Rafa Roundup: Here’s why Carlos Moya has so much faith in Rafa

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“He’s looking for his forehand again, and I like that he’s using his forehand down the line more,” said Conchita Martínez, the Spanish Davis Cup captain. “To hit that shot, you have to be well balanced and well set, and he’s doing that and he’s running good, getting to balls early, and being aggressive.”

Nadal was playing this way last spring before the injury, and he now has a big opportunity in the bottom half of the draw in Melbourne with Djokovic out of contention and nobody other than Nadal left in that half who has won a Grand Slam singles title.

Claiming his first Grand Slam title at age 19 and becoming known as the “Raging Bull” as he charged on to win 13 more, Rafael Nadal’s fighting spirit has never been in doubt. But translating that spirit into big wins has been a challenge of late.

… Nadal will be hoping that no such marathon is required in the fourth round against Gael Monfils, whom he leads 12-2 in their head-to-head record. The Frenchman’s two wins have both been in the season-opening event in Doha, Qatar – although it’s an anomaly that hasn’t occurred since 2012.

… Monfils’ No. 6 seeding does matter. He has been a more substantive and dangerous competitor over the last year than he ever has been before. In the 2016 final against Nadal in Monte Carlo, Monfils won the first and only set he’s ever taken from Rafa on clay. Monfils has also been sharp in his first three matches Down Under. He should make it interesting against Nadal, and might push it to five. But after his last win, over Alexander Zverev, Rafa should feel a little more confident in the clutch.

Rafael Nadal: Moyà ha venido con algunos ejercicios nuevos. Es cierto que yo soy mucho de pelotear y pelotear en los entrenamientos, pero desde que ha llegado Carlos lo estamos haciendo menos, probando cosas más específicas.

Toni Nadal: Sí, Moyà ha aportado ejercicios que son muy buenos para el juego de Rafael. En función de cómo ha ido el partido, hablamos y vemos qué hacer. Por ejemplo, en el segundo partido ante Baghdatis falló varias derechas invertidas y pensamos que deberíamos trabajar ese golpe al día siguiente.

AUDIO: Tennis Podcast: ‘Rafa Nadal will do anything to get back to the top, and he’s not that far away’ | The Telegraph

Carlos Moya: “I wanted to see how eager Rafa was to be back at the top. He proved to me that he was doing and will do anything in his power to be back at the top. He’s not that far away, and he has time. The young players are not ready to be Top 5 in the world yet so he has a couple of years to make it back. He needs to win a few matches now, just to get the extra 10 or 20% of confidence.  You can not change a 14-time Grand Slam champion when he is 30 years old, but he can evolve.”

PHOTOS: Rafa roars into round 4 | Australian Open

VIDEOS: 

Australian Open R4: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Gael Monfils?

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand in his third round match against Alexander Zverev of Germany on day six of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Jan. 20, 2017 - Source: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal will play Gael Monfils in the fourth round on Monday – an opponent he holds a 12-2 record against.

Rafa has won the last four meetings, including a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 victory at the Australian Open in 2014.

Date: January 23, 2017

Match time: It’s the second match of the evening session on Rod Laver Arena and follow the conclusion of the women’s singles clash between Karolina Pliskova and Daria Gavrilova. Approximately 8.30 PM local time / 4.30 AM EST –  New York, Montreal / 9.30 AM GMT – United Kingdom / 10.30 AM  CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy. To convert to your local time, use this website.

Rafa on playing Gael Monfils:

He’s the No. 6 in the world, no? He’s playing great. He had an amazing year last year. He started the season again playing very well.

Going to be a big, big match. Very tough one. I need to play my best.

A win would give Rafa his 30th appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Monfils on playing Rafa:

It’s always a pleasure to play against Rafa. We had a big battle in Monte-Carlo – he won this one, but I’m going to recover good tonight and I’ll be ready for the next day.

Here are the matches our champ and the often- acrobatic Monfils have played against each other:

Continue reading “Australian Open R4: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Gael Monfils?”

VIDEO: An interview with Rafael Nadal – Australian Open R3

Rafael Nadal reacts after his third round victory over Alexander Zverev in Melbourne.

Video: Australian Open

Rafael Nadal says he doesn’t need a mental coach

Transcript of Rafael Nadal’s presser after the Zverev match.

Q. How do you feel after this victory in five sets?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, happy. Is obviously that is an important result for me. I lost the last couple of ones, matches in the fifth. So is important for me to win a match like this, losing two sets to one… Very happy.

Q. How confident were you as the game went on? Did you think your experience would come into play against the younger player?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I know, I say the other day, no? Is a tough match. Is a player that has an amazing potential. He is able to produce great shots. He’s already one of the best players of the world.

He can be even better. He can be fighting for the most important things. So I think he will do it. Continue reading “Rafael Nadal says he doesn’t need a mental coach”

VIDEO: Rafael Nadal cracks jokes in on-court interview after Australian Open R3 match

Rafael Nadal cracks jokes in on-court interview after his five set victory against Alexander Zverev in the third round of the Australian Open.

Video: Australian Open

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal reaches Australian Open fourth round with win over Alexander Zverev

Rafael Nadal has progressed through to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a five-set victory over Alexander Zverev.

2009 champ, who won 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, said:

[How did I get through that?] Fighting, I think. He’s the future of our sport, and the present too, no? He was trying to push me back and I was not feeling very well because I was losing too much court and he took advantage from inside. I said forget about the result and just fight for every point. (Australian Open)

[When Zverev had cramp] I tried to focus on myself, and it’s not an ideal finish for him but I see that he suffered in two games but then started to move better. Sometimes when you get cramps, it’s because of nerves but you can still play. I needed to stay focused and to get the second break I had to play some great points.

You can’t hope to have an easy fourth round opponent, but I’m very happy to be through and it’s exciting to play either Philipp [Kohlschreiber[ or Gael [Monfils].

I’ve lost the last few five set matches, but today I said ‘today’s the day’ and with this fantastic crowd everything is less difficult. Thank you very much. (via Telegraph)

Rafa goes on to face France’s Gael Monfils or Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in the last 16.

Australian Open R3: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Alexander Zverev?

2009 champ Rafael Nadal will continue his Australian Open campaign when he takes the court against rising German star Alexander Zverev (currently ranked 24 in the world) on Saturday.

Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on in his second round match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus on day four of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Jan. 18, 2017 - Source: Scott Barbour/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Date: January 21, 2017

Match time: Rafa is third match on Rod Laver Arena. Approximately 3 PM local time / 11 PM EST (Friday night) –  New York, Montreal / 4 AM GMT – United Kingdom / 5 AM  CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy. To convert to your local time, use this website.

Rafa on playing Sascha Zverev:

It will be a high quality match. He’s a potential Grand Slam winner and a big talent. He’s improving in every moment. He’s a player that can be a future world No.1 so it will be a big challenge for me. I’ll need to play my best.

Rafa and Zverev will be facing each other for the second time. When they met in Indian Wells last year, our champ saved one match point in a 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5 win. Zverev had led 5-2 in the deciding set.

GOOD LUCK & VAMOS RAFA!