Nadal Shocked, Wawrinka Gets Worm at Australian Open
by Staff | January 19th, 2016, 8:28 am

Rafael Nadal wants you to know he is going to keep trying.
During this off-season the 14-time Grand Slam champion looked to put his epic confidence issues from 2015 behind him.

It didn’t work.

The 29-year-old Spaniard, losing in the first round of a Slam for only the second time in his career, fell on Tuesday to No. 45-ranked compatriot Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco in five sets, blowing a 2-1 set lead 7-6(6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

“It’s tough, but at the same time, I know I did everything that I can to be ready for it,” said Nadal of the encounter, which was a rematch of their brutal 2009 Australian Open semifinal which Nadal won in five sets.

Nadal was left to repeat what has become his mantra — ignore the result, focus on the next tournament, pretend everything will be OK.

For a more comprehensive breakdown of the Nadal-Verdasco match go here

In other upsets American Rajeev “The Rampras” Ram advanced when No. 11 Kevin Anderson retired in the fourth set of their contest, and Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller edged a strangely portly-appearing No. 20 seed Fabio Fognini 7-6(6), 7-6(7), 6-7(5), 7-6(1).

Top 10 winners victorious into the second round were No. 2 Andy Murray rolling German Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-2, 6-3; No. 4 Stanislas Wawrinka advancing when Russian Dmitry Tursunov retired at 7-6(2), 6-3; No. 8 David Ferrer defeating German Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; and No. 10 John Isner routine-ing Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 7-6(7), 6-3.

“He’s obviously very good,” said Murray after confounding the up-and-coming German Zverev with off-pace play, utilizing the entire court with his favorite drop shot. “There’s a lot of good, young players coming through just now. He’s quite different to a lot of the other ones. He’s much, much taller, which has benefits. Some negatives, as well. It might take him a little bit longer to develop into his body and stuff…He has big, big reach on the returns. He times the ball pretty good, so he’s got a lot of potential.”

Isner dropped 36 aces on Janowicz in the straight-set win.

“It’s a tough first round, for sure,” the American said. “Given his credentials, he’s a big player. He was hitting some big serves out there. I stayed composed in that second-set tiebreaker. It was very critical. I was able to get that one under my belt, win the third set pretty easy. Three sets, not that long out there — I’m very happy.”

Other seeded winners on the day were No. 13 Milos Raonic, No. 16 Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic, No. 18 Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, No. 21 Viktor Troicki who outlasted Daniel Munoz in five, No. 23 Gael “Force” Monfils, No. 25 Jack Sock needing five sets to beat compatriot Taylor Fritz, No. 30 Jeremy Chardy who beat Ernests Gulbis 13-11 in the fifth, No. 31 Steve Johnson, and No. 32 Joao Sousa.

The slew of unseeded noticeables into the second round included Lleyton Hewitt, Lukas Rosol who beat Japan’s Taro Daniel in five, Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, Simone Bolelli who edged American comeback player Brian Baker in four tiebreaks, France’s Nicolas Mahut, and Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo who outlasted Malek Jaziri 8-6 in the fifth.

The Worm will next face the No. 4-seeded Wawrinka, who is wary of the Czech’s all-court disruptive game.

“Always a tough opponent,” the Swiss said. “Play him last year in Tokyo. Tough match. He’s always playing good. He qualifies or qualifying here, I think. Quite fast surface, so he should serve and volley, playing flat. All depends little bit how I’m going to play. If I’m serving well, playing well, aggressive, hopefully I can made it through.”

Hewitt beat Aussie compatriot James Duckworth 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-4, and will try and keep his retirement tour rolling in the second round against the No. 8 seed Ferrer.

“He’s like a brick wall out there,” Hewitt said of Ferrer, who he is 1-2 career against. “He competes as well as anyone on tour. He moves great. Everyone thinks he just makes balls, but he’s a pretty aggressive baseliner out there. He doesn’t get back too far behind the court. I give myself a fighting chance…If it doesn’t go my way the next match, then so be it. Everything in my control. I’m going out there to give it my best shot.”

Highlight matches to look for on Wednesday in Melbourne include (3) Roger Federer vs. the tricky Alexandr “The Dog” Dolgopolov, (19) Dominic Thiem on upset alert vs. veteran Nicolas Almagro, the Benoit-killer (WC) Noah Rubin of the U.S. vs. Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, No. 1 Novak Djokovic in action against unheralded Frenchman Quentin Halys, and Aussie hope (29) Nick Kyrgios the last night match on Hisense Arena vs. Pablo Cuevas.

You Might Like:
Nadal Wins; Federer, Roddick Saturday at French Open
Federer Shocked by Wawrinka in 3rd Rd Exit at ATP Monte Carlo
Stanislas Wawrinka: It’s Amazing And It’s Special To Win My First Masters 1000
Milos Raonic Left Alone; Novak Djokovic Djanky; Loaded Thursday In Toronto
Nadal Wins, Gets Pass to SF; Nalbandian Withdraws

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

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

48 Comments for Nadal Shocked, Wawrinka Gets Worm at Australian Open

Humble Rafa Says:

Some people get no-names-villi in the first round, I get Hot Sauce. That’s life.

jane Says:

when i read stan “gets worm” i was thinking he was ill. lol. i forgot about that nickname.

FedExpress Says:

Rafas last 3 GS results

Wimb 2nd round
USO 3rd round
AO 1st round


van orten Says:

Verdasco hits crazy big and misses a lot, except when he doesn’t, haha Peter Bodo

RZ Says:

Verdasco is a tough first round opponenent, but Rafa would have had this if he had the belief.

frank frankovich Says:

I like rafa but glad he is out.he likes to stall a lot, making the other guy wait, then he runs out as if he is not trying to atall. Irritating.

SG1 Says:

Verdasco is a very tough first rounder and someone that has already almost beat Rafa when they were both a lot better. I think that it would be rash to overreact to this loss. The clay court season will tell me where Rafa’s at.

Pauly Says:

Nadal is just a shadow of his former self … Gone us that legendary foot speed … Gone is that great forehand & nothing but another coach can help him !
He must seek help … Heaping praise on Djokovic isn’t what he should be doing ! That’s another thing that irritates his fans … Improve your own game & don’t kiss Djokovic’s arse !

Vinod Ramanathan Says:

How much points does Nadal drop here?

theDA Says:

@Jane – “when i read stan “gets worm” i was thinking he was ill”

I thought it was going to be something about a bottle of tequila

AndyMira Says:

To frank frankovich..although i’m a rafa fan,i also agree with you..he’s a OCD freak..he cannot afford to care about others long as his routine going hell with everything else..roger complain about this matter multiple times before can’t win against him..look at carlos bernardes..where is he now?All carlos did is stick to the rules..and thing we knew..carlos was forbidden to chaired rafa’s match ever again!

Wog Boy Says:

“…look at carlos bernardes..where is he now?All carlos did is stick to the rules..and thing we knew..carlos was forbidden to chaired rafa’s match ever again!”

I am trying not to use the words I really feel like, since they will ban me from TX, but this is the THE most stupid and ignorant comment I recently read on TX, the comment that suggests that you should be corrupted and not have any integrity by trying to keep your position and your job, by letting someone break the rules and do illegal things. Is this the state of mind of today’s world, it looks like it, sadly:(

AndyMira Says:

To Wog you still remember last year when rafa played at Rio..i think..when he argue with carlos because carlos won’t let him go back to the locker room to change the short that he accidentally wearing backwards..before that he’s already got time violation for his usually wasting time on court..and rafa got so angry and he said to carlos that he will make sure carlos will never chaired his game ever again..and like i said..i am rafa fan..and i unfortunately not agree with rafa in this matter..sure he is great player but he is also like everyone else is still bound by the have to stick to it..and rafa as we all know is notoriously like very much to waste time and make his opponent waiting..and i pity carlos because honestly he’s one of the bravest and full of calibre umpire that has to encounter one of the great player on this earth..and the rest is history..

Daniel Says:

That comment Nadal made regarding Djokovic level is a clear indication that he is notes humble as he says and some believe. To me it read like this: “I am a tennis legend and for somebody to beat me that way 1 and 2 they had to be superhuman because I,the great Rafael Nadal don’t lose 1 and 2 in a final.”

Humble my a$#, they are all professional competitive athletes, their ego is huge and when you achieve the top of what you d, you are entitled to it. But the over praise for Djoko after Doha was also in a way protecting the beatdown he receive either to not address the gap between them or denial and just think, in that level there is nothing you can do.

AndyMira Says:

How come Dolgo who got less muscle and less small guy than rafa can serve to 200kmh?I can’t remember rafa serve as fast as that..

jane Says:

he sure can’t return that well tonight, dolgo.

meanwhile thiem is thrashing nico. maybe dave was right about him being next below nick the kid.

jane Says:

berdych is baking for basic

Skeezer Says:

Fed vs. Dolgo
Go Maestro, keep painting with your brush. 299.

jane Says:

what does “tmg” mean?

Okiegal Says:

I have been to a high school b-ball game tonight and haven’t been home long, but Roger was playing and Nike does keep him and Rafa looking sharp. I loved his outfit tonight……good looking duds!

Michael Says:

Well, Dolgopolov is a bizarre and erratic player who will execute the toughest of shots with immaculate ease stunning the audience while fumbling on an easy shot and looking pathetic on court. It is really a fun to watch him play. There is no doubt that he has immense talent and potential only that he has not been able to realize it since mentally he is pretty brittle !!

Okiegal Says:

Carlos Bernardes called a match of Rafa’s just the other day….it went OK….no problems that I could tell.

skeezer Says:

Tmg= too much game

jane Says:

thanks skeezer.
maybe it should be tma?
fed hit 25 aces today!

AndyMira Says:

Hi Okiegal..what do you mean when you said “carlos bernardes called a match of Rafa’s the other day”?

sienna Says:

it sure looks like the state of the world that #1 tennisplayer lets family collect big paycheques in order to lose a few points. Evidence is piling up against the Serbain connection.

Pauly Says:


Everyone Can serve harder than Nadal !
He needs to tinker with his US open 2010 action & completely flatten out his forehand for hardcourts
That Would make huge impact on his game
Nadal has one of the greatest forehands ever flat plus spin … Del Porto hits it harder so did Gonzales but Nadal’s forehand is the most versatile !

Needs new coach until he gets it he will struggle big time

Pauly Says:

For all the tennis fans upset & annoyed about Nadal’s constant ticks before serving … He didn’t have them earlier in his career
He developed them over time … He’s superstitious never walks on lines plus his water bottles must be positioned in such a way … He has an obsessive disorder one doctor said but just leave him alone was his advice !
He can’t help it … Bad habits

AndyMira Says:

Pauly..i just don’t understand why rafa seems unable to varied his forehand..he seems stuck with his heavy topspin in every surface..surely he knows that on hardcourt flat forehand will works wonder to his game?And yet his inability to mixed it up clearly shown everytime he got thrashed by his opponent.

Pauly Says:


New coach would tell Nadal settle his forehand issue
Plus improve his serve … Uncle Toni has no idea

AndyMira Says:

Yeah..pauly,with this latest setback..hopefully one of them will see sense and take soon as possible..he don’t have much time left..

Pauly Says:

Indian wells is hardcourt
It’s a surface Nadal likes
High bouncing is what Nadal really loves so that tournament will be massive for Nadal … If he can ne competitive there it will set up his year very well
It’s still early in the tennis season …
Nadal must play well on hardcourts or else his form will be poor on clay also … It’s confidence!
I hope & pray uncle Toni concedes his nephew needs help which he does bigtime !
Tennis is changing … Big hitters rule !!!

Gypsy Gal Says:

Sienna what the hell are you talking about,do you ever post anything that makes any sense,you simply cannot get your head around the idea that your favorite player is getting schooled time and again by the world number 1????

Pauly Says:

Speculation only at this point I heard but apparently Andre Agassi has been approached to help Nadal with his game ?
At this point it’s only rumour but if it’s true … Great news for Nadal .
Agassi can help him in many areas

AndyMira Says:

Pauly..really?..if it’s true..this is the most happiest news i’ve ever heard since yesterday..May i ask where did you heard this rumours?

AndyMira Says:

The most touching scene when tsonga help the injured girl off the court..that’s humanity..

Okiegal Says:

@AndyMira 1:05 I meant that he sat in the umpire’s chair and officiated the match…..I am not sure where Qatar maybe?? Short term memory loss….and Hello to you too!

AndyMira Says:

Hi okie..really?that’s seems rafa has cooled off..both guys are great person actually.Heck..when fire flared even a chair can fly!

Okiegal Says:

^^^^^^AndyMira….LOL! I bet Rafa made sure his shorts were put on the right way before he hit the court because Carlos won’t let him change!!
I wasn’t happy with Rafa for causing a stir about that….I think when the umpire was laughing, Rafa got upset. I think the Spaniards are high tempered….but we have seen every player get mad at some point. But I was upset with Rafa because he didn’t want Carlos at anymore of his matches. But after that big deal we learned that it was not uncommon that a few players have requested that before and also the umpires request that they don’t want to be in the chair for certain players…so it’s a two way street……

AndyMira Says:

Hey’s all because of short!But i can’t help wondering..why rafa make such a big deal of it..he’s a man..if carlos don’t let him go to the locker room,then change’s just a short!it’s not as if he do full frontal there right?What’s to be embarrased about it?Heck..he ‘s display in all his glory in calvin klein!Shisshh..

Giles Says:

Pauly aka Zozza. Stop spreading false rumours about Rafa and Agassi. I see your posts Havnt changed from when you were posting as Zozza. Remember when you said Joan Forcades left Rafa because Rafa refused to pay him? Just stop your lies.

sienna Says:

Chill gypsy!

Okiegal Says:

Well, he did change under a towel…but I think he really got upset because Carlos laughed plus he had to play a game under those conditions with the pockets of the shorts in a weird place…can’t remember if he had to serve or not. But if you have ever put shorts on backwards they feel weird in the front of your legs, If he was serving it would be awkward to retrieve the tennis balls. I will admit he was a baby about it. As well as I like him he does have his flaws. The shorts might have hindered him from picking his behind! I just thought about that. It is on you tube…google it!

Okiegal Says:

@AndyMira…..You are so right about being embarrassed……he has bared his body on more than one occasion, so that should not have been a real issue…..he was told no……

Giles Says:

Oki. I usually find some of your posts amusing and interesting but sorry to say in the last few posts you seem to have gone off on a tangent with a lot of exaggeration involved. What happened?

Pauly Says:


Who is zozza ?
You’re a very strange person !
Delusional ?

Agassi has been approached according to rumours circulating at the Moment but it’s not confirmed yet !

Giles Says:

Pauly. Provide the source of those rumours or did you just make it up?

Top story: Murray Advances In Metz, Makes QFs