball Says:

What an utter piece of crap writing. You are not even logical in your writing. Rafa won because everyone had a problem? What in hell are you talking about. Using that argument he should always win and any of Novak’s’s wins should not count because Rafa has a bad knee and plays in pain every time he goes on the court. You win in tennis for many reasons as you should know, but you are a complete jerk so last time I read anything you write.

the DA Says:

I’m still reeling over your owning up to that “The Age of No Competition” piece. Interesting in light of some of the recent ‘discussions’.

As for the luck argument, every player has a run at certain points of their career. Without going into details (and starting all sorts of arguments) every player has benefitted at some point of their career because some rival was absent or injured or their draw opened up. I believe it all evens out in the end.

skeezer Says:

“You are not even logical in your writing. Rafa won because everyone had a problem?”
There was a day when everytime Rafa lost he said he had a problem.

“And as opportunistic as ever, Nadal took advantage of fabulous draws and his fleeting foes.”

Sean, apparently posters want to pick on any form of negatvity in your writing. They can’t see the light….

You duly gave Rafa the credit, and I agree, he was lucky. 2010 was one of those years too. But in fairness Fed has some fortune to in his career, its part of the game.
I agree 2014 should be a completely different landscape if the top 4 stay healthy.

Hawkeye Says:

But in fairness Fed has some fortune to in his career, its part of the game.

By “fortune” I hope you mean talent (and friends in high places).

Hawkeye Says:

GOATs make their own luck, hey skeezer.

Johan Says:

I guess one would think of writing this article, if one was bored out of his mind. I can tell you are not a Rafa fan, but that’s neither here or there. There’s a saying that goes: “luck is what comes after hard work and preparation”…All that a player can do is work the hardest he/she can and be as prepared as they can be. Nadal, for most of the season, was the better prepared of all the herd, writing yet another page in history to his name. Like some have said before: hope he stays healthy, and most of all LUCKY.

skeezer Says:

Yes he did sometimes, when in a match for instance. But you cannot control the scheduling ( unless you believe in conspiracies ) or the health (physically or mentally) of all the opponets you will face year in year out. That’s the way the game is. That is why the weak ere argument fails. Rafa and Fed cannot choose who they play, and who the field is in a particular year or tournament, they just play who they are scheduled to play. As Sean said, Rafa was also the best this year of seizing that opportunity.
Over analyzing sometimes leads to just that. Read the rule book, enter the tournament, and play. And the one with the most titles + most important titles is usually the top player.

skeezer Says:

^to hawkeye

Buzz Says:

Don’t forget that in Indian Wells, Delpo played three sets against Murray and Djokovic in the quarters and semis and ran out of gas in the third set against Rafa.

Humble Rafa Says:

If I stay injury free for one year, I will put the goat, pig and dinosaur argument to rest once and for all.

Only if I stay injury free for one year…

..The possibilities…

MIke Says:

Sorry Sean but this article is complete crap. Essentially what your doing is attempting to invalidate Nadal’s success despite showing superior form.

Nadal’s job is to beat whomever is across the net and he did. Have you checked Nadal’s record against top 10 opponents this year? Impressive eh?

The point is that maybe Djokovic wasn’t exactly the best player all year (though he DID make all 4 slam finals) but you cannot invalidate Nadal’s wins simply because you think that he greatest rivals either were injured or were not up to scratch for much of the season.

To me Nadal faced an incredible variety of dangerous opponents this year across all surfaces. Giants with huge serves which can be his kryptonite. Guys with huge forehands, huge backhands etc. He beat them all.

Yeah Federer is on the back nine. Nothing new about that statement. Murray was hurt post-Wimbledon. Unfortunate but it happens. And Djokovic wasn’t Djokovic except that he was.

Djokovic lost to a surging Del Potro in Indian Wells. He lost to an excellent all-courter in Tommy Haas in Miami. Tough losses but against quality guys.

His form didn’t seem all that terrible when he beat Nadal in Monte Carlo right? He lost to “baby Fed” but played great in Roland Garros right up til that last point against Rafa.

The point I’m trying to make is that even the best players in the world can’t be in pristine form 365 days a year. Djokovic played well all year, but Nadal was inspired, motivated and fresh.

Stop trying to make Nadal’s year on hard courts seem like he got so lucky rather than beating a variety of guys from good to great to all-time great.

Here is an idea. Great job Rafa! Your 2013 was one of the best and your results on hard courts was unbelievable. Hope to see you continue in the future.

Okiegal Says:

@Rafa Fan @ 4:17

Great, sensible, nicely put comment!! Roddick’ s statement so spot on.

Agree 100%!!!

Bad Knee Rules Says:

Have you checked Nadal’s record against top 10 opponents this year? Impressive eh?

Have you checked Novak’s record against top 10 opponents this year? Impressive eh?

Patson Says:

He beat Nole to win a Masters and two Grandslams. As a Nole fan, he did enough to validate his wins. Nole was the world number 1 and he beat him, and got the number 1 ranking by beating his primary rival. If we put things in perspective, what Rafa achieved is spectacular. I don’t see a need to associate ifs and buts to his hard-court success this year.

Rafa’s pre-US open hard-court season was spectacular. Nole’s post-US open hard-court performance has been spectacular. Let’s just give credit where it’s due and be fair to the best of our abilities.

skeezer Says:

As the great mahatmanomanomeharo once said;
“I’d rather be lucky than good”

queen Says:

By the same token Fed won his only FO only because he was lucky. The holly cow would not have all four slams if he played Nadal in the final that year. Talking about luck huh… He should kiss soderlings a$$ for the rest of his life.

pop tarvish Says:

I agree, that article is such a waste of space & time. Probably just another ailing Federer fan or something, trying to bend the details of events to suit his case, in an attempt to sooth his disappointment in his failing hero.
As far as your luck theme goes, I think you might say that Djokovic was extremely lucky in 2011, as he was playing a tired & disgruntled Nadal. You might say Federer’s career was lucky, as he never had as ferocious a competition as Nadal & Djokovic have in their careers – the difference being that Nadal & Djokovic, do actually regularly beat their greatest rivals (eachother for the most part), which cannot be said for Federer…….

Novak is always patchy – he was just as patchy in Paris – he is always patchy in long matches – he has huge concentration lapses.
To mention Tsonga as a great threat is a joke. As for Murray, I think that Rafa actually LOVES playing him – he always plays inspired tennis when facing Murray. That he lost to him in Shanghai, is firstly because it is completely normal to lose to a top guy from time to time & secondly because Rafa is ALWAYS less than inspired throughout the last leg of the tour – tired, on the other side of the planet, in the concrete environment of the hard courts…….
If Djokovic is so much better than Nadal, when Djokovic is in your opinion Djokovic, how come he doesn’t run away with the entire clay court season?? Why is it that only Rafa can do this, and yet everyone thinks it somehow doesn’t count – it’s such a ridiculously biased way to assess the players’ qualities. The fact that neither Djokovic or Federer or anyone else has EVER managed to outplay Nadal on clay is in itself the reason Nadal must be the greatest of all of them – because they cannot touch him. The GREAT Roger Federer, who in 9 years has never managed to dominate Nadal on that surface . . ..it says it all. And that my friends is NOT luck!!

Kimberly Says:

Nadal was the best player all year. While Del Potro and Djokovic played well at the end of the season, everyone knows that the most important part, the “meat” of the season is from Indian Wells through the US Open and Nadal totally dominated there with the exception of his miserable grass season. Everyone with ay inside knowledge of the players and game realizes that by Shang Hai most of the players are running on fumes and the level of play is a shell of the former. Have you ever seen many really great matches at the end of the season? There are a few of course, but not like the middle of the season.

If you watch Nadal play the US Open/MOntreal/Cincy(ANY match) or the WTF (ANY match) the difference in his level of play is ridiculous.

Clearly Sean is burning with anger that Rafa got back to #1. Now, I do think 2014 will be challenging to maintain number 1 but not because of the competition but because Rafa has historically had difficulty maintaining the level of intensity to stay number one when he is ranked #1. In some ways he is a better number 2 than number 1.

Rafa is a better clay court player than any of the competition. Djokovic is a better hardcourt player but Nadal is a better fighter. In the USO and Montreal that showed. In fact, Nadal may be the best fighter ever in the history of tennis.

I leave Murray out because I really don’t know where he fits in as he has never been healthy since becoming a GS winner, no idea if he has any kind of clay court game when healthy, the only thing I can sort of say is at this point in time recent wins and records matter and I kind of think he is probably the best grass court player by a decent margin at this point in time.

Vamos Rafa!

mem Says:

a new low even for you sean randall! i knew nadal’s amazing 2013 season was devastating for you, but i guess i didn’t realize it actually drove you over the edge.

why should anything you write to diminish nadal’s achievements come as a surprise to his fans. it’s what you do! anyone who is familiar with your writing history here @ tennisx knows that you will seize every opportunity to tear nadal down. so, what’s new! nadal didn’t choose who he wanted to play; he played the hand that he was dealt, just as roger or novak or any other player play the hand that they are dealt. one can argue that roger or novak got “lucky” on the way to a lot of their wins, but that would be unfair and disrespectful to them. in fact, i don’t recall you ever writing an article at any time to point out that roger or novak got “lucky” after having a very successful run. you may attempt to mimimize nadal’s results, but it won’t change the facts that 10 titles including 5 masters and 2 slams went home with him and he beat top players in the process. i know that breaks your heart, but you need to learn how to accept disappointments in a professional manner and move on. develop some morals and then maybe you will stop using your writing to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of others just because of your disdain for nadal. quite frankly, you are embarrassing yourself! if you feel that what you write will somehow change the outcome of this season or any season, then, knock yourself out!

princessice Says:

Rafa was so lucky to unseat Montreal’s defending champion Djokovic, so lucky to unseat Cincinnati’s defending champion Federer, so luck to beat the arguably current no. 1 hard court player during the US open. No complains here. I just hope the luck would keep on pouring for Rafa. :)

James Says:

Great article, Sean. It made me smile. Your credibility as a tennis write just goes up in my eyes with this article.
Thank you.

Hawkeye Says:

Yo Sean, I’m really happy for you an’ Imma let you finish, but fedfan had one of the luckiest eras of all time… OF ALL TIME!

Seanye is a caracature of himself and has officially jumped the shark.

I’d like to think I’ve played a little part of that.

You’re welcome My fan.

Okiegal Says:


I think it is so nice that a fan of another player can be congenial to both sides. Yes, Patson Nole and Rafa are both amazing player. As Johnny Mac stated during his commentary at the US Open……sit back and enjoy!!

Have a nice evening, from a Rafa fan to a Novak fan.

pigoonse Says:

It was a weak competition year, not only on clay as usual, but absolutely no good competitors for Nadal on hard court, I agree.

Grass was the only decent season in 2013.

Better luck in 2014 to all the losers!

Hawkeye Says:

Hahahaha, thanks Sean.

(Just when I thought you had no sense of humour.)

Hawkeye Says:

Well said Patson. Rafa and Nole are now two very even players in the sense that over the last few years, either can beat the other on any given Sunday no matter the surface, no?

Throw a healthy Muzza and Delpo into the mix and we have a great era in the history of the tennis!

Vamos Rafa!!! Idemo Nole!!!

skeezer Says:

When I read “Probably just another ailing Federer fan or something, trying to bend the details of events to suit his case, in an attempt to sooth his disappointment in his failing hero.”
Then I scroll….obviously a vamoshead.

I actually agree with the vamosheads here about Rafa’s season. However, there credibility imo is zilch. Why? They did the exact same thing when Fed was creaming the competition.
“Weak Era”
“comfy draw”


Good analogy of the season and Rafa. He deserved it, no matter how you cut the mustard.

About that fighter thingy. Novak imo he is a great fighter, especially when he and that year and won 7 consecutive finals in a row against the best fighter in tennis. At that time, Rafa melted.
There was no luck there also, just grit, determination, and fortitude. Can he do it over a career? We’ll see. So far though Rafa for sure as proved his mental fight is a cut above the rest when you look at the players career wise.

Hats off to Rafa’s 2013 on HC. Lucky? Maybe. But what top player doesn’t get lucky at times? Most importantly, what you do with the luck is what matters……do you capitalize or do you fold? Rafa got the Ace on the river….must have been that PokerStars thingy….

skeezer Says:

Actually the joke is on you types. He writes the article, and now he has 38 hits and growing. Cha ching! Who is laughing? Make sure you forward this to Slice Tennis and Giles…..xoxo

Shiva Says:

But ofcourse,

Djokovic was lucky he did not have to face nadal in australian open ,well nadal did beat him in two other slams this year.

murray was lucky he did not have to face nadal at wimbledon(he loses to him there every time)

federer was lucky he did not have to face prime djokovic in 2004,5,6 or nadal at us open or australian open at that time.

they all have been lucky after all.

billyboy512 Says:

A terrific piece of satire to be thankful for!

Hawkeye Says:

Like it wasn’t obvious by the title.

pogi Says:

dont you get it vamosheads!

sean is just trying to annoy you guys and he seems to be smiling when all of you are in hostility…

do you know the feeling now when you said fed always got the lucky draw?

Karma noh?

James Says:

LoL @skeezer. I like that you feel the need to mention Nadal in all your posts. Thanks, man;)

James Says:

@pogi, I agree with you that some of the Rafa fans like Hawkeye, Gilles, Steve, Slice Tennis drove Sean to come up with this article. I find it funny actually. Sean sounds more like a fanatic of a certain Suisse player than a tennis writer in this article.
Still no threat to Ruan Federer or that peRFect Tennis guy.

skeezer Says:

Thanks, all in fun for the vamosheads(not u). Tennis X I am sure loves the attention also, negative or positive. Cha ching. And despitr the haters, they are smart, smooth and savy. Love it :). Were at 43 comments, will it get to 100? C’mon vamosheads!

James Says:

@skeezer, I see this going for 100+ comments.

Okiegal Says:

Skeezer: Why are some Rafa fans vamosheads and some are not? How do you differentiate between the two?
Curious in Oklahoma.

skeezer Says:

Me too. But now watch the posts will stop. S-e-n-s-i-t-v-e.

skeezer Says:

“Sean sounds more like a fanatic of a certain Suisse player than a tennis writer in this article.”
Hey now, hey now.
Sean has critisized others. Its really who makes the news. And each player generates there own. You think the almight Sean is making this stuff up? You’re fooled once again. Look to the player.

Kimberly Says:

It clearly was written to generate volume and get under the skin of the numerous rafa supporters. If I wrote a post pre-2010 on this site that federer would have never won the French if rafa had been healthy or something of the sort I would have totally known an explosion would ensue. Sean knows, but it’s the off season so nothing to do other than create controversy.

Great week for me, did a little light hitting and hit some serves after being sidelined for seven weeks with a broken ankle.

Thangs Says:

/*In the fall, Nadal’s hardcourt results finally corrected pulling back to normal.*/

This must be the shit statement of 2013! Clearly you expected Nadal to loose in summer season. Why the uS Open and Montreal are not normal in your point of view?

13 and counting…Vamos!

skeezer Says:

53. Over half way there. Cha …..ching!

Great to hear your hitting again. Go girl!

Patson Says:

Is 100+ a big deal ? Didn’t the GOAT thread go over 200 ? 100 is par at best.

Patson Says:


Thanks for your kind words. Enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend.

Faisal Says:

Poor article, utter disgrace, wasted some valuable minutes of my life by reading
Get well soon mr writer, I think ur condition is called schizophrenia bcz ur so delusional
Good is good can’t argue against & rafa is the best

roy Says:

firstly, this sums up the false premise:
” After no hardcourt titles for 30 months, where did this sudden surge on cement come from?”

in other words nadal must have got lucky because he hadn’t ”won” anything on hardcourts for a while.
forget the usopen final? the australian open final? the finals against djoker in indian wells, miami and so on?
nadal had plenty of success on hardcourts during that 30month period when he was ACTIVE, and far more success than most top players. because he’s a great hard court player. (sorry if that’s inconvenient.)

then again, hard court slam and masters finals mean nothing if you don’t win them people! it’s the same as going out first round!

next, tsonga is a ”gonna” player, never been an established threat. he’s also always injured. pretending this was a freak event, a lucky break, tsonga being inconsistent and injured, is absurd.
and the fact nadal beats berdych all the time doesn’t mean berdych isn’t a top hard court player. ask federer.
nadal avoided del potro? well maybe delpo should have been playing as well as nadal, then he wouldn’t have been beaten by hewitt for instance.

delpo is another player people pretend is invincible if he ”plays his game” yet look at his record. look at it. where are all the slam and masters hardcourt titles? show me. where are all the slam and hardcourt finals? show me!
oh nadal has been avoiding him all these years! avoiding delpo ”playing his game”.
no. delpotro is great, but NOT AS GOOD AS NADAL.
what you people have to realise is that having a ”big game” isn’t the be all. there are nuances in this sport.
as for murray, nadal has a winning record against him on hard. is it easier if murray is gone? sure. but is it luckier for murray when nadal is out injured? particularly in slams? certainly. didn’t hear how lucky murray was when nadal was skipping hard court events, did we?

”Indian Wells: Gulbis choked, Federer had a back injury, Rafa played well to beat Berdych but Del Potro should have closed him out in the finals (was up a set with a break).”

so basically nadal still had to beat berdych and del potro on hardcourts to win. brush that aside.
and the win doesn’t count because delpo was ”up a break” against one of the best returners in the world. outstanding diminishing work!

‘Cincinnati; Another great draw getting Isner in final. Rafa did beat Berdych and Federer but overall it wasn’t a terribly impressive result.’

so he beat federer who has ruled that event and berdych, also loves those conditions, but not impressive. shrug it off!

”Nadal did play well in London earlier this month, but again much of that thanks to an incredibly fortuitous grouping – a tired Ferrer, a debutante in Wawrinka and the weak-minded Berdych. That’s borderline stealing.”

wawrinka was playing the best tennis of his life. ferrer was picked by many to beat nadal.
forgot federer? on his favourite indoor surface? won the even countless times?
how convenient for the argument!

as for novak, he IS more inconsistent than nadal. that’s the pattern through his whole career. 2011 was an outlier. pretending his inconsistency is a lucky break for nadal is ignorant.
and of course what you fail to mention is that novak’s rise at the year end coincided with…can you guess? INDOOR SURFACE.
he’s much more comfortable on this than nadal so you would expect him to improve his results.
it’s normal that nadal and djoker have much closer matches on outdoor hard but djoker has significant edge on indoor courts.
pretending that djoker’s late success is simply about ”form”, that if he’d simply ”been in form” the rest of the year nadal wouldn’t be winning big titles … this is not accurate.

can’t wait for next year’s excuses.
i suggest including that the grass is now clay, indoor is slower than clay, murray ”isn’t match tough/confident”, delpo is a ”mental midget” like berdych … federer is a grandpa despite being just a year older than ferrer … and basically everybody is crap except djokovic who just can’t find his 2011 game!

skeezer Says:

Keep it comin, its terrible no? Please post some more..

skeezer Says:

“wasted some valuable minutes of my life by reading”
But they hit the site, and read it.
Soo cool. Where do I sign up?

Neerocks Says:

Are you out of your mind?What a crap article.Its like saying whatever you did good was just because the others were bad…To say one of the best years in recent times as pure luck is a shame.Novak was not good enough to reach te finals.It was not because Rafa was lucky.If you take the 2012 Aus Final…Rafa was leading 4-2 in the final set.Same applies to everyone..you win some , u lose some.The player who maintains his level till the last point wins.DelPo didnt do it in IW, Novak didnt do it in FO & US,Novak didnt do it in montreal.Its not because Rafa was lucky, its just because Rafa played well in important moments or made his opponent play bad..as simple as that…

skeezer Says:

60. Vamos vamosheads!
roy is so funny. Love that girl. Tsonga is always injured.
And roy, forget the 7 consecutive loss finals against Nole? “can’t wait for next year’s excuses.” Really you want to go there with Rafa’s historical list of excuses?
NOBODY is invincable. And it cracks me up that you types defend Rafa till the bitter end. Like he is the perfect tennis player of all time. LMAO.
Keep postin, you are the best girl. Xoxo.

skeezer Says:

Notice how many “all of the sudden” new poster names come out? Pay attention folks, read the names, read the common posts, its not hard to figure out. LMAO. Vamosheads are frustrated.

Okiegal Says:


You have a great holiday too. It’s deer hunting season in Oklahoma and we are always at our cabin trying to stalk that awesome buck!

Looking forward to the 2014 season. Best of luck to our favs!!

Ben Pronin Says:

I’d just like to point out that Beijing and Shanghai are played outdoors. So Djokovic suddenly surging and Nadal missing out on those titles is not because he’s more comfortable indoors.

trilok Says:

These are all rubbish that Rafa was lucky this year.
Then Rogger was lucky till 2007 & Nole was lucky in
2011. Every great players had those good years,in those years nobody can match him.So put away
your point of lucky.

sama Says:

Luck was not in control of rafa!!!
if Federer won the only French open in his life that was only becoz of luck!!!
its a sport and luck is part of it!!

Paul Mansell Says:

A simply ludicrous article devoid of logic, balance & simply full of excuses for Djokovic & the rest of the top players. Obviously Nole was the main threat to Nadal & I can accept that his form nose-dived mid season. Despite this he still made the Wimbledon Final and US Open Final. Nadal was out first round at Wimbledon & had been out for 7 months & hadn’t beaten Djokovic outside of clay-courts since 2010. Nadal’s victory at Roland Garros while not unexpected entirely was simply incredible in 2013 given his lack of grand slam match play.

Sure it did hurt Djoker’s confidence to lose that Semi-Final but Nadal’s hard court season after Wimbledon with his knee issues & his less than stellar record since 2010 was quite brilliant. There is no excuse for Djoker & Nadal’s victory in Montreal was outstanding & in the US Open Final simply unprecedented. There has never been a male player who has won one grand slam on his return from a 7 month layoff let alone two. Agassi stated that he had never seen a season like it before & John Lloyd & many other respected commentators agree that it is among the greatest comeback seasons in the history of the sport of Tennis. If the top players aside from Nole can’t beat Nadal on hardcourts when it counts then that simply reflects how great Nadal is.

Plus to regain the number one ranking for the 3rd time (again a first at year’s end for a male tennis player) reflects the reality that Nadal’s hard-court season is probably the greatest achievement of a male tennis player in the sport’s history. To suggest otherwise is delusional & reflective of an in-built bias against Rafa that reflects poorly on you as a writer.

tex Says:

What a ridiculous piece of rubbish is this? And you get to post this? By your same logic, Nole 2011 was sheer luck because Rafa had bad knees and everyone was rubbish.

Novak only started getting back to form when hard court went indoors – beijing, shanghai, o2 …

Absolutely cr@p piece of writing and analysis.

Giles Says:

Hey skeezer I see you have gone barking mad on this thread all by yourself without your mates. Where are they? All on your own talking gibberish, counting posts, talking in half sentences. I really pity you.
#22-10 and counting.

Margot Says:

@the DA
Lol, do hope some of Rafa’s “luck” rubs off on Andy in 2014 :)
BTW have it on good authority he is only 50-50 for AO :(

Sirius Says:

“whatever you did good was just because the others were bad”

ask the ‘weak era’ specialists. they know about it best, no?

And the theory they apply is very much similar to the theory Sean Randall used here. The fact is, they have a ‘weak era’ theory whereas sean used ‘weak year’ on this article

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

I think Bad Knee Rules summed it up Rafa and Novaks records against top 10 players was fantastic,although Rafa beat a number of top 10 players in finals,he beat Novak,Ferrer,Delpo,Federer,Berdych,Wawa,he actually beat all the top 10 players this year aside from Murray whom he didnt face,to add he actually beat Almagro,Isner,Raonic who are all top 20 players in finals this year,to add he actually beat the majority of top 20 players at one time or another this season,whether people like or not Rafa has still definetly been the best player this year,however Sean Randall succeeded in provoking a reaction from the Rafa fans on the forum,at 1st i was a bit irritated but reading again i suppose one could actually see the funny side,an article which could come straight from the onion bag.

Sirius Says:


i’m thinking that the almost nonsense article sean posted here is only to give the “weak era” specialists a taste of their own medicine. you know that the weak era talk has been going on here quite frequently in the past few months

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Thanks Sirius,completely agree.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Actually this year is pretty similar to the one he had in 2011,in that Rafa made the same amount of finals,the difference been Rafa won many more this year,he only lost to a kyrptonite playing Nole in 2011,Nole wasnt good enough to make the finals this year losing to Berdych,Isner,Dimitrov,Hass etc,there in lies the difference,Rafa didnt beat Novak in the finals he made so what? but he beat the players who beat Novak,in the finals Novak simply wasnt good enough to make,end of story.

Hawkeye Says:

Ljubicic No. 3 vs Andy Murray No. 3.

No comparison. RIP weak era.

There’s one poster with a self fulfilling prophecy who’s no fan of Rafa. Or is he in the closet.

Okiegal Says:


Who is 50-50 for AO…..Rafa or Andy???

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal Margots a Murray fan so i would think she means Murray,although i hope both are fit and ready for the AO,no more injuries for any player is what i hope for come 2014.

Michael Says:

Is Sean really serious or he is jesting ? Luck mostly favours the brave. Sean has tried really hard to belittle Rafa’s fabulous hard court season but with little success. If Novak was not in his elements at Indian Wells and Miami, is it Rafa’s fault ? And moreover, Rafa beat Novak where it really mattered at the US Open in four sets. There is no doubt favourable draws aided Rafa’s incredible run, but the point here is that Rafa is having very easy against formidable players like Berdych, Ferrer et al who have almost become his bunnies and the result is a foregone conclusion whenever he plays them. Even at the World Tour finals where he was playing in Indoor Courts which is his least favoured surface, Rafa could be tamed only by Novak in the end. So, by any stretch of imagination it is an incredible year for Rafa and he would find it pretty difficult to stay close to this level in 2014 and therein lies his problem.

Okiegal Says:


Thanks, I was curious who…….in light of something I had read on another site.

Giles Says:

@Paul Mansell. Great post.

Okiegal Says:

@ Chic

I like Murray too!! Always pull for him, as long as he’s not playing Rafa!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Michael great post as always,i agree in that it will probably be difficult to back up what he did this year,but thats not to say that he cant or wont still have a solid year,he doent traditionally back up one great year with another,but he has had multiple great years in 2008,2010,and this year,so who knows?

Giles Says:

Just want Rafa healthy and competitive.

the DA Says:

@ margot – “BTW have it on good authority he is only 50-50 for AO”

How good? From what I’ve seen he’s doing work with heavy leg weights, which can only mean his back has healed well. Pics of him training also show full on sessions. I think it’s just cautiousness. I wish the Barbados event hadn’t been cancelled, then we could’ve had a peek. In any case, I’m choosing to think positive! ;)

Okiegal Says:

Rafa does have a tough act to follow……His!!


Excellent post. Always enjoy reading what you have to say.

Michael Says:

Alison, Great to interact with you after a while. As you rightly said, Rafa still might surprise us with his histronics by repeating 2013. Who knows ? However, with Andy’s return and Novak oozing with confidence things might get a bit tough for Rafa. Well, but that is good for Tennis. It is uncertainity what we need as Tennis enthusiasts. Certainity leads to boredom.

hawkeye Says:

^^^^ Very well said Michael. Agreed on all points.

hawkeye Says:

Michael Says:
Is Sean really serious or he is jesting ?

I don’t think even Sean knows the true answer to that question.

James Stewart Says:

I think the author is stupid guy who does not know what he is writing about!

Rafa was so lucky this year, won 10 titles only with luck. He must be the luckiest person in the world. Wins millions and millions of dollars only because of luck. Blablabla…

Vamos Rafa. And good luck! :-P

Steve 27 Says:

This is oficial. Sean Randall is a Federer fan.
I thought you could bring intelligence to your articles, but this is rubbish, really a waste of time. Lately your writings have come down in quality, especially that of reducing to 5 sets of 3 sets matches of the grand slam. But this has far exceeded your misfortune of trying to be creative.

I do not know if you’re trying to be controversial or get attention, but you did it, do not know if you pay more for badmouth Rafa Nadal or you’ve obsessed negatively with the Spanish, instead of celebrating the return of one of the best tennis players of all time, what do you do?. Belittle, dismiss, discredit their narrow victories and successes with this …
Prove to be little purpose and start to show your true colors.
Looks like it’s true what they say: Fatherhood affects performance and quality seen and read your articles lately, it’s true.
It’s a shame.

pigoonse Says:

It is purely and simply and weak competition year. You have old decrepit farts like Federer still out there, mentally weak Berdych, injury-prone Murray and Tsonga; need I go on? Look at younger would-be competitors like Tomic. Bernard states out loud what the others are thinking – the attitude of just wait until the GOATS stop bleating and retire. That is Very logical reasoning on the young Australian’s part.

And if Nadal continues to string together another year or two, with somewhere approaching the consecutive consistency that Federer did, then every tennis fan can understand just how lame and weak the competition is in this laughable era.

bino Says:

you will have to copy this article and paste again same time next year. You are going to need it and the year after. That’s about all you can do.

skeezer Says:

Being a long time poster here and read most posts, your 5:29 and 5:51 post was not out of line, it was pretty spot on imo, the “weak era” theoirsts are debunked. Another pot shot at Fed melted.

pigoonse Says:


Don’t you know anything? When a player dominates a season by winning the lion’s share of GS and Masters, collecting say 9, 10, 11, or more majors, it is a sure sign of weak competition era.

You can clearly see that clay season has been in a weak era since 2005. Get a grip.

Margot Says:

@the DA
Almost from the horse’s mouth…

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Michael Novak might be oozing with confidence i agree on that,however as you rightly said Andy will also be back playing soon,so in actually fact Novak will have Andy to worry about, who actually had Novaks number in the last GS before he had surgery remember Wimbledon?so i dont believe it will all of a sudden be so easy for Novak either?Sean says Rafa was lucky well fair enough i suppose it would depend on a persons interpretation,but maybe Novak got a little lucky too that he didnt actually face a confident Andy more often after that Wimbledon triumph who knows?but it was a shame he was derailed with that surgery,all im saying is Rafa will have a fit Murray to deal with,but also so will Novak.

Sean Randall Says:

Wow, so much to be thankful for on this thread.

TXHC, all I’m saying is Nadal was extra lucky not having a healthy Murray/Tsonga around during the summer, Federer “past due” and Djokovic still fighting “how-to-pop-the-question” confidence issues. On top of that Rafa had some great draws. You have to admit, he was luckier than ever with things he couldn’t control. That said, he still played great and as I wrote he still had to beat the other guy, which he did.

Thangs, did you read my post? I included a link to a story I wrote discrediting Roger’s reign of dominance.

Hawkeye, Fed’s had a lot of fortune during his career. In fact read the post I linked to. Not very “fedFan” of me.

Johan, what did Nadal working hard have to do with Murray getting injured? Or Nadal working hard to get the London group he did?

Buzz, true. Nadal beat Del Potro the day after the big fella went three with Djokovic. He also beat Djokovic at the US Open after Novak went 5 against Wawrinka.

Mike, I’m not invalidating his season, I’m just putting it into different perspective.

queen, read the post I linked to.

mem, as you know I love tearing Nadal down that’s why I was one of the first to make the argument that maybe Rafa, not Federer would end up as GOAT one day. http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2008-06-08/495.php#comment-34167

Shiva, I wrote as much.

Roy, thanks, I might have to use this: “i suggest including that the grass is now clay, indoor is slower than clay, murray ”isn’t match tough/confident”, delpo is a ”mental midget” like berdych … federer is a grandpa despite being just a year older than ferrer … and basically everybody is crap except djokovic who just can’t find his 2011 game!” However Delpo <> Berdych.

Ben, per Pop Tarvish who wrote “Rafa is ALWAYS less than inspired throughout the last leg of the tour – tired, on the other side of the planet, in the concrete environment of the hard courts”, the season ends after the US Open!

Steve 27 Says:

Churchill was right:
“There is no better argument against democracy that five minutes with the average voter (and writer)”.

Mark Anderson Says:

What is rather stunted about articles like this is how all these writers treat Nadal as if Nadal always plays the same. Somehow Djokovic plays great or very bad, same with all the others. Nadal somehow always plays the same, amazing isn’t it.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal Andy is my second favorite after Rafa,and the one i root for after Rafa,i was actually rooting for him to win Wimbledon as Rafa had won it twice as i am a Brit and part Scottish anyway,although i was still gutted Rafa lost early to Darcis,i am delighted with my two favorites winning GS this year,what was even more amazing was Rafa winning another none clay GS to be honest,i would love to go back and do it all over again,or maybe Sean could put up a review of the year like he did last year.

pigoonse Says:

@ Mark Anderson

The competition was weak for Nadal this past year. Nadal came into the South American swing fully gassed up and prepared. After SA swing, Rafa had confidence that his preparation was effective and he continued to played well. His main rival and competition (Djoker) was either not prepared well; the others of the top ten were outright lame. Looking down the ranks to the would-be contenders they were either injured, scared, running with tail between legs, or resigned to mediocrity until the GOATS retire a le Bernard Tomic.

the DA Says:

@ Margot – :( Regardless, I still refuse to think negatively about it. He can do it, I know he can! #eternaloptimist ;)

“I included a link to a story I wrote discrediting Roger’s reign of dominance.”

I don’t think many people even clicked on that link you provided. It would certainly change their perspective.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Sean thanks for the reply,read my post at 6.52am as i think i summed it up then,the number 1 ranking granted as hes had nothing to defend this year points wise,but no i dont believe it was pure luck just guts,shear hard work,grit and determination,if you believe he was lucky this year your perogative,but i could turn it right around and say Novak was lucky in 2011,and Rafa unlucky in 2011,however i suppose it depends on ones interpretation,it makes no difference either way really.

skeezer Says:

102 comments and counting. Congrats

skeezer Says:

You should know by now, you can’t critisize The vamosheads idol. ANYONE else is fair game.
Kudos to you in stepping up and commenting and setting some straight.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

If people are gonna say Rafa was lucky throughout the year,then what about turning things around and say that Novak made hay at the end of the season after the USO,due to the fact Andy has been missing,Rafa is running on fumes,Fed is past it,Gasquet and Fed both pushing Delpo at the WTF,but what would be the point as Nole deserves the credit for ending the year on a high,just like Rafa deserves credit for a stellar year.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Skeezer make that 104 lol,seriously though its an internet forum all players are fair game,woops thats 105 and counting ha ha.

Giles Says:

Hey skeezer. I am very impressed – you can actually count!
Do you count the stars at night as well? Lol

Okiegal Says:


We think exactly the same. My ancestors migrated from Wales to America…….maybe we are relatives…Lol…I was so glad Andy won. I hope the British press finally got off his case. Now if Sean would get off of Rafa, I could get on with life. This article is strictly to incite the fans. If he knows anything about tennis at all…..he would have to know what Rafa accomplished this year was beyond miraculous!! Can Rafa back it up?? That remains to be seen. I hope Rafa reads this article….He would get fired up……and then…..watch out!!! He does have lots of points to defend. We gonna see, no??

Sirius Says:


another pot shot at fed melted. But knowing their nature, another attempt will be made. They have to keep themselves busy, no? :)

Okiegal Says:

Agree Chic
One little two little three little comments, four little five little etc…….You know the tune. This is getting ridiculously funny!! We are now keeping up with comments……whatever floats you boat!

Bad at math, in Oklahoma!! Tee Hee.

pigoonse Says:

“Beyond miraculous” is an accurate description of Rafael Nadal’s Rehabilitation, training, well-gauged and managed preparation going into 2013. In that regard, Rafa also laid the foundation for luck to later walk in his door. His competition was not so lucky. It is part science, part roll of the dice, part determination to stay with the preparation plan; but most importantly belief in the science of training, his ability to respond and the omnipotent abilities of the Preparers of his plan.

The perfect storm of good luck happens when Rafa has all the above and his competitors and would-be rivals are injured, aging, do not respond to their preparation plans, or just plain out of apathy for it, do not keep up (weak competition).

Federer lucked out at his peak with the same syndromes afflicting his competitors from 2003 – 2007.

hawkeye Says:

^^^^ Ljubicic (among others) at No. 3 and Murray No. 3.

Apples and oranges.

Bad Knee Rules Says:

…and Djokovic still fighting “how-to-pop-the-question” confidence issues…

If you think what I think you might be right about this one.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

The more i think about it,the more i see that this thread was satire,just Sean having a joke.

Okiegal Says:

I believe the #1 ranking played on Novak’s mind a wee bit. Some extra added pressure added to the mix. He would lose sets to players he shouldn’t have, but would come back and win the match. It got to Rafa too. He plays much better at a lower ranking. I think he and Novak are pretty equal to each other in talent. They will split matches…..if one is a little sharper on a given day, that’s who will win. This luck thing……..well it’s only relevant when it comes to horseshoes and hand grenades.

skeezer Says:

“Apples and oranges.”
You forgot Ba na na.

pigoonse Says:


You make a good point. And the ATP ranking for 2005-2013 clay seasons are the best argument for a weak clay Era. Can you believe all the attention that Nadal gets about being the greatest clay King and look who he had for competition – the likes of Ljubicic, Murray, Federer? Such a bunch of Klutz’s and Putz’s on the red stuff. Federer weak era champ is hardly an accomplishment to beat; and Djoker is crap on clay, apart from that fluke of a streak in 2011. But Djoker could not manage getting past Frederer
at Roland Garros even in his streak year. Meh, those phonies, Djokerer & Federer.

hawkeye Says:

^^^^ potentially the 2nd best. He needs to get at least double-digit slam count and then we can consider his other achievements.

So to summarize, Rafa is GOAT. Other Top 5’s of all time:
Sampras, fedfan, Nole,

5th best would be one of: JMac, Borg or Laver.

The further you go back, the harder to realistically compare because the game is so far advanced to what it used to be (which is mostly why fedfan is no longer goat and why Rafa won’t be goat forever).

hawkeye Says:

I know I know some will say it is ridiculous to put Nole above Laver or Borg but, personally (and that’s a key qualifier that people tend to forget), I subjectively (another qualifier) think what would happen if older era players developed and played today’s era.

Pure subjective opinionated speculation.

Some just look at slam count which is fine.

Just my opinion. No big deal. Everyone’s entitled, no?

Alexandra Says:

What a bad piece of writing. I mean, are you even serious? Rafa was surely not more lucky with his draws than other players. I can maybe agree with it at the WTF. But over the course of the year certainly not. He won two slams beating Djokovic, the then No.1. Surely Murray being injured is bad for him, but what does it have to do with Rafa. He didn’t play him at all this year, and Murray was the one taking advantage of Rafa’s absence last year. And when was Tsonga a threat for Rafa lately. Rafa surely does not agree that he was lucky being injured in 2012. It’s the same as saying Djokovic’ clay court season in 2011 was not that great because Rafa didn’t play well enough. If he doesn’t play well enough it’s his own problem. If that happens Djokovic or Rafa or whoever needs to keep working. And that is exactly what they are doing. Showing some respect for Rafa’s achievements. He has deserved it. He didn’t get to No.1 by pure accident.

Sirius Says:

^ good one ;)

Sirius Says:

^That one was for pigoonse

Brando Says:

What the hell my good people?

Check in for the first time in weeks thinking: wonder what TX is musing over the quiet and BOOM:

Was Rafa lucky to win on HC in 2013?

Way to go to TX in trying to belittle the wins of a player who won them fair and square!

A few points:


Luck, i.e. good fortune, is not something exclusive to Tennis. EVERYONE generally experiences it to some extent or point in their own life.

You apply for a job that 50-100 others do the same for and you are that LUCKY one to get the job.

You sit a exam and you are UNLUCKY to miss out on the mark you needed by 1 mere point.

In short:

EVERYONE experiences and needs it at some point.

Back to the Tennis:

IF we want to talk about how lucky Rafa was then what about the following:

1. Novak in 2011:


Was he LUCKY that Fed did not serve an ace on one of the 2 MP’S he held on his serve?

– Wimby:

Was he LUCKY that the guy who beat him at RG, who was the fav going into Wimby that year, who was a 6 time Champ, best on grass (EVER), was 2 sets to 0 in QF, completely lost the plot and exited the tourny surprisingly.

Was Novak LUCKY to avoid Fed that year in the SF?

Note: Fed faced him in Wimby 2012 SF- and we ALL know who won then.

Quite feasibly all of a sudden a 3 slam year could end up as merely: another AO slam win year.

NOT knocking Novak, but just talking LUCK.

2. Fed in 2009:

– RG 2009:

Was Fed LUCKY that Rafa went out early?

Would he have won had he faced Rafa?

Was he lucky that the no.3 on clay at that time- Novak Djokovic- ALSO went out early prior to week in that event?

– Wimby 2009:

Was Fed LUCKY that the guy who won Wimby in 2008, 2010, beat him on grass the last time they played, the no.2 on grass, and the guy EVERYONE recognizes has a match up edge on him: did not play that tourny due to injury?

Was Fed LUCKY that A- Rod in the final did not go 2-0 when he should have won the second set?

Was Fed LUCKY facing the likes of: BAGHDATIS, SODERLING, PHILIPOUSIS, AGASSI (aged over 32), DJOKOVIC (debut GS final @ age 20), MURRAY (debut GS final @ age 21) etc in slam finals rather than the likes of RAFA, e.g. players with more of a likely chance of really pushing him?

2. Andy in his 2 slam wins?

– USO 2012:

Was Andy LUCKY that Berdych beat Fed in QF?

Was Andy LUCKY since (apparently according to some) the wind disturbed Novak in the final?

– Wimby 2013:

Was Andy LUCKY that he avoided FEDAL in his Wimby run when he was drawn to face both?

Was Andy LUCKY that he faced (apparently) a tired Novak in the final?

Was Andy LUCKY that he did not meet Rafa in any of those slam successes?


1. I’m not discrediting ANY of those wins, just musing the notion of possible luck in these wins.

2. Rafa- quite evidently- is NOT the ONLY player to experience good fortune. If he is not then I suggest TX does write up on the other players otherwise it would suggest:

A- They have a infatuation with LUCK when Rafa apparently experiences.

B- They may do such write ups to stir up traffic to their site. Know why would they do such a thing?…………..


You beat whoever is across the net to you. Period.

And the record books do not discriminate on the wins either: they clearly state the winner.

And in 2013 for the majority of the time it was:

Rafael Perrera Nadal.

Live with it I say and do not besmirch fact with petty arguments of LUCK!

Hawkeye Says:

Ditto wot Brando says.

carol Says:

Rafa is the Greatest…..I think Sean must have had too much turkey…
Excuses for Nole and all of the others. That’s the game of tennis and all sports. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. So RAFA is the Winner and I am a Happy Person……. Loved all of these replies….

Alexandra Says:

Every player has luck on his side from time to time. When your opponent is not in great form it’s not luck. Agassi was lucky to win RG in 99 (and I say this as a fan) but I don’t think he cares. The only thing that matters is that he won. The same applies to lots of other players. But that is no reason to belittle someone’s achievements.

skeezer Says:

126 comments and counting. Cha ching :)

Okiegal Says:

I repeat…..this luck thing is only relevant when it comes to horseshoes and hand grenades

Kimberly Says:

When is the last time someone won a slam without being “lucky” or faced “stiff competition.” How about Rafa 2011 FO, Soderling, Murray then Federer (no because he was “lucky” to not face Djokovic) Djokovic US Open 2011, no he was “lucky” to make it past the semi and he didn’t have to play Murray or Tsonga which by Sean’s standards, is a must. Djokovic Wimbledon 2011, no Murray or Federer, not a legitimate tournament. You can always find a player that could have made the draw tougher in any tournament.

katherineB Says:

I think there is one big factor missing in this article, and it all has to do with the mental side of things. Novak as fierce a competitor as he is has a tendency to become complacent; and I think that’s what happened in those 5 months, while on nadal’s side he was playing in an effort to rebuild confidence, while having nothing (much) to lose for most of the season. This helper him play a bit freer. I also think that there are few people whose games match up well against rafa, if its not nole, delpo and andy then looking at the records nadal completely dominates most other match ups (save some respect for davydenko and darcis – only men playing today with a winning record?)
At the end of the day the greatest players take on the challenge infront of them and better it, whether we want to call it luck or not, but I have enjoyed this year despite not being a rafa fan much more than I enjoyed the almost uncontested reign of roger from 2004 – 2007 that made me give up on hope for the game during that era. I welcome 2014 with hope for some great battles by the new big 4 (rafa,nole,andy,delpo) sorry ferrer…

Okiegal Says:


I gave tennis up during that time …..just wasn’t exciting for me anymore. I was channel surfing and got in on the tail end of Rafa’s first French Open match. I could not believe the intensity and passion he had for the game. It was reminiscent of how Connors played. Rafa won that French Open and have never missed a final since. We all have our favs which can make for interesting discussions…….and some not so interesting! Don’t like the hateful, hurtful ones however. We could just agree to disagree……but that ain’t gonna happen either. Good luck to your fav……whoever!!

montecarlo Says:

What If I Told You Sean Randall is able to post his bull sh!t on Tennis-x because all good writers are hired by better sites?

skeezer Says:

^ i would say show us all the the facts to back up your claim, cause you have no idea what your talking about.

Michael Says:

Okiegal/Hawkeye – Thanks !!

Michael Says:


I am not sure how far Andy would be effective next year after the back surgery which normally is debilitating. Nevertheless if he recovers quickly, then things are going to get interesting. But looking at the H2H, it is evident that Andy’s game matches up quite well with Rafa and he is leading him on all the courts. Infact Del Potro troubles Rafa more than Andy does. But, Novak on the other hand would be quite conscious of the threat from Andy. So the stumbling block for Rafa would be Novak and Del Potro more than Andy.

Perfect fan Says:

Hello folks….wats this????

Came back from a vacation and look wat i found….TX is running HOT (even in this dry no-tennis season) with some intense fights, banters and also some great posts as well. I am really glad to see almost every poster is active here. I thought its going to be locked down till the tuneups for AO ’14.

Well coming to the topic, i think its a smart move by the TX staff by writing such stuffs to instigate fans to keep posting till the new season starts….so that the site stays active and doesn’t dry out….and wat best cud they find than to poke a stick at the beast itself aka the “fedal war” (old trick u knw) ;). I am sure Sean and company will be partying on this as we fans banging our heads here.

Comm’n staff….Lets have one in the name of fed too. I think the current one is already squeezed enuff :))

Jaq Shivam Says:

Here presented article is critisied for writer,

beucase it’s game not anything like politics.
Nadal have not say that Murrey & T.Songa U go Injured, fed go age 32, & Novak is Go Your Out form.
but U Note
1-When Novak beat Nadal into monto carlo than Novak was not his pick,
2-Novak Play semifinal into FO than he was not His pick,
3-Novak Play Wimbleden Final He was not pick,
4-Novak play A.Open Final & win Also but here he was not his pick,
5-Novak Won Asia swing but he come on pick,
6-NOvak won ATP World Tour,

From this Article that I can Say Novak can’t win FO attained Nadal Play till the 2016.
because Every Tennis Fans Know that In Absence for Nadal FO 2009, Federer Won

But Nadal Won Their All Grand Slam Attaind big Player, & Also won Olympic Gold Medal On hard Court.

But Novak, Fed, Murrer, Delpo like Many Other Player Did not won Attaind of Nadal Into French Open.

In Every Year 6 Master Hard Court tournament but 3 Clay Turnament. Than Fed, Novak, Murrey, Delpo all is graet Player on hard Court than why they won many times than Nadal.
Master 1000 Series (Novak, Murrery, Delpo, Ferrer = Nadal) (16+9+0+1=26) it’s Master Record.
than say that Nadal is Only Clay Court Player. Because Everyone Know that Novak, Federer, Murrey, Delpo are Hard Court Player Unfurtute They Have Back On Nadal these all total Play More Match than Double than Nadal.

Than why These can’t not won Maximum Master 1000 Turnament. Because Nadal is not best Player on Hard Court but These Every Player Have A Master On Hard Court.

(So Last It’s Game Here Any One Win Master 1000, GS etc. but not Lucky Player on specilly any surface.)

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Michael that would be dissapointing if it were debilitating for Andy as he was only getting started so i certainly hope not,i really hope 2014 is an open and well contested year next year,im not expecting Rafa to have another year like this one that would be impossible,i only hope for a solid and injury free year,i just get irritated somewhat that hes getting written off alread when this years only just finished,and the next ones not even started yet.

Gajendra Bhansali Says:

To put it simply your article is ridiculous, a person is out for seven months and works so hard to be back and play one of the best seasons ever. It simply shows you cannot digest his success.
You should better stop writing blogs

FY Says:

Success is relative right? Right. So compared to what he did before in previous years Nadal killed it this season on hard court and just in general. Ok we get it, you are a Djokovic slut, oh yes he was patchy, oh yes he was not good enough in that or this tournament. Are you f*** kidding me? That’s what sports is about, you go out there and play, nobody is saying that you will be 100% percent at all times, you just do your best. And, oh I love how you play down every opponent as they are all broken, and Nadal is like super fit all the times. He is tired too, hello? The guy’s record is 75-4 for the year. Anyways, no wonder they only let you write on this website.

Michael Says:


Nobody with sense can write off Rafa. He is always right up there. Ofcourse he might find it difficult to replicate his 2013 success. But even assuming that he fails, that can only be relative. He is sure to be amongst the top three. If his knee holds good, then it will be difficult to stop him.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Thankyou Michael your ever the voice of reasoning :))..

Ben Pronin Says:

The outrage here is hilarious. This isn’t an article, it’s a blog. This is an opinion piece. Why is Sean not allowed to voice his opinion on Nadal’s overrated season? Calm down, folks.

hawkeye Says:

Ben, as skeezer and others have pointed out, it’s what he wants during the off-season, no?

It’s been quite successful.

Congrats Sean!!!!

Daniel Says:


His record for the year is 75-7. Only Fed was able to lose less than 7 matches 3 times in a row, 04′ 05′ and 06′. :)

Agree with what some say that Nadal is not a good front runner. Ever since he became #1 this year he won 0 title in last 4 tourneys (which are historically his worst part of the season).
I don’t know his schedule for 2014 and if he will play a pre tourney before AO and clay SA swing.

Steve 27 Says:

He will play in Abu Dhabi(exbition with Murray, Djokovic, Ferrer) and his first official tournament will be Doha(Murray, Ferrer, Berdych, Wawrinka, Gasquet).
It’s time to relax and remember some good memories: This is a fantastic clip of Australia 2009. enjoy

Giles Says:

According to reports Rafa will play Doha and 2 clay tourneys after AO, Buenos Aires and Rio

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Daniel is he expected to win everyone he enters?as you say its not considered his best part of the season anyway,give the guy a break after all hes achieved this year,he was most probably exhausted and running on fumes,read Kimberlys post at the begining of the thread November 27th 7.41pm which puts things into perspective.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Ben if Nadals season is so overated,then what does he or any other player have to do to have a season thats considered a good season?

Giles Says:

There is a slight error in the opening paragraph of the link I posted above. Rafa was ranked #5 not #8.

Giles Says:

Rafa’s season is considered to be the greatest comeback in sporting history. Nuff said!
Vamos Champ!

Okiegal Says:

I wish tennis x forum was set up like the ones where you can REPLY directly to the poster. Wouldn’t that be cool.Then if you wanted to fuss back and forth with each other it would make it more accommodating.

Okiegal Says:


When I first read this piece I did get a little agitated……but then it gives us Rafa fans a chance to tell the world how we really feel about his achievements!!

Ben Pronin Says:

I didn’t say it wasn’t good, I said it’s overrated. It was a great season without question. But it wasn’t even Nadal’s best season. People are trying to tout it as one of the greatest seasons. It’s probably in the lower half of the top 10, if even that high.

Giles, you should probably Google greatest comebacks.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Ben fair enough,but theres a bit of a difference between what your saying and what Seans saying,just saying lol sorry.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Steve 27 that was an amazing couple of matches for Rafa,matches he won against all the odds,really felt for both Nando and Roger,such a fine line between winning and losing sometimes,but delighted for Rafa,thanks for the link anyway.

Giles Says:

Pronin. Not my words, Boris Becker et al.

hawkeye Says:

Ben misses that context has something to do with it.

Roger That Says:

What Sean is saying is no different than what many Nadal fans say about Roger when he was at his peak winning all the time.

Great article from Sean. He really hit the nail on the head with that one!

Okiegal Says:

Rafa vs Nando would definitely be in my top ten list. Incredible shot making from both players. Verdasco probably played the best match of his career and still got beat. I felt sad for him….He played his guts out. Then Rafa comes back and has a battle with Fed, wins it! Amazing athletes…….remarkable!! I just love tennis!!

skeezer Says:

So many invented poster names. Same old song and dance. Someone has a plethora of email addresses.

Okiegal Says:


Names the same in Oklahoma! Skeez, hope you are having a nice holiday!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal i agree on the Rafa/Nando match,Rafa won the match,even though i thought Nando i have to admit was the better player,Rafa was so exhausted after that match,so i was preparing for the runner up spot in the final against a much fresher and more rested Roger,and i still cried buckets when Roger cried when Rafa got him in that arm lock,and also Nando looked devastated then Rafa hopped over the net to give him that big hug,which i thought was so sweet.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal i still get called by my real name no matter what,im not bothered though,you seem to be only one of a few that calls me my my new monikor,whats your real name if its ok to ask?i wonder what Skeezers real name is too?

Giles Says:

Skeezer’s real name is Geezer! Lol

Okiegal Says:


No, don’t mind at all. I am a Janis…..spelled n different than most……..but everyone calls me Jan…….among other things. LOL…. When I started reading TX you were posting under Alison. Regardless of the name you choose to use, your comments are always nice. I remember some dude on here getting on your case for being apologetic……..and I had to laugh……thinking what is wrong with that characteristic. I was appalled. I think some people enjoy being hard nosed. But I enjoy your comments very much. Jan.

Okiegal Says:


I don’t get to join in conversations at the time of discussion because my comments are always awaiting moderation. I am always a day late and a dollar short! Lol

Okiegal Says:

Skeezer might tell me his real name. We have had some nice conversations in the past. I think he likes me because he said I wasn’t a VAMOSHEAD. I asked him the definition of what a VAMOSHEAD was. I never did get a response…….but I told him I was pretty sure I was one!! He likes you too.

skeezer Says:

^Call me whatever you want. At least my name doesn’t found like a part of a fish.


Okiegal: totally stuffed, you? ;)

skeezer Says:

^that was for gills

Patson Says:


I think it is fair to say it is Rafa’s greatest hard-court season. He won 3 hard-court Masters titles and 1 hard-court major. He ended up winning more hard-court masters than his customary clay masters. So as far as hard-court performance is concerned, hands down best season. His best season overall ? No. 2010 still remains his best season.

Nole’s 2011 can be considered possibly the greatest , or amongst the top 3 greatest seasons of all time.

I haven’t run into any Rafa fans who claim this is the greatest hard-court season played by anybody in the history of tennis , never heard it from anyone even on tennis-x. Am I correct ? People talked more about it because Rafa took 7 months off. The amount of success he got is fairly remarkable. One must not forget that even in 2010 when he won his first US open, he had mediocre results at Toronto and Cincy Masters.

Likewise, Nole’s post US open performance has been immaculate. Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, and then topping it off with the ATP world tour finals. Simply superb performances from the top dogs this year.

Okiegal Says:


Good read, as usual!

Okiegal Says:


No, not stuffed……Found out 2 weeks ago that I’m a diabetic…….no goodies for me. My son called me and said thanksgiving wasn’t the same….My pumpkin and pecan pie was missing. I felt like a dirty dog. I assured him I would make him the pies soon.These spoiled boys!!

Tried to think of a fishy name for you and couldn’t come up with one. Lol

Daniel Says:

OK Hip CHic, he indeed deserves a break.

I think next year Nadal should focus on winning Paris and WTF. That would make a Houdini out of him:-)

If he comes to Rio I will see him play live again (saw both his openers in US Open 11′ and RG 12′), But it will depend on his AO results. Will see…

Abu Dhabi si getting earlier by the year, this time is a day after Christmas. Doha will have a strong field. Hope Murray can get as much as possible match practice for us to have an AO with a more even draw an which quarter Fed and DelPo will land.

Okiegal Says:


That Aussie Open was something special that year. I too felt sorry for the loser. They were playing their best tennis and still lost. Both great matches. I had the Rafa-Nando one recorded and accidentally deleted it. When bored, I would watch it. There was some phenomenal shot making that nite. Your right about the hugs, very emotional for all of them. Rog and Rafa have great respect for one another…..it shows. But I think he and Novak do too. I think it’s neat…..but the gloves come off when it’s tournament time.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal i too get along with Skeezer,i believe if your a Rafa fan its ok, as long as your fair to both Novak and especially Roger which i always try to be anyway,he gets on well with Kimberly too,anyway i changed my monikor as it befits what i do in the real world although many still call me Alison and thats fine with me,your real name is nice,i actually try to put my point across without belittling other people or other peoples favorites,maybe i do sound apologetic at times,but if people give me a hard time because of it then i will just ignore them,about Skeezers real name i doubt he will divulge it anytime soon for obvious reasons.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

^To add i enjoy your posts too^.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Daniel thanks for the reply i am indeed so jealous of you seeing these players play live especially Rafa,i would love him to win the WTF,he did well this year and also in 2010 winning all the matches in the group,but he just came up short in the finals,i hope he will eventually crack the case,that Paris,Shanghai,Miami are the only things left on his resume,he won Cincy this year which he had never won before so i dont see why not?and Rafas Rafa so anything is possible.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

^Also i hope Andy is fit and raring to go come the AO.^

Okiegal Says:


Thanks! I haven’t been posting on TX as long as you all have. I suppose as long as the regulars on here have been commenting, you would get to know everyone’s personalities……who they like or don’t like. Their personal preference doesn’t bother me at all……to each his own. I was not reading TX when Fed was number one. There is one player I can say I don’t care for……but I would never voice that on here. Don’t need any arguments. Have a good week end and we will talk tennis again!!

Giles Says:

I do wish people would stop going on and on and on about Rafa winning the WTF. He expends all his energy during the clay court season and thereafter up to and including the USO. IMO he should call his season to a halt after the USO. He has very little left for the tourneys that follow much less for the WTF. Now, if they do decide to change the surface that is another matter but for now I am not getting over excited about Rafa lifting that trophy any time soon. Sounds pessimistic but let’s face reality. Unless he gets very very “LUCKY”.

WTF Says:

Is it really possible to get lucky 4 big tournaments in a row?

I can buy that luck wins you win or even two, but four is an extraordinary amount of luck.

Are there any non-clay major tournaments he won that weren’t down to luck Sean?

Polo Says:

“What If I Told You Rafael Nadal’s 2013 Hardcourt Season Wasn’t All That Great?”

I’ll say that you don’t really believe it but is doing it for the sole purpose of baiting readers to read and comment on the topic. You have succeeded. Congratulations.

Allison Says:

This is a ridiculously ignorant piece of writing – you’re obviously very bitter about Rafa’s success and it’s transparent. If you are going to say that Nadal was lucky to win all those tournaments because players like Novak weren’t playing well, you then must also say that Novak was LUCKY to win the autumn tournaments because Nadal wasn’t playing well. In addition, you must also say that Novak was #1 in 2011 and 2012 solely because he was LUCKY that Rafa was either playing in pain, or not playing at all. If you’re gonna make the whole “luck” argument, at least be consistent.

If Novak “wasn’t playing well” for 5 months straight (which isn’t even true), that’s no one’s fault but his own. To be blunt, the #1 player should probably know how to play well consistently all season, and according to you – Novak simply didn’t. Nadal had a better season than Novak and all of the other players, hence his current ranking. Plain and simple. Period.
Go cry about it.

Ben Pronin Says:

If you’re going to try and discredit someone’s argument, maybe cover your own bases first. Nadal was not playing in pain in 2011. If Djokovic was lucky in 2011, it wasn’t because of Nadal and his pain. Period.

There continues to be a hilarious amount of outrage here. You guys get so mad you can’t even make sound counters. Take a chill pill.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Lets just say Novak had a great year in 2011 because he was the best player that year,and also lets say that Rafa had a great year this year because he was the best player this year,maybe both were lucky,maybe it just so happens that both were just that bloody good,and leave it at that eh?

Kimberly Says:

I’m with Polo. people will write anything to get people to read their crapola. The Miami Herald sportswriters are famous for it.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Also lets say in 2011 Rafa wasnt good enough and Novak was,and lets also say that Novak wasnt good enough this year and Rafa was,i think thats a fair enough argument/analysis without pejudice or emotional bias.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Just to let people know the poster called Allison with 2 Ls,is not me using 2 different monikors,everyone knows me on this forum as the poster who used to be Alison with 1 L in my monikor,just letting people know so that the 2 of us dont get confused with each other,i am still the tennis x hippy chic.

Giles Says:

Not so much “outrage” as disdain!!

Giles Says:

@Allison. Good post.
@Alison. We know.

Hawkeye Says:

Here is the quote in which he is taken out of context as usual, no? (Funny I saw no mention of him wanting to stay at home though. That’s strange.).

“I think that everyone knows that starting on 1 January and ending on 5 December is too long of a calendar,” said Nadal. “But it’s not easy to fix because there are many tournament interests at play and everything is very difficult and you can’t scorn any tournament. We must try to find the best possible solution that more or less pleases everyone.”
“Things need to change. I believe the bad thing about the calendar is how it is made and obligates you to play tournaments all year. If you want to achieve the most you can [and] go as high up [in the rankings] as you can, you have to play from the start to the finish because there are important tournaments from the beginning to the end.”

skeezer Says:

200 comments. Love it ;). How could you not call the article a success? Plenty of interested readers here.

Okiegal Says:


I caught the two LL spelling…knew it wasn’t you!!

Anna Says:

Yes Skeezer, often times stupidity succeeds and reason fails. That’s what this article about. Sean at his worst.

Okiegal Says:

@Ben Pronin

“If you’re going to try and discredit someone’s argument, maybe cover your own bases……should have read biases, because what all arguments come down to is the simple fact that we are all biased when it comes down to our favourite. That is why arguments are really a waste of time……nobody is gonna change anyone’s mind.

Thangs Says:

Such a nonsense argument was put in place that the tennis became normal only in fall season..it shows how much hate he is carrying…

Hamza Says:

Frankly, the number of comments is not really a measure of success. Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday Friday’ got millions of views on youtube but I wouldn’t call that a success.

Sean may write an article how his baked Turkey came back alive on the dinner table and that may get over 400 comments on tennis-x.

Nevertheless, reading the comments has been fun. Thought I should chime in as we’re now over 200 on this thread.

Kimberly Says:

For a tennis site to get 200 plus posts during football season on the tennis offseason is quite impressive. Especially today, looks like my Seminoles will be number 1.

billyboy512 Says:

How many discrete posters here? Maybe about 20 – 30? Hardly a success. More like a circle jerk.

Bad Knee Rules Says:

I can see some people here are comparing 2011 Novak with 2013 Nadal. If the following numbers from the other forum are correct, I don’t see how anyone who claims to know tennis can compare 2011 Novak with 2013 Nadal:
An Interesting Comparison by Numbers:

Nole 2011 vs chief rivals and other top 10:

Vs Murray 2-1 (loss = retirement with shoulder/rib injury)
Vs Nadal 6-0 (Nole won 14 sets to Nadal’s 4!)
Vs Federer 4-1
= 12-2 vs other “big 4”

1-1 vs. Delpo (retired in DC match with shoulder/rib injury )
2-0 vs. Tsonga (+ 1 walkover)

21 – 2 vs. top ten players (+ 1 walkover)

Nadal’s 2013 vs. chief rivals and other top 10:

Vs Murray 0-0 (did not play)
Vs. Nole 3-3 (Nole won 10 sets to Nadal’s 8 sets)
Vs. Fed 4-0
= 7-3 vs. other “big 4”

1-1 vs. Delpo
1-0 vs. Tsonga

21- 5 vs. top ten players

Nole 2013 vs. Chief Rivals and other top 10:

Vs Murray 1-1
Vs. Nadal 3-3
Vs. Federer 2-0
= 6-4 vs other “big four”

Vs. Delpo 3-1
Vs. Tsonga 2-0

24 – 6 vs. top ten players

* Nole played 4 more matches than Nadal vs. top 10 players but had only 1 more loss. His record vs. the top 10 was actually better than Nadal’s in 2013.

skeezer Says:

Whats a discrete poster?

billyboy512 Says:

discrete |disˈkrēt|
individually separate and distinct

Okiegal Says:

I don’t think it matters too much what we posters on this forum think about whose year was more spectacular, Novak’s 2011 year or Rafa’s 2013 comeback year, because we are all biased. Former tennis champions, coaches have their opinion on the matter and generally think what Rafa did was short of amazing. I haven’t heard one of them comparing Novak’s 2011 year to Rafa’s 2013 year. It is all about Rafa. I will have more belief in their opinions than a small group of posters here that are so biased that they won’t even try to see another side of the side of the coin. Rafa clawed his way back to the top. How he was able to do that I will never know, but so glad he did. This year was unbelievable for a Rafa fan. Can he stay on top?? I don’t know……but I know this, he will battle hard to keep his #1 ranking and I’m sure Novak, Roger and Andy will have something to say about that!

skeezer Says:

^still not explaining pertaining to this thread. Thanks.


U will not see any vamoshead try to compare Nole’s 2011 to Nadulls 2013. There is none. Novak ruled that year with ir without luck.

Okiegal Says:


……..still not explaining pertaining to this thread. Thanks.

If that was intended for me, I am sorry I did something out of line on this particular thread.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Im not a vamoshead thats trying to compare Noles 2011 to Rafas 2013 either,but i will say in 2011 Rafa lost to Nole 7 times but was still good enough to make all those finals that he lost in,Nole won 3 GS and that particular year so its a no brainer,however this year Rafa won all those titles against a number of top 10 players in finals that Nole wasnt good enough to make,wasnt trying to compare just merely saying both years were fantastic,why do people have to discredit one in favour of the other though,as it just doesnt seem fair,is all im saying?but whatever(sigh)..

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

And BTW it was Ben who brought up Novaks 2011 year 1st not me i was merely replying thats all.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal great post completely agree.

Okiegal Says:


I think he is referring to my post 11/30 @10:36 am.You can’t see it at this time because it’s awaiting moderation. Check the thread tomorrow and you will see why I think it was directed to me. I was rather surprised that he chastised me. I really didn’t understand his post. Novak did have a great 2011……..but that was then and this is now.

Okiegal Says:


Thanks…..was I out of line? I took it to mean that my comment wasn’t thread oriented. You tell me! I’m confused!!

Giles Says:

Rafa is scheduled to play Miami next year.
Vamos Champ!

Perfect fan Says:

Comm’n TX staff….do something now….this blog is already dead….rotting now as well as stinking.

Pl post any bloody thing….even though it might be the darnest stupidest thing u ever wrote(to catch our attention)….but it’ll do at the moment….like say nadal farted at a press conf or say fed threw up in full public view or nole’s fiancé caught him molesting her poodle….u say it….any goddarn thng that comes to ur mind like u r knocked out of ur brains aftr a booze party.

we understand its a dry season….but at least keep on posting fresh ones (though they might be stinking too)….but at least we’ll hav something new to ponder abt. Its been 4 days since ur last post came up….do something guys!!

hawkeye Says:

Haha can’t figure out the context brilliant.

Rafa had the best comeback season of all time.

Nole had the best individual season of all time.

Two distinct and amazing accomplishments!!!


hawkeye Says:

Top five articles on Tennis X are all about Rafa the King of Tennis.

Vamos Tennis!!!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal your confused to be honest im confused too,but i dont think you were out of line,it was Ben whom brought up the whole Novak 2011 season,all you and i did was give our own opinions on his own personal opinions,and BKR gave his take too,or have a got my wires crossed(sigh)..

Gordon Says:


If a successful blog is judged by the length of the thread then Sean you are the best, being able to get this number of responses in the off-season.

If Rafa were to read this he might be a little concerned however, at the alter he has created by simply being a great tennis player and a decent guy.

Until he gets married there are a couple of dozen hopefuls in here – both male and female – who long to have his baby.

This blog post sure brought a lot out of the woodwork, even if it didn’t bring many out if the closet. :D

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

I agree with Perfect Fan,time for a change of topic,i was actually looking forward to a thread about a review of the year split into 4 parts like they did last year,this one and the Rafa exhos one has been beaten to the ground now,i think most people have made their points anyway.

hawkeye Says:

Michael, I provided the quote regarding Rafa saying the season was too long but there must have been a technical problem with it posting.

Comments are easily taken out of context which is why many players guard themselves in how they answer.

Here is the link to the full quote. Peterr explained it very well above.


Purcell Says:

Gordon: at the risk of briefly prolonging a dying blog I had to laugh at your contribution. It does rather put things in perspective. Oh and Okiegal, you wonder how Nadal clawed his way back………well he did have seven/eight months off to retool his game. (Just pulling your leg…oops knee.)

Okiegal Says:

Well, I can assure you I’m not one of the hopefuls wanting to have his baby…….I’m old enough to be his greatgrandmother!! Can’t a woman like a tennis player without being accused of it being a physical attraction thing?? When I first started posting that was the first thing I was accused…..that I liked him because I thought he was hot…..couldn’t be farther from the truth. I like this kid because of the way he plays the game…..I repeat kid.


Glad you liked my post. It’s nice to know that you were confused to. As you said that particular discussion was brought on be Ben. I still don’t know what prompted that remark. I will read TX but not so sure I will be posting anymore. There is a possibility that this site will have one less Rafa fan……which should make some folks happy!! Have a nice evening, Chic.

skeezer Says:

Lol so true!

Okiegal Says:


Couldn’t tell by your post if you like Rafa or not. I don’t know if you think he has a knee problem or not, several on this site don’t….but I do. Seven months off was key for the knee. He did have lots of time to hone his game and he did. Good for him. This was the year of the beast…..notice I didn’t say GOAT…..that issue remains to be seen after they all retire. Should be interesting.

BTW…..there is a town in the state where I live named Purcell, any relation?? Lol

Sean Randall Says:

Sorry to disappoint, this post wasn’t meant to stir the pot, create discussion, etc. It was just something that was on my mind and since no one else had written it…

That said, either this coming week or the next I will really rattle the beehive with a (comprehensive) series of posts examining the GOAT debate. Stay tuned.

Noword Says:

Hmmmm…loser always blame for luck!

skeezer Says:

Like i said earlier, you now must post a anti-Fed post to keep the vamosheads happy, after all, there screaming for it being its now a vamoshead site.
Look forward seeing the pacifying of the vamosheads ;). Its obvious there insecurities are demanding it. Too much whining going on. How can you all deny it?

skeezer Says:

“that issue remains to be seen after they all retire”
No. The issue is now. Why do we all have to wait until Mr. Vamos retires? When ihe is old like Fed then u can make a claim. But now, is now.
Allez Fed.

Okiegal Says:

Skeezer, I used to say Roger was GOAT, but I am not so sure now. I think when they stop playing, which is not going to be very far off, let the records speak then. As I said in another thread it might be Novak. Roger has a wonderful resume, I won’t deny that……but their head to head presents a problem for me and Johnny Mac. There is another person out there that agrees with you……the man himself….Rafa! I don’t really want to fuss about it, I have my opinion and you have yours. I might also agree if Roger had 8 Wimbys under his belt, being grass is his best sur-frace. (Rafa Lingo) LOL

As a fan of Rafa, I have taken up for Fed on this site numerous times when some of his “so called fans” were being so rude and saying hateful things.

We just need to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Have a restful night!

Sleepless in Oklahoma.

Okiegal Says:


My remark about Rafa having 8 titles on his best surface, I know that Roger has 7 on his best, I was actually trying to be funny. Hope you didn’t take it the wrong way. I think we all need to have a sense of humor on this site every once in awhile……some posters are way too serious. Anyway, I ‘re-read my comment and didn’t like the way it sounded, so trying to rectify it.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal i agree it gets tiresome when your put on that particular pedestal,Rafa fan oh it must be for his looks,TBH i was a Federer fan before Rafa came along,but there was always something different about Rafa,i just think hes the most exciting player i have ever seen,thats JMO though,anyway please dont stop posting i enjoy your posts,Rafa fan or otherwise have as much right to be here as anyone,your always pretty fair balanced and honest.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Skeezer tennis is about the here and the now,but i think the point is Roger is the GOAT no doubt about it,and thats what Okiegal was alluding to,but by the time both retire it could(been the operative word)be a different story,who knows?still thats for the future and only for the future.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Finally just to say Sean Randall is a fantastic writer,this was a fantastic article,i just didnt agree with it thats all,out.

Okiegal Says:

I guess I can depend on you to back me up, thanks.

Skeezer, I think we do need to wait until Mr. Vamos retires. Why??? Because the tennis world has made him part of that issue, I think it only fair that it’s decided after they both quit. Well…..it’s not like there is a trophy with a gold plated GOAT on top to be had…….

rafaeli Says:

Slice Tennis Says:
“Great article by Sean.

I think this article may pull back some of the fedfans who have moved out from here ruans federer blog.”

Isn’t this the object of the whole exercise? Sean needing to smooth the feathers of Fedfans.

rafaeli Says:

Frankly, Muzz and Nole got lucky in the 2nd half of 2012 with no Nadal. Had Nadal been fit, Nole would not have ended the 2012 season as #1 and Muzz would not have won the Olympic Gold and the USO.

tennisfan Says:

Well, Rafa played great in the NA hardcourts this year. Sorry, but luck was not a dominant factor in his success.
Montreal – Rafa played at his best in the semis. He was aggresive right from the start and ultra aggresive during the 3rd set tie breaker. He just played the best that I have ever seen him play on hard.
Cincinatti – Isner played very well. Rafa just played better when it mattered the most

US Open – Djokovic played great in the finals. 2nd set and the 3rd set was vintage Djokovic. Yet rafa won the 3rd set after which Djokovic was dispirited. Again Rafa played ultra aggresive in the 4th set and won the match.

Bottomline – Rafa played the best on Hard courts in 2013 which is y he had the best results.

Hawkeye Says:

No need to wait. Many greats already no longer think fedfan is the GOAT necessarily anymore and one by one they are claiming Rafa as the new King.

Giles Says:

And last but not least fed got very very lucky in FO 2009!! Geez, he has the luck of a devil!! No kiddin’ !!!

Purcell Says:

Okiegal: it’s nice to know there’s a town called Purcell. I use the name as a tribute to the great Henry Purcell one of my favourite composers. (It was a toss-up between him and Shostakovich which is rather a mouthful.)
Regarding whether I like Nadal or not, I feel that it’s more important to have an opinion about the tennis. Therefore I try to divorce myself from the claptrap issuing from the media, the PR teams, player/commentator has-beens (J Mac eg), drooling fans etc. Blogs I read and contribute to occasionally as you can see.
So, to rephrase……Do I like Nadal’s tennis? No. I prefer speed of play, attack, creativity, effortlessness, shot variety etc. Gasquet, Murray, Dimitrov and some old schoolers have some of these characteristics and Fed has, or had them all.

Okiegal Says:


Good enough!! We all have our likes and dislikes…..and I happen to like all of them that you mentioned. They give us great entertainment. I am partial to Rafa because of his fight, passion and his never give up attitude. I will admit I favor the baseline game as to serve and volley. I think Rafa is gonna try that more in the future to shorten the points…I think he already has a little bit…..if we all liked the same thing…….dullsville!!

Hawkeye Says:

Do I like Nadal’s tennis? Yes. I prefer the struggle, suffering for what you want, finding a way, continual improvement, passion, turning defence into sudden offence, spin, intelligent thought out play and playing every point like it’s your last.

No player past or present has ever had these formidable strengths.


Hawkeye Says:

So, to rephrase……Do I like Nadal’s tennis?

Yes. Kipling’s ‘If” captures Rafa’s spirit more than any other player I’ve ever watched when he wrote:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same

No one does that better than Nadal.


Okiegal Says:

Hawkeye…..my feelings exactly!!

Vamos Rafa!

skeezer Says:

“turning defence into sudden offense”

Fed invented it.


One thing I have respected a lot about Rafa, he is, with his limited game, to improve on what he has, and has arguably been the best at it in this era. HE had what they would call a classic “Clay court” game, but, like Borg he transcended onto Grass, and outdone his achievements on HC.

hawkeye Says:

Agreed, fed invented it.

Hawkeye Says:

Calling a player who has 13 majors and a dominant record vs a true great like fedfan ‘limited’ is simply hilarious. If this is true then 99,999% of players are yet even more limited.

A more appropriate use of the word ‘limited’ would be in regards to fedfan’s ability to deal with Rafa.

Perhaps there was a backhanded compliment in there somewhere, a single handed backhand I’m thinking which is limited in itself.


skeezer Says:

And when a vamoshead has to express that Fed is a comparisan to Rafa’s own achievements just shows the limited mind of the vamoshead. Rafa has created his own achievements, Not just on the shoulders of the greatest of all time. The vamosheads continue the ignoramous.

If you want to talk about each players limited technical game, the lets talk, lol!

Perfect fan Says:

Well….reading all this, i somehow felt like sharing my favourite shots of all top players:

# Running forehand winner (esp. the down the line….spinning right into the box kissing the line)….whoooa! all big 4 play the running forehand shot good but rafa’s on another level….simply breath-taking….gives me goosebumps.

# Cross-court backhand winner….at a time when he is completely stretched (an almost full split of legs)….Gotta say this, his BH is unreal, inhumane….best ever in the history of game (i feel).

# Sorry but i hav to mention quite a few: ;)
1. BH Slice
2. Cross-court FH winner almost touching the line (and esp. when he slightly jump)
3. a tie btwn Overhead smash & BH winner down the line

Well I also like andy’s shots but what i feel worth mentioning is his DEFENCE (which has rattled Tennis world off late). His movement from corner to corner (apart from clay) is the best I feel of the current breed….almost IMPENETRABLE.

And yeah….the most stylish & sexy serve (i feel) is that of Berdych and second FED.

Margot Says:

Andy has certainly had the “struggle” and he’s certainly got the “variety” really can’t imagine why he isn’t EVERYONE’S favourite…..;)
*innocent glance*

skeezer Says:

After all, you have always been a “sideline player”no? Lol.
Andy has so much potential, and has unique componets to his game. Its a given that if he utililizes what he has been given he can “rule the roost.” Everyone is waiting…

skeezer Says:

Well said. Don’t forget the Fed invariables. What?
The tweener, the BH fick CC, the overhead off an overhead, the quick inventive defense to offense. The guy re invented the game, and the current era has benefited!!!
Thank you GOAT.

Perfect fan Says:

Skeezer, thanx for completing the resume :))

Thr r many more….but i jus picked my fav shots actually….i infact like his drop shot too amongst all…. but nole has the best lob.

TennisGuru Schmidt Says:

Regardless of primarily watching tennis to see Nadal lose, I will admit that he is a great fighter and one of the mentally toughest players in history. The rivalry between him and Djokovic will likely unfold to become one of the most memorable rivalries in tennis history. Djokovic is the only player I see having any chance of dethroning the legendary red bull that rules the red sand. One major strong point for Nadal’s career is that he was able to beat both Federer and Djokovic on their best surfaces in grand slams, whereas the latter have never defeated him at Roland Garros. 2014 looks to be a great year. My predictions: Djokovic at Aussie Open, Nadal at French Open, Andy Murray at Wimbledon, and Del Potro at US Open.

Margot Says:

Lol, don’t think I could cope with “world domination!” I like my heroes imperfect.

hawkeye Says:

No, fedfan is no longer the de facto GOAT as many tennis experts have opined. He was and continues to be a true great however.

I was watching the fedfan Sampras match on ESPN classic. Some truly great shots from both. You tend to forget just how good Sampras was. He was no longer at his peak (and truly fedfan had yet to reach his), but amazing CCFH ROS and pinpoint service accuracy. He will always be a true great in my book. Fedfan was occasionally grunting during the rallies. Also hadn’t realized before that a much younger and more conservative Mohamed Lahyani was in the chair.


hawkeye Says:

TennisGuru Schmidt Says:
Regardless of primarily watching tennis to see Nadal lose, I will admit that he is a great fighter and one of the mentally toughest players in history.

I respect that honesty. Wish it was more the norm. Nice to meet you on T-X. In case you haven’t noticed, I am King of the Vamos Heads. Well, maybe co-King with Giles, queen, holdserve and Slice Tennis.

I also watch fedfan to see him lose (Robredo was AWESOME) yet at the same time I am able to admire his incredible one-of-a-kind tennis.

Fedfan not only couldn’t beat Rafa at the FO but is also 0-2 in their only two major hard court meetings at AO.

Grass is the only major surface where fedfan has been able to beat Rafa and the last time was when Nadal was just 21 years of age. 0-5 since.


Okiegal Says:


I just knew deep down in your soul you have to find at least one thing that you respect about Rafa! Yes, his game is limited but seems like he always can find a way……you will have to admit……he is a fighter! I have given up on him in certain matches, only to find that he came back and won. Rafa is the first to admit he gets very nervous and starts out slow sometime. His fighting spirit is what I like about his game. Rogers backhand his out of this world. Novaks shot when he does the splits and his reach….wow!! I LOVE TENNIS, ALL THESE GUYS ARE AWESOME……and Margot SO IS ANDY, you gotta love that guy. Proud he won Wimby so finally the British press would get off his case! He deserved that win.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

I have never seen the point of watching a tennis player primrarily to see them lose,i mean whats the point?why waste such nervous energy,on such negativity?i just think its more counter productive to root for another player to win,rather than your least favorite to lose,unless ones favorite is playing ones least favorite then why watch them in the 1st place?personally ive never seen that type of logic anyway.

Top story: Happy 39th Birthday To Roger Federer