Heading Into Wimbledon Rafael Nadal’s Back Is Still Not 100%, When Will It Be?
by Tom Gainey | June 13th, 2014, 9:17 am

Following another shock loss on the grass, Rafael Nadal met the press in Halle. The 2-time Wimbledon champion talked about the quick transition from grass to clay, playing a power player like Dustin Brown and the state of his back which continues to trouble him.

Nadal admitted that back is improving but it still impacts his serve. And on grass the serve is much more important to success than it is on clay.

Here’s what Nadal had to say:

Question: How frustrating is it to play the first match on grass against an opponent, who doesn’t give you any rhythm at all?
NADAL: I told you yesterday that it is the worst draw possible against a player like this. It’s very difficult to talk about the match because I don’t know what to say. I didn’t play. My opponent always served over 200, first and second. So, that can happen on this surface if you find an opponent like this. But I don’t want to talk about the opponent. At the end, I can do a bit more with my serve, it’s not something that I didn’t practice a lot these days because I had a back problem in Roland Garros. So, I played with infiltration there most of the days. I tried but the serve was not good enough. At the same time he changed the dynamic completely. For four games he really didn’t put many returns on the court and then suddenly he was playing winners from the return. So, it’s difficult to analyse these kind of matches.

The only thing I can do is keep working the way I did the last three days I was here. I tried hard, I tried my best. I was unlucky with the draw because at the end this match has zero value for preparing Wimbledon because I really didn’t find not one feeling. I didn’t play one point. So, that makes the match negative in a way because I lost, that’s the first negative thing. In the end, when you lose and you can think positive I really had a chance to play points, to have a rhythm. This was not the case. So, I’m very sad for me. I’m sad for the tournament because at the end they put the confidence on me to be here. But at the same time the only thing I can say is that I tried. I tried my best and it was not possible.

Q: So what is your plan now? Are you going back to Mallorca to train on a fast court?
NADAL: I will go back to Mallorca. I’m not sure if I’m going to play. I don’t think so. I didn’t stop playing tennis for one day for the last month. So, probably I will take two or three days off. I will fly to Wimbledon Wednesday early morning and play and practice a few days there. I don’t know if I’m going to have one match or not before, an exhibition maybe in London. I don’t know. I didn’t make it but you never know. I will try to work hard and I will try to rest a little bit and I will try to be ready for the next one.

Q: Are you looking forward to the next year when the grass court season is a bit longer so you can take maybe one week off after Roland Garros? Would that help you?
NADAL: All depends on the results on clay. But it’s obvious that if you arrive to the last rounds of Roland Garros the transition is aggressive. It’s true I was playing in Queens few years before and for me it’s more difficult here. The grass here is faster. The grass is a little bit more humid here than there. That makes the transition even more difficult for me. That’s it. I cannot say many more things. I feel that I need to keep working hard and we’ll see.

Q: The back problems are they from the Australian Open or was there some accident before the final in Paris?
NADAL: No, before the final I was better. I am better by the way. I don’t have a very bad feeling but I still feel the back a little bit. It’s something similar I had at the Australian Open. I have a little bit of an oedema in the bone in the back. So, that creates me some problems. And I felt that during Roland Garros in the first round, especially in the second round it was worse. But it’s true that after the second round I was improving. Today is not the worst day but I feel that I need to improve, I need to rest a little bit. I need to improve a little bit to try to play well in Wimbledon. The serve here is deciding.

Q: Does it bother you for the service?
NADAL: Yes, a little bit. It’s a little bit more dangerous for me to change the directions. It’s difficult to create all the power with the back.

Q: In Wimbledon you have done really well. You have reached five consecutive finals till 2011. In the last two years you lost very early. How much is actually due to some physical problems and will it actually affect your confidence playing on that surface?
NADAL: I was able to play very well on grass in the past. But I always say the same. To play well on grass the most important thing is to play matches. You need to play with confidence, you need to play with determination, you need to adjust. The only way to adjust is by playing matches and winning matches. 2012 I don’t count like a loss. I was total injured from my knee. I didn’t play anything for seven month. Last year I tried. I was not well enough. And this year, talking about my knee, I’m much better than last year. I lost today because the rival was playing better than me. And at the same time, I said yesterday that everybody, who knows about this sport knows how difficult the transition is from clay to grass in only a few days and especially when you arrive a little bit tired, when you arrive not 100% and can’t work 100% every day. But I tried my best. I thought that I will have the possibility to not play bad. But actually I didn’t have a possibility to play.

Q: Will you be making some changes to your game and your strategy to play differently on grass?
NADAL: You can see, you can check on the videos. That’s obvious. That’s nothing new. You always try to play more aggressive on hard and on grass. That’s nothing new for me. I started playing on grass in 2003.

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152 Comments for Heading Into Wimbledon Rafael Nadal’s Back Is Still Not 100%, When Will It Be?

Humble Rafa Says:

Injuried heal when they do. There are no time frames.

skeezer Says:

Rafa only wins when he is not 100% nowadays. This means he will lose when he is healthy. Whatever the win/lose is, you can bank on the excuse for either one.
Sorry Nole, Rafa is saying he beat you with a bad back….


Giles Says:

Still talking about Rafa skeezer? Doesn’t your man deserve some of your tasteful comments?

SG1 Says:

I don’t think that Rafa is really committed to grass rigt now. When you read between the lines, it seems clear. He wants to go home and chill out for a bit. Perhaps next week, he’ll start to prepare for a grass court season. Is Rafa injured? Probably. Are there other top players dealing with injuries? For sure.

I’m not quite sure (beyond money of course), why Rafa went to Halle in the first place. I watched the match last night. Brown did play remarkably well and served in an almost Ivanesive like manner. But, there were numerous times where it looked like Rafa wasn’t going all out to chase down Brown’s volleys. Maybe it’s just me but it seemed that way. There may also be some reticence regarding injury. He did look very tentative with his footing. It’s a mental thing and it’s understandable after getting injured on grass in 2012 and getting put down by Rosol in 2013.

Giles Says:

Sean. With all due respect, the headline of your article is asking an ambiguous question.
How long is a piece of string?

madmax Says:

It’s a shame that Rafa has to mention his injuries tbh giles. He doesn’t stop. Just play the game and let the tennis do the talking.

His tennis talks very well on clay, as we all know. He was tired on grass. You heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.

These time schedules, I think can be punishing. The turnaround for tournaments is way too fast.

Time for change. More time inbetween tournaments for R&R, not so many clay court tournaments (why ARE there so many in the first place, does anyone really know?).

Can’t wait for Wimbledon! Loving the green background now!

SG1 Says:

Humble Rafa Says:
Injuried heal when they do. There are no time frames.


LOL. Look, Rafa got through Roland Garros just fine. He’s not that injured. And the statement that there isn’t any time table is BS as well. The guy isn’t in a coma.

The fact is, he’s not the grass player he once was. Between knee and back problems, his mobility and serve have been compromised. Rafa depends on his will to get through matches. Will can’t compensate for being unable to dig out volleys that are inches off the ground. To borrow a phrase, “The mind may be willing but the body is weak.”

I do expect a very competitive hard court season from Rafa. Hard courts seem to play into his strengths these days. The balls bounce higher and the courts accetuate the spin he likes to generate.

SG1 Says:

Yesterday was the first time I can remember that Rafa looked like a clay court specialist playing on grass.

NK Says:

The reporter asked how he feels about the loss at Halle, and he promptly brings up the back problem at RG. No GS champ talks more about real and perceived injuries before, during, after (and long after) a grand slam than Nadal. I swear I can get myself to like him a bit more if he stopped bringing them up every time.

Can’t wait to see some serve and volley tennis again. Hope the grass at Wimby is slick and fast, as it should be.

NK Says:

Federer talked about his back for the first time long after his miserable 2013 season ended. There was no mention of back then…before, during and after every tournament. And much of what he says is in response to a specific query, like when he picked Nadal to win FO two weeks ago.

Say what you will about Federer, and I see there are a lot of Fed-haters on this site, but he is spontaneous in his comments, which at times have hurt him. When he said the other day he was very happy for Nadal, the anti-Feds on this site immediately saw it as not genuine. It would be nice if they did not have to put a negative spin on everything he says.

At the end of the day, tennis champions are human and have follies like every one of us. But judging from the comments on this site, especially the vitriol so often directed at Federer, you’d think he is a terrible person. Doubt he would have won the player’s choice award almost every year if was truly bad.

grace Says:

Roger Federer is probably the best advertisement for tennis and an inspiration to all aspiring young players. He conducts himself with great aplomb both on and off the court, unlike Rafa who appears to be an angry, wimpering loser. Why is he so baffled when he looses, He is not invincible….Long live Roger…..

Giles Says:

SG1. “Yesterday was the first time I can remember that Rafa looked like a clay court specialist playing on grass”. Hmmm.
Am surprised that you are surprised. Where has he been playing the last fortnight? Do you think that Rafa is such a genius that he can adapt to grass in a couple of days and in his first match on grass? If so, your expectations are too high!

Giles Says:

And here we have grace with ungracious comments about Rafa. Time to change your moniker, I say!

RZ Says:

For me the question is whether Rafa’s bad problems are a temporary injury due to a sprain or tweak that will heal with time, or is it the new normal for him? Tennis is hard on the body, and there have been many players who have been compromised by a bad back in the later part of their careers (Agassi comes to mind). Regardless, I’d expect Rafa to do better at SW19 this year than he has the past few years, and then take a break in the early summer hardcourt season to rest his back and knees.

jonathan Says:

For NK:

Roger’s pre-tourney presser at Cincinatti last summer after his recent post-Wimbledon losses:

Tested rackets, and was ready to go to Hamburg and Gstaad and play tournaments I really enjoy playing. But I couldn’t enjoy them in the end, then, because I just had too many problems with my back, and my body.”

I have nothing against Roger, just double standards.

Roger is a great champion and ambassador for the game, a living legend.

contador Says:


I agree with your post at 12:43. Dreddy played some amazing shots but I also agree with andrea (on another thread), that had Roger been Rafa’s opponent yesterday, Rafa would have played to win. Rafa, lol. That was a full-on tank job. Nadal should have pulled out of Halle and left the spot for another player.

On a more positive note, the semi-finals in Halle look good: Nishikori v Federer and Falla v PKohls.

Semi-finals in London look like fun too: Grigor v Stan and F-Lo v Red Hot Radek Stepanek.

madmax Says:


Problem is. This is what Rafa is being remembered for right now. His constant rhetoric about his back, his knees his blisters, it rrrrreally is enough. I take your point about Fed, but as NK said, tends to be as a result of a direct question. You simply don’t hear Federer going on about injuries and in comparison, Rafa does. Everyone knows that.

Clearly, if he was THAT injured, he would not have won his 14th slam, so I wonder why he even bothers mentioning it. Can only be to “warn” players to lull them into a false sense of security (and they would be foolish to believe it, I say).

Fortunately for them, his comments are ignored and it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference anyway.

madmax Says:

Both tournaments now Contador look interesting.

Kei will be a formidable opponent against fed, considering their last meeting.

Equally, is Stan coming into form now?

Can Radek worm his way into the over 35’s “are not over” award?

What are your thoughts here for the prospective winners?

roy Says:

”Sorry Nole, Rafa is saying he beat you with a bad back….”

Q: The back problems are they from the Australian Open or was there some accident before the final in Paris?
NADAL: No, before the final I was better. I am better by the way. I don’t have a very bad feeling but I still feel the back a little bit.

You’re not skipping the nuances again to paint Nadal in a bad light?


jonathan Says:

The question to Roger was pertaining to his results since Wimbledon, not about injury. Roger brought his back up because it certainly did affect his results.

The question to Nadal above was about the frustration caused by the transition and his opponent. Nadal responded saying that his own poor serving was a factor due to lack of practise due to his back.

So neither was asked specifically.

He said his serve was slightly affected by his back. The serve is not so critical on clay and Novak also admitted he was not feeling well. These two factors contributed to him still being able to win his 14th slam.

All players talk about injuries as it relates to the questions put to them. So what?

Humble Rafa Says:

Tested rackets, and was ready to go to Hamburg and Gstaad and play tournaments I really enjoy playing. But I couldn’t enjoy them in the end, then, because I just had too many problems with my back, and my body.”

Stuff legends are made of.

contador Says:


Kei appeared to be guarding his injury- noticeably to me anyway when he serves.

I think Federer stands a good chance of winning Halle. Joao Sousa is not an easy out – the Portuguese youngster is on the rise – very strong backhand and forhand, plus light and speedy.

Have not been able to watch the matches in London, so I don’t know. Maybe an all-Swiss winning weekend?

jonathan Says:

Agreed. Not sure about Kei who said he only entered Roland Garros because it was a slam.

contador Says:

I can believe that Kei Nishikori entered RG this year, for the most part, because it was a GS. Again, would have been better imo that another player took his spot. At least Kei is honest about it, if he admitted it (I didn’t read that he said it)

Kei was playing injured at least after Barcelona this spring. Could not pick him to go deep at FO and I still am wondering about him.

The good news is: the countdown is on to when del Potro returns for summer hard court season. :D

Vamos Delpo!

Okiegal Says:

NK says he cant wait for some serve and volley tennis…….don’t know where you live but here in the states the Classic Sports channel is showing Classic Wimbledon matches. I watched Borg and Connors play. Borg was always my favorite back in the day, but I will have to say I cant believe I ever watched that boring serve and volley crap. For the most part it was serve volley point. Once in awhile a rally would happen. Every point was almost lifeless. I realize the game has changed, but was so shocked at how much. After watching the tennis of today, I could never again enjoy the type of tennis of yesteryear. I am sure I’m in the minority of tennis groups but the old tennis ain’t for me!


Daniel Says:


All in due proportions. What brings the nostalgia in us is that only on grass that we are able to see pure serve and volley after block serves.

The way strings technology evolved returning becoming too easy.

I am too due variety but none ants to see a match that no point passes 5 shots as none wants to see 6 hours AO matches with 3-40 seconds between points because both players are slow and endless baseline points that are played almost the same again and again.

I even find the latest RG match more exciting because of the drama, Nadal’s FH, and some variety in points. There was a period in the Djoko x Nadal rivalry that they played all the points the same, not stop when Djoko was targeting Nadal’s backhand.

Seeing how they have to master the low bounce, using more wrist and how players adapt to difference surface is the beauty of the game.

calmdownplease Says:

Agreed okie
But I still would like to see the courts sped up a little on HC and Grass.


Okiegal Says:

@Daniel and @CDP

Thanks for the feedback, I love when someone will actually respond to me…..I understand where you are coming from about those long long matches…..but my question to you would be why do the fans at the tournaments yell and scream and support the underdog for another two sets of more of the same. You certainly don’t see people leaving……obviously some folks love it like I do. I was mesmerized by Rafa and Roger at Wimby, Rafa and Novak at AO. I cant believe I have sat
in front of my TV and watched a 5 hr match and not even realize it!! Am I crazy or what?? LOL
Seriously, I don’t have a clue what tickets cost, but if they’re as expensive as I think they are, I would want a 5 hr match too!! LOL


Ruby Says:


Check the transcript again. Rafa is asked about his back, Rafa answers about his back. Not sure why Rafa choosing to be forthcoming and candid with the media is perceived as some kind of madness. All players have injuries. Rafa just doesn’t make a covert secret of it, as some others do. It’s simply a stylistic difference. It may be a trivial controversy now, but I can assure you 20 years from now, no one will remember Rafa “for his blisters.” They’ll remember him for his many Grand Slams. Same as his peers.

calmdownplease Says:

@I actually would like a bit more variety in the pacing.
As I said, I like long rallies and I don’t want to see the super fast serve & volley era return.
There’s a reason why they slowed it down.
But it’s also amusing to see players flounder like bambi on ice in the indoor Paris courts too.
it might bring another side out if a few more tournaments are faster.
I personally thought AO Nadal versus Djokovic was too long.
Ultimately, I think it depends on what the neutrals think and how the tour wishes to develop the game.
Viewers over length over commercial breaks.
Enforcement of the time between serves rule was a first acknowledgement in that perhaps things might be able to move on a little more quickly now.

calmdownplease Says:

@okie naturally

Eric Says:

” 2012 I don’t count like a loss. I was total injured from my knee.”


NK Says:

The purist in me wants s&v because it poses a different kind of test. Tennis is not just about long rallies and who can gring down whom first (which is basically Rafa’s style). It is also about reflexes, footwork and finesse, about challenging the opponent to thread the right passing shot through the needle, so to speak.

The surfaces were deliberately designed to be distinctly different requiring champions to adapt and improvise, and to bring a particular type of skill to the court. Now, even wimby plays like any other, where the only option is to play grinding tennis from the baseline.

As a purist, I echo Doulas Perry when he says that the slowing of the courts has helped one particular tennis player far more disproportionately at the expense of another player. I truly believe the GS results from the last 5-6 years might have been different if the courts had not been tampered with.

I am all for making the game more entertaining, but grinding forever from the baseline where endurance becomes more important than finesse and creativity is not my idea of entertainment. Sorry if I have offended anyone.

calmdownplease Says:

`Now, even wimby plays like any other, where the only option is to play grinding tennis from the baseline..`

I almost somewhat agree (at some times).
But the courts were tampered with long before Nadal’s flickering hegemony. In 2002 they were slowed down in fact so one could argue that Fed also benefitted from this.
It would be debatable at the very least.
They are not all the same. Not entirely.
Look at the variety and intricacy exhibited by Murray, for example, in the short time he played on the green stuff.
In contrast to the bash, bash, bash of the French Open final.

Humble Rafa Says:

Question: What did the Dutch have for breakfast?
Answer: I dont know but they ate the Spaniards alive for lunch

Dear beloved home country,

Don’t complicate it. Just do what I do. Keep the ball in play. Cowards will eventually cave in.

NK Says:

If you watched the Fed-Sampras match at 2001 wimby, it was all serve & volley. Fed”s mindset was totally different. Now, the slower grass gives too much time for the baseliners to get to the ball, any ball, and put it away, which is why he has had to play from the baseline.

I can never forget rafter’s title win at wimby, perhaps the greatest display of s&v tennis I have ever seen.

skeezer Says:

Lol, that says it all doesn’t it? Nice post !!

calmdownplease Says:

`I can never forget rafter’s title win at wimby..`

I’m amazed that you can remember it myself.
As he actually never won it :(
Coulda, woulda, shoulda in his case, unfortunately.

NK Says:

Clampdownplease: sorry, I meant Pat Cash in 1987, I think. The grass was truly fast back then.

NK Says:

Sorry, I meant Calmdownplease…I didn’t realize the autocorrect function kicked in.

calmdownplease Says:

no problemo,
of course winning FO never meant Wimbledon was a given as Saint Lendl discovered that day (and before).

calmdownplease Says:


mmm don’t give me ideas ;)

Okiegal Says:

Right on, Ruby!!

NK Says:

Interestingly, from 1985 -2003, Wimby was won by s&v specialists — Becker, Edberg, Cash, Ivanivesic, Stich, Krajicek, Sampras and Federer (his first title), Agassi and Hewitt being the lone exceptions in 1992 and 2002.

I am certain none of them wiould stand a chance at Wimby today, and just as certain that Nadal could not have won back then.

calmdownplease Says:

NK dear, Fed won it in `12 and 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09.
As he is a hybrid of 2 generations.
But your general message still rings true.

calmdownplease Says:

Also Fed might be adopting S & V now & maybe before, but he is not a S & V player.

M Says:

Dustin played lights out against Rafa, and I don’t think enough people are giving him credit for it. He lost his 3-setter to Philip Kohlschreiber today 18-16 in the third.

Rafa is slow to make transitions, yes, but he really did have a tough draw, and he even said so ahead of time.

Haters are going to fuss and grumble, I understand, but they lose credibility when they don’t take things that basic into account.

Okiegal Says:

Rosol, Darcis and now Dustin…..can’t figure out how these guys can hit the court and do everything right and it leaves the number one player on his heels. How does this happen? I guess they have the mind set that I’m facing the #1 player and I have nothing to lose and I’m relaxed and I’m gonna take
lots of chances and BOOM BABY plan A worked. Rafa didn’t have the answers yesterday, but I noticed he slipped a little bit and I’m not sure he went after everything like I know he can. But, Dustin played amazing and he took it to Rafa and won fair and square. I liked his celebrations when he made those “showy” winners. Hey, after his performance yesterday, I wanted to see him win the whole thing. He was fun to watch, kind of “Gaelish”…….and then, it’s over for him…..tennis is so fickle!

skeezer Says:

“Rafa is slow to make transitions, yes, but he really did have a tough draw,”
Laugh of the century.
Dustin Brown? Tough draw? Prove it lol…u types so bllnd and tunny…there is always an excuse for your ceiling poster love..

Tennisfan Says:

Rafa will lose in the first week again.

M Says:

@skeezer – I’m going to guess you missed today’s match, when Dustin almost took PK out and it was still 18-16 in the 3rd.

But I don’t want to confuse you with the facts.

You’ve been crabby since clay season started. So I … don’t think I’ll be replying to you again this season. It’s not personal.

M Says:

@Okiegal – I never saw that match against Darcis, but Dustin and Rosol both
a) have a ridiculous wingspan and
b) were playing lights out on their day.

And also anyone can have a bad matchup, and anyone can have an off day, which just seems to slip some peoples’ minds sometimes.

I mean, Rafa wasn’t the only defending Slam champion to lose this first round in this pair of grass warmups – Andy Murray and the Bryans were also out.

Michael Says:

True, Rafa lost early in 2012 and 2013 editions of Wimbledon and here in the first round at Halle. But that does make him a bad Grass court player ? We need to remember that he made five straight finals which is a tremendous achievement measuring by any standards and he made quick transition from Clay to Grass because most of these years he was ruling Clay supreme. I think right now, Rafa is feeling the heat due to his age. That may look a bit dicey considering that 27 and 28 years may not appear to be old, but in the case of Rafa who has been playing right from 15 and with his style of brutal power display and a running machine with extraordinary retrieval abilities, that is bound to show on your body in the long run and Rafa is discovering it today to his nasty surprise. I think Grass is not allowing him the liberty which Clay is offering him where the ball bounces much lower and even skids at times. This too adds up to the problems. It still remains to be seen as how Rafa will conduct himself in the 2014 edition of Wimbledon ? Right now his prospects do not appear to be bright considering that he is lying low on confidence. But, you can always expect the unexpected from players like Rafa who have the ability to bounck back from nowhere. Nevertheless, I would expect Rafa not to make too much issues out of his back and other problems which in a way becomes irritating when you spell it out so many times even if it is instigated by the interviewer.

Okiegal Says:


Yes, they were playing really well. So true about off days. Are they supposed to never wear down? I am not surprised Rafa and Andy crashed out……I would imagine the slams could take a toll on a player, not to mention the 1000 series leading up to the FO. I wasn’t that disappointed in Rafa’s loss because he needs some R & R and so does my second fav…..Andy!! Hey, M, enjoyed the chat…..Thanks!

skeezer Says:

Point is if Rafa is the worlds #1 and all that …..he should behave and act like it. DB does not have a winning record on ANY surface, including grass. He has never been in the top 50, and is ranked 85. Rafa couldn’t handle him? Meh. Anither first rd liss against a who.
C’mon man, call Rafa’s loss like it is. Either he got beat by another journeyman player again, or he tanked.
“And also anyone can have a bad matchup,…”
Now your talkin truth. You wanna preach that to the rafa cult club that think otherwise when it cones to Feds greatness against the field of players in his career?

Colin Says:

On the topic of the years catching up with players, I’m reminded of the old joke:

This overweight middle-aged guy plays a bit of weekend tennis. As he says: “My brain sends a message to my body – ‘run swiftly, intercept the ball, strike it back accurately.’

My body replies ‘Who – ME?!’

calmdownplease Says:

We can look at Nadal’s best career results on grass with 5 finals and 2 slams and say, whoa this is a `great grass` player.
I disagree however. I don’t think that he is a natural GC player at all. Clay and grass are not naturally interchangeable skill sets. Bar a fast indoor court & clay they demand the greatest adjustment that there is on the sport.And It’s not just the early recent exits, even before & in his channel slam days the surface caused him many problems & and he has been taken to 5 set scares by relative journeymen. It’s only due to the fact that he is a GREAT PLAYER period (& the assistance of the occasional timely MTO), that he has been able to summon the incredible resolve to adapt & surmount these problems & acheive all he has on it.
But it is ever more difficult for him esp now with his various ailments that kick up on grass in the same way they did for Murray prior to his surgery on clay.
Rafa can win the channel slam again, but it will be the hardest thing he has ever done in Tennis.

Voicemale1 Says:

@ NK

“I am certain none of them would stand a chance at Wimby today, and just as certain that Nadal could not have won back then.”

So, what then to make of a non SV player like Borg (Nadal’s pre-historic tennis ancestor) winning 5 Wimbledon’s in 6 Final appearances? Or even Connors winning there in 1974 & 1982 (beating an SV McEnroe in the latter), making 2 other Finals Finals there to boot? Or how about Steffi Graf winning 7 Wimbledon’s during that same time frame of mid-80’s to 2000? Rather than the tactic of SV, what really matters in winning on grass is the level of athleticism in a player. Martina Navratilova said, correctly, “Grass brings out the athlete in a player”. It’s your movement – speed, and ability to change direction – that matters more on grass than on other surfaces because the play on grass is just quicker, and the ball stays lower. The ball actually picks up speed on grass – especially the Serve. So when you see names on the Wimbledon Winners Roster, one thing they all have is that athleticism Navratilova mentions.

As for Nadal and his back – he has edema, according to him. Which is a fancy word for swelling. When you have that issue, some days are better than others. So I suspect until he’s found a way to get the swelling flare ups under control, he will have issues with his back. But grass isn’t a surface kind to a back problem. Chris Evert had said a long match on grass is actually tougher on you physically than a long match on clay because of how low the ball stays relative to the surface. As a result, you’re center of gravity has to be closer to the court surface, and that’s what puts more strain on things like backs, hamstrings and hips.

Giles Says:

So how come fed has been so successful on grass? He has back problems, no?

Okiegal Says:


Last paragraph makes so much sense. Thanks for quoting a grand lady of tennis who would know what she’s talking about. I would rather take her word for it than anyone on this forum. I guess inflammation causes the fluid which is edema and then you got the swelling. But this injury is like any other, if you continue to play before completely healed, you are just aggravating the problem.

skeezer Says:

Congrats Fed. Another ATP final!!!
Ya mon @ 32 :-)

contador Says:

Congratulations to Federer. Looks like he does not have much trouble transitioning to grass ; )

That was a fun match – Kei Nishikori looks good too; just not as sharp as Feddy.

Did not get to see the Dimitrov – Wawrinka match. I think Tennis channel will show it at some point today.

Gordon Says:

Yes, Federer knocking off the last 5 points of the tiebreaker abruptly turned the match around.

If Fed beats Falla tomorrow he will have his seventh ‘special’ tournament and first in a while – where he beats the guy who beat the guy who beat the guy who beat Nadal in his first round.

Number of these Nadal has had over Federer? 0!

Which is part of the reason that

(17 > 14) > (22 > 10). 😘

Voicemale1 Says:

Giles Says:
So how come fed has been so successful on grass? He has back problems, no?

If memory serves me, Federer was having back issues for most of 2013, and lost in Wimbledon’s 2nd Round, no?

Giles Says:

Congrats fed another ATP 250 final! Lol

Giles Says:

Gordon. 23-10 not 22-10

contador Says:

Fed’s back looks good this year. Not saying he will win Wimbledon – but he should do better than last year.

Alejandro Falla is looking sharp.

Delishiano Lopez v Grigor the Great is the treat tommorrow!

Ana Ivanovic is in a final tomorrow too – don’t know her opponent.

Giles Says:

“Looks like he does not have much trouble transitioning to grass”. Lol
He must be a genius since all the top seeds were knocked out in the grass warm-ups.

contador Says:

Fed doesn’t have much trouble transitioning from any surface to another – Even the dangerous blue Clay is his specialty :D

Gordon Says:

You are right Giles. I remembered to add Rafa’s latest grand slam though; after all – those are the most important.

jonathan Says:

Given that Roger barely made it to the second week at Roland Garros with all of the extra time he had, I suppose he was able to transition to grass easier than Nadal.

The one year Roger won the French, he was too exhausted to even show up in Halle. He made the right decision for him!

That said, all players are different. Nadal needs more time on court and he said an upset was most likely in Halle than anytime else during the year before he even played Brown but he needed to feel the grass as exhausted as he was.

I doubt players like Dustin Brown were on IVs a few days prior to RG.

Perhaps Nadal did tank to rest for Wimbledon and Roger tanked Roland Garros to better prepare for grass. Who knows?

Besides, Dustin Brown, Sergei Stakhovsky, not much of a difference if you ask me but I suppose it is nice to have it both ways,

Ash Says:

Hopefully Feddy can win his 7th Halle title tomorrow. My logic says this will be routine for Fed but you just can’t be too careful these days. Wouldn’t wana give dulltards any satisfaction if he loses

Giles Says:

A 250 event Pfffffft!

the DA Says:

All the players who went deep into the 2nd week at RG lost early (Nadal, Murray, Gulbis). Those who lost earlier (and had more practice on the grass) have gone deeper at Queens & Halle (Lopez, Wawa, Dimitrov, Federer). Do the math.

skeezer Says:

“A 250 event Pfffffft!”
Of which your Love can’t get by the First Round.

Okiegal Says:


Was waiting patiently for your reply to Giles post at 3:55……..you did not disappoint!! Lol

Gorgeous George Says:

250s. The new Majors. Go Fed.

skeezer Says:

Yes the 250’s on Grass, Rafa can’t even get past the first rd of this lowly nothing tournament, lol.

Gorgeous George Says:

Halle or French Open. So hard to choose. Maybe Nadal should have lost French Open early and focus on Halle the New Major.

skeezer Says:

Point is, if he is sooo good, then he should blow through a 250 AND #85 in the world IN the first rd, no? Lol. Apparently he has a issue with nobodys.
If you enter ANY tourney, you play to win. Apparently some think and act not.

queen Says:

What is fed playing for skeezer? 250 and a cow? Wow!!!

queen Says:

go fed get the cow u deserve it

jonathan Says:

Just like Federer was able to blow through No. 116 Stakhovsky at Wimbledon last year.

This gets more entertaining by the minute.

Sirius Says:

Roger federer, when in his prime, never lost in the first two rounds of a grandslam. Not even at the french

skeezer Says:

^it clearly shows his high level of consistent championship tennis. Tennis is about the whole field of players, and the whole field of surfaces. How has a player played on this criteria over there respective career?

Giles Says:

A set down Dustbin retires from an exhibition match! Wtf

Gorgeous George Says:

Sirius Says:
Roger federer, when in his prime, never lost in the first two rounds

skeezer Says:
^it clearly shows his high level of consistent championship tennis. Tennis is about the whole field of players,

when in his prime + the whole field of players

(i.e., pre Rafa-Nole-Murray)

My point exactly lol. Thanks!

Okiegal Says:

@Gorgeous George

No one can pull the wool over your eyes….love your post @9:59……LOL.

skeezer Says:

“when in his prime + the whole field of players”

First round losses.

Thank you. Exactly my point also!

metan Says:

Congrats Roger and all his fans around the world, and very special those are on TX Michael, Skeezer, Daniel, Madmax. Hope he can carry this momentum into Wimby. Yooohoo. SEVEN HEAVEN EVERY ONE.💚💗😪

Gorgeous George Says:

I see you know your maths okiegal!

So glad we agree.

Congrats to Roger on his major 250 achievement!!!

Let the real grass season commence.

calmdownplease Says:

`Congrats to Roger on his major 250 achievement!!!`

oh lol
sarky devil

Gorgeous George Says:



Love your moniker.

madmax Says:

Giles Says:
“Looks like he does not have much trouble transitioning to grass”. Lol
He must be a genius since all the top seeds were knocked out in the grass warm-ups.

June 14th, 2014 at 12:03 pm

All top seeds knocked out in the grass “warm ups”. Rafa was knocked out in first round Giles, and yeah, understandable cos he was tired. BUT, please don’t degrade tournaments that carry 250points. Your guy has plenty of ’em.

The series includes 40 tournaments, with a number of 250 rankings points to win for the events’ singles champions –which accounts for the name of the series. 40 tournaments throughout the year!

As a matter of interest giles. How many 250 tournaments has Rafa won and you have celebrated?

Would you rather deduct these from him overall titles?

Giles Says:

madmax. I have very little interest in 250 events. I don’t have a clue how many of these lowly events Rafa has won.

Gorgeous George Says:

“when in his prime + the whole field of players”
First round losses.
Thank you. Exactly my point also!

Federer, in his prime and ranked No. 1 lost in the first round in Cincy 2004.

Glad to see you’ve finally come around to the truth.

Please come again.

Gorgeous George Says:

A month later No. 1 Federer in his prime lost in the second round at the Olympics to World No. 53.

Time heals.

Sirius Says:

Gorgeous George,

stop acting like an idiot unless you are one. Read carefully what i posted. I mentioned about the slams which you didn’t quote at your 9:59 post. Losing in the first round of a masters (best of 3) event is way different than in a slam which is played on a best of 5 sets format

Gorgeous George Says:

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” – Sherlock Holmes

Sirius Says:

^now what’s that got to do with my posts?

Gorgeous George Says:

Sirius, your methods are not motivating to me.

I don’t care to read carefully from someone that feels the need to resort to personal insults.

Insults are the last resort of people trying to appear confident in their weak position.

Sirius Says:

Well, apparently you didn’t care to read carefully my 1st post and that was before the insult!


skeezer Says:

^moniker sounds all too familiar.
Rafa, king of losing ro first rounders.

Sirius Says:


haha. Who could it be any guess?

Giles Says:

Fed king of Halle!

Gorgeous George Says:

Just like No. 1 prime Fed in 2004. Couldn’t win his first match.

Nor could No. 1 prime Fed win his 1st match against the No. 60 at 2007 Indian Wells.

I guess neither are “truly great players” according to your selectively twisted facts then.

They are both great players IMO.

Sirius Says:

GG, in case you are responding to me, I’ll just say,


You can’t. Cause there isn’t any

p.s. It’s you who is twisting facts. Read my post @ 11:00 which you TWISTED in your 9:59 post

Gorgeous George Says:

We weren’t talking about slams. It was in the context of 250s and smaller tournaments. You decided to go there when skeezer’s observation about first round losses turned out to apply to Federer.

BTW, I was referring to your post with the insult in it. Hope this helps.


Gorgeous George Says:

Nice article skeezer.

Perhaps you missed the part that said:
No one will, or should, read too much into this. For Nadal, getting rest before Wimbledon (which starts on June 23) is a far better use of time than playing a few matches on grass.

Sirius Says:

“You decided to go there when skeezer’s observation about first round losses turned out to apply to federer”

you are making false assumption. My post had nothing to do with skeezers. The only reason i posted that was because i saw someone mentioning the stakhovsky loss at wimbledon. Felt the need to remind that fed had never lost that early during his prime. But you dragged me within your conversation

Sirius Says:

that early at slams*

Okiegal Says:

Now children, let’s just all try to get along……tee hee…….not possible!! Love to read TX….it’s always interesting to see who one ups the other and gets the last word! Funny……keep it up, great entertainment!!

Gorgeous George Says:

Other fine article from Chris Chase the author from skeezer’s link…


(We’re all in trouble if we have to resort to Chris Chase.)

skeezer Says:

no matter how you change or skew the conversation it is clear Rafa is the King of losing to first rounders. Oh, and research these guys rankings!

skeezer Says:

Being 32 and winning ANY ATP title is worthy of a hearty congratulations!
Losing multiple times to nobodys in the first round is a blot on ones career for sure in comparisan.

Gorgeous George Says:

We’ll just forgive Federer (King of 250s) for losing multiple times to low ranked players in the first round then.

You shouldn’t be so hard on him! He’s had a great run.

Time heals. It gets better.

kjb Says:

(King of the 250s) hahahaha

Don’t you mean King of Wimbledon? Or King of the Grand Slams? Or King of the World Tour Finals? Or King of Being World Number 1? The list goes on and on.

Silly billy Says:

Why are all of you so mad?

Silly billy Says:

Rafa gets clay. Roger gets grass. Roger fans say Rafa doesn’t even have close to Rogers hard court dominance. Rafa fans come back by saying that Rogers era wasn’t that good from 03 to 08. Nobody is gonna win. Just stop. Fed is my guy because I love the style in which he plays. But who is better is simply opinion. There is no right or wrong answer. Just enjoy the 2 greatest players to ever live.

Silly billy Says:

King of the 250’s is the single dumbest post I’ve ever read on a tennis site. Just dumb.

skeezer Says:

” (King of 250s)”
I am sure u meant “King of Slams”
U are forgiven.

Gorgeous George Says:

You have a point SB. He really is just King of Halle these days in terms of being able to defend titles.

Agassi won a major and two 1000s at Roger’s age.

Don’t see where I said one was better than the other BTW. I also believe them to be the two greatest players to ever live.

Gorgeous George Says:

King of losing to Nadal. No one has lost as many matches to him than Roger.

Silly billy Says:

You are just an angry person GG. Just want to put roger down any way you can. What does Agassi winning at Rogers age have anything to do with Anything? Why do you feel the need to speak negatively about roger? I don’t understand why you (and many like you) feel the need to do this. Is it because roger is the most loved/fan favorite player of all time and that just bothers you? Give me an honest answer as to why people post such “hate” comments about roger. I need to know. Help me.

Gorgeous George Says:

No I’m not angry at Federer. Just some of his fans are tiresome.

You could ask the same of others here why they feel the need to speak negatively about nadal (started second post on this article), couldn’t you?

Funny you never criticized both sides. Would lend more credibility but then again your moniker sounds all too familiar. New here are you?


Silly billy Says:

Anybody who talks bad about nadal is an idiot. But why do you feel the need it stoop to that level. The “king of 250’s” is what made me engage for the first time. Don’t stoop to that level, my tennis loving brother. We all have our opinions on Rafael and roger. But the truly knowledgable ones don’t have to knock down one to promote the other. Here’s to hoping for one last rafa v roger wimbledon battle!!!

Gorgeous George Says:

SB, if only it was that simple. The post mentioning a king of any sort in the comments on this article was:

skeezer Says:
^moniker sounds all too familiar.
Rafa, king of losing ro first rounders.

As I said. If you want to add credibility to your criticism, it goes both ways.

But I’m guessing you thought that wasn’t a put down.

Silly billy Says:

Haha. They we’re equally dumb statements. I’ll give you that. I think yours was just more thought out which made me respond. So I guess that’s a compliment to you for being creative. Lol

Gorgeous George Says:

Peace SB. I aim to please and agree that both are quite dumb statements. Mine was intentionally dumb. Not sure about the other.

Silly billy Says:

Skeeter. It’s a rumor that nadal intentionally loses early in Halle. He goes there to practice and get a match or two in on grass,but then plays a poor match to go home and rest. As crazy as this sounds, I believe it’s true. Federer has pulled out after deep Roland garros runs in the past. Nadal ALWAYS plays to practice on grass, but loses early to go home and get restt after his crazy long clay seasons. So to rip him for losing early at Halle is silly. And anybody can be upset on grass (which is why federers grass success is more impressive and difficult than RAFA on clay……..anybody wanna argue that one??) lol

Gorgeous George Says:

Yeah I do. Nadal doesn’t intentionally lose to anyone. He knows an upset there is likely (as he said prior to the tournament). Coming off his exhausting win last Sunday, he knew he’d be far from his best.

Fed can afford to skip Halle in 2009 after winning Roland Garros because he is more capable of playing his way into a slam than Nadal whereas Nadal requires match play and wanted match exposure prior to Wimbledon.

Best of three on grass, yes, there is more chance of upset but not so best of five.

Roger’s seven on grass is certainly no more impressive nor difficult than Nadal’s nine on grass IMO (less so actually IMO because clay is more physically exhausting than grass so to win nine over ten years is astounding). Also Sampras matched Fed’s seven Wimby’s where as the closest anyone has come to Nadal’s achievement in the open era is Borg with three less French Opens.

But, we won’t convince either of us otherwise because, as you’ve already smartly pointed out, you are a Federer fan and I am a Nadal fan and this is a subjective argument.

Polo Says:

After reading the discussions above, it became obvious to me that Georgeous George has a twisted sense of logic and it will be a waste of time get embroiled in a discussion with someone like that.

skeezer Says:

Yep. Same ole same ole.


Davy Says:

Wow, the insecurity of the Federer fanatics comes bleeding through the screen: Skeezer, in particular, appears to be a deeply troubled personality. No one argues this vociferously if they don’t feel, deep down, that their guy is actually second best. Federer is a great, great player, but Nadal actually has the better winning stats, the better h2h against Federer (and practically everyone else). He’s the only tennis player in the entire history of the game to win majors and masters for ten straight years. He’s the only male player ever to win three majors on three surfaces in the same season. He did the channel slam twice, and in all has reached the finals of the French and Wimbledon back to back five times (Fed and Borg managed four). He’s the only current player to win the summer hard court slam, and this on top of two masters and a major on clay in the same season. As well as the three surface run in 2010, he achieved another three-surface streak in 2008 with the French, Wimbledon and Olympic Gold on a hard court. For ten years Nadal has been one of the two best players in the world – five years of Fed/Nadal, five of Nadal/Djokovic. The eagle-eyed among you may spot that one name appears twice there! So what if Fed was No. 1 for all those weeks – Nadal was No. 2, and yet beat him on all surfaces even at Federer’s peak. Federer’s game might be prettier, more balletic, but this is tennis not ballroom dancing or synchronised swimming. And in tennis, Nadal is quite simply the best.

skeezer Says:

Yawn babbl babble already discussed to death.

Why was Rafa #2 for all those weeks? Because…. maybe…. he was.

And Talk to admin if you want to try personal on me.

senorita Says:

Davy, I believe that Nadal is also the only player to win RG, Queens and Wimbledon back to back.

Giles Says:

@Davy. Great post.

contador Says:

And I believe that Nadal is the only tennis player to win all that tennis and at the same time make it appear that he is trying to buggy whip or rope a bronco on court; or make the match look like watching a cave man clubbing his opponent to a pulp.

And there are plenty more reasons I don’t like Rafael Nadal’s tennis and don’t care how many accomplishments and numbers he racks up because to me, and in my opinion, his tennis is more like watching awkward mud-wrestling than tennis.

But a tip of the hat to you for again trying to shove Nadal’s tennis down another throat as “quite simply the best.”

nadalista Says:

Hmmm, Georgeous George, you keep carrying on like this I might be tempted to change my moniker to Georgeous Nadalista!

Groovy, baby!

nadalista Says:

@Davy, chapeau!

Giles Says:

My advice to some folk. Don’t like Rafa’s tennis? Don’t watch Rafa’s tennis. You see, there is always a choice.
Don’t like Rafa’s pressers? Don’t read Rafa’s pressers.
How simple can it get eh???

nadalista Says:

“……….his tennis is more like watching awkward mud-wrestling than tennis. ”

An here I was thinking Djokovic is the one who prefers playing in a muddy bog! Didn’t he win his solo set in the RG 2012 final when the conditions were like, wait…………a muddy bog!

And I notice they had steel benches on Chatrier this year………just in case.

contador Says:

There are at least two players on a tennis court for a match, @ Gilles. One of them is going to be a favorite and a tennis player I am indeed interested in watching. Unfortunately there is a good chance the other player is going to be Rafael Nadal in this era. But believe me, I don’t watch Nadal unless it is unavoidable.

Giles Says:

Nadalista. Well said. Steel benches eh. I wonder why! Lol

Giles Says:

@Contador. Whatever rocks your boat. Just pointing out if Rafa’s tennis disgusts you so much, you dont have to watch him. Or maybe you can wear an eye patch and just look at your fave.

contador Says:


I don’t see you sitting by calmly if some poster tries to convince you that Federer or Djokovic is simply the best.

GOAT issues or best ever pronouncements and very much a matter of personal taste.

contador Says:

@Gilles. On one hand, I would love nothing more, after another dull RG final, than to describe the many reasons why Nadal’s tennis disgusts me but it is time for dinner and I don’t want to lose my appetite right now.

Davy hit my gag reflex whilst attempting to shove Nadal down my throat as “quite simply the best.” uhhg

contador Says:

The steel benches @Nadalista was a nice touch.

Giles Says:

@Contador. RG 2014 was anything but dull. I saw my fave beat your fave and I saw your fave puke on court. The latter was hardly pleasant to watch but nevertheless the end result more than compensated for that scene!
Vamos Rafa!

Gorgeous George Says:

So well said Davy. Bravo!

Right back atcha’ nadalista.

Contador, what can I say? Maybe Dancing With The Stars would be more to your liking?

Fed may be appearing there soon perhaps?

But good on ya for recognizing that GOAT is a matter of personal taste!

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