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.”

89 Comments on Rafael Nadal

  1. The team captained by Rafa won the Olazábal & Nadal‎ Invitational, a charity golf tournament, for the third year in a row:


    Ten Golf (excerpts via Google Translate): ¤¤ This Friday and Saturday [Nov.24-25], the Olazábal & Nadal Invitational, a charity golf tournament, will be held at Pula Golf Resort in Mallorca. For the fifth consecutive year, professional golf players will join the world’s best tennis player, Rafael Nadal, and the legendary golfer, José María Olazábal, to support socially disadvantaged groups through this sporting event. Michelin-starred chefs will offer the participants the best gastronomy with their culinary skills, making this competition a unique tournament in the world.
    Eighteen international golfers will show their best game at the Olazábal & Nadal Invitational by Pula Golf Resort, accompanied by amateurs who have wanted to join the event. The teams will be captained by the world number one tennis player and by the winner of two editions of the Augusta Masters (golf, Olazábal).
    The proceeds will be donated to the two charitable organisations: Sport Mundi and the Rafa Nadal Foundation. The latter will allocate the funds to its ‘More Than Tennis’ project aimed at helping young people with intellectual disabilities, currently providing support to the children at 18 schools throughout Spain. ¤¤


    👍 to Rafa!

  2. Madrid: Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal, ranked No. 1 in the world, said he intends “to play in Abu Dhabi, Brisbane and the Australian Open” but emphasised that “a month [still] remains” and he wants to take things “step by step” with his injured knee.

    “I didn’t end the season in the best way possible… My knee doesn’t have to be better right now, the aim is for within a month,” he said on Monday at the Telefonica Flagship Store, where he presented a virtual reality game starring himself — “VR Movistar Nadal” — with which users can train and take part in the Rafa Nadal Challenge.

    Nadal, who withdrew from the last tourney of the season, the Masters Cup, due to an injury to his right knee, said that on Tuesday he will resume training and intends “to do what’s right to be ready” for the start of the new season.

    “I ended the season with injuries and I need to take the time to recover well. That’s why I’ve taken a few weeks of rest. I need to get started again. I intend to play in Abu Dhabi, Brisbane and Australia. That would be the ideal situation and I’m going to try and make it happen,” said the Spaniard, who has just concluded a vacation in The Bahamas.

    Despite his premature farewell at the Masters Cup, Nadal ended the season with six titles, including two Grand Slam titles — at Roland Garros and the US Open — climbing into the No. 1 spot in August, a position he was able to maintain until the season’s close.

    “We’re in a totally results-oriented world and everyone must follow his own path. When you feel that you have to do things in one way and they don’t go well, then you have to make decisions right away to correct them. This year, I played in 18 tournaments, which is not very many,” Nadal said.

    “Apart from the obligatory ones, I played in just three: Barcelona, Brisbane and Beijing. I played almost only what the regular calendar dictated, and what happened is that I played many matches, and fortunately everything went well,” he said.

    The Spaniard also said that Swiss star Roger Federer had had a “fantastic year,” adding that he [Nadal] and his team always work to reach agreement on what is best for his body and his tennis.

    Nadal also discussed the Academia Rafa Nadal, sponsored by Movistar, saying: “It’s a professional and vital project and more important than my career. It’s very special for me. The Academy is a training centre for athletes where they’re given every opportunity to get to their maximum potential and it has the latest sports technology.”


    • Rafa forget that he played the Laver Cup, played two singles and two doubles matches, those were additional work load. So, he practically played 80 singles matches this season, with minimal rest.

      I think he should reconsider his schedule after playing the Laver Cup; either skips Beijing and plays Basel instead or simply skips the Asian swing. He can pick and choose what he wants to play, from next season onwards as he has fulfilled all exemption requirements.

      • luckystar AT 10:44 AM,

        Rafa had a complete exemption from the Masters 1000 player commitment already THIS year.

        The ATP Rulebook, page 13:
        ¤¤ A player’s number of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 commitment tournaments shall be reduced by one (1) tournament for reaching each of the following milestones:
        1) 600 matches* (as of 1 January of the commitment year);
        2) 12 years of service;
        3) 30 years of age (as of 1 January of the commitment year).
        If all three (3) conditions are met then the player has a complete exemption from ATP World Tour Masters 1000 player commitment. ¤¤

  3. By the way Ricky, the hierarchy should change on the Social Page to reflect the current rankings:

    1. Rafael Nadal
    2. Roger Federer
    3. Grigor Dimitrov
    4. Alex Zverev
    5. Dominic Thiem
    6. Marin Cilic


    • That’s great news for us Rafa fans,knowing that Rafa’s hitting the RLA to practice at the AO just made my day!😊🤗🎾
      I really hope he’s pain free and ready to play his best!

      • Asking for pain free is asking for pie in the sky. Doesn’t happen that much, according to Rafa. I just hope he can play at his 100%.

  4. ¤¤ Moya: “The two training sessions [a total of3 hours] have been very positive after arriving late last [Thursday] night.”
    “Starting tomorrow [Saturday], he’ll play practice sets and will start increasing intensity progressively.”
    “We’re optimistic and believe he can get in good form to the tournament, unless something goes wrong.”¤¤
    (Translated from Spanish by GSS)


  5. Anyone read what Mats Wilander said about how Rafa has to play to beat Fed again?

    It’s not rocket science, and I’d said it before, that Rafa could be the aggressor against anyone but against Fed, he has to play the counterpuncher role. Unless you’re a Delpo, or a Cilic in the zone, or a Kyrgios playing his best without any mistakes, you’re not going to beat Fed with aggression. Rafa can beat Fed with aggression ONLY on clay imo (aka FO2008 and I guess the Rafa of FO2017). Stan is another who could use his aggression (raw power) to blow Fed off the court but it’s only on clay.

    Rafa wasn’t that aggressive vs Fed in the AO 2017 final and that’s why the match went the distance and Rafa lost a very close match. Rafa has to use his counterpunching skills against Fed, anticipates well Fed’s moves and be ready to counter them. IOWs, he has to play like in the past and not rushes things.

    Fed plays with quickness; even a player like Dolgo, who plays quick points, he’s complaining about how quickly Fed plays his points. I guess the modern day players are no longer used to playing against a net rushing game; where this is concerned Fed has the edge over most guys in the tour now as he’s from the S&V era who adapts to play the modern baseline game, so he’s still able to use his net rushing skills against most guys.

    Even against a guy like Djoko, who takes the ball early, Fed is/was able to rush Djoko into errors, and takes away his time. Fed was able to beat Djoko on quicker surfaces, at Dubai and Cincy, even in 2015, Djoko’s best year.

    Rafa has to be patient, takes his time and plays longer points against Fed; he has to make Fed run, and the more Fed has to run to attack and defend, the more Fed will tend to make errors. Rafa made Fed ran a lot during that AO2009 final, even when Rafa was more physically fatigued than Fed. Rafa had his chances during the 2017 final but he’s physically fatigued from his long SF match and he’s 31 no longer 22, so Rafa himself wasn’t able to keep up and to remain sharp.

    I feel Rafa needs to be offensive in his early rounds, beats his opponents ASAP to conserve energy, so that if he meets Fed in the final, he’s physically fresh enough to go the distance and remains sharp, sustains his consistent high level for as long as possible and forces Fed into errors.

    I said it before, Rafa is better than Fed on slower surfaces whilst Fed is better than Rafa on quicker surfaces; they’re the best on their respective fave surfaces. It’s not dissimilar to that of Djoko vs Fed.

      • So? That’s nothing new and not rocket science!

        Fed has problems with counterpunchers more than anything else during his career – Rafa, Djoko, Murray, Simon, Monfils. It’s only Ferrer, who’s far too respectful of Fed, that he couldn’t get a single win over Fed.

        Fed has become more vulnerable to big hitters lately, as he ages, when during his heydays he had no such problem. Rafa is not a big hitter so he has to continue with his counterpuncher role when playing against Fed to have better chances of beating Fed.

          • Yeah, Wilander talked as if he had found the key to beating Fed! Crazy!

            We’ve seen Fedal long enough to see what work and what don’t between them. It’s surprising to me that the Nadal camp changed strategy in 2017, after Rafa lost a close final to Fed at the AO.

            To me the Nadal camp made the mistake of getting Rafa to be aggressive vs ALL players; he should exclude Fed from the list. Fed in 2017 was more vulnerable at his FH corner, especially when he’s made to run to cover that corner. He had the tendency of camping at his BH corner very often in 2017, Agut made him worked hard when he started attacking Fed’s FH after failing to get any advantage attacking Fed’s BH. Agut though was not of the top tier so still couldn’t capitalize.

            • luckystar says AT 7:08 PM: “To me the Nadal camp made the mistake of getting Rafa to be aggressive vs ALL players.”
              Moya says in his interview I mentioned:
              “Now it’s up to us, Rafa’s team, to convince him that he has the weapons to beat Federer again. Obviously, adjustments have to be made. Nadal played an ultra-aggressive game in 2017 and maybe that works with 99 percent of his opponents, but maybe it just doesn’t against Federer.”

              I believe in the Rafa team. 🙂

  6. luckystar JANUARY 5, 2018 AT 5:49 PM

    “Rafa wasn’t that aggressive vs Fed in the AO 2017 final and that’s why the match went the distance and Rafa lost a very close match. Rafa has to use his counterpunching skills against Fed, anticipates well Fed’s moves and be ready to counter them. IOWs, he has to play like in the past and not rushes things.”

    Rafa was knackered in the AO 2017 final and Fed was fresh. Even so, Rafa nearly won that match.

    • I don’t know if Fed was totally “fresh.” He hadn’t played a tournament in several months so he wasn’t even in match shape at first (which is why he struggled so much in that first rounder with Melzer). Then he played a five setter in the fourth round and semis at 35 years old. Rafa was probably a bit more tired from playing two days prior rather than three and having a long one with Grigor but I wouldn’t say Roger wasn’t tired either.

  7. But Rafa didn’t play very aggressive in the other three matches they played last season and Roger rolled in all of them.

    • Do read what Moya said. You don’t expect Rafa’s aggression to be the same as Fed’s do you?

      The super aggressive Rafa appeared only during Miami 2004 match vs Fed, made a short appearance during FO2017; he appeared with a lesser intensity at FO2008, MC2010, the USO2010 series, during 2013, and Beijing 2017. He’s mostly in counter punching mode at other times.

      • What? I’m not talking about Rafa’s types of aggression and when he plays aggressive. I’m talking bout the opposite. I’m saying he played a counterpuncher style vs Fed each time last season. And most of the matches were pretty quick.

        • Nope, he wasn’t counterpunching against Fed at Miami and Shanghai; in fact he was trying to be aggressive. I don’t remember about IW because Rafa wasn’t himself in that match and the match ended too quickly for me to remember a thing.

          Rafa certainly was counterpunching in that AO final and that might be the reason why the match was very close and Rafa in fact had a chance to win it. Can’t say the same for the other three matches.

          • It just felt to me like Fed was controlling the tempo completely in those matches and getting a lot of short balls from Rafa to take advantage of and not just because he was setting them up with big shots. Maybe just how I perceived it while watching. I guess what really matters is that Rafa is healthy for AO so we can get another epic match between those two.

  8. Rafa will play at the Kooyong exhibition event in Melbourne on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.

    The Kooyong website (excerpts):
    World No 1 Rafael Nadal will get a vital Australian Open tune-up when he joins a stellar cast of five of the top ten players in the world at the Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic next week.
    Nadal will play on Tuesday.
    Discussions accelerated with Nadal’s team after the Spaniard was forced to withdraw from the Brisbane event due to an ongoing knee complaint. After arriving in Melbourne and successfully completing practice on Friday and Saturday, Nadal confirmed a wish to have a hit out for the first time on the famous Kooyong centre court.
    “Rafa was looking for matchplay and of course we were more than happy to oblige,” tournament director Peter Johnston said. ¤¤

    Read more:

    • Good move, that’s what I was thinking, that Rafa would play some exho matches in addition to tiebreak ten.

      I feel Rafa should just play exhos before the AO, going forward. Exhos at Abu Dhabi and Kooyong guarantees certain number of match plays, I think that’s better than being knocked out early at say Doha or Brisbane. I doubt Rafa would do well at Brisbane if he continues to play at Abu Dhabi exho, as the long distance traveling from one place to the next won’t allow him sufficient rest hence he’s not in tip top condition to do well at Brisbane.

  9. If I am not wrong Kooyong Classic is grass court tennis. Just wants to get some practice. Any idea how is knee is holding up so far in practice sessions?

    I guess he is slowing working his way in. Taking time to go from light practice to practice sets to exhos.

    • Good to see that Rafa will get some much needed match play before the AO. Gasquet will be a good test for sure,I hope we can see Rafa playing at a good level.
      Vamos Rafa 💪👑🎾

  10. As long as Rafa’s tendinitis isn’t so painful that he can’t play through it, I see no reason why we can’t get another epic Fedal final. Obviously anything can happen, but the only two players I can REALISTICALLY see upsetting either Rafa or Fed (assuming knees/back are good) right now in best-of-five are a fully-focused Kyrgios, or a fully-recovered Djokovic. I would say the same for DelPo, but who knows what his health is like? Dimitrov has a punchers chance, as does Zverev. But in this AO, with best-of-five, I personally can’t see anyone realistically knocking off Fedal unless Djokovic gets right back to top form, or Kyrgios finally fully realizes his potential.

    By the way, I’ve been away from the Grandstand for a while, and it’s nice to be back. 🙂 I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

    • You were missed,nice to have you back Kevin!
      We can’t also forget Goffin,he’s flying under the radar and can be very dangerous for Fedal now that he has the confidence and has taken his game to another level. IMO,the draw will be determinant this year,especially to Nadalovic if they’re not fully fit.

      • Finally I am trying to catch up on tennis. I have been hearing different things about Rafa. I guess we will have to wait and see. But we know how demanding slams are with Bof5 matches.

        I was afraid that Rafa’s knee might not be fully recovered. But I did not want to come in here and blow off steam with criticism if Rafa continuing to play last year. It’s over and fine with. Time to look ahead. But I do not like him squandering slam opportunities. I heard that Murray is still having hip trouble and it’s not sounding good for him. Also Novak is not all the way back.

        This is going to be interesting.

        • So happy to see you’re back Nny!
          I also don’t want Rafa to squander slam opportunities,only God knows how many chances he’ll have as his career keeps going forward!
          Even if he was at 80-90% of his physical condition,I would want him to play,even if it meant an extra effort. He can take a two months layoff after the AO until the clay season,if he’s not fully recovered. I know that he has many points to defend in February and March but health comes first than rankings at this stage.

  11. Welcome back, Kevin and NNY!

    Andy had hip surgery in Melborne and expects/hopes to be back for Wimbledon. I was surprised that he had it in Melborne but maybe he prefers to recover in the sunshine.

    • Ramara,

      Thanks for the welcome back. I appreciate the info on Murray. I am glad that he had the surgery and hopefully that will resolve the problem. I hope to see him back at Wimbledon .

  12. Gasquet beat Rafa 6-4, 7-5 in Kooyong exhibition. Looks like Rafa was rusty. He was down 3-0 in the second set with a double break , but came back after that.

    • Rafa probably took it lightly and the windy conditions combined with his rusty form resulted in a high number of UEs.I’m glad to hear that his movement’s fine,he still can put himself into form at the AO.

  13. Yup, he looked rusty, so many UEs. He’s not looking good for actual competition. We have to wait and see whether he’s playing the AO or not.

    • It was the first match. He should get better. How was the serve and knee ? Why do you think that he is doubtful for AO, because of lack of match play or is knee is not OK ?

      • Lack of match play. I don’t know about the knee; he’s running ok but you never know how the knee reacts after a match. Let’s wait and see. He really needs a good draw at the AO if he’s that rusty and not much time and chances left for good match play before the AO. It’s not looking good for him, can’t imagine he can be so rusty after seven or eight weeks rest.

        Perhaps he’s not a big hitter like Delpo or Stan; when they’re back from injury, I never feel that they’re very way off their game, maybe because they could just blow anyone off the court with their raw power.

        Watching a rusty Rafa, you can expect him to over hit or hitting into the net, or slow to retrieve balls, etc. I guess a counterpuncher like Rafa needs his legs and his retrieving more. Rafa’s serve, being not his strength all along except for a few seasons, will be the first few things to be affected once he’s on a comeback from injury.

        • According to the Herald Sun, Rafa is OK after his match at Kooyong exhibition event:
          ¤¤ But he [Rafa] has affirmed that he is fit and will be ready for next week’s Australian Open.
          “It was a good test for me and good practice,” Nadal said.
          “I’m good and I am here so that’s good news and my idea is just to keep practicing the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open.”
          Having battled knee issues throughout 2017, Nadal conceded it “was a long year”, but he said his preparation will be boosted by the testing two sets against Gasquet.
          “I arrived with plenty of time,” he [Rafa] said.
          “It’s a good day to start feeling the feelings of playing a match.”
          “It was a good test for me. That’s the most important thing.” ¤¤


          • Rafa didn’t battle through knee injuries THROUGHOUT 2017! It’s just during Shanghai and thereafter! That report wasn’t accurate in its reporting!

          • Thanks for posting the link to the article.
            Rafa having been beaten by Gasquet is certainly not the good news we wanted to hear. Gasquet has never beaten him before after all. And we know that Rafa is not the one to take exos lightly. And this is certainy not good for his confidence. I wonder how rusty he really is. He hasn’t only withdrawn from tournaments, he has also canceled training with Sousa if I recall correctly. That makes me think that he really hasn’t been much on a tennis court in December.
            On the other hand, Rafa normally doesn’t lie about his fitness. Therefore I believe him if he says he’s fine. Let’s not expect too much from this year’s AO and hope for a benign draw. We don’t need a Verdasco-like player in the first round, lol! With a little luck he manages to find his groove. The pre-USO 2017 tournaments also weren’t exactly encouraging, but we all know how that ended.

        • I think he did not practice at all in December. Not even light shoot out. He should be much better next week. But yes, you are right , he needs easy 3 rounds to get into groove.

          I dont think it is realistic for us to expect that Rafa will do a great run. But I hope he is fit.

  14. Rafa is still standing way back to return serves; while that worked during the USO, I’m not sure on a quicker surface at the AO, does that work well? Maybe he can stand way back, giving himself time to read the serve and more time to react, but I do feel once he read the serve, he should move forward quickly to return the serve and thus giving the server less time to counter his return.

    I always like Murray’s return of serve when he’s able to do that even when staying way behind the baseline to return. It’s no wonder Murray’s ROS is ranked that high up together with Djoko’s.

  15. Both Djoko and Murray are taking the ball early while returning, Rafa instead waits for the ball to come to him before hitting it. Rafa on a few occasions could take the ball early but that’s mostly on returning second serves.

    I feel Rafa should add in more varieties to his ROS, blocks the serve back effectively the way Fed does his: or does it like the way Murray does his, ie moves up to the court to return serve after reading it from behind the baseline.

  16. Oh welcome back NNY, and Kevin too.

    Where’s VamosRafa? I would love to read his analysis of Rafa’s ROS in particular. I always feel that Rafa can vary the way he returns to keep his opponents guessing. Besides varying his return positions, maybe he can try returning DTL instead of going CC all the time; or blocks back his returns, or even slices the return to make it barely over the net so that the server couldn’t do anything about it. Rafa usually hits as hard as possible while returning, maybe because of his deep position behind the baseline, but he runs the risk of hitting short at times allowing the server to move forward and hits it to the open court where Rafa is too far away to retrieve it.

  17. I don’t think he should play AO but I think he will. I think the knee needs a good rest, and if I was his coach I would seriously consider sitting out until the clay season starts. If he goes full out I think he risks serious injury and missing the whole season, which at this stage could spell the end of his career.

    • Nah, his injury wasn’t that serious! What he lacks is match play. Please, not every injury is career threatening!

      Maybe he should do as he did during 2013, starts by playing on clay, then plays IW, skips Miami, and be ready and well rested for the main clay season. Thereafter, thinks about his schedule on grass and the HCs. He should seriously skip the Laver Cup; the guy just doesn’t know his body’s limit, I won’t sympathize with him any more should he keep making the same old mistakes again.

      • Well, the knee injury only manifested itself in Shanghai, but I think it was the result of playing a full season with so many matches. We basically haven’t seen any evidence that it is ok in actual match play since Shanghai; a practice session or exho where Rafa says he feels no pain means almost nothing, imo.

        My prediction is that Nadal will re-injure the knee in the near future, either at AO or subsequent hard-court tournaments. I think his knee is more vulnerable than Fed’s back, and I’m not at all confident that the latter will hold up for the first three months of the season.

    • Joe Smith, why shouldn’t he play the AO?? If his body is fit enough there’s no reason at all for skipping the AO. As long as his injury doesn’t flare up, which could happen at all times, even during training sessions, the worst that can happen is an early exit. But he should at least give himself the chance to do reasonably well at another slam. Fed also played the USO 2017 although he wasn’t in top shape, and he almost lost in the first few rounds, but then he found his stride and almost reached the semis. And I stick to my idea that he would’ve probably won against Delpo and reached the semis – if a fully fit and confident Rafa hadn’t loomed there. So, Fed’s decision to play the USO wasn’t a mistake.
      If Rafa should play the following American hardcourt swing is another story and depends on what happens at the AO.

      • Why should Rafa skip AO? I guess because I don’t see the evidence that he’s fit enough to seriously contend. Sure, he could play and exit early, but what’s the point of that?

        I had my doubts about Fed at USO. The obvious bad decision was to play Montreal. The thing is, at these guys’ age (and even though Rafa is five years younger, he’s probably a comparable age in terms of injury susceptibility) it’s essential to manage their schedules to give them the best chance to win when they’re playing. A wrong decision (or bad luck) can have months of bad consequences.

        • If Rafa weren’t fit enough he wouldn’t play. That he decided to play is evidence enough that his body is fit. He’s probably just rusty. And that you can’t cure by withdrawing.

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