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  • Nadal keeping his Paris title dream well in check

    5/22/13 1:05 PM | Johan Lindahl
    Nadal keeping his Paris title dream well in check Despite his six titles this season during a storming return from seven months of knee injury absence, Rafael Nadal is taking nothing for granted as the king of clay bids for a record eighth French Open title.

    Nadal finished his tune-up last weekend with another title in Rome thanks to a straight-sets win over Roger Federer in the final. The Spaniard flew home for a few days of much-needed decompression on the island of Mallorca before heading off to Roland Garros.

    The soon-to-be 27-year-old is not buying all of the idle chatter which has all but handed him the Paris trophy, preferring instead to stick to his usual quiet demeanor. "If I play like this and I arrive to Roland Garros and somebody beats me I shake his hand and so I am happy," he said. "I'm playing much better than some months ago and I'm doing the right things to play well. I don't really want to talk about Roland Garros.

    "When you play and win many titles in a row like I am doing then you are doing things well - but I can also can reach Roland Garros and lose in the first round. This is the sport and this is tennis."

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Comments

What elite athlete, let alone the GOAT, takes upcoming results "for granted"?

Sound words from Rafa.

#Humb1e

Conspirator , 5/22/13 2:02 PM


Wise words from a wise man. One match at a time.

nadline , 5/22/13 2:16 PM


Ten years in the limelight and yet he still has his feet firmly on the ground!

I detest the way so many people confuse his pragmatic realism with false modesty. The radiant smiles and sense of wonderment we saw after each of his recent wins spoke volumes about what it means to him to be fit and playing well again after those seven long dark months.

Vamos Rafa

ed251137 , 5/22/13 2:28 PM


"If I play like this and I arrive to Roland Garros and somebody beats me I shake his hand and so I am happy.".......................that is why I so love this guy!! A true embassador of the sport!!!

With that attitude Rafa, you can move mountains..............and you have!!!

Cant wait to see you at RG. Stay healthy!

One match at a time, VAMOS!!!

Monalysa , 5/22/13 2:33 PM


After what seem like weeks on end of rain, the long range forecast for Paris looks promising.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/62oo6dn

Where I am there are ducks are swimming on shallow lakes where the grass tennis courts should be!

ed251137 , 5/22/13 2:56 PM


ed, thanks for the weather update, I hope it holds up over the next 2 weeks.

nadline , 5/22/13 3:02 PM


"I detest the way so many people confuse his pragmatic realism with false modesty."

.....and then they never tell us what genuine modesty looks like!

rafaisthebest , 5/22/13 3:43 PM


nevertheless it would be a great upset if he went out in the 1st match, wouldn't it?

don't like the headline.. Paris isn't a dream for Rafa since a long time.. it's more for his adversaries, no?
If he gets anohter one that will enlarge his legend, if somebody beats him to it, well.. he's already broken Borg's record and that's already unbelievalbe in itself

Shireling , 5/22/13 4:15 PM


nadal for 8th french open title over (the draw will decide)

isfand , 5/22/13 7:06 PM


I'm watching the 2012 FO final now and the standard of both Rafa and Nole was quite mediocre. Rafa is playing much better now than he was then.

nadline , 5/22/13 7:21 PM


nadline: Didn't he admit he was pumped full of painkillers to get through RG last year? With hindsight he probably should never have played given what we now know but there was so much at stake at that moment.

It's one thing to resort to painkilling injections to cope with the odd short-term problem but we hear more and more often how players need anti-inflammatory and cortisone jabs on a long-term basis in order to keep playing. It begs the question, do the ends justify the means.

ed251137 , 5/22/13 9:57 PM


nadline: Didn't he admit he was pumped full of painkillers to get through RG last year? With hindsight he probably should never have played given what we now know but there was so much at stake at that moment.

It's one thing to resort to painkilling injections to cope with the odd short-term problem but we hear more and more often how players need anti-inflammatory and cortisone jabs on a long-term basis in order to keep playing. It begs the question, do the ends justify the means.

ed251137 , 5/22/13 9:58 PM


Yes, Rafa wasn't fully fit at the FO last and that caught up with him at Wimby.

seventeen, I think you should upgrade your moniker to 'twenty'.

nadline , 5/22/13 10:21 PM


I am glad he played and won, even though it was at the expense of his health in the short term. Can you imagine the hoopla if he had withdrawn, because Djokovic would have surely gone on to win and complete the Nole Slam? The horror!

Not saying this is the reason Rafa played on, just saying for me as a Rafan it would have been torture! Rafa would have been buried by the pundits, the Fedbots would have anointed Novak GOAT #2 (not that they don't already) but that would have been the excuse they needed to airbrush Rafa out of tennis!

rafaisthebest , 5/23/13 6:12 AM


Nadline - Even I watched the RG2012 final yesterday coincidently. Then I proceeded to watch RG2007 and RG08 semis and Rome 2011 finals.

Rome'11 and RG12 - Big difference was that Rafa was MUCH MORE aggresive in RG12 compared to Rome'11. In Rome, Djokovic was dictating play. In RG12 Rafa was very aggresive throughout the match and never let Nole dictate play apart from the 3rd set where wet conditions blunted Rafa's aggresive forehands.

RG07 and RG08 compared to RG12 - In RG07 and RG08, Rafa was so fast than his defensive game was enough to beat Nole. There is a marked difference in rafa's speed now compared to then. Rafa would get to all the shots Nole would hit. Winners Nole hits against rafa now were then retuned back with interest. his backhand was also much stronger in RG07 and RG08 than what it is now. Bottom line is that Rafa cannot rely on his defensive game to beat Nole now. He got to know that in 2011 and adopted an aggresive gameplan to beat Nole in RG12.

Final analysis - I think that if Rafa plays like RG12 (respectfully disagree nadline, I think Rafa played at a high level), he will win against Nole in RG13 should they meet regardless of how well Nole plays.

Thoughts anyone?? Please watch these matches in your free time and let me know what you think. Thanks!

atul1985 , 5/23/13 8:38 AM


atul,

I agree with you about RG 2012. No question about it. Rafa was so much better in 2012 than he was in 2011. That's why he was able to get three consecutive wins against Novak in the clay court season and restore order. He realized that he had become too predictable with his shot patterns and also couldn't out hit Novak from the baseline anymore.

I agree that in RG 2007 and 2008 Rafa's speed was so incredible that he could run down just about anything. I also believe that Novak was not anywhere near the player he became in 2011. Besides Rafa's speed advantage, he was by far the more mentally strong player. Novak was a bit of head case at that time. He could get rattled easily and lost control of his emotions on the court.

Rafa realized that he had to play aggressive tennis against Novak and also change up his shots. I sometimes look back and wonder about what might have been had if Rafa didn't have to stop playing due to the knee problem. He was really playing some great tennis. But I try not to look back too often. There is no way to change the past.

It's nice to see Rafa playing so well now, but we can't compare his game to RG 2012. Only when he starts playing at RG 2013 will we know where he's really at. I agree that if Rafa can play the way he did at RG 2012 then he will win against Novak in this year's RG. Of course, that is assuming that they will meet again in the final.

Nativenewyorker , 5/23/13 8:48 AM


One cannot win multiple slams without injuries, and top 4 bound to have injuries.

exception - GOAT

sabs , 5/23/13 10:53 AM


lol nadline , 5/22/13 10:21 PM :)

Thx atul1985 atul1985 , 5/23/13 8:38 AM for your comments about the developments in Rafa's game. It's easy to think of Rafa as a never-ending fountain of energy and youth but, Alas, time passes by for everyone and it's only normal he's a tad slower than what he used to be.


Shireling , 5/23/13 11:23 AM


With everyone watching old videos of Rafa at RG it's hardly surprisng there is no interest in what's happening in Dusseldorf or Nice. lol.

The attendance at both venues is paltry. No more than a scattering of spectators whenever I've tuned in to watch on TV.

ed251137 , 5/23/13 12:12 PM


old videos more interesting to watch than Dusseldorf or Nice I am sure!

atul1985 , 5/23/13 12:54 PM


Nieminen vs. Hass might be worth watching though.

ed251137 , 5/23/13 1:54 PM


ed251137! Rafa has travelled to Paris. Are you ready to meet him? :)

Rafael Nadal at the airport in Palma de Mallorca before flying to Paris. 23/05/2013
http://tinyurl.com/nr8cxga

Rafael Nadal's interview at the airport 23.05.2013
http://tinyurl.com/njbhewc

Augustina08 , 5/23/13 3:22 PM


Two watches? Poor Rafa, the things one does for sponsors...........

https://twitter.com/nidssserz/status/3375233849 82327296/photo/1

rafaisthebest , 5/23/13 3:46 PM


C'mon Dimon, where are the pre-FO blogs, top 25 contenders, etc??? Too busy with Facebook?

Maybe Cheryl can pick up the slack.

So with the draw tomorrow, here are my rigged draw predictions...

- Rafa/Nole in the same half

Fed's Quarter:
- Tipsy
- Cilic or Almagro
- Stepanek and at least one more old player (other than Haas) from the weak era

Rafa's quarter:
- Gulbis
- Two or more of Rosol, Janowicz, Milos, Anderson in Rafa's quarter in desparate attempt to throw power at Rafa

#RandomOrder

Conspirator , 5/23/13 3:58 PM


A sight to make any contender tremble: Rafa striding across an RG clay court, nutrients in hand:

http://instagram.com/p/ZqFngLwDB6/#

rafaisthebest , 5/23/13 4:41 PM


http://www.tennis.com/your-game/2013/05/art-nadal/47472/#.UZ4sUMpRCDc


Brain Game: The Art of Nadal

Rafael Nadal returns to Roland Garros in 2013 as the winner of seven of the past eight French Open championships and the owner of an astounding 52-1 record. A closer examination of Nadal?s eight attempts to win in Paris reveal the inner workings of his physical game and how he has become the undisputed King of Clay.

In eight years, he has won 98 percent of his matches, 89 percent of his sets, 65 percent of his games and 57 percent of his total points. At the French Open, he gets better at everything?even in statistical categories you would expect to see a decline:

BREAK POINT WIN PERCENTAGE
Nadal has converted 50.4 percent of his break points in Paris, which is more than 5 percent higher than his career average. Opponents have only converted 29.7 percent of their break points, meaning the Spaniard has an advantage of more than 20 percent in this key area. Of the other French Open contenders?Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and David Ferrer?only Ferrer and Murray have a higher break point win percentage in Paris compared to the rest of their careers.

OPPONENT BREAK POINT WIN PERCENTAGE
It?s considered easier to break serve on clay?unless you face Nadal. In Paris, Nadal loses his serve much less often (a little more than 4 percent). While Nadal becomes more difficult to break, his rivals all become slightly easier to break.

VERSUS FIRST SERVES
It?s no surprise that all of these players win more points against their opponents? first serves in Paris, but the amount Nadal improves is startling. He?s more than 6 percent better against first serves in Paris versus the rest of his career. Federer improves the second most at 3 percent.

VERSUS SECOND SERVES
Nadal also shows the most improvement against second serves (3.5 percent). Murray and Federer remain about the same in this category, while Djokovic declines slightly and Ferrer almost matches Nadal with an improvement of 3.3 percent.

#BodoIsBored

Vamos!!

rafaisthebest , 5/23/13 4:58 PM


RT @NeilHarmanTimes: "Paris in chilly springtime and some things don't change whatever the weather @rafaelnadal on Chatrier pic.twitter.com/5RCsx6VbVo"

https://twitter.com/NeilHarmanTimes/sta tus/337582012888137728/photo/1

rafaisthebest , 5/23/13 5:11 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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