‘Never underestimate Rafa. He’ll find another gear’

With two surprise losses on clay, alarm bells have been going off everywhere on Rafael Nadal’s chances going into Roland Garros. But is the concern premature? Rafa has always found his way, and even the experts think so. Here are some questions ESPN posed to coach and analyst Brad Gilbert before Madrid next week.

EFE/Toni Albir
EFE/Toni Albir

Q. Concerned about Rafa?

Brad Gilbert: “Not going to say any concerns, but Nadal is about to be 28. The expectation is perfection every time, and it’s difficult to do that. Djokovic has started to play a lot better tennis and the emergence of Stan Wawrinka will be factors in Paris. And it’s just so hard to [win the French Open] a couple of times, so to do this like he does every year is amazing. I’ll just say this: Never underestimate Rafa. He’ll find another gear.”

Q. What about the world No. 1’s confidence?

Brad Gilbert: “He’s pretty honest in that everyone thinks he’s a machine. For him, he’s loses a couple of matches — it’s not like he’s going to win every one and every tournament — and he feels the pressure, but maybe that’s what makes him play better. For every good athlete, there are no guarantees, but Nadal puts in the work. There are just variables in tennis and sports we can’t control, but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with Rafa’s game.”

Source: ESPN

8 comments

  1. I know for sure RAFA can and will find another gear…..just cuz he lost a few matches doesn’t mean that he’s over, people lose sometime!! And RAFA is a great player and so long as he’s healthy, he will prevail…..I have faith in RAFA, and onward and upward in Madrid!!

  2. As you say, he is not a machine, I just feel for him when he loses, especially on clay. He will try his very best, that is the main thing and I wish him all the very best of luck. Will be cheering him on. He is still the greatest to me!

  3. Ditto. Find that gear Rafa. You can do it. I also agree that you are not a machine. Losing a couple of matches doesn’t mean that you are not the greatest. Vamos Rafa xxx

  4. It looks like Rafa just smoked some weed, got the munchies, took off his shirt to get comfortable and opened a bag o’ chips, then saw his girlfriend on the other side of the court and made that Tim Allen Home Improvent sound: HuuuuuH?

  5. All Rafael can do is his best and dont be so open about any new moves he makes to his game practice in secret he is wonderfull

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