Tennis Experts Weigh In On What’s Wrong With Rafael Nadal

by Tom Gainey | August 11th, 2015, 12:51 pm

In a new CNN story, the author spoke to many top names in tennis about what the issue is with Rafael Nadal and his 2015 decline.

Here’s a summary of what the experts said.

Andy Roddick of the BBC: Rafa probably won’t win another Slam.

Coach Nick Bollettieri: Rafa needs a new voice, new coach, he’s lost the fear factor in the locker room and he’s no longer winning the long rallies like he did before.

Former coach of Roddick and McEnroe Larry Stefanki: Get another coach, hire Andre Agassi, watch old tapes of Slam wins and do now what worked then, and play fewer tournaments.

Davis Cup coach Albert Costa: He just needs more time to get things together.

And thoughts from some past champions earlier in the year.

Martina Navratilova: Rafa isn’t as physically imposing as he once was and more and more players are hitting it harder and with more spin which hurts his game and gameplan.

John McEnroe: Rafa’s legs don’t look to be as strong, I would love to get inside his head to see what’s going on because of a lot of it is in his head.

Jim Courier: He’s not moving as smoothly or as quickly on defense and that reduces the number of forehands he sees.

Patrick McEenroe: He’s lost confidence on big points and he’s just not moving as well defensively.

Nadal is in Canada this week trying to get back to top from. The 3-time Canadian Open winner plays Sergiy Stakhovsky on Wednesday.

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67 Comments for Tennis Experts Weigh In On What’s Wrong With Rafael Nadal

SG1 Says:

Not moving as well seems to be the prevailing opinion which happens to be something I agree with. Unlike Roddick, I am not willing to dismiss his chances at another major just yet. If he looks meek next by next May, my opinion will of course change.

Yin Nooy Says:

Everybody needs time to recover from a major injury/operation. All will be well in the immediate future and the cabinet will overflow with trophies.VR!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Patrick is also right about losing confidence in big moments. Rafa has been saying this himself. He is still probably the 2nd or 3rd quickest guy in tennis, but he used to be FAR above everybody. Then Novak got faster, he got slower and those two were far above everybody. Now I think he’s come down closer to the pack. Given that his speed was a huge factor in his game, any loss there is going to have a big impact.
That said, if he gets his confidence back, he can still compete for slams, if draws break his way.

skeezer Says:

Think Martina is spot on, and Rafa cannot overcome this kind of game anymore unless he gets stronger in the legs ( and head ).

Interesting no one mentioned his serve ( or lack thereof )..if opponents can jump on his serve, its going to expose his movement negatively also…

Gypsy Gal Says:

Shame the other all time greats seem to be taking joy in knocking a great champion when hes down,other posters can have a go at me if they wish,but its the way i see it sorry,weve had threads like this before amounting to the exact same thing,too much click bait IMO…

Markus Says:

Most of the comments are understandable and thus acceptable. The one I find outright insulting was Andy Roddick’s “probably won’t win another slam” comment.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Markus they might well be and im not saying otherwise,but sometimes they just dont leave the guy alone,knocking a great champion when hes down,but then again other all time greats have never said anything positive when it comes to Rafa,so whats new….

jane Says:

“Not moving as well seems to be the prevailing opinion” – yes, and the lack of confidence.

gypsy, why do you feel that they are “knocking” him? most comments seem to be assessing him game. likely they are addressing a direct question, too, so it’s the journalist who is behind the spin (as is often the case!)

jane Says:

*his game.

Giles Says:

If Roddick knew so much about winning slams maybe he would have won more himself. He well and truly stuffed up against fed in 2012(?), leading the TB 5-2 only to lose Wimby. What a loser!!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I can understand Rafa fans not enjoying such a discussion, but you don’t have to read it. I think the headline is pretty clear on what this thread is about. One of the all time greats is in a major slump. Getting insights from other all time greats is definitely of interest to tennis fans, and I don’t think there’s any mean spirit in their quotes, or (so far) in these comments.

I agree with Skeeze as well, that serve has gone WAY downhill, but perhaps this is a confidence, not a physical issue.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Now watch Rafa go on to win Montreal!

Gypsy Gal Says:

TV i had to read it to see if i liked it otherwise i dont know,anyway ive made my point,others see things differently thats up to them,ill say no more….

Jane fair enough….

Okiegal Says:

Well, maybe his ability to move like yesteryear is spasmodic…..because in some of his matches lately he has chased down some tough shots and won the point, not all of course, but a few. I notice afterwards he is panting like a sand lizard and who wouldn’t. His age isn’t helping. I agree his brand of style won’t fair well for him as he is getting older. But there are times in a match when he is chasing everything down……akin to a gazelle! He served good in Hamburg had several aces. But whatever he does to change his serve to get more free points it aggravates his body and ends up having soreness somewhere. His shoulder was bothering him after Hamburg. The first time he won the USO and was serving unbelievable, he had a problem then too. He will continue on to play, as he stated the other day in an interview. When he has no more motivation, he will retire…his own words.

jane Says:

i am surprised no one mention his racquet. he changed it early this year but then went back to his old one. i am not sure which he’s playing with now, but maybe these shifts are having something to do with rafa’s adjustments.

i think he’ll be fine. he’ll come back and play well again imo.

jane Says:

gosh i seriously can’t type today! every post has a typo or spelling error. i hope colin is busy elsewhere. : /


Colin Says:

@ Jane:
As a matter of fact I’ve only just looked at this thread, and don’t worry, you are far from being the worst offender when it comes to mangling the English language.

I must protest at the statement (forget whose it was) about “fastest players”. Since reaching physical maturity, Andy Murray has been as fast about the court as anyone. He may not always get it right when he reaches an impossible ball, but that’s another thing. When forced wide, he can’t always make a good shot since he can’t do the splits like Nole, and when he goes to the net, he often tries to be too clever instead of smacking the ball straight at his opponent as Lendl used to. But for sheer speed off the mark he’s as good as any.

Hmmm – this is a Rafa thread, isn’t it? I’m getting obsessive!

MMT Says:

I would recommend reading the article if you haven’t, because Larry Stefanki’s most insightful comments were his technical and tactical analysis, and an interesting method (which has worked with players like Stefi Graf and Roger Federer) which is to show them video of matches they’ve played to at once demonstrate the way forward and convince them that it works.

In fact, I believe that Rafa’s coaches have already begun to address some of the things Stefanki says is required (more penetration in his strokes, better court positioning, and a tactical commitment to coming forward) with the racquet he tried to change earlier in the year, and then abandoned (ref. Jane’s comment).

I think the fact that he abandoned that racquet was an enormous wasted opportunity because his results couldn’t have been worse, but by now he would have had the benefit of working out the changes to his strokes after using it for nearly 6 months.

Having said that, I myself recently changed racquets to rid my self of some tendinitis, and while it worked well for a bit, I found myself recently long for my old racquet. I made the switch and after a set I was back to where I was before I abandoned it in the first place, so it’s not an easy transition for a weekend warrior, let a lone a great champion like Nadal.

But it’s a transition he needs to make.

FedExpress Says:

pennetta stop choking plz. plz.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Tennis Vagabond i do admit to been an overly emotional,overly defensive,and an overly sensitive Rafa fan,but thats one of my personality traits that i sometimes cant control unfortunatly….

skeezer Says:

Movement in Tennis includes how well you can change direction, not just running hard to chase down balls, and from what I see he does not have that as well as he use to. Could be physical, could be mental, or a combo thereof.

Jock-KatH Says:

Nadal’s not going anywhere close to retirement anytime soon. Yes, he’s 29 years old but goodness how many of the top ten ranked players can be considered poised to replace him?

Kei is en route to 26; Cilic is approaching 27 – Dimitri/Raonic still struggling — and the real youngsters (Coric, Krygios etc.) are far from consistent.

Nadal will remain very competitive in the top echelon for at least another 3 years.

Andy Murray returned from major injuries – Nadal will return too.

chris ford1 Says:

Skeezer nailed key to the Rafa court coverage issue. It is not speed, which I think Rafa is still in the Top 5 of significant male players playing, but ability to change directions and use that speed most effectively. And he seems to be ending his explosive high impact stops and starts at certain points to lessen wear and tear on his knees.
And good for him for finally trying to take better care of his body. He wants to play for as long as he can, and Rafa at 29 just cannot keep playing with the reckless abandon of youth.
Two other issues that Rafa is now struggling with, from a technical end, is leaving balls short and serving weaknesses.
Then add confidence and a waning of his fanatic desire to win at any price to himself – on the mental end.
I also think he wasn’t actually the fastest big name pro of the last 10 years or so. Monfils has half a step on Rafa. I believe Andy and Novak are about even with Rafa on speed. Each using different attributes of speed in their game. Djokovic seems to be the one that has solved speed without huge pounding of leg muscles, knees, ankles and feet. Like Fed, who is fast enough for what he does.
No one should write Rafa off. Two years ago, he beat a brilliant Djokovic in the rankings with a surprising top level N American hardcourt summer season. Just like Fed had a horrible 2013 and people were talking about when and where Roger’s retirement party would be – talk of Nadal’s demise is premature.
Eventually, if he doesn’t reverse things, he does get to the “I am in decline due to age and injury and I don’t want to end on terms of being a pushover for the likes of Tomic and Foggy..” Then he is in the Roddick, Fish, Venus, Tsonga, Hewitt, Stosur area – a well respected vet that fans expect to see retire soon..

Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer…..Thanks for the input. I’m sure you are spot on. As I’ve said before, I can’t see deep into the game like a knowledgeable tennis player can. I would never pay attention to that particular thing. Age has to be a factor in the big picture plus I think it’s mental, not as confident as he once was. He talked about that very thing in an interview a few weeks ago. I won’t totally count him out, but he’s lost a step….a GIANT step, no doubt about it!

mat4 Says:

I’ve watched Rafa’s match against Fognini, in Hamburg. It was a good match by both players, but one can not to have the impression that Fognini let his chances slip through cheaply.

There are a lot of reasons for Rafa’s results. Some are caused by Rafa himself, some are not.

First, he was injured and lost some of his game. Since he has a very bad team, with a subpar coach, it seem there wasn’t any real plan how to get back on the tracks after a few minor injuries. Rafa is the only player of the top three whose game has fluctuated over the years, while Federer’s and Djokovic’s respective games have slowly improved.

Rafa improved his FH and his court positioning, then reverted to old habits. He changed his serve motion, than reverted to the old one and lost 20 kmh. He played his backhand on the rise (just watch his matches from 2011, his best season ever), than reverted one to two steps behind the baseline. Each and every time he had to rediscover the way he played before when changing surfaces, something he has acknowledged in an interview himself.

A player hypothetically doesn’t need to “search” for his game. He has a coach for this, who has to do the planning, to prepare the specific exercises, and an acquired level has to be a platform for further improvements. It is not Rafa’s case.

Another thing. I watched Rafa enough time this year to see that he still knows how to hit a forehand or a backhand, or to make a difficult get. So, the serve excepted, the elements are here. He played some beautiful rallies against Fognini, and hit jaw dropping shots. But even then, he was dominated from the baseline for most of the match — and Fognini is ranked 25th at the Race, he’s not even a top 20 player. I don’t want to point here on the possible fact that Rafa can’t run as fast as he did — he probably can’t, but it is very difficult to assess, and the lost of speed is minor — but when I rewatched matches from 10 years, even five years ago, it’s clear that the top echelon of players have muscled their games — they use bigger racquets, different tensions, and hit harder. There has been a slow but steady improvement in tennis (I just watched Bellucci against Djokovic, and was, once again, very impressed by Bellucci, a player ranked 33th), and Rafa lost a step here.

I can’t understand why. He worked very hard when he was injured (?!) in 2013, and found the level he had in 2011, but since then, he has slowly regressed.

Then, since 2011, a clear pattern of play has emerged against him — the reverse of what has been done before. Most players used to press Rafa’s backhand, but since the end of 2013, and his matches against Ferrer and Djokovic, players have again started to play the open court, and to press on Rafa’s forehand, to open the deuce side. There has been also a regain of net play, and many players have incorporated forays at the net to cut defensive backhand slices. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and suddenly, Rafa wasn’t playing his game, on his terms.

There is also this serve problem. I wrote a few times about it, and stopped the stream to have a close look at his motion in Hamburg this year. It’s the same motion he had before 2010. I have to add that I am not surprised that Toni doesn’t know how to address this problem.

mat4 Says:

I also tried to assess if he has lost some weight and muscles. It is difficult to say, and it could be a few pounds at most. I compared his match against Djokovic in the USO final 2011 and the double final in Hamburg.

My final conclusion could be the following:

1. Rafa has lost some of his game: the serve; on the backhand, he is more vulnerable to spin and high bouncing balls since his positioning is further; I didn’t see him hit his FH flatter, with the racquet finishing around his right shoulder, something he did quite often a few years ago.

2. Players know how to play against him, many have matured and improved (Wawrinka, Berdych, Murray, Djokovic, even Fognini) and it’s more difficult to win.

3. Rafa has no clue whatsoever about what’s happening and what he should do. That’s the fault of his team.

He recently stated that “the coach is first his uncle, and family is much more important than tennis”. I asked myself why Toni hasn’t said that. I asked myself what it has to do one with the other: an arrangement like Novak’s with Vajda AND Becker could work, and Toni doesn’t have to go.

Then, I remembered the case of Oscar Borras. And also the case of Arantxa Sánchez, I don’t know why.

lilayski Says:

Wow, Mat. Pretty comprehensive. And I have to agree that it is not just Rafa – the field has improved on all facets: technique, tennis IQ and maturity, physical abilities ,etc. And his team does not have answers. I wonder if Rafa’s rigidity extends to him not wanting to change coaches because obviously, like Mat said, he has the option to have 2 coaches and make Tio Toni stay.

Michael Says:

Having scripted so many successful come backs in his career, it is too early to write the obituary of Rafa about his not winning another Grand slam tournament. At 29, he is still young and has two to three good playing years left in him. The fire in his belly is still there and he has strong motivation too. But what is ailing him currently is his physical ailments as well as his lack of confidence. He needs two to three wins against big players like Novak, Andy or Roger to buck himself up and reignite that fear factor in him. It is too late in the day to think about changing his coach. The reason why other players are winning long rallies against him is not due to the fact that they have improved or changed their strategy with more pace and spin as some would like to believe, it is only due to Rafa’s lack of consistency in shot making. If he does, what he does best then there is no stopping Rafa in my opinion. He has to simply play to his strengths and he will become the feared player he once was !!

montecarlo Says:

Rafa only got issues with his serve. His return game is still very good. He is still breaking opponents as many times he did in 2008 or 2010. He is struggling on his serve. He can’t consolidate breaks, he can’t serve out sets and matches and basically he isn’t getting any free points on serve.

Once he figures out his serve all this rubbish talk about decline and Rafa done winning slams will stop.

Navdeep Says:

Rafa is a fighter, the whole world knows that. The problem is his forehand and the serve. His serve has always been rated as good but not great( except us open 2010,13) , but it’s the forehand that creats havoc inside his opponents. He need his biggest weapon. A player, no matter how great he is, can win some matches with his secondary weapons but cant win a tournament without a primary one.
Vamos Rafa, we all know ur far from over.

Giles Says:
Nine, yes nine. While somebody is breaking his b@lls trying to win one!

mat4 Says:

Rafa is not in a slump for 3 months, but for almost two years, since the USO 2013. It all could have started with a case of hidden burn out, with some injuries, but his problems today are deep and complex.

And, reading the numerous posts of rafans, I have the impression, in a way, that they don’t respect Rafa nor his achievements. It just sound so easy: change his serve motion, work on his FH, and everything is going to be fine.

Rafa played under tremendous pressure for years, winning 14 slams against two all time greats — arguably two of the top five players of the Open Era. To oppose their vastly superior tennis skills, versatility and strategic acumen, he had to mobilize every inch of his will, his fighting spirit, his physical abilities. It was a tremendous feat.

Who did he lose too, this year? Let’s see in details: Doha, Berrer. I guess Nadal was rusty, and Djokovic lost to Karlovic those days, so I don’t count it.

— AO: Berdych. Tomas Berdych has the game to beat Rafa on every surface, and his problems are mostly psychological. For me, it wasn’t a surprise. The surprise was that Berdych didn’t win against Rafa for years.

— Rio, Barcelona: Fognini. Fabio is very good on clay, he has the shots, and the slower court masks his main weakness, his movement. Both results were surprises, yes, but watching the matches we can see that Fabio has the kind of game that troubles Rafa.

— Indian Wells: Raonic. A close affair, against a player who can beat anybody on a good serving day.

— Miami: Verdasco. FV is a lefty, and Rafa has no advantage against him. Fernando has always been a player with great potential, and on a good day he can beat anybody.

— MC, Roland Garros: Djokovic. Novak has improved his game, and since 2014, all their encounters are clearly on Novak’s racquet. When he plays near his best, Rafa has no chance whatsoever. Rafa ducked Novak on hard from the AO 2012 to the summer of 2013 to regain a mental edge, but this doesn’t work any more, the difference game wise being too important.

— Madrid: Murray. Andy is faster, stronger, and always had the game to beat Rafa. He finally understood it.

— Rome: Wawrinka. Stan, when he plays his best on a slower court is virtually unstoppable (just ask Novak). No shame in that loss, especially since Rafa doesn’t have the versatility to counter Stan’s game.

— London: Dolgopolov, Brown. Both players have a very efficient game on grass, and margins were tiny. They successfully disrupted Rafa’s rhythm.

When we analyse those results, we can see that Rafa lost against:

— top players who have improved, and always had the game to win against him: Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka. Djokovic won 3 slams, Wawrinka 2 in the last two years, so their quality is out of question. Murray is a multiple slam winner and number 2 at the Race, there’s nothing to say here either;

— power players: Wawrinka, Berdych, Murray when he wants it (he is versatile enough); those kind of players always troubled Rafa (DelPo is an example; Soderling another);

— a few players on their favourite surface.

Analysing this, we can see why Rafa has lost his mental edge: winning against Murray, Wawrinka is not a given any more, even on clay. Against Djokovic, the situation is worse: the H2H is 14/7 for Novak since 2011, and 6/1 since the USO 2013. His only win occurred at Roland Garros 2014, when Novak was obviously ill since the semi final. I write obviously, because it’s the only match Novak lost against Rafa in the last two years, and the DR in the other matches goes from 1.39 to 2.85 — although matches looked close, they were beat-downs.

I believed for years that the rivalry between Novak and Rafa would have profound consequences on both players, that it wasn’t only limited to their encounters, and that one of the players will be broken definitely in the process. The ego of such great champions can’t bear inferiority and defeat on a regular base.

It looked for a time that it was going to be Novak, who was in a mild slump from 2012 to RG 2013, and after that unfortunate point in the fifth set of their epic encounter at RG, he failed miserably in his next three slams. He was “in the trunk”, to quote T-x.

But he reacted well, hired a surprisingly good coach, and turned the things around. Rafa is now shattered. He has to turn around the H2H against Novak, to find an answer. Honestly, I don’t see how he can do it. And time is not on his side.

Navdeep Says:

I agree with your views but u didnt pointed out any solutions to overcome this slump.And plz u dont need to teach how to respect. Not complaining, just saying

Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 its good analysis,but where did i say that i dont respect Rafas achievements?and where did i say hes going to be fine?….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Not going of on a rant,but can we please for the love of god stop saying that Novak lost RG 2013 because of netgate,he actually shouldve lost the match in the forth set,how many more times is that one going to come up?….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 I dont see how hes been in a slump since USO 2013,he still made two GS finals the first half of 2014 winning 1,so he was pretty much OK for the first half of the year,and he made the second week of W,unless a slump is considered making two GS finals hmm?….

mat4 Says:

Sorry, Alison, but that’s not what I wrote. But that point was without doubt very important.

And, about the slump: I really don’t know. He lost against lots of lower ranked players since 2014. He was injured, yes, but it’s difficult not to think that it is a slump, given his lofty standards. But I do think that other top players have improved.

Novak is in great danger too, since the erosion of the mental grip of the top three, four, on the Tour, is affecting him too. The FO final, or matches against 4K, demonstrated that he has to earn his victories too. The end of an era is approaching fast.


The answer here is clear. He has to hire another coach, and to change his complete team with a more professional one. A good coach has to plan his transition to a more aggressive, and more forgiving game. He volleys very well, he’s able to hit his FH flat, to hit his BH on the rise, and he knew how to serve. All the elements are here. He just has to put it all together. He did it for stretches in his match against Murray in Madrid, e.g., and looked very well. But then, he reverted to a more defensive game plan, and his serve was a liability.

Then, a better physio and fitness trainer would help him avoid a few of those injuries that hurt him so often. If Novak and Roger have been injury free for such long stretches, it’s because their teams are very competent.

But the fact that Toni is Rafa’s uncle is a big problem, and the only solution is that Toni understands that he has to retire. Something I don’t see happen.

jane Says:

gypsy at 9:21, maybe i missed it but who brought it up?

jane Says:

“The end of an era is approaching fast.”

i agree mat4. what would you say? maybe 2 more years, 3 at most, where these guys are serious and top contenders at each slam?

mat4 Says:


You know that I would lie if I wrote that I am not enjoying Rafa’s slump. I do, and I honestly hope that he won’t be a danger for Novak ever again. I am a Novak fan, after all, just like you are a Rafa fan.

But if I wrote that the FO result in 2014 was an aberration, I gave my reasons, and they seem at least convincing. Rafa won 42.51% of the points in 6 of the last 7 matches he played against Novak (while serving 53% of points), and 52,8% at RG, his only victory. It shows his problems on serve, yes, but winning two points of five in avg is not a sign of success.

Giles Says:

mat4. The all time great drama queen!! 😡
Do you feel better after all the insults you have thrown at Rafa? You sound like a very bitter twisted old man. Hope your guy never wins the FO and that will be your reward for trashing Rafa. Karma!
Here have a 🍌

Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 fair enough,you make good points,your far more knowledgeable than me when it comes to the ins and outs of the game anyway,and you have much more pull on this forum than me,im probably too over sensitive as a fan,and have to accept that you have to take the rough with the smooth,but for what its worth ive never wanted my favorites rivals to fail,ive only ever wanted my favorites to succeed,Rafa probably wont be a threat to Novak ever again who knows,but thats not to say some other players wont be either,when you get to that then you Novak fans will feel the exact same way that Rafa fans do now,peace…

mat4 Says:


You never know. It depends of the competition.

Novak and Andy could maintain a similar level for, let’s say, three, four years, just like Ferrer did. Fitness will be a definitive problem after that. Rafa, if he regains his mojo, could last too.

It would be a transitional phase, with more wins for mature players and the middle generation of Cilic, DelPo, Raonic, Nishikori, etc.

Then, I expect that the generation of 4K, 2K, Rublev, Coric, Jasika, Safiullin… will be fully mature in about 4 years, on the bases founded by Djokovic and Murray, the two most influential players of the last decade.

mat4 Says:


What insults? What are you writing about?

Let’s check my words: “lofty level”, “all time great”, “great champion”…

Although a Novak fan, I showed respect for Rafa. I was also very earnest when I answered to GG, and it’s clear to me that a Rafan would prefer Rafa winning the FO to Novak winning the same FO, just like I’d prefer Rafa to remain out of Novak’s way. Let’s be frank here too: without Novak, Rafa would have had 18 slams at least, but without Rafa, Novak would have had 18 too, and without both of them Roger from 25 to 30. So, a bit of “unliking” is normal.

You sound like a very bitter twisted immature person. :-(

Gypsy Gal Says:

Jane,Mat4 said it,the unfortunate point in the 5th set of the FO 2013,Michael,Daniel,Chris Ford1,people mention it ad nauseum,before the FO this year there was a thread about Rafas five best matches at the FO,that was one of them,well not for me it wasnt i hated that match,because its tainted with netgate,even the commontators bring it up over and over again,Mat4s a poster i get on well with i think?so ill leave it at that….

Jock-KatH Says:

Am repeating what I wrote on another thread – if anyone interested GB v Aussies Davis Cup is confirmed for Emirates venue, Glasgow.

Margot – best outcome for Andy and lads, I think, given the rapturous crowd previously (Queen’s did them proud too, of course).

Gypsy Gal Says:

I dont think i actually insulted anyone personally,if i did so sorry?….

Okiegal Says:

@Gypsy…..I started to answer Jane about the comment, but decided to let you fight your own battles. Ifs, ands or buts can taint a win, but at the end of the day a win is a win, it doesn’t matter how you slice it!

jane Says:

thanks for clarifying gypsy; like i said, i may’ve missed it, and i guess i did. it’s amazing how we pick up on and skim over different things being fans of different players. :)

mat4: “Djokovic and Murray, the two most influential players of the last decade.” – rather controversial statement, no? ;)

roy Says:

what if he hadn’t drawn novak in the RG qf due to his ranking hangover … he would have made the final probably.
federer wouldn’t have made the wimbledon final if he’d drawn novak in the qf also.

writing him off pretty soon. people don’t seem to realise he missed two masters and the usopen at this point last year. he could easily be back in the top 5 very soon just by making half decent results until year end, especially if nishikori and cilic don’t back up last year’s run.

jane Says:

hmmm, not sure rafa would’ve beaten murray at roland garros, as andy was in good form and had just beaten rafa in straight sets at madrid. maybe, but we’ll never know.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Roy, I agree that Rafa can easily return to the top 5. The question is really whether he can win tournaments.

I think its also overreaching to state only Novak could take down Rafa, when multiple other players had just beaten Rafa on clay.

Markus Says:

Agree with OkieGal with a smile. All matches will have their ifs anus or bust, so might as well have the win.

Markus Says:

Oh,horrors! My spell checker was possessed by a foul-mouthed devil! Sorry!!!

jalep Says:


Margot Says:

@ Markus
So you say…..Tee hee!

Gypsy Gal Says:

Okie its all people can talk about when it comes to that match,for that reason i hated that match….

jalep Says:

Really not an expert on Rafa tennis enough to weigh in with any substance.

Interesting discussion, though. While waiting for matches to start.

My feeling is that Rafa will have a comeback soon, with or without uncle Toni. Reminds me of thinking Federer was done and over for reals in 2013.

Rafa’s not done. 3-4 years left at the top, my guess. Never underestimate sports science evolving with the times. That goes for all pro’s.

SG1 Says:

When so much of your success is linked to your physical playing style, it doesn’t take much of a drop off for results to be affected. At the moment, he’s just not as physical a player as he once was. And it’s affecting his mental game as well.

I don’t know if Uncle Toni has “lost the room”. I suspect that Rafa still has faith in him. I do agree that in certain areas, Rafa has regressed over the past year or so. Namely, his serve and court positioning. I think that if Rafa can get fully healthy, these issues will fix themselves. If he can’t then his days at the top are done.

Okiegal Says:

@Markus……Love the spell check mistakes…You just made my day. Dare I ask “Was it on purpose”?
Too funny….glad you agreed with me….not many do!
Just now read it again…..2 major body parts!! Woot woot. Love your smile too!! :)ing back!

Daniel Says:

GG I mentioned once RG 2013 back in the day as an unlucky even for Djoo but I don’t bring that up “ad nauseous” you are mistaken me with someone else. But the same case could be made for AO 2012 as Nadal is concerned and had been made here ad nauseous as well, by you and some other Rafa fans that bring that up all the time to counter when other people mention that RG match, so don’t understand this…

The match I say Djoko shouldn’t have lost, “on paper”, due to him being a superior HC players than Nadal, was USO 2013 as he was also in a leading way in third set before he collapsed and Nadal raised his level. But that is why they have to play the matches.

As for Nadal level’s, we’ll know for sure if his decline is permanent or not at RG next year when he will be 30, his first real test coming back to it not as defending champion. The last time this happened in 2010 he had his best year but that was long ago.

If he does’t win upcoming USO or AO, which I think he won’t with his level and confidence issues, his slump will be 7 Slams without a title and if he doesn’t reach finals in neither of this Slams, he will go 7 Slams without a final, that will not be good at all.
Federer in his first slump in 2011, played 4 majors with no final from RG 10′ to AO 11′, than finals in RG 11′, than 4 more majors with no finals from Wimby 11′ to RG 12′ before winning his last title in 2012. He was in a 9 Slamless run before Wimbledon 2012 an now is in a 12 Slamless run but with 2 Wimby finals along the way.

Let’s see what happens with Nadal in one month, some think that he just can “decide” to come back to his form level but what if he never does.

Agree that he wildest likely get back to top 8 by the end of the year, but not sure on top 5. He doesn’t win many titles this time of the year and I believe he have never won a title in November for example. After US Open he had 1 title in Beijing or Tokyo and 1 Madrid (when it was played in October instead of Shangai) and that is it.

Daniel Says:

Damm corrector shifting it to ad nauseous kkkkk

Gypsy Gal Says:

Daniel When i said ad nauseum i was generalising about the amount of people that bring it up,it wasnt meant to sound quite that selective,and i have also said Novak shouldve won AO 2012 in the forth set many times,as i do in fact defend my favorites rivals too,the rest well your guess is as good as mine,either he will or wont,but id like to think i will enjoy my tennis regardless of what 1 particular player does,the guy has 14 GS only 1 player has more,hes an all time great,thats always been good enough for me,peace and have a good evening….

Georgy Gal Says:

matt4 August 12th, 2015 at 8:34 “Rafa played under tremendous pressure for years, winning 14 slams against two all time greats — arguably two of the top five players of the Open Era. To oppose their vastly superior tennis skills, versatility and strategic acumen, he had to mobilize every inch of his will, his fighting spirit, his physical abilities. It was a tremendous feat.”

So Rafa is an inferior player. Wow!!! Good to know this from somebody who “respects” Rafa.

Also elsewhere Matt proclaims Rafa’s best season was 2011. No doubt at the end of 2015 if Rafa has been thoroughly trounced by the top 3, this year will be Rafa’s best season, it just so happens that their superior skills have become too much for Rafa’s inferior skills despite his legendary physical abilities and will power!!!

chris ford1 Says:

Gypsy – “Not going of on a rant,but can we please for the love of god stop saying that Novak lost RG 2013 because of netgate,he actually shouldve lost the match in the forth set,how many more times is that one going to come up?…”

Sorry, that semi, like the Madrid 2009 semi, was not only a classic match, but a hinge point in both guys careers.
So on two levels that match will always be discussed.
Best match of 2013 though people like me liked Nole-Stan 4th Rounder at the AO or Nole-del Potro more.
And, the match that turned the tables so Rafa could once again have a turn as #1 – a move sealed by Rafa’s formidable hardcourt run. For Novak, that FO loss and his N American hardcourt season woes lead to his commitment to new training and coaching changes. And asserting himself back into #1 spot.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Chris Ford1 it sounds like your having a hard time getting over these losses,well a loss is still a loss whichever way you slice it,and you certainly beat these two to the ground….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 sorry got to agree with Georgy Gal,why is Rafa considered such an inferior player to the other two with everything hes won and all hes achieved just curious?….

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