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  • Djokovic, Nadal clash for Australian Open title

    1/28/12 2:23 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Djokovic, Nadal clash for Australian Open title A third consecutive Grand Slam all comes down to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The top two players in the world will battle for the Australian Open title on Sunday.

    Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be squaring off for the 30th time in their careers when the familiar foes collide once again the final of the Australian Open on Sunday night.

    Nadal leads the head-to-head series 16-13, but that hardly tells the story of their past history. Djokovic has won 10 of their 15 hard-court encounters and Nadal's recent struggles against the Serb are well-documented. They faced each other six times in 2011--all in finals--and Djokovic prevailed on every single occasion.

    Interestingly, Djokovic's two straight-set wins last year came on clay, in Madrid and Rome. He also emerged victorious in three-setters in Indian Wells and Miami, and in four-setters at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

    But all is not lost for Nadal. The second-ranked Spaniard is heating up after an alarming start to this season that included a loss to Gael Monfils in Doha and a knee scare upon his arrival in Melbourne. He has dropped only two sets en route to the title match while dismissing Alex Kuznetsov, Tommy Haas, Lukas Lacko, Feliciano Lopez, Tomas Berdych, and Roger Federer. Nadal trailed both Berdych and Federer by a set only to come back and win in four each time.

    During the first three rounds, Djokovic looked like the dominant player that was on display throughout 2011--a year that saw him win three Grand Slams, including the Aussie Open. He lost a mere 10 total games in blowouts of Paolo Lorenzi, Santiago Giraldo, and Nicolas Mahut. The world No. 1 then ousted Lleyton Hewitt in four and defeated David Ferrer in straights before surviving a 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-5 thriller against Andy Murray that lasted four hours and 50 minutes.

    For Nadal, it is a role reversal from 2009, when he outlasted Fernando Verdasco in five hours and 14 minutes then beat Federer in five for the title despite having just one day of rest to Federer's two. Now it is Nadal who has two days off while Djokovic will be playing less than 48 hours after his marathon.

    "It is going to be physical again," Djokovic said. "I think that's going to be crucial, you know, for me to recover and to be able to perform my best, because Rafa is fit. He's been playing well. He definitely wants to win this title. I know that I maybe have a mental edge because I've won six finals the six times we played in 2011 and I've had lots of success against him."

    Because of his opponent's "mental edge," Nadal will have to get off to a good start in order to give himself some confidence and belief. If the 2009 champion keeps this one competitive and takes it to a fifth set, he will have the physical edge. But if Djokovic comes out hot and jumps ahead early, he could once again hit Nadal right off the court.

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Comments

I think RAFA has plenty of confidence after the win over Fed. It will be a battle. I pick Djoker.

scoot , 1/28/12 3:28 AM


Too difficult to predict the outcome of this match, it's a 50-50 chance but if it will go to a 5-setter, i'll pick Rafa.

phoenix , 1/28/12 5:18 AM


I'ts a new year and Nole's incredible run is due to end. Rafa has been working hard to crack this nut and this is going to be when it happens. Rafa in 4

grafight , 1/28/12 5:38 AM


Nole in four.

sabs , 1/28/12 6:00 AM


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

Show the Djoker who's boss..........................

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 6:27 AM


1,2,3,4,5,6... tomorow will be 7!

Serbianman!

Misel , 1/28/12 6:55 AM


Rcky: why have you not given a clear prediction ? It kinda says if match is in 3 or 4 its Nole, if its 5 its Rafa

sanju , 1/28/12 7:13 AM


Nadal is not convinced Djokovic has breathing problems:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/45995948/ns/sports-tennis/

Latennis , 1/28/12 7:17 AM


As much as I want Rafa to win this, there's just no plausible way I can see him doing this. An act of divine intervention of extreme luck, Djokovic tired from the Murray semi, or too confident and complacent following the recent h2h.

If none of that happens then we pretty much know the changes Rafa has to make to have any sort of chance.

We know he has to serve big and consistent. His first serve percentages throughout the tournament has been really impressive and that element helped him a lot against Federer. He will have to take it to a higher level this time as Novak will just destroy his 2nd serve. If he can get anywhere near 80% - 85% and hit 10 - 20 aces then he will have more of a chance.

If big serving is paramount then so is the length of his shots. A lot of Murray's shots were non-offensive but as the land close to the baseline - it was harder for Novak to hit through for the winner. We all know the topspin doesn't affect Novak, so Rafa must go for the lines, flatten the shots and take the ball earlier. He MUST, MUST try and shorten points as much as points as much as possible.

He has just got to vary his shots more. We've seen how Murray and before Dolgopolov had have success by changing the pace, using that low backhand slice - which can get Novak reaching low for the ball - , forcing him out of position. Nadal has a good backhand slice and by slowing the tempo with odd drop shots too - he'll make it harder to read where his shots are going. I just hope we don't see just the usual cross-court forehands, landing just outside the service box - ready to be put away down the line with Novak's backhand.

Unfortunately I can see nothing more that a straight sets win for Novak. Don't at all buy into the on-court displays of supposed injury or exhaustion. One minute he looks like he's about to collapse, then the next he's all guns blazing winning the 4th set 6-1 a la yesterday and last years' US Open. He simply plays it all up. Despite yesterday's epic semi, there's nothing wrong - and he'll be 100% fine. His fitness level is the only thing stopping him from winning.

As i said, I'm praying for Nadal to win. Agree with it or not, the men's game badly needs Rafa to win. A victory will signal the beginning of a new rivalry, between two elite players so close in terms of age and physical prime. The battle for the no1 ranking will be back on and this will further re-ignite the interest in tennis - especially in Federer's declining years.

This is in no way anti - Novak , but another routine win will further dispel any thoughts that he can be beaten. Rafa is his closest challenger, but what does that mean if Novak dispenses him with so much ease. To be honest - i'm still in disbelief on this sudden meteoric improvement that he's made. Yes the best man deserves to win , but the prospect of him cleaning up every Grand Slam will deflate the interest in tennis.

If Rafa is to win it' will be a monumental 6hr - 5 setter, but sadly I think Novak will comfortably win in 3.

lebsta2 , 1/28/12 7:18 AM


Latennis ; Even Murray said that. He said Novak runs faster when he has breathing problems ;-)..

That statement was funny :-)

sanju , 1/28/12 7:18 AM


lebsta ; Straight sets, Cmon I am sure Rafa will do better than that..atleast 4? :-)

sanju , 1/28/12 7:22 AM


Rafas presser

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2012-01 -28/201201281327725301760.html

Novaks coach saying its unfair that Rafa has 2 days rest and Novak has 1..Rafas response is good :-)
BTW Mr Wajda, Novak had 2 days rest last year after he beat Fed and Murray had just 1 after a long 4 hour semi with Ferrerwhich was brutual, you didnt say anything then? Be consistent.

sanju , 1/28/12 7:29 AM


Its a nice presser from Rafa.. He says undoubtedly Nole is No 1 and is the favourite because of H2H but he says he will fight on court hard and give hi best

Hes also a bit critical of Andy for the way he played in 4th set, he said he did a big big mistake by taking the foot off the pedal when he had the momentum and landed in a 3-0 hole in 5 mns, you cant do that against Novak.

sanju , 1/28/12 7:36 AM


Totally with Rafa re Muzza's 4th set performance in the semi. I remember thinking: well, if you give away the 4th set as you just did preserving energy for the 5th, you better win the 5th! Instead, it was Novak who appeared more determined to win every point in the 5th! Andy has been on the Tour for a long time now, has been in in so many GS semis and finals now he cannot plead inexperience. The way he played the semi, he cannot and should not expect sympathy for lack of a Slam win todate.

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 7:46 AM


Sanju, I posted the article because some Rafans were concerned that Rafa might think Djokovic has a breathing problem or is tired. Players know better than we do. :-)

I won't watch the final but I'll pray for Rafa before I go to bed. Vamos, Rafa! Fight fight fight! You can do it!

Latennis , 1/28/12 7:52 AM


Really looking forward to this match. It'll be sooooo relaxing ;) Hope it's a thriller and may the best man win!
NNY, last year's loss was horrible :( This year's fine :) All you can hope for is that your favourite fights till the last, and Andy did that.
rafaisthebest, cheers m'dear :) Completely agree with you. Giving away the 4th set was a huge tactical error. He should have least made Nole serve for it. The match was lost there.

deuce , 1/28/12 8:03 AM


yeah, I firmly believe that Rafa has a strong chance of winning it. he has changed his game a bit now. It was evident against Federer as well, when he was trying to chnage directions very frequently rather than content on playing everything to Fed's backhand (his winning strategy). he will have to to the same against Nole to keep him unbalanced and make him run from side to side.

atul1985 , 1/28/12 8:10 AM


I am exhausted just THINKING about the up-coming Rafa-Nole final! It will be long rallies (I hope Rafa does not get into this because Nole will win!), physically punishing, mental torture..................uughh!

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 8:17 AM


I must disagree with lebsta2's post about tennis needing Nadal to win this. Federer was hoarding all the majors (except the French) for years on end and the game didn't suffer at all. Federer produced magic on the court during his dominance, so does Djokovic. Tiger Woods was undisputed no. 1 for years, golf didn't suffer. Michael Jordan didn't hurt basketball, etc etc.

ts38 , 1/28/12 8:34 AM


nice statement on Novak by a poster from another site..its true..its indeed a remarkable turn around..he was the butt of jokes earlier

Among the changes Novak has added to his game is terrific stamina. While he used to be the guy you could count on to be breathing hard at the end of a long rally (he has asthma and breathing problems throughout his career), and retired from so many major tournaments that the joke was he would achieve the career 'Retirement Slam,' now he's the guy you can count on to be fresh at the end of a 30 stroke rally and leave Rafa sucking air

sanju , 1/28/12 9:34 AM


@ts38

If it's one thing that keeps any sport interesting - it's competitiveness. The more major competitiors there, the wider the fan base, the bigger the appeal of the sport, the higher attendances etc,etc.

There's nothing wrong with a dominant champion, who becomes a figurehead of the sport. I'm not suggesting for one minute that the likes of Federer, Woods , Jordan, Schumacher were bad things for their sports. Someone who sets the high standard for the others to reach is very beneficial.

But then thats the issue - the others rising to the challenge. How much more interesrting is Formula 1 where Vittel is the champion but you have Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Button who can win. How much better was golf when Mickleson threatened Woods dominance for a short time.

Federer's impact can never be disputed. However tennis lots the thrill and unpredictably - I can remember watching every slam thinking not if but 'when' Federer will win. The likes of Hewitt, Roddick, Gonzalez, Nalbandian were just nowhere near his level - therefore the sport became less interesting.

This is why you can't deny either the impact of Rafa's emergence in the sport. Would you have preferred Nadal's non existence and Fed to continue winning 18,19 21 slams? We would've been denied possibly the greatest rivalry in sports ever.

The men's game is great at the moment because you have minimum four players capable of winning a slam and the recent semi finals have justified why this is so good for the game. Do you really want to go into every slam just expecting Djokovic all the time? How would that keep the sport appealing?

Yes Djokoivic is a great player, but his tennis isn't the majestic beauty of Federer's or the striking athelitcism of Rafa's.

A dominant champion having a rival who is his equal is one of the greatest things a sport can have. This is why we savior so much rivalries such as Borg/McEnroe - Edberg/Becker , Sampras/Agassi, Nadal/Federer. So a Nadal/Djokovic rivalry would be great for the game - but any rivalry cannot be lopsided which is why Rafa must win tomorrow.

lebsta2 , 1/28/12 9:36 AM


Djokovic in 4. Nole is to Rafa what Rafa is to Fed.

nemanja230690 , 1/28/12 9:37 AM




Vamos Rafa

nadline , 1/28/12 9:57 AM


Nadal is not convinced Djokovic has breathing problems:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/45995948/ns/sports-tennis

As I said, Nadal has been cheated. It is more than clear, Nadal will lose. Novak is "genius".

Sadsal , 1/28/12 10:43 AM


sanju - bc we're making our predictions in expert picks, coming out soon

RickyDimon , 1/28/12 10:50 AM


My prediction... Nole in 4...
My wish... Nole in 3...
Veeeeery nice posting lebsta2, tnx for sharing :)

zare , 1/28/12 10:57 AM


Really impressed with Azarenka..what a turnaround..another mental case who overcame her nerves..what a match she has played..she didnt flinch a bit when serving for the match....

sanju , 1/28/12 11:07 AM


Not trying to infer anything BUT

2009.. Fed played frst (easy semi..Nadal didnt have an easy semi though)..Rafa played a 5.5 hr match with Verdasco .

2009 womens final..Serena crushed Safine 6-2, 6-0 , today Azarenka crushed Maria 6-3, 6-0

2009 mens final: Rafa the one who played second beat Fed in an epic 5 setter.
2012 mens final : ?

I am just wondering if 2012 script is playing like 2009?

sanju , 1/28/12 11:15 AM


Man, Sharapova was absolutely blitzed by Azarenka - it seemed like she had never won a slam final before. I just hope Rafa doesn't get the same treatment tomorrow - but i think he will

lebsta2 , 1/28/12 12:27 PM


lebsta2 : Such a thrashing? Are you kidding? You think Nole will beat Rafa in straight sets that too so mercilessly?

sanju , 1/28/12 12:31 PM


any one who says djokovic's game is not based too much on athleticism needs to reconsider what he/she said... djokovic is as physical as rafa is nowadays! i think he puts even more stress on his joints on hard courts

Talking about the match, those who think rafa will lose to djoker just because he has not beaten him in their past 6 meetings is mistaken. Rafa's career is FULL of examples where he has proven everyone wrong and he has overcome so many obstacles . I cant give countless examples but I'l write only a few here.

1.who would have thought rafa would win the Us open next year when he got DEMOLISHED by delpo 6-2 6-2 6-2 ! the old argument that newyork is too fast for rafa was reinforced and it was asserted that there are 4 better hard courters out there, balls are lighter and dont benefit his topspin much etc etc so rafa has no chance! HUH! he came back next year to play the best hard court tennis of his career and crush everyone , dropped one set in the entire championships.

2.I remember the EXPERTS all over the world had predicted a routine win for federer in the Oz 09 final because they thought rafa would be exhausted and federere is the better hard court player, rafa's spin wont be that effective on hard courts etc etc and clay/grass are different so rog will own him here. HUH , the result, we all know pretty well !

3.'rafa is a great clay courter, but he'l never succeed on grass because his game is not built for grass courts.' HAHAHAH, that is what many many experts used to say in 2005 and 2006, now rafa has 2 wimbledons and 3 runner up performances there

4. till 2007 i used to fear big hitters because they always used to get the better of rafa! youzhny,blake, berdych, gonzo all thrashed rafa in hard court slams and many masters events! rafa solved this riddle in march 2008 when he beat blake back to back and berdych ..for the first time he stepped into the court to attack blake's 2nd serves and got the win ..from then on rafa is a different hard court player..

5.adversity and defeats just make rafa a better player ! tsonga outclassed him in 2008 Oz semi when novak won ...rafa was helpless and next year he came there to win the title !

6.he faces perhaps the biggest challenge of his career on sunday ! can he overcome it and prove the doubters wrong? YES HE CAN..will he do it?? lets see ! nole is ONE HECK OF A PLAYER NOW

vamosrafa , 1/28/12 1:01 PM


The script is not right, as Safina, the one without a slam, was thrashed by a multiple slam winner Serena. Today, it is the rookie finalist thrashing the mulitple slam winner Sharapova.

And who says Rafa is well rested? Rafa spent longer time on the court than Nole, about 2.5-3 hours more if I'm not wrong. So, I really don't see much advantage physically for Rafa over Nole. To me Rafa needs his confidence and a proper game plan, a bit of how he played at IW/Miami, a bit of how Fed and Murray played against Nole. If all these fail, than I'm afraid it'll be the very physical hard hitting way like what Ferrer or Hewitt did.

luckystar , 1/28/12 1:08 PM


Unless rafa beats nole, you have to say nole is the favorite and he has greater chances of winning. Having said that, I do think rafa is much better prepared now , both in terms of tactical play and in terms of self belief. Nole did beat rafa 6 times but remember, all these losses took place in 6 months ! rafa had NO time to make adjustments and think about the reasons of his losses...what made it worse that surfaces were chaning, rafa would have thought i'l get him on clay, but he couldnt , then oh wimbledon , nole aint that good on grass i'l handle but NO..so for the first time rafa has had enough time to think about his losses to djokovic.I am darn sure he has done his homework with Toni pretty well. The racket adjustment, the change in pattern of play, more aggressive ROS and a flatter Inside-out forehand to hit more winners has all been done to stave off the mighty nole challenge. BRING IT ON!

vamosrafa , 1/28/12 1:09 PM


I agree with everything vamosrafa said. However, if Rafa is to beat Nole, he NEEDS to forget those losses when he steps on the court. Especially if he finds himself in a difficult situation (ie. a break down, set down...). If he succeeds, I don't see a reason as to why he can't defeat Djokovic.

However, as a Nole fan, I hope he doesn't. ;)

nemanja230690 , 1/28/12 1:15 PM


early times, but I would like to quote a tournament and a match. Rafa won indian wells 07 and it was a different win for me. His pattern of play was what made him so effective. He was hitting SO many more inside out forehands than usual and even flattened them out! He destroyed the opposition losing few games and then beat a very talented player who had started making an impression in the tennis world, mr.nole, in 2 sets in the final.

The next week, miami, rafa reverted to his conventional hitting pattern and started hitting CC a lot more . i was bemused where his inside out forehands had gone :S lol, nole beat him 6-3 6-4 in that match. For me the big inside out forehand IS VERY VERY important for rafa on faster surfaces than clay...when he is hitting that shot big , his forehand is the best and very difficult to guard against

vamosrafa , 1/28/12 1:17 PM


I must say, I have more confidence in a Rafa victory tomorrow against Nole than I had when he played Fed in the semis.

There, I said it...........................and the result will be the exact opposite of how I feel.........sigh.

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 1:19 PM


@nemanja230690, i agree 100%, rafa has to be strong and forget about what happened last year (although one cannot forget lol) , last year at wimb it was pretty smooth for rafa till 4-5 30-0! then it was 30-30 and suddenly rafa made to strange errors ! they were caused by lack of confidence to play well in big moments, rafa lacked the 'calm'. first set is much more imp for rafa ! nole' serve aint at its best right now so rafa has to take adv early on strike the first blow. nole's self belief is matchless right now, even from 2 sets to love down he believes he can beat anyone so rafa has to gear up mentally!

vamosrafa , 1/28/12 1:29 PM


Yup. There is no rules when it comes to the top4, anyone can beat anyone. Nadal showed a lot of great things so far, let's hope (Rafa fans anyway) he doesn't throw everything out of the window and sticks with what works.

I will say, however, Nadal's style fits the new Djokovic. Like Rafa matches with Fed. Regardless, I still expect a tough match that is likely come down to mental strength and concetration.

nemanja230690 , 1/28/12 2:03 PM


expert picks - http://www.tennistalk.com/en/blog/Ricky_Dimon/20120128/Australian_Open _final_expert_picks:_Djokovic_vs._Nadal

RickyDimon , 1/28/12 3:18 PM


Rafa confidence level increased right now but not upto Novak level

Novak in stright sets or maximam 4 sets..

Advance congrats to Novak --2012 AO Champion

anji123 , 1/28/12 3:36 PM


OMG by tomorrow I am sure we would have had the news and outcome and god knows which set of fans would be rejoicing and which set of fans would be disappointed

sanju , 1/28/12 3:42 PM


Advance congrats to Novak --2012 AO Champion

anji123 , 1/28/12 3:36 PM

How I envy you, Nole-fan.................you can say this without fear of retribution from any quarter! If I, as a Rafan said exactly the same thing in favour of Rafa, I would be called smug, condescending, and all sorts of other unflattering adjectives.

Mind you, with Vegas tipping Nole, you have reason to coo..........................

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 4:02 PM


^^^^Thank you RITB. People accuse Rafa of all sorts and can say whatever they like about him because he seems to be fair game, but say anything about any other player and everyone is on your back, including some Rafans.

nadline , 1/28/12 4:06 PM


I can understand confidence in a player but saying things like advance congrats before even players have stepped onto the court downright smacks of arrogance and is too condescending. I can still understand after watching them play for maybe an hour but 18 hours before they have even stepped onto the court?

Predictions is okay but already congratulating on the result?

sanju , 1/28/12 4:32 PM


I read Nadal's comments about Djokovic's supposed breathing problems, and I thought Nadal was fair - there is some gamemanship on Djokovic's part. On the other hand, speaking objectively, Nadal also moved very, very well vs Federer and showed no effects of his mysterious knee problems (as people commended during that match, both were fit).
In any case, I hope in the case that Djokovic does win, nobody will say it was only becasue Nadal had a knee injury.

Bharata , 1/28/12 4:38 PM


(as people commended during that match, both were fit).
In any case, I hope in the case that Djokovic does win, nobody will say it was only becasue Nadal had a knee injury.

Bharata , 1/28/12 4:38 PM

Correct me if I am wrong, but not once has Rafa complained about his knee bothering him before, during or after any one of his matches. He said his knee bothered him the Sunday before his first match. As of today, he has confirmed himself fit to play...............

so please, let's not assign equivalence where it does not apply. Also, let's not try to "predict" what he will say in the event he loses, we shall hear it from the horse's mouth during his post-match presser.............

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 4:55 PM


Fair enough - he has confirmed himself fit to play. As for 'predicting' I don't think Nadal would ever use an injury as an excuse - just some of his more die-hard fans.

Nadal does not believe he is infallble or that there is a conpiracy against him. He does like to portray himself as the underdog and just 'hope he tries his best' but if that's what it takes to psyche himself up, his opponent should deal with it.

I've been impressed with his recent comments on the ATP scheduling a nd the Murray-Djokovic match.

I think at this insanely competitive level, the difference between winning and losing comes down to gaining small mental advantages - little things that irk your opponent. And we should at least consider the possibility that Djokovic acting like he's about to collapse between points, but then running at full speed, or Nadal taking his time (as commeneded on ESPN, he was taking up to 40 seconds at curical points in his SF) are calculated behaviours designed to irk the opponent. Of course it's impossible to prove it. I am sure the people on this site would say Federer annoys them, although honestly I can't see much since he's pretty ice calm out there like Borg. Maybe those snazzy Wimbledon outfits in his glory days...?

Bharata , 1/28/12 5:40 PM


I agree with your assertion re players doing small things to irk their opponent. In Rafa's book you get the impression when Rafa is playing Fed, his whole strategy is centred around "driving Fed to distraction" and this is what causes Fed's UEs to mount. In Rafa's case, this involved employing a tactic, targeting Fed's backhand which he has now varied to target his forehand as well.

But overt gamesmanship such as time-wasting or acting wasted? I don't know, I am not convinced. Surely, if you are a pro you just ignore this and carry on with your game? Muzza said as much when asked about Novak's apparent breathing problems. Rafa has said he takes his time in-between points to steady himself rather than to put the other player off. This is why I have always found discussions about thye timing of Rafa's MTOs rather pathetic. Case in point: the fireworks interruption during the Fed-Rafa semi is deemed to have affected Fed's rythmn and eventual set loss. How come Rafa's rythmn was not affected? They endured the same delay did they not?

I don't know, I am just not convinced...................

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 5:59 PM


Yes, that's a good point you make about the fireworks. Rafa didn't even make an issue of it while Fed seemed to be irked, probably due to his inherent uneasiness of playing Nadal. I also think Nadal had just consolidated a break before the fireworks, so Fed had an extra 15 minutes to beat himself up over it.

Yes if you'er a pro you have to ignore all this stuff. As for Nadal, targeting Fed's backhand is just a very sound tactic and he should keep doing it. Actually Fed has Nadal to thank for having a much better backhand than he did in his prime.

Bharata , 1/28/12 6:25 PM


@sanju

I was sure Sharapova was going to win - but at the very least i didn't expect her to get thrashed the way she did. Perhaps i'm reading too much into it as todays' result has no bearing on tomorrow. But Maria was the more experienced slam winner, previous no1, been at the top of the game longer that her rival who is now the current no1. Sharapova also got the early break and din't capitalise on it just like Rafa didn't in the 1st or 2nd set at the US Open.

A straight set demolition by Novak is definitely possible though and i hopeit doesn't happen that way s it will be painful to watch.

@Vamos rafa

I assume you'r referring to my earlier comments, i didn't state that there's no athleticism to Novak's game - of course there is - my point is that despite him being no1 - he's not yet as appealing to the masses as Rafa or Federer. If he's at the top or 3-4 years as the other two have been , then ,maybe that will change.

lebsta2 , 1/28/12 6:28 PM


Actually, Fed taking too little time between points, some times as little as ten seconds, in a way is also to disrupt his opponent's rhythm. His opponents would simply feel rushed and weren't given enough time to think of how to counter his serves and attacks.

To me, the Rafa/Fed SF was played at a rather quick pace, I don't see Rafa taking too long to serve. I don't understand why so many commentators keep talking about this 'taking too long to serve' issue instead of just enjoying the match. The Nole and Murray SF was a really slow moving match, so many long rallies with neither player able to end points sooner, and they're taking longer time between points due to so many long rallies going on and both players needed some breather. IMO, the first SF was of a higher quality, at least fewer UEs and more winners and not too many long rallies and more all court play. Some part of the Nole/Murray match almost caused me to fall asleep, and it's really really slow moving. Murray had so many opportunities to close the third set earlier on and yet he let it dragged into a tiebreak. He could have made use of his winning momentum from the third set and played the fourth set aggressively and finished Nole off in four, instead he let it wnet away and ended up losing the fifth set and the match. Only the third and the fifth sets were exciting, IMO.

luckystar , 1/28/12 7:07 PM


freely put house on Novak tomorow, you will have 65% more of house :D

Misel , 1/28/12 7:23 PM


Well, I think Simon Briggs is better qualified than I am to hand out advice to Rafa:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/9046506/Australian-Op en-2012-five-things-Rafael-Nadal-must-do-to-beat-Novak-Djokovic-in-gra nd-slam-final.html

....................and by the way, if Nole's "rope-a-dope" is a tactic to lull his opponent into a false sense of security, why not? I think it is perfectly legit. Ali used it to good effect in his boxing matches, why should the same tactic not be used in tennis? They are both brutal individual sports. Personally, I do not have a problem with the tactic and putting it to use in tennis, I have a problem in denying that it can be used and some players may be using it.

This is no longer a "gentleman's sport" only....................it's a war out there!

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 7:36 PM


Every player should just focus on themselves and not what their opponent is doing. If your opponent is tired, hurt...just play your game and you'll win. But if you're dumb enough to get careless when your opponent SEEMS he's tired, well, you deserve to lose.

nemanja230690 , 1/28/12 8:33 PM


^^^^^^^amen

rafaisthebest , 1/28/12 8:51 PM


In beating a mercurial Roger Federer yesterday, Rafael Nadal reaffirmed his credentials as arguably the world?s toughest sportsman.......................

Going into this tournament, Nadal was not widely tipped. Make no mistake: this man is never easily beaten.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/tennis/article3299870.e ce


This is what gives me hope.

nadline , 1/28/12 9:31 PM


This is no longer a "gentleman's sport" only....................it's a war out there!"

Yeah, we long for the days of gentlemen like Connors, Nastase, and McEnroe. If it ever was a gentlemen's sport, it hasn't been that in a very long time.
And the rope a dope was part of Ali's strategy to make a stronger opponent tire himself out throwing punches, so Ali could take advantage of an exhausted opponent. Smart man.

Anyway, at different times late in the match both Novak and Andy looked like their feet were stuck to court and both were breathing heavy. These guys engaged in some long rallies, but they both could have been faking. Andy has been praised for his stamina and and how hard he has worked on he speed & fitness, but early in the fifth set he looked completely gassed. The commentators were saying his legs were gone, he was barely moving and was just reaching to get balls back. But he was able to break Novak @ 5-3 and he got a burst of adrenaline and looked like a different player, winning the nex 11(?) points. Was he faking earlier? I doubt it. Anyone that has played sports or merely watches should know these things happen alll the time. You see basketball players with their hands on their knees gasping for air one minute and sprinting down court the next. If a player loses his concentration because the another player looks winded, that's his problem and he should be questioning his inability to stay focused on his own game.

And while I think this whole subject of tiredness is somewhat silly, I think accusing a player of faking injury as Nadline did was just mean-spirited. It's downright incredulous that she would accuse Novak of faking injury when he is losing when Rafa called for the trainer when he was behind in matches @ AO, FO and Wimby last year. These guys play a lot tennis, sometimes they get hurt.


Quinn , 1/28/12 9:49 PM


Nole in 4 or Rafa in 5.

Emiliano55 , 1/28/12 11:52 PM


I believe Djok, is over exaggerating his breathing/allergy problems.
Anyone with genuine breathing problems will be able to tell you that running and smashing tennis balls when you cant breath and get enough oxygen is physically impossible, your arms and legs just dont work. Yet Djok can do this, which makes me believe that he is exaggerating, especially when nasal spray seemed to fix his problem in the match against murray.
His issue is fitness and i believe his using his allergys as an excuse.
So, if Djok is over exaggerating his breathing problems, he can do so at his own peril. DOing so in front of Nadal means Djok might as well shoot himself and hand himself over, as Rafa will have no mercy, this much I know.

isabeau77 , 1/29/12 12:23 AM


Excuse me, please make this clear: at the FO last year, Rafa called for the trainer during interval with NO MTO time out. He had his retaping work done to his foot all within that break, so there's no disturbing of his opponent's (Fed's) rhythm!

At the AO, his movement was obviously impaired by his thigh muscle pull, that's pretty obvious, if not why would he called for MTO so early during a match if that was to disturb his opponent's momentum?? Wimbledon? Why would he want to break his own momentum when he was winning points. Calling for MTO for some fake injury would have disturb his own momentum. I can't believe some people think that Rafa is so stupid!

Whether Nole fake his breathing issue or not, I don't wish to give any comment. What's more important for any player is to pace himself properly throughout a whole match so that he has enough energy to last the whole match. By not siezing the opportunites when they come but instead allows a match to drag on and on would only mean an unnecessary waste of precious enengy that may prove costly, if the result of which is an inevitable defeat.

luckystar , 1/29/12 1:15 AM


No one is unbeatable.
Thanks to berdych, rafa realized he needs to move forward. If he withstood berdych's bludgeoning-of-the-balls, he also can with djokovic's

raghav , 1/29/12 4:33 AM


sounds like it's gonna be a closed roof

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 4:54 AM


Wow! A lot of catching up to do with all the comments. Anyone who would say congratulations in advance, is beyond arrogant and obnoxious. I hope that person doesn't have to eat their words.

All I can say is that if Rafa thought the way some people did here, then he would pack his bags and go back home to Mallorca! If some want to think it will be a thrashing and Rafa has no chance, well all fine and good. But Rafa must go out there believing that he can win this match. It is crucial to his game. He is a confidence player. He must try to block out last year's losses.

One thing I have learned in a lifetime of watching this sport - there are no sure things, nothing is written in stone. If Rafa thought that he could never beat Nole again, then he would retire.

I don't know why Nole would use this tactic of supposedly pretending to be injured, as gamesmanship. It's a dumb move. The other top players have been around enough to know not to buy into it. Murray didn't. That's not why he lost his semifinal match with Nole.

In watching that match again, I noticed that Nole was doing the squatting and walking very gingerly and grimacing in pain even in the fifth set. Murray had just hit a winner and was putting up a fight and maybe that was what was hurting him. I wonder if those aches and pains you feel as the match goes on, are worse when you are losing or being challenged or your opponent is taking it to you.

I just think it makes no sense to make a big show of being hurt or exhausted. That could fire up your opponent. Murray didn't let down at all. As far as allergies, I suffer from horrendous allergy problems. It can be debilitating. I can't see Nole suffering from them in a match because there are so many wonderful medicines and nose sprays that could certainly work for the duration of a match.

vamosrafa,

A special shoutout to you for that post where you listed all the times Rafa defied the odds. I think you have also been reasonable in giving reasons why Rafa has a good chance in this match. I have had enough of the doom and gloom and the cocky predictions of an easy Nole win.

Nativenewyorker , 1/29/12 5:06 AM


re-send it now, NNY!

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 5:29 AM


RickyDimon-
There is only 20% chance of a few showers, so the roof mostly likely will remain open.

isabeau77 , 1/29/12 6:13 AM


Rafa has beaten 16 times, 5 times in a row as well so why do some people think that all of a sudden Rafa is the only one who can't beat Djokovic. No one else has beaten Djokovic that many times.

I feel that if Djokovic was supremely confident he wouldn't be play acting he would be getting on with the job. Murray could have won that match, but he bottled.

nadline , 1/29/12 8:36 AM


Its not play acting. He's just quick to give himself an excuse, some players are like that, that's all. A mental thing, but when he remembers he's down, he steels himself. Its all in the head, and Nole isn't the only guy who does it.

samprallica , 1/29/12 8:45 AM


Cometh the hour, cometh the man....................

Rafans, I am signing off now. I don't know if I will be watching the match, depends how well my nerves hold up. Whatever happens, 6 hours from now we will know who the Oz 2012 Champion is. Both Rafa and Novak want it, you can see it in their interviews. This means the match will be a brutal mental and physical encounter. Regardless, the match will be played in the best of spirits because above all else, these 2 professionals respect each other, the other's game and credentials.

Good luck to both men! May my guy, Rafa, prevail. If, however, Novak prevails, I will simply hold my hands up and say, chapeau!

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

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 8:47 AM


Vamos Rafa & good luck as always. Hope you bring out your No 1 game and manage what you have not been able to do in your last 6 meetings with Nole. May the number 7 be lucky for YOU.

We, your fans, will be with you on Rod Laver today. God bless.

schatz , 1/29/12 8:57 AM


Did Rafa and Roger play under a closed roof, because Jason Goodhall picled Roger because he is 4-0 h2h indoors.

nadline , 1/29/12 8:58 AM


Expect a great match: from one side there is 6 wins in a row and more versatile player Nole, and from the other side nicely rested Rafa eager to stop being beaten over and over, against the same opponent each finale he plays against for entire year already... I think that Nole is better and that he'll win again

vjakov , 1/29/12 9:01 AM


stay calm,focussed rafa...FEARLESS....VAAAAAMOS!

vrael , 1/29/12 9:03 AM


How are the rafanatics feeling today? Are you all fearless like me? Or scared...??...:P

vrael , 1/29/12 9:18 AM


Analysing the stats: Clay RN leads 9-2, Hard Djoker leads 10-5, Grass RN leads 2-1; Grand Slams RN leads 5-2- meetings only at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US open (which is 3-0, 2-1 and 1-1- two retirements by Djoker at Wimbledon 2007 late in 3rd set when losing 4-1 and Roland Garros 2006 after losing first two sets); Masters Series 11-7 in favour of Djoker, Olympics and Davis cup in favour of RN;
Year wise:RN led 06 1-0; 07 5-2; 08 4-2; 09 4-3; 10 2-0 and 11 reverse trend of 0-6
Country wise: RN leads France 3-1 (win in Masters for Djoker); Italy 2-1; Great Britain or UK 3-2; Spain 2-1, China 2-0, Germany 1-0, Monaco 1-0; Djoker 7-2 in US and 1-0 in Canada; In Australia this is their first meeting
Scores: Total sets played 74; 6-0 (No Scores by either player as yet); 6-1 Djoker leads 5-4; 6-2 RN leads 8-6; 6-3 Djoker leads 10-2; 6-4 RN leads 14-7; 7-5; RN leads 5-4; 7-6 RN leads 6-2; one set Wimb Djoker retires at 4-1 so not completed
Noting the results of the 5h 01 match 2009 Nadal vs Verdasco and then beating Federer in 5 2009 Australian Open Australia Hard S Nadal, Rafael 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-7(1), 6-4 Stats and 2009 Australian Open Australia Hard F Nadal, Rafael
7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2 Stats; and noting Djoker beat Murray in 4h 50 min 6-3 3-6 6-7(4) 6-1 7-5 while Nadal beat Federer6-7(5) 6-2 7-6(5) 6-4 (and Berdych in qtr finals where he could have been 2 sets down 6-7(5) 7-6(6) 6-4 6-3)
Also their meetings Finals 6-5 Djoker; Semis RN 6-5; RR RN 3-1; QF; RN 2-1; hence finals will be 7-5 Djoker for now
http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/45995948/ns/sports-tennis/ (all prematch hype and history of 2nd semifinalist having won 3 out of four times, Nadal's condemning of Murray's 4th set loss) I predict a 5 set epic scorelines as follows:
Djoker to come through to keep his career grand slam and non calendar grand slam chance alive for the French (new debate is he on his way to being the greatest player since Rod Laver or Rocket's 2 complete slams): 7-6 (12-10) (I think it will be an epic tiebreaker beating the one Rafa won in a Masters 11-9); 5-7; 3-6; 7-6 (possibly 7-1 or 7-2) 7-5 or a greater score than 7-5 like 9-7, 12-10 to make it a new rivalry in tennis in their 30th meeting; this will bring doubts as to whether Nadal can defend the French and break Bjorn Borg's record of 6 which I think a player like Murray or Djoker and maybe Federer will prove his nemesis at the French in the semis ; Roger will equal Sampras 7 Wimbledons by beating Murray or Djoker in the final; The French will throw Murray as a surprise finalist or winner and if not the French the US open will be Murray's first grand slam going to the Aussie open 2013 (after losing a 4th final to either Federer at the French or even another surprise French open winner as it can throw up some surprises); basically Djoker will get one slam; maybe two; Roger will get one and Murray will get one slam as well for 2012; Roger might win the Olympics this year being in London as well.
ATP World Tour, Grand Slam, and Davis Cup Main Draw ResultsYear Tournament & City Surface Round Winner & Score
2011 US Open
NY, U.S.A. Hard F Djokovic, Novak
6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1 Stats
2011 Wimbledon
Great Britain Grass F Djokovic, Novak
6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 Stats
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome
Italy Clay F Djokovic, Novak
6-4, 6-4 Stats
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid
Spain Clay F Djokovic, Novak
7-5, 6-4 Stats
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami
FL, U.S.A. Hard F Djokovic, Novak
4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) Stats
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells
CA, U.S.A. Hard F Djokovic, Novak
4-6, 6-3, 6-2 Stats
2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
London, England Hard RR Nadal, Rafael
7-5, 6-2 Stats
2010 US Open
NY, U.S.A. Hard F Nadal, Rafael
6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 Stats
2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
London, England Hard RR Djokovic, Novak
7-6(5), 6-3 Stats
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris
France Hard S Djokovic, Novak
6-2, 6-3 Stats
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati
OH, U.S.A. Hard S Djokovic, Novak
6-1, 6-4 Stats
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid
Spain Clay S Nadal, Rafael
3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(9) Stats
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome
Italy Clay F Nadal, Rafael
7-6(2), 6-2 Stats
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo
Monaco Clay F Nadal, Rafael
6-3, 2-6, 6-1 Stats
2009 ESP vs. SRB WG 1st RD
Spain Clay RR Nadal, Rafael
6-4, 6-4, 6-1
2008 Beijing Olympics
China Hard S Nadal, Rafael
6-4, 1-6, 6-4
2008 ATP Masters Series Cincinnati
OH, U.S.A. Hard S Djokovic, Novak
6-1, 7-5 Stats
2008 London / Queen's Club
Great Britain Grass F Nadal, Rafael
7-6(6), 7-5 Stats
2008 Roland Garros
France Clay S Nadal, Rafael
6-4, 6-2, 7-6(3) Stats
2008 ATP Masters Series Hamburg
Germany Clay S Nadal, Rafael
7-5, 2-6, 6-2 Stats
2008 ATP Masters Series Indian Wells
CA, U.S.A. Hard S Djokovic, Novak
6-3, 6-2 Stats
2007 Tennis Masters Cup
China Hard RR Nadal, Rafael
6-4, 6-4 Stats
2007 ATP Masters Series Canada
Montreal, Canada Hard S Djokovic, Novak
7-5, 6-3 Stats
2007 Wimbledon
Great Britain Grass S Nadal, Rafael
3-6, 6-1, 4-1 RET Stats
2007 Roland Garros
France Clay S Nadal, Rafael
7-5, 6-4, 6-2 Stats
2007 ATP Masters Series Rome
Italy Clay Q Nadal, Rafael
6-2, 6-3 Stats
2007 ATP Masters Series Miami
FL, U.S.A. Hard Q Djokovic, Novak
6-3, 6-4 Stats
2007 ATP Masters Series Indian Wells
CA, U.S.A. Hard F Nadal, Rafael
6-2, 7-5 Stats
2006 Roland Garros
France Clay Q Nadal, Rafael
6-4, 6-4 RET

MAGICJOHNSON76 , 1/29/12 9:20 AM


God, is this a closed roof match? Already advantage Djoko if this is indoors

Ricky - Changing your prediction?

sanju , 1/29/12 9:21 AM


Apprehensive, vrael. If Nole plays the way he played against Andy, Rafa will eat him up. But a tennis match is so unpredictable, who know what will happen. I am so nervous, I just want it to be all over with Rafa biting the trophy.

Rafa is playing better this year than he did last year and I think Nole's standard has gone down. We'll see if Nole has any breathing problems today.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 1/29/12 9:23 AM


The roof is not closed.

jean , 1/29/12 9:28 AM


okay fact that it rained and that will result in weather cahnges, humidity levels, heaviness of balls etc..who has slight advantage if roof is open?

sanju , 1/29/12 9:30 AM


nadline

Win Or Lose...Rafa will give his all....that's why we love him...i am a bigger fan of rafa the fighter,the human....than rafa the tennis player.....a loss would hurt but we fans have been incredibly lucky...he has won a lot...and will a lot too...the djoko-nemesis phase will pass too...

Bottomline:Rafa has started the year AMAZINGLY...win or lose today...Rafa will have a good 2012....VAAAAMOS!

vrael , 1/29/12 9:31 AM


and will *win* a lot again...

vrael , 1/29/12 9:33 AM


Vijay Amritraj is usually correct in his predictions and has picked Nole (:-

sanju , 1/29/12 9:36 AM


GOOOOOOOOOOOOD MOOOOOOORNING...!
And here we are... Nole looks calm... Rafa is smiling...
Words on net were..
Novak " Have a good match "
Rafa " You too "
...and here we go.... AJDEEEEE NOLEEEEEEEEE!

zare , 1/29/12 9:40 AM


Ricky - does your prediction stay?

sanju , 1/29/12 9:44 AM


Rafa - please stay on baseline or closer..you again standing behind

sanju , 1/29/12 9:46 AM


first forehand up the line for rafa. Didn't see that once last season against nole.

willmw101 , 1/29/12 9:46 AM


that down the line forehand is so crucial today. That was a beauty

willmw101 , 1/29/12 9:53 AM


Rafa's first serve is an Ace. Strong start!

grafight , 1/29/12 9:53 AM


Nadal's return is not good enough at the momentum much like last year... he must step up closer

willmw101 , 1/29/12 9:56 AM


Rafa - staying WAY, WAY back even on 2nd serves!!!! Djokoivc is just acting - once he clicks into gear there will be no stopping him.

lebsta2 , 1/29/12 9:58 AM


Nadal had a lead in each of his first two return games but some moonballing cost him

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 9:59 AM


Rafa...has to stay aggressive...no moonballing....Vaaamos.

vrael , 1/29/12 10:04 AM


Finally nadal stepped up to the baseline for a djokovic second serve and what happened?? 1 , 2 bang! Winner

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:04 AM


the djoko serve is helping him...how much does a good 1st serve help...

vrael , 1/29/12 10:06 AM


WHAT A GET!!

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:06 AM


WOWE

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 10:07 AM


Thats a good miss, aggressive rather than passive

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:08 AM


hideous return on bp...it was a good 2nd serve though...early chances slipped away...

vrael , 1/29/12 10:08 AM


Rafa breaksssssssssssssssssss!

nadline , 1/29/12 10:10 AM


NOT TONIGHT DJOKOVIC....VAAAAAAAAMOSSS RAFAAAA....fearless.

vrael , 1/29/12 10:11 AM


Vamossssssssssssssssssss Rafa. Please hold your serve

gr8nadal , 1/29/12 10:11 AM


Nadal really had to break. Not gonna get this many chances handed to him the rest of the match.

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 10:11 AM


woaah...the joker is in a dark mood

vrael , 1/29/12 10:13 AM


Good, broken him, now next thing , HOLD SERVE!! don't concede straight away as in previous matches - Djokovic still not in right frame of mind but that will change so Rafa has to keep on top

lebsta2 , 1/29/12 10:14 AM


That's what I said about taking advantages of break chances. Now he has to hold his serve to consolidate the break. That was his problem last year.

Nativenewyorker , 1/29/12 10:16 AM


don't stop being agrressive rafaa....bp djokovic..

vrael , 1/29/12 10:16 AM


BEAUTIFULLLLL
since I am watching this match on Swiss TV... During the two games, I heard a very nice analyze about Federer's victory in Paris... LOL
So first blood for Nadal...
Nole is such slow starter lately....
AJDE NOLE!!!!!!!

zare , 1/29/12 10:17 AM


Hold your serve, Rafa!

Deuce!

Nativenewyorker , 1/29/12 10:17 AM


Advantage Rafa! Come on! Serve an ace!

Nativenewyorker , 1/29/12 10:19 AM


djokovic is returning better...he has the advantage in more departments of the game...bp djokovic

vrael , 1/29/12 10:19 AM


God wat a struggle to hold..already 4 deuces

sanju , 1/29/12 10:21 AM


not an impressive hold but a CLUTCH hold

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 10:24 AM


phew he finally held after 5 deuces

sanju , 1/29/12 10:24 AM


vamossssss Rafa. Good hold

gr8nadal , 1/29/12 10:24 AM


better serving from rafa so far than at any point in 2011

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:24 AM


VAAAAAMOS...he is listening to his fans...intense...fearless...pumped up...come on...break him again...Vamos

vrael , 1/29/12 10:25 AM


Rafa, please break here.


Vamos

nadline , 1/29/12 10:25 AM


Issue is he has to hold serve twice now to claim the set

Given Djokos strong returns on Rafas serve, wont be easy

sanju , 1/29/12 10:26 AM


Djoko suddenly super aggressive in his last service game (:-

Rafa moved further back to baseline again (:-

sanju , 1/29/12 10:28 AM


Djoker starting to pick it up

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 10:28 AM


this set is FAR from over....djokovic IS the best returner in the game

vrael , 1/29/12 10:29 AM


Rafa's game is depending completely on his first...

zare , 1/29/12 10:30 AM


It was a key hold for Rafa to break the past pattern. But Nole is picking up his game and Rafa still has to hold serve for two more games.

Nativenewyorker , 1/29/12 10:32 AM


all of a sudden 2011 nadal come out to play

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:36 AM


djokovic is dominating,moving rafa around...it should be the other way around

vrael , 1/29/12 10:36 AM


what is this?? this is the back to the 2011 level... terrible from nadal

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:39 AM


disaster...if rafa does'nt take the first...it would be impossible to win.

vrael , 1/29/12 10:39 AM


4-4

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 10:39 AM


(Digression) - Does anyone know how many times Nadal has been beaten in a five-setter? Should be very rare I suppose!

firozjehangir , 1/29/12 10:40 AM


Again surrendered the serve..standing behind bossed around

sanju , 1/29/12 10:40 AM


so short from nadal, cannot believe how much his level has dropped in two games

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:40 AM


YEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!
Here we go baby.....
TONIGHT!

zare , 1/29/12 10:40 AM


vrael - not true at all

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 10:41 AM


f***...so lucky this djokovic....

vrael , 1/29/12 10:43 AM


Quite disappointed with the way Rafa handles his own service game. He looks too afraid to go for the kill and just happy to stay in the rally. Now the net cord is even helping Nole! Sigh...
Same old same old...

luckystar , 1/29/12 10:43 AM


that 0-30 point...........

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 10:43 AM


Djokos backhand is pulverizing

sanju , 1/29/12 10:44 AM


if nadal doesn't break here he will lose this set

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:44 AM


ricky...i feel it's true...rafa has to take the first set to win....otherwise it looks bleak to me.....that 0-30 point could be the turning point....very lucky

vrael , 1/29/12 10:46 AM


Djoko clearly looks stronger of the 2..no doubt about it

Rafa has again reverted back to 2011..cross court forehands..no DTL..standing behind baseline

sanju , 1/29/12 10:46 AM


Good time for second break....
GO NOLE!!!!

zare , 1/29/12 10:47 AM


that is a ridiculous forehand

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:50 AM


nadal far behind the break point...giving up the court...he has to make nole run...not himself...*facepalm*...

vrael , 1/29/12 10:51 AM


It looks like Nole is the warrior here, not Rafa. Rafa's default game is to stand far away from the baseline and hit big, once he tries standing at the baseline to return shots, he'll overhit. This is something he needs to work on badly, if not he'll always be bossed around on the hard courts! 5-5 now, let's see what happens next.

luckystar , 1/29/12 10:51 AM


Can sumone tell me please why is Rafa standing so behind baseline? Please

why cant he leran his lesson

sanju , 1/29/12 10:53 AM


Please can anyone answer this question.

Why doesn't nadal cut a nice aggressive slice to return some of djokovic's 2nd serves rather than moon balling a very short topspin backhand return? Anyone??

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:55 AM


Rafa has chance here!!

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 10:56 AM


yes...some aggresion...and reaping rewards....keep it up rafael...VAAAMOS

vrael , 1/29/12 10:56 AM


Vamosssssssss Rafa. Please serve out the set now. Pleassssssssssssssssss

gr8nadal , 1/29/12 10:57 AM


If Rafa doesn't hold serve here, I give up.


Vamos Rafa

nadline , 1/29/12 10:57 AM


tiebreaker coming soon

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 10:57 AM


if rafa does'nt win the set NOW.......

vrael , 1/29/12 10:58 AM


Ricky .. lol!!

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 10:58 AM


Wel that forhand down the line was masterpiece:(

zare , 1/29/12 10:58 AM


the only way for Rafa to win s to go for DTL..no CC to noles backhand..he cant win it

he played that shot last game at 30-30 and it reaped awards

sanju , 1/29/12 10:59 AM


great to see nadal slicing the hard return back to djokovic. Much more effective than high looping forehand.

willmw101 , 1/29/12 10:59 AM


ricky...NO

vrael , 1/29/12 11:00 AM


Deuce!!

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 11:02 AM


Oh my god..thats a surprise

If Rafa loses, atleast not straight sets

lebsta ...:-)

This is going to 4

sanju , 1/29/12 11:05 AM


ideal set for Nadal. Wins it AND keeps Djoker out there for 79 minutes.

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 11:05 AM


Rafa, just 2 more sets.


Vamos

nadline , 1/29/12 11:07 AM


Whoof, so nerve wrecking this first set, thank goodness Rafa held his nerve and served it out. Vamos Rafa, please continue with the intensity and never let loose please!

luckystar , 1/29/12 11:09 AM


Rafa should have come charging back..hes again passive at start of 2nd

surprisingly Nole is not affected by loss of 1st

sanju , 1/29/12 11:10 AM


Rafa should have come charging back..hes again passive at start of 2nd

surprisingly Nole is not affected by loss of 1st

sanju , 1/29/12 11:10 AM


Rafa should have come charging back..hes again passive at start of 2nd

surprisingly Nole is not affected by loss of 1st

sanju , 1/29/12 11:12 AM


Rafa should have come charging back..hes again passive at start of 2nd

surprisingly Nole is not affected by loss of 1st

sanju , 1/29/12 11:13 AM


There you go..he told Murray shld not have let go in 4th n he doing the same (:-

Rafa won against Berdy and Fed coming from behind..wonder how hell play being ahead by a set

sanju , 1/29/12 11:15 AM


clutch point

sanju - that isnt surprising. Djoker is fine mentally and physically.

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 11:16 AM


is it true that Nadal is 133 wins - 1 loss in slam matches when he wins the first set??

willmw101 , 1/29/12 11:18 AM


Clutch hold...saving bp's...now BREAK HIM....

vrael , 1/29/12 11:19 AM


Good hold from Rafa surviving 2 break points

but intensity of 2nd has dropped from both..a bit more from Rafa

sanju , 1/29/12 11:20 AM


Rafa has won every Forehand DTL he has hit..wonder why hes not hitting it more

sanju , 1/29/12 11:21 AM


Even if nadal doesn't win this match, his serve, down the line forehand, weight of shot and mind-set have all been better so far this match than they were in 2011.

willmw101 , 1/29/12 11:22 AM


Rafa still behind the baseline (:-

I think hes thinking hell overhit if he steps closer

willmw : It will account for nothing unless he wins..he ran Djoko close in USO too for first 3 sets..all that matters is a win..nothing else

sanju , 1/29/12 11:24 AM


Rafa is still doing all the running....

vrael , 1/29/12 11:26 AM


sanju, Nadal didn't run djokovic close in the first three sets of the u.s open, Djokovic embarrassed nadal for the first two sets and only the third was competitive. This Nadal today is an improvement in progress, the above areas I outlined have improved from last year, the backhand and the return still need work.

willmw101 , 1/29/12 11:27 AM


As Nadal has not lost a GS final winning the first set - a stat I did not think of but I think second set will be Djoker 6-1 or 6-3, 3rd set will be Nadal in a tiebreak; 4th set will be Novak in a tiebreak and fifth set same prediction as now Novak 7-5 or a different score like 8-6, 9-7 or 12-10 to make it an epic- match time I expect minimum 5 and half hours: so revised prediction is Novak 5-7, 6-1 (or 6-3); 6-7, 7-6 and 7-5 (or 9-7.....)

Previous prediction:
7-6 (12-10) (I think it will be an epic tiebreaker beating the one Rafa won in a Masters 11-9); 5-7; 3-6; 7-6 (possibly 7-1 or 7-2) 7-5 or a greater score than 7-5 like 9-7, 12-10 to make it a new rivalry in tennis in their 30th meeting;

MAGICJOHNSON76 , 1/29/12 11:28 AM


all you can do is laugh after that point

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 11:28 AM


bp djokovic.....rafa making errors

vrael , 1/29/12 11:29 AM


There you go..down a break.. (:-

over to 3rd set

Is anyone else feeling that Rafas lvl has suddenly dropped ?

sanju , 1/29/12 11:31 AM


Edberg/Sampras like volley.

samprallica , 1/29/12 11:32 AM


Loves these rafa backhands, they are huge

willmw101 , 1/29/12 11:33 AM


djokovic on a tear.

vrael , 1/29/12 11:34 AM


Is anyone else feeling that Rafas lvl has suddenly dropped ?
Nole is killing him from behind the court

Rafa still standing behind the baseline

sanju , 1/29/12 11:36 AM


Nole is looking in his groove now.

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 11:36 AM


so far I got the first set right...:)

natashao , 1/29/12 11:36 AM


and as we all knew...djoker is 100 percent...physically and mentally...he is a beast like nadal

vrael , 1/29/12 11:37 AM


Rafa's actually playing better than in the first set. Nole's playing that much better though.

samprallica , 1/29/12 11:38 AM


Djokovic's form is gonna get better and better as this match goes on, bad news for nadal

willmw101 , 1/29/12 11:38 AM


Every DTL shot Rfa has hit has given him the point..hope he does it more

sanju , 1/29/12 11:40 AM


well, rafa has a 99.3% winning record in slams when he wins set 1 ! if that 0.7% holds true today, I WILL BE ABSOLUTELY GUTTED . Rafa's backhand is gradually coming back, better pace on it in set 2. He's hit some awesome forehands but he needs to use the forehand DTL more and that big inside out forehand that has earned him the most winners so far. for me the most impressive part of rafa's game has been his serve, OUTSTANDING so far

vamosrafa , 1/29/12 11:41 AM


samprallica, nadals form has dropped in the second set and nole's has increased, just the ebb and flow of a tennis match

willmw101 , 1/29/12 11:41 AM


I think Rafa's fitness level has gone down. He can't rally with Nole, he'll lose most of the points doing that. Funny thing is, he prefers to stay behind the baseline instead of moving forward to the net. Nole is simply bossing him around from the baseline, and where's the forehand DTL? Why always CC?

It seems that once Rafa sees Nole across the net, he has brain cramps and can't think clearly on court. Please Rafa gives chase here, you still have chance to win this set, just concentrate! Vamos!!

luckystar , 1/29/12 11:42 AM


Nole 1st serve % is very low ...that creating a lot of problem for him !!

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 11:42 AM


Nadal's form hasn't really dropped, has it? I mean he didn't have to contend with anything like what Nole is giving him now, and he's still pushing Nole.

samprallica , 1/29/12 11:43 AM


look at the stats

willmw101 , 1/29/12 11:43 AM


Stats aren't everything. The length and quality of the rallies has definitely increased.

samprallica , 1/29/12 11:45 AM


I think Rafa looks more tired out there than Nole

To be frank looking at body language

sanju , 1/29/12 11:45 AM


Nadal more tired? How? You're right about body language though, its just a mental thing. Nole seems to relish being in a tight spot, he just comes out firing.

samprallica , 1/29/12 11:47 AM


rafa is not confident enough with his backhand at times...and novak is not letting him dominate with the lefty forehand.....this set is almost over

vrael , 1/29/12 11:47 AM


Noles form has surely upped by like 30-40% no doubt about it

sanju , 1/29/12 11:47 AM


Sanju..

Rafa is not looking more tired than nole.

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 11:48 AM


yes stats aren't everything, however they give a good indication of a players levels and serve percentage and unforced error ratios are both down for nadal in the second set.

willmw101 , 1/29/12 11:48 AM


see one more DTL and wins the point..hes won every DTL shot today

sanju , 1/29/12 11:49 AM


mani..Im saying going by body language..his body language looks downbeat

sanju , 1/29/12 11:50 AM


djokovic eats rafa's 2nd serves and short balls....rafa does not....:(

vrael , 1/29/12 11:51 AM


haha great challenge

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 11:52 AM


Ricky.. is that should be allowed??

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 11:53 AM


that was unfair...rafa saw djokovic hit the winner and then challenged 5 seconds later....

vrael , 1/29/12 11:53 AM


yes even though Im a rafa fan that challenge shouldnt have been allowed..but thats the umpires job..he allowed it

who are we to tell? its his job

sanju , 1/29/12 11:54 AM


Well, there have been challenges made much later. Besides, if it was a fault, Nole's return wasn't valid anyway.

samprallica , 1/29/12 11:55 AM


ricky,why do these two hate each other? I mean is there any other reason for them to dislike each other other than that being fierce rivals?

vrael , 1/29/12 11:56 AM


Samprallica..

Gamesmanship ...Mr. Nadal talked about it in his last press ...lol!!

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 11:56 AM


not a fair challenge... anyway, rafa has hit some aggressive 2nd serves today on big points, that's great to see...he was content to just roll the 2nd ball into the court last year

vamosrafa , 1/29/12 11:57 AM


yes, u can challenge ur own serve

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 11:58 AM


vrael..They dont hate each other..not at all..who told you that?

They are comfy with each other off the court

Infact Nole said Rafa, Murray and Tipsa are his 3 comfy pals off the court

sanju , 1/29/12 11:59 AM


if nadal doesn't step up to the baseline to return Nole's second serves the next three sets will go to djokovic

willmw101 , 1/29/12 12:00 PM


they dont hate each other, LOL

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 12:01 PM


From nowhere he broke back djokovic!

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 12:02 PM


What an absolute gift. Nole should kick himself in public if he loses this set.

samprallica , 1/29/12 12:02 PM


That point that nadal set the break point up with is crucial to the rest of this match. Nole attacked rafa's forehand with a flat hard shot as usual and instead of floating it back cross court Nadal smashed it up the line. Great break back from Rafa.

willmw101 , 1/29/12 12:03 PM


novak chokovich the chocker

tennismania , 1/29/12 12:04 PM


DO.NOT.GET.BROKEN.BACK RAFA

vrael , 1/29/12 12:05 PM


second serves are just getting owned

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 12:06 PM


chockologist suffers from chockism........ kikikikikikiki!!

tennismania , 1/29/12 12:06 PM


Rafa promptly returning the serve as gift

sanju , 1/29/12 12:06 PM


rafa's forehand decided things in that game ! excellent hitting ...djokovic made a costly double fault though, I HOPE RAFA HOLDS PLZZZ

vamosrafa , 1/29/12 12:07 PM


lol....i just feel they do not get along well now...understandable after 2011...rafa,the competitor he is...would never feel too friendly with nole now..

vrael , 1/29/12 12:09 PM


tense game for the bull but the heavens want rafa to win. vamos rafa, coming from a fed fan!

tennismania , 1/29/12 12:09 PM


Wowwwwwwwww!!

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 12:10 PM


damn..c prompt gift back

sanju , 1/29/12 12:11 PM


disaster...oh well...

vrael , 1/29/12 12:11 PM


that is absolutely terrible tennis from Nadal. 1 set all. Cannot see Nadal winning another set. Game over

willmw101 , 1/29/12 12:11 PM


ownage of 2nd serves caused that DF

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 12:11 PM


rafa is a generous boy.

vamosrafa , 1/29/12 12:12 PM


whos the choker again?

samprallica , 1/29/12 12:12 PM


Nadal actually played well that set, and still has a good chance of winning the match

Djoker just raised his level

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 12:13 PM


Nope, Nadal's attitude has changed, there is less groundstroke aggression to his service games than in the first set. Can't see that changing round again

willmw101 , 1/29/12 12:18 PM


Rcky..the degree to which Rafa is standing behind the baseline , he is getting bossed n pulverized..he cant wn this way

sanju , 1/29/12 12:21 PM


obviously Nadal has no chance if Djokovic keeps playing like this. Everyone knows that.

However, Nadal just needs to weather the storm and keep him out there for 5 hours. Then he will have his chances.

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 12:23 PM


this will be over soon...in 4 sets if this keeps going...nole is dictating everything...screwing rafa's serve....respect for nole's ROS...it's the best there is

vrael , 1/29/12 12:23 PM


why does nadal keep serving to djokovic's backhand, surely has to aim for the body or forehand

willmw101 , 1/29/12 12:23 PM


Rafa is looking gassed out totally..his body language has no aggression whatsoever

sanju , 1/29/12 12:23 PM


we're well on our way to 5 hours

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 12:25 PM


Ricky I really don't think thats the right strategy. If nadal stops offering mid court short balls then he'll have his chances to win this match. I just can't see that happening, nor can I see a long 5 setter helping rafa that much

willmw101 , 1/29/12 12:26 PM


By Score both are even so anyone has equal chance

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 12:27 PM


as expected, both playing their best tennis now

RickyDimon , 1/29/12 12:28 PM


Nadal's length is worse against djokovic than against anyone else on tour. That has partly to do with djokovics great hitting ability but mostly is a self destructive attitude thing

willmw101 , 1/29/12 12:29 PM


rafa is not hitting enough fh's to dictate even 50 percent of the points played...bh is not good enough....something has to change for rafa to surge ahead...does not look too good at the moment...come on rafaaa

vrael , 1/29/12 12:32 PM


It isn't easy for Nadal with his swing technique to keep it deep against Nole. Especially if the ball is forcing him back as Nole's is. Incredible hitting from Nole, but can he sustain this? It'll take a huge effort, already almost 3 hours.

samprallica , 1/29/12 12:32 PM


I couldn't load TT on for ages, so frustrating.

Vamooooooooooosssssssssssss

nadline , 1/29/12 3:17 PM


No more bad gate report

AJDE NOLEEEEEEEEEEE 3 MORE POINTS

zare , 1/29/12 3:31 PM


DON'T LET HIM OF THE HOOK ONE MORE TIME....

zare , 1/29/12 3:33 PM


I feel so sorry for Rafa, why must he lose his serve so easily at 4-2? Maybe it really is not meant to be for him. I'm really feeling very sad for him if he lose like this, having come so far and so close! Please Rafa break Nole's serve here, please!!

luckystar , 1/29/12 3:34 PM


How many time Nole had the advantage... break... 0:40... and still :(
DEUCE

zare , 1/29/12 3:36 PM


JUST ONE MORE GOOD SERVE..... AJDEEEEEEEYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSS

zare , 1/29/12 3:37 PM


Pathetic from Rafa. He had the match and he blew it.

nadline , 1/29/12 3:38 PM


pathetic, simply pathetic Rafa...what a disappointment...I am speechless...

natashao , 1/29/12 3:41 PM


BRAVO NOLE.... BRAVO....
5. grand slam!!!!
3 in row...
3. AO GS!!!!
and 7. win in finale over Rafael Nadal....
BRAVO!!! GUTS AND HEART!!!!

zare , 1/29/12 3:44 PM


7-0.
congrats Zare and nole fans!
what a player, true legend

sabs , 1/29/12 3:44 PM


biggest choke in tennis history.

willmw101 , 1/29/12 3:45 PM


nadaline: wrong, you are pathetic! :wavey: karma is a bitch. be careful not to choke on your pork pie today!

rfzr , 1/29/12 3:45 PM


Well congrats to Nole and his fans!

It's not meant to be for Rafa, because when it matters most, he didn't have calm, afraid to lose and started to play it safe. I'm afraid it'll be a long way back for Rafa. Just how could he threw away the game like that in the seventh game of the fifth set?

Rafa please don't cry like Fed. Well history does repeat itself. It's really a montrous effort from Nole, well done! I think we're now officially ushering in the Novak era and the Fedal era is officially over!

Rafa please go and concentrate on clay and grass, I think the hard courts are not meant for you anymore. I'm happy that you've already won your career slam, so please just concentrate on winning the FO and Wimbledon.

luckystar , 1/29/12 3:50 PM


Thank you djokovic for saving tennis. 7-0 it is.

Not even with a tired djokovic was nadal able to win.

Djokovic truly owns nadal.

A record for nadal, the first player to lose 3 finals at consecutive slams. Congrats.

bleck , 1/29/12 4:01 PM


*hugs rafans*

nevermind...Rafa will be fine...3 slams still left....Vaamos!!

vrael , 1/29/12 4:01 PM


At leads he's challenging for titles bleck. Where's federer who still saying he has what it takes??

willmw101 , 1/29/12 4:02 PM


Rafa had the match in his hands, why did he go walkies in the 2nd and 3rd sets? Rafa should have won.

nadline , 1/29/12 4:02 PM


Don't know where Nadal goes from here.Djokovic is better in all facets of the game including mental and physical endurance.

stratocast51 , 1/29/12 4:03 PM


bleck..

where is federer??

vrael , 1/29/12 4:04 PM


Well congrats to Rafa... finale... new points... 860?... not bad at all...
Novak also had a chances to close the match earlier... but he didn't use it... it's tennis.Almost 6 hours.... one of EPIC matches in history of game...
...

zare , 1/29/12 4:04 PM


Well deserved win for Novak. He really is the best player in the world.

Congratulations to Nole's fans, enjoy.

So, proud of Rafa. So proud of the way he fought. I hope he and his team take the positives from this and he comes back stronger.

Vamos!!!!!!!

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 4:04 PM


Not sure how Novak made through all this... something super human... not the first time, but each time he go further and further... Not sure why everyone is trashing Nadal now, he was great and it is just matter of time when Novak will wear off his alien powers... I think Rafa played equally good, don't see anything tragic about his play and rest of career. Novak will have trouble repeating his 2011...

atg , 1/29/12 4:05 PM


bleck: you are pathetic..you didnt show your face for 3 days and suddenly turn up to comment..God you are truly pathetic and after witnessing the epic match..you still have the lack of class to say bad things about Rafa..you are truly pathetic

sanju , 1/29/12 4:05 PM



It was fate that Nole should win this title because Murray could have had him and he didn't, Rafa also had the match on his racquet and he blew it.

nadline , 1/29/12 4:05 PM


@vrael
......
wait a moment.... who is federer?

zare , 1/29/12 4:06 PM


bleck

remember ao 09?? a well rested federer could'nt beat a tired nadal?? where was the goat?? hehe...he might be the greatest of all times...but most of his fans are the biggest losers of all time

Vaaamos rafaaaaaaa

vrael , 1/29/12 4:06 PM


Hey this is like how federer got creamed in wimbledon, that 5 setter he didnt have a chance. Karma has come full circle, but in full force.

nirv02 , 1/29/12 4:08 PM


well that missed backhand at 4-2 up was the game changer..he hit it just wide and that was indeed a game changer

Novak may have been acting tired..but he ht all the points in the rally well.

I think this loss has to be the most crushing for Rafa of all the 3 losses..I wonder how hell react to this? If he allows this to demoralize him..its curtains..if he draws positives from this and sees that he really could have won this..he may be able to bounce back

Fed did bounce back from 3 GS losses to Rafa and won 3 after that..hope Rafa does the same

sanju , 1/29/12 4:09 PM


Commies to Rafa, still a great effort and a great heart, just doesn't have the calm like Nole to finish the job. His game is simply not tailor for the hard courts, in fact for most part of the match, Nole is the better player. There are so many flaws in Rafa's game, he simply can't step in to take the ball early and hence he has to be contented to stay far away from the baseline. Now I just hope he can win another FO and Wimbledon, not hoping for any more hard court slams for him. Really upsetting to see him lose like this!

luckystar , 1/29/12 4:09 PM


nole slam here we come!

dejan1989 , 1/29/12 4:09 PM


Karma is indeed a bitch rfzr.

Unlike 2009 justice prevails today and that's good to see.

Djokovic will go beyong 10 wins in a row against nadal probably. Nadal's only hope is like at last year's FO that Roger takes out djokovic and then bows down.

bleck , 1/29/12 4:09 PM


When Nadal challenged that backhand miss at 4-2, 30-15 in the 5th set I knew he was having 2nd thoughts. It was clearly wide, but he still challenged anyway. Murray does this when he gets shaky mentally. You start challenging your misses even though you know they are out.

conquistador , 1/29/12 4:11 PM


He is just a guy with biggest number of GSs... for now...
But don't ruin this day with ExFEd... now I will have to clean my iMac :)))
God day for tennis... I am hoping that Nole just pooled the streak... Serbia is playing 2 finales today... waterpolo and handbal euro finale...

zare , 1/29/12 4:11 PM


congrats to Nole and his fans...

lucky, Rafa will not cry. He is a great champion and great person. Today, he came close as ever and he lost it. Rafa should take this loss as something he let happen, by his own mistakes, not being outplayed...though, I admire Nole for his endurance...at the beginning of the fifth he looked wasted but once again he came back stronger than ever...great match by both of them...it was not meant to be for Rafa...it all came to confidence and mental strength...I guess Nole believed in his win more than Rafa did...

natashao , 1/29/12 4:12 PM


atg
, 1/29/12 4:05 PM

Well said. Nole should have won it in 4. I am speechless.

1. Nole was the favourite foing into the match, he showed why he is #1 and that 2011 was no fluke. He really is here to stay.
2. Rafa gained ranking points. He pushed Nole hard. I thought he showed tremendous mental composure to take it to 5. He was dead and buried in the 3rd.
3. I hope Rafa goes back to Mallorca, regroups and continues his improvements.

You have to hand it to Nole though......................he really came into his own in the 5th. He rose to the occassion.

Vamos!!!!!!

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 4:12 PM


the script of 2009 AO is rewritten..same circumstances..same outcome..

sanju , 1/29/12 4:14 PM


7 in a row ..can we say that nole owns nadal now ...when was the last time any of the top 4 players lost 7 in a row to each other ?
Amazing achievement by nole . He had a day less rest , came off a 5 setter and still won !!

congrats nole !!

breakpoint , 1/29/12 4:15 PM



A new Murray is going to turn up mid year as he reaches his mental and physical peak . I would like to see how the field stacks up against him.

nirv02 , 1/29/12 4:16 PM


7 in a row ..can we say that nole owns nadal now ...when was the last time any of the top 4 players lost 7 in a row to each other ?
Amazing achievement by nole . He had a day less rest , came off a 5 setter and still won !!

congrats nole !!

breakpoint , 1/29/12 4:18 PM


Unless Rafa improves his backhand, there is no way he can outplay Novak. His backhand cost him on several occasions.

antony , 1/29/12 4:18 PM


nole does owm nadal..theres no dispute about that..it will take something special for rafa to remove him from his head..he is firmly planted in rafas head.

But I somehow dont think Nole being in his head made Rafa lose today..had it, he would have lost in 4..he wouldnt have come back to win 4th set being 3 BPs down and then 5-3 down in TB

I dont think the backhand miss in 5th set was because of Nole..it was his own costly mistake..very costly..he could have gone 5-2 up and he blew it..

Fed didnt blow it in 2009..he was never in the lead..Rafa blew it today..literally..and Nole sensed that n took advantage

sanju , 1/29/12 4:19 PM


Nadal could do the same thing that Federer did after 2009 AO. He could win the French and Wimby. Nadal's serve looks great. I don't see anyone beating him at Wimby with that serve except possibly Djokovic.

conquistador , 1/29/12 4:20 PM


yes conquistador..I am hoping just for that..

but Fed won that as Rafa got injured and didnt even participate in Wimby

Its not just Nole, Rafa has to contend with Murray too now who had improved so much going by his semifinal..ts going to be a dogfight between the 3.

Nole snatched victory from jaws of defeat in 2 successive matches..really got to hand it to him. he does have guts, spirit, belief

sanju , 1/29/12 4:23 PM


Rafans, I really think we should be proud of Rafa's performance tonight. Rod Laver Arena is home for Nole. We all know Nole is more comfortable on hard court than Rafa is. So, for Rafa to push him to 5 sets (and nearly steal the match!) is unbelievable for me.

Whatever Uncle Toni and Rafa have been tinkering with is working imho. Let's be honest, who seriously expected Rafa to beat Nole tonight? Only Rafans I dare say................but everybody expected a straight sets win for Nole or 4 sets at worst.

So, please, some perspective.....................

I hope Rafa keeps fighting, keeps betting to the finals....................the law of averages says his chances will come.

What a match!!!!!!!

p.s. I have gained new respect for Novak.

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 4:24 PM


I have never said that words for any other tennis player except Fed but today Nole made me his fans :

"Take a bow Champion"

Due to fed i started following tennis but today i felt that after Fed i can follow some tennis player.

AJDE NOLE!!

mani4Tennis , 1/29/12 4:27 PM


Yes RITB..I think the tourney has loads of positives for Rafa..The trophy would have been nice..but well he did way better than wat was expected..he reached the final and really took it to Nole..he just couldnt close it.

Nole is gonna be super hungry to take RG now..can u believe it..if he does it..hell complete his career slam and Nole slam (4 in a row) together..its a huge opportunity..huge..huge..hell be super hungry to take that..he knows its his time..

sanju , 1/29/12 4:28 PM


bleck, I think you're such a revengeful person and full of hatred. Don't worry, if anything, Rafa still owns Fed, happy? So, to confirm, Fed or Rafa are no goat material, simply because they're being owned by somebody. Let's hope Nole can get at least 17 slams now and so slam the door on Fed's goathood dream! Happy, bleck?

luckystar , 1/29/12 4:29 PM


true, RITB...I am so proud of Rafa! He fought hard, but made mistakes when mattered and paid the price...however, he should take the positives from this match...Rafa was great today and he should just look forward...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 1/29/12 4:34 PM


lucky..why do we even respond to her? just chuck that lady out of our discussion..she can blabber whatever she wants and make herself happy..

We have no energy for negativity..

I feel like laughing..I mean she didnt show her face for like 3 days and was hiding n suddenly is out here to comment on Rafa ..haha..forgetting what happened to her own Fed

sanju , 1/29/12 4:34 PM


Actually, I think RG is Rafa's to lose..........judging by what I saw this fortnight. I actually think Rafa will grow stronger form hereon. No question, Nole is a step ahead of him but compare his performance tonight to Wimby and USOPEN. I think Rafa has made tremendous strides in the right direction...........I really do.

I think we are going to see more Nole/Rafa finals unless Muzza decides to come to the party. Forget about Fed...............it's the Big 3 now

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 4:35 PM


natashao..your dream (:-

sanju , 1/29/12 4:37 PM


Congrats for nadal's new record, first player to lose the finals in 3 consecutive slams.

7-0 and counting.

Roger still the GOAT 16 slams.

Djokovic now closer to nadal in slams than nadal to federer.

Although playing like that with an injured knee and shoulder. I can only imagine how nadal will play when he's healthy.

bleck , 1/29/12 4:38 PM


Bleck, I feel sorry for you.................your posts drip with bile and hatred. How do you live with yourself?

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 4:41 PM


Congratulations to Nole! Bring on RG. 2012 is going to be interesting, what with IvanL being on AndyMs side. Roll on RG!

mojo , 1/29/12 4:41 PM


I think Nadal will still win RG 2012.

firozjehangir , 1/29/12 4:46 PM


What people like bleck fear is this:

1. Rafa is improving his game;
2. Federer is no longer in the winner's equation, in fact Muzza is going to take-over that #3 spot very soon;
3. Rafa is not going anywhere, he has a better chance of being in every GS final than Roger;
4. As long as Rafa is in the final, he has a chance to win.


So, don't cry for Rafa at all. In fact, be more afraid ofm him now!!

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 4:50 PM


To me, Rafa seems not having the 'calm' when he's playing the crucial points or crucial games. Once I saw him being broken for 4-3 in the fifth set, I know he'll live to regret playing badly in that game.

No doubt he's playing well enough to hang in there with Nole the whole night, but it's obviously Nole was the one winning most of the baseline rallies, 80% at one point! Why's Rafa so stubborn and tried to beat Nole from the baseline? Nole's game exposes so many inherent flaws in Rafa's hard court game. We always said that he stood too far behind the baseline, but when he tried to step in he was beaten by the pace of Nole's return and many times he had to scoop up the ball which landed on the baseline and he couldn't manage it. His shots were still loopy and lacked the pace that Nole had and he mistimed his backhand and landed so many balls into the net.

It looks like his improvement in his hard court game is still a work in progress, and I think he won't be able to win another hard court slam playing like he's playing now, with Nole around. He has simply lost some of his speed and power and fitness too, so he's not able to match this Nole in these areas. The way Nole and Rafa are playing, with all the hard hitting, I doubt they can last long at the top. If Rafa can steal a FO and a Wimbledon within these two years, I'll be happy for him, and I think Nole has the abilities to take them all these two years!

luckystar , 1/29/12 4:50 PM


I was so relieved to see the demeanor on Rafa's camp, they were more relaxed than they were at Wimby and USOPEN. Especially his Dad, he really suffered during Rafa's defeat in New York.

This is what gives me hope because I feel they saw what I saw, improvements in Rafa's game, his desire and mental attitude.

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

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 4:55 PM


lucky..you have already predicted doomsday for Rafa..lets go easy on the doomsday predictions..season has just started..10 months of the year still left..

you talking as f he needs to steal a FO n Wimby and he has no legitimate chance to win it :-)

JUst had a look at match stats..Rafa hit 44 winners to Noles 57 and Rafa hit 71 UE to Noles 69..

The positive part is Nole had 20 break points and converted only 7, so Rafa did very well to save innumerable BPs. Rafa converted 4 out of 6 breakpoints..he made 16 out of 19 net approaches which is heartening

sanju , 1/29/12 5:00 PM


What people like rafaisthebest fear is:

1. Nadal didn't beat an exhausted djokovic on one of his best serving days. So in what conditions will he be able to?

2. Nadal didn't beat djokovic on one opf the slowest courts ever. (Yes, FO last year was faster).

3. Nadal has lost 7 consecutive times to djokovic, all in finals, in 3 slams, on all surfaces.

4. Nadal's only chance of winning is hoping Federer takes down djokovic for him. (last slam nadal won was in this circumstances).

5. His fans are comnparing nadal's chance of winning with Roger when Roger is 30 years old. At 30 years nadal will be playing golf or skiing, if his knees hold up until there.

6. Nadal's no longer the fittest player on tour nor the strongest mentally. That's djokovic.

7. Karma is a bit**.

bleck , 1/29/12 5:02 PM


Rafa: "I have easy pass at 4-2 and I miss," but was also down 3-4, love-40 in fourth. No "mental problems against him" this time. Upbeat


SEe I told you..its not the mental block this time..its the costly mistakes..had he had a mental block..he wouldnt have forced a 5th and surely that backhand pass at 4-2 wasnt mental lapse..it was a costly ridiculous mistake

sanju , 1/29/12 5:02 PM


Was a great match. Both the guys deserved it. In end it was Nole who came on top. Congrats Novak. Great tennis game but would have liked to see some more volleys and soft hands in the play rather than such a hardhitting baseline game. Anyways it was an epic match.

abhirf , 1/29/12 5:05 PM


Also how great it was to see nadal getting pinned back constantly on his backhand. Oh the irony. lol

bleck , 1/29/12 5:06 PM


Rafa does not have to steal anything.................he will go into RG and Wimby as the deserved favourite.

I cannot believe the negativity I am reading from Rafans. Rafael Nadal took out, convincingly, bona fide hard court palyers such as Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer and took Novak to 5 sets, in a match he had chances to win! If Rafa can give these guys fits on their "territory" what chance do they have on HIS?

Sometimes i find myself admiring people like bleck...................you will never, ever, hear them criticising their fav, even if they perform worse than Rafa!

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 5:08 PM


Sanju,

The bad situation for Rafa in the 4th set is different mentally than seeing the finish line in the 5 set. There is a natural tendency to relax when you are losing and go for your shots. When you get ahead you tend to try and hang on rather than playing aggressive especially against someone you have difficulty beating. This is one of the reasons tennis is so difficult mentally. You can't change strategy and run out the clock in the final set like you can in other team sports. You have to win by playing at the same level that go you to that point.

conquistador , 1/29/12 5:08 PM


"Rafa does not have to steal anything.................he will go into RG and Wimby as the deserved favourite."

Let's see if nadal and his camp declare him as the favourite for those tournaments...

bleck , 1/29/12 5:12 PM


"Sometimes i find myself admiring people like bleck...................you will never, ever, hear them criticising their fav, ..."

That's a lie and you know it.

bleck , 1/29/12 5:13 PM


Bleck ....i sometimes wonder where u come up with these stuff . Amazing .

Rafa fans seem to be trying hard to spin this into a positive ...i can understand that but you sometimes gota call a spade a spade . Nole is better - fact .
Rafa does not have the game to beat nole - fact .

There are more poundings like this coming in the future from nole ....fact .

breakpoint , 1/29/12 5:15 PM


@sanju 1/29/12, 4:19pm. I think it was Federer who came in the 5th set in AO 09 with the momentum n then blew it away with so many UE's. Today this wasnt the case. Rafa was outplayed by Novak at crucial junctures.

abhirf , 1/29/12 5:15 PM


I can understand why bleck behave like this; she's obviously still bitter about Fed's loss to Rafa yet again, when both bleck and sienna were expecting Fed to win his no.17 at this AO.

Well, we Rafa fans are definitely not as bitter, as Rafa is getting closer to beating Nole on the hard courts, though there's still some more work to be done. If anything, Nole was also struggling this AO, compared to last year where he had easier wins over Berdych, Fed and Murray. So, it's either his level has dropped this year or others are getting closer to him.

I hope Rafa comes back strong from IW onwards. I like his chances against Nole on clay and on grass, judging by how close he comes to beating Nole here at the AO and on the hard courts. Though Nole now has a good chance of winning the calendar slam, I seriously doubt he or anyone in this era is able to achieve that. Just look at all the efforts he has to put in to win this title, so Laver'a record should be safe!

luckystar , 1/29/12 5:16 PM


bleck
, 1/29/12 5:02 PM

Onn what do you base the theory that Federer would take down Novak? Didn't Novak beat Fderer at the last 3 Slam meetings they had? Federer is nom longer part of the GS equation bleck. And if the draws pan out the way they are beginning to, Fed is going to be in Rafa's half so what are you talking about?

Rafa does not need favours from anybody and he knows that. Thisn isn why he is putting in the mileage himself. The only person who can take out Nole before the finals is Muzza and he may eyt fall inot Nole's half from here on . Muzza is way ahead of Federer now, so even if he took down Nole, he would still give Rafa a hard time in the final.

The truth is bleck, if the draws for the next 3 Slams pam out the way the one for Oz2012 did, Rafa, of the top 4, has the best chance of reaching the final. And as long as you are in the final, as Rafa is doing, you have a chance of lfting the trophy. Something you cannot say about Roger anymore, whichever side of the fraw he lands....................

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 5:17 PM


sanju, can youn please postb a link to Rafa's post match presser? Thanks

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 5:21 PM


Bleck you are the best!!
Lets face it guys, there is a thin line between the top 4 in mens tennis. Nole fans, enjoy whilst it lasts because soon you will be like Rafa fans when Nole starts to lose! Us Fed fans are happy with his level and on a good day Roger can win a major and i see that happening in 2012 against all odds.

tennismania , 1/29/12 5:22 PM


"Didn't Novak beat Fderer at the last 3 Slam meetings they had?"

No. Roger defeated djokovic in RG. Djokovic beat Federer in the AO and US Open (2 MP down).

bleck , 1/29/12 5:22 PM


breakpoint, if Rafa comes so close to beating Nole and you still can say that he doesn't have the game to beat Nole, then what about Murray and Fed? If anything, this final tells us that Rafa is getting closer to beating Nole, though he lacks the mental calm at this stage to do the job. Now Rafa was playing too conservatively in many rallies, just putting the ball back and hoping for Nole to make errors, I hardly see him venturing to the net or hitting his DTL forehand hard in this match. If he overcomes this mental block and plays a more aggressive all court game, I know he'll soon get there. I don't think he'll overcome his camping far behind the baseline problem, but if he makes an effort to move up to the net frequently, he'll win points there.

Having said all these, I still expect Nole to dominate him on hard courts, but Rafa will dominate on clay and grass and their H2H will be close, unlike Rafa/Fed. I don't expect Nole to go 10-0 against Rafa in finals going forward, this loss would be the last straight loss for Rafa.

luckystar , 1/29/12 5:32 PM


Rfas presser is up..hr draws loads of positives from the match..and jokes its strange that hes counting so many positives

Hes saying he had no mental issues..he said 2011..he had loads..he said Novaks returns are the key and unbelievable n tats the issue

He says he suffered there but enjoyed the suffering n hell keep working

sanju , 1/29/12 5:33 PM


bleck, Fed is done winning slams. The only reason you are on this page right now is that you are hoping Novak stops Rafa winning slams as well. Such negativity has a way of repaying perpetrators.....................with interest!

Rafa did well today. He will be back playing better. Sorry, but Roger is now officially not part of the GS debate. That hurts you, I am sorry for that.

It is now about Nole, Rafa and Muzza....................

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 5:33 PM


@bleck- stop bringing shame to Fed fans. Im also a FED fan but not full of hatred for others. See Fed has already won so many things. Now, whatever he adds will be a bonus for his glorious career. Obviously he cant go on n win every tournament. Its a treat for us that even at 30, he's still able to provide us magnificient tennis to watch. So just relax n enjoy till he's there. N dont hate Rafa coz he's defeated Roger so many time. Remember this: Every Champion has a nemesis. Fed got Nadal, now Nadal has Nole, Nole will get somebody else. See, the law of averages are always there for everyone. So just relax n enjoy.

abhirf , 1/29/12 5:34 PM


http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2012-01-30/2012012 91327853403275.html

Rafs presser..Media going gaga how he can stay so classy after such a tough loss..twitter gaga over him.

He even cracked a few jokes saying he can only watch highlights not full match as it was too long

Vows to be back fiercer and stronger..says working in right direction..



sanju , 1/29/12 5:38 PM


abhirf, Haven't seen you around when Roger wasn't winning anything and nadal fans were attacking Roger for no reason. I'm one of the few that has posted here for a while even when Roger had gone for 10 months without winning a title.

So I'm not taking that shame crap from you.

"That hurts you, I am sorry for that." Than you for your compassion.

"It is now about Nole, Rafa and Muzza....................". Murray?! lol

How many slams has he won? Never mind that, how may sets in slam finals has he won?

bleck , 1/29/12 5:41 PM


@bleck
What karma are you talking about? Fed was not even in the picture! Yes, rafa lost several times to Noel, but these losses are not immortalized with sobs during the ceremonies. (pardon to decent federer fans)

This is tennis! Real sports! Whoever said we should only endure, err, enjoy ballerina-ish moves on the court?
And the GOAT debate will be over soon as there will be two champions chasing that dream!

raghav , 1/29/12 5:46 PM


bleck, listen and listen very carefully:

We Rafans acknowledge that Roger:
1. has 16 GS
2. is a living legend;


It is not a shame that he is now too old to compete with Nole, Rafa and Muzza. In fact, I bet you Roger is calm about this. It is a shame you do have the same class. Take a leaf from a fellow Fedfan like abhirf, youn mightb learn something.

We really do not begrudge Roger his success. You, on the other hand, clearly cannot bring yourself to show the same class re Rafa. Shame.

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 5:46 PM


^^^^^meant to say it is a shame you do not have the same class

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 5:48 PM


WOW what a final... It's just so funny that Rafa gets beaten again by the Djoker when he had an extra day off.

LOL

torres9 , 1/29/12 5:51 PM


Just saw Rafa's post match presser. So glad he is taking the loss in his stride. And he is right, this was such a big improvement from 2011, he has every reason to be positive. Being Rafa, he will continue working to improve and he will catch up to Nole.........

Like him, I am in awe of Nole's return game, simply amazing..............

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 5:51 PM


There's only one karma that I know of, google it.

What you have to endure is 3 hours (half of the match) of ball bouncing and butt picking. Tennis isn't what we saw today. Tennis is/was a game where agressiveness was rewarded. Today is grinding that's rewarded.

Tennis isn't just the past 5 years. Go watch wimbledon in 2001 and compare to last year.

You can't enjoy watching one of the greatest shot makers in tennis history , I pity you.

If I want to see running I'll watch a marathon or nowadays tennis, I guess.

And the players complain about the long schedule?! Just speed up the courts!!!

Oh wait that means less money for sponsors.... Money makes the world go round indeed.

bleck , 1/29/12 5:52 PM


Rafans..I cannot believe you getting into a 1-1 with sum losers..whya re you giving them importance? God dont know why you even wasting your time n energy

Trolls who hadnt shown their face for like 2 months have all come out today..haha

sanju , 1/29/12 5:59 PM


Ohhhh! I know where you are coming from.... You pity us for not appreciating the so called great shots from your idol.. I PITY YOU MORE FOR YOUR BITTERNESS. When everyone else is celebrating for this epic final, here you are trying to spread misery. It's a pity that you are STUCK. At the end of the day, we are all happy but for you.. I can only pity you, really.

raghav , 1/29/12 6:06 PM


Yes Rafa is right about taking the positives out of this defeat. He's getting closer to Nole but obviously still has some work to do, like getting used to his racket. He seems to mistime his shots or hitting too hard, so i think he needs to address that.

To me, both players were not playing at their best level; it's more like an endurance test and whoever falters first would lose the match. I think Rafa had gotten Nole out of his head with this match, judging by how he fought in the fourth set; still he lacks the calm when he's at curcial moments, so he needs to work on that. Let's wait for IW and see how much more Rafa can improve.

bleck - just stops all your bitterness. Slowing down of the courts is not the fault of the players.Just because Fed can no longer win his slams doesn't mean there's something wrongnqith the surfaces. If you can't stand 'grinding' tennis, then stop watching and go and watch your Fed. Please spare us your grievances!!

luckystar , 1/29/12 6:08 PM


lucky..he hit 71 UE compared to 69 from Nole..lets give him time to get the timing right

I am hopeful for sure..im sure hell really work hard in Feb as I think the Feb off was to really work what he couldnt do off season

If Rafa is drawing so many positives out of the match, why are we so dejected..If he feels he can improve n has no mental issues n feels he played better than all of 2011..lets trust him..on the face of it he sure did ..

Nole was just a tad bit stronger n tougher..Im most impressed how he stormed back to take the 4th and push this to a 5th..

sanju , 1/29/12 6:13 PM


Does anyone know any HD channel in Europe which will replay finale? My recording got stuck on 4 hrs. Eurosport didn't update EPG and stopped recording :)

atg , 1/29/12 6:13 PM


@bleck- i was not there for Fed for the past 10 months coz i joined this portal just 2 days back. I think that answers ur question.

abhirf , 1/29/12 6:18 PM


sanju, we are dejected because as fans, we are greedy, we want Rafa to win every tourny he enters. Clearly this is unreasonable given that he is only #2 at the moment. But I am encouraged by the tone of Rafans here now, our boy did well, seriously. Not perfect, but well. I am seriously encouraged. I agree, his timing cost him the match today, maybe new racket effect? Rafa had already said he did not expect any major dividend to come from the Oz open. He did say he expected his season to start in ernest in IW, so let's wait and see. In the event, I think he surpassed his modest expectations at Oz 2012. He gained so many points! Remember, Nole can only lose points from hereon. From Rafa's performance today, trust me, Nole will not be resting on his laurels...............he will have taken note of Rafa's improvements......................

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 6:24 PM


abhirf , 1/29/12 6:18 PM

Welcome to TT!!

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 6:28 PM


Eager to see Noles presser what he says about RAfa and how he competed today vis a vis Wimby n USO 2011

sanju , 1/29/12 6:28 PM


@bleck 1/29/12 5:59pm U shud be happy then as Federer provides us the best quality tennis. But nowadays the courts are getting too slow n thus supports those who have a strong baseline game. Everyone likes different style of game. Some prefer Serve n Volley, while some prefer to watch intense rallies from back of the court, for some only winning the tournament counts. They dont pay a heed to the quality. So its needless for u to argue on this.

abhirf , 1/29/12 6:34 PM


@RITB Thanx!

abhirf , 1/29/12 6:38 PM


Well, what has happened is something so very common and natural! The old ones has to go and make space for the new ones. This thing is true for everything else on life, in every other sports and so is in the game of tennis too! Only difference is, the age and reign of players differs by a few years here and there... It was the same for Nadal who has to go now and make space for Djokovic, even though he is just 25.. But, it was the very same way how Nadal won replacing Federer, and much earlier how Federer won replacing Samprass. All of them had been greats of their respective era and looked invincible during their peak form and like the same way, they won't be like this forever either no matter how good they are today!

But, going by the tide, what a play it was from Djokovic, hats off to him to hang on till the end! And very nice to see that spirited performance by Nadal which forced to bringing out the best in Djokovic and made him a legend, most probably!

Best of luck to all and waiting for some nice matches like that of today in the upcoming tournaments.

solitudine , 1/29/12 6:44 PM


Well that wsa an epic match. Nadal fans are mostly taking it well - he can't win them all, after all.
Still I think Nadal lost this match (perhaps luckystar said this already) because he still feels that letting his opponent beat themselves at big moments is the best strategy. Consider the tiebreak in the 4th. I don't think Nadal won that so much as DJokoivc lost it - he was up 5-4 I think and then missed two easy putaways. Nadal didn't force him into those mistakes, Djokovic just made them.

When he relaxed in the 4th, Nadal starting hitting those killer inside out forehands. But as soon as things got level again he seemed to stop looking to do that all the time.

But anyway in a match this close, anybody could have won. Still, just as Federer surely must feel sick about losing to Nadal in Slams, similarly this i s going to be in Nadal's head.

Bharata , 1/29/12 6:44 PM


Poster on a different site wrote that Nole is doing what Federer did to Rafa, making him a better player. I had not thought of that but there is some truth in this...............one can't but help notice the subtle changes in Rafa's game and these have been brought about by Nole's game.

Vamos!!!!!!!

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 6:45 PM


How can Nadal be the greatest player when he loses 7 times in a row against a player 1 year younger than him?

torres9 , 1/29/12 6:55 PM


What a match. I think it's disgraceful that when two warriors have done battle, like Rafa and Novak have done, instead of tennis fans coming together in admiration and awe, there are some who prefer to fill these pages with bitterness and scorn. Very few athletes could have done what these two did together, irrespective of fandoms. Some respect for their effort would be nice, just for one day.

Congrats to Novak, what a champ. This is his time and he's living it to the fullest.

But Rafa... what a player, what a man. It's funny but I think this is the loss that has least affected Rafa. Like he says in his presser, this is no longer a mental thing. I truly think Rafa has worked Novak out of his system. He lost today, because he made mistakes where he shouldn't have. He didn't wilt, he didn't capitulate. He was right there till the very end. And I feel very positive for the rest of his year. He's well on his way to 'recovery' . And his presser reminds me of why I'm such a fan, such maturity and class. Vamos Rafa, you did great today. Proud to be a Rafa fan.

storyteller , 1/29/12 6:56 PM


Novak on winning French open

You are on the road to a Grand Slam if you win Roland Garros. How important will be your preparation for the French Open?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very important, you know. I'm prioritizing Grand Slams this year, as every year, and Olympic Games. I think that's one of my highest goals.

That doesn't mean of course that I'm not gonna prepare well and perform my best on the other tournaments. It's just that, you know, the Grand Slams matter the most.

So I want to do well and I want to get the first final at least in Paris, you know. I have never been in finals there, and I have a feeling that I'm ready this year to achieve that.

sanju , 1/29/12 6:59 PM


Rafa has a huge ego that is why he denies it's a 'mental thing'. Up 4-2 last set and still lost.

If it ain't a mental thing than maybe he's mental

torres9 , 1/29/12 6:59 PM


sanju, I feel that Rafa is still getting used to the racket. His first serve was impressive today and with that he could have come in to the net and won points from there. Instead he chose to stay behind the baseline and rally with Nole the whole night, even though he was losing 80% of the points there. I wonder was he actually thinking out there or was he too nervous that he couldn't think and just let his default game took over. I've never seen him missing so many shots and making so many errors; not even in that epic 2009 AO SF match against Verdasco. He made only twenty over UEs then! It's a pity that he came so close yet can't get the job done, and now he'll be faced with more questioning about this 7-0 losses! Just what happens to our Rafa? Why is he making so many errors these days? It's not only this match, but his matches against the other players too. Was he trying to be more aggressive and going for more and thus made more errors? Of was he just being error prone these days, mistiming his shots or simply too slow in reaching for the balls?

Otoh, it's Nole time or era now so Fedal has to step aside and give way to Nole. It's his time under the sun now. He has got everything, the speed and movement, the power, the flexibility and balance, the shots, the serves, the returns, the fitness and most importantly the confidence and belief.

abhirf - welcome, a fair minded Fed fan. I like Fedal matches more than Rafa/Nole or Rafa/Murray; simply because of the shot making and the all court game, even though sometimes Rafa loses. I personally like that TMC 2006 SF match between the two, that was one of the best three sets match they've played, followed by Dubai 2006 final. Their Wimbledon 2007-08, AO 2009 and Rome 2006 matches were epic matches and I like them too.

luckystar , 1/29/12 7:05 PM


storyteller , 1/29/12 6:56 PM

I feel the reason he is so upbeat is that he knows he lost the match as opposed to Nole winning it. Rafa's mistakes cost him the match. In a strange way, this must give him comfort because it puts the responsibility to improve squarely on his shoulders. Of course, not taking anything away from Nole, he was a wall and I think that is what carried him over the line.

But Rafa's coming!!!! Can't wait for FO...............

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 7:08 PM


torres, who's saying Rafa is the greatest player? To me, both Fed and Rafa are not the goat; both have a nemesis that they find it hard to beat. Nole had also beaten Fed four out of five times they met, so I don't see Fed any better off than Rafa against Nole. Both Fed and Rafa still have positive H2H against Nole but it may not be for long.

Why are some Fed fans now coming out and making fun of and irritating the Rafa fans, when their own guy wasn't doing any better against Nole? Rafa has only one puzzle, ie Nole, to solve but Fed has more than one puzzle to solve; I don't see him at any better position than Rafa is at now.

luckystar , 1/29/12 7:19 PM


only way for rafa to win the FO is to hope for another favour from Fed like last year.

torres9 , 1/29/12 7:20 PM


lucky, just ignore these trolls...................

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 7:31 PM


lucky, just ignore these trolls...................

rafaisthebest , 1/29/12 7:32 PM


Great match! I'm proud to be Nole's fan. Both players deserve to be remembered for fantastic game they produced today

vjakov , 1/29/12 7:43 PM


ok guys guess no more action now till 08 March when IW starts ..thats huge 40 day gap

sanju , 1/29/12 7:43 PM


I can't believe this negativity about Rafa...and it hurts when it comes from Rafans...last year Rafa was helpless against Nole...those same Rafans were saying that his game is in decline...this year Rafa came close to beating Nole...his game is improving and we Rafans should be so grateful for the motivation and spirit Rafa showed today...he is such a great champion...he deserves only admiration for his performance today!!!

sanju , 1/29/12 4:37 PM

as I said before, I may have dreamed about some other AO :-) I will sure keep dreaming...for the moment my dream almost came true...at the Wimby 2011 Rafa was so inferior to Nole...this year they are almost equal...I know Rafa will keep improving. He knows that his hard work is already paying off...

luckystar , 1/29/12 4:50 PM

Rafa played those long rallies from the baseline because that was the part of the tactics as he was hoping to wear Nole down...he knew if he took Nole to the fifth set that he would have a chance...any human being including Nole would have been tired by that time...and Rafa was dominating at the beginning of the fifth...he had the momentum and the match was in his hands...Nole was barely walking looking like he would faint on the court...but, when Rafa broke Nole I remember how I was thinking: please Rafa, don't put your foot of the pedal now...Nole is not finished...he will run, I know he will, please Rafa stay focused and hit those deep shots, don't wait for Nole's UEs"...but as I rightly feared, Rafa did exactly what he shouldn't have: his level dropped and all he did was waiting for Nole to beat himself...it was a BIG mistake and Rafa knows it now...I am sure he will never let it happen again...
And Rafa sure has big chances at FO and Wimby...saying that he "may steal FO and Wimby title" is disrespectful to our Champion...Gosh...

natashao , 1/29/12 7:52 PM


No not disrespectful, for nothing is for sure. Looking at how shaky he was at both the FO and Wimbledon last year, he may not be the favorite going into the two tournaments. Anyway Nole is the defending champion at Wimbledon, so 'stealing' it from him seems the right word to use, or maybe snatching it from him sounded better. Well, he may not need to steal his FO title but certainly needs to fend off attacks, especially from Nole, as Nole has clearly indicated that he wants to win the FO. I just hope that comes the FO, the right Rafa with the right mindset will turn up to play, not the sulking, complaining Rafa we saw at the FO last year.

As for Wimbledon, I find Rafa has a better chance of winning that than Nole, simply because Nole has not perfected his game on grass yet, IMO, even though he won the title last year.

luckystar , 1/29/12 8:09 PM


weeeeeeeeee....... Go Rafa GO..... Go and lose again to NOle... Weeeeeeeee

torres9 , 1/29/12 8:15 PM


"How can Nadal be the greatest player when he loses 7 times in a row against a player 1 year younger than him?

torres9, 1/29/12 6:55 PM"
......
Using your logic .... How can Fed be the Goat... when he was loosing regularly from Rafa ( Just remind me how many years is Rafa younger )
......
Rafa is already better and greater player and human being... and Nole will be better player in history.... ( he is already much better man that Mr Arrogant).....
Any way what are you doing here? You... bleck.... what??? Smell of blood so like hyenas you are here?
Go and cry with your fake idol... 30 years old... Everybody is forgetting that he is slam-less for 2 years already... so it 28 not 30 what is important break point in his carrier....LOL...
......

zare , 1/29/12 8:36 PM


What are you doing torres?

Even if Nole keeps beating Rafa, it still won't change the fact that Rafa owns Fed, so save all your hatred! Furthermore, if Nole carries on playing like this, it'll be Nole threatening Fed's slam records, not Rafa! If I were you or one of your fellow Fed fans, I would hope for Rafa and Nole to beat each other, so that they'll stop each other from winning too many slams and then Fed may have his slam record intact. If Rafa/Nole rivalry is too lopsided, chances are one of them may end up surpassing Fed's slam record!

luckystar , 1/29/12 10:26 PM


Honestly, I thinkg the Murray-Djoko match was MUCH better than this one.

Anyway, speaking of the match. I have NEVER seen Nadal with such will to win a match. I'm still pumped he lost that 5th set. He's never lost a 5th set since Wimby 2007 agaisnt Federer. In fact, when he won the Tie breaker, I would bet my house for him to win. You can tell how Djoko feels he owns Rafa in the mental part of the game. That's the only way to explain how we ended up winning that last set.

Great match, epic 5th set. 7 finals lost in a row for Nadal now. That must really hurt.


And btw, I think Roger would have won against this Djokovic without 1st serves.

Emiliano55 , 1/29/12 11:27 PM


*HE ended up winning that last set.

Emiliano55 , 1/29/12 11:33 PM


Never saw so many blogs and articles analyzing cause of Nadal loss. All of them gives credit to Novak, but most of them are focused on Nadal and his lost chances. I find them pretty offensive for both of them after what they shown today.

I saw gladiators fight on court. Their determination to win made me feel they were fighting for life and death. Importance of win made epic ball & racquet battle out of this match, with traces of some tennis emerging at the end, when exhaustion shattered their tactics armor. By all aspects Rafa was outplayed and in this Cahill photo (pic.twitter.com/QTXxe8vj) I picture Nadal laying down under Novak foot instead of racquet. That is how this battle ended.

They both know what they could do better, different. There was pretty nice time frame to do it. Luckily, it is not about life or death and we will be seeing them again, and again. Novak is having edge over Rafa right now.That edge is so teasingly small, making all their encounters more intriguing. Pressure we are making is building up to the point when we are getting less tennis and more battling. If we could ease on over analyzing, kiddy "who is in who's head" game, and all times best "who's the bigger", maybe they could bring us back prettier and less tense and stiff tennis...

atg , 1/29/12 11:54 PM


Read some of the comments here and Nadal fans think he is getting closer to Novak. Yes, Nadal played better, especially the serve, but you have to look at Novak too, I would say Novak was no where near at his best, looked tired from the first ball but still was able to beat, think about what would have happened if he was as fresh as Nadal was. He can say all he wants but I dont think he will ever get over Novak, just like Fed could not get over losses to Nadal. In fact Novak is probably more in Nadal's head than Nadal ever was in Fed. Nadal may win some against Novak but when it is a GS match it is curtains unless injured.

vmm , 1/30/12 2:11 AM


I don't agree vmm. Rafa is clearly not at his best either. Come on, in the past, when did we see a Rafa losing a match when he's serving for a 5-2 lead. To me, Rafa wasn't at his best, mishitting and mistiming so many of his shots. He's playing too defensively when I've seen how good he can be when he's playing aggressively. Nole was in his head but after this match, after that gutsy fourth set, Rafa mentioned that he no longer had Nole in his head, because now he believed that if he fought hard, he could stay with Nole and wait for his chances. And chances he had in the fifth set but unfortunate for him he couldn't capitalize. The next time they meet, I'm sure he won't let these chances slip away from him.

I would say in this match Nole had the mental advantage over Rafa and so despite not being in the best physical shape, he could still go toe to toe with Rafa. I believe a more aggressive Rafa would beat this tired Nole. So a well rested Nole vs an aggressive Rafa without the mental burden, I know Rafa can beat Nole, not often but some times, on the hard courts. I still think Rafa is better than Nole on clay and on grass, whilst Nole is definitely better on hard courts.

Rafa still has a bit of work to do during February, getting well adjusted to his racket, continue to work on his game, especially his ROS and court positioning at the baseline, his forehand and backhand shots, his serves. Now that he lost this AO final, I'm sure he's eager to defend his FO title and regain the Wimbledon title. I feel that an aggressive and confident Rafa will win the FO and Wimbledon this year, and Nole the USO, unless Murray suddenly finds a way to win a slam this year. As good as Nole is now, and surely he has the abilities to win the calendar slam this year, still I don't see it happening, because winning the AO already required a monstrous effort from him, I don't see him repeating this time after time for the next three slams, just like Rafa or Fed can't do it during their peak.

luckystar , 1/30/12 3:16 AM


Emiliano, too bad Fed couldn't get past Rafa, and I doubt Fed could beat this Nole because physically Fed couldn't survive, after that almost four hours match with Rafa.

luckystar , 1/30/12 3:32 AM


I ahve to share this post from another site:

"As Hellen Keller once said:
?Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."How true this has been for both the players for Nole: He suffered before 2011 at the hands of Nadal/Federer and today he proved that he has gone a notch up to another level in his game. Nadal no doubt is going through the suffering phase right now and I am sure will emerge even stronger than he already is.

Today was a match of pure will and determination and showed to us that "The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination."

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 4:05 AM


I am a Rafan, to the death.................but I am not shy to recognise that:

1. Nole is a more talented tennis player than Rafa;
2. Nole has a better serve, better return, better backhand that's why he looks so effortless on court. Ever notice how Nole seems to have all the time in the worls to set up his shots while Rafa seems rushed, at least on hard-court?

But Rafa has the following strengths:
1. fighting spirit;
2. mental toughness.

It was Rafa's mental strength and never say die attitude that kept him in the match. It was his lack of talent relative to Nole that kept him out of it. Rafa and Uncle Toni know this, this is why he has to work so hard on his technical game, to make up for this limitation. He has acknowledged this relative to Federer and he recognises this relative to Nole. This to me, is what makes him such a unique individual, and this for me, is why he is the best. He finds solutions.

To know your limitations and work on them to improve, and show results, speaks to a strength of character that is unique.

My suspicion is that, while he always recognised Nole's talent, it took him a while to come to terms with it's manifestation in 2011. He came to terms with it towards the end of 2011 and decided to deal with it the same way he dealt with Fed's "superiority", by working hard to improve his technique. Deja vu. This is why I really, really liked Rafa's performance yesterday. This is why he took his defeat with calm (at least that's what we saw).

Moving on, I expect Nole to extend his winning record at Masters level, 3-setters, and Rafa to come into his own in Slams, 5-setters, which are attritional by nature and more tests of mental strength. This is where his strengths, as mentioned above, will set him apart.

May he stay healthy and evolve right before our very eyes..............

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 4:53 AM


Boy do people forget. The story would have been different if Rafa held his serve to go up 5/2. Rafa threw it away and Djok capitalized. The match could have gone either way. One player had to lose and unfortunately that player was Rafa.

The positive is that Rafa prior to the AO said that he hasnt had time to make the needed changes to beat Nole and to improve his game, let alone get use to his new weighted racket, so if he could come so close to winning in this tournament then I am looking very forward to Wimbledon and the FO which are in his heart his most important!
Those that think Rafa wont rise and take down Djok, know nothing about the man that is Rafa or what drives him!
Djok is to Rafa what Fed was once to him, an immovable object and look what happened. He trained and mastered the greatest of all time...Federer, the man he has most respect for.
So if you think Rafa is going to take this loss lying down...you are wrong, as it's only made him hungrier! Its probably extended Rafas career for a couple more years and for this I thank Djok!

isabeau77 , 1/30/12 5:24 AM


RITB, it depends what's your definition of 'talented'. I do believe both Fed and Nole are better at the technical abilities than Rafa, because both of them learnt it the proper way, while Rafa was allowed to play his unorthodox way by Uncle Toni. Rafa's game was built on clay so naturally he's not as good as both Fed and Nole on the hard courts. To me, talent encompasses more than technical abilities, it includes one's natural abilities, like speed and power, athletism, the ability to move well on different surfaces, tennis accumen, the understanding of the game, court positioning, how to read the game and employ the right tactics or strategies, the right shot selection, etc and etc.

I do feel that Rafa scores high marks in many of those categories, so he's not any less talented than Fed or Nole, it's just his technical abilities that I feel is a bit inferior to theirs and hence his limitations on the hard courts. His default game is still his clay court game and so we see him falling back to that game time and again when anything else fails. Once he makes a conscience effort to be aggressive and stays aggressive, he can win the hard court slams, like he did at AO2009 and USO 2010. The only thing is, he can't always play that way unless he's confident. Rafa did mention that he can't always serve big like his USO2010 because that always requires confidence, which explains why we don't see his big serve again lately. Fed and Nole will always be better hard court player than Rafa becasue their default game is their hard court game. On clay, Rafa is better than them, because of his better movement and retrieving skills, and also clay allows him more time to set up his shots. On grass, I put Rafa on par with Fed and still ahead of Nole. Nole still can't move as well as Fedal on grass, and we know movement is one important aspect on clay and grass surface. And that's why I don't buy it that Raonic can win Wimbledon with his big serve because he's just not good moving on grass, and was even injured because of a fall he sustained at Wimbledon.

luckystar , 1/30/12 5:26 AM


Well said Isa, I agree. Rafa needs more time to improve his game and get used to his new racket, also more time to figure out a way to deal with Nole. The important thing for him is to win the FO and Wimbledon, the two slams that he's better at winning. Rafa may be a bit slower and less powerful than before due to him getting older; however he can make up for that with some improvements in his game, putting in more aggressions and moving up to the net to shorten points.

Rafa was playing more consevatively this final, not being aggressive for most part of the match and hardly mix in any net game. Both players seemed contented to play from the baseline for most part of the match. Going forward, Rafa should come forward to the net more and stops playing such gruelling tennis match after match!

luckystar , 1/30/12 5:59 AM


luckystar , 1/30/12 5:26 AM

I am defining talent in a narrow sense i.e. technical ability. For example, whereas Rafa has to spend time on the practice court perfecting his backhand, I doubt Nole has to spend as much time perfecting his. Your definition is more robust and includes aspects I would say one acquires through practice as opposed as being inate (sp).

Don't get me wrong, it is testament to Rafa's winning mentality that in spite of these "limitations" he is in the frameas one of the greats.

One more thing, that Madrid final where Rafa beat Nole in another marathon match (can't remember the year) where Nole admitted to being mentally scarred and took him a long time to recover, my thoughts went back to that watching the Oz final. After Madrid, Nole's frustration stemmed from thr question: what do I have to do to beat this man? After the spirited resistance Rafa put up in the Oz final, I suspect Nole will be asking himself the same question should they meet in the next Slam and they go throguh another attritional match and Rafa wins or takes him to the limit again i.e. what do I have to do to keep him down? Remember, Rafa is the one doing the chasing.........................

And this is why I feel Rafa was upbeat after his defeat.....................

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 6:20 AM


Technical abilities are also acquired, you're not born with it. However the hand eye coordination, athletism, the natural feel for the game, ie the ability to learn fast how to read the game, the mastery of the movement on different surfaces, I believe all these are natural talent, you either have it or you don't. For example, Murray is one who can read the game so well and comes out with different styles to counter different opponents, not everyone can be like him. Another example, Rafa like other Spaniards, all grew up playing on clay, how come Rafa can move better than any of them, and he can even master the movement on grass so soon despite having little time practising on grass? Nole, how come he can be so flexible and balanced when moving around like spiderman? Also how come he can return serves so well, better than anyone else? Fed, how come he can moves so well, so light footed and having a playing style so easy on the body but others can't? I believe all these are natural talents or abilities given to each player, they don't earn them, they discover and utilise what are given to them. Technical abilities can be picked up, of course you need talent for a start. A player can work hard to improve on the various aspects of his game, but one is limited by ones given talent or abilities. For example, no matter how hard Delpo trains, he can never match Monfils in terms of his speed around the court. And I think no matter how hard one trains, one may not get to spin the ball as much as Rafa does, or return the serve as well as Nole does, or sprint around as quickly as Monfils does, because one is limited by one's own natural abilities.

luckystar , 1/30/12 6:54 AM


^^^^^^ehhh, I've lost you, lucky.............

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 7:14 AM


Regarding the backhand, there's no evidence that Nole doesn't practise his backhand as hard as Rafa does. Nole is not born with that backhand, he has to train to get it to it's world standard now. Nole's forehand is better now than it was in the past, it's also due to his hard work, if not how can he get all those precision, especially those two shots that he hit to save MPs against Fed?

Rafa has a wonderful backhand at that AO2009, he worked hard to get it there in order to deal with Fed's forehand, to win his first hard court title. He trained hard to get his big serve in order to win his first USO title. When Rafa is not feeling confident, he can't play well and so we see his serve and backhand falling apart. Nole also had his serving problems back in 2009-2010. Fed also had his shanking when he was a step or two slower and mistiming the ball.

To me this final match would let Rafa realizes that:
1) he can't out rally or outlast Nole from the baseline, because Nole is now fitter than him. Nole can retrieve and return almost any ball Rafa hits to him, so Rafa has to come to terms with this;
2) he cannot play defensively and expect Nole to make mistakes, Nole is so precise in his shots that he hardly miss the lines;

3) the best way to play against Nole is to be aggressive, take chances and mix things up, like how Rafa played at IW last year in the first set, the USO third set and the way he played the last few games of his fourth set here.

luckystar , 1/30/12 7:38 AM


Technical abilities can be picked up and that's why players trained at tennis academies. Rafa's style is unorthodox, maybe because he didn't go the academy route but was trained using Uncle Toni's method. If Rafa went the academy route, who knows he may be a right handed player now, may have a lethal backhand sooner than now, but may not have his unique topspin forehand that he has now if he's not allowed to explore it on his own. He'll still move as quick as ever especially on clay and grass because that's his natural abilities.

All I'm saying, technical abilities can be trained if one has some talent in playing tennis. How far one can get is limited by one's given talent. There's no way we can know had Rafa gone the academy way, his technical skills won't be up there with Fed or Nole. All I know is Rafa would still be his competitive self, moving as well as ever on all surfaces, still good at point construction like other Spaniards; may have a better serve when he's playing righthanded but may not play with too much topspin but may have a flatter forehand. In other words, his natural abilities would still be there but his technical abilities may not be at the same level as it is now.

luckystar , 1/30/12 8:02 AM


Got you, thanks.

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 8:32 AM


isabeau,

My hero! Great post @5:24 am! Some people here need to pay heed to what Rafa said after his win against Fed in the semifinals. He told Jim Courier on court that Roger's greatness always inspired him to be better. He said that he knew there was one player who was the best. Now Rafa has another challenge - to beat a Nole who has come on strong to dominate in the last year. He thrives on this kind of challenge.

This match could have gone either way. Rafa played some brilliant and gutsy tennis to get back in the match and level it at two sets apiece. He knows now that he can beat Nole. The important thing is how hard he fought in this match. He didn't give up.

Rafa will take good things out of this match. This is early in the season, yet Rafa has showed great form and played some of the best tennis we have seen in a long time. This is a reinvigorated Rafa, a Rafa who has found the love of the game again. I have high hopes for the rest of the year.

Let bitter Fed fans like bleck blather on endlessly. It's just because their guy isn't going to win any more slams. You would think they would be happy that he has accomplished so much, but no. They have to keep taking cheap shots at Rafa. They don't want Rafa back in the game. So they just keep on talking him down. What a waste of energy.

Rafa is still getting used to his new racket, but I think it paid dividends in this match. He will need to work on his serve. I would like to see him try to bulk up his second serve and work on getting big serves when he needs them. He doesn't need to serve aces all through the match. A better serve would have helped him avoid double-faulting the second set away. Nole's good returning puts a lot of pressure on Rafa's serve.

I think Rafa did well to change up his tactics in this match. He focused more on Nole's forehand and changed up the dynamic of the baseline rallies. He had some great backhand dtl shots. He can still get better with that shot and the cc backhand. When he moved close to the baseline, he returned very well. He just has to learn to do it more.

Rafa was mentally deflated when he double-faulted the second set away. So he went back to his defensive play. He lost his focus. However, he made some great shots and turned it around when he was down 0-40, 4-3 Nole. He could have lost the match right there. But he fought back to hold serve and then he won the tb.

I am so proud of Rafa for showing his great spirit and fighting to the end. He didn't quite get there this time, but he knows he had his chances.

Nativenewyorker , 1/30/12 8:49 AM


I will never understand the need to disparage one player simply because you prefer another. What does that achieve? I'm a Rafa fan, now and forever but I admit Federer is the master and Novak is dominating right now. There is no shame is acknowledging another player's greatness. Why the constant put down of Nadal here? There is no one who is more gracious in defeat than Rafa is. Even when he beats Federer, he maintains Federer is the greatest and is in awe of him. When he loses to Djokovic, he acknowledges Novak's superiority and gives him all the credit. These players are respectful towards each other, it is the fans that let the game down quite frankly.

It was apparent yesterday that Rafa was not devastated by this latest loss. In fact, I've never heard him more positive after such a major loss. I am speculating here but I think over the last year and a half Rafa lost some of his spark for tennis, simply because he was not doing the hunting anymore. He was the hunted and it's not quite the same motivation. I think Rafa has always considered himself the underdog and now, again, he really is. This match, and this tournament as a whole, as reignited that for him. He's in the chase, there is a player that is ahead of him, better than him and dominating the game. He's had time to take that in now and rather than be shocked, defeatist and reeling like he was last year, when Novak unexpectedly but totally took over the game, he's going to start the hunt again. This is a very important moment for Rafa. Not to prove to the world at large about his capabilities (because let's face it, there will ALWAYS be naysayers) but to prove to HIMSELF, that he can once again, hunt down the number 1. Of course, he's older now, a tad slower, his game will have to adjust. But therein lies the beauty of the game for Rafa. People will scoff now, write his professional obituary, write him off as yet another former no 1 who has lost his edge. People will say he will never beat Novak again and if he wins anymore slams, it will be because Novak lost them, and not Rafa won them. To that I say, people once made the mistake of grossly underestimating Rafa. And he fought back. He lost that fight once more. But the spark is back, the fire and hunger is back. He knows it, he feels it, and that is why he can accept this loss without the total devastation it would have caused once a upon a time. His fate is in his hands. Novak is on top and deservedly so. But the hunt is back on. Make no mistake about that. Whether he succeeds or not, we'll find out soon enough. But he's going to try. And as a Rafa fan, that's more than enough for me.

storyteller , 1/30/12 9:47 AM


Considering Rafa was thinking of pulling out even befroe the tournament started, it's a big achievement for him to make the final and to play a 6hr match which he nearly won. I was very disappointed yesterday, because just one slight mistake cost him the title, but as I said before the match, fate decided the winner.

Nole did himself proud to keep his nerves throughout and take the win in the end, but both of them should be proud of themselves. Rafa is already closing the gap in points and I hope he continues to excel on clay if that his best surface. I certainly do not agree that he is the worst on hard courts than the other top players, he is just not as good on it as he is on clay.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 1/30/12 10:29 AM


The best news for Rafa fans is how he looked after the match. He wasn't gasping for breath and ready to collapse like in Miami last year, he wasn't barely able to walk and hurting. He looked very fresh. This after almost six hours of physical tennis! He held his own with Nole this time. Those who choose to think it's just another loss and nothing will change, are fooling only themselves. Rafa seemed more calm with this loss, more accepting. That is because he gave it his fall and fought hard to come back. He took it to Nole in a way that he couldn't last year.

People who aren't Rafa fans don't understand him at all. They don't see how he can take inspiration from a seventh loss to Nole. That's because they don't know him and never will. It was hard to see Rafa miss that wide open backhand shot. He didn't have to go for the line, he had plenty of room.

He fought right to the end and good things will come out of this. Rafa seems like a man reborn. He seemed to lose his love for the game last year. But now he has found it again. I am so proud of Rafa. In defeat, he held it together and didn't break down and cry over his lost opportunity. He didn't ruin Nole's win or make it about himself.

Rafa is a champion both in victory and defeat. He had that crowd roaring with support for him. They were like the wind at his back. Beautiful to see!

Nativenewyorker , 1/30/12 10:43 AM


some beautiful posts by isabeau77, native, storyteller and nadline...it is so great to have you here guys...I was really affected by some posts of Rafans who seem to discount Rafa and to write him off...Some Fedfans and their provocative and rather pathetic comments do not affect me at all and it does not come as a surprise to me...it's up to them if they want to gloat and enjoy Rafa's loss...if that makes them happy, let them be...but to hear some Rafans put down our champion after he fought so hard and almost won the match is just unacceptable...

and also, please rafaisthebest, how can you say that Rafa is not talented?! He could have not accomplished 10 GS just based on his hard work...that would mean that any player could be holder of 10 GSs if working hard...lol...Rafa may not be as talented as Fed and you kind of get it when you compare their stiles of play but to say that Rafa is less talented than Nole and that Nole trains less than Rafa to reach the results is IMO completely and utterly short-sighted...you can?t be serious? You know our champion better than that, don't you?

natashao , 1/30/12 11:02 AM


Don't worry Rafans, it's hard for the hateful wing of Fedfandom to fathom why we are not bitter, angry and depressed (like they always are) after Rafa's latest defeat to Nole. More importantly, they do not understand why he himself is not bitter, angry and depressed (like Fed has been in the past after defeat).

Like they say, birds of a feather flock together.........................

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 11:11 AM


Fed, Nadal and Djoker .. Could be three of the all time greatest to have picked up the tennis racket in one era !!! Amazing people off the court as well . Tennis has never been so interesting . This world would have been a lovely place if their fans behave and act in the same way .

I like Nadal the most but I think you cannot but just admire Djoker the way he turned three five set matches and came back from losing positions against Fed(USO 2011) and against Murray and Nadal in AusOpen 2012 and mind you nobody choked . He snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

I would love to see Nadal winning FO 2012, but I would not mind Djoker winning 4 straight Slams in a very very tough era and would also relish the prospect of Fed or Murray spoiling Djoker's party.

Exciting times lie ahead !!

fedexal , 1/30/12 11:29 AM


natashao , 1/30/12 11:02 AM

It's my humble opinion, natashao. I don't mean to demean Rafa, gosh, no, quite the contrary! If you check my posts you will see that I am the one who has consistently stated my pride in Rafa's performance yesterday, and admonished some Rafans for being too hard on him because he lost. He is phenomenal.

Let me put it this way. Rafa himself has said he is less talented than Fed. As far as Nole is concerned, I think every tennis expert agrees that he is supremely talented and none other than Nick Bollettieri is on record as saying Nole is more talented than Rafa. But this not the issue.............we can argue about definitions of talent till the cows come home but that is not the point of my argument.

The point I was making is this: Rafa's ability to find solutions, in spite of some limitations (and we all have limitations, including phenomenal tennis players), makes him unique. Some Rafans were critical of Rafa's performance last night and I was the opposite because a. I saw that he had improved and b. he was figuring Nole out the same way he figured out Fed.

Let's not get touchy like some fans of you-know-who. Like storyteller said, there is no shame in admitting Fed's or Nole's superiority at any point in time. Rafa's record and achievements speak for themselves, they do not need defending.

I do not measure Rafa's greatness by the number of titles or Slams he has, but by the content of his character. So whether his backhand is better than Nole's or he is slower/faster than he was 2 years ago matters not a jot to me. It's how he wins, and loses, that matters to me.

And I have a feeling that's what matters to Rafa too......................

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 11:33 AM


Really happy with how Rafa performed yday(gutted that he lost, but it was a good loss compared to his losses in 2011). He created some really good chances for himself after the way he fought back in the 4th set. I really thought he would win the match, if not for that missed backhand pass, which completely changed the momentum in the 5th.

I think he is much closer to Nole's level now than he was in 2011. With some good practice in feb, I think he will be in a position to challenge him again from indian wells.

I think Rafa will have a much better spring season than last year, just because he is playing much better and has got his fighting spirit back

atul1985 , 1/30/12 11:39 AM


Tignor's take and garding of Rafa's perfoamance:

Rafael Nadal
I wrote at the start of the season that no matter what Rafa did or how well he played, he wouldn?t be able to judge his progress until he met his master, Novak Djokovic. Now he?s met him, and he almost beat him. While he could have done more, Nadal himself judged it to be a positive step. That?s an issue for the future. What was special to me about last night was seeing Nadal after the final, sitting in a chair waiting for the stultifying pre-trophy speeches to finish, and thinking about all of the classic matches he?d already been a part of at 25 years old. Wimbledon 2008, Wimbledon 2007, the Aussie semis and final 2009, Rome 2005, Rome 2006, Madrid 2009, the Olympic semis 2008, the Davis Cup final 2011, heck, Nalbandian at Indian Wells 2009, and on from there. He had won virtually all of the close ones before, but it had never looked easy?unlike most other clutch performers, you could always see Nadal struggling to keep the ?colm.? This time, at 4-2, 30-15 in the fifth, he couldn?t keep the colm. This time he was playing a guy who made him pay for it. Nadal may or may not end up as the greatest player of all time, but whether he?s winning or losing, very few, if any, players careers? have been as epic. Upped half a grade for his amazingly upbeat post-match press conference, which included this comment:

Q: ?Are you going to watch [the match] again on tape??

Rafa: ?Too long. Highlights only.? A+

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 12:08 PM


RITB, I know...you were the one who lighted these pages with praise of Rafa rather than went on to analyze what he did wrong, what he needs to do to improve, how with his current game he will hardly be able to win FO and Wimby title...Thank you for being here to say the words of wisdom! :-) I highly respect your opinion and that is mainly why I was surprised to learn that you find Rafa not being talented...I don't care what any of the experts or so-called experts say about Rafa's talent...I think Rafa is pure talent in his own way and what differs him from others is that he had been trained differently...Nole is also talented and Murray as well...but then you must know that Gulbis and Dolgo and Delpo are also talented in their own way...Rafa has been able to mix the talent with his hard work to make himself one of the greatest ever...but the same stands for Nole and I am sure soon will be proved for Andy...Fed is a different sort and I know that a lot of Rafans will disapprove this but I still think that Fed has been given the purest talent for tennis so far and that is why he is still highly competitive at the age of 30...

but I do get what you are saying....and let's not argue more about it...I just hope our Rafa comes back stronger and mentally tougher to beat them all...it's not all about Rafa and Nole though...this AO proved that Andy is well in the equation and with Lendl on his side he will be major danger this year...something tells me, for a start, Andy will end up wining Dubai next month...:-)

natashao , 1/30/12 12:24 PM


natashao , 1/30/12 12:24 PM

Thanks natashao. I so want Muzza to be part of the fray and this presents major conflicts for me. You see, Muzza has always been my second fav after Rafa. But his performances of late, his astute choice of Lendl as coach and his improved demeanour have significantly raised my estimation of him. It's like being a mother to twins...........you can't play favourites, can you?

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 12:36 PM


RITB, now that it's all over, I have a confession to make: I was even ready to accept Rafa being defeated by Andy in AO finals just for the sake of not having to live with yet another loss to Nole...Andy came close to beating Nole and Rafa came close to beating Nole, but it wasn't meant to be this time...once again, Nole was the best tennis player out there and we have to give him credit for it! But, the way both Andy and Rafa fought is amazing and encouraging, which makes the competition tougher and most importantly CLOSE...

Vamos!!!

natashao , 1/30/12 12:48 PM


^^^^^^as the Chinese say, we live in interesting times!

Now it's my time to confess. I did not expect, AT ALL, that Rafa would reach the final, so it was a pleasant surprise for me that he did. I generally follow Rafa's "propaganda" i.e. whern he told us that he did not have high expectations re Oz 2012 and that he would not be ready until IW, I believe(d) him. So, I am honestly very happy with Rafa's tournament performance.

Confession #2: Even though Nole's perfomance yesterday lifted my estimation of him, I really do not like his post-win celebrations, ripping shirt off, thumpiong his chest, primeval screams, I just want to say, stop! I know each player has has his way of celebrating and it might not appeal to all. Don't ask me how I think he should celebrate....................maybe I am just being too sensitive given the fact that it's been Rafa on the other side of the net too often when he goes "beserk"! Sigh.......

Don't worry, natashao, I definitely think there is a silver lining to this loss, in fact, I know there is.....................Rafa will emerge stronger. I just hope his body holds up.

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 1:13 PM


rafaisthebest, i understand where you are coming from with confession 2. but you dont see any nole fans talking about how rafa celebrated winning the 4th set. i have never seen anything like it. it was the fourth set not the match for goodness sake. so imagine what celebration rafa would of made if he actually won.

dejan1989 , 1/30/12 1:35 PM


I believe the only reason he celebrated the way he did after winning the 4th set is because he believed that he can go toe to toe with Nole after winning that set. The way he lost sets 2 and 3 would surely have reminded him of his last 2 GS defeats. Rafa knows Nole is difficult to beat and probably physically and mentally better at this stage of their career. So to win the 4th set must have really pumped him up.
As far as Nole's celebrations go, there is no harm at all in the way he celebrated. After winning back to back 5 setters against two of the fittest players on the tour, you would expect such a reaction. Nole is handling the onus of being number 1 pretty well in my opinion. Just like Fedal changed the way tennis was played which led to the evolution of Nole, it is upto the next generation/current generation to evolve.
But the way NAdal conducted himself after the loss is commendable, absolutely championlike especially when you consider Nole was throwing racquets around just for losing his serve in the 1st set.
We will get to see the sort of champion Nole is when or if the going gets tough in the future.
After the 4th set,I shed tears just for the fighting spirit that Rafa showed. THough I was gutted after the loss, Rafa as a human being just rose in stature.

vmk1 , 1/30/12 1:57 PM


If Rafa won he would just threw himself on the floor, lying flat, like he always did.

I also think that Murray will have a good chance of beating Nole in Dubai, he came so close in that AO SF, in a best of three format I think he can do better. As for Rafa, I hope by IW, he can implement whatever improvements he make to his game in actual match plays. I wish for Rafa to be ready by then to challenge Nole again on the hard courts of IW/Miami, gets a win or two over Nole before the clay season starts, that way he will be more confident and not too pressurized when facing Nole on clay ( I still remember how nervous Rafa was last year during the Madrid final where he went 4-0 down to Nole in the first set). I really want to see Rafa leading in a match against Nole, and holding on to the lead rather than always giving chase from games or sets down.

luckystar , 1/30/12 2:16 PM


My heart sunk when I saw Rafa lost his serve in that game when he was 4-2 up in the fifth set. I was worried about how Rafa would be able to take it but was so glad Rafa took this defeat quite positively. When Rafa lost that second set, I thought he would fight in the third set like he did at the USO final third set. He didn't and chose to fight instead during the last few games in the fourth set. It occurred to me then that Rafa was not going to make the same mistakes like that USO final, where he used up all his energy in the third set and had nothing left to fight in the fourth set. Rafa was thinking of conserving his energy for the fifth set once he couldn't manage to win the third set. I think he's wise in his energy management and that's why he had his chances in the fifth set to almost beat Nole. I must say Nole's fitness level was incredible, just like Rafa's in that 2009 AO. It seems that everything played out like it did in 2009, the no.1 player had to fight hard to reach the final where the no.2 player was waiting. It's quite amazing how history can repeat itself! I do hope the no.2 player can go on and win FO and Wimbledon, something similar to 2009.

luckystar , 1/30/12 2:43 PM


I think people are getting too obsessed with Nole and by that I mean Rafa fans. Am I only the one who isn't all that bothered about the year long H2H? (People conveniently forget that the head to head is STILL in Rafa's favour, despite all these recent losses). Nole has only found his game in the last year. Rafa has been at that level for YEARS. Years. To me, that counts for a great deal. Perhaps I'm being naive but I have no doubts that Rafa will beat Novak again. And more than once. And convincingly. It looks bad now but I know my champion. So I don't waste time worrying about it. The jibes, the articles, the non-stop media pressure isn't nice to see but I get such comfort from Rafa's current attitude. He's focused on rebuilding his confidence, and his game will come. Rome was not built in a day and Nole's current form is of the highest standard. It was always going to take time. But already, he's a different player from his 2011 form. Much, much better. But most importantly, he sounds positive. His emotional state is far more important right now. And when he gives pressers like he did yesterday, it puts my mind at ease. Rafa is doing better than people give him credit for. And he'll get better as the season goes on. There was a great deal to be proud of yesterday and he knows that. So Rafa fans, be with 'colm'. He is and what better example is there?

storyteller , 1/30/12 2:48 PM


It is surprising that most of people here only mentioning that rafa chokes at 4-2 to take 5-2 leads but they are forgetting that match only went to 5th set bcoz djokovic chokes in 4th set and it was more deserving winner than rafa.

mani4Tennis , 1/30/12 2:58 PM


First of all many congrats to Nole & his fans - great match and one for the history books.

Most of my follow Rafa fans have already said what is in my heart about the way Rafa played, nearly won and then took the positives from this match to go forward with. It will not have been easy to get beaten by the same player for a straight 7th time but I am proud of Rafa the person as well as the consumate warrior we love to watch playing his brand of tennis.

Vamos dearest Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 1/30/12 2:59 PM


Apologies for the ramblings but I feel compelled to share my feelings. I firmly believe, what goes up, must come down. And what's down will go up. That's just the way of the universe. It's true in every facet of life but never more evident than in sport. I remember the days of Wimbledon 2007, that gut-wrenching defeat. The dark, dark days of FO 2009. Rafa's annus horribilis, which ironically started with a magnificent win at AO. They said he was destroyed physically, that his body would betray him and let him down, they said his mind was in tatters, his parents divorce the FO loss to Soderling (remember him?) and his withdrawal from Wimby that year had done him in. He withdrew from AO 1O and hadn't won a title in a close to a year. He was done they said. A year of torture, torment and misery that seemed to go on and on. How can anyone forget that? And then, Monte Carlo happened. And then there was no looking back. How can anyone forget that? Rafa fans, Rafa has had it much, much worse. He suffered in 2011, Novak dominated him, got into his mind, made him doubt himself. A different sort of torment for sure but really, hasn't Rafa already been there? Hasn't it been much worse for him? And he emerged from the ashes like the glorious phoenix he is. The adage goes, "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger". And Rafa fans, Rafael Nadal is not dead. Not by a long shot. I look forward to yet another 'rise' because before Rafa says goodbye to tennis, it will come. Bet it on it. And it will be amazing. Count on it.

storyteller , 1/30/12 3:00 PM


sorry ..i meant to say that "He was more deserving winner than rafa. "

mani4Tennis , 1/30/12 3:02 PM


Folks told you 2009 script replayed..I just had a feeling it would pan out like that because it panned out in womens final too where Maria and Azarenka were fighting for No 1 and scoreline for victory was the same. I even wrote posts to that effect.

Rafa was chasing for the big titles outside clay till 2008, endured the heartbreaking loss in 2007 Wimby final but then gave us a solid 2008 April - May 2009 where he went on a tear winning titles he wasnt expected to like Wimby 2008, AO 2009, Olympics Gold and then crapped out, he gave us a solid 2010 (completed careerslam, won 3 slams) and again performed below expectations in 2011. He rose like a phoenix twice..will he do 3rd time..I surely hope so, atleast he has given us hope he can and win atleast 3-4 slams more (I always maintain and have said it before multple times - I will be happy with just 1 more of each of the 4 slams from Rafa making it minimum of 2 slams each , no desires to reach 16 etc) .Whether he indeed wins, time will tell .

What I hate is that after a crushing loss of your favorite, there is no tennis played by your fav for like more than a month, it somehow leaves the void feeling. Had there been a tourney rightaway, it would help fill the loss.

I actually thought of not posting on this site anymore till rafa starts winnng because after such an epic match that was played that called for sheer respect and applause, I felt disgusted to read the comments by certain people who possibly have done nothing in their own lives pouring spite, hate, fun at people (repeating the 7-0 over and over again) who have made tennis history, who have achieved remarkable success . It made me feel what company am I even keeping online and since I have a choice, I should move away from this negativity of people whch is repulsive. I took the loss well and saw the positives but for some strange reason after reading the nasty comments felt hurt by the loss ( I would blame myself for allowing myself to get affected though, wouldnt blame the negative creeps on this site for that as thats their inherent psyche) . Hence I am still evaluating if I should be a regular on this site like in past 1 year or just come to congratulate fellow Rafans when Rafa wins and share the joy and happiness.

Since we ofcourse know each other through our ids and its a Rafa family , I need to confess - I felt depressed seeing Rafa lose yesterday but didnt feel even 30% as bad when I didnt get an 'as expected' performance review at work recently . Found it strange - I didnt get as affected by something directly in my sphere of influence but felt more affected by loss of Rafa who actually has no real connection at all. Strange right - cant find the explanation, talked with many people about it, they all say they feel the same when say India cricket team performs abysmally, few Roger fans said they feel more hurt when Roger loses than some other direct things..ironically none of us had an explanation as to why is it so..though we all agreed its strange :-)




sanju , 1/30/12 3:17 PM


Storyteller @3.00pm - couldn't agree with you more. What a fantastic post. I shall look forward to your prediction coming true.

schatz , 1/30/12 3:21 PM


storyteller..I just read your post and its so ironical that we typed the same things at the same time even using the same words like 'phoenix' at places..The construction of thoughts was so similar though the articulation was a bit different.

I actually forgot to pen what was in my mind but what you wrote - That Rafa will rise like a phoenix one more time and win maybe 3-4 slams and quit post that rightaway . Trust me I wanted to write that just forgot :-)

sanju , 1/30/12 3:24 PM


Don't worry sanju, Rafa can't win all the time, he'll win some and lose some. I was worried more about how Rafa took this loss than the actual loss itself. Rafa once again was able to take the positives out of a defeat, so I'm rather relieved to know that. I can understand where you're coming from, about feeling upset when Rafa loses, as many of us share that kind of feeling. I guess we're all too invested in a player that we can feel his ups and downs as if they're our own. You've highlighted a period where Rafa was performing at his best, from April 2008- May 2009, where I counted, Rafa won 13 titles in 14 months, that was impressive. I think only Fed had similar or one or two more titles within a 14 months period, from 2005/2006 and 2006/2007. Nole now is on track to do the same from 2011- Feb 2012.

mani - the difference between Nole losing that fourth set and Rafa losing that game in the fifth is that Nole did not lose the match as he still had one full set of tennis to play to get back on track; whilst Rafa losing that game would put him at risk of losing the match. However if Nole lost the match, then everyone would be talking about his choking in the fourth set.

luckystar , 1/30/12 4:01 PM


Sanju, please do not leave this site because of the few ugly people who post on here. They are not worth it believe me. What matters is that we are a sort of family brought together by our love of tennis and Rafa. There are even some nice posters who are fans of other tennis players.

I could not come on until today to post and was quite moved by some of the posts made by fellow Rafans. They actually made me feel better and I started to see more positive things coming out from this loss. Rafa was close to winning but it was Novak's day in the end. Rafa's day will come again because we know that he is the ultimate fighter and I have faith in him always.

The posters who love to post trash on this site are to be ignored/pitied because they will never amount to anything because they are ugly all the way through. No decent human being would post the nasty stuff they do and actually get some sort of gratification from it. Put them straight in the virtual trash can/rubbish bin.

schatz , 1/30/12 4:11 PM


Rafans, we have so much to be proud of re Rafa. Think about it: Rafa has been involved in all the matches that have been touted "the best" of the open era: The Wimby final with Fed, the Oz open semi with Verdasco and this one with Nole.

rafaisthebest , 1/30/12 4:34 PM


I agree RITB, Rafa is an exception human being as well as a great tennis player.

One consolation is that the scoreline is not straight sets so no one is now saying Nole beats Rafa again, the match to all intents and purposes has moved Rafa nearer to closing the gap in their current h2h. Rafa will get there.

nadline , 1/30/12 5:31 PM


Only a tottal idiot can predicte that Novak can win every match against Rafa.
As Nole said, it is shame that only one can win in match like this.
Rafa is still so young... He is allready one of the best player in history... Great person, modest, humble etc,etc...
Whole world knows that.
2012 season started well for him... He had added some new points... He is positive in his mind... He knows better than all of us " experts" what he has to do.
I can say that I consider myself happy to have opportunity to watch and Nole and Rafa... Andy is there....just a little bit behind them...
Tennis, like everthing else is changing...they are young...there will be many days for dueling...
So... Vamos Rafa and Ajde Nole!

zare , 1/30/12 8:00 PM


Storyteller-
I can't explain my gratitude enough! I agree with you 100% and you have put into words everything I have wanted to express, which to me is the obvious truth.
You and Nativenewyorker are the only ones who are making any sense on these boards.
Rafa was dominated by one man last year..one man...yet he is only a man, not a robot, the same man Rafa once dominated. If rafa is able to rise about the ashes in far worse circumstances, when his family like is crumbling before his eyes and when his body is betraying him and when he is able to master the greatest of all time, in technical ability, Federer, then Djokovic wont be a problem!

Rafa lost the final, on his own racket. Djokovic capitalized, that was all. Rafa remained strong, physically, while Djokvic was stumbling and falling all over the place. If that isnt an indication of what is to come and Rafa got so close, having not even been able to train to be ready to beat DJok then I cant wait to see the fallout when he does.

isabeau77 , 1/31/12 12:04 AM


Schatz, Sanju, Isabeau, thank you all for the kind words. It is a great comfort that we can share the same sentiment about Rafa. I understand preferring a different style of tennis or a different sort of player, what I cannot understand is the belittling of the man and his achievements. For me, Rafa is one six billion. There is no other sportsman like him and it will be a another generation before another emerges. His maturity, his grace and class in defeat is as great as it is in victory. I think we can all be proud to be his fans.

storyteller , 1/31/12 7:59 AM


sanju,

Please do not leave this site! If you do, then the haters will have gotten what they want. This is their purpose, their intention. They want to drive good people from this site with their spite and hate-filled comments. Feel pity for them. This is all they have in life. Think what an utter waste of energy it is to post hatespeak about someone who you have never met and do not know, who has done you no harm. That is a terrible thing to have inside your heart.

Just focus on all the posts that are uplifting and hopeful and filled with good spirit. There are more good people here than bad. I have to say that I am as proud of the Rafa fans on this site as I am of Rafa for the magnificent fight and heart he showed in that final. Let us always remember to keep it that way. We don't want to be like the rabid Fed fans who come on here to taunt us when Rafa loses. We don't want to be disrespectful to Nole fans the way that Fed fans have been to Rafa fans.

It took me a little time to come on here and express my thoughts. It always hurts my heart when Rafa loses. However, when I was able to see the last two sets of the match and realized what a courageous fight he put up, I knew that I would be okay. That's all you can ask of your favorite player. Rafa is such an inspiration to me. It is his words in his presser that have given me calm and peace. He helps his fans. A remarkable young man.

I am late in congratulating Nole fans on his great win. I just had to say some things on behalf of Rafa and express some of my feelings and thoughts first.

I also wanted to thank isabeau, for being such a wonderful presence on this site. Thanks to storyteller for posting some beautiful words. More thanks to schatz for such words of kindness.

Also thanks to zare for thinking of Rafa even as Nole was the winner.

If we all keep on posting our thoughts, then the haters cannot hurt us. We are stronger. I just feel so blessed to be able to watch Rafa play tennis. For as long as it lasts and I hope that is a long while, I will be watching and cheering him on. I hope he knows in his heart how much his millions of fans care about him and how grateful we are to be his fans.

It is the joy and privilege of my lifetime to be a fan of Rafa!

Nativenewyorker , 1/31/12 10:55 AM


RITB, don't be too hard on Djokovic for celebrating the way he did. It was no disrespect to Nadal in any way. He needed to let all those emotions out, can you imagine what he felt like after playing for 6 hours? And it was a match for the GS title.

nemanja230690 , 1/31/12 12:41 PM


^^^^^^^I do get it nemanja230690, they must feel like pressure cookers out there......it is a release.

Actually, what puts me off about it is not that I feel it is disrespectful to the opponent, no. I am put off because I feel intimidated watching it! I guess it's seeing the raw emotion being communicated that way, it just "jolts" me..............sensitive little flower that I am......................

rafaisthebest , 1/31/12 1:42 PM



Current ATP-rankings

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