Rafa Roundup: Believe in Rafael Nadal

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02:  Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts in his Gentlemens Singles Second Round match against  Dustin Brown of Germany during day four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 2, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

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Lukas Rosol was ranked 100 when he beat the Spaniard in the second round in 2012; Steve Darcis was No.135 in the opening round a year later; in the last 16 just 12 months ago, Nick Kyrgios was No.144; and now Nadal’s string of defeats has reached a new low. Never before in any Grand Slam has Nadal been beaten by a qualifier – until the second round of Wimbledon 2015.

“I don’t have [any] more work here in London, so… If you want to use the house, [it’s] going to be free tomorrow,” he told the media with a laugh.

In good spirits despite the loss, Nadal maintains that he still has the motivation to improve his level and looks at the big picture when it comes to his relationship with the grass at Wimbledon.

“[It’s] going to be in my heart and in my memories forever, the 2008 final. That was probably one of the most important moments of my career, and [it] was here.

The game evolves, and it will evolve past Nadal one day. Maybe Rafa is starting to see that or feel that, and finding it harder to combat it with the weapons he has, and the strokes he learned 20 years ago.

For my own part, I still believe Nadal has more major titles in him, and another run up the rankings—he has slumped before and recovered. But this was the first time I’ve seen a healthy Rafa take a very bad loss, and thought that we should have seen it coming.

“Rafa has too many highs and lows for the moment,” said Toni Nadal, his uncle and coach. “And so he doesn’t have the right feeling with the racket in his hand. Changing rackets is a possibility. We’ll see. We’ll do some testing.”

Nadal was asked what he would do if he could not get his career back on the upswing. Would he be prepared to play on with a low ranking?

“I’m not going to deceive you; I don’t know,” he said. “I think today it’s early for us, but hey, if it lasts for two years or more, then of course we will see what happens.”

Tim Henman, former four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist: “Rafael Nadal has struggled with confidence. When you have won 14 Grand Slams and 60-odd tour titles, it amazes me how fragile his confidence is.”

John McEnroe, three-time Wimbledon champion: “Rafa admitting publicly he was struggling for confidence – maybe that inspired players in the locker room. But I still believe he will win a few majors.”

Marion Bartoli, the 2013 Wimbledon women’s champion: “Rafa Nadal is too much of a champion to not come back to the level he played. He needs to find a reason why his forehand is not working. You can’t write him off.”

Speaking on his BBC Radio Five Six-Love-Six programme: “Rafael Nadal is one of the great champions – a class act. He plays with a lot of effort and energy but, dare we say, is it time for some fresh blood in the Nadal camp? Can we say that? Uncle Toni’s going to be upset.

“I know that he has had other people – Carlos Costa, Francisco Roig, but athey have tried to gently persuade Uncle Toni – who has done a magnificent job since he was a little kid and told him it was a good thing to go left-handed – but clearly at this stage it would appear that some fresh ideas would be in order.”

After being told he was being diplomatic by co-presenter Tim Henman, McEnroe replied: “I’m saying get a new damn coach!”

PHOTOS:

VIDEOS:

Rafael Nadal Second Round Press Conference – Wimbledon 2015

Rafael Nadal talks to the media following his second round match at Wimbledon.

Q.  What went wrong today?
RAFAEL NADAL:  You know, the opponent, myself.  Combination of things that finally make me lose.
Accept the defeat and congratulate my opponent, and that’s it.

Q.  How have your expectations of yourself changed over the last year and several months, if at all?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I don’t know.  I know I am going to every tournament with the right motivation, working well.  I think I made all the things well to prepare here this tournament.
Losing in Roland Garros, going straight to Stuttgart and Queen’s, then came here very early to prepare the tournament.  So I lost.  Sad today for that, obviously.
But end of the day, that’s sport.  Good moments, bad moments.  Obviously today is a bad moment for me.  Just I need to accept these kind of things that can happen.  I did all my career.
Keep going.  You know, it’s not the end.  Is a sad moment for me, as I said before.  But life continues.  My career, too.  I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic.

Q.  Do you see yourself ever getting back at Wimbledon to the form where you won?  Do you ever see yourself being able to reproduce that?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I didn’t understand very well. Read the rest of this entry

VIDEO: Highlights Dustin Brown vs Rafael Nadal – Wimbledon 2015

Relive the moments of Dustin Brown’s upset win over No.10 seed Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon 2015.

Video: Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal: “I lost and I’m sad”

Photo: ESPN Tennis

Photo: ESPN Tennis

“It’s a sad day. I accept it, I’ll go home and I won’t be happy tomorrow or the day after, but I am still keen to keep working and I will keep working. Defeat is a different feeling. You always have to accept defeat well.”

“I am going to every tournament with the right motivation, working well. I think I made all the things well to prepare here this tournament. It’s obvious that 2012 and 2013 were not an issue. I was not competitive. Too much problems on my knees. Last year and this year, no problems at all with my knees. So I was ready to compete. I lost. I don’t know if I will be back to the level of 2008 or 2010 or 2007 or 2006 or ’11.”

“My motivation is try to be back to that level. But I’m going to keep working on that. I didn’t hit three balls in a row the same way. Then when you need to hit that ball, extra ball, you don’t have the confidence to do it.  So that’s what happened.”

Source: Wimbledon Live Blog

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal loses in Wimbledon’s second round

Two-time champion Rafael Nadal was stunned by 102nd-ranked Dustin Brown in the second round of Wimbledon. The German outplayed Rafa on Centre Court, serving and volleying his way to a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Wimbledon 2015: Rafael Nadal practices ahead of his second round match against Dustin Brown

Two-time Wimbledon title-holder and No.10 seed Rafael Nadal warms up for his second-round match against Dustin Brown.

Video: Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal interviews for the job of Wimbledon Champion

Rafael Nadal answers questions on why he should be Wimbledon 2015 champion.

Video: Wimbledon

Rafa Roundup: Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal often play FIFA online against each other

Rafael Nadal Practices With Andy Murray At Wimbledon (2)

Photo: Andy Hooper

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It will be an interesting clash of styles. On the one hand you have Dustin, who likes to serve big and then race to the net – even on second serves – against Rafa, who is more a builder of points but with big weapons off the ground. Perhaps, after what happened last year in Halle, Rafa will be mindful of that, and will change up his game accordingly. On the basis of the confidence he showed in the first round I think Rafa will advance, though Dustin will give it his best shot and the crowd will certainly be entertained.

The flashy German with a stylish grass court game has beaten Nadal on the surface before. That win came last year in Halle. Brown, a qualifier ranked No. 102, now gets a chance to show the world what he can do on Centre Court against the Spaniard (third match).

The pair, just 11 months apart in age, are close pals by the standards of the leading tennis players and Andy’s mum Judy has revealed they regularly compete at football simulation games like FIFA 15. ‘I remember on one occasion I was sitting on the sofa at Andy’s house and he started laughing and cheering out of nowhere,’ said Judy. ‘I was a bit taken aback so I asked him what it was, and he said he was playing FIFA with Rafa who was in Mallorca.‘ Both Murray and Nadal are big football fans with the Scotsman supporting Arsenal and the Spaniard following Real Madrid. 

It was logical many years ago because some players had coaches, and others didn’t, so this was protection for those who didn’t have coaches,” explained Nadal. “But now everybody has a coach so today I don’t see any player in this circuit who doesn’t have a coach so it’s rather absurd that everyone pays for a coach to help him and then when you need him the most you can’t talk to him. But rules are rules. But if you ask me my opinion, I’ve given you my opinion now.”

“You pay a coach to watch the game. It’s unbelievable that all the other people [in the stadium] can say what they want and the coach can say nothing. It’s unbelievable. You pay a coach to go all the way to Australia, then all the crowd can say what they want and the coach has to sit four hours silent. I say things like pay attention, come on, move your legs, but nothing else. It’s impossible [to say nothing]. In our federation in Mallorca they had rules where coaches could say nothing to the kids. I said it’s a problem because it’s difficult for them to learn when they are young.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30:  Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts while winning his Gentlemens Singles first round match against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil during day two of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 30, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Q. If you could take one shot from any player, past or present what would it be? Toni: Nadal’s mental strength, McEnroe’s volley, Federer’s forehand, and Djokovic’s backhand.

VIDEOS:

VIDEO: Rafael Nadal Stars In New Nike Advert

Photo: Nike.com

Photo: Nike.com

An exploration of speed with Rafael Nadal, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams, Wayne Rooney, Richard Sherman, Odell Beckham Jr, Marcus Mariota, Mo Farah, Allyson Felix, Dion Phaneuf, Katarina Johnson Thompson, Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, and Shane O’Neill.

Rafa: “Being fast in tennis is everything. If I’m quicker to the ball I’m in greater control and I can exert my will on the match and the opponent. Fast wins matches. I want everything about me on court to be fast.”


Video: Nike

Wimbledon R2: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Dustin Brown?

Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon campaign continues on Thursday as he will play his second round match against qualifier Dustin Brown, who beat our champ on the grass at Halle last year.

Rafa has never lost to a qualifier at a Grand Slam. This will be his 21st meeting with a qualifier at a Grand Slam. Our champ has a 58-16 win-loss record on grass going into today’s match, which puts him in 6th place amongst active players for the most grass court match-wins.

Date: July 2, 2015

Time: Approximately 5.30  pm BST – United Kingdom / 6.30 pm CEST – Spain, France, Germany, Italy /  12.30 pm EDT – New York, Montreal / 2.30 am AEST – Melbourne). To convert to your local time, use this website.

Watch online: Fromsport and ATDHE

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action in his Gentlemens Singles first round match against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil during day two of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 30, 2015 in London, England. (June 29, 2015 - Source: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe)

Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Rafael Nadal talks about Dustin Brown: “It is difficult to think about how the match going to be; he’s not a usual player. Anything can happen. He beat me last year in Halle. It is little bit different, the surface and everything. He’s a tough player. He won today against good opponent. Probably he will come with good confidence. I’m going to try to be ready for it.”

GOOD LUCK AND VAMOS RAFA!

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