• Nadal begins Rogers Cup against Dodig

    8/10/11 2:57 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal begins Rogers Cup against Dodig Rafael Nadal will be in action for the first time since Wimbledon when he takes the court on Wednesday in Montreal. Up first for the world No. 2 is Ivan Dodig.

    For the first time since the 2010 French Open, Rafael Nadal heads into the tournament as a No. 2 seed. His quest to overcome a red-hot and top-ranked Novak Djokovic begins on Wednesday at the Rogers Cup against Ivan Dodig.

    This will be the second career meeting and second encounter this year between Nadal and Dodig. They faced each other a few months ago on the clay courts of Barcelona, where Nadal dominated 6-3, 6-2.

    Dodig, of course, will have much better shot on hard courts--a surface on which he has excelled during his breakout 2011 campaign. The 41st-ranked Croat, who is 20-15 for the season, captured his first career ATP title in Zagreb. Showing his prowess on faster surfaces, Dodig also reached the 's-Hertogenbosch final on grass before falling to Dmitry Tursunov.

    Nadal is playing for the first time since losing to Djokovic in the Wimbledon title match. Despite that setback, the second-ranked Spaniard is still a stellar 51-8 for the year, with victories in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, and at the French Open. Nadal is 20-6 lifetime at the Rogers Cup and lifted the winner's trophy in both 2005 and 2008.

    It remains to be seen how Nadal's confidence is holding up after dropping to No. 2 in the rankings amidst four consecutive losses to Djokovic. He should be able to cruise through this no matter what, but Dodig will gain belief if the underdog gets off to a fast start. Look for Nadal to advance in two entertaining sets.

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nadline , 8/10/11 9:03 AM

This should be very easy for Rafa. Dodig will do good if he can keep one set interresting.

Sienna , 8/10/11 11:16 AM

I don't think Rafa is bothered with the no.2 seeding, it's not like he's not no2 before. He's even fell to no.3 seed after he came back from his knee injury in 2009, behind Fed and Nole. I don't think he'll let all these affect his performance at Montreal.

luckystar , 8/10/11 1:06 PM

It's raining in Montreal now so Rafa might not play until tomorrow.

nadline , 8/10/11 10:38 PM

Rafa takes the 1st game.

nadline , 8/11/11 1:33 AM

1st set Rafa, 6-1.

nadline , 8/11/11 2:36 AM

Rafa drops the 2nd set - 7-6.

nadline , 8/11/11 3:24 AM

Where is everyone?

nadline , 8/11/11 3:37 AM

I have to wonder what Rafa's objectives are for the rest of the season. I'm hoping he finds a way to put his game back together again, because without his game being at 100%, he's not going to be as confident as he needs to be, which makes him more vulnerable than usual. Despite being a fan, I haven't been too thrilled with game this season, and I'm not super confident in his chances of retaining the U.S. Open title. I'm hoping he proves me wrong.

djb247365 , 8/11/11 3:48 AM


I'm here. I've been watching and too nervous to come online to chat. He was going along almost too easily and then that break in the second set, losing the tb and now this!


Nativenewyorker , 8/11/11 4:14 AM

I can't believe what I'm seeing. Dodig is playing very well but I can't believe what I'm seeing from Rafa. I'm really frustrated with him.

djb247365 , 8/11/11 4:29 AM

What is the matter with Rafa????????

nadline , 8/11/11 4:29 AM

Hi Nadline. I'm not sure what's wrong with him, but whatever it is, he needs to fix it if he's gonna survive this.

djb247365 , 8/11/11 4:33 AM

It's 3.30 am in England and I've waited all day for this...........Rafa wake up!!!

Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 8/11/11 4:34 AM

This is making me crazy! I cannot believe what I am seeing!

Nativenewyorker , 8/11/11 4:48 AM

good match from Dodig, you have to admit.

cherylmurray , 8/11/11 4:49 AM

dodig is trending on

Come on rafaaaaa....VAAAMOS

vrael , 8/11/11 4:49 AM

What can I say?

nadline , 8/11/11 4:50 AM

disastrous for Nadal.

cherylmurray , 8/11/11 4:51 AM

it's okay...not a very big disaster...props to dodig,lets move on....cincy next...LOL...Vaamos!!!

vrael , 8/11/11 4:52 AM

Right along with Murray, Rafa has some serious work to do. I am disappointed in his performance and I expected better. Dodig played well, but Rafa................I can't believe this. Uncle Toni better do his job and get on Rafa's case. Whatever's bothering him, he needs to snap out of it

djb247365 , 8/11/11 4:52 AM

Murray, Clijsters, Wozniacki, Del Potro, Nadal.....all out...Wowzerr...

vrael , 8/11/11 4:55 AM

This was Rafa's chance with Murray out of that bottom section, and he blew it. I can't help but to wonder what's going on in Rafa's head right now. Mentally, he seems very much out of sync.

djb247365 , 8/11/11 5:00 AM

when does cincy start...MONTREAL is over...:D

vrael , 8/11/11 5:01 AM

I think Rafa's foot is still a problem.
Djokovic or Federer is going to win this I think and Djoko is the favorite for USO.

rafaelite , 8/11/11 5:09 AM

the thing that worries me is that rafa has given up comfortable leads too often now this year....which he never used to do before...he was up a break in the second....and the third set too.....after winning the first 6-1....he should have won in two....but dodig played fearless and rafa did not....hope to see the REAL rafa sooon....

vrael , 8/11/11 5:11 AM

I think it's safe to say I'm ready for the 2012 season. 2011 is pretty much a done deal.

djb247365 , 8/11/11 5:11 AM

The problem with Rafa is something mental. I noticed that his hard court game is centred around his serves, and when his serves fall apart, so does his game. There is nothing wrong with his serves actually, as his first set proves. It's when he get tensed, his lacking in confidence shows and resulting in him missing his first serves in the second and third sets. I think he's thinking too much about his game and how his body holds up, resulting in him mishitting his forehands, shanking it so many times. His left foot injury during Wimbledon might have cast some doubts in his head, so much so that even when it's healed, he can't trust it and thus he's not putting much weight on his left leg and it affected the way he hit his forehand. His problem is psychological, for he becomes paranoid about the injuries to various parts of his body; he can't trust his body like he did in the past.

My advice to him: relax, take it easy, you can win some and you can lose some. The no.1 ranking is already gone for this year, just work your way slowly and steadily through the draw, stop pannicking when things don't go your way. Stop trying too hard and get yourself all tensed up and ends up getting the wrong results.

There's nothing wrong with his serve or his game really, it's his messed up head that resulted in the shanking and the messed up serves. That's why I said I'm not expecting much this hard court season, he needs to have time to calm down, fix his head and come back strong next year, just like what he experienced at the beginning of last year with his messed up confidence, and then got everything fixed by the clay season.

His illness, injury plus his losses to Nole have done much harm to his confidence this year, so he has to look to his 2009/2010 and see how he overcomes his problems then to get some inspirations to deal with and overcome his current problems.

luckystar , 8/11/11 5:12 AM

I agree Luckystar, something is mentally out of sync with Rafa and I've seen it the entire season. Seemingly so, this is just another one of those "odd" years for him, where he is not himself. I have to be realistic in saying, I don't expect much of him for the rest of the year either. Like all great champions, Rafa has hit a roadblock and he's got to find a way to break through it. I have faith that he can do it, but he's gotta have faith too.

I have to wonder what the Nadal camp is gonna do to help combat this mental issue.

djb247365 , 8/11/11 5:26 AM

vrael - I agree with you assessment. To many loose service games once he's secured the break.

cherylmurray , 8/11/11 5:31 AM

Welll at least no loss to Djoko in this tournament!! Come on Rafa cincy is yours

vmk1 , 8/11/11 5:32 AM

cheryl,yes and there is nothing really wrong with his serve too....he is not that just in that no error mould's just a confidence issue...and he is capable of getting over it i think...more than capable...after losing in the 4th round of RG....not playing wimby...parents divorce and loads of other problems he has overcome....this blip is nothing....if i ever uncle toni....i would have a long chat with rafa....and move to cincy tomorrow and practice more....

vrael , 8/11/11 5:36 AM

And looking at the scoreline it does not seem to be a blowout that Murray had yest. So I think Cincy will give a better picture because these players seem to be cold after a months break.

vmk1 , 8/11/11 5:37 AM

For some reason I am not concerned.
Dont ask me why.
First tournament back...meh!...

isabeau77 , 8/11/11 6:38 AM

Rafa in his interview sounded like crap...sore throat etc
Our boy is sick with the flu.

Happy he didnt push himself and lost.
I knew I wasnt worried for a reason.

isabeau77 , 8/11/11 6:44 AM


Your words made me feel so much better. I noticed Rafa blowing his nose into his towel and was wondering if he was sick. I read online that he could barely talk in o his post-match press conference. I am not assuming it's the flu, but it is concerning to see him sick again.

I don't have much to say about this match. Rafa does have this disturbing pattern of getting broken on his serve when he seems to have the match in hand. This should have been a straight set win for him. He played some great tennis in the first set, but then his level dipped in the second set.

This is definitely a mental problem, a confidence problem. The injuries and the losses to Nole have taken a toll. At least Rafa kept fighting and hung in there, but he had so many chances to win. We have seen him pull out matches like this time and time again.

I can't stay up all night worrying about this loss. I have two job opportunities tomorrow and need to get a good night's sleep. Sometimes real life intrudes on my fandom for Rafa. I love him dearly, but he needs to rest and get rid of this bug and get ready for Cincy and I need to get to sleep!

Your words are always a saving grace to me. I don't believe in "awfulizing" and refuse to treat this loss as the end of the world.

Nativenewyorker , 8/11/11 7:52 AM

Hello NNY, good luck for your job opportunities. Well Rafa losing these days are unfortunately not uncommon, so it's not the end of the world. I won't be surprised that he'll keep losing from now until the end of the season, as long as he can't overcome his confidence issue. It will be until he has nothing left to lose that he'll finally wakes up and tells himself enough is enough. Maybe by then he'll realize that he has nothing left to lose but much to gain from that point onwards! Of course that's me going to the extreme! Rafa may be able to fix his problem in his next tournament or at the USO, who knows! Vamos Rafa, stay calm and analyse your problems and learn how to overcome them.

luckystar , 8/11/11 8:17 AM

Good luck with your job interviews, I assume.
Its just not his year this year...I predicted 2012 will be a cracker of a year for Rafa. I still believe this.
In saying this from the sound of his interview his throat was very sore...if he feels anywhere near to what I feel when I am that sick, then he did well to produce the scoreline he did.

This loss wasnt a confidence issue, it was a sickness issue...a very apparent one.
But he will come up good.
He will be a different beast in 2012.

isabeau77 , 8/11/11 8:20 AM


Thanks for your perspective. You have been the calm in the eye of the storm so many times this year. It's never the end of the world, as far as you are concerned. That's a good thing! I am also glad that I have job interviews tomorrow to get me back to real life. I love Rafa will all my heart, but I have to do what I have to do!


Yes, I have some job interviews and am excited and hopeful. I never like to see Rafa lose like this so early in a tournament, but life does go on. I did get a chance to hear some of his press conference and he sounded just terrible! He won't use that as an excuse, but all you had to do was listen to him and look at him to know that this had to affect his performance. Maybe somehow it's for the best. He needs to get well and be ready for the USO. That is what counts the most. I hope this is just a bad cold or mild bug. I don't want to see a repeat of the AO again.

This has been a year of ups and downs. So you aren't part of those of us who think he is battling a confidence issue? You think it was all about Rafa being too sick? He was serving for the match at 5-3. So he almost pulled it off. But then he would have been faced with playing the next match and not feeling any better. I get the feeling that Rafa didn't want to play here, but felt he had to show up. He said again in his press conference, that he only had a week and a half of practice. He said that was part of the problem.

Someone on another Rafa fan forum said that this was the worst she had seen Rafa play in two years! Needless to say, I do not agree at all. So maybe it's best that I make myself scarce until Cincy and get ready for tomorrow!

Thanks to both of you for being the voices of reason and wisdom. It helps so much to read your thoughts! :)

Nativenewyorker , 8/11/11 8:39 AM

Awwww...poor baby is sick again after loosing !! er

tomnjerry2 , 8/11/11 8:47 AM

Well I can honestly say after analyzing what happened today, it's probably just not meant to be Rafa's year. He's done so many amazing things, and there's a whole lot more he could do. Being realistic, we all have to respect the fact that for now, this is Djokovic's time to shine. He's every bit as talented as Rafa and he's worked really hard to improve all the aspects of his game, so it's his time to experience to joys of being No. 1 and winning all the big events.

With that said, come 2012, Djokovic will have a mind-blowing amount of points to defend and it will give Rafa a chance to not only regain the No. 1 ranking, but he'll have the opportunity of winning a few more events as well. He's encountered so many different setbacks this season, that it's no surprise his confidence has taken a blow. And let's face it, if anyone of us were him, we would be lacking from confidence too, if we had the sort of issues he's had.

I'll say this much for Rafa. Like all great champions, Rafa Nadal will find a way to bounce back, no matter what he's going through right now. It may not be tomorrow, next week, or even next month. But eventually, Rafa will rediscover the magic. He'll find a way to overcome Djokovic. Once that happens, he'll have the confidence he needs to put his game back together again. And from there, the Rafa of old will return.

Ladies and gentlemen, even though I'm relativeily new to the site, I've enjoyed all your comments, and everyone made some very valid points today. I'm glad to be part of the site and look forward to many more fascinating discussions. Take care everyone!!

djb247365 , 8/11/11 9:08 AM

When Rafa loses, all theses trolls suddenly appear, when Fed loses, they disappear again! No wonder these two years we hear very little from these trolls, got to thank Fed for losing so often these two years and keep these trolls at bay.

luckystar , 8/11/11 9:16 AM

Hi djb welcome to this site. I guess you're a Rafa fan, and it's hard being a Rafa fan these days, not because he loses some matches but the way he loses them. It almost seems like 2009 all over again, except that fortunately Rafa is not seriously injured. There's always peaks and valleys in one's career, Rafa's is no exception. We just have to hope that after this valley, there lies the next peak ahead. Hopefully Rafa still has many more good years ahead of him, as he brings us along with him on this amazing journey!

luckystar , 8/11/11 9:33 AM

lucky, mojo has just joined the site and s/he's a MURRAY fan! Yikes, how difficult is that? At least Rafa has heaps of Grand Slams.

deuce , 8/11/11 10:23 AM

It is a case of his intrinsic motivation running out. Rafa is post peak , Federer is ahead in the decline curve

nirv02 , 8/11/11 10:25 AM

It was hard and painful to see Rafa losing this way...he was ahead all the time and yet failed to capitalize...he did not deserve to win after all missing too many opportunities... Whether it was flu or it was confidence issue, and I dare think it was both, he lost and Dodig won. I do not think it is the end of the world, but the warning is issued...I hope Rafa recovers soon and starts playing with confidence...It will not come over night, he does not seem to find proper solution in the crucial moments these days, and he will certainly need some work on the mental part...I am not concerned that much but it is always this ugly feeling that have to endure every time Rafa loses a match and this one is tough to deal with for us Rafa fans...

Have some rest Rafa and come back and try your best...we love you no matter what...

natashao , 8/11/11 10:44 AM

nirv - Rafa may be post peak (his peak I think should be from 2008-2010, maybe even till 2011 if not for his illness and injury cutting short his peak period), still a post peak player can also win some slams. Fed has won some of his slams during his post peak period too. Rafa is too good not to win some more slams, it's just that his pace of collecting slams may slow down now, to one each year or even two, for the next two three years barring serious injuries or illnesses.

deuce - it's precisely because Rafa has been winning slams for the past six to seven years that his fans are all so pampered with his fascinating achievements, that we now expected a lot out of him. When Murray wins his first slam, his fans will start to expect more from him. I guess that's human nature.

luckystar , 8/11/11 10:45 AM

NNY< good luck with job interviews darling!
We are sisters in pain now re our favourites :(
lucky, our expectations of Andy are already HUGE because of his talent, but we live constantly on the edge because of the promise of failure :( At least Rafa has fulfilled your dreams. I know you'd all love him to win many more slams but still....and you have gr8 memories of that stellar year when he won just about everything :) Perhaps 2012 will be Andy's stellar year. Ed seems to think so.

deuce , 8/11/11 11:02 AM

For some reason I am not concerned.
Dont ask me why.
First tournament back...meh!...
, 8/11/11 6:38 AM

Same here, isabeau77 and I keep asking myself, why am i not as distraught as I normally am when Rafa loses?

Watched the match and Rafa looked fine to me physically and even his body language was great, fist pumps here and there..................but gotta give Dodig his due, he dug in there, congratulations to him...............

2 issues caught my eye: the first serve in percentage and breakpoint conversion rate. Rafa's second serve is basically a point for the opponent because it is just so attackable, and hence the dropped service games. This has been a problem all through the season and I am at a point where I am wondering if Uncle T should get someone to help Rafa with this. But then again that did not help Djoker when he was having his serving fact it made it worse.

The breakpoint conversion issue I am befuddled.......................

But the worsy issue for me is the way he keeps dropping his serve.........

Having said all that, I am not down on this loss for some reason..................I hope this means there REALLY is nothing to worry about!!!

C'mon Cincy......................Vamos!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rafaisthebest , 8/11/11 11:08 AM

I was gutted last night but I'm over it now. That's life. Rafa has himself to blame, it's nerves again, he has to learn not to wind himself up at key moments. I agree rafaisthebest, why on earth does he drop his serve so often? Why?

This is his most shocking loss as far as I can remember. It reminds me of when Davy beat him in Doha last year.

nadline , 8/11/11 12:14 PM

Half way through the match, I also had this feeling, that the match might end up like that Doha 2010 final, or that IW final this year, where Rafa's serve started to fall apart from the second set onwards. To my horror, it did end up the same way. I do hope this is the last time we are seeing this, please Rafa, no more of such collapsing!

luckystar , 8/11/11 1:06 PM

djb: a warm welcome to you into the circle of courteous fans on this site, which these days thankfully is almost all the people posting.

nny, good luck today with the two job interviews!

thank you all for your posts re Rafa's loss last night. I went to a superb event so missed the whole thing. Here's hoping Rafa will be physically all good again come the start of Cinci and we'll take it from there... (I too am looking forward to when he'll turn that corner on confidence again, perhaps early 2012 perhaps earlier)... but I feel no rush. Twenty years from now Rafa will be one of the few celebrities of these years that I will clearly remember and that whose teens and twenties will still inspire me.

chlorostoma , 8/11/11 2:34 PM

NNY, hope your interview goes well. Good Luck!

nadline , 8/11/11 2:47 PM

Am an AMurray fan through and through! He tanked the singles but is (so far) doing well in the doubles, I say so far cos as we all know with Andy its expect the unexpected. Ive been out all day and have just checked the results, was surprised the learn of Rafaels shock exit, watched the interview and thought he sounded and looked emotional. Sure he`s not at his peak, no disrespect, injury and illness no doubt contributary factors though I too think he has taken a big knock psychologically, there`s something defo not right with Rafael. Nativenewyorker, I hope your interview went well today!

mojo , 8/11/11 9:02 PM

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1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
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