Match report

Roger Federer ©
Australian Open
Semi final
1/26/12 1 2 3 4 Tot
ch  Roger Federer 7 2 6 4 1
es  Rafael Nadal 6 6 7 6 3
Rafael Nadal ©
  • Nadal triumphs over Federer at Australian Open

    1/26/12 2:02 PM | Cheryl Murray
    Rafael Nadal came back from a set and a break down to defeat one of the tournament favorites and long-time rival Roger Federer.

    World No. 2 Rafael Nadal posted his 18th career win over Roger Federer with a scrappy come-from-behind win to advance to the Australian Open finals. The more than 3 ½ hour match featured thrilling shots, changes of momentum and eventually a fourth straight Slam final appearance for Nadal.

    Federer came out on like he meant business, with his game plan clear – to hit Nadal off the court. And for five games into the first set, he did just that. Federer broke Nadal right out of the shoot and went up 4-1 before the Spaniard got his legs under him.

    Unfortunately for the Federer camp, Nadal’s forehand started to break down the Federer backhand side at 4-2. The Swiss donated a few too many second serves and gave back the service break on a passing shot winner from Nadal. Both men held on to force a tiebreaker, where Federer served his way to the first set.

    Nadal looked rattled in his first service game of the second set and Federer took control of the match up a set and a break. The lead didn’t last long, however. Nadal broke back immediately to level the set. Even with that break, the world No. 2 wasn’t finished bullying Federer around the court. At 2-3, Nadal smacked a draw-dropping cross court passing shot to set up more break points; he converted on the second one with another beautiful pass.

    The 2009 champion closed out the least competitive set of the match with a third break of Federer’s serve after the two men were forced to wait through 10 minutes of fireworks to commemorate Australia Day.

    Nadal looked as though he was on his way to an easy third set when Federer started his first service game with consecutive double faults and a 0-40 opening for the Spaniard to get the early break. Federer, with the help of an error at 15-40, clawed his way to deuce and the hold. With renewed energy, Federer secured the first break of the match at 3-3. But before he had a chance to celebrate, Nadal broke back immediately.

    The ensuing tiebreak showcased a shaky Federer who couldn’t seem to buy a first serve. Nadal shot out to a 6-1 lead, but a few nervous points from Nadal and some great serving from the Swiss saw Federer to 5-6. Nadal finally secured the set on his fifth chance with Federer netting the return.

    The fourth set featured the best quality of the match. Both men played well off the baseline, but it was Nadal who got the first break with a pair of staggering winners on the dead run to earn the right to serve for the match.

    At 5-4, with the match on his racket, Nadal once again found himself in trouble. Federer earned himself a break point, only to botch a poorly-timed overhead. The No. 3 seed earned a second break point, but sent a backhand into the net to erase the chance. Nadal finally earned a second match point which he finally converted on a Federer error.

    The win sends Nadal into his first Australian Open final for the first time since his 2009 win. He awaits the winner of the second men’s semifinal, Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic.

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really, fed should be hurt badly after this one... i guess the old ferocious nadal is back, but we can prove this only after the final..

tlebin , 1/26/12 2:18 PM

When Rafa is playing at full throttle, there is no one like him in this era. He makes the most breathtaking shots. Some of them were just pure magic.

nadline , 1/26/12 2:40 PM

agree with nadline...Vamos rafaa

vrael , 1/26/12 2:46 PM

I haven't seen much ferociousness in Nadal... match was close call, it could easy go either way... but far behind level I expected from both of them... there was glimpses in 3rd set, but bot were to tired to produce HQ tennis and left us just with occasional sparks...

atg , 1/26/12 3:17 PM

For several years now we've had two kinds of fedal matches. Sometimes one is having a lot of advantages usually as a combination of surface played on and the physical condition of the opponent, or is just much much better than the other. We then get wash-outs mostly.

What we usually get the other times is both being somewhat nervous and playing the best way they know how to against their old rival in the moment.

What you were looking for, atg, has rarely been possible because of this. We have had it e.g. at Wimbledon 2008 and AO 2009 but hardly at all since. It probably can't be otherwise at this point.

chlorostoma , 1/26/12 3:32 PM

What close call?

nadline , 1/26/12 4:35 PM

Federer's twins watching their dad play: alian-Open-2012-Rafael-Nadal-final-beats-Roger-Federer.html

nadline , 1/26/12 5:03 PM

A nice article emphasising Rafas aggressiveness more than defense 01/26/rafael-nadal/index.html

sanju , 1/26/12 5:30 PM

This match was very similar to past matches in GS play between the two. The article above mentions the shot Fed botched that would have led to a break at 5-4 in the 4th.
What I see again and again is that Fed would hit shots that would be a winner against anyone (except Murray) but Nadal somehow digs them out. That destroys Fed's confidence and he starts going for too much -> more UEs.

Also, Fed moved off his successful game plan in the first set - go to the net with a CC forehand to Nadal's BH in the later sets. He kept on trying to approach to Nadal's FH. And Nadal of course is an excellent passer. So the end result is a couple of fist pumps and Nadal gains energy and confidence, improving the rest of his game.

Djokovic beats Nadal by breaking down his backhand. Fed keeps on trying to go down the line with his FH to Nadal's FH, which is madness on this surface...

Nadal showed great fitness and speed, as Ricky said on the other thread, both men seemed physically fit. So the knee problem is not an issue hopefully.

Bharata , 1/26/12 5:47 PM

By the way, I just noticed a 'fist pump' article under the 'News' section. My comment above wasn't disparaging fist pumps or anything, I just meant that Fed's tactics always end up in giving Nadal more confidence to play better. Nothing wrong with fist pumping.

Grunting 2 seconds AFTER you hit the ball is gamesmanship..but Nadal doesn't do that. The Sharapova-Azarenka match should feature lots of this, though...

Bharata , 1/26/12 5:53 PM

Very good match especially 4th set, Congrats to rafa & Roger

good luck Rafa against Novak in finals

Anyway Novak is going to win AO 2012-- now it is very clear

anji123 , 1/26/12 7:02 PM

I kept waking up and falling asleep and saw scraps of the match :( but whenever I did see something it was great shotmaking, great angles, Federer's fast crosscourt backhand... I remember thinking "what a great tennis these two play, no one stands a chance in the finals...". Now tell me, was it really so spectacular or was I dreaming a bit? :)

Anyhow, congrats Rafa and GO NOLE! :)

danica , 1/26/12 7:12 PM

I felt the match wasn't played at a VERY high level. I mean, 60 odd unforced errors from Federror and 30 odd from Nadal (unexpected) tells the story, doesn't it? A good match, but not really a classic, is it?

firozjehangir , 1/26/12 7:58 PM

it was a very good match, mainly because it got better in the 3rd and 4th

by no means was it "epic" or a "classic". I have heard "classic" being tossed around in other media outlets, but nothing from reputable sources. I don't think anyone who watched the entire match will venture into the "epic" or "classic" realm.

Let's just say if this end's up in Tennistalk's 10 best matches of the year when it's all said and done, then the year won't be that great.

RickyDimon , 1/26/12 8:25 PM

Oh, ok, thank you both ;)
I hope the (anti)Tennis channel will air a repeat sometime today so I'll be able to see it.

danica , 1/26/12 8:43 PM

names were bigger than match... they can sell anything, so I am not surprised with journalist cliches...

atg , 1/26/12 9:19 PM

i thought it was a SUBLIME match. Both were strategically sound and rafa really impressed with his tactics. Roger initially tried to break down rafa's backhand and it was evident he was peppering that wing so much early on until he drew an error or at least a short ball. nadal was forced to lift his backhand level to counter this !

As rafa explained, he used different tactics this time against federer. he attacked roger's forehand A LOT more , far more than he has done in their rivalry ! Rafa said in december he was 'too predictable' in 2011 so we'l likely see such changes to his pattern of plays in big matches perhaps. His forehand is ON FIRE this fortnight, hammering any short balls inside out! for the first time in a fedal match, rafa dictated almost as much as federer did ! both ran almost 3.8-3.9 km in distance in the entire match , quite a telling stat ! usually in their hard/grass court matches it's federer being the main aggressor and rafa counter pucnhing it brilliantly and combining with it his own excellent aggressive skills (esp given fed's improved ability to handle rafa's CC forehands with his backhand).Here though, rafa dictated way more than he usually does ! way to go rafa !

vamosrafa , 1/26/12 11:31 PM

Rafa's new racket seems to be working well and i feel his self belief and confidence are back..nadal's AO 09 final performance is WELL KNOWN for being a masterclass in his career so is the Us open 2010 final. Comparing his performance today with the help of some statistics can help us tell rafa is back to his best with even greater potential.

I was particularly impressed how well rafa used his 2nd serves ! he served them so intelligently, mixing up the directions and spins so well ..he even aced federer on a 2nd serve by outfoxing him and serving it at a speed of 155kmh (way above his 2nd serve avg speed of 137kmh in the entire match) ..rafa did not allow federer much room whenever federer tried to dance around and hit a big forehand return.Again, something that deserted him in 2011 was his 2nd serve (djo creamed it ! )

we know how well rafa served at US open 2010 and he served pretty decent at OZ 09 abd wimb08 as well .Lets make a small comparison regarding rafa's serve. What's been quite impressive is his high serving % and the ability to win crucial points by serving intelligent 2nd serves today.

Wimb 2008: 2nd serve points won: 58%
OZ 09 : : 48%
Us 2010 ; 57% (we know how well he served there)
wimb 2011 : 44%
US 2011 : 42%
Aus 2012 : 63 % (QUITE HEALTHY, federer won 66% on his first serve !! )

*djokovic has the better return but ignore it to simplify matters.

1st serve % comparison:

wimb 2008: 73%
OZ 2009 : 64%
Us 2010 : 67%
US 2011 :68%

Aus 2012= 77% ! tournament average is also late 70s i guess, rafa's finding first serves when he needs them most, GOOD SIGNS.

-rafa has already hit 218 winners, roger had 227 and we know roger gets many service winners and short balls because of his super serving AND he is one of the most aggressive players ever, rafa's almost on par with him in terms of winners ! RARE

-rafa's stepping in hit big returns too, something he needs badly ! jason gudol underlined it in abu dhabi 2012 that rafa could attack djokovic's okayish 2nd serve and dictate play , i agree 100% ! rafa has realized he needs some changes and he is ready and willing...the way he manhandled berdy's serve in set 4 said A LOT ! his intent !

-rafa is willing to make serious strategic changes, eve though owning federer 7-2 in slams, he DID use different and more effective tactics i believe, bring it on !

vamosrafa , 1/27/12 12:23 AM

To me Fed had some success hammering at Rafa's backhand because IMO Rafa's backhand is still not 'there' yet, ie not at his 2009 AO level. Rafa seemed a bit slow towards his backhand and mistimed it and either hit it into the net or overhit it. It's still no where near his best level. If it's that 2009 AO backhand that Fed was trying to hammer time and again, Rafa would have won most of the points.

Rafa is right to add in some new tactics against Fed, he should already learnt from that WTF 2010 final match, that Fed's backhand is no longer that vulnerable. Rafa should concentrate on his backhand, both CC and DTL, as he really needs both his forehand and backhand to be firing well, CC and DTL, to keep Nole or whoever guessing, to make himself less predictable. Also, Rafa should continue to work on his ROS, something Nole, Murray and Ferrer do better than he does, by taking the ball early.

It's quite fascinating that a Rafa who still has so many things in which he can improve in/on, still manages to win 10 slam titles and reaches 15 slam finals now. He may lose some of his speed and power, but his skills is still improving. The real test for him is whether he can maintain his calm when playing against Nole, whether he can use his clutch serving to save him out of troubles, and whether he can remain calm and employs the right strategy against Nole and stops the pannicking and self doubt.

luckystar , 1/27/12 9:08 AM

I am a die-hard Rafan but the following post from a Fedfan (from a different site) really caught my eye for its honesty. I felt his/her pain:

grendel Says:
?Beating at slam is what REALLY matters, nothing more and nothing less!?

I think that?s right, Ajet. I think that?s what Fed fans find so painful. It?s death by a thousand cuts. Nadal is slowly, slowly inching his way up to the magic number of first 16, and then 17. There seems to be something quite inevitable about it. I thought so right from when Nadal defeated Federer at RG for the first time in a final, to get I think his 2nd slam. There was something about Nadal - an implacable quality combined with limitless ambition - which made me feel even then that he would eventually overtake Federer in the slam count. At the time, this was greeted with chortles on the tennisx site, because Nadal was deemed to be only a claycourter, and in any case his style of play was supposed to preclude a lengthy career.

I have always been sceptical of this last point, and I think a lot of people are now. Nadal will have dips in his career, of course, but overall, he will last for as long as he wants or feels he needs to - that?s my totally unqualified opinion. So we all, for I was as guilty as anyone, looked for something else to stop Nadal. A ten ton truck, perhaps, but that being difficult to arrange, we scouted around for other heroes. del Potro for a while was our shining knight, but then he proved fallible (with a build like his, how could it be otherwise?)

Djokovic suddenly emerged from his tutelage, and even Fed fans who basically couldn?t stand him grudgingly conceded that he had his uses. In the great and holy goal of keeping Federer at the top of the slam haul, that is. But some of us are worried, Djokovic looks a little fallible, and whilst he did staunch work last year, we don?t feel he can be relied upon this year. We feel Nadal will get two for sure this year - and maybe more.

It?s a drip drip drip thing. 8 becomes 9, 9 becomes 10?..13 becomes 14??Because the process is so slow, there is plenty of time for frantic contemplation. Federer needs to do this, Federer needs to do that - change his coach, hire a sports psychologist, look into the question of a hitman, stop being so damn stubborn and start - well, start doing something or other, anyway, not quite sure what, hit the ball harder or perhaps not hit it so hard, keep the rallies short, make ?em longer, somewhere, there?s an answer, it?s just a matter of searching diligently, all Fed fans should be engaged in active research, pool their information, relay it to headquarters and in time?

Again and again you hear - not least from me, actually Ajet - that Federer?s tennis is uniquely beautiful. Well, it is. Unfortunately, this is sport and not art, and however highly you prize beauty and technical proficiency, in sport, the warrior quality is deemed highest. And Federer is a great warrior, there is no doubt in my mind at least. But Nadal is the greater warrior, that is equally clear to everyone except a few of the faithful, who obstinately cling to the old style liturgy and regard any deviation as tantamoint to heresy?

Galling, but there it is. What can you do about it? Meanwhile, I find myself in the usual quite ludicrous quandary which afflicts Fed fans above all. I would like Murray to beat Djokovic simply because I like Murray (I quite like Djokovic), but on the other hand, I don?t give Murray any chance of beating Nadal in the final. Djokovic might, even if he is not at the same high level as last year. Thus do we squirm and wriggle??

January 26th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

rafaisthebest , 1/27/12 3:14 PM

Bodo's picked Rafa to win on Sunday...............there's the kiss of death right there!

rafaisthebest , 1/27/12 3:33 PM

Maybe he's picked Rafa because he is tired of being wrong picking against him.

nadline , 1/27/12 3:42 PM

^^^^or mayber it's a desperate attempt at jinxing Rafa.................Bodo can never hide his Fed-panties.........

rafaisthebest , 1/27/12 3:44 PM

RITB, you may be right. Let's hope it backfires on him.

nadline , 1/27/12 3:51 PM

Can someone please explain to my why Rafa always has an effective strategy and tactics when playing Fed and yet appears to have none (at least lately) when playing Nole?

And where r the Fedfans?

rafaisthebest , 1/27/12 5:14 PM

We are here RITB!! still sobbing! Have a feeling Rafas confidence is back and that makes sunday interesting. It wont be a walk in the park for Novak.

tennismania , 1/27/12 5:46 PM

Could someone please tell me who Bodo is? Also, Nadline where did you hear that about Rafa's parents. I must admit I was nicely surprised when I saw them sitting together at Davis Cup. I think Rafa would be overjoyed if they got back together again.

Really enjoyed your post from a fed fan ritb - very interesting and as you say honest but not nasty which makes a nice change.

schatz , 1/27/12 5:52 PM


Pete Bodo writes for He and Steve Tignor are the two guys who write the blogs for that site. He is definitely a Fed fan. He has denied it many times and people write comments on the site arguing about it at length. However, when he wrote in 2010 that Rafa was a one-dimensional clay court player, after he swept the clay court Masters and RG, that was when I went ballistic. I not only called him out publicly on the blog, I sent him an e-mail telling me in blunt language, exactly what I thought.

He must have gotten a lot of them, because he mentioned it in a blog later on. That is the standard Fed fan propaganda. Except that is completely inaccurate on its face. At that point in time, Rafa had won slams on all surfaces. He would go on that year to win Wimbledon and the USO. The career slam proved once and for all, that he was not just a clay court specialist.

You can check out his blog for yourself. So now he is actually picking Rafa to win! That makes me laugh out loud! I guess this is to prove that he is not biased against Rafa. I haven't read his blog yet. I will check it out.

As far as that comment from a Fed fan on tennis-x, I know that person from when I used to post on that site. It's interesting, considering that this site is fiercely pro-Fed and anti-Rafa. That's why I don't post there anymore. This person is at least reasonable and honest, but I will tell you that the majority of the Fed fans on that site do not see it that way at all.

Finally, I do not believe in jinxes for one minute! A player's destiny is in his own hands. It doesn't matter what anyone says, it's what happens on the court.

I just hope that Rafa goes out and plays his best tennis. No mental blocks or letdowns, ple
Please! If he gives it his all and then loses, at least he knows that he did his best.

Nativenewyorker , 1/28/12 12:51 AM

tennismania , 1/27/12 5:46 PM

Commies tennismania! Trust me, we Rafans have nothing but respect for the GOAT. He and Rafa have established something special on the Tour even though I am not enjoying the beatdowns Rafa metes out to Fed as much as I used to, too predictable now imho.

I hope we won't be joining you in sobville come Sunday night!!!!!

Vamos Rafa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 6:19 AM

RITB, nadline : There is nothing called a jinx.. What matters is what Rafa and Nole do on court, nothing else.

Though I must admit I do believe in something that maybe is destined to happen as if its a fairy tale : eg Nole winning Wimby in 2011, Rafa winning Wimby in 2008..they dreamt of it as their biggest prize and it HAD to happen as they wanted it that badly and so the universe will get it for you , thats power of subconscious mind :-)

sanju , 1/28/12 7:05 AM

RITB, I don't know whether it's because of tactics or strategies that Rafa lost to Nole. To me it's all because Rafa is no longer at his physical best whilst Nole is, that's the difference. Just pitch the 2011 Nole against Rafa of 2008, or 2009 AO, or 2010 from the clay season onwards. Do you seriously think that Nole 2011 would still beat that Rafa six times in a row? If you ask me, Rafa FO 2008 > Nole 2011 on clay; Rafa Wimbledon 2008 > Nole Wimbledon 2011; Rafa AO 2009 = Nole AO 2011 and Rafa USO 2010 > or = Nole USO 2011.

The difference is that Rafa's level has gone down, fitness wise and game wise( specifically his backhand and his serve) whilst Nole'a has gone up, fitness wise and game wise (serve and ROS, also his forehand). People talk about match up problems between Rafa and Nole, but I feel it's not so much of match up, as I see a peak Rafa of 2008-2010 doing better than the Rafaof 2011, against the Nole of 2011. Nole will have the edge on hard courts and Rafa on clay and grass.

Regarding tactics for Rafa against Nole, I guess he needs to be aggressive playing against Nole, even though it's not his natural game; move up to the net to shorten points, as he can't beat Nole from the baseline these days as he's no longer as fit as before. Serves well with varieties rather than pace, uses his DTL forehand and backhand more to keep Nole guessing; moves up to the baseline, cut off the angles which Nole can exploit so readily. In short, tries not to allow Nole to play his game, like what Rafa does to Fed so often successfully.

luckystar , 1/28/12 10:16 AM

I disagree...I don't think it has anything to do with Rafa's may have been an issue in Miami or IW where Rafa lost close matches due to the fact that he was a bit slow and serving badly, probably still affected with his AO injury and thus lacking practice hours...yet again, Rafa blew off his chances in IW and Miami (and I don't need to mention that Rafa was unlucky enough and had a heat stroke in that Miami match)...that is when Nole began to own him...Rafa himself said on numerous occasions that if he had won at least one of those matches things may had been much different...Rafa's confidence level dropped afterwards and he was not able to deliver even when he was you really think that Rafa wasn't fit enough during the 2011? I will never forget Madrid when Nole was leading 3 or even 4 to love and Rafa came back....but when he was supposed to serve for the 5:5 Nole was able to break him simply because Rafa's nerves let him down once again...

Rafa reached all the finals in 2011 and even played five setters on the way to the finals which required his fitness level to be at the highest...It is only Rafa's confidence and his mental barrier when playing Nole that made him lose...physically unfit Rafa would have never been able to beat Murray and he did it three times on the way to the GS finals...physically unfit Rafa would have never been able to beat Fed in the FO is just that due to Nole's extraordinary play over Rafa (and I agree Nole's level has gone up in 2011!) Rafa lost his I am not talking about post USO tourneys since Rafa at that time was experimenting with the new racquet and was not ready to play his A game...

Rafa's game is all mental...if he is confident he is able to beat them all...if Rafa is confident, he is standing closer to the baseline, he is serving well at key points, his forehand is penetrating and un-returnable, his movements are great, his defensive skills are amazing, he plays his best tennis when matters...if Rafa is confident, he will beat Nole...

Vamos Rafa!!!

natashao , 1/28/12 11:21 AM

Thanks lucky and natashao for your input. I think for me the answer lies somewhere in between your answers. I agree with natashao that the problem for Rafa, against Nle, has been mental. But I also believe that his mental attitude is affected by his physical well-being. If Rafa feels physically 100%, mentally he is immovable. We all know the physical issues Rafa went through in 2011, and this intriduced doubt in his mind. But kudos to him, he still was second to only one man throughout the season.

This is why I like what I have seen so far from Rafa. I believe there has been a significant improvement from 2011. However, the proof will be in the pudding i.e. a victory over Nole, especially at a GS.

Tomorrow will be a big test for Rafa.

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 11:30 AM

They will both be nervous because Nole won't want his bubble to bust and Rafa won't want to lose again.

nadline , 1/28/12 11:52 AM

Natashao, please note that when I said fitness, I mean a natural decline in his fitness level, meaning he's slower and less powerful in 2011 than when he's in 2008-2009. In fact I've mentioned before, that since his 2009 knee injury, he was slower and less powerful than before, which was why he tried to improve his net game to cut short on some of the points. To me he's still very good on clay in 2010, not so much of his movements but rather his overall skills, especially his point construction and anticipatory skills(remember MC and Rome 2010?). His game on grass was still sound in 2010 but not as quick or as powerful as his Wimbledon. 2008. His USO 2010 win was helped by his big serve.

No doubt he had reached ten finals last year but please go and watch how he played against his opponents, especially on clay, to see whether his level has actually gone down. I'm not talking about his matches against Nole, but against all the other guys. So natashao, can you tell me, is Rafa playing at his 2010 level in 2011?

luckystar , 1/28/12 12:24 PM

lucky, I agree that Rafa's level differs from one year to may argue that his level in 2009 was far worse than his level of 2008 and then you have 2011 far worse than his level of 2010...and where do you get with this analysis? I think nowhere...Rafa's play varies and it stands for other tennis players as well, otherwise it would be one player dominating the field for ages...all I am saying is that it was not Rafa's fitness which made him lose to Nole...he still had it in himself, but lack of confidence was the key far as I recall Rafa had some tough five setters in his early rounds of the Wimby 2010 but then went on and won the title...again, I think it has nothing to do with his fitness...his level of play depends on his mental strength and his confidence...

natashao , 1/28/12 2:11 PM

As I've mentioned, Rafa's speed and power was affected by his knee injury, and I think we may never see his 2008 fitness level again. However, his overall skill has improved, but somehow he's not serving as well as he did like in 2010, or he's not hitting his CC backhand as well as he did in the past. Why? Was it a temporary or a permanent decline in his game, from 2010 to 2011? Was it solely because of lacking in confidence? Is it that simple? I guess no one other than Rafa and his team would know, so your guess is as good as mine.

luckystar , 1/28/12 2:48 PM

I'm just watching the Fedal match now. Right at the beginning, Mats the big mouth Wilander said Rafa would be the more nervous because Federer makes him look stupid!!!

Maybe Cloud Cuckoo Land is in Sweden.

nadline , 1/28/12 4:17 PM

I thought Wilander had an accident in his hotel room...............slipped and hit his head or something and ended up in hospital, or was it somebody else? If it was him, it would explain HIS stupid comments................

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 4:22 PM

It was his back he hit and had internal bleeding from one kidney. He made a rapid recovery though and is back with his blinkers on as far as Federer is concerned. He is so good at calling black white.

Sometimes people think they can talk Rafa into losing; that if they rubbish him the other guy is bound to win.

nadline , 1/28/12 4:48 PM

It's one thing to read/hear anti-Rafa venom from general fans, but when it comes from so-called pundits and commentators such as Bodo, Wilander, Becker, it can be very unsettling. Thank God Rafa has a good support system around him and he does not have to read/hear any of the rubbish...............

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 5:00 PM

Wilander has just said, when the camera panned onto U. Toni, that U. Toni must feel privileged to be living in the Federer era.

nadline , 1/28/12 5:25 PM

I am convinced now that Rafa's problem last year was mental. He did have some physical challenges last year, first with that terrible virus that took away his strength and stamina. He had that foot injury at Wimbledon.

However, seeing Rafa produce this kind of tennis with a disappointing warmup to this first slam, is evidence that he was struggling with confidence issues. I also think he had them even before he lost to Nole at I/W. In fact, that's why I think he lost that match. Nole did nothing to hurt him. Rafa started that match playing aggressive tennis to keep Nole off balance. He was moving forward into the net to close out points quickly and mixing things up nicely. In the middle of the second set, Rafa's serve disappeared. All Nole had to do was watch Rafa fall apart. I think his lack of confidence was why he lost. We have never seen Rafa's serve desert him like that.

The Miami match was the crucial blow. Rafa came out and engaged in a war of attrition, a slugfest. He took it to a third set tb. But he double-faulted at a key point. Again his serve let him down. He lost the match and ended up exhausted and dehydrated. I think the damage was done.

Rafa seems like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. He seems like a different person, happy, relaxed and in a good place. It's nice to see.

Nativenewyorker , 1/29/12 5:38 AM

Re my post of 1//28/12. 10.16 am

Does anyone here believe Rafa's problem vs Nole is more of a fitness/mental issue more than a match up issue? I for one do not think of it as a match up issue, and hence I compare Rafa's 2008-2010 vs Nole's 2011. IMO, Rafa/Nole is different from Rafa/Fed, if it's a match up problem it would have existed since day one that they met, like that of Rafa/Fed, not forgetting Rafa beats a peak form Fed in 2006 when Rafa was 19/20. Did a peak form Nole beat a peak form Rafa in 2011, or was Rafa already down from his peak of 2008-2010?

luckystar , 1/29/12 7:03 AM

While going through the above posts by Nadal fans here, I noticed that many of them believes Nadal had a mental break down playing against Djokovic & has lost mentally more than anything else in many of their finals last year! They doesn't even notice in the process how many times Nadal was beaten in his own game of rallies on all surfaces against Djokovic and so on. But, when the same "Mental breakdown" factor is being said about the Fedal match of Wimbledon 2008 final or AO 2009 final which struck Federer, they start to shout and insist that was not the reason! What an irony! Seems like, they will write everything to suit themselves and to prove Nadal a better player than anyone else in the Tennis circuit by any means, even when he is on a loosing streak of 7 finals against Djokovic which doesn't seems like ending any sooner! With due respect to everyone here, I think this is not fair and this one sidedness of them in this site is equivalent to that of the one sidedness of Tennis-x for Federer, as some of them accused that site doing over here!

solitudine , 1/29/12 5:59 PM


I really wish you would go back on tennis-x with the rest of he obsessed, rabid Fed fan. You incessant trashing of Rafa fans has become beyond self-indulgent.

You look for things that aren't there, because your hatred and bias distorts everything. I have posted on tennis-x in the past, so I can speak from experience as to the difference between this site and that one. Rafa fans come here because at least on this site they can have their say, which is not true on tennis-x. The vitriolic attacks on any Rafa fan who tries to express their opinion on that site, is truly appalling.

We don't drive people away from this site. Only the trolls. The people who crawl out from wherever they hide, only to throw cheap shots and Rafa and his fans. You have contributed nothing to merit to the discussion here. Rafa fans don't go around hating on Fed the way that Fed fans do to Rafa.

Thanks to fair moderating by Cheryl and Ricky, this site is a place where fans of all players can have their say. As long as they follow the rules, they are free to express their thoughts and feelings. That is simply not the case on tennis-x. It's a free-for-all over there. That's why you don't see any Rafa fans, or maybe one or two who brave the wrath of the Fed fans.

We have fans of Murray, Nole, Rafa, Fed, and many others. This site encourages anyone and everyone to come on and join in a fair and reasonable discussion.

You just don't like Rafa fans believing in him and supporting him. That's your problem.

Nativenewyorker , 1/30/12 12:42 AM

Sorry, I am really tired from being up late trying to watch the final. There are a number of mistakes in my last post.

I meant to say in my first sentence - the rest of THE obsessed, rabid Fed fans. Also YOUR incessant trashing of Rafa fans in the next sentence.

Third paragraph - The people who crawl out from wherever they hide, only to throw cheap shots AT Rafa and his fans. You have contributed nothing OF merit to the discussion.

I want to make sure that my words are as they should be.

Nativenewyorker , 1/30/12 12:47 AM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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