PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal loses Rome final

Rafael Nadal’s run at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome is over as he lost 6-4, 3-6, 3-6 to No.2 seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final.

“He’s one of the best in the world, he’s playing great. I played well for moments, I had my chances for moments, but I could have done with a little more energy at times. My legs didn’t answer me after a tough week. I was able to find positive things during the tournament but I played three very tough matches this week and it was very hard mentally, as well as physically. I was a little bit tired,” said Rafa.

“I felt that Novak was pushing me and has a great talent to play inside the lines, I think this week is important for me. I won 600 points. I was able to play in another final here. I was able to compete well against one of the best players of the moment. I arrive to Roland Garros now more encouraged than how I felt a few weeks ago.​”

Rafa will head to the French Open, which begins next Sunday, where he will try to defend his title and win a 14th Grand Slam.

Win or lose, always with Rafa!

Source: AP / Photos: TennisTV, AP Photo,  Reuters, Getty Images


  1. I’m still upset but at the same time happy that Rafa played better in Rome than the previous clay tournaments. The result didn’t surprise me. I think Rafa was playing way too far from the baseline which was an advantage for Novak as it gave him extra time to position himself closer to the baseline or inside and hit the return early. When Rafa is playing far back from the baseline, he tries to hit the ball harder so it doesn’t land short, surely that can be tiring….hence the fatigue. Last year Rafa as he said himself was playing close to the baseline and at times inside which gave him ample time to hit the ball early and with precision. Anyway, Love you Rafa win or lose and we hope you win your 14th Grand slam. VAMOS!

  2. Just read an article on the atp homepage mentioning Djokovic’s brain game against Rafa. Unfortunately, as much I hate to admit it, it is so true.Djokovic know exactly how to make him run from side to side backwards and forwards, also playing flatter and lower than ever keeping the points short. Please Rafa get aware about this and do something. Rafa has to be extremely aggressive against Djokovic and also some of the other players. Otherwise, I’m afraid ….. . Come on Rafa! Vamos. You can do it!!!

  3. Dear Raf for the first time you say it yourself – I had my chances for moments, but I could have done with a little more energy at times. My legs didn’t answer me after a tough week. I was able to find positive things during the tournament but I played three very tough matches this week and it was very hard mentally, as well as physically. I was a little bit tired, YOU NEED TIME TO TEST; TO GET AWAY FROM ANY TENNIS COURT – LAST YEAR AFTER AN ABSENCE OF 7 MONTHS THERE WAS NO STOP ON YOU!!! YOU NEED REST!! WE LOVE YOU ALWAYS!! PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!! <3 <3

  4. was so so sad at the outcome but expected it. Nole knows Rafa’s game and how to counter attack. Also, Rafa has to modify his game. Actually, at the moment a little bit of an all round improvement is needed. BUT what is most important is a change in the mental attitude when he plays Novak. Novak not only changed his diet (gluten free diet is really very beneficial) by 2011, but also his mental attitude. He really believes in himself and also believes that he is the best. Most times one can see it in his body language.
    Rafa could really do with someone else to coach him mentally. He could keep all those who are in his present team but get one or two coaches more – especially for his mental strength against Novak. I don’t think his present team gives him much confidence especially against Novak and Wawrinka. Read somewhere that Toni said something like now it is not only Novak but also Wawrinka that they would not like him to have to face.
    I really hope something changes in the FO. I so badly want to Rafa to win again. Maybe all of us fans should send out positive thoughts into the Universe for Rafa to win. VAMOS Rafa and believe that you’re the best.

  5. Dear Nadal , I am ur ardent lover of Tennis especially u performances. I hav’t missed ur game for the past, Ten yrs. U missing thisRome meet is all in the game win or loss. Better luck for ninth title,ar Roland Garros.nMay God be with u in all,the successive titles form for the yrs to com Drvasudevan Chennai India


    Sent from my iPad

  6. Rafa is my idol win or lose! He was playing too far from behind the baseline today, Novak know Rafa game and Rafa don’t know Novak game! Rafa is too predictable and all the players are hungry and wants to beat Rafa so they have nothing to lose, Rafa is under tremendous amount of pressure from all the players to be # 1 he’s only a human like us and he has lots of pains and of course his injuries which is taking a toll on Rafa.So much pounding and grinding on court. He also needs a new game plan to trick his opponents especially Novak , a new coach like Oscar Borras will do Rafa great this man helped Rafa win his first I don’t know why Rafa can’t get a new coach and let Uncle Tony take a rest now. Come on Rafa get a new coach you can still play amazing tennis and I’ll stop looking at tennis when you stop playing. today i couldn’t look at the trophy presentation when the ball went long that’s it I turn off my TV was so hurt. I hate to see you vulnerable on court.New game plan and new tennis tactics needed. Love you always! MUah!

  7. Rafa has played in Roma much better than the previous tournaments. He has reached the finals in Madrid and Roma. He has played a long and tough matches and I think he has lost a good opportunity to beat Novak who has right now more confidence but I’m sure things are going to change soon. I’m sure that this tournament has helped Rafa to recovery his strong mind and his 100% form

  8. “where he will try to defend his title and win a 14th Grand Slam.” it seems that lately that’s all rafa does ‘TRY’. Why haven’t uncle tony and team find a way to play nole? it seems that over and over, they send rafa to play the same ol’ way, that clearly, for over 2 years doesn’t work anymore! either rafa is containt with 13 grand slams and what he’s accomplished until now, or his ambitions have fade. He could really be the GOAT, but seems too intimidated every time he plays djokovic. Like nole bullies him around, and rafa -modest, humble rafa, let’s him do it.
    i still love rafa, but his tactics are clearly not the ones that will propel him to that GOAT stature.

  9. Congrats to Nole but I still feel strongly that Rafa can still beat him. This rivalry will never
    be over. One for the ages. However, Novak has absolutely no pressure when facing Rafa
    because he hasn’t achieved Rafa’s status on clay. Nole is always nipping at his heels
    so of course he is going out there with more than an axe to grind. Rafa played last week
    in Madrid. Nole did not! Rafa had a super-challenging week in Rome and didn’t disappoint!
    One observation I have made with regard to Murray, Federer, Novak, and Nishikori is
    the following: Murray wanted to win a grand-slam so he hired Lendl, Federer hired Edberg,
    Novak hired Becker and Nishikori hired Chang which is paying dividends with their on-court
    strategies. Believe me, Rafa’s team is superb never to be replaced but since Rafa is turning
    28 maybe they just need to add a consultant or another set of eyes to his team to incorporate
    an alternative strategy when playing the upper echelon players who are trying so hard to dismantle his game. He is my favorite player to watch!. The most exciting and inspired,
    then Federer, then Ferrer, then Delpo. Novak to me is an athletic rubber-band man. One
    day he is going to snap. He just hasn’t been on the circuit long enough to feel all the
    pressures and expectations that come with the territory. Rafa continue to play with the
    same passion in Paris and you’ll be fine! Vamos!!!

  10. Rafa has had a monster tournament, all the marathon matches that he won. He is unbelievably fit.
    However we can’t deny there is a pattern emerging concerning Djokovic.
    That gluten free diet of his must be miraculous.

  11. Win or lose,he is my man. he always puts his heart and soul into the game, no matter who is on the other side of the net. I am an oldie and growing up near Wimbledon I have followed tennis for decades . Few players,and I can go back to the fifties, have the magic charisma of Rafa. I have always thought he could show those same talents as an international diplomat. He has those qualities of perseverance,courage and consideration for others that I raised my own children to strive toward. His role is not easy and he has shown huge physical strength,love towards others and the most inspiring smile all through this tournament. Long may he reign.

    • Well said, thank you. I’ve been following tennis since the late 60s-early 70s and there has been no one like Rafa. It is so frustrating when his “fans” are so hard on him when he loses. Poor kid. Novak is just really good. Why can’t people enjoy the rivalry and the awesome tennis we are so fortunate to watch instead of being so hard on him for losing. Yes, if Novak were not around, our Rafa would have more titles, but give the poor kid a break. He is awesome. He could be a diplomat. Wonder what he will do when he retired.

    • I totally agree with you. I didn’t watch tennis at all until I discovered Rafa, 6 years ago having moved to Spain. He always plays for every point yet is humble and generous in defeat. A real,ambassador for the sport both on and off court

  12. The result is expected. It’s a well needed match before RG, considering the form Rafa is in & also hat he hasn’t played Nole for quite a while. Win or loose, i was just expecting Rafa to just play against the top players so that he can learn from mistakes, rework and make use of that experience in RG. I’m pretty sure he will clinch 14th GS in home, clay 🙂 #.Namaste Rafa \m/

  13. I am gutted and have not recovered yet from the disappointment but those fans of Novak’s made a terrible racquet. Please win The French Open RAFA so I can get my heart back in working order.

  14. I said it, didn’t I? Since Nadal became No 1, he has not being able (so far) to beat Novak! The truth is that Nadal needs a new coach fast! We are back to 2011 and I just fear for Nadal in the FO. He needs to have a serious repackaging of his game.

  15. Rafa had a great run in Italy even though he lost to Novak in the final. The tide always
    turns among elite athletes back and forth especially since Novak is super-hungry to re-gain his #1 ranking and beat him on clay. The true test will be at the French Open. I wasn’t surprised by today’s results. Rafa, let Novak have the appetizer. Just go after the Main Course, (the French Open!). Rafa has enjoyed total domination for the past 10 years so he gets beaten now and then. No big deal! He’s still #1 in my book! This chapter isn’t over yet.
    Remember Federer has beaten Novak twice this year and so will Rafa. When you’re #1
    there is greater pressure to defend your position. Remember Rafa, you have 13 Grand Slam titles and Novak only has 6! Big difference! Novak has only been on the rise since 2011,
    his breakthrough year! Just move forward with positive thoughts. I look forward to
    watching you at the French! The Grand Slams are the truest test of stamina, skill
    and spirit due to 3 out of 5 sets. Vamos, Rafa!!!

  16. Siempre contigo nuestro campeon. Puedes mejor e lo conocemos todos. Pues, VAMOS………

  17. Geez, I was screaming at the TV, this Novak just won’t go away, oh well, now await French Open

  18. VAAAMOOOSSS RAFA! right now I am heart broken but u remain my hero! Just put today behind your back and get on with your preparation for RG. Good luck with the next tournament and VAAAMOOOSSS CAMPEOOONNN!!!

  19. This frigging Djoker, what a nightmare! Four in a row now. Luckily we have last years big slam victories to hold on to.

    • I am pretty sure it is all down to mental block, a psychological issue when our hero Nadal plays Djokovic. Whenever he plays against Novak, Nadal suddenly becomes a totally different player who does not make the best of the chances that arise, and makes mistakes. He made a double fault today in the middle of the 2nd set when Novak had a break point, and immediately afterwards it was not the Nadal we know. before taht he was the man in control of the match. That was the crucial moment when things went Novak’s way, Nadal became dispirited somehow. I find it sad that he gives as a gift cheap points to Novak. The length of the match says it all: 2 hours 18 minutes.

      • totally agree with you…its not that if there has been a drastic change in nadal’s game bt he seems to lose his mental strength when he plays against nole and which has been the biggest asset in nadal’s game for so many years and ofcourse apart from that he needs to change some aspects of his game like his serve as it is good to evolve with time and situation….so lets hope he does the same before RG otherwise its 80:20 nole for RG.

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