• Nadal opens Madrid campaign on Wednesday

    5/7/13 10:26 PM | Kelli DeMario
    Nadal opens Madrid campaign on Wednesday World No. 5 Rafael Nadal is set to headline play at the Mutua Madrid Open with a second-round match against France’s Benoit Paire. The players will be looking to secure a place among the final 16.

    World No. 5 Rafael Nadal is back on court after sealing a title-winning run over compatriot Nicolas Almagro in Barcelona. The 26-year-old Spaniard will be making his 11th appearance at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he captured the championship in 2005 and 2010.

    "I think I can play better than what I have until now," Nadal explained. "The results are difficult to get better, but the way I played in Monte Carlo and Barcelona could be better, yes. But here we're to keep on trying to do better and keep on fighting to have the opportunities to be competitive.

    "I didn’t expect to play much better than what I have after so much time without training or competing or anything. For me it's a great surprise to have had such great results so far, so I keep on working day after day."

    Nadal holds a 1-0 series edge over world No. 37 Benoit Paire, having won their only previous meeting earlier this season in Barcelona.

    Paire is through to the second round following a straight-sets ousting of Brazilian qualifier Joao Souza. The 24-year-old Frenchman is seeking his 15th tour-level win of the season.

    Prediction: Nadal in straight sets.

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#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/7/13 11:26 PM

Please Rafa, don't go out there and do a "Novak" (i.e. lose to a pretender), there are banana skins littered around that court Manolo Santana.............


rafaisthebest , 5/7/13 11:33 PM


Don't worry! Rafa will come out ready. He is playing in front of his home crowd.

Vamos, Rafa!

Nativenewyorker , 5/7/13 11:41 PM

Remember last year both Nole and Rafa went out in the same round?! That would be something!!!!

But I think Rafa will be ready, he hardly ever underestimates his opponents

Monalysa , 5/8/13 1:53 AM


Did they both go out in the same round? I thought Nole went further than Rafa. Didn't Rafa lose to Verdasco in the third round?

Nativenewyorker , 5/8/13 3:01 AM

^^Yes, Novak went one round better than Rafa last year.

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 7:37 AM

"The 26-year-old Spaniard will be making his 11th appearance at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he captured the championship in 2005 and 2010."

I'm sick of this trite, hackneyed reference to the age of tennis players. It doesn't add anything to the preview. Yesterday, Andrew Castle said Djoker was only 25 when in fact he is nearly 26. It's becoming too annoying.

nadline , 5/8/13 12:05 PM

^^Agreed, and anyway it truly bears no reference to the tennis age of players which is what matters of course.
Look at rafa par example, he has the knees of a sprightly 70 year old!
So you might not be so mismatched after all nads ;)

Twinge , 5/8/13 12:42 PM

Twinge, I don't suppose danica will be after you for showing animosity towards Rafa, would she? She is very selective in her moral stance to the point of making things up.

nadline , 5/8/13 1:32 PM

Twinge, 5/8/13 12:42 PM

Good thing for the rest of the field I'd say. That's the only way Sod and Rosol could beat him. Fed was healthy when Sod sent him packing from the FO.

Even with those "70 year old" knees, he could be leading the race at the end of the week without playing a slam this year.

His knees are his only competition.


Conspirator , 5/8/13 1:51 PM

Conspirator are you serious?
Why is it his knees that are his only competition?
Right now Novak is still ahead and will be ahead (or slightly behind due to an upset) even if Rafa wins this tournament.
He got knocked out at the quarters last year with rafa out in the 4rth, its not that much to capitalise on is it?
And last time I saw them play each other Rafa was almost bageled.
Let's see how the rest of the clay tournaments play out, but there is nothing in Rafa's course that gives me an impression that he's unstoppable so far.
Nobody looks like that at the moment.
His path has been chosen in a very shrewd, fed like way, but as soon as he has come up against a real challenge (ie Novak on a mission) he has folded.
Its too early to say who will finish Number one but please Rafa isn't even there now!
And the suggestion that Novak is not competition (but his knees!) is absurd.

Twinge , 5/8/13 2:17 PM

Of course Twinge does not understand how the rankings work.

nadline , 5/8/13 2:31 PM

Nadline we are not doing this again.
I've looked
Novak is on 4120 points in the race
Rafa is on 3000
How is he going to get to number one after this week?

Twinge , 5/8/13 2:41 PM

and i do understand the difference between the rolling figures and the year ends, i just mixed it up a little when i posted..

Twinge , 5/8/13 2:45 PM

"And last time I saw them play each other Rafa was almost bageled."

Yes, because he was playing the current top form player in the world while he is still getting hs game back from his seven month layoff caused by his... wait for it.....

"70 year old" knees.

(To answer your first question though, no, I'm never really serious on TT.)


Conspirator , 5/8/13 2:59 PM

"......but there is nothing in Rafa's course that gives me an impression that he's unstoppable so far.
Nobody looks like that at the moment."
Twinge , 5/8/13 2:17 PM

Well, this is progress in terms of reality checking. Prior to the "upset" you were talking about Novak as if he was unstoppable.

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 3:04 PM

I wasn't too serious about the 70 year old knees either.

Probably more like 55..

Or 52 ;)

Twinge , 5/8/13 3:08 PM

And when exactly did i say that ritb?
lol The cheek of you, I think you will find its another group here that needed the reality check.
Which they duly received.
I never ever did (say he would be unstoppable) because it was something I did/do not believe.
It's more Nadal fans perspective on things, if one suggests that Novak can beat Nadal on a comeback it usually means he's `unstoppable` does it not?
Except it doesn't,
Probably no-one will be this year or it would have already started.
But we will see....

Twinge , 5/8/13 3:15 PM

People who stoop so low as to make fun of players' injuries don't deserve a response.

#Disgusting poster of TT

nadline , 5/8/13 3:16 PM

Oh behave!
I'm not making fun of his injuries, I'm making fun of his knees.
And it is clear to me that you will stoop however low you have to for the benefit of your Idol so don't give me it.

Twinge , 5/8/13 3:27 PM

Rafa is in the house.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/8/13 3:28 PM

It's Paire's 24th birthday today, Happy Birthday Benoit!!

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 3:37 PM

Let's hope not too happy, though.


Conspirator , 5/8/13 3:44 PM

Twinge, you've earned your badge as a Rafa-hater. Wear it with shame.

nadline , 5/8/13 3:51 PM

Why hasnt Rafa broken Paire yet?!!!! Wake up Rafa, wake up!!!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 3:54 PM

You're right, @Mona. Benoit's 1st serve % is 44%, Rafa is not having a look at those 2nd serves, why?

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:01 PM

Spoken too soon, Rafa breaks, 4-2

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:02 PM

Rafa breaks.

Benoit doesn't do 2nd serves, he goes for it every time.

nadline , 5/8/13 4:02 PM

Benoit is keeping it tight, though.....

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:06 PM

Rafa not happy with the time violation, tells Feagus Murphy he does not understand the game anymore.......

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:08 PM

To be fair, Rafa could cut out some of the rituals.

nadline , 5/8/13 4:12 PM

1st set, Rafa - 63

nadline , 5/8/13 4:14 PM

Rafa looks a little nervous to me, must be feeling the pressure to perform well........

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:15 PM

RT @SteveTignor: "RT @TrudelSteph Nadal to chair umpire Fergus Murphy after receiving a time violation: "You don't understand the game"

The above is absolutely NOT what Rafa said. He said, "I do not understand the game anymore"

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:18 PM

Rafa always looks like that in the early rounds......................i remember Rafa always says that this is the most dangerous point in any toruney!!!..........and he is so right!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 4:20 PM

nadline - it looks to me like Rafa is still doing the same rituals...just doing them faster. The "hair tuck" doesn't take quite as long, but he's still doing it. :)

cherylmurray , 5/8/13 4:23 PM

I think nadline is saying he could cut out some of the rituals he does every time, not that he has added any.

holdserve , 5/8/13 4:26 PM

Disappointing from rafa so far. Still hasn't found the range on cross court forehands this season...,

willmw101 , 5/8/13 4:27 PM

I think it's his thinking process that's why he still does it. But it's distracting to be doing something you know might incur a penalty whether you agree with it or not.

nadline , 5/8/13 4:28 PM

that was nicely done from Nadal.

cherylmurray , 5/8/13 4:29 PM

This a step down from form in Barcelona...

willmw101 , 5/8/13 4:34 PM

The Madrid conditions have never suited Nadal's game as well as the other clay events. The altitude changes the way the ball reacts to the court.

cherylmurray , 5/8/13 4:36 PM

The courts are slippery. This is why Rafa is not so sure-footed..slipped twice already.

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:36 PM

^^ Nothing compared to last year though. in 2012, he and Nole looked like those little cartoon dogs whose legs spin but they go nowhere.

cherylmurray , 5/8/13 4:41 PM

But I don't understand why Madrid doesn't suit Nadal's game. It's just like a clay court Indian wells, which rafa should love. This is the worst I've seen rafa play since vina del mar...

willmw101 , 5/8/13 4:46 PM

The longer Rafa lets Benoit hang around, the more his belief he can cause an upset grows. Rafa needs to get his skates on................

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:47 PM

@ willmw101,

You know Rafa always starts slow!!! Give him a break!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 4:48 PM

Madrid's altitude makes the air thinner which makes the ball travel quicker through the air, this is why you are seeing Rafa's errors, most of them, are the ball going long.

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:50 PM

break Nadal. He'll serve for the match.

cherylmurray , 5/8/13 4:54 PM

See Rafa breaks!!!...................he will find a way.........once he's fit!!!

Serve it out Rafa...........VAMOS!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 4:54 PM

Why is Benoit not being cited for on-court coaching? He is having running conversations with his team..

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:56 PM

On-court coaching, swearing..........anything goes by in tennis these days!!!.........haha!!!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 4:57 PM

GSM Rafa.


rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 4:58 PM

Rafa not at his optimum best, but he crosses this one off his list.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/8/13 4:58 PM

VAMOS!!!!! One game at a time, Rafa!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 4:59 PM

Who's next?

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 5:01 PM

Perhaps Rafa needs times to get used to the conditions!!! Onwards and upwards, Rafa!!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 5:01 PM

Rafa plays either Youhzny or Almagro!!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 5:03 PM

Rafa has issues against unknown players with a big serve and a decent forehand until he plays them a few times.

nadline , 5/8/13 5:05 PM

I have a feeling our Rafa will be meeting with Nico in the next round, Youzhny has really fallen off.....

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 5:07 PM

good win for our Rafa considering that famous backhand of his was completely off...He is still finding his range, no wonder why he lost to Nole in MC final...however, great serving for Rafa, 80% first serve in is magnificent record...all in all, still room for improvement but sufficient enough to advance smoothly...I expect him to raise his level in the next matches...
Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 5/8/13 5:09 PM

Boy, either can give Rafa tickles!!..........their forehands.......ouch!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 5:10 PM

Hmmm, the way this court is playing, Fed has a chance you know...........

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 5:17 PM

Everybody has a chance!!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 6:32 PM

Steve Tignor's RR: 67/#.UYqCvspRCDd

Rafa has never lost a clay match to either Youzhny or Almagro.

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 6:57 PM

RT @adel1609: "#Paire: "I don't really learn from playing Federer. He always humiliated me. But against Rafa, I feel like I have the weapons to do sth"."

Today Benoit won just 6 out of 16 net volleys. Hope Rafa's teaching you something, Benoit, because this just is not good enough.............

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 7:32 PM

@ RIBT...........dont know if to laugh or to cry!!

Monalysa , 5/8/13 7:45 PM

^^^^laugh AND cry!!

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 8:28 PM

Nico and Youhzny in the third set. It's 3-1 Youhzny. This is a surprise to me. I thought Nico would handle him easily.

Nativenewyorker , 5/8/13 9:23 PM

It will be Youzhny Rafa will play then......

rafaisthebest , 5/8/13 9:45 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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