Match report

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ©
Quarter final
3/29/12 1 2 3 Tot
fr  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2 7 4 1
es  Rafael Nadal 6 5 6 2
Rafael Nadal ©
  • Nadal wins 3-set thriller over Tsonga in Miami

    3/29/12 6:17 AM | Cheryl Murray
    After serving twice for the match, Rafael Nadal finally secured a hard-fought win over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took nearly two sets to warm up in this match. Rafael Nadal completely rolled over the Frenchman for a set and a half.

    Tsonga had no range or rhythm on his groundstrokes and he let Nadal bully him around the court. This domination continued until part-way through the second set.

    The Spaniard was already up a break before Tsonga started playing better, but he still found himself down staring down a straight-set loss as Nadal served for the match.

    Out of nowhere, Nadal let Tsonga get into his service game and after a tussle, the Frenchman secured his first break of that match. The unexpected break was the impetus for Tsonga to start playing much better. He took advantage of a Nadal let-down to secure yet another service break to snag the set out from under Nadal.

    The third set featured by far the best tennis of the match. Both men picked up their level for an excellent and entertaining set of tennis. Nadal seemed more shaky early in the set, but he managed to hang onto his serve, but only just barely.

    But in yet another momentum swing, Tsonga suddenly donated his own shaky service game. The Frenchman sprayed some backhand errors at 4-4 to give Nadal yet another chance to serve out the match.

    The final game was a fitting end to the match. Both men bungled game points before Nadal finally put in a good first serve to secure the win.

    The Spaniard will take on familiar foe Andy Murray in the semifinals.

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How crazy was that?

smr , 3/29/12 6:47 AM

This sounds like one of Rafa's nerve wracking wins, I just couldn't take the tension at 2 o'clock in the morning especially watching it on live stream which sometimes freezes so I decided to wait and watch it today on MOTD.

I will sit back at 6pm and enjoy.

Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 3/29/12 7:13 AM

You would not have wanted to watch this live! Nervewracking is a mild term for this one! Yikes! I had to stop watching when Rafa lost that second set. I started freaking out completely.

For someone with a bad knee, this was not what he needed. I was hoping he would get off the court quickly and take care of his knee. Rafa really is struggling to close out matches and his serve is letting him down big time.

Somehow he finds a way to win these matches. But it's hell on the nerves of his fans! I am really happy that the predictions were wrong.

It's still early out here, but I am all wired up after that match and can't seem to calm down.

Nativenewyorker , 3/29/12 7:21 AM

So MagicJ got it right. As it's all guess work, he had to be right sometime. I just didn't understand why people thought it was a given for Tsonga, Rafa has played better than Tsonga here and how would Tsonga have ahndled Kei who I think is not being credit for his performance against Rafa.

nadline , 3/29/12 7:29 AM

Rafa finds a way to win such matches against lesser players.
He gives them a look into the match instead to finishing them off and then has to win it the hard way.
He did the same against Djokovic at the AO. He should have closed out the final set (leading 4-2; 30-15), instead he let Djokovic into the match which the Djoker capitalised.

My point is that such lapses dont cost too much against lesser players but against the top 3 it will cost, as highlighted in the Australian open.

I am sure, If it was Djokovic today...he would have gleefully accepted the 2nd set gift and then would have made Nadal pay by winning the 3rd set.
He got away with Tsonga, but wudnt get away like this against Djokovic.

atul1985 , 3/29/12 7:36 AM

I wonder how's Rafa and his team, especially Uncle Toni, is/are going to solve this problem! It's been ongoing for a quite a while now, and we're not seeing any improvement. Do note that the fidgetting is getting worse these days, from tugging at his pants to tugging his hair behind both ears, and now pressing at his nose, pulling at his shirt at his two shoulders, wiping his sweat with his sweat band, and even pulling at the front part of his shorts! It's no wonder he's taking a good 30 seconds before he starts serving! It's getting very hard to watch him serving these days, without being distracted and worrying that he'll exceed the time limit again.

What's Toni doing to help Rafa control or overcome his nerve? Surely, as his coach, Toni has to take some responsibilities on how his charge is performing out there. He can't just conveniently push all the blame to Rafa and gets angry when Rafa gets nervy out there and making all those mistakes. Something has to be done before all these spread over to the clay season.

luckystar , 3/29/12 8:35 AM

Excuse me Cheryl that was not a three-set thriller. That was a bloody nightmare.

ed251137 , 3/29/12 8:45 AM

There are some real reasons for concern. For one thing, by having to play an extra set, Rafa was putting his bad knee through more pounding. He can't afford to keep extending matches like this. He does do it the hard way and it's also hard on his body.

I don't know what they are going to do about his serve, but it has to be addressed. All he needed was a few big serves to close this thing out in two sets. He is struggling mightily when he has to close out a match. I know that part of the problem is the lack of confidence from not winning a title since RG, but the only way to get back the confidence is to win. So it's a conundrum.

They showed Toni's face at points in the match and you could see his concern. The serving has to be automatic. A player shouldn't have to think about it when he needs to serve well at crucial stages of a match.

I am still trying to recover from this latest naitbiter. Yes, it was a nightmare. Rafa will have to play much better against Murray if he wants to get into the semis. I just hope that I have the strength to get through it.

At least we have a day off to recuperate!

Nativenewyorker , 3/29/12 8:51 AM

Sorry, some typos in my last post. That match really took it out of me.

I meant to say - this latest NAILbiter. Also Rafa is already in the semis. I meant to say he will have to play better against Murray if he wants to get into the final.

It's almost midnight here, but I still can't even think about going to sleep. I have to try to listen to some of my favorite music to wind down.

Nativenewyorker , 3/29/12 8:54 AM

this match is bad news for Rafa's is beyond comprehension to let Tsonga back into the match the way Rafa did it...such poor service game when serving for the match is hardly a feature of the top players and shall by no means become a custom...why is Rafa so unsecure and so afraid of his opponents these days...his confidence obviously isn't coming back...We should not however forget to give credit to Tsonga for playing much better from the middle of the second set and, even if Rafa was serving superbly he may have gone to the third set due to Tsonga's aggressive and brave play...

again, judging by the level of play, although both of them are struggling, Rafa is playing better than Andy at the moment...IMO, Rafa has more chances of beating Murray tomorrow, although it may go to distance...let's face it: does Rafa want to put his knees again under tremendous pressure by playing another possibly long match with Andy just to be handed on the plate to Nole who isn't playing too good but still playing good enough to beat this Rafa...if Rafa does not believe in himself he will be an easy target for it?s either Rafa going all the way by playing aggressive and trusting his own game (which means he is OBLIGED to secure his breaks and serve out the match!) or he goes down hurting his knees even more and killing his fragile confidence...what would it be? Rafa has to believe he can and he WILL win, otherwise he will be an easy prey...

natashao , 3/29/12 9:52 AM

I am proud of our Rafa for the win but am very concerned about his knee and playing Andy in a potentially gruelling match. Andy always seems to find something extra when he plays Rafa. To see uncle Toni looking angry would not have helped Rafa with his nerves either.

schatz , 3/29/12 10:22 AM

I am not even thinking about the final or Nole. I am only thinking about the next match with Murray. So is Rafa. I am sure that Rafa's team is taking good care of him. If they thought that playing would damage his knees for the clay season, they would not let him play. Looking at Uncle Toni's face, it was obvious that he was not happy with Rafa's play. He knows that the knee is a problem and it had to concern them to see Rafa have to play an extra set.

Please le't

Nativenewyorker , 3/29/12 10:22 AM

Sorry, my comment posted before I finished.

What I wanted to say is, let's not be too critical of Rafa. He did win the match. We don't know how his knee is going to be after this match. He has one day to try to get treatment and recover.

Any time Rafa plays Andy it's a grueling match. This won't be easy. Rafa needed an easy match and it looked like it would happen.

Rafa was looking over at his camp for encouragement in that third set. I said that I intend to watch that third set finally tomorrow when I will be feeling better. I want to see how Rafa looked and where he might have taken a pill at one point.

I just think we have to support Rafa. He struggled, but still managed to find a way to win.

Nativenewyorker , 3/29/12 10:27 AM

Yep we have to support Rafa, through thick and thin. However badly he played, he still got the win in the end, so I'm happy for him that his efforts and his fight did pay off. Poor Rafa was looking for some encouragement, so we should wish him all the best and hope that he'll get another win in his next match.

He actually played well in the first set, never allowing Tsonga to play his game, by pushing Tsonga far behind the baseline with his deep penetrating groundstrokes. Tsonga was spending about 13 % of his time inside the baseline in the first set, thanks to Rafa's groundstrokes. Rafa was winning majority of the long rallies. Though the second set was tighter, because of the wind that caused Rafa's shots to land a metre shorter than before and allowing Tsonga to move forward and played his game, Rafa still had his chances to close the match in straight sets. It's just one or two games where he played badly that cost him a set. The third set was a dogfight and either one could win, with Tsonga having a better chance due to his big reliable serving. However Tsonga was also more error prone than Rafa allowing Rafa to break his serve and then served out the match, with some difficulties too. What a match, a scary one for us the Rafa fans.

luckystar , 3/29/12 10:45 AM

Tsonga played terrible in the first set...he was out of sorts, missing everything and making so many UEs...Rafa talked about it in his post match interview and said that Tsonga's UEs made it easier for him but on the other hand he could not get the rhythm...Rafa was not pleased with the way he played...he is critical of himself and it should be that way...if he wants to win against Andy he has to be focused, no slow start and no mental lapses...I am sure Uncle Toni will say the same thing to Rafa...

Rafa has the game he only lacks is about the time for him to start believing in himself...he should have taken advantage of Tsonga playing lousy last night...instead, he brought Tsonga back into the match for no reason at all...Rafa is strong and smart guy...he sure has to be strong enough to deal with critical situations and not let it slip away as he did with Nole in the fifth set of the AO...he can't afford the luxury of having mental lapses against either Andy or stating the obvious doesn't mean I am not supporting Rafa but it's exactly the opposite...Rafa only needs his confidence back in key moments and he is going to beat them all...Btw, his backhand down the line winners last night were superb...

natashao , 3/29/12 11:38 AM

We rafa fans will always be right there to support him win or lose and we are united in that we only want what is best for him. I hope he will benefit from having one day off and we shall see what happens on Friday.

I agree that Rafa just needs a trigger to turn his confidence around. Let's hope this happens very soon.

Vamos our Rafa ..............

schatz , 3/29/12 1:34 PM

Rafa didn't start slow, he broke Tsonga's serves to go on to win at 6-2 in the first set. Yes Tsonga did make many errors, but those might be forced by Rafa's play. As I said, Rafa hit some deep penetrating shots, forcing Tsonga to move backwards, away from the baseline. Tsonga spent very little time inside the court in the first set, hence he was not able to come to the net to play his usual game. He was forced to hit ground strokes against Rafa and being too eager to end the rallies and win points, started to take more risk, forced the issue too much and so made all those errors. If Tsonga was allowed to play his game, like in the second set, he won't make that much errors in the first set.

Why did Rafa allow Tsonga to play that way in the second set? I think that's because the wind played a part in the match. Rafa'a shots were affected by the wind and ended up falling too short and thus allowing Tsonga to step into the court and played his usual attacking game. Rafa actually got his tactics right but it's the execution in the second set that's the problem. Still he broke Tsonga's serve and was serving for the match. He admitted playing too defensively while serving for the match in the second set and that cost him the set. Also his serve wasn't very good during the match may be because he couldn't push hard on his knee when serving. There have to be reasons why he make this or that errors when he normally won't make them.

luckystar , 3/29/12 1:43 PM

Many Tsongas errors in 1st set were forced by Rafa..that is right..Rafa was pounding that top spin forehand so high onto Tsongas backhand..he was covering court well..his groundstrokes hadgreat forced Tsonga to make those errors..I was very impressed by his level of play in 1st set..Lets not just say Tsonga made errors and hence Rafa had it easy in 1st.

sanju , 3/29/12 2:01 PM

lucky, I did not refer to this particular match when I said "starting slow" is general observation (I believe all of us on this site) that Rafa starts slow lately especially when playing Nole, FED, Murray...he can not afford to do so in his next match...that is all I meant...again you seem to have trouble understanding me...

and it is refreshing to see that you finally admit the wind could trouble Rafa...the other day you were offering one of your deep analysis how wind did not trouble Rafa in his IW match with Fed but rather it was only rain and wet conditions, although Rafa clearly stated he was affected by the crazy wind...oh, lucky, I knew you would come to this conclusion sooner or later...:)

and then you just said his serve was not good during the whole match and only earlier on at the different thread you said he was serving well...this match must have affected your clear wonder why, we are all mentally wasted after this match...:(

natashao , 3/29/12 2:26 PM


I was referring to what Rafa said in his presser...he said that Tsonga was making way too many errors and made it easier for him...I actually thought Rafa was playing really well in the first set and I was ready to make a post on the tennistalk saying how beautiful Rafa's game was...I decided to wait until Rafa serves out the match and...well, never got to post that view due to obvious reasons...:)

natashao , 3/29/12 2:28 PM

natashao, I think you're one who wants to argue for the sake of arguing. Frankly, I'm quite sick of you picking on me all the time. Of course playing in windy or non windy conditions is not the same. Rafa has proven in the past that he can adjust his play in windy conditions. However that doesn't mean that he'll do that successfully all the time, it very much depends on how he played on the day itself. Now if at IW, there's only wind but no damp heavy conditions, do you think Rafa can't execute his top spin shots well? Look at his IW 2009 final, windy conditions but no rain, see how well he played then? Why do you need to question his abilities in the wind when the wet heavy conditions affected him even more?(he mentioned that too in his pressers). Now in this match, the wind had affected his shots in set two, Tsonga took advantage of that before he could make the necessary adjustments. Do note that he was having more difficulties holding serves in set two and three partly because of Tsonga's play too.

When I said he served OK, it's a general statement, ie his overall serving throughout the match. He served poorly nearing the end of set two. He wasn't serving consistently well or consistently poor, unlike what some of us want to believe. It's definitely not like IW 2011 final, for sure.

I don't see myself contradicting my earlier posts, that's all I want to say. If I always have to be so specific, I think it's rather tedious posting here.

luckystar , 3/29/12 3:25 PM

Rafa makes us all angry when he plays like this but i really want to know what happened that all of a sudden he started toplay so cam form no where!! Perhaps his knees were affecting him and his concentration!!! But alsa, he won and thats whats important!!

However, barring knee injury, Rafa will come out against Andy with all guns blazing like he did with Tsonga and too, he has no choice. This match will be a valuable lesson for Rafa so he shall not forget it.

Rafa in three against Andy in the semis!!!


PS: Sorry Deuce and Alex

Monalysa , 3/29/12 3:53 PM

lucky, I was going to say the same thing about you picking at me :)...or rather saying something which disagrees with me...I really have no problem with it, I am open for any discussion when I have time...but it happened before that you would disagree with what I say and then end up saying the same thing...I don't think you do on purpose, I rather tend to think that you can change your opinion during the process as we all can...anyway, don't worry about it...I actually think it is good that we disagree on something...and as you can see I really like reading your posts, so what if we disagree in the end? It only shows we are different and we are human...

General statement or not I think Rafa did not serve well in this match...but that is just my humble opinion...

natashao , 3/29/12 4:12 PM

natashao, you seriously have some 'understanding' problems. I mentioned he didn't start slow against Tsonga, again that's a general statement, and yet you take it so personally as if I'm talking to you or referring to your comments. Of course he did start slow in his other matches, you're not wrong stating that, I was commenting about this particular Tsonga match where he didn't start slowly, no contradiction there.

luckystar , 3/29/12 4:14 PM

it's ok lucky, calm down...let's just say that I fully agree with atul1985 post at 3/29/12 7:36 AM...that sums it up...and that is what I was trying to say...

enjoy the rest of the day...

natashao , 3/29/12 4:23 PM

natashao, one more thing. I'll address the person in my comment if I'm responding to his/her comment specifically. If I'm not addressing to anyone, that means I'm just posting my thoughts. For example, my post about Rafa not starting slow against Tsonga, it's not directed at you, but rather a thought comes to my mind when I read about slow starts by Rafa, as mentioned in your post. When not addressed to you, don't take it so personally.

luckystar , 3/29/12 4:28 PM

lucky, sounds good to me...thanks...

natashao , 3/29/12 4:48 PM

Rafa has form in starting off well and letting it slip, like in Doha in 2010 when he won the first set against Davydenko 6-0, lost the 2nd in a tiebreak and finally lost the match, also against Ljubicic and Roddick at IW and Miami respectively, in 2010.

I just don't understand why it happens. The same against Nole at IW and Miami last year. There was a time when if Rafa won the 1st set against anyone that was it. Whatever the problem is he's got to sort it, but he strikes me as being stubborn because he says he doesn't believe in psychology, but that's what he needs. Some way of not dropping his guard.

nadline , 3/29/12 6:09 PM

He doesn't believe in psychology. I didn't know that - where did you haer that, nadline?

I've been saying for the last year that Rafa needs Nole's sports psychologist because Nole used to be a basket case with lots of talent and got himself sorted mentally in 2011.

Individual sport such as tennis at that level I'm convinced is 50% between the ears.

Surprised if Rafa does not put effort on psychology!

agfmilos , 3/29/12 7:29 PM

agree..I have been saying from past 1 year too..Rafa really needs to impregnate his subconscious mind to just see himself at the top and winning and most importantly talk only positive..he underestimates himself n overestimates others..he has to stop doing that

sanju , 3/29/12 7:43 PM

milos, in 2009 when Rafa kept losing in SFs, it was suggested to him that he needed help from a psychologist and he said he didn't believe in them. Can't find the link to the quote.

nadline , 3/29/12 7:49 PM

No class from Tsonga when he was complaining that the umpire favours rafa. Lost a lot of respect for him

willmw101 , 3/29/12 8:29 PM

I'm watching match of the day now and I've seen Tsonga's tiff with the umpire. He told the umpire that he is favouring Rafa on calls because if he doesn't do that, he won't be asked to do a SF or final.

That's just nonsense. Rafa has been on the wrong side of umpire's overrules many times.

nadline , 3/29/12 8:31 PM

yes but this same Tsonga embraced Rafa at the net warmly post the match..They are good friends..Rafa is good friends with TSonga, Monfils, Gasquet, Simon- all of them

sanju , 3/29/12 8:43 PM

Rafa v Murray on at 3 pm local time.

nadline , 3/29/12 11:35 PM

Tsonga is a big clown and a moron with the way he plays/acts and poor shot selection,etc. but he was correct that the ump was in Nadal's back pocket. Look at how many close shots of Nadal's were out when replayed. If Tsonga had stopped play more times he would have gotten a lot more points. He couldn't challenge everything but a lot of the close calls went against Tsonga. Mandy won't take advantage of Nadal's knee (or was it his thigh the trainer seemed to be rubbing?) "problems". Courts are too slow. A 41 shot rally tonight. What a joke! No wonder knees are going bad. Seems like 80% of points end with unforced errors. Defense is too good on these slow courts among top players. Boring to see long rallies look like a practice session until somebody freezes and makes a mistake. Speed up the darn courts already!!!!!!!!!

chr18 , 3/30/12 3:50 AM

Blah, blah, blah...

chr18, boring!?!?!?!?! Only to the blindest Fedtard.

See? This kind of silly talk is easy. Why don't you say something interesting? Just more of the same hate from a closet tennis hater.

Instigate much? Lol.

It's that kind of talk that's boring chr18. Class act.

Vamos Rafa!!! Adje Nole!!!

chr18, go buy another RF baseball cap for your collection. Hater.

Conspirator , 3/30/12 4:17 AM

Rafa should consider withdrawing from this Miami tournament. It's no point playing on with a bad knee and risk worsening the condition. I don't think he can proceed beyond the semifinal. Murray and Nole are simply too strong for him to overcome with a bad knee, so there won't be any additional points added if he lose, but there would be more time spent on the court and more risk of further injury. Anyway he get to keep his no.2 ranking for the time being. He should look at the bigger picture, Monte Carlo is where he should concentrate his efforts for a start. Think carefully, Team Rafa!

luckystar , 3/30/12 4:48 AM

I think as Rafa grows older, he's bound to have concentration lapses, something Fed at age 27-28, in 2009, started experiencing. When Rafa was younger, his concentration span is second to none, and he could play consistently well throughout his matches without any dip in level (something that Murray concurred to after playing a match with him).

Now that Rafa has grown older, we can't expect him to have the same level of mental concentration or focus, it's mentally tiring to say the least. As long as Rafa won't go walkabout mentally for too long, and comes back on time to refocus on the match, he's still able to win his matches. I think the more important things for him are to stay fit and healthy and gets his strategy/tactics right for his matches, that way he'll approach his matches with confidence.

luckystar , 3/30/12 5:36 AM

lucky..Let him play, for all you know Murray may play uglier than Rafa and give him the win :-)

He had foot issues in 4th round against Delpo in Wimby, but he reached final..He had sum knee issues in 2010 Wimby too but he won the title..he had this unexpected pain before start of AO 2012, but hereached the final..

He has knee pain but he wasnt taped against Tsonga for all u know maybe painkillers can help ease the pain?

Yes I think we all are ready that he will lose the semi today in all likelihood as hes not 100% fit but theres glimmer of hope that maybe he can win too :-)

But I agree this title is only Noles to lose and with a wobbly Rafa, I doubt hecan stretch Nole to even 3

sanju , 3/30/12 6:43 AM

I agree with sanju. Let Rafa play! He has his team with him helping him with treatment for the knee. They would not let him play if it would risk the knee and the clay season. This is not our call! We do not know everything that is going on. Rafa wants to play and defend his points.

There are no guarantees in this sport. We saw that when Roddick took out Fed. At I/W Isner took out Nole. If Rafa is up to playing, then he should go out there and try to win.

I think the reason the knee wasn't taped is because of where the problem is. This seems so similar to what happened in the 2010 Wimbledon. Rafa already had his left knee treated and then the right knee acted up. When he called the trainer in his third round match with Petz, he was massaging that same area above the knee only it was the right one. They were able to get him through Wimbledon and he won. Then he was able to get the treatment in the right knee and came back to win the USO.

We should not say that he will lose the semi before it is even played! Also, this is not a given for Nole. If Murray gets through, don't think he will lay down for Nole.

Nativenewyorker , 3/30/12 6:54 AM

NNY he wont lay down for Nole but Murray is patchy this tourney , and Nole has that look in his eyes ..he wants this and he is back to his 2011 form

sanju , 3/30/12 7:00 AM

0.00001% chance of it happening but imagine the shock waves if Monaco takes out Nole :-)

sanju , 3/30/12 7:03 AM

sanju, first and foremost, I'm worried about his knees. He seems to have knee problems at early part of hard court seasons so frequently: 2009 after AO he went to Rotterdam and injured his knee there, problem worsen during Miami, and with his crazy clay court schedule, losing the FO title that year was the last straw. 2010, knee problem during AO and retired from QF match,and during Miami again, lost to Roddick, he beat his own thigh with the towel in frustration, remember? He then had to do his PRP treatment and had to miss Barcelona. 2011 injured thigh muscle during AO, no knee injury until late last year during DC final. I believe he carried forward that knee pain to this year, that AO final didn't help matters. Strange that he didn't do his PRP treatment in Feb this year and right now he's having painful knee again, at Miami!

Going forward, he should skip one of IW/Miami and goes to SA for the clay court swing, when he's allowed to skip one or two Masters. I would prefer him winning one more of AO and USO and then just forget about hard courts and concentrates on clay and grass. Poor boy has to deal with knee pain year after year, and that may mess up his head, causing him not to think clearly on court and ends up retreating to his old defensive style again.

I want to see Rafa winning MC, Barcelona, Rome and FO again, skipping Madrid, Miami can always wait, so let his knee rest and heal as much as possible.

luckystar , 3/30/12 7:11 AM

Why is there no match preview/prediction of Rafa - Murray? No one wants to call it is it :-) Cheryl, Ricky ?

sanju , 3/30/12 7:12 AM

I would prefer him winning one more of AO and USO and then just forget about hard courts and concentrates on clay and grass.

My thoughts too exactly. Trust me if he wins 1 more AO & USO, I will have zero expectations & wants from Rafa on HC. Winning 2 slams of both HC would be a great achievement. Only thing well look at is April - July period, rest is just cherry on top.

sanju , 3/30/12 7:15 AM

NNY, the problem with the boy is his stubborness. He may not want to listen to his team and go ahead to play regardless of his knee pain. Toni can't even drill some sense into his head at times. The boy can be quite obliging and may not want to withdraw from a SF of a Masters, he'll rather get booed off the court retiring than withdraw (remember Paris Masters 2008?)!

Well if he plays in the SF, I hope he wins and gets to the final. I'm 100% sure it's Nole there waiting at the final. And the trolls would jump all over Rafa when he lose, saying that he's using injury as his excuse for yet another loss to Nole; and Nole own him blah blah blah.. So sickening.

luckystar , 3/30/12 7:35 AM

LUCKY..relax..its sure he has the mind and sense to decide whats best for him .. Are you very nervous about the Murray encounter?

sanju , 3/30/12 7:39 AM

No I'm not worried about Murray. I don't mind him losing to Murray, if he has to lose; but I mind him losing to Nole again. Nole is the cause of Rafa's confidence issue, and I certainly don't wish to see him trashed by Nole, knowing he's not in tip top condition. Now if it's a fit and healthy Rafa, then it's a different story, I'll welcome another encounter between the two, knowing that Rafa would have his chances of beating Nole.

luckystar , 3/30/12 7:46 AM


I think you know how much I respect you and value your opinion. I do understand where you are coming from. We all want Rafa to be healthy and take care of his knees. The hard courts are just killing his knees, that is obvious to all of us. It is true that Rafa can be headstrong and not listen to his team at times.

Did you happen to see Rafa's on court interview with BG after the match? He said to the crowd - I hope to see you in two days. That was interesting. Maybe he wasn't sure that he would be able to play. He was in pain during that third set. I finally watched it today. He called for the trainer to massage his quadricep muscle, but didn't take a MTO! Take that haters! I thought I saw him wince in pain a few times when they showed a closeup of him on court. I saw it during the Nishikori match at one or two points, but wasn't sure if it was just one of those Rafa faces he makes when he is so intense during a match. That extra hour on the court did not help that bad knee.

What got me was seeing the faces of those in his box at the end of that second set. Uncle Toni looked positively stone-faced and Carlos Costa and Maymo looked glum. Even the espn commentators mentioned how concerned they looked.

Let's not think ahead right now. It's better for our nerves. Take it one match at a time. I read on vamosbrigade that he did not practice today. Some were worried about that, but I wasn't surprised. I am sure that he had to get treatment and rest after that long match. We will have to see if he will even be able to play competitively. I don't want to see something like what happened in the semis at I/W against Fed.

It would take a miracle for Monaco to take out Nole. By the way, did anyone see that Nole wasn't able to close out the match on his serve? It ended up going to a tb and Nole did manage to win. He wasn't doing that last year. Even though he is playing better, I don't think he is at his 2011 level. It's pointless to speculate about what would happen in the final until it happens.

The bad thing is that the troll chr18 is back again, spewing out his hatred. That's the last thing we need. But trolls can smell blood. Rafa is battling a knee injury, so that's when they circle around like vultures.

Rafa fans have to stand together and support Rafa and each other! :)

Nativenewyorker , 3/30/12 7:54 AM

didnt practice today..thats good..let him rest

I think he can practice in morning today

BTW Andy was practising very hard with Lendl..

sanju , 3/30/12 8:02 AM

Sanju, you've already written Rafa off against Murray, so what does it matter whether he practices or not. As far as you are concerned, he is going to go down with his friend, Monaco.

nadline , 3/30/12 9:57 AM

Nadline is right! We should not make the mistake of writing off Rafa before the match has even started. I don't care if Murray is practicing with Lendl. Good for him. If rest and treatment for the knees is what Rafa needs, then that is what he should have.

Rafa is a fierce competitor. He will try his best. I hate to see him struggling like this and then having to read the hate from our resident coward troll. But I will be supporting Rafa tomorrow and cheering him on.

We know that predictions were made that Rafa would lost to Tsonga. Even a Rafa with a bad knee still came through. I also have to stand up for him and say that the way he came back after messing up and losing that second set, is pure Rafa.

Think back to I/W and Tsonga's match with Nalby. He was also serving for the match in that second set, like Rafa last night. But he didn't get it done and Nalby ended up winning the second set. Tsonga never really recovered and lost the third set. That is the difference between Tsonga and Rafa.

What Rafa said to BG in his on court interview after the match was very revealing. When BG asked him about not serving out the set, Rafa said he played a terrible service game, but that you have to put it behind you and deal with what you have. That is an amazing glimpse into how his mind works. He has the capacity to handle adversity, to put a bad point or a bad service game out of his mind and then move on and stay in the match and keep fighting. That is an extraordinary quality that we may take for granted. It's why Rafa has been able to come from behind and win so many tough victories in his career. We see so often how a player will fail to serve out the set and then they go on to lose the match in the next set.

I watched that third set on my recording today. Rafa played his best tennis in that third set, even after messing up big time by not serving it out in the second set. Both guys played well in that third set. Rafa was serving better in the third set than in the previous two sets combined. He really is a fighter and never gives up.

Neither should we!

Nativenewyorker , 3/30/12 10:15 AM

It's a strange way of cheerleading by writing off the player you say you support.

I hope Rafa is not thinking of pulling out, hence not practicing yesterday.

nadline , 3/30/12 10:24 AM

NNY..nadline..I surely do hope Rafa wins but to me realistically chances are bleak, though I hope he proves me wrong

And regarding writing him off, if he himself in his presser raises questions on state of his knees and how fit he would be to compete , why should I still be 100% confident of his victory? I will still choose to go by what I can interpret from his pressers.

Also different people have different ways of looking at things..
maybe some Rafans are full of hope and positivity for Rafa 24*7,
maybe some hope the best for him though lace it with dash of realism
maybe some are forever nervous about him though they hope him to do well

Neither of the are wrong, to each his/her own. Finally Rafa has to do the job on court and thats all that will decide outcome of his matches and success, not which category his fans fall under and approach his chances. Eventually only truth is all hs fans hope the best for him, ther ways of approaching it and looking at it are different.

sanju , 3/30/12 12:36 PM

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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