Rafa Roundup: “Nadal’s worst is better than everybody else’s best”

 Julian Finney/Getty Images
Julian Finney/Getty Images

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… Nadal’s winning percentage during his “slump” is still better than the career average of every active player.

It’s easy to lose perspective. For anyone else, one title, one finals loss and an 11-3 record during the European swing would be an exceptional way to enter the French Open. For Nadal, it’s catastrophe. All of these numbers are only surprising because Nadal set the bar so high. We’ve been spoiled by his greatness so much that it makes the very good seem pedestrian. That 78.6 winning percentage is better than the lifetime clay winning percentages of every active player, including Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Nadal’s worst is better than everybody else’s best. That’s why he’s still the favorite at the French Open. Even with the struggles, he has to be. This isn’t 2008, when you could start inscribing Nadal’s name on the trophy before he even arrived in Paris. But he’s still the man to beat, no matter how rough the rest of the season was.

But Roland Garros is Nadal’s house. His record at the tournament is so extraordinary that, in my opinion, he will be the favorite there until the day he retires.

“Estoy mejor que hace una semana, y mis opciones de cara a París, también han mejorado”, advierte sin embargo Nadal. En París, a cinco sets, será fundamental no desgastarse tanto, porque la batalla final promete.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will compete for the No. 1 ranking at the French Open, where a meeting in the final between the two would decide the top spot. According to the ATP, Djokovic would also become No. 1 if Nadal does not reach the semifinals. If the Serb reaches the quarterfinals, Nadal would need to win the title to stay No. 1.

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4 comments

  1. I’m very nervous about the FO regarding Rafa. He has not been playing his best tennis recently. Players are getting to know his game. Djokovic may be under presrure to get back to No. 1 but in the last years Djokovic has played very well under pressure. He has been getting good mental training and believes in himself – so has tremendous self confidence. Hope Rafa makes it to the finals and then all the way. Come on Rafa – You can do it! VAMOS!

  2. No doubt about it, there is mounting pressure on Novak to win the French Open. If he loses to Rafa again this year, many commentators and fans will say that he’ll never win it as long as The King of Clay is still around. They’ll say he doesn’t have the mental and physical fortitude to beat Rafa 3 out of 5 sets on clay. They’ll say the only way he’ll ever win the French is the way Federer did in 2009 – by Rafa being injured, by someone else beating Rafa, or by Rafa retiring from the game. With Roland Garros being the only major title Novak needs to complete the career slam and solidify his place among the all-time greats of the sport, the pressure to win it now – and not have to wait another 12 months for the opportunity – will be absolutely enormous.

    VAMOS….. ………………………………………………………………………………….. RAFA!!!

  3. Rafa should just focus on the French Open and not the rankings. How many times has
    he re-captured the #1 Spot. Quite a few times which is also a remarkable feat. I agree with
    you, Ruth, that Novak is super-hungry! But maybe more of the pressure will fall on Novak
    for a change and not Rafa. Rafa just needs to go about his business playing with his usual point by point mentality and positive energy. When watching the Rome final a 2nd time,
    Rafa did have several opportunities to close out Novak. Considering that he was playing
    excruciating tennis the past 2 demanding weeks is mind-blowing! (Madrid and Rome)
    Novak had rested for quite a few weeks before Rome. Again, tennis is an all year round sport unlike baseball, football, basketball, etc. I always have greater respect for both Federer and Rafa for dominating the sport the past 10 years. Of course Novak wants a piece of that action. I can’t blame him!

    P.S. Sometimes those time violations are so unfair especially after a super-long rally. How are they always expected to settle down physically under 28 seconds and manage their
    nerves after those torturous rallies Then when the chair umpire takes away their first serve,
    that’s brutal!!!

    Anyway, I look forward to the French Open and all the drama it brings among All the players.
    But remember winning the same Grand Slam 8 times is significant !. So of course everyone
    is in the Hunt!

  4. He is the best compared to all others, I feel he needs to believe mentally that he can beat Novak, he did it last year in Paris and at the U S Open, he needs to do it again. Novak is hungry.

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