Rafa Roundup: Nadal’s feelings about Roland Garros are better than one week ago

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“Two weeks ago, my chances to play well in Roland Garros were not very high,” said Nadal. “But I will arrive now more encouraged.” … “My feelings [about Roland Garros] are better now than one week ago. Each week of the clay season got better for me. I hope to be ready.”

“Novak is one of the best in the world and is playing great. I played well at times, but my legs didn’t answer after a tough week. I can do better, but I am also proud about this week.”

If Nadal were to lose against another opponent in the final, he would need to hope Djokovic lost in the quarter-finals or earlier to hang on to the No. 1 spot. Should the Spaniard lose in the semi-finals, he would need Djokovic to lose in the second round. Anything less than a semi-final showing from Nadal would guarantee Djokovic the top spot, regardless of the Belgrade native’s performance.

… Nadal remains the favourite with the bookmakers to win a ninth Roland Garros crown and deservedly so. It’s one thing to beat him over three sets and another altogether to sustain that brilliance over five. Nadal’s level in Paris rarely dips so someone will have to play out of their mind for three sets. The only time he’s lost there was to Robin Soderling in 2009 when his knees were creaking and it’s still a massive psychological hurdle for Djokovic – or anyone else – to overcome to beat him in Paris.

 Julian Finney/Getty Images
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The draw for the 2014 French Open takes place Friday, when the road to the final for tennis’ biggest stars will be revealed.

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8 comments

  1. I can’t understand why some people are already sold on Djoker for RG. There are so many strong contenders in the mix: Stan, Roger, Andy, David, & Tomas for example. Roger also
    took Djoker down twice this year. Stan took him down at AO which was his tournament to lose.

    We need to remember Rafa’s sensational comeback in 2013 after a 7 months’s absence
    due to injury. He came on like a whirlwind winning 10 titles including 2 Grand Slams and
    returning to #1 ranking to boot! Djoker won no GS’s last year.

    So he’s been struggling with his gameplan and gameface a bit. He’s been in the process of rebuilding his game and self confidence. It comes with the territory of an elite athlete’s journey. He’s always being tested. Plus he turns 28 during the FO, another milestone for him. Wow, not even 28 yet, and he has accomplished sooooo much!

    I will always remain a loyal fan. His commitment to the sport is amazing. He plays with
    such compassion and drive. He is a true crowd pleaser and so thrilling to watch! I even
    turned my family and friends onto watching his matches because they are always so engaging and breath-taking. Please fans, never under-estimate Rafa..

  2. if i were to place my bet between djoko and rafa, my money will go to djoko based on this year’s performance of rafa. during the past years, rafa was simply unbeatable but judging on his unexpected debacles on his favorite clay courts, it will be very very tough for rafa to beat djoko at roland garros this year…

  3. I like reading Mitch’s comments and usually agree with him. Even here I agree – Rafa’s tactics need to change, he needs a new coach etc etc. I wrote a similar comment yesterday but all these comments – constructive criticism – should get to Rafa. He should read them. Maybe he wont be so stubborn and remain in this rut. He has to be aggressive and has to play good length shots. Hope it finally dawns on him before the FO. VAMOS

  4. Mitch I agree with you Rafa still plays amazing tennis but needs a new coach for a while with new tactics, it’s breaking my heart to look at the rallies and he lost the point to Novak.I wish he can read this and hire a new coach right now his body will fall apart with this old school rallying all the time it’s brutal and doesn’t help him playing Novak.I wish he can play a few years more and win a few more slams before retiring. This can happen only if he add a new coach

  5. Rafa solo estaba agotado físicamente, sino hubiera ganado Roma…No hay que darle vueltas. El caso es que no respetan el tiempo reglamentario de descanso y de cuatro días, tres hacerlo jugar de noche no ayuda a su juego liftado.

  6. As I’ve been saying over & over & over again, Rafa must hire a new coach. Whatever Uncle Toni is telling Rafa, it ain’t working anymore, especially against Djokovic.

    Rafa has now lost 4 straight matches to his arch rival, including 8 of the last 9 sets they’ve played. Many of those 8 lost sets have been one-sided.

    What’s most disturbing is that Rafa doesn’t seem to be trying to adjust his tactics, but is simply playing the way he always does, just trying to do it a little bit better when he’s up against Djokovic.

    Tennis Channel analysts Lindsay Davenport, Tracy Austin and Paul Annacone have all echoed my contention that Rafa has a tendency to play too passively, too defensively, too cautiously.

    Rafa can get away with that strategy against every player in the world except Djokovic, and on occasion, a few other players as well.

    The Tennis Channel analysts have also reiterated my contention that Rafa must get MORE CONSISTENT DEPTH on his shots, and play MORE FIRST STRIKE TENNIS, in order to defeat Djokovic.

    Tennis Channel analyst Justin Gimelstob has echoed my contention that Rafa doesn’t need to hit high-risk shots near the sidelines as much as he does because DEPTH OF SHOT is all he needs to dominate his opponents, due to the HEAVY TOPSPIN on his forehand ground-strokes.

    Rafa is hitting far too many balls wide, and far too many into the net. If Rafa is going to miss, he should miss LONG – AND LONG ONLY.

    This all comes down to coaching. I would recommend – not that Rafa cares what I think – that he add Mats Wilander, Martina Navratilova or Jimmy Connors to his coaching staff, even it’s only on a part-time basis. Or perhaps Paul Annacone or Darren Cahill could join his staff. Almost any established ATP coach would be a huge improvement over his current arrangement.

    On the plus side, Rafa looks to be very healthy and very fit, with no sign of any knee or back problems. Knock on wood. And I continue to be amazed at the quality of Rafa’s net game. His volleying skills seem to improve with every match. If he’s not the best net player in the world, he is certainly one of the best. His volley & overhead are the two strokes where he has clear advantage over Djokovic. His forehand too, but only if he plays MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVELY than he has been of late.

    VAMOS!!!

  7. Esa es la correcta actitud y razonamiento y actitud es todo en la vida. Por eso es lo que es.
    Un MONSTRUO!! Vamoooss Rafaaaa!!!!!

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