Rafael Nadal

A forum to discuss all things Rafael Nadal, not relating to specific matches.

Nadal 5
Current tournament: Montreal

Next tournament: Cincinnati

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Video: Nadal cramps during Hamburg trophy ceremony

Recent quote: “Now the hard-court season is starting. It’s a different story. But at the same time, I’ll keep going with the same mentality and this (Hamburg) title helps to be a little bit more calm and add some points to my ranking to try to finish the year in the top 8 again.”

78 Comments on Rafael Nadal

  1. Rafa was interviewed by ABC, a Spanish newspaper:
    http://www.abc.es/los-100-influyentes/2017/rafael-nadal.html

    Excerpts, translated via Google:
    ¤¤ Question. “And now, what do you expect in 2017?”
    Rafa: “I wish I could compete all year without injuries, and if so, I hope to be competitive and fight for the things that really motivate me.”
    .
    Question. “What is your main goal?”
    Rafa: “My goal is to resume as soon as possible the feelings I had before getting injured last year. If I get that, I hope I can do it day by day, with the effort required and thinking about doing things well as I am doing them, I hope and believe that good results will come.”
    .
    Question. “Have you ever despaired of competing regularly because of your physical problems?”
    Rafa: “No, I haven’t. It’s not something new in my career. I’m a positive person and always try to think that things will improve. When these things happen, you have to be calm, to know that you have to recover, to know that one has to be patient…”
    .
    Question. “Are you ready to fight again in big tournaments?”
    Rafa: “As I said, I’m a positive person and if the injuries won’t bother me and I can work, I hope so. If I did not believe in this and did not see things like this, I probably wouldn’t be here, I would be devoting myself to other things.” ¤¤

    Vamos Rafa! 💪

    • Thanks Augusta, looks like he sees things the way many of us here do. Nice to see.

      Translated excerpt:

      “Tiger Woods saw the end of Australia and sent a message to Rafa Nadal just after the game. “I did not talk to Roger. I sent a short message to Rafa, who of course was very upset. He played with all my heart and I just think the difference was that Roger had one more day of rest. At this point in the tournament it means a lot. Rafa was a bit tired and that’s what happened. This is how the pictures work in the big ones “. Woods’ beautiful words to an athlete who, in a way, serves as his inspiration.”

  2. Ahh Happy memories of Rafa winning at Queens, love having him back at this tournament, Halle had bad mojo for Rafa IMO, love the idea that the spectators are so close to the players, they have had some big names playing and winning there in the past ….

  3. Has anyone read about the interview Toni gave lately? He spoke about Rafa being without pain physically and mentally Rafa is at the right place.

    Toni talked about Fed at the AO, esp the final, how Fed was hitting his BH very well and very flat and how it’s complicated to counter it. It’s interesting that he said playing at night favored Fed’s play as the ball bounced lower at night and Rafa’s topspin couldn’t be executed well at night on the quicker low bouncing court (something to that effect).

    My question is: since Toni and Co know the issue with Rafa and his topspin, then, how do they solve this problem? Don’t tell me they can only beat others who can’t hit as flat and as aggressively as Fed? Then what about facing a Delpo, or an in the zone Cilic? Can Rafa learn to hit a flatter shot for e.g., learning to hit it flat and more penetrating without sacrificing precision and power, add in some pace perhaps? Watch his 2004 AO vs Hewitt, he was doing just that, with topspin no doubt but definitely much flatter than now.

    • Not much physically or tactically IMO. At best Rafa is very close up a break in the decider. And conditions could not be any better for Fed, fast court, tennis ball with tight felt to reduce bounce, with one more day of rest, all part of the master plan.

      That said, if Rafa improves his confidence at critical moments, he won’t surrender five games in a row including two consecutive breaks to lose the title.

      • I think Rafa was physically tired more than anything else. His tired shoulder had resulted in short balls, not enough penetration. His court position way back behind the baseline didn’t help either. IOW, his tiredness led him to play defensively, giving Fed time and space to move forward to attack more often, taking away Rafa’s time to even defend effectively.

        A well rested Rafa with a more aggressive mindset (say like Montreal 2013) would certainly do better vs this aggressive Fed and may not lose. However, would that Rafa appear again? And that’s the question I wanted to ask and would like Rafa and his team to answer, not in words but by Rafa’s actions on the tennis courts, hopefully pretty soon!

        • Yep, I thought about that after I posted my reply (but implied it in the 2-days rest comment).

          Definitely a big factor conditioning so yes a physical element for sure.

          Hoping continued health, improved conditioning and clay will make more than the difference for la decima (but beware ball choice and extra spray on the courts)!

          Vamos!

          #Conspirator

  4. This wasn’t similar to that AO2012 final imo, when Rafa was leading 4-2 in the fifth set but made a bad miss in his BH and then went on to lose the game and finally the match. He was nervous and lacking in confidence then, having lost six straight times to Djoko.

    He might be nervous vs Fed no doubt but wasn’t lacking in confidence after pulling back from two sets to one down and broke Fed right away in set five. Imo, he just got tired, moreover Fed was very aggressive and so Rafa had a hard time defending.

  5. And these people talking about Fed using a bigger racket starting from 2014, saying it came into full effect now at AO2017! I feel that’s ridiculous, as Fed was perfectly ok with his smaller racket back in 2011,2012. In 2012 he even became no.1 for 17 weeks and won his 7th Wimbledon with that smaller racket. His results in 2014 and 2015 weren’t better than his 2012 either!

    It’s more to do with 1) the quicker and lower bouncing court at AO this year, 2) the luck of the draw when Murray was upset in R4 just before meeting Fed in the QF, 3) Rafa having one fewer day to rest before the final, 4) Rafa’s draw was tougher than Fed’s despite Fed having to beat three top ten players, with Berdych in a slump and Kei being Kei got injured in the fifth set.

    The rankings of all the players Rafa played added up to 150, the lowest ranked opponent was no.49 F Mayer. Compare that to Fed’s, when Fed had two qualifiers, and then a no.50 as his QF opponent.

    • Well, TBF I do think that the larger racquet has helped his game and shot speed but he had already taken full advantage of that in 2014-15, long before 2017 LOL.

      Rafa destroyed him 2014 AO with that racquet. But the court was more traditionally slow in 2014.

      As you say, this is the largest reason (by design) for Fed’s run to the title…

      • Were they only taking one sample for each event to compare them, or were they taking the average of each event? I seriously don’t think that made so much difference, if, Rafa could hit with more depth.

        What I saw was Rafa not varying his return positions in the final, comparing to his match vs Raonic. It’s the same court, Raonic serving bigger would give Rafa even lesser reaction time, yet Rafa had no problem returning Raonic’s serves.

        Even if we say Fed’s serves we’re harder to read, don’t tell me Rafa hadn’t faced that serve before; and over five sets, Rafa had sufficient time to figure out how to return that serve with interest.

        To me, Rafa simply didn’t try hard enough to return Fed’s serves; there’s one game in particular, where Rafa stood out wide getting ready to return Fed’s serve to his(Rafa’s) BH corner. I think Fed got a net for his first serve out wide; then came another first serve again out wide to exactly the same spot but fault; Rafa still remained at the same returned position. Next second serve from Fed and guess what, served exactly to the same spot targeting Rafa’s BH out wide and Rafa still returning from the same position and so he mishit the return. I was thinking to myself, what the hell Rafa was thinking! Why trying and pushing your luck like this when you were given three chances to vary your return position?? Dumb!

        • They are taking averages but it’s not about the serve itself.

          It’s using that stat as an indication of court speed being faster than Wimbledon and 2014 AO which we are already in agreement was a major factor.

          But yeah, Rafa already had it except he admitted he lacked energy to hit his FH with consistent depth especially late in the match.

          • See, Fed still needed five sets to get past Kei, then Stan and finally Rafa. I don’t remember he needed that many five setters in the past when the AO court was slower.

            Perhaps what that means is: Kei or Stan or Rafa would have beaten Fed had the court being slower like in the past! I wonder would Fed be as successful at Wimbledon this year, unless they quicken the court there, but then Cilic and Raonic would be the main beneficiaries there I feel, unless Cilic chokes again and Raonic has injury (not uncommon with him).

  6. Not exactly. Im sure in 2014 he beat both Murray and Tsonga before losing to Rafa in the SF. Perhaps its because hes three years older now.

    Anyway, Im watching Cilic vs Brown now so shall stop here.

    • Murray in four sets wasn’t straight forward either and was just a few months after his back surgery which took him a long time to get over.

      Tsonga at No. 10 was always a known flake. Never knew which one would show.

  7. luckystar,
    Rafa said before the AO that his level should be estimated after Miami.
    “Let me play for three months, and then we will see what I am, no, because, you know, I can go to Australia and I can play very well, but at the same time, I can lose. You never know what’s going on. But probably after Miami, [it’s going to be] a good moment to analyse a little bit what’s going on and to see where I am being realistic.”
    http://www.ausopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/2017-01-11/rafa_fit_and_ready_to_fire_in_melbourne.html

    • I think Rafa is right about evaluatIng his game after Miami. We got a wonderful gift when Rafa defied the odds and reached the final. A really outstanding result, considering that Rafa pulled the plug on his season last year and also that he hasn’t gone this far in a slam since 2014.

      • Agreed. I really enjoyed this year’s AO, well, up to the end of the final…! So much better than I’d dared to hope for. Yet it hurts to get so close and lose…but that’s tennis.

  8. It’s not a matter of evaluating his game; it’s a matter of finding solutions quick enough so that he get back to his winning ways asap, esp on clay.

    One problem I do hope Rafa’s team could help him to solve, and that is his time between points when he’s serving. I notice that Rafa started his matches vs Raonic and Dimi very well, winning the first set quickly when he was rather aggressive. However, he took too long between points in his service games and got TV warnings from the umpire, from then he started struggling, almost lost the second set to Raonic; he did lose the second set to Dimi in the SF, and that had cost him precious energy fighting back to regain control of the match.

    I do hope Rafa could keep within the 25 sec so that there won’t be any TV warning and his
    rhythm won’t be disrupted.

  9. U.Toni is hopeful, yet cautious.

    An excerpt from U.Toni’s interview with l’Équipe “Rafa is finally pain free and fine mentally” (published on February 8, 2017; translated from French by Mark Nixon, luckystar mentioned this interview on FEBRUARY 8, 2017 AT 4:26 PM):

    ¤¤ Question. And Rafael?
    UT.”Rafael recovered his game. He had a good tournament, he had a good attitude, and played matches that were not bad against Dimitrov, Monfils and Raonic.”
    .
    Question. ‘Not bad’? You’re being tough. It was tremendous against Dimitrov, no?
    UT.”That’s true, it was a great match. I think really Rafael was very close to his top level, both mentally and game-wise.”
    .
    Question. The best Nadal we’ve seen in the last three seasons?
    UT.”It doesn’t seem so simple to me. Don’t forget, Rafael went into Roland Garros last year feeling excellent. There was just this little niggle [left wrist] that was bothering us, and which forced us to withdraw after two rounds and then ruined the end of the season.
    .
    Question. How do you explain that he’s rediscovered his best tennis at the beginning of this season?
    UT. “For the first time in a very, very long while, Rafael has no physical worries to manage. As soon as we started preparing for the 2017 season, in November in Manacor, his feelings hitting were very good. Peace of mind counts for so much!”
    .
    Question. Which means?
    UT. “Rafael has been stressed for several years because of his physical problems. At some point, you can’t deliver with everything you have on the court, you can’t have the ideal attitude in training, you lose self-confidence too much. When your shots depend on the state of your hand, your knee, your foot, at some point having to manage all those pains tires you out. They sap your strength. And suddenly, presto, as soon as Rafael could play without pain, he quickly recovered a good level. And what’s more, we were reinforced by the addition of Carlos Moya, who also was a real plus..”
    .
    Question. During the whole off-season, you nevertheless once again tried a change of material, testing different racquets. A year ago, different strings.
    UT. “At the start of 2016, we made a mistake with the strings. We changed to gain more power, but all we gained was a loss of confidence. Rafael was tentative in competition because he hadn’t adapted enough to the new strings and he was playing with doubts [and a lack of control]. At Indian Wells, in March, we went back to the old strings.”
    .
    Question. And a new racquet model?
    UT. “We were looking for some way to produce more definitive forehands It’s a problem we’ve been trying to solve for a while. We want Rafael’s forehand to accelerate more.So we looked left and right. But we finally ended up with his original racquet with simply more weight added. And it seems we’ve found a good compromise.”
    .
    Question. All these experiments with material, that means that solutions are to be found “outside”?
    UT. “No, no, it’s still the head above all. It determines everything, it allows you to develop your game. If it’s not ticking properly up there, everything becomes very difficult.”
    .
    Question. And the head is OK today?
    UT.”The head is fine, thanks.” ¤¤
    http://www.lequipe.fr/Tennis/Article/Toni-nadal-a-propos-du-niveau-de-jeu-retrouve-par-rafael-nadal-la-tete-va-bien-merci/776160


    It’s great that U.Toni once again made it clear why Rafa lost his confidence.

  10. Great candid thoughts from Toni as always who has been consistent on his message.

    Rafa as usual is even more candid as always with a slightly different assessment and is not as sure about it.

    Tennis: Rafael Nadal admits ‘anxiety’ and ‘pressure’ reasons for struggle in 2015
    Nadal won only five titles in 2015 and 2016 combined due to injury and anxiety issues.

    “I had much anxiety and couldn’t control the pressure,” Nadal said as quoted by tennisworldusa.org. “It’s difficult to explain these things. I came back home and said myself: you won almost everything, why are you nervous? I asked myself this question every day. The competition kills you. I never thought about calling it a career, but take a few months off yes.”

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/tennis-rafael-nadal-admits-anxiety-pressure-reasons-struggle-2015-1605590

    I believe that both injury and anxiety played a big part. What was the trigger is really moot.

    But given his own words including his thoughts above and about using rituals to find calm in his bio and how his play begins to suffer after a TV warning and being forced to rush, I believe that the TV rule designed to hamper Rafa to slow him from winning slams, did just that.

    And of course, injury also played a big role in that. I agree with Lucky.

    Courier is very insightful saying that umpires call the penalty at the worse possible moments even though with few exceptions, he is frequently over the limit so why don’t they warn him on a less critical moment. Even Rafa says it is the same umpires that do this. Here is the TV vs Dimitrov down 0-30 at 1-2 on serve in the second set. After the TV, Rafa gets broken to love, eventually breaks back but plays poorly the rest of the set. Dimi also played poorly so the TV IMO cost him the set leaving him on court longer than necessary.

    • To add to that, look at the video. Rafa is in his service motion when the call is made. Ridiculous and intentional disruption.

  11. Uncle Toni has been consistent in his intreviews.

    Toni Nadal in his interview with COP, a radio network in Spain, in Dec.2015: “Getting injured in the AO 2014 final was a big blow. When he recovered [therapies helped him temporarily], the wrist issue happened [July 2014] and then appendicitis [Oct-Nov. 2014] when he was trying to come back. All this caused him a huge stress and lack of confidence in his body [in the 2015 season]. He was going on court [in 2015] without knowing/trusting what his body would do.”
    http://www.cope.es/player/Toni-Nada…ser-el-de-antes&id=2015122301340002&activo=10

    • Rafa Nadal
      10 mins ·
      I am very sorry to announce I won’t be able to play in Rotterdam next week. After last year’s absence from some tournaments, I started this season well and made a significant effort during the Australian swing. It’s because of this that my doctors have strongly advised me to take it easy and give enough rest to my body before competing again to avoid further injuries. I fully understand that the Dutch fans will be disappointed. I am very thankful to Richard for the great support and understanding. #abnamrowtt

  12. Good decision by Rafa to pull out of Rotterdam. He needs more rest, and plays on outdoor HCs, not indoor ones.

    His body needs rest, his wrist too.

    • Thank goodness Rafa pulled out of Rotterdam. I remember when he played there in 2009 after the grueling AO which he won. I thought at the time that it was a mistake. In the final against Murray he was clearly hobbled. We know how it all played out with the knee tendinitis.

      I am glad that Rafa is taking care of himself.

  13. SPORTS NEWS | Thu Feb 9, 2017 | 11:15am EST
    Nadal pulls out of Rotterdam Open to rest

    Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – 29/1/17 Spain’s Rafael Nadal hits a shot during his Men’s singles final match against Switzerland’s Roger Federer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
    Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – 29/1/17 Spain’s Rafael Nadal hits a shot during his Men’s singles final match against Switzerland’s Roger Federer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
    Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from next week’s Rotterdam Open after being advised by doctors to rest, he said on Thursday.

    The Spanish world number six, who lost in five sets to old rival Roger Federer in the Australian Open final last month, was left out of Spain’s Davis Cup squad for their World Group first-round tie against Croatia last weekend due to fatigue.

    “I am very sorry to announce I won’t be able to play in Rotterdam next week,” Nadal said on Twitter.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tenni … SKBN15O24Y

    • Mira Andi,

      So can we say for sure that this is for real? You did post links from other sources.

      I think it makes sense at this time.

      Thanks for posting more sources!
      😀

        • Mira Andi,

          Thanks for letttng me know! So we now have multiple sources where Uncle Toni says that he will be moving aside.

          One article you posted had Uncle Toni saying that he is not having any say and that’s why he is not going to coach Rafa. That one was different from the others.

  14. Thank you Toni for being with Rafa all these years but it’s high time you step aside and just let Rafabe with people who can add more value to him. Why wait for a year, please focus on academy starting right now itself. Let Rafa manage with Moya and Riog. And yes please stop talking to the press, you talk way too much 🙂

      • Same as Lucky and Sanju. Long overdue.

        Toni was a great coach but Rafa outgrew him some years ago.

        “After 11 years without any change in his team, it´s revolution time for Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard player, who added Carlos Moya in his team two months ago, won´t work with his uncle Toni anymore.”

        http://flip.it/vCptWY

        • I think you guys are underestimating what presence in a players box brings to a player. Thinking Rafa outgrew Toni is just silly. Rafa undoubtedly fed off Toni’s body language who was a very sly communicator even on-court and a scrapper for all intents and purposes. Moya may seem better tactically after just a couple of months, but a fighter he is not and is fairly introvert-ish in mannerisms. Not all roses is what I’m saying.

          • Fedolefan,

            I don’t know why you think it’s silly to think Rafa outgrew Uncle Toni. It’s not like you are a fan of Rafa’s and know enough about him to be making such judgments.

            There are Rafa fans here who have felt that he could benefit from changing his coach. I just never thought that Rafa would agree to let Toni go because he’s family. It appears that this was Toni’s decision.

            I absolutely think that Rafa can only benefit from this change. There is a reason why the other top four players have changed coaches as time went on. Change is a good thing. A new point of view and different ideas and ways of making changes is crucial if a player is to remain competitive, especially as he ages.

            I actually think that this should have been done sooner. Rafa lost all of 2015 going around in circles, unable to get himself together.

            I think Moya has already made a difference. It’s no coincidence that Rafa got to a slam for final for the first time in three years.

    • Toni hasn’t talked too much, his interviews have always been interesting to read.
      Fedlovers, who have always been hostile towards Toni BECAUSE Rafa has defeated Fed, have twisted Toni’s words and have written garbage about him.

  15. Lol, I just now figured out what the buzz was. Uncle Toni stepping aside. I’m not surprised… and not worried about Rafa. But I have not expectations for Nole, Fed, and Rafa. It’s all gravy going forward — whatever they win or don’t win.

    It is odd to see this though:
    http://live-tennis.eu/en/atp-race

    yes, yes, it’s too early to be looking at live rankings — except I use it for picking to jog my poor memory as to who is hot and not hot.

    • Mira Andi,

      Thanks for letttng me know! So we now have multiple sources where Uncle Toni says that he will be moving aside.

      One article you posted had Uncle Toni saying that he is not having any say and that’s why he is not going to coach Rafa. That one was different from the others.

      • Nny…yeah..sound a little bit different isn’t it?I’m sure we will hear it from rafa’s own mouth about this thing in the next 2 weeks…and more so,we will see how this will give an impact to rafa’s perfomance for the next 3,4 months..can’t wait to see the result..hopefully for the better..

    • rc,

      That is quite something to see Fed and Rafa leading the race for WTF!

      But there is a lot more tennis to be played, so I expect things to change as more tournaments are played.

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