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  • The Australian Open draw revealed

    1/13/12 3:02 AM | Cheryl Murray
    The Australian Open draw revealed The Australian Open draw came out on Friday afternoon in Melbourne, with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the same half of the draw.

    Defending champion Novak Djokovic will start off his 2012 Australian Open campaign with Paolo Lorenzi, but life will quickly get more complicated for the Serb. Djokovic is slated to take on big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the round of 16 and he’ll have a possible showdown with No. 5 seed David Ferrer in the quarterfinals.

    Andy Murray heads up the second quarter of the draw, probably the most loaded of the four sections. The Scot will kick off his tournament against American Ryan Harrison and he has No. 14 seed Gael Monfils lurking in the fourth round. But perhaps the most dangerous of all is Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who heads up the other half of Murray’s quarter.

    On first glance, Roger Federer’s draw seems slightly more favorable than the rest. The Swiss world No. 3 drew an out-of-form Mardy Fish as his next top seed, but his section is still dangerous. Juan Martin Del Potro is lurking as a potential quarterfinal opponent. Federer’s eighth of the draw isn’t quite as stacked, but he still has the potential of taking on hometown favorite Bernard Tomic or Alexandr Dolgopolov.

    Rafael Nadal, who rounds out the draw in the very bottom slot, should have a straightforward first few rounds, but old rival David Nalbandian, American John Isner or veteran Nikolay Davydenko will probably await the Spaniard in the fourth round. Sitting on top of Nadal’s quarter is No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych. Marcos Baghdatis and Stanislas Wawrinka will also look to play spoiler.


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Comments

Rafa's quarter is loaded with qualifiers, I've counted, it's about seven of them! His quarter is loaded with veterans too: Haas, Nalby, Ljuby and Davy. I'm wary of Isner in the fourth round and Berdych in the QF for Rafa, but of course Rafa has to get past the old veterans first. I really hope Rafa can at least make the final here. Vamos Rafa!!

luckystar , 1/13/12 4:05 AM


Murrays draw is the toughest without a doubt. Monfils in 4th and Tsonga in qtrs..tricky..

Bleck - Looks like you made special prayers, both your wishes answered.

Rafa has a tricky draw too with Haas/ Ljubicic/ Isner (4th), Berdych (qtrs). Isner and Berdy ae major speedbreakers.

Fed is easy until 4th round where he may play the young guns Tomic/Dologopolov and qtrs could be Delpo/Fish. Tomic and Delpo can be tricky for Fed.

Djoko has a tricky one too with young gun Raonic or Roddick looming in 4th and Ferer in qtrs..I think 4th is tricky for Djoko..rest till semi he will sail through..

sanju , 1/13/12 4:45 AM


"On first glance, Roger Federer?s draw seems slightly more favorable than the rest."
...nothing new...
Nole... Well there won't bee to much problems with Raonic and Roddick, I think.
David will be the first test... Sf with Andy... Woooow, I can hardly wait!

zare , 1/13/12 4:52 AM


Djoko- Murray semi will be slugfest if both make it. If that section is played 2nd (semi on Friday)..then Fed/Rafa can have an advantage (if they make the final that is as Fed/Rfa match wont be brutual slugfest but Fed will try to shorten points )

sanju , 1/13/12 5:03 AM


THANK YOU LORD FOR ANSWERING MY PRAYERS AND BLECK'S!!!! So nice to have friends in one's half of the draw........................

All Rafa has to do is negotiate his way past some pesky qualifiers and ol' timers and he will be in his 4th straight Slam final.....................Isner permitting.

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 5:28 AM


RITB - pesky qualifier and old timers.. Berdy is serious business for Rafa..Isner took him to 5 in RG..his fav surface..he can trouble more on HCs

sanju , 1/13/12 5:34 AM


though I am sure bleck is still a bit worried..Tomic and Delpo are not pushovers....

I cant imagine the stadium when Roger plays Bernard if they do..man one noisy fiesta..

sanju , 1/13/12 5:36 AM


BTW Novak mentioned Raonic, Tomic and Tsonga as the 3 big speedbreakers to watch out for when asked who apart from Rafa, Fed, Murray is he watching out for that can be dangerous

sanju , 1/13/12 5:38 AM


Berdy is serious business for Rafa..Isner took him to 5 in RG..his fav surface..he can trouble more on HCs

sanju
, 1/13/12 5:34 AM

Big Bird gave Rafa a hard time in a Slam..........................when?

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 6:00 AM


RITB..not in slams but he can be serious business..he has eaten him 3 times right..hes a flat hard hitter

sanju , 1/13/12 6:20 AM


I know (and Rafa knows) Big Bird is dangerous but todate Rafa has always prepared well for him hopefully Oz 2012 will be no different. Isner on the other hand has given Rafa fits in a Slam before, I am hoping Isner's current indifferent form continues.

Of course, anyone in the draw is a potential banana skin for Rafa that is why it is called a contest. I was feeling optimistic about Rafa's chances before the draw and I feel even better after! I hope Rafa does not pick up any injuries during the tourny or suffer illness. I want to see good competition!

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

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 6:45 AM


I just came on here to see the draw. Rafa has some tough possible matchups in Nalby, Isner and Davy. Of the three, Isner would be the most dangerous. Nalby can't hang with Rafa in a best three out of five set match. Davy has always been dangerous for Rafa, but he is a shell of his former self. I don't even know if he will get that far. Berdy is a tough one in the quarterfinals, but it could have been worse.

It's about time that Rafa and Fed were in the same half. I would love to see Rafa and Fed go at it in the semis, along with Nole and Murray. But there are real obstacles in the way, so it's not a foregone conclusion that all four will get there.

Nole's first test will be Ferrer. If he meets Raonic in the fourth round, that could be a very interesting match but I don't see an upset.

Murray got stuck with Tsonga in the quarterfinals. I don't think any of the top four wanted to see him in their part of the draw. He may get Monfils in the fourth round. Some real challenges.

Fed has a possible matchup with Delpo in the quarterfinals. We will have to see what kind of form Delpo is in now, but he could be dangerous. Tomic and Dolgo won't be able to stop Fed.

Just some first impressions. Now I have to get a look at the draw in its entirety.

Good luck, Rafa!

Nativenewyorker , 1/13/12 7:49 AM


I quite like Rafa's draw. I don't expect Nalby or Berdy to be much of a problem, Isner is a pain, but I think Rafa has played him enough times successfully to be able to cope with him. OK, Davy has had the better of Rafa lately, but I'm not worried about that because this is a best of 5 sets.

There is an even spread across the 4 Qtrs, but Murray has to hope that Harrison is not inspired when they meet in the 1st round.

I was wondering when the pattern would change because all the years when Murray was a thorn in Fed's side and Fed beat Nole at will, Fed and Nole were always drawn together now that Nole is a powerhouse, surprise, surprise he is not drawn with Federer anymore. Hmmmm!


Vamos Rafa

nadline , 1/13/12 8:22 AM


sanju, the last time Berdy beat Rafa was in 2006 and never in a slam. They have met every year since, 6 times to be exact including twice at Wimbledon, and Berdy has only managed to take one set and that wasn't even in a slam.

Go and look at their h2h.

Of course nothing is set in stone, but if I were asked to choose from Tsonga, Fish, Ferrer or Berdy as Rafa's Qtr final opponent, I would definitely go for Berdy.

nadline , 1/13/12 8:40 AM


Amongst the qualifiers Rafa could meet ar: De Bakker, Golubev and L.Lacko.

nadline , 1/13/12 9:33 AM


There is one of these pointless polls on the OZ website for who voters think will win the title, Federer is topping the poll (surprise, surprise) with 50% of the votes and Rafa is 2nd. Here is the link:

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/fancentre/poll/index.html

nadline , 1/13/12 9:54 AM


"now that Nole is a powerhouse, surprise, surprise he is not drawn with Federer anymore. Hmmmm!"

Of course at last year's FO after defeating nadal twice in sttaight sets in 2 clay masters 1000 djokovic was NOT in better form than nadal. Also in last year's US Open djokovic was not a "powerhouse". He became a "powerhouse" after winning Abu Dhabi, definitely the most important tournament after the slams.

Geez, so much for reasoning... I know you're anti federer but you could at least tone it down a little after all nadal got a pretty easy quarter with 7 qualifiers and a couple of veterans.
Imo, murray has the hardest quarter and the rest of the top 4 have similar easy draws. So I expect at least the top 3 to make it to the semis.

bleck , 1/13/12 9:55 AM


"Federer is topping the poll (surprise, surprise) with 50% of the votes and Rafa is 2nd."

So you find it surprising that Roger is in 1st place, but completely normal that nadal is in second ahead of djokovic.


I find it surprising that both nadal and Roger are ahead of djokovic.

Do you beleive nadal has a bigger chance than djokovic of winning the AO?

bleck , 1/13/12 9:58 AM


^^^^^^lighten up bleck, you got your wish afterall........................where's your humour?

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 10:00 AM


bleck
, 1/13/12 9:58 AM

Actually I voted in that poll for...........................Rafa! Personally, after seeing the draw, I believe Rafa has a bigger chance than Nole of winning Oz2012 and the reason: Muzza. Muzza is gonna leave his blood on the floor if he meets Nole in the semis and he actually has a game that troubles Nole as opposed to Rafa. In fact, I rate Muzza as having the best game to trouble Nole between him , Rafa and Roger.

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 10:05 AM


RITB, Great to see you actually believe nadal has a bigger chance of winning than Djokovic. I believe djokovic is the favourite.

Ah so you think nadline was joking. lol
I thought and still think she was writing for real. She's that delusional.

bleck , 1/13/12 10:12 AM


bleck, I did point out that the poll was pointless. I don't think anyone takes these polls seriously because people just vote for their favourite player no matter what the question is.

Yes, Nole is currently a powerhouse until proved otherwise. I stick to my point that the pairings for the top four for the years that Rafa and Roger were Nos 1 & 2, have been Rafa/Muzz, Roger/ Nole, without fail. That was when Roger always topped Nole, and Murray did beat Roger more often than he did Rafa.

The fact is, for years Roger and Rafa could not be drawn against each other because they headed both half of the draw so it was a question of where Nole and Murray were placed and Murray always went in Rafa's half and Nole in Fed's half for reasons that I believe was to do with who was a bigger threat to Roger at the time.

Rafa could have Golubev, de Bakker or Lacko in the first round - all big servers. SO his draw is not that easy.

As for Rafa having qualifiers in his section, we musn't take qualifiers lightly, it all depends on who they are.

nadline , 1/13/12 10:15 AM


While I would love to see the big 4 face up in the semis, I have a sneaky feeling there will be a huge upset or 2 from the big hitters and my boy is more vulnerable than most from these monsters.

Of course, overall, I still have Nole as the overwhelming favourite but no one can deny that Muzza is a formidable roadblock should both reach the semis. And those 2, Nole and Muzza are more likely to give Rafa fits than Fed imho.

So yeah, I am feeling more sunny now...................

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 10:25 AM


Roger lands on his feet again. Draw least favours muzz and most favours fed. Doesn't really matter who nole faces as he'll blow them all away anyway. Rafa's the great unknown this time around and I reckon he'll be watched with most questions.

alex , 1/13/12 11:42 AM


alex, I refuse to worry about draws. Supposedly difficult ones have fallen apart and supposedly easy one have proved to be land mines! I shall save my worries if Andy and Tsonga should both get to the quarters!
As a Murray fan you've just got to hope the calm, confident, uninjured Andy turns up and with Mr Lendl on board, I'm quietly optimistic.
Let the fun and games begin!

deuce , 1/13/12 2:03 PM


To me, Nadal has the easiest draw. I don't see anyone in there challening them. Full of qualys and old guns.

Federer one is that difficult too. He is lucky to have Delpo in quarters and not 1 round earlier. The most the tourney advances, the most he gets tired.

Murray got the toughest one, that's for sure. And Djokovic got a normal one, Raonic and Ferrer are REALLY dangerous, but they are never a guarantee to make a good run at a GS.

Emiliano55 , 1/13/12 2:25 PM


Ohh.. Alex... I wish I am so sure, like you...
Nole is favorite... but the beauty of GSs is that unpredictability...
Deuce also got it right... so many times we saw terrible draw for some player... and after one week... road was open widely ... so it's to early for big worries.

zare , 1/13/12 2:25 PM


Rafa's the great unknown this time around and I reckon he'll be watched with most questions.
alex
, 1/13/12 11:42 AM

What else is new? Rafa's ALWAYS watched with most questions, whatever the state of his play.

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 5:13 PM


Rafa's the great unknown this time around and I reckon he'll be watched with most questions.
alex
, 1/13/12 11:42 AM

What else is new? Rafa's ALWAYS watched with most questions, whatever the state of his play.
rafaisthebest 1/13/12 5:13 PM

Got to wonder who keeps downplaying his chances and putting the favourite tag on his opponents...


bleck , 1/13/12 5:28 PM


Got to wonder who keeps downplaying his chances and putting the favourite tag on his opponents...

bleck, 1/13/12 5:28 PM


Quite true... that's an aspect of Rafa that really bothers me.

Emiliano55 , 1/13/12 5:41 PM


Got to wonder who keeps downplaying his chances and putting the favourite tag on his opponents...



bleck
, 1/13/12 5:28 PM

Answer: Rafa. Question: Is it a crime?

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 5:43 PM


Answer: No. Question: Why are you fretting about it?

bleck , 1/13/12 5:53 PM


^^^^^^^rhetorical, right?

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 6:01 PM


^^^^ No.

bleck , 1/13/12 6:03 PM


^^^Hmmm, could've fooled me...........

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 6:09 PM


"THANK YOU LORD FOR ANSWERING MY PRAYERS AND BLECK'S!!!! So nice to have friends in one's half of the draw........................

All Rafa has to do is negotiate his way past some pesky qualifiers and ol' timers and he will be in his 4th straight Slam final.....................Isner permitting."

You know who'll be waiting for nadal, should he make the finals, right?! Why all the hype? A slam final is a good result but coupled with a trashing might not feel so good.

bleck , 1/13/12 6:12 PM


^^^Hmmm, could've fooled me...........
rafaisthebest
, 1/13/12 6:09 PM

Care to answer?

bleck , 1/13/12 6:13 PM


^^^^^this what you call fretting?

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 6:14 PM


A slam final is a good result but coupled with a trashing might not feel so good.
bleck
, 1/13/12 6:12 PM

So, Rafa should just wave the white flag before he even steps into the ring? Sorry, he is made of sterner stuff than that........................

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 6:19 PM


I will be VERY shocked if Rafa does not make the final four. As if his path could not get any easier. That's incredibly disheartening.
Isner? Slow.
Nabby? Old.
Davy? Washed up.
Stan? Too inexperienced.

Berdych is the only real threat for Rafa, and even then.. he's unpredictable.
Someone please tell me otherwise, because if you cannot even see those facts..

I would agree though that Murray has a tough test ahead, and Roger may have to work himself quite a bit..

aegis , 1/13/12 6:20 PM


A slam final is a good result but coupled with a trashing might not feel so good.
bleck
, 1/13/12 6:12 PM

Repeat trashings by Rafa do not appear to have severely affected Roger's psyche, why do you assume the same by Nole will affect Rafa's worse?

rafaisthebest , 1/13/12 6:43 PM


Australian Open fantasy tennis league if you want to join - pick 8 players, finalists, winner, and matches starting with the 4th round. League name "Tennistalk and Fans" - http://www.grandslamfantasytennis.com/league-profile/?league=312

RickyDimon , 1/13/12 6:48 PM


I will be VERY shocked if Rafa does not make the final four. As if his path could not get any easier. That's incredibly disheartening.
aegis , 1/13/12 6:20 PM


Disheartening for whom?

nadline , 1/13/12 7:07 PM


Can't say for sure that Nole will be waiting for Rafa in the final, because there's Murray and there's Tsonga. I don't expect Murray to play like his 2011 AO final; Lendl is going to kill him if he plays like that! So, if Nole and Murray meet in the semi, I expect a dog fight, a five setter most likely. I feel that a fit and healthy Murray is the only one who can stay toe to toe with Nole, and certainly has the game to frustrate Nole. Just imagine a much better version of Tomic, with more varieties and better speed and power, Nole will have his hands full. I'm looking forward to that match up, if not a Nole/Tsonga one should be interesting too, provided the right Tsonga turns up, something like the one during the WTF last year.

I heard that Berdych has some shoulder problem, so I'm not sure how he'll play this AO. Its really too early to predict anything as we're not even at the first round yet.

luckystar , 1/13/12 7:23 PM


rafaisthbest -

this time last year I had absolutely no question marks against rafa. the player I - like most others - had a big question mark over for the whole previous year was nole.

imo rafa is far from finished winning slams - some people don't seem to notice he's only one year older than nole and muzz. he just seems to me to be out of sorts these days and the question is, how quickly can he pull himself back into slam winning form. For me, I would not be surprised if he went out in the early rounds, and yet I would be equally unsurprised if he won the entire tournament - my margins of expectation are far broader for rafa than for nole, fed or muzz.

deuce -
yes, you're right about draws and how they fall apart. that said, there was only one thing I was hoping for in the draw and that was for muzz to be in the other half from nole:( I'm certainly not taking it for granted that muzz will even reach the SFs (even though he's now very consistent at that), but nightmare scenario would be if muzz won an epic 5-setter SF with nole ... only to be picked off by fresh-as-a-daisy roger in the final. But you're right, there's no guarantee any of them will reach the SFs - anything can happen.

alex , 1/13/12 7:39 PM


Some people have already pencilled in Muzz, Nole and Federer in the SF.

nadline , 1/13/12 8:00 PM


Seriously, Rafa's draw is a joke.

Emiliano55 , 1/13/12 8:41 PM


SF...Nole Andy.... Well it will be war!!
...and I am sure that Nole will win... Far away from easy but he will...
Roger in 2012... He can be very happy with QF... Mark my words :)
Rafa... yes, big question... But it is only a matter of time... Rafa will have 6 or more GSs inhis carrier... he has 5,6 years more to play. Ppl alwaya forget how incredibly young he was, when he had started...
But we have to wait... Nobody is granted... Nole, Muzza, Fed or Rafa...
I realy have a feeling that we shall see some big upsets this AO...
Who will play first day? I will be realy pissed of if Fed starts again first, ahead of Nole and Rafa, but everything is possible....

zare , 1/13/12 8:51 PM


I agree with Zare, it's only a matter of time before Rafa picks up 6 more GSs. He is certainly good for at least one per year say for the next 4 years (RG) plus whatever else he can pick up. Maybe Murray can emerge, but Djokovic can't possibly keep up this incredible level until both he and Nadal hit age 30 and start to fade.

Slow hard is Murray's best surface. He has made the finals the last 2 years. Now with a coach who knows something about mental strength, I think it's his turn to win.
I like how the draw split Fed and Djokovic, but I don't fancy Fed's chances vs Nadal. I remember the 2009 final - FEd hit 90+ winners and still lost. Nadal pretty much stopped trying by the 2nd set of their London 2011 WTF match so it's not a good indicator of their relative strengths.
I think only 3, or possibly 2, of the top 4 will make the semis, and 2 of them will definitely be Djokovic and Murray...wow that will be a great semifinal in 2 weeks' time...

Bharata , 1/13/12 9:10 PM


It's Murray who has an easy draw. Ryan Harrison won't beat him, if he was that good he would be higher up the rankings by now. He'll be 20 this year and he is still 84 in the world. Monfils is the only real contender before the Qtrs amd that's if the clown doesn't turn up, so we are left with Tsonga who is another inconsisent performer. Murray's draw is no more difficult than Rafa's, nor are Federer's or Nole's.

nadline , 1/13/12 10:00 PM


Well, I'm sure all the Nadal fans would prefer to switch Murray and Nadal's quarters? Surely Nadal would prefer to play Monfils and Tsonga rather than Berdych and an aging Nalbandian ? :) Seriously, Isner (if healthy and focussed) is a threat but the rest won't trouble Nadal.

Bharata , 1/13/12 10:41 PM


At the end of the day Djokoivc's draw's is so easy he could be injured and play with one hand tied behind his back and still have no problems. Like it or not, he's sleepwalking his way to the final.

Rafa too has a very goo draw, all the better that he managed to avoid Del Potro who will be a real threat this tournament. He's handled Isner in Austrailia before, Nalbandian wont have the physical stamina to play consistently in a 3 out of 5 setter , and Davydenko has been preactically invisble for nearly two years. This is a great opporutnity for Rfa to get past the quartes for the first time in 2 years and gain so much needed points. He must make sure he enters the tournament 100% fit.

Of course it's suprising to see Federer in Rafa's half after all these years. He too has no real issues until Del Potro in the qtrs and it wouldn't be overly suprising if Fed lost that match. In many ways it hurts Rafa's chances even more that fact that Fed isn't Djokovic's half.

I agree with many that Murray has the toughest draw. The problem is you never know with him. He'll either cruise to the final impressively - as he has the last two years and falter at the end - or he'll end up suffering a shock 3rd round loss. I really think the next two years will determine whether Murray is to become a multiple grand slam winner or not. He's at the right age for the breakthrough - it's just whethe he has the mental toughness to see it through. After Federer, he is the only other player capable of preventing another routine grand slam victory for Djokovic.

Personally I want Rafa to win in Australia as I think the men's game will be better to see him comeback and ascend Djokovic. Overall it should be quite interesting over the next two weeks.

lebsta2 , 1/13/12 11:06 PM


I disagree Lebsta. A semifinal with Murray might be a lot to handle. I certainly give Murray a better chance in the semis than I do in the final. Can't see Nole getting tested before that though. The AO is a favorable surface for the Serb.

cherylmurray , 1/13/12 11:28 PM


Hello everyone, happy 2012!

I actually think that compared to past GS draws, this one is actually pretty decent for all of the top 4, each of them has one potentially tricky opponent before the semis (rafa has isner, nole has raonic/roddick, fed has del potro and murray has tsonga). But these matches can also be quite straight-forward, so I'm actually expecting the top 4 to reach the semis this time, the draw favours it. Also will miss the entire first week of AO due to exams, so that better happen.

Maybe its just me, but unlike everyone here I'm not as confident that Nole will streamroller the competition. 2012 is a new year, and its not easy to just keep defending your tournies, as he knows all too well. I'm hoping for a win of course, but its certainly not a given.

mriiidula , 1/14/12 2:24 AM


I don't think having Fed in Rafa's half of the draw will hurt Rafa's chance of winning the tournament. To me Murray has a better chance of beating Nole than Fed does now because Fed has a bad back. Fed vs Nole last year, h2h is 1:4; Murray vs Nole last year, h2h is 1:2. I don't see Fed having better chance than Murray in beating Nole.

Rafa needs to play well to win his quarter; Fed vs Delpo (assuming that materializes) won't be an easy match and may go the distance. Nole vs Ferrer won't be straight forward, neither is Murray vs Tsonga. May turn up to be one exhausting match after another in Nole's half of the draw. All these may work to the advantage of Rafa, provided he plays well enough to take advantage. All in all, I feel that Rafa has a good draw, it's up to him to take full advantage of it. If the 'not so confident' Rafa turns up to play then whatever good draw still won't help his cause. The top players have to play very well to have a chance to reach the SFs, IMO, no one can be spared.

luckystar , 1/14/12 3:34 AM


For me, I would not be surprised if he went out in the early rounds, and yet I would be equally unsurprised if he won the entire tournament - my margins of expectation are far broader for rafa than for nole, fed or muzz.
alex
, 1/13/12 7:39 PM

My sentiments exactly, alex. That's why I am completely relaxed for a change! I can just sit back and enjoy Rafa's play with absolutely no expectation of him winning.

rafaisthebest , 1/14/12 4:48 AM


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/tennis/9013673/London-2012-Y ou-cannot-put-a-price-on-Olympic-gold-says-Rafael-Nadal.html

Great and revealing interview with Rafa................

It would be nice to find some current great interviews of Roger, Muzza and Nole just to set the tone for the tourny.......................please share guys if you find some.

rafaisthebest , 1/14/12 5:23 AM


I have been getting caught up on everyone's comments about the respective draws for the top four. I think many good points have been made. Deuce is right that what looks on paper like a tough draw, can turn out to be an easier one. Remember, the players have to get through to meet the top guys, too. We cannot assume that all of the potential quarterfinal opponents for the top four will automatically get there. Always expect the unexpected. That's how I look at slams.. There is usually an upset or a big surprise or two along the way.

It is true that even a relatively easy draw will not help a Rafa who is not confident. Also, qualifiers are not necessarily easy opponents. They come out with no pressure, nothing to lose, no expectations. They are unknowns in a sense.

I am always very nervous in the early rounds of a slam. If Rafa gets through those, then I feel better because he works his way into good form and then is ready to rumble in the second week. I think it's way too early to assume anything about the semis. With Rafa, I take it one match at a time and try not to look too far ahead.

I will say that if Murray and Nole get to the semis, I think it will be a blockbuster. Murray has the game to beat Nole and he knows it. This is where I think Lendl will be of enormous help. He knows what it takes to beat the best. He also was not one to be emotional on court or give away anything. I think this was the right time for Murray to finally get a new coach and he picked a guy who has been where he is now.

Once I get a look at the top four, then I will have a better sense of how well they will do.

Nativenewyorker , 1/14/12 7:53 AM


NNY, I don't think Lendl has had enough time to help Andy sort out how he handles the pressure of big slam matches. Unless of course, it merely needed the tiniest of tweaks, which I'm inclined to doubt.
However, by the time RG comes round.......;)

deuce , 1/14/12 9:00 AM


I will go along with mriiidula @ 1/14/12 2:24 am, that each of the top 4 have one fly in their ointment, Rafa's being Isner.

I watched the RG match between them again and Rafa dug his own hole in the 2nd and 3rd sets. He was cruising up to the middle of the 2nd set then dropped his serve and it all went zig zag for him until the final set. Hopefully, this time round he won't lose his nerve or concentration should they meet.

One match at a time.


Vamos Rafa

nadline , 1/14/12 10:36 AM


Rafa's on Hisense in the afternoon.............................I hope it won't be too hot.

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

rafaisthebest , 1/14/12 11:58 AM


Thanks RITB for the link, I like this bit the best:

But here is an indomitable obstacle to his ambition. Before we say our farewells, I ask Rafa if he had a choice between winning Wimbledon or the Olympics this year, which would he plump for? ?Wimbledon,? he says, eyebrows arched, after a little pause. Then the grin. ?Only because Wimbledon comes first. Then, later, we?ll think of Olympic gold!?

*********************************

Rafa is beginning to sound positive now and I hope it's reflected in his results.

nadline , 1/14/12 12:58 PM


Thanks for the link to the interview with Rafa ritb. Steve Redgrave was a good person to interview Rafa because of his own sporting history. I really enjoyed it. Our Rafa does have a good sense of humour and I was glad to see that his other uncle Miguel Angel, who I really like, is also involved in Rafa's training.

schatz , 1/14/12 1:30 PM


I thoroughly enjoyed reading the interview moreso because it was the first interview in which Rafa didnt utter a single negative statement regarding his injury etc..He was all out positive..Glad to see that side.. Hope he wins RG..Wimby and Olympics Gold..that wil be a huge huge achievement and a crowning glory..Make 2012 like 2008 Rafa..


sanju , 1/14/12 1:49 PM


nadline - will you be cheering for Murray for Olympics or Rafa?

Murray represents your country at Olympics ;-)

sanju , 1/14/12 1:50 PM


My pleasure guys. I must admit I teared up when I finished reading the interview. Rafa is a good person. And Steve Redgrave too.

It will come good for Rafa, it will.

rafaisthebest , 1/14/12 1:56 PM


sanju, this is a dilema for me, so I wrote Rafa's and Muzza's names on a piece of paper folded them up, joggled them and picked one and Rafa's name was on it. No I jest, I'm ashamed to say I will be supporting Rafa, not Spain instead of GB mind you, but Rafa it will be, whichever country he is playing for. Sad I know, but there you are.

It's nothing new though in individual sport. When Federer plays against players from other countries, his fans still support him over their own countrymen.

nadline , 1/14/12 2:10 PM


agree and understand nadline..I would do the same too..your kiking for a particular player whom you a big fan overpowers your liking for a player just representing your country..

sanju , 1/14/12 2:21 PM


nadline
, 1/14/12 2:10 PM

Rafans, can we create a special Rafan trophy for nadline? Emotion and good sense triumph over patriotism. i mean, puleaze.......................

rafaisthebest , 1/14/12 2:41 PM


Can't believe four years have past since Rafa won his Olympics Gold medal. Nice interview and Rafa sounded positive about winning Wimbledon and the Olympics again.

I've just watched the 2009 AO semifinal and final matches again today, what a montrous effort from Rafa in winning that final, after his five over hours semifinal match. Rafa's game was still not perfect then but he was so quick around the court and was clearly at the top of his game then. How I wish to see a top form Rafa now at the AO who comes with an even better game! Vamos!

luckystar , 1/14/12 2:55 PM


^^^^^^^yoiu will, lucky, you will, in 2012 .......you can take that to the bank. Trust me!

rafaisthebest , 1/14/12 2:59 PM


^^^^^^sorry, can't type clearly, brain addled after the most glorious Mouton de Roschild for lucnh!!!!

rafaisthebest , 1/14/12 3:02 PM


RITB, do I take it you would not be support Rafa at the olympics if your country was represented?

nadline , 1/14/12 3:17 PM


rafaisthebest , 1/14/12 3:56 PM


Well I can't lie. I can't on the one hand be wishing that Rafa would defend his title then on the other hand want Murray to win the singles gold.

I don't think it's so unusual. Fred Couples sits in Rafa's box during the USO cheering for him whether he is playing an American or not. Last year, Larry Ellison was cheering for Rafa against Roddick at I/W. Tiger Woods used to cheer Roger on against Americans.

nadline , 1/14/12 5:21 PM


nadline - olypmics ain't uso;)
would couples (my favourite golfer, btw) sit in spain's enclosure at a davis cup tie vs usa and cheer him on then?
i think not ...

alex , 1/14/12 6:08 PM


... i'd be shocked if any of these guys cheered for rafa in a DC match vs usa

alex , 1/14/12 6:12 PM


So schedule is out.... and guess who plays first?
Draw fixing is not enough... schedule fixing is needed too...
Can anyone explain to me why the defending champ and No1 is not opening the tournament... not even No2... it's MR Arrogant who has to be first. And it goes on and on :( ... for years and years... unbelievable !

zare , 1/14/12 6:29 PM


"Who will play first day? I will be realy pissed of if Fed starts again first, ahead of Nole and Rafa, but everything is possible....
zare, 1/13/12 8:51 PM"
I have told you...

zare , 1/14/12 6:37 PM


The same thing happened in 2009 when Rafa was No1 and Nole was defending champion and you know who opened proceedings. Anyway Rafa will benefit from Roger's favoured status.

OK, I'm behind GB at the Olympics. Lol

nadline , 1/14/12 7:09 PM


In 2010, Roger was no.1 and yet he has to play 2nd semifinal !!

but yaa .. the people will see only some particular things

mani4Tennis , 1/14/12 7:19 PM


Defending champ should always be first out. No questions.
But old roger needs his rest between matches ;)
No doubt muzz'll have to wait till Wednesday night again - that way, he might have to play monfils and tsonga back to back days ...

nadline - deuce and I will make room for you behind the couch then ... hear ye, hear ye - nadline will be cheering muzz for 2 weeks in July :-)

alex , 1/14/12 9:00 PM


^^^In your dreams. Lol

I will become an honorary senora for those two weeks just for the tennis. I already have a spanish footie shirt that I shall wear when Rafa is playing at the olympics. I wore it when I went to the tennis in Abu Dhabi in 2010 because they asked fans to go in the colours of their favourite player so my husband went in a red/white shirt for Fed to balance things off even though he is also a Rafan, I think.

nadline , 1/14/12 9:47 PM


Yep... Olimics are making my life complicated...
By default I should be cheering for Jelena Jankovic... But I can't stand to look at her. Such disgusting personality... Don't say to anyone ;-)

zare , 1/14/12 10:30 PM


Stupid Iphone... And my fat fingers... :( ...Olympics!

zare , 1/14/12 10:33 PM


Alex

AO have 2 days for 1 round so i think Andy/djokovic will play on Tuesday.not sure have to wait!!

mani4Tennis , 1/14/12 11:34 PM


mani - thanks for that. another good reason for getting them to run the uso.

alex , 1/15/12 12:55 AM



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