• Nadal and Federer clash in dream Rome final

    5/19/13 12:15 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Nadal and Federer clash in dream Rome final Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will add another chapter to their epic rivalry in another meeting on the clay courts of Rome.

    The last time Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer met at the Rome Masters, the year was 2006 and the match was one of the finest of their storied rivalry. It was at a time when Masters finals were still best of 5...and that final went the distance, with Nadal fighting off two match points before finally prevailing 7-6 in the third.

    Much has changed since then. The rivalry heated up, culminating in what will surely be the crown jewel of their encounters, the Wimbledon final of 2008. Since then, their meetings have largely failed to live up to the hype, with first Federer then Nadal taking turns dominating matches.

    Nadal holds a decisive head-to-head edge over Federer, with a 19-10 record. The Spaniard also dismantled Federer in their most recent meeting, a 6-4, 6-2 drubbing in the California desert a few weeks ago.

    Federer has had an easier time through his portion of the draw this week, but Nadal faced an inspired Ernests Gulbis and an in-form David Ferrer. Federer's opponents have all been unseeded.

    Prediction - Nadal has only lost to Federer twice on clay. The defending champ's vicious forehand to Federer's one-handed backhand has been a winning formula all along, and there is little to suggest that Sunday's match will be any different. Nadal in two sets.

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Put me down for 7-6 (3), 6-3 for Rafa.

grafight , 5/19/13 2:44 AM

Thanks, grafight.

Everyone else...who ya got?

cherylmurray , 5/19/13 2:47 AM

Vamos, vamos, vamos, Rafa!!!!!

Monalysa , 5/19/13 3:27 AM

'Wimbledon final of 2008"

Greatest Match of All Time (even JMac says so).

I'd like a three-setter.

Anyone else remember their 5-set Foro Italico final from 2006?


mara002 , 5/19/13 4:39 AM

"dream" final?

look, I'd like to pretend this is still 2008 just as much as the next guy, but let's get serious here please.

RickyDimon , 5/19/13 6:18 AM

Of course Nadal will win. Fed's now 32, ad Nadal is 25. In tennis years that's a lot. Their battles have always been lopsided due to the huge age difference, . It would be nice if it were the other way around.

scoretracker , 5/19/13 6:30 AM

Get your facts straight instead of posting rubbish.

And I suppose Berdych and Rafa's H2H are lopsided because of the HUGH age difference too.

jean , 5/19/13 6:50 AM

For the record, Rafa is 26. The lopsided h2h has nothing to do with the difference in their ages. In fact, Rafa was the one who had the disadvantage of coming up against a Fed in his prime, a Fed who was dominating and beating just about everyone. Rafa was just starting out as a teenager, yet he did not seem intimidated by Fed. He always had this belief that he could beat him. He also had the game to give Fed trouble.

So let's not make excuses for the h2h. It is what it is and Rafa earned those wins when it really counted.

I do think that Fed will come out motivated to get his first title this year. He has been losing points for a while now. At least he did gain points here by getting to the final. He would love to get a win against Rafa on clay. However, if Rafa plays the way he did against Berdy, I just don't see it happening.

Nativenewyorker , 5/19/13 6:57 AM

considering that FEDERER is the one who has had the age advantage, it's safe to say that scoretracker is just a BIT incorrect!


RickyDimon , 5/19/13 7:02 AM

Federer is not in his prime, but nadal is. so who has the age difference in their favor now. LOL. Going by tennis analysts roger should be retired.

scoretracker , 5/19/13 7:06 AM

S/T for the 1st 4-5 years of their rivalry Fed had advantage of being the in prime player and having experience on his side, he just couldnt cut it against Rafa.

and for the record, Rafa is not in his prime either. He peaked way too early . I dont think post 2011 Rafa is an in prime Rafa, he is playing well but not anywer close to 2008, early 2009,2010 etc.

Rafas statement about being tired is worrying. I fear he has played too much, we know he needs match practice but him admitting it that hes tired just before RG is a bit scary

sanju , 5/19/13 7:11 AM

Sanju, have you forgotten at what age Nadal began playing on the tour? His tennis career is not the same as the other youngsters who began at 18 or thereabouts. Thus at 19 he was at or close to his prime.

Neither Nadal nor Fed is playing close to their 2008 form. In 2008 Fed had mono, and in 2009 nadal had knee trouble.

scoretracker , 5/19/13 7:17 AM


Don't worry about Rafa. He will have a week off to rest before RG. He is going to be facing best three out of five set matches at RG, at least with a day off in between. But he hasn't played a slam yet this year. I don't see how he can be in any kind of shape unless he has some tough matches under his belt. They help his mental toughness and concentration and also his game. You can see how much better he was playing against Berdy.

You just have to have faith that Rafa and his team know what they are doing. Rafa takes it one match at time and is not thinking about RG right now. I try to follow his example because it's easier on the nerves, less worry.

Finally, Rafa was not at his prime when he was 19. Just because he started young, doesn't mean that he got to his prime in two or three years. Rafa was at his best in 2008 when he was 20.

The simple fact is that Rafa had to go up against Fed when he was still finding his way in his teens. The fact that Rafa beat Fed when he was only 17 and ranked 36 in the world at the 2004 Miami Masters, just showed how tough he was then and how he would become Fed's nemesis.

There is no getting around the fact that Rafa had to deal with a Fed who was in his prime and dominating the sport.

Nativenewyorker , 5/19/13 7:30 AM

Yeah NNY get your point. If I were to be given a choice for RG + Wimby or his current run of 5(maybe 6) titles, I would anyday choose RG + Wimby

sanju , 5/19/13 7:50 AM

sanju, Rafa cannot just turn up at RG and Wimby without going through what he is going through now. After Monaco he said he was getting tired in the 2nd set, how do you think he will fare in a 5-setter if he is getting tired in 3 setters? He needs to build UP stamina and resting is not the way to do it. He needs matches to build up stamina otherwise he will not even register in those Slams you talk about!

Remember also, Rafa has cut back on his practice time, he only practices for about 50 minutes he said, whereas he used to practice for up to 2 hours. So matches are where he is getting his conditioning.

So, of course it is normal that he is tired after matches....................he can only get better.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 8:09 AM


I understand that you want Rafa to win RG + Wimby, but that can't happen if he doesn't get some tough matches. He has only played best two out of three set matches so far this year. He hasn't even played in a slam. So it's going to be challenging no matter what.

I don't see any way that Rafa can win RG or Wimby without having some decent preparation. We have to remember that Rafa skipped Miami after playing in just four tournaments. The whole point was to avoid over playing. So he was off for a month and then he came back at MC and couldn't even make it through three set matches. He was struggling in a way that we haven't seen at MC. His form was off and he had to battle throughout the whole tournament.

Also ritb makes a good point about Rafa cutting back on his practice time. I had forgotten about that. He will feel tired but I don't think he has played too much. The way he played against Berdy after two grueling matches shows what happens with Rafa's game when he is tested. He gets better! Finally his game seems to be coming together.

Rafa will be able to have at least a week off before RG. If he is tired after all this tennis, then at least he will get a bit of rest.

Nativenewyorker , 5/19/13 8:21 AM

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/19/13 8:46 AM

@Ricky 6.18
Lol :)

deuce , 5/19/13 9:02 AM

NNY makes a very good point. Let me summarise it : Rafa was very fresh in MC and still he didn't play well in MC. Rafa is a bit tired in Rome but the confidence of Madrid win coupled with more match play makes even a tired Rafa tough to beat.

Rafa's victories have given him the confidence which was missing in MC when he was fresh . People remember 2009 where Rafa overplayed and lost . They don't remember when Rafa won 2008 RG , he had brutal matches as well against Nole and Fed in Hamburg and he was way way superior in RG that year. Rafa had was tired as well in 2007 pre RG warups and he even lost to Fed in Hamburg finals due to tiredness. But Rafa won RG by losing one set only that year. So, Rafa feeds on momentum and confidence . And look at 2011 year, Rafa was down on confidence after defeats against Nole and he played mediocre against Isner . Why? Because he was short on confidence that year.

Anyday, I will prefer a confident Rafa than a little tired Rafa. You can get fresh if you are confident and have few easy matches at the start of RG . But you cant get confidence . 1 week before RG will be more than Rafa to rest and 1 day rest in between matches will be more than enough to keep him charged up.

fedexal , 5/19/13 9:04 AM

Thanks NNY , RITB

Lets hope for the best results for him next 2 months , if he does win a slam or both, nothing like it

sanju , 5/19/13 9:04 AM

Did anyone notice Fed kept "flicking" his hair even though the longish locks are no longer there?

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 9:11 AM

Roger on Rafa Nadal: "He?s had an incredible comeback, so I?m really happy for him. But someone has got to stop him, so I hope it?s me."

Rafa has got to win this, he has no choice otherwise the refrain going into Paris will be: He only won against small fish on clay, he can't cut it against the big boys anymore on his favourite surface, Monte Carlo (Novak) and Rome (Roger) will then be brandished as exhibit A.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 9:17 AM

Who would have thought that anyone would be saying someone's got to stop Rafa 4 months after his 7 month's layoff. That's quite an accolade and proof that his aura is firmly back in the locker room.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/19/13 9:26 AM

what times is todays match btw

hope they show it live in India.

They showed semis but not matches before that

sanju , 5/19/13 9:26 AM

Clearly Roger does not think Novak "stopped" Rafa in Monte Carlo.......

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 9:28 AM

Who would have thought that anyone would be saying someone's got to stop Rafa 4 months after his 7 month's layoff.

Well his results are the best this season till date

sanju , 5/19/13 9:33 AM

Matches were shown in India but on Star Sports2 till SF. SF was shown on ESPN and final maybe on Start Cricket. Weirdo telecast schedule.

fedexal , 5/19/13 9:45 AM s/

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 9:46 AM

Thanks fedexal..I wld ahve never bothered to even tune into starcricket for the match..ill need to chk all channels. I usually chk Star sports, ESPN, Ten Sports

sanju , 5/19/13 10:13 AM

Now its time to rejoice at Roma.Hoping for a good contest today.

Well it was much tougher earlier as Masters were best of 5 affair.2006 Rome masters final was a classic Fedal match.

hrsikesa , 5/19/13 10:18 AM

@sanju no live broadcast... Checked online listings

jaskarans , 5/19/13 11:27 AM


"considering that FEDERER is the one who has had the age advantage,"

How was Federer at a age advantage? Of all the rivalries in tennis history with 25+ matches, only 2 rivalries have the older guy having the winning H2H. Federer-Nole and Nole-Nadal. [Both of which, djokovic looks on course to reverse the H2H]. So please tell me you have some statistics to show that age is an advantage in tennis rivalries?

Not to speak of smaller H2Hs like nadal-hewitt or nadal-blake that nada was able to turn around only after the older guys started declining.

Too bad Federer is not a quitter or loser like Borg. [who quit once mcenroe, the younger guy, surprise, leveled their H2H 7-7, winning their last 3 matches]. If Federer quit like loserg with 12 slams at the end of 2007, his H2H against nadal would be 6-8. Too bad Federer is not dumb like some of the posters here who think a H2H matters more than winning slams. Federer added 5 more slams to his count at the risk of losing more often to players like nadal, djokovic or murray. Sounds to me like a smart move.

So, Ricky please give me the numbers to back your "age is an advantage" comment. While you are at it, please also list out players from federer's generation who have a winning record against nadal after playing 10+ matches on clay.

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 11:36 AM


Conspirator , 5/19/13 12:10 PM

Rog had the experience that age brings and HAD MATURED as a tennis player, while Raf/Nole/Andy had yet to start shaving.
For goodness sakes be happy Fed is still able to play fantastic tennis at times.
Though having his hair cut..... hmm maybe a bad decision.......

deuce , 5/19/13 12:17 PM

lets go fed show you can still perform at the very top.. beating nadal on clay toughest test in tennis.

ferrer15 , 5/19/13 12:28 PM

sanju, let me put it another way - Who would have thought Rafa would have achieved so much just 4 months into his comeback that there is now talk of stopping him.

Fedkovic, you sound like a rabbit caught in headlights.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/19/13 12:42 PM

I just hope Rafa is fit and well today..............the rest will follow.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/19/13 12:45 PM

Not to mention there is now open talk about "The Nadal Option" i.e. taking extended time off the tour to attend to underlying chronic physical conditions. Rafa should seriously consider obtaining a patent for it. Apparently the Nadal Option is one of the options on the table for Muzza's consideration.

Rafa's spectacular return has certainly upped the value of this option.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 12:49 PM

scoretracker players don't get into their prime simply by playing a number of years. They get into their prime by playing a number of years and being 21-22 or more. There are certain changes taking place in the body in the process of growing up and these processes cannot be hurried up simply because someone plays for a number of years. Things like skeletal maturity, growth in muscle mass etc.

holdserve , 5/19/13 1:05 PM


"Rog had the experience that age brings and HAD MATURED as a tennis player, while Raf/Nole/Andy had yet to start shaving."

If that's the case, how come there are no statistics to prove your claim that matured tennis players have the winning H2H. This is over 40 years of tennis history we are talking about and there are no numbers to back your/Ricky's theory that age is an advantage in tennis rivalries.

If it is your "opinion", then fine but reality is far away from your opinion. You know what they say about opinions? Opinions are like constipators - everyone has one and everyone's stinks.

I don't expect Ricky or any of the sheep who blindly supported his view to actually give me proof of

a) an older guy (3 or 4 years old) dominating a tennis rivalry of 25+ matches


b) Anyone from Fed's generation who has a dominating H2H against a one-surface guy like nadal after playing 10+ matches on clay. [Remember davydenko has a winning H2H against nadal. How did he achieve it? He played rafa only 4 times on clay. If federer/djokovic played rafa only 4 times on clay, they would have better H2Hs against rafa and djokovic would even have a winning H2H as he is not around 5years older than rafa]

On a lighter side, if Fed is samson, who is delilah? nadal? LOL!

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 1:21 PM


Conspirator , 5/19/13 1:31 PM


Interesting numbers! I hope Djokovic turns both those H2Hs. Don't want him to be the only younger guy with a losing H2H.

I have been meaning to ask you. You refer to Rafa as BP. what is this BP?

JamesDjokovicFan , 5/19/13 1:46 PM

If Fed/Djoko played Rafa 4 times on clay they would have better h2 h against Rafa. They could achieve the same result by skipping clay tournaments altogether. After all, clay is an inferior surface, no?


rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 1:47 PM

Ricky, if you think the organizers in Rome didn't dream of a Federer-Nadal final, you are delusional. The two biggest names in the sport fighting for the final?

The fact that their recent matches have, as I pointed out, been duds, doesn't seem to matter. It's roger and rafa.

cherylmurray , 5/19/13 1:49 PM


Do you got any other younger guys with a losing H2H other than those 2 cases Ricky. If not your comments look like empty-air mate. No offense, but how come all tennis writers have very bad knowledge of tennis statistics? Don't they teach statistics in Journo school?

JamesDjokovicFan , 5/19/13 1:57 PM

Guys like Delpo, Berdy, Ferrer, are likely to having losing H2H vs Federer ins spite of being younger. Even Murray is most likely to have a losing h2h in slams against Roger. So there are instances of younger players having losing h2h against older players. Rafa has never had a losing h2h against Roger at any stage. The closest that it got was 1-1 after their first two encounters

vmk1 , 5/19/13 2:06 PM

Some of the advantages maturity and experience bring:
Early in my career I struggled with consistency, but I couldn't get more consistent than this year
I have learnt to be even more patient
I like to play guys who have beaten me early in my career to try to get back at them.
Once you've been through all that, you're a changed player
I feel I've definitely become a man now in the last few years
I'm not scared of 5 setters now, I can handle the pressure
I was very nervous before the match but I have a lot of experience
I feel like I've got the game, I've got the mental approach and I've got the experience
I used to cry after every single match I lost as a junior
etc etc

deuce , 5/19/13 2:07 PM

Thanks JDF (that ok with you?)!

I hope nole doesn't reverse the H2H with the Swiss Maestro! Oh well, as I said, it's a price Roger has to pay for not being a quitter or sore loser like Borg.

BP, my friend, is a popular nickname for Rafa on Tignor's blog. I can't tell you here - seeing as the moderation is biased. I have the same moniker on tignor's blog - you can ask me there.

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 2:08 PM


Man, you rafabots are low on logic and knowledge and common sense and IQ!

Older players don't have winning H2Hs DOES NOT imply younger guys will ALWAYS have winning H2Hs.

All your statement proves is that BP is a better player than delpo/berdy/ferrer! or other younger players who have losing H2Hs against their older rivals. I never said otherwise.

Now, show me proof of a older guy who has a winning H2H against his younger multiple slam winner than the 2 I mentioned.


I can list a lot of advantages of younger guys. As I said we all have opinions which are like constipators that stink! Please give me facts to contradict the statistics I have mentioned.

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 2:20 PM

:) :) Fedkovic, you talk about logic and then narrow the sample space right down to the players being multiple slam winners. By the way, Rafa would have had a winning h2h even if they were of the same age, probably by a narrower margin, however a winning h2h nadal would have posessed. Roger had a young Rafa to inflict beatings on especially during his golden year of 2005-07 which he did not manage. In fact of the 5 losses, RF suffered 4 were at the hands of Rafa in 2006. So your logic that Rafa benefited from Roger being the older player amounts to zilch. So please disappear and come back again tomorrow with your name changed to Fedkovic24 :)

vmk1 , 5/19/13 2:26 PM


ifs and buts? please give me the facts. If borg didn't quit like a loser he would have a losing H2H against a younger johnny mac - would that make mcenroe with 8 slams a greater player than mcenroe? Even mcbrat will kikc your behind all the way to rafacaves for saying so.

another example. Lendl, the younger guy beat connors in their last 17 matches. does that make lendl with 94 titles better than connors? [slams and no.1 weeks are about the same for both].

As I said, fedal was 6-8 @ 2007, much like borg-mc when borg quit 7-7 was that rivalry. As I said, no rafabot has been accused of being logical or having knowledge - tennis or otherwise.

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 2:34 PM

By reading the comments here all I can conclude is:

Fedfans are SCARED!

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 5/19/13 2:35 PM

" would that make mcenroe with 8 slams a greater player than mcenroe? Even mcbrat will kikc your behind all the way to rafacaves for saying so."

should be

" would that make mcenroe with 8 slams a greater player than borg? Even mcbrat will kikc your behind all the way to rafacaves for saying so."

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 2:35 PM

no more scared than rafabots are scared of nole. atleast fed doesn't take 7 month "breaks" (google christophe rochus, nadal) because he got totally pwned by a guy outside clay, the mediocre surface!

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 2:39 PM

@ natashao, let them vent their spleen now, you won't be hearing from them during and after the match.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 2:41 PM

later grannies, don't forget your medications and DONOT waste tax-payers' money!

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 2:41 PM

well Fedko :) Fair enough! Your point is taken that Rafa-Roger H2H only taken as 19-10 may not be a fair indication of who is the better player. But the fact that Rafa has got the wins at crucial stages counts to something. Every Rafa win at the slam meant that a Roger win was denied. Same goes for the masters finals which is something which cannot be said of the the H2H that Davy has over Rafa.
Hence we could say that when Rafa was the btter player irrespective of the surface when these guys faced off. When it comes to Djoko-Rafa, since their H2H is so closely matched, we could say that they are more evenly matched even though Rafa has more slams than Djoko :) So those are my 2 cents.

vmk1 , 5/19/13 2:41 PM

we will think about Nole once he makes it to the finals to meet's a long way to go even for Nole, you see...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 5/19/13 2:43 PM

Told you they'd scurry for the hills as match time approaches.....

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 2:44 PM

I really don't believe Federer's fans are scared. Of what? The old guy made it to the final... they should be happy for him. A relic gets to an ATP 1000 event final. Now that's something to be proud about. The thrashing he's going to get is not something to be scared of though.

childishgambino , 5/19/13 2:48 PM

well, TBH the draw Fed got in Rome was a sort of a guarantee he WOULD make it to the finals...not that I want to diminish his accomplishment though...I like Fed and I admire his motivation to stay on tour and still play great tennis at times...Fed is a legend and he will always be remembered as maestro...
Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 5/19/13 2:55 PM

cherylmurray - i didn't say anything about the tournament organizers

RickyDimon , 5/19/13 3:49 PM

JamesDjokovicFan - the first 6 years of their rivalry, Federer had the age advantage. this is not a complicated concept to figure out.

RickyDimon , 5/19/13 3:51 PM

Fedkovic23 - how about NO?

RickyDimon , 5/19/13 3:52 PM

Calm down Rafans. The match has still got to be played; nothing should be taken for granted. Rafa says, himself, that players don't take any notice of favourites.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/19/13 3:56 PM

Another domination... 6:3, 6,2. Or even worse :)
Do I have to say who will win... Not the guy in terrible green shirt :)

zare , 5/19/13 4:08 PM

nadline: does Rafa always elected to receive Roger's service when he wins the toss?
I well remember he did at the RG 2005 SF and promptly got the break but cant recall how often he has done this since.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:11 PM

Zare: lol. It's a truly evil shade of green, no?

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:14 PM

Rafa draws first blood.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:25 PM

^^^its not the most flattering thing I've seen him wear....

cherylmurray , 5/19/13 4:25 PM

Now put your foot down, Rafa............

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 4:26 PM

For a change, Rafa faster out of the blocks. Vamos!!! Keep the pressure Rafa!!!

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:26 PM

Rafa confirms the break.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:30 PM

are they showing it live in India?

atul1985 , 5/19/13 4:31 PM

and to emphasise the point, breaks again

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:32 PM


rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 4:32 PM

O M G!!! And this guy was to get seeded 5th at the French Open. What Forehands!!!

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:32 PM

go Rafa 2 breaks up

goran , 5/19/13 4:33 PM

@vmk1 - are they telecasting it live in India?

atul1985 , 5/19/13 4:33 PM

Mr Atul, its live on Star Cricket. I do not know why !!

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:33 PM

amazing level from Rafa at the moment

chlorostoma , 5/19/13 4:34 PM

Wimbledon is the only tournament at which Federer-Nadal can continue to be interesting

at any other tournament, the match is NID

RickyDimon , 5/19/13 4:35 PM

Rafa drawing the errors from Fed.............

If Fed let's this get to him the match could be over quite quickly.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:35 PM

2008 FO final deja vu anyone?

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:36 PM

@vmk1 - Star cricket....WTF

atul1985 , 5/19/13 4:37 PM

Rafa's in the mood....

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 4:38 PM

Woww Rafa has been great so far in this match

gr8nadal , 5/19/13 4:38 PM

Rafa donates a baguette for Federer's supper.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:39 PM

Ricky-What about at the world tour finals?

rbennett , 5/19/13 4:39 PM

LOL@ Atul. Better find it soon.1st set already in the bag.!! They might start showing cricket again by the time you get to it

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:39 PM

rbennett - nadal can never come close to Federer on an indoor hard court

all their matches are decided before they start. unless they play at Wimbledon.

RickyDimon , 5/19/13 4:41 PM

Rafa anxious to be in Paris...........

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 4:41 PM

you may want to try stream hunter

commie: never seen it so one-sded between Nadal and Federer

I thought it was going to be more balanced given Nadal's still working towards his level, and having played so much

chlorostoma , 5/19/13 4:41 PM

A surprising stat. 9 of the 13 UEs were on Fed's forehand.

Go Rafa. Go.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:42 PM

Hope Rafa keeps this up!! Expect Rogie to pick it up now

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:42 PM

Ricky -Ah I see fair enough haha. Whats the match like so far?

rbennett , 5/19/13 4:44 PM

Awesome serve on BP there!!! GO Rafa Go

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:45 PM

And for once Roger hits a forehand hard and keeps it in court

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:46 PM

He already has but Rafa is responding well under more pressure from Roger.

Twinge: A good sign for Rafans. Mrs F is chewing hard on her gum ;-)

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:47 PM

What a pass that from Rafa!!! How he manages to keep so cool!! Extraordinary!! Thanks Star Cricket for being kind to the Indian viewers :)

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:48 PM

such high level of confidence from Rafa, good to see

chr18, too dull or too exciting this match on clay court?

chlorostoma , 5/19/13 4:48 PM

Need some payback for those WTF beatings,dont we?

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:50 PM

How can this be, Federer played so well against...........Starace!

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 4:51 PM

Oh dear. This is heading for a massacre.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:51 PM

It would be a shame, a bloody shame if Djoko and Rafa were drawn in the same half at RG or any other tournament. This is what would happen. :( And another forehand unleashed!!

vmk1 , 5/19/13 4:52 PM

Fed is playing extremely uninspiring, completely unexiting game.

anatolijs , 5/19/13 4:53 PM

Please... Bring in Gulbis in sec. set... maybe we shall some tennis ;)

zare , 5/19/13 4:53 PM

Cheryl: Not quite the 'dream' final is it? More like a nightmare for Roger.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 4:53 PM


RickyDimon , 5/19/13 4:54 PM

zare, Lol...

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 4:55 PM

I'm paraphrasing, but I've read that the better Rafa feels his friends/opponents are, the harder he has to beat them.

mara002 , 5/19/13 4:55 PM

anatolijs, Fed is playing his heart out.

nadline , 5/19/13 4:58 PM

He had to put in as much effort in that game as the effort needed to put Janowicz and paire away and only just managed to win it

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:00 PM

zare, we are in to the 2nd set, Gulbis's time is over.

nadline , 5/19/13 5:01 PM

Gulbis was suprised that his best game wasnt good enough, but he truly believes he is better and can win. Im sure he will be even more motivated nex time.
Fed is truly not confident.


anatolijs , 5/19/13 5:01 PM


ed251137 , 5/19/13 5:03 PM

Anatolijis - I agree. I expect Gulbis to start beating Nadal and the other top guys soon.

rbennett , 5/19/13 5:04 PM

What a pass!!! Rafa should volunteer to play right handed on the Federer service games!

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:06 PM

Federer is going to have a few sleepless nights between now and RG.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 5:08 PM

I actualy dont expect Gulbis to be top guy himself, but atleast he gains something from these close maches, that loss actualy doesnt affect him badly, he believes he can reach them.

anatolijs , 5/19/13 5:10 PM

Rafa haters are desperate, they are now scraping the barrel with Gulbis.

nadline , 5/19/13 5:12 PM

Rafa is moving well...........

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 5:12 PM

Two contrasts!! Rome 2006 and Rome 2013!!! Well,probably Roger would have come back and made it close if this were 5 sets
#Extreme Positivity
And what a pass at the risk of repeating myself

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:13 PM


rafaelo , 5/19/13 5:13 PM

wowwww can you believe itttttt

gr8nadal , 5/19/13 5:14 PM

I think he could be a top guy, he needs to learn to win badly haha. I do lije the guy, interesting personality and a good game to go with it!

rbennett , 5/19/13 5:14 PM

Cant really believe my eyes! And this is a Rafa who we're still saying it not yet back to 100%. God help his opponents when he is to is best.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 5:15 PM

what a passing shot that was, my goodness!

Shireling , 5/19/13 5:15 PM

Oh!!! Hmm interesting, Berdych alert!

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:15 PM

C'mon, Rafa's going to get broken serving for the Championship??

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 5:16 PM

couldn't quite serve it out

Shireling , 5/19/13 5:16 PM

Small comforts for Roger.

nadline , 5/19/13 5:17 PM

Oh no!!! not now :(

rafaelo , 5/19/13 5:17 PM

Rafa is being kind guys. He didn't want to hand out a 2nd baguette.

ed251137 , 5/19/13 5:17 PM

How often have you guys said what a pass? I think I'd have a rethink if someone was passing me that much.

rbennett , 5/19/13 5:17 PM

Lets see if he can break his way to the title

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:17 PM

@ rbenett
I will let that one pass :D

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:19 PM

Vmk1 - What you mean? Im not watching the match so having to rely on you guys to keep me updated :p.
Ed251137 - I think Rafa is already back to his best!

rbennett , 5/19/13 5:20 PM

Cmon Rafa!! I am a little nervous now!! Dont get yourself into a 0-15 or 030 situation

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:21 PM

#The eternal champion in the eternal city

nadline , 5/19/13 5:24 PM

Rafael Nadal, Champion Rome.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 5:24 PM


gr8nadal , 5/19/13 5:24 PM

Vamos Vamos Vamos Vamos Vamos Vamos
7 rome
6 titles in 2013
20 wins over the Fed

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:25 PM

A Red Letter Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm off to break open the champers.....................

ed251137 , 5/19/13 5:25 PM

1st in the world this year.
4th in the rakings
20-10 against Fed
6th final won out of 8 consecutive finals.
Greatest comeback in history ratified
Credentials for RG are set,

Shireling , 5/19/13 5:25 PM

only what can be said

goran , 5/19/13 5:26 PM

Who's next to join the 20 Club? Ferrer and Djokovic are queueing up.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/19/13 5:27 PM

Only a victory over Nole yet to be proven post comeback.
24 masters!!
One more set and we could have had the RG 2008 scoreline :P

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:28 PM

Congrats to Rafa and his fans!

rbennett , 5/19/13 5:29 PM


RickyDimon , 5/19/13 5:31 PM

congraaaaats RAFA :)
but i am worried about RG and nole! I think he still can't get past nole! nole is just on rafa's mind :|

rafaelo , 5/19/13 5:31 PM

Comeback Kid.

#4 RG seed on merit, no outside help needed, thank you very much.

Next: Paris.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 5:31 PM

Omg omg ricky is so deep...

childishgambino , 5/19/13 5:32 PM

Rafa wins, he will be heading to Paris with confidence and smile. He can rest, celebrate whatever and be happy. Congratulations!

Fed must take something from Rome and try to be unaffected by this loss.
Does somebody knows is Fed satisfied with his coach, I have a feeling he isnt and is solving problems alone.

anatolijs , 5/19/13 5:33 PM

24th Masters Title, he is breaking away from the pack.

Vamos Rafa!

Raindrops , 5/19/13 5:33 PM

@ rafaelo ,This Rafa is very different to the MC Rafa!! But yes,the match would def be close but the fairy tale must continue, no?

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:34 PM

Well played Rafa.
Poor old Samson Agonistes.
Still find it really, really puzzling that Fed hasn't tried to do something about his vulnerable backhand, after all these years.
lol zare, u think it was the shirt and I think it was the haircut....;)

deuce , 5/19/13 5:35 PM

Only a victory over Nole yet to be proven post comeback.
vmk1, 5/19/13 5:28 PM

That's the only fly in the ointment so far. The Zeb loss is understandable.

nadline , 5/19/13 5:35 PM

Their friendship is just amazing! they are chatting while taking photos with trophy!

rafaelo , 5/19/13 5:40 PM

At Monta Carlo Djokovic was just too good I think Rafa would have beaten anybody else on that day, even Gulbis;).

rbennett , 5/19/13 5:40 PM

There's plenty of time for Rafa to test himself against the best player in the world. The important thing is he has proved himself against everybody else excpt Murray but on clay I do not think Muzza would be difficult for Rafa. The good thing is this Rafa is a vast improvement on what we saw in Monte Carlo.............

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 5:43 PM

Agreee Deuce, Federer hasnt tried enough to change his tactics against Rafa over the years, their matches on most surfaces follow a predicted pattern.

rbennett , 5/19/13 5:43 PM

still waiting for crap20's 'poetry'....

jean , 5/19/13 5:43 PM

Bravo Rafa! You made us all so proud!

as Ricky would say: Never in doubt!

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 5/19/13 5:45 PM

Almost felt sorry for Roger when he said that Rafa has more and more good days against him. Poor fellow

vmk1 , 5/19/13 5:49 PM

Why do commies insist on waxing lyrical about Fed's play when he plays mediocre players in the early rounds, trumpeting him as a threat? Is it for their benefit or what? I do not understand it.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 5:50 PM

Roger hired PA to help with his tactics against Rafa and they came up with Roger running round his b/h. Obviously, that hasn't worked.

nadline , 5/19/13 5:53 PM

Congrats Rafans!1 I didnt c the match, was travelling but am so surprised to see the score. It looked so lopsided.

I will watch the replay to check all those beautiful passing shots u all talking about

Yes Roger has started accepting his defeats at hands of Rafa gracefully , hope craps like Fedkovic et chr18 start accepting the same rather than mouthing truckloads of filth or hanging onto Djokovic clutches to bring down Rafa. The way he said it in presentation ceremony that Rafa usually has good days against me was like cute.

RG is the key Rafans and the draw is the key. A certain mr Djokovic will have a lot to ay at RG

BTW 24 Masters is like crazy, I think he can easily go to 27-28 and that record may never ever get broken

sanju , 5/19/13 5:54 PM

@rafaisthebest, 5/19/13 5:50 PM

They think we are all stupid.

nadline , 5/19/13 5:57 PM

RT @GregRusedski1: "Nadal guaranteed top 4 seeding at the French after demolition of Fed in Rome. Relief for top 3, they don't want to see him before semi. "

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 5:57 PM

Any guesses how the draws would pan out if a competitive semi is desired :( Would be extremely surprised if Rafkovic in different halves.

vmk1 , 5/19/13 6:00 PM

Rafa just served Roger some 'time violation'.

nadline , 5/19/13 6:03 PM

Rafa's Masters Record will never be broken. His H2H against Roger will never be overturned.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 6:06 PM

Some say 17 GS would never be broken. We shall see, no? :D
But yes extremely difficult to beat, someone would have to do a Novak 2011 consistently to get close

vmk1 , 5/19/13 6:08 PM

Well done for Rafa. Sorry for Feds true fans.


Conspirator , 5/19/13 6:11 PM

Robbie Koenig, "On this display, you have to say Rafael Nadal is the odds on favourite for RG, the question is, will Novak be in the final to challenge him, because we know Rafael Nadal will be there come Championship Sunday".

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 6:17 PM

They've been going about Roger's back at IW, no such excuses today.

nadline , 5/19/13 6:22 PM

wilma couldn't crawl out from under his stone today.

I wonder if Mats Wilander was watching.

nadline , 5/19/13 6:25 PM

And did you hear Rafa deliver his victory speech in PERFECT Italian? And Federer, In English. I thought Federer was the suave multi-linguist??

Now we know how Rafa staved off boredom during those 7 months.....

Hope the Frenchies rig the draw in favour of Fed at RG, he meets Rafa in the final, Rafa duffs him up and delivers his victory speech in perfect French!

Bravo Rafa!! Bellissimo!!

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 6:26 PM

If Rafa can do this to the 'GOAT', what chance has anyone else?

#comeback kid of all time

nadline , 5/19/13 6:28 PM

If Rafa can do this to the 'GOAT', what chance has anyone else?

#comeback kid of all time

nadline , 5/19/13 6:30 PM

Don't worry. Rafa will be in Nole's half at the French Open guaranteed.


Conspirator , 5/19/13 6:30 PM

RT @TennisReporters: "Given Nadal now clearly best on clay ever, his challenge is becoming GOAT, which 2 me means at least 3 more Slam titles, not all at RG "

Unbelievable. You mean there were people out there who still harboured doubts about Rafa's clear greatness on clay? As for this nonsense that he has to prove his GOATness, nothing doing, Rafa does not dance to other people's drum-beat, He will establish his own creds, at his own pace....

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 6:32 PM

Ricky before the match on

Ricky Dimon ?@RD_Tennistalk 2h you could just tell from the way he walked out that he knows he is gonna get eradicated

sanju , 5/19/13 6:36 PM

Oh God, it's not just his disciples who are ignorant about Twitter:

Federer: What is the Twitter world?


rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 6:41 PM


RickyDimon , 5/19/13 6:45 PM

Rafa now has this stand alone record:

He is the only player in ATP History to have won 4 different tournaments at least 7 times each: RG, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

Another record that will never be broken.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 6:53 PM

Suppoedly 1st time Rafa enters RG having won 6 ATP titles in the season. Max he had till now was 5

sanju , 5/19/13 6:59 PM

Guys, I was in church so never saw the match!!!! My goodness, Rafa, ure phenominal!! I am so happy for you, Rafa!!! You've worked hard, and after all you've been through, you thoroughly deserve this!!!!

Please rest, keep 'colm' and looking forward to seeing you work your magic at RG!!! Glad that youre back to #4!!! Perfect fairy tale come-back!!!! Order has been restored!!!

Commies to Roger fans!

Vamos, vamos, vamos, Rafa!!!

Monalysa , 5/19/13 7:01 PM

did he really say that?

RickyDimon , 5/19/13 7:02 PM

*Nadal by the records*

The following is the list of relevant Nadal records, which are directly related to the latest event:

-Overall career - 1st place in the all-time list with an 83.31% career winning percentage (619-124 career record).

-Outdoors career - 1st place in the all-time list with an 85.56% career winning percentage (563-95 career record).

-Clay career - 1st place in the all-time list with a 93.14% career winning percentage (285-21 career record).

Masters 1000 career - 1st place in the all-time list with an 83.84% career winning percentage (249-48 career record).

-Nadal is the only player in history to have won 4 different tournaments at least 6 times,

-The only player to have won 4 different tournaments at least 7 times and,

-The only player to have won 2 different tournaments 8 times:

Monte Carlo (8)

Barcelona (8)

Rome (7)

Roland Garros (7)

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 7:02 PM

Finally Rafa did not need outside help at all for getting No 4 seed.

Also Rome clearly showed what having tough matches and working your game in a match means compared to having easy matches n not getting tested.

We all need to thank Gulbis. He helped Rafa both in IW n Rome by giving him a good fight n scare :-). David Ferrer too in Madrid and Rome. Thanks David ;-)

sanju , 5/19/13 7:03 PM

I woke up to good news! That scoreline really says it all. This is a wonderful day! Thank goodness the haters are gone and we can enjoy this victory to the fullest! This is a special moment and it should be celebrated.


Now maybe you can stop worrying! Another easy match and Rafa gets a week off to rest! Rafa has the #4 ranking! Rafa has 24 Masters titles! Rafa has six titles in his comeback!

Right now I am not worried about Djoker or anyone! It's a time to be happy for our Rafa. Look at the difference after Rafa had some time to play himself into form!

Congratulations Rafa!

Nativenewyorker , 5/19/13 7:03 PM

I predicted 4-4 but Fed didn't have anything today. He looked oafish out there, shankapotamus, slipping, tennis racket flying. He looked defeated when he walked out. Oh and in case the age thing comes up---if you're too old then don't play.

pennster , 5/19/13 7:24 PM

Tignor Racquet Reaction: er/47508/#.UZkM48pRCDd

"Nadal has long dominated Federer on clay; their career head-to-head is now 13-2 on the surface. But rarely have their matches been as one-sided as this one?Nadal was as good today as Federer was bad. Rafa, hitting with power and confidence from both sides throughout, went to Federer?s backhand to open up his forehand, then went to his forehand to open up his backhand. The ball never seemed to be in Federer?s strike zone; if he wasn?t struggling to get on top of its high-bouncing topspin, he was lunging to catch up to its bending sidespin. Nadal typically beats Federer by pounding his backhand relentlessly, but once he grabbed the lead today he felt free to mix up his locations and use the whole court. And that included his serve. Nadal varied his targets and hit his spots, putting the ball on Federer?s forehand hip on one point, and then bending it sharply wide on the next. He used the latter serve to save the only break point of consequence, at 0-0 in the second set, that he faced all afternoon."

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 7:35 PM

what's rafa nadal's favorite meal???
the one handed backhand!!! :


sanju , 5/19/13 7:40 PM

This was a masterclass from rafa. Though helped by the display by federer. I tink federer needs to see a psychologist to demistify rafa. I am not saying that he would have won but at least it would have been more competitive. Its like the match was lost mentally before it even started and those passing shots and forehand fron rafa early on didnt do fed any favours. Age is not the issue because David ferrer is in the same age bracket as federer but we see the imporements in his game. So fedkovic or whoever that is should stop making senseless and baseless arguments.
Djokovic isthe bigger threat to rafa because he has been able to solve this riddle of mental toughness and belief.
Against any other player fed plays impressive tennis but once its rafa the brainwave sets in.
The king of clay has proven himself over time. His credentialsand records are there for all to see. I am looking forward tothe draws for RG. It doesnt matter where rafa is drawn. I only pity those on his section.. Vamoss

puto , 5/19/13 7:44 PM

Federer's take: r-federer-rome

"Federer acknowledged Nadal's superiority on his favourite surface and his precis of the match made perfect sense: "He takes the serve and return almost out of play," Federer said. "He plays so well from deep and you should try to play more serve and volley, but he makes it difficult. You can't dictate play, so you take more chances. I had more time to get set in rallies against other players this week ? against Rafa you don't get that time."

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 7:46 PM


willmw101 , 5/19/13 7:52 PM

Fed's mono? That's still being discussed? LOL!

On a shallow note, I didn't much care for Roger's outfit or his supershort hair. His clothes looked like Rafa's bleached out hand-me-downs from 2010 or thereabouts. Fed looks better in deep red, blues, and emerald green. My fave outfit of Rafa's was his 2009 Australian Open day match one. White with bright blue and fuchsia highlight colors. The rose red shirt he wore at last year's French Open was awesome, too.

On a more serious note, congratulations to Rafa. I was hoping for more of a match from Roger, but he just wasn't up to it today.

Fanfan , 5/19/13 8:34 PM

What is the chance that organizers wont risk another final like this at RG and will keep Nole n Rafa in opposite halfs so that they meet only in final?

sanju , 5/19/13 8:57 PM

Wills: Rafa did quite well today even without your anti-jinxing :-D

ed251137 , 5/19/13 9:43 PM

Rafa will be in red shorts and white top at RG. Not too keen on the red shorts but I am sure he will carry it off beautifully.

nadline , 5/19/13 9:45 PM

I hope Rafa gets a good rest, he's got work to do at RG.

nadline , 5/19/13 9:47 PM

looks like another Fedal dud. Nadal has to be the favorite now.

ts38 , 5/19/13 10:50 PM

Well, you are half right.


Conspirator , 5/19/13 11:29 PM

The Fed half was a dud, the Nadal half was SUPERB!!

Can't wait for the next Fedal.

rafaisthebest , 5/19/13 11:54 PM

What is the chance that organizers wont risk another final like this at RG and will keep Nole n Rafa in opposite halfs so that they meet only in final?

Sanju, first of all, they don't want to embarrass Roger again.

pennster , 5/20/13 1:56 AM

Well I hope Murray doesn't withdraw, gets No 2 seed and Rafa and Murray get drawn in same half

I am sure both Roger and Novak prefer playing each other in semis than Rafa, so lets grant them their wish :-)

sanju , 5/20/13 9:10 AM

The next Fedal! Oh please!
Gets out pipe and slippers for a snooze by the fire....;)

deuce , 5/20/13 9:59 AM

Sorry deucy, it's me mean streak you see!

rafaisthebest , 5/20/13 12:24 PM

nadline , 5/20/13 12:58 PM

Let them call Fed GOAT from the roof tops, personally I don't care! The fact is, Federer's resume is complete whereas Rafa's is a work in progress.

Let's talk in 3 year's time..........

I will say this thought, you have to be totally shameless to call Roger GOAT without equivocation.

rafaisthebest , 5/20/13 1:45 PM

There is no such thing as the GOAT. Why cant people just acknowledge we have been watching a rivalry between two of the greatest players in this era. Albeit a rivalry that could be drawing to a close - although we have yet to see what will happen on grass and during the rest of the hardcourt tournaments.

ed251137 , 5/20/13 2:33 PM

Well, I think Fed can beat Rafa only if he doesn't see Rafa on the other side of the net. Just the sight of Rafa is enough for him to make him lose the faith and confidence in his game. Maybe he should ask Rafa to wear a mask from next time they face off, just as a favour.
Plzzz Roger, I can't watch you play so pathetically. So do something!!
Anyways, congrats to Rafa, the clay king on another masters title. He did play some great tennis in the SF n F.
Good luck Roger for the coming tournaments. Hope that you can make them count.

abhirf , 5/20/13 2:53 PM

Whether there is such a thing as the GOAT is not the point of the article. Assuming there was such a thing as the GOAT, it is questioning the validity of Roger being the GOAT given the facts and circumstances between him and Rafa.

nadline , 5/20/13 3:15 PM

ed251137, 5/20/13 2:33 PM

Bravo! I have been saying this for some time. There is no GOAT, nor can there ever be one. You can only be the best in your era. Whether Fed will be considered the greatest in his era remains to be seen. Rafa has more tennis to play and his resume is not yet complete.

We know that the h2h is a sore spot with Fed fans because they spend so much time trying to find ways to get around it. The one thing that infuriates me more than anything, is how Rafa's wins against Fed on clay are summarily dismissed. The only way that some Fed fans can try to counter the h2h, is by saying that most of Rafa's wins are on clay. So what? If Fed is really the GOAT, as his fans say, then why wouldn't he have a favorable h2h against his biggest rival on clay?

Why hasn't Fed been able to win more on clay? He is such a great player. This is something that his fans are unable to answer adequately. To get around it, they then trumpet the superiority of grass and hard court. Well that's not going to cut it with me.

We should enjoy one of the greatest rivalries in tennis.

Nativenewyorker , 5/20/13 8:30 PM

THERE WE GO ! my feeling about rafa's game was getting better and better and I am sooo glad he has peaked just in time !

NNY, remember I was talking about how I felt rafa's win against ferrer was a very positive one ! there were some inconsistencies were but rafa's backhand seemed to be coming back...rafa played a masterclass against berdych and now THAT was mastery of the very highest order ...

When you see rafa in full flow , hitting big and heavy with his backhand, changing direction with ease on his forehands, returning serves THAT well( best ROS from rafa since his come back and we know roger has a greattt serve) ...and moving like a jaguar, you know this is rafa nadal the invincible !

Honestly, i think novak was lucky to lose to berdych.rafa in this mode would have taken nole down easiy in 2 sets....this was rafa playing 3 times better than he was at MC..VAMOSS ! Rafa knows he is back ! That MC loss has little significance now !

690 points ahead of Novak in the 2013 race despite missing OZ open and miami ? wait, it this a dream or what? come on get real ! 8 finals in a row, 6 titles out of those 8 finals :O ROCK ON RAFA ! clinch an 8th title a RG

vamosrafa , 5/21/13 4:19 AM

vamosrafa- Nice to see your optimism. I do rely a lot on your analysis of Rafas game in a technical capacity.

Yes his BH sure had sting and good depth and that winner to go 5-1 up in 2nd set was out of the world, one of the best I have ever seen.

Hope Rafa plays like a beast at RG and lifts the 8th crown. Fingers crossed!

sanju , 5/21/13 6:12 AM

You know what guys - people are forgetting a basic thing

There are just 5 clay tourneys Rafa plays in a year(this year was an exception) and 65% of the season is packed with HC tourneys (not Rfas fav surface but hes still amn good there). Still inspite of such less tourneys played on his fav surface giving himjust 5000 points, he was No 2 for 6 years and No 1 for 2 years. Says a lot about him.

Just imagine had there been 50% clay tourneys where would Rafa be? Just imagine had there been 2 clay slams instead of 1 what would Rafas slam tally be? Has anyone thought about it?

Its very easy to let your hatred of Rafa consume you and speak filth about him and tarnish him incredible achievements, fact is he has beaten them all in their favorite den (Fed at Wimby & AO, Murray at AO, US, Wimby and Novak at USO).

I shudder to think should Rafa pick 2 more non clay slams going forth , what fodder will all his haters have , nothing at all

sanju , 5/21/13 6:18 AM

vamosrafa, 5/21/13 4:19 AM,

I have rarely seen you so excited! It's true that you were very positive about Rafa's game going into the Rome final. We did talk about the return of the backhand. I think the two tough three setters back-to-back really did help Rafa. More even than Ferrer, Gulbis seems to bring out the best in Rafa as he pushes him to the limit.

I agree that there is a world of difference between this Rafa and the Rafa at MC. He just went to a whole other level in his last two matches.

No one can say that Rafa had it easy winning Rome. He had the most difficult draw by far. Gulbis might as well be a top ten player given how tough he is for Rafa. He did the same thing at I/W in pushing Rafa to the limit. Then he had Ferrer, who is like a pitbull and so physical. Then he got Berdy after he beat Novak. That one was easier because Rafa knows exactly how to play him. Finally there was Fed in the final. I think Rafa was just too good. Fed didn't really have a chance.

I think RG will be a test, but at least we know that Rafa is healthy and has done so well in the clay season. I think he is as ready as possible.


I loved your post @6:18 AM! This is something that needed to be said! Rafa's detractors seem to forget that there aren't many clay tournaments in the tennis calendar year. Since that is his best surface that should put him at a disadvantage. But the truth is, for all the hatred and trash talk directed at him, he is an accomplished all surface player. He has proved his skill on grass in reaching five finals and winning twice.

It's so true that if there were more clay court tournaments, Rafa would have even more achievements. But he has done so well on hard court and grass.

If he wins more slams this year, I won't even care what his haters say!

Nativenewyorker , 5/21/13 6:40 AM

@sanju, really appreciate the good words and I loved your post too :)

I have more trust in my assessment of rafa's game than all the assessments of the 'experts' and pundits ! similarly, I have SO MUCH faith in the assessments and evaluations of rafa's game from posters like you, NNY, luckystar (WHERE IS LUCKYSTAR BTW????) and all the devoted rafans...i have more trust in you guys' analysis than a peter bodo or greg rusedski ! Thank you all rafans you really make all this so much better

NNY, yesss I am veryyy excited ! I can tell you that I am feeling rafa is going to make it very very hard for his opponents to win games at RG, let alone sets ! If djokovic is in the other half, I see rafa progressing to the final without dropping a set , I am being too optimistic but the first 2-3 rounds will actually tell us a lot, lets wait and see !

Rafa is also employing those clever backhand drop shots up the line..once again signs of sheer confidence ! Some of rafa's volleying in Rome was just We were getting worried about rafa's serve not clicking and he served very well in the last two matches :D

Rafa won one hundred percent second serve points for three consecutive sets (2 against berdych and set 1 against federer) , perhaps this would be a record..what else is there to say? is not rafa's 2nd serve supposed to be a 'weakness' to be punished? :P BRING ON PARIS !

Health permitting, rafa stands a good chance of finishing the year as no.1 IF he wins RG which I am very very confident he will :) :)

vamosrafa , 5/21/13 6:56 AM

Interesting analysis and take. I like! -Rome-Federer-Nadal.aspx

rafaisthebest , 5/21/13 7:23 AM

abhirf, 5/20/13 2:53 PM,

I haven't seen you here in a while. I appreciate your kind words. We need good Fed fans here like you. I hope that you stick around.

I have to admit that I was surprised to see Fed play like that. He was missing shots that he almost always makes. I wanted to see a more competitive match, but Rafa was on fire and Fed didn't seem to have the answers.

You should try to just look forward for better things for your guy.

Nativenewyorker , 5/21/13 7:42 AM

Well, I am satisfied that all my predictions form the QF on were true.
The only thing I missed was the 1st Set of the final. I got the second set score right, 6-3. That should count for something... ;D
It would've been nice to see better play by Roger, of course, but hey, he made it to the final and that in itself is a big accomplishment! I'm sure he will do better at RR.

grafight , 5/21/13 7:45 AM

^^^ @ritb, I was just about to share the same but you beat me to it.
Nice analysis though. Just shows that Fed is not just trying to sit idle but trying something different. Also it shows how superior Rafa was in the final. Best players of the game!!

abhirf , 5/21/13 7:46 AM

@abhirf, I fear Fed has left it too late to change his tactics, what a shame, could have made that H2H more competitive. You will understand though that as a Rafan, I am not complaining!

rafaisthebest , 5/21/13 7:50 AM

vamosrafa, 5/21/13 6:56 AM,

You sound so happy! It's contagious! I always trust your analysis of Rafa's game. But I miss luckystar. I have been wondering where she is for a while now. She has a good deal of knowledge of this sport. I love reading her thoughts. She should be here for the celebration.

I noticed those backhand drop shots! Nice! Did you notice in these matches that Rafa is starting to play closer to the baseline or inside the baseline? He hit some cc backhands on the baseline and inside the baseline and this creates that wicked angle. He is getting better court position now.

I am trying not to get too carried away, although I am very happy with what Rafa has accomplished in the clay season so far. I know that RG will be a tougher test. I am hoping that Rafa and Novak are in opposite sides of the draw. I also agree with your thought that the first few rounds will tell us a good deal about Rafa's game. Those are the rounds that make me the most nervous. Lower ranked guys who have nothing to lose and can come out blasting.

I am also happy that Rafa has more than defended his clay season points so far. He has even picked up additional points with the win in Madrid! Now he has to defend his winner's points from last year. But after that there is no pressure because he has virtually nothing to defend. He can only gain points!

That really is a lovely thought!

Nativenewyorker , 5/21/13 7:51 AM

@grafight, well done indeed! I certainly will be looking out for your RG predictions with a beady eye!

rafaisthebest , 5/21/13 7:52 AM

My above post is in reply to @ritb 5/21/13 7:23am post.

@Nny, I'm busy with my annual exams. So was busy. Also there's been some problem with my mobile that doesn't allow me to post comments here. And I will always be there for my man.

abhirf , 5/21/13 7:55 AM


Thanks for your reply. I would have said something sooner, but somehow missed your post as I was going down this topic thread.

I read that link that ritb posted from the ATP website. I thought it was good reading and fascinating. So it seems that Fed has tried to work on ways to solve the Rafa puzzle. He had the right idea, but the execution didn't happen. I like the fact that he is trying different things.

I will always respect Fed for what he has accomplished in this sport. He was playing quite well for this point in his career until this year. But I think he will keep on working to get into better form.

I admire your support for Fed. But you manage to do it without hating Rafa or his fans. I wish you well with your annual exams. I hope that when they are over, you will be able to join us more often.

Nativenewyorker , 5/21/13 8:01 AM

I just got finished with my exams :) I agree with the assessment about roger's was pretty clear ! even rafa said so...

however, it is not the first time roger has played aggressively against rafa... one exampel is RG 2007 ...another hamburg 2007 and many more...even RG 2008 had parts where roger played overly aggressive ! so roger shud perhaps learn to strike a balance because he is not going to have days where he can play this aggressively without making many errors esp given rafa's insane defense..

People often talk about how roger's game has declined and how he used to play rafa so tight in 2006-2007 , citing the Rome 2006 final in particular....but why do people ignore the so obvious development : rafa's game ! Rafa is now a MUCH better player and a much better clay courter...he has many more weapons now and he has upgraded all his weapons too ! even the forehand is a better and more aggressive and versatile shot now....the rafa serve in 2006 used to be a joke ..ROS was just okay-ish , backhand was rock solid but not an offensive weapon as it is now's rafa in clay for me has no weaknesses ! if he is playing near his best level , there is just no obvious weakness .

NNY, soo right ! in his last three matches, rafa has stepped up the court to take backhand early and it is a wonderful sight ! once again signs of a super confident rafa..a hesitant and short of confidence rafa would retreat back while hitting backhands and sacrifice court positioning ! SO yes, rafa's court positioning is getting so much better

vamosrafa , 5/21/13 8:32 AM

Generally speaking the pundits and commentators don't give Rafa the credit he deserves for being the master tactician he is. They continue to regurgitate the same old cliches ad nauseum.

His ability to make subtle adjustments during the course of a match is one of his most impressive weapons. Time and time again we have seen him salvage a match in this way.

Not that he needed this skill on Sunday. He stormed out with a game plan, took control, and left Federer floundering. No adjustments needed. lol.

ed251137 , 5/21/13 9:28 AM


I could talk to you forever! I loved what you said about how Rafa's game has evolved. That is one of the things that I feel gets overlooked too often.

Over the weekend, the tennis channel was showing its ten greatest matches series. I was just channel surfing and happened to stumble on it. Guess what they were showing? The 2008 Wimbeldon final!

They only show highlights of the match but it was so wonderful to see it again. I haven't watched it in a long time. Of course both players were insanely good throughout this match. But seeing the Rafa of five years ago, made me realize how much his game has evolved.

Rafa's serve really wasn't a weapon at that time. His ROS was decent, backhand was very good and the forehand was his most potent weapon. But I realized how little Rafa went to the net and volleyed back then. He really did stay on the baseline for the most part. There is no denying that he played some of his best tennis as did Fed, but it just hit me how much more versatile his game is now. Of course, he doesn't have that lightning fast speed on the court now. But he has gotten so much smarter and more savvy.

It was a nice trip down memory lane and a chance to compare Rafa then and now.

Finally, I think you make a good point about Fed needing to strike a balance without playing too aggressive. He seems to be trying to work on a solution even at this late date.

I hope you try to come here and post more often. Without luckystar around to chat about tennis, it's not the same.

Nativenewyorker , 5/21/13 9:29 AM

I think that Fed's only strategy against Rafa on clay is hope that the latter isn't too plugged in at the beginning of the match and win the first set. If Rafa is firing on all cylinders like yesterday Fed just can't do it on Clay.
I think one thing we will not see very often anymore at RG as far as Rafa is concerned is those never ending, martir-like retrievals from one side to the other or that bending down of the head before charging to a drop-shot..
I have a feeling that he is more concious now on preserving energy and doing minimal damage to his knees, in these last tournements there have been some balls which in the past he might have tried salvaging and now he just let them go.. he's getting wiser too.

Shireling , 5/21/13 1:10 PM

Shirling: You're absolutely right. It's noticeable Rafa often stops dead in his tracks when in the past he would have arrived in time to make one of those famous gets - sending the ball skimming past his opponent with a backhand flick across court.


ed251137 , 5/21/13 2:40 PM

good that other Rafans such as you have noticed this.

Shireling , 5/21/13 3:42 PM

I should have added, he is still capable off those amazing gets when it comes to the crucial points. However, as you pointed out, he is less profligate with them now.

ed251137 , 5/21/13 4:15 PM

I think Rafa's backhand and movement was better 3-4 years back than what it is now. However, his serve, volleying, forehand has improved quite a lot. He is also much more agreesive now than those days

atul1985 , 5/21/13 4:24 PM

Uncle Toni's RG favourites: Djokovic, Ferrer and Rafa, not necessarily in that order: -nadal-roland-garros_54374261481.html#.UZtmlUCUA0o.facebook

rafaisthebest , 5/21/13 4:53 PM

Raf is an excellent volleyer don't know why he doesn't use it more often. Exactly the same with Andy.

deuce , 5/21/13 5:01 PM

deucy, Rafa is an excellent and EFFICIENT volleyer i.e. he only comes in when he has to and when he has a very good chance to win the point. If you look at his match stats, the net points won stat is the one that is consistently high ratio-wise. For example, in the final, Rafa's net stat was 4/5 won and Fed's was 9/19.

So agree, he is an excellent volleyer and also very efficient ......

rafaisthebest , 5/21/13 5:11 PM

Yes, I'd agree but he's so good I think he could afford to take more risks in that area. His overhead smash is best in the business as well, never seems to miss and have to do that embarrassed work back to the baseline that so many have to do at some time or another lol.
But enough Rafa love or some Muzza fans will be on here like a shot accusing me of going over to the dark side...;)

deuce , 5/21/13 5:28 PM

Don't worry deucy, there's lots of room on the dark side, besides, of late the dark side has been in dire need of lightening up! Quite strange, you'd think all that fire Rafa's generating on courts with his wins would provide more than enough light.........

I' m sure I'm talking gobbledygook again but.........never mind...

rafaisthebest , 5/21/13 5:39 PM

See you in the dungeons at the Tower of London Deuce

ed251137 , 5/21/13 5:42 PM

If this isn't proof Bodious, a.k.a Bodo, needs to retire, I don't know what is:

RT @StephintheUS: "Bodo just said on Serena: "That's Rafael Nadal in drag. He puts on a big wig, gets a little dark makeup". OMG I'm OUT. #tennispodcast"

rafaisthebest , 5/21/13 5:47 PM

I heard Bodo say that on the podcast.

Here is an excerpt from Connors' book:

A side note: There?s at least one name that Connors doesn?t divulge. It?s that of a journalist who, according to Jimmy, wrote that he saw Connors doing coke while on-court at Wimbledon in 1980. ?That guy?s a dishonest pr--k and he knows who he is,? Jimmy concludes in his book.

That supposedly dishonest so-and-so is my colleague, Peter Bodo. In his 1994 book on the pro tour, The Courts of Babylon, Pete wrote that he had, briefly, wondered whether Connors might be snorting cocaine out of a towel on Court 3 at Wimbledon in 1980. But when he asked one of Connors? cronies about it, the man scoffed and said that ?Jimmy would never fool around with that dope.?

nadline , 5/21/13 6:19 PM


rafaisthebest , 5/21/13 6:25 PM


You post at MTF? I remember reading these statistics on that site. Great numbers. I am certain Novak will end his career with a winning H2H against the BP. (I coined that nickname to kneedal on tennis!). Since 2011, when nole turned to Godkovic he leads the H2H 8-3. Quite frankly, I am more worried when nole plays other top 10 players than when he plays rafa. Even playing below his best, nole nearly bageled the BP in Monte Carlo.

novakisthebest , 5/21/13 6:51 PM

Facebook chat reaction to Nadal-Federer -

RickyDimon , 5/21/13 6:55 PM

LOL! Ricky! Very funny. Djokovic must be going " no luck in Monte Carlo final"

novakisthebest , 5/21/13 7:15 PM

Nadal would never have won Rome against Fed if he played with his right hand.

Nadal was lucky that Novak wasn't good enough to make it to the semis.

The clay is too dry in Paris.

restofATPisthebest , 5/21/13 7:53 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
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