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Match report

Novak Djokovic © Tennistalk.com
French Open
Final
6/10/12 1 2 3 4 Tot
rs  Novak Djokovic 4 3 6 5 1
es  Rafael Nadal 6 6 2 7 3
Rafael Nadal © Tennistalk.com
  • Nadal beats Djokovic to win record seventh French Open

    6/11/12 2:07 PM | Ricky Dimon
    The highly-anticipated Roland Garros title match takes two days to complete, but Rafael Nadal wins it and passes Bjorn Borg with seven triumphs on the red clay. Nadal outlasts world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in four sets.

    The King of Clay stands alone as the King of Roland Garros.

    Rafael Nadal captured a record seventh French Open title on Monday afternoon, finishing off Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 in a rain-delayed match that lasted three hours and 49 minutes across two days.

    A heavy favorite having not yielded a single set en route to the final, Nadal took control right away on Sunday. The world No. 2 raced to a commanding 3-0 advantage with breaks in the first and third games of the match. Djokovic suddenly recovered for 3-3, but a double-fault on break point in the seventh game dug him another hole. Nadal served out the opener easily from there, capitalizing on his first set point with an inside-out forehand winner.

    The second progressed in similar fashion, with Djokovic falling behind by a break (again via a double-fault) only to seize three games in a row for a brief 3-2 lead. Nadal, however, continued to blast away with his forehand and fired one cross-court on break point to edge back in front at 4-3. After a short weather interruption, the players returned to court with Nadal ahead 5-3 and he wasted no time pocketing another break for a huge two-set lead.

    Djokovic stormed back in the third, but not before facing yet another deficit. The championship appeared to be firmly in Nadal's grasp when he survived a tough hold for 1-0 then broke easily in the second game. Instead, Djokovic found his energy just in time and reeled off six games out of nowhere to force a fourth set in convincing fashion.

    The streak reached eight as Djokovic broke right away and sprinted to 2-0 in the fourth. Nadal, who failed to convert a game point in his previous effort on serve, finally stopped the bleeding with a quick hold for 1-2. At the changeover, the match--which had progressed through a slow but steady rain--was suspended and postponed for the night.

    Djokovic had been a slow starter all tournament long, and the delay proved to be his undoing on Monday afternoon. Nadal regained control from the start, breaking immediately for 2-2 and holding comfortably the entire way. Djokovic delivered a clutch hold at 4-5, but he could not produce similar goods at 5-6. Two errors from the world No. 1 followed by a Nadal winner brought up championship point, and Djokovic capitulated with a final double-fault.

    Nadal finished with 34 winners and a mere 29 unforced errors. The Spaniard maintains his No. 2 ranking and breaks the tie with Bjorn Borg atop the French Open title chart.


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Comments

I 'm so happy, I just can't take it in. I knew Rafa would come out the more positive because Nole was flying high at close of play yesterday so he wouldn't have spent too much time dwelling on the match whilst Rafa would have done some reflection.

I think Djokovic could see that Rafa was angry yesterday and unsettled so he made the most of it, but Rafa was the better player in the match. He's now redeemed his confidence against Djokovic and it can only get better for him.

nadline , 6/11/12 2:36 PM


Vamossss Rafa. I am soooooo happy

gr8nadal , 6/11/12 2:51 PM


I share the same sentiment nadline:) It was awesome to see him celebrate this BIG WIN! His post-match celebration reminds me when he won the 2008 Wimbledon title. He wanted it so badly. How sweet it is for him to win this one against Djokovic. This will only boost his confidence in the next coming months, and so indeed a lot of good things to look forward to.

Thanks RAFA for continuing to fight and never giving up. You are the reason I've come to love watching tennis. YOU> winning your matches is the best happy drug there is for me. So thank you:)

RAFAREE , 6/11/12 2:52 PM


I can finally crawl back out from the hole I dig myself up last year.....
Congratulations to a great champion RAFA and a great finalist NOVAK
It's hard indeed to take it in.. he's levelled the 7 wins of Sampras in Wimbledon and i already thought that was completely ridiculous!

Shireling , 6/11/12 3:00 PM


Beautiful day for us Rafans! The world is suddenly a better place, I even come to like the French crowd this time around...:)

I want to use this opportunity to CONGRATULATE both RICKY (THE CHAMPION) and CHERYL (the FINALIST) for predicting the outcome of the matches of this RG in a really amazing and impeccably correct manner! :)

I think we should officially pronounce Ricky the KING of Tennistalk!

Vamos!!!

natashao , 6/11/12 3:10 PM


The best thing is that it's Djokovic he defested for the title if it had been anyone else, some questions would still be unanswered. Rafa does not have Djokovic in his head anymore.

nadline , 6/11/12 3:11 PM


@natashao,

Cheryl is more exact in her prediction than Ricky. Check it out at FINAL EXPERT PICKS.

Raindrops , 6/11/12 3:46 PM


One of the best wins EVER!! Had to watch live scores this morning so I had no idea how well Rafa was playing, other than he seemed to be holding serve pretty easily. Will watch the complete match on Tennis Channel this afternoon. So glad Rafa beat out Nole in the battle of the "histories". Nole would have been insufferable for the rest of his career, whereas Rafa will wear his 7th RG crown with true humility. He's just the best champion ever!

Maya , 6/11/12 4:07 PM


WOW !!!!!! What a tense match over 2 days !!! The Greatest Clay Court Player of all Time has WON his 7th at Roland Garros
VAMOS Rafa you are the Champion

sals3 , 6/11/12 4:10 PM


Congrats to Rafa and his fans. This is a monumental achievement. Now, there is no question who the best clay court player is.

I feel like a deflated balloon. I don't think Rafa was that much better, I thought it was pretty evenly contested, I feel the rain and dirt don't mix with contact lenses and I don't think rain was a better environment for Nole like so many here yesterday pointed out. And I don't think Vajda gave any coaching after the first interruption - what is there to say that Novak doesn't know himself?

He had him yesterday, but today is another day and I knew it would go this way :(. Nole needs time to warm up while Rafa starts furiously from the blocks like the 100m sprinter.

Anyhow, this was a good run for Nole. Keep on winning you champ!

danica , 6/11/12 4:37 PM


Wow, that was exhausting.

Vamos, Rafa!!!

mara002 , 6/11/12 4:49 PM


Congratulations to Rafa and his fans. Commiserations to Nole and his fans.
I personally thought the rain delays made the final a farce. The conditions they were made to play in were awful. So bad for players, spectators and fans.

deuce , 6/11/12 5:37 PM


My first post did not materialise so here goes. I cannot tell you how much my spirits have been lifted. I am so happy for Rafa and I am glad that he managed to do it in 4 sets.

I am happy to be able to share this moment with my fellow Rafans on this site and it has been great to be able to share our thoughts and feelings with one another during these last two weeks.

Vamos our Rafa - you have done us proud. He must be walking on air at the moment. I honestly feel that he deserved to win this trophy because he has played exceptional tennis for most of the tournament and has earned his unique place in RG history not just by winning today but by maintaining this high level on clay for the past 8 years or so.

Danica - I would like to thank you for your kind congratulations and understand that you must be feeling very sad right now. Nole will go on to win many more tournaments that's for sure.

So, take care everybody and God bless.

schatz , 6/11/12 5:39 PM


Maya , 6/11/12 4:07 PM ''Nole would have been insufferable for the rest of his career'' comment like this is insufferable

Congratulations Rafa fans your man was better he deserved it! Novak fought there and never gave up, showed great sportmanship and that is all I could ask for. Hi will have his chance to compleate career slam and win four in a row and I don't doubt he will.

sisuphos , 6/11/12 5:58 PM


Rafa has hit many milestones with this win

Best claycouter
Max no of RG titles
Only player to have 7 or more at 3 tourneys (MC, Barcelona, RG)
Golden jubilee of titles
4th in slam count (11 behind Fed, SAmpras, Emerson)
Max number of GS won at an event (Tied with Sampras)
8 year GS champion in a row

Regarding Nole, I genuinely hope he wins the French for sure some day. I somehow think not next year but year after next will be his tme and I think he will defeat Rafa only to win his RG, I think like Rafa was meant to beat Fed to win his 1st Wimby in 2008 after 2 unsuccessful attempts, Nole may have to go through maybe 1 more unsuccessful attempt to finally beat Rafa and win his 1st RG and I actually wouldnt mind that, Rafa would have had 8 by then too :-)

I really hope he atleast hits to No 14 soo

sanju , 6/11/12 7:11 PM


Rafa won and he deserve this win... but don't he was that good and supreme as I am reading on all this comments. It's great achievement, but far from completing slam.

What bothering me is that Rafa won with 2 matches, not one 5 setter where Novak had chance. I was hoping for new AO finals...

Novak clearly didn't bring his A game on RG, and it showed through tournament that he is late starter. In 3rd set Rafa didn't know where he is, unlike rest of sets where they were competing pretty close. Rafa supremacy on tournament is more cakewalk draw where Rafa had no time to shine and show how good he is.

I think Novak was amazing, not by his play (which honestly wasn't that good) but with determination and iron willpower.

Rafa was the better, but I think Novak deserved 5th set...

atg , 6/11/12 7:12 PM


Rafas presser..nice presser

http://www.rafaholics.com/2012/06/rg-final-press-conference -transcipt.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

He says he was very very nervous for this match as he knew it was very important for him to reverse the tide, He said he felt ready to go on court just 3 minutes before the match started



Most important statement I am happy reading
I also know that my season is going to be good moving on, because I?m in great shape, but I?m very pragmatic, and I need to prepare for the others.

sanju , 6/11/12 7:30 PM


I read a headline telling that Rafa 'ascended to seventh heaven on earth'. After Rafa's victory, I felt myself rising up to seventh heaven.

Vamos Rafa!!!!!!! Vamooooooos!!!!!!!

(I am still Rafa's fan. I have supported him on his Facebook page).

Augustina08 , 6/11/12 7:35 PM


atg said: "Rafa supremacy on tournament is more cakewalk draw where Rafa had no time to shine and show how good he is." I thought he shone pretty darn brightly today. M. Carillo said he only lost three points on his serve today. That's impressive, whether or not you are a fan of Rafa's.

As for "cakewalk" draws, I'm tired of that argument, although you'll find plenty of people who agree with you on MTF, Talk Tennis, RF.com, Rouan's Sour Grapes blog and the other message boards and blogs overflowing with bitter Fed fans. The problem is, you could make that argument about Fed and Djokovic too, at times. If you're going to say that Rafa had a cupcake draw this year, you'll have to admit that others have had them, too, at various times and tournaments. Cupcake or not, you still have to show up and beat the person on the other side of the net.

Fanfan , 6/11/12 7:38 PM


Nice article, analysis by past champions

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/story/2012-06-11/fr ench-open-mens-final-rafael-nadal-novak-djokovic/55514448/1

sanju , 6/11/12 7:39 PM


Congratulations to Rafa and group hug to ALL Rafa fans. Rafa indeed made us proud. We cant ask for any more!!!

Rafa and Novak like each other and respect each other. They play their best mostly when they play each other. I have to admit that some of Novak's fans are a bit odd but so are some Rafa fans! After today, i have to admit that I have a new found liking for Novak. He has spend the better part of last four years in the shadow of Roger and Rafa and I respect him for stepping up his game and being included in the conversation. Kudos to him!! Like some people said here Novak WILL win RG some day, i dont really care if its next year or not but he will, and he would have deserved it.

I just look forward to the other tourneys and hope that our faves remain healthy and play at the top of their games. Afterall, without each other the tennis will be non-existent, and we need a Rafa like we need a Novak like we need a Roger and a Murray.

So here is me wishing Rafa all the best for the rest of the season and I anticipate some great tennis between the best players!!!

VAMOS!!!

Monalysa , 6/11/12 7:57 PM


Rafans - while we celebrate today after Rafa has won 7 RG titles ad won 4 titles this year, I am still compelled to think

After Nadal withdrew from the semis of Miami with a flareup of his chronic knee tendonitis,how many of us thought we would be celebrating today?

After the disastrous WTF last year, which we all were looking forward to after his break, today looks so much better

After the heartbreaking winnable AO 12 final that Rafa lost, which ofcourse crushed us a lot, today is so upbeat

We have a lot to be happy and thankful for and smile :-), I am just reminiscing and I hope we see bigger and greater things ahead

sanju , 6/11/12 8:48 PM


I couldn't log on to this site even now I keep getting logged off. anyway it is good for tennis that Rafael won.otherwise there would have been no rivalry.

vij , 6/11/12 9:06 PM


Major congrats, first of all, to Novak. You cannot blame him for starting slow, honestly. He worked very hard to get to his 2011 level. Then to get to the point of being the only serious threat to Rafa at RG. (He would have been already last year, helped a little by Rafa being low then.) He fought so hard so often this last 1.5 years it is unbelievable. And he deserves the congrats for pushing Rafa hard at an RG final. More than that would have been too much to ask, for now, this year. Rafa?s level was (still) too high. I think this is like Rafa?s 2006 or 2007 Wimbledon. I have only admiration for Nole.
Congrats to Nole fans. Nole said himself that he could have gone out in round 4? even 4 times, facing 4 matchpoints! He just maybe might have gone out against Roger (perhaps not so likely). You have to admit that once the balls, shoes and court were getting very water-heavy and you could no longer play a claycourt game and Nole was on the verge of losing in straights it was at the same time admirable that Nole then played so amazingly. It is one thing to have nothing to lose, it happens so often in matches, it is another to do what Nole has done. (Many times these last 1.5 years.) We have known for a while that one day Nole might beat Rafa at RG, or someone else. We have known for a while, as Rafa got his confidence back and was adjusting his play with a new raquet and other game adjustments that it was not likely to happen this year. No shame in that, nothing to regret. Just think about the words that came out of Nole?s mouth in the court side interview.
What all Nole fans, and fans of tennis should admire in Nole is that he has now managed to often do what Roger more or less never was able to do in big matches with Rafa? when possibly losing fight hard to turn things around, no matter how likely or not the outcome. Think of US 2010, US 2011, AO 2011, RG2012 and I probably am missing some other major matches. That takes a lot of guts and some humility ? in the sense of willing to adjust, willing to do what it takes, willing to go out and leave your guts on the court win or lose.
Congrats to Nole for working since a kid at this. For weathering many years of knowing your potential yet not being able to be consistent enough in the results (remember post AO 2008?)?. Until 1.5 years ago. There is no doubt that nothing stands in the way of Nole winning a number more of slams, and very, very likely completing the career slam. Only crazy injury or early retirement.
Congrats to Roger and Rafa for pushing each other to go so far, although (imho) Roger could have let himself be pushed by his challenges to go even further than he did over those years. Congrats to Nole and Rafa to do the same to each other. The tremendous challenge that Nole has (and still does) pose to Rafa for the last year or more has spurred him on to keep making his game better and more aggressive. And now there rivalry will continue to do the same for both of them. I think that Wimbledon may be more likely for Rafa to take, if they meet, and the US Open? well, probably Nole unless Rafa comes with huge confidence in which case there will be lots of fireworks and a hard to predict final (if they meet).
Rafa?s half of the draw at this RG was _not_ an easy draw? unless you play at Rafa?s level every time you need to raise your game. He did play stronger than Nole on clay these last two days in most stretches, even though both were nervous. ( I had posted the night and morning before that they would both be nervous and there would be drops of serve etc, but the post did not go through.) No shame in admitting this.
Pre-Nole 2.0 I wondered who could ever seriously challenge Rafa at RG, injury apart. It seemed back then that perhaps it would not happen until someone from the next ?generation? would come up and Rafa would already be a couple of years older. No-one among the younger players seemed to have nearly enough on clay? still doesn?t I believe. But Nole has turned out to be at least close? so far, and has vowed to keep improving.
It is no wonder, truly, that the bookies, and most journos had Rafa as the favorite, even taking into consideration nerves and Novak?s amazing play under pressure.
The outcome is good for tennis and good for both of them. Truly.
When I saw Rafa hug his family, and when I saw him beaming when interviewed by McEnroe I was close to tears and this almost never happens in my case with tennis matches.
When I saw the disappointment in Nole?s face I felt for him, but knew he had given it his all and is really hungry for the career slam? and sooner or later he will get it.
Major congrats to both.

chlorostoma , 6/12/12 4:29 AM


so happy with RAfa! Vamos

i was sweating it all last night with novak seemingly in the driving seat and looking to take it to a 5th but Rafa showed his fighting spirit

onwards to Halle...set up a match with fed on grass once again....juicy

rafakid , 6/12/12 6:50 AM


Lovely post above from Chlorostoma.

Regardless of who we support we should all give our heartfelt thanks for being around to witness and experience this amazing era in tennis.

Hats off to the four international musketeers - Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray - who for the past six years have dominated the rankings and provided tennis fans with countless hours of enthralling tennis.

ed251137 , 6/12/12 6:56 AM


Major congrats to Rafa for playing an amazing claycourt match and making history. It is great to see such a great champion join the pantheon of legends that form such an exclusive club in tennis history - to have achieved it at 26 is the stuff of legend.

Commiserations to Nole, it was heartbreaking to see the match end the way it did - and I thought he truly had his chances but didn't take enough calculated risks. However, I am still confident he will regroup and finish the season No.1 with one more slam at least from the year. He's hungry and has more than enough tools. On to Wimbledon!

samprallica , 6/12/12 7:02 AM


I am having having all sorts of problems trying to log in, my useraname and password won't stick that's why I have been so quiet! I do not want to put into many words how I feel right now now, except the following:

1. Congratulations to ALL Rafans;
2. Congratulations to Rafa................you are phenomenal.
3. Thank you Rafa............thank you.

Vamos!!!!

rafaisthebest , 6/12/12 7:18 AM


ritb, I assumed you were busy as you said you'd be at Dubai airport when the match started.

Rafa is phenomenal. I got a lump in my throat when he jumped onto the stands, bulldozed his way past his parents, sister, gf to get to his uncle and give him the biggest hug ever. It shows how much he appreciates what he's done for him.

Because of all those defeats to Nole, U. Toni has made Rafa into an even better player. Had Rafa won maybe 2 or 3 of those finals last year he would not have made any changes. In fact now I am not was worried as I used to be when Rafa came up against Nole even before 2011, because this is a different, new improved Rafa.


Vamos

nadline , 6/12/12 8:27 AM


It must have been a devastating blow for Nole to lose that match and, like Roger and Rafa before him, to see the dream of achieving the ultimate Grand Slam end in tatters.

He deserves our highest respect for his dignified acceptance of the loss and his sporting behaviour in the aftermath.

ed251137 , 6/12/12 10:12 AM


It must have been a devastating blow for Nole to lose that match and, like Roger and Rafa before him, to see the dream of achieving the ultimate Grand Slam end in tatters.

He deserves our highest respect for his dignified acceptance of the loss and his sporting behaviour in the aftermath.

ed251137 , 6/12/12 10:12 AM


The winner of a career slam is in Rafa's hands. No one can beat him at RG but he is capable of beating anyone at any slam.

I think it would have been more devastating for Rafa if he'd lost a 4th slam final to the same person and also lose on his turf. I also think it would have been iniquitous for Nole to have won a career slam with only 6 slam titles whilst Rafa and Roger wouldn't have had a career slam even though they have far more slam titles than Nole so I'm glad that Rafa won his 7th RG title and is now the undisputed King of Clay.

Just my take.

nadline , 6/12/12 11:14 AM


Couldn't log on yesterday for whatever reason, site kept bumping me off.

A monumental achievement for Rafa. I know no other athlete with his resilience and determination to win. After a humbling 2011 and against the man many now call his mortal nemesis, Rafa dug deep and held on with a steely determination that we must all marvel at. At such a young age, he has already acomplished so much. Now acknowledged as the greatest clay-courter of all time, I can only wonder what else he can still achieve in his career. More records will come tumbling down, no doubt. And he does it all with such class and humility. A very special victory for a very special man. Congrats to Rafa, and to all those who believed in him even when the world didn't.

storyteller , 6/12/12 11:55 AM


chlorostoma - what a wonderful post. The scenes after he had won were so emotional and like you I could not keep the tears back when I saw that Rafa was so emotional and also crying. The celebration with his family was also very emotional and I saw that his father was in tears too. I have seen previous celebrations but nothing quite like this - it meant so much to everyone. I am very happy that Rafa has a big and wonderful family and good friends (including his team) who are there to support him through thick and thin. He of course has all of us too.

You are also right that Novak is to be admired for the way he handled his loss and it was very sad that it had to end on a double fault by him. I really felt for him at that moment too.

They have always been great rivals and I am sure this will continue. Like ed said we are so lucky to have such great champions playing at the same time, so let's enjoy it.

I think it was very important for Rafa to win this match and I am happy that it came to pass. I like the fact that Rafa & Novak like and respect each other and take their knocks with grace.

Vamos Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 6/12/12 12:01 PM


chlorostoma - what a wonderful post. The scenes after he had won were so emotional and like you I could not keep the tears back when I saw that Rafa was so emotional and also crying. The celebration with his family was also very emotional and I saw that his father was in tears too. I have seen previous celebrations but nothing quite like this - it meant so much to everyone. I am very happy that Rafa has a big and wonderful family and good friends (including his team) who are there to support him through thick and thin. He of course has all of us too.

You are also right that Novak is to be admired for the way he handled his loss and it was very sad that it had to end on a double fault by him. I really felt for him at that moment too.

They have always been great rivals and I am sure this will continue. Like ed said we are so lucky to have such great champions playing at the same time, so let's enjoy it.

I think it was very important for Rafa to win this match and I am happy that it came to pass. I like the fact that Rafa & Novak like and respect each other and take their knocks with grace.

Vamos Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 6/12/12 12:01 PM


Sorry about the double post but the gremlins still seem to be with us.

schatz , 6/12/12 12:11 PM


Great performance from the clayking. 11 slams and counting...the march towards 16 resumes..Watch Out!!

atul1985 , 6/12/12 12:32 PM


Rafa needs to collect as many slams as possible in 2012 and 2013. I think from 2014, we might see a dip in his performance levels, I guess. I believe that if he continues playing the way he is, he will have around 14 slams by the end of 2013. A few French Opens after that and then he is the GOAT:-)...probably wishful thinking as of now, but you never know!

atul1985 , 6/12/12 12:39 PM


Rafa needs to collect as many slams as possible in 2012 and 2013. I think from 2014, we might see a dip in his performance levels, I guess. I believe that if he continues playing the way he is, he will have around 14 slams by the end of 2013. A few French Opens after that and then he is the GOAT:-)...probably wishful thinking as of now, but you never know!

atul1985 , 6/12/12 12:40 PM


ritb - hope you are enjoying Rafa's win wherever you are. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

schatz , 6/12/12 5:27 PM


nadline , 6/12/12 11:14 AM

You voiced exactly what I was thinking but lacked the courage to air in public.

ed251137 , 6/12/12 6:21 PM


nadline , 6/12/12 11:14 AM

You voiced exactly what I had been thinking but lacked the courage to say in public.

ed251137 , 6/12/12 6:25 PM


One's efforts either disappear completely or multiply. There seems to be no way of knowing whether it is going through or has been lost forever.

While on the subject poor site maintenance, can anyone explain why the page for ATP rankings is still featured when it has not been updated since September 2011.

ed251137 , 6/12/12 6:32 PM


You know me ed, I've got a thick skin. I have to say what I think, I can't help myself.

nadline , 6/12/12 7:05 PM


Federer: "I expected a triumph for Rafa because he played an incredible level throughout the tournament. He is a great champion."

Bjorn Borg: ?Rafael Nadal will surely win the French Open a couple of times more.?

sanju , 6/12/12 7:45 PM


Djokovic: My rivalry with Nadal can outshine Rafa-Roger

sanju , 6/12/12 7:49 PM


"I don't think (Nadal) necessarily still has the answers. I think he fights through this match, and it's clay, and he's confident, and he wins the key points there toward the end," seven-time major champion Mats Wilander said after presenting Nadal with the trophy at Roland Garros on Monday.

"If you're going to build a player that's going to trouble Roger Federer on every surface, you build Nadal. And if you're going to build a player that's going to trouble Nadal, you build Robin Soderling with the movement of Novak Djokovic. And suddenly, Novak Djokovic at No. 1 is hitting the ball like Soderling, but he moves like Novak," Wilander said. "So it's amazing how they all fit each other really badly. The one big thing is Novak has now maybe turned the corner on Federer completely after here. ... He's the one to beat (at Wimbledon) - Novak is still the one to beat, for sure."

sanju , 6/12/12 7:52 PM


"I don't think (Nadal) necessarily still has the answers. I think he fights through this match, and it's clay, and he's confident, and he wins the key points there toward the end," seven-time major champion Mats Wilander said after presenting Nadal with the trophy at Roland Garros on Monday.

"If you're going to build a player that's going to trouble Roger Federer on every surface, you build Nadal. And if you're going to build a player that's going to trouble Nadal, you build Robin Soderling with the movement of Novak Djokovic. And suddenly, Novak Djokovic at No. 1 is hitting the ball like Soderling, but he moves like Novak," Wilander said. "So it's amazing how they all fit each other really badly. The one big thing is Novak has now maybe turned the corner on Federer completely after here. ... He's the one to beat (at Wimbledon) - Novak is still the one to beat, for sure."

sanju , 6/12/12 7:53 PM


sanju, with all due respect, I wouldn't take too much notice of what Wilander says, he talks a load of tosh. So Sod beat Rafa at RG under special circumtances, but Rafa came back the next year fit and well and dismissed him in straight sets. As for Nole being the one to beat, excuse me, didn't he nearly lose to Seppi and Tsonga.
These legends are simply jealous of Rafa. They could cope with Roger trumping their legacy, but not Rafa who has his own style and is beating Roger to boot.

nadline , 6/12/12 8:23 PM


ed251137 , 6/12/12 9:19 PM


The commies always used to say Federer was the favourite no matter how many times Rafa beat him on the trot and it didn't matter which surface it was on, Federer was always the favourite to beat Nadal, and everytime Nadal would beat him. Eventually they gave up because they just sounded so silly.

I love watching the recordings of matches including the pre-match tournament chat when they never refrained from bigging Federer up before a match only for Rafa to stuff their bile back into their mouths. The RG 2008 is one I always remember with glee.

nadline , 6/12/12 9:51 PM


Wilander is full of Sod lore, while the Americans love to trot out John Isner being the only player to take Rafa to 5 sets. I'll bet it was mentioned at least a dozen times between the quarters and the final. Once a match is really enough.

Oh yes, the media was ready to crown Nole the best thing since sliced bread, catapulting him into all the bs goat discussions. Now, for the time being at least, he'll have to earn his status the hard way, just like Fed and Rafa, one slam at a time. And yes, I do see an arrogance to Nole at times, and to many of his behaviors are insufferable. Sorry but true.

Maya , 6/12/12 10:01 PM


Wilander is just looking thru his fed-coloured glasses. Just another media fedbot.

Go back to FO 2011 final and he was on and on about how Fed was the favourite. Same for Fed vs Rafa at AO 2012 SF.

#BrokenRecord

agfmilos , 6/12/12 10:14 PM


Wilander is just looking thru his fed-coloured glasses. Just another media fedbot.

Go back to FO 2011 final and he was on and on about how Fed was the favourite. Same for Fed vs Rafa at AO 2012 SF.

#BrokenRecord

agfmilos , 6/12/12 10:16 PM


I hope the figure out the problems on this site, because I am having so much trouble even logging in and then getting my posts to show up.

I just wanted to say that I am with ed in agreeing with nadline's post @6/12/12 11:14 am. Always the courage to say it like it is, no matter what.

I have enjoyed reading many of the comments here. So much that I agree with completely. I do think this win was very important for Rafa because he had to draw a line in that red clay and say - no way are you beating me here in my kingdom! He already lost three slams in a row, so this was his chance to stop the losing streak, get a historic win and be back on track. Because he did beat Nole in a slam, now he will have a ton of confidence moving ahead. He got the monkey off his back and can play freely and with conviction.

I cannot say enough about how Rafa stayed in the fight and didn't give up. He could easily have gotten too discouraged and thought it was over, as too many online said over and over. It takes a special champion with guts and heart to work to find a way out of so many consecutive losses. Rafa found himself again, the passion and the joy and the competitive spirt. That was a big key. Then the tennis followed. It all came together.

Rafa admitted that he had a bad night after the match was suspended on Sunday. Like many of us! Yet he came out like a warrior with a look in his eye, a determination, a belief and ferocity that told me he was not losing this match and would win it in four. You could see it in his body language.

Let the naysayer and doubters ramble on. The ones who count have stood up for Rafa. The greatest clay court player of all time, my first tennis love Bjorn Borg already said all that needs to be said about Rafa. He knows enough to respect and admire Rafa because he has been there. He is the one person who knows what it takes to be that dominant at RG. He has already anointed Rafa as the greatest clay court player of all time. How gracious and classy!

I also think that Nole will have to wait a while for his career slam and more glory. Rafa had to earn it when he came up against a Fed in his prime. He had it the toughest. I appreciate Nole's gracious behavior in defeat. He seemed to have little left on Monday after those long matches and this final. It's too bad that it ended on a doublefault, but Nole did well to reach his first RG final.

I believe that Nole and Rafa should be co-favorites for Wimbledon. Rafa is the superior grass court player and winning this historic seventh RG will give him a tremendous boost.

I am still on cloud nine and haven't come down yet!

Nativenewyorker , 6/13/12 1:28 AM


And I have here Wally Masur and Fred Stolly saying that they believe Nole would beat Rafa if not for rain that halted play on Sunday, implying that Rafa was lucky!

You know how little respect they gave to Rafa? So now they thought Rafa is beatable at RG (even when he's playing so well), as long as the weather helped his opponent! I wonder were it all sunny at RG throughout all these years when Rafa was winning the FO? When Sod beat Rafa in 2009, it wasn't raining or with heavy conditions, it was Sod hitting all the lines when Rafa couldn't run to defend because of his shot knees. As long as Rafa's knees are OK, do people like Wally Masur and Fred Stolly believed that Rafa would allow Nole to hit and touch the lines all the time like a crazy man playing, without Rafa making his move to fight back during set four or even set five if it comes to pass?? So they think Nole can continue playing like that for three long sets without missing and Rafa would stand there doing nothing and feeling helpless?? Please, Rafa is not the king of clay for nothing!!

All these so called experts (they're all ex players and some like Stolly and Wilander had won the FO themselves) are simply jealous of what Rafa, at just 26, have already achieved and has the potential to achieve even more. Just imagine Rafa getting closer and closer to Fed's slam count, it may be them worrying more than Fed himself for Fed's records. They're there heaping praises on Nole just because they thought they've found an answer to how to beat Rafa, on clay and everywhere else, but now they're staring at three straight defeats of Nole on clay handed out by Rafa himself. So their theory of a nemesis for Rafa has now being shaken; I hope Rafa meets and beats Nole at Wimbledon this year, and stun all these detractors even further, even though that would mean Rafa can't overtake Nole for no.1 even after Wimbledon.

luckystar , 6/13/12 2:41 AM


Besides being Clay GOAT, Rafa has also officially become GSOAT (greatest spoiler of all time) by denying Fed twice and Nole once from completing the Grand Slam :))

Roland Garros remains the ultimate challenge in tennis as long as Rafa is still active!!!!

huykle , 6/13/12 5:15 AM


Besides being Clay GOAT, Rafa has also officially become GSOAT (greatest spoiler of all time) by denying Fed twice and Nole once from completing the Grand Slam :))

Roland Garros remains the ultimate challenge in tennis as long as Rafa is still active!!!!

huykle , 6/13/12 5:15 AM


Rafa is the common man's hero because he is a product of hard work rising through the ranks to go to the very top.

These so called projected elitist commentators may try to put him down but finally its the peoples love that matters. And Rafa is the common mans hero.

I know hordes and hordes of cases in India - people who used to dislike Rafa earlier (mainly for the losses inflicted on Fed) who have now all come to appreciate Rafa a great deal. He has his huge legion of fans too , I thought India was more a Fed bastion, surprisingly Rafa is right up there along with Fed and many of the younger < 25 crowd I speak to seem to actually like Rafa a lot more than Fed.

I also have heard big international cricketer celebrities like SAchin TEndulkar who is a huge Fed fan speaking very highly of Rafa (especially after the way Rafa behaved with Fed in the 2009 AO final presentation), he said he has never ever seen such display of sensitivity on a big stage between 2 fierce competitors

The public in general identifies more with someone who projects a middle class, common man, down to earth and humble vibe and this I think is appicable across countries and Rafa gives you exactly that vibe.

I am eagerly waiting for the day he will cross 16 in GS tally, I ma not saying it will happen, I hope it happens and then NO ONE will have any ammunition at all to put him down.

sanju , 6/13/12 6:45 AM


Rafa is the common man's hero because he is a product of hard work rising through the ranks to go to the very top.

These so called projected elitist commentators may try to put him down but finally its the peoples love that matters. And Rafa is the common mans hero.

I know hordes and hordes of cases in India - people who used to dislike Rafa earlier (mainly for the losses inflicted on Fed) who have now all come to appreciate Rafa a great deal. He has his huge legion of fans too , I thought India was more a Fed bastion, surprisingly Rafa is right up there along with Fed and many of the younger < 25 crowd I speak to seem to actually like Rafa a lot more than Fed.

I also have heard big international cricketer celebrities like SAchin TEndulkar who is a huge Fed fan speaking very highly of Rafa (especially after the way Rafa behaved with Fed in the 2009 AO final presentation), he said he has never ever seen such display of sensitivity on a big stage between 2 fierce competitors

The public in general identifies more with someone who projects a middle class, common man, down to earth and humble vibe and this I think is appicable across countries and Rafa gives you exactly that vibe.

I am eagerly waiting for the day he will cross 16 in GS tally, I ma not saying it will happen, I hope it happens and then NO ONE will have any ammunition at all to put him down.

sanju , 6/13/12 6:45 AM


Maya , 6/12/12 10:01 PM
It's hardly surprising Nole has become increasingly arrogant since being invested with the status of near sainthood in his own country after winning Wimbledon and reaching No.1.

The success and adulation has gone to his head and furthermore there is no Uncle Toni in his entourage to keep him grounded.

Personally I find the Samurai celebrations OTT when he wins but he is gracious when he is the loser.

ed251137 , 6/13/12 8:27 AM


The absolute worst I heard from a commie was on SKY during MC when Barry Cowan declared that Novak 'is now the best claycourter'. I was soooooooooo longing for him to eat his words at the end of the clay season, and boy, has he had to eat them, including the cat's sick.

nadline , 6/13/12 10:04 AM


Some people on here are being way too harsh about Nole. He drew a gr8 breath, went into battle and broke up the Fedal party, which, quite frankly, was becoming extremely boring.
Only wish Andy could've done the same.

deuce , 6/13/12 12:00 PM


Last post disappeared, hope this isn't going to be a double. However:
Some people on here are being way too harsh about Nole. He drew a deep breath, went into battle and broke up the Fedal party which, quite honestly, was getting extremely boring.
Only wish Andy could've done the same.

deuce , 6/13/12 12:03 PM


Aaaahhhh!

deuce , 6/13/12 12:04 PM


Aaaaahhhhh! Still problems!

deuce , 6/13/12 12:05 PM


Nadline, Ed, NNY, luckystar, Sanju & Maya - agree totally with what has been said in your posts. I become very angry too by the disrespect shown to Rafa at times by these commies and no matter what he achieves there always seems to be another hoop they want him to jump through.

Frew McMillan is someone I wish I could have a one to one with - he even had a snigger when either Simon Reed or Chris Bradnam (they sound very similar to me) mentioned that Rafa did not like the blue clay but could not remember whether it was just the colour or something else. They were obviosly trying to infer that Rafa had been petty about the whole thing. They conveniently forget that Novak also mirrored Rafa's objections to it and that they stood as one on the subject. They are so biased it is sickening. I honestly think that jealousy is part of the problem.

Imagine my surprise when Frew McMillan was so complimentary about Rafa's tennis in the semi against Ferrer. I used to like his whit at one time but the constant Rafa bashing has put me off a lot of the commentators now. I agree that Mats Wilander is a joke and it was galling to see that he had been chosen to present the trophy to Rafa. I think Carlos Moya would have been a much better choice given that he used to be Rafa's mentor :) He was huddled under cover with his wife obviously there to support Rafa.

I hope this win at RG has finally given Rafa some real and lasting confidence that he can take into Wimby, the Olympics and beyond.

Vamos our Rafa.

schatz , 6/13/12 12:34 PM


deuce, I certainly haven't been harsh on Nole, all I've said regarding him is that it would have been iniquitous for him to have achieved a Nole slam at the first time of asking.

My gripe is with the commies who are reluctant to give Rafa his due credit.

nadline , 6/13/12 1:40 PM


deuce, I have certainly not been harsh on Nole, I'm just saying that it would have been iniquitous for him to have snatched a Nole slam at the first time of asking with only what would only 6 slams.

My gripe is with the commies who are reluctant to give Rafa his due credit.

nadline , 6/13/12 1:45 PM


@Deuce 12pm. I wish Andy would do it to! Unfortunately there's no other British player near him in the rankings and as John Lloyd and Tim Henman before him has the full weight of the UK media on his shoulders, must be a lonely place at times. Andy always plays better when the crowd are rooting for the other guy i.e Richard Gasquet at Rolland Garros.

mojo , 6/13/12 1:48 PM


Guys, before you click send to submit your comments, copy it first to your clipboard so you don't have to type again in case it is not posted.

phoenix , 6/13/12 2:06 PM


Thanks Phoenix

mojo , 6/13/12 2:20 PM


Thanks Phoenix

mojo , 6/13/12 2:22 PM


@Augustina08 , 6/11/12 7:35 PM

I've just read your post. Where have you been. Welcome back.

nadline , 6/13/12 3:21 PM



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