Rafael Nadal loses to Fabio Fognini in Rio de Janeiro [PHOTOS]

World No. 3 Rafael Nadal is out of the Rio Open, beaten 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals by fourth-seeded Fabio Fognini on Saturday. The Italian ended Rafa’s 52-match win streak in tour-level semi-finals on clay.

Rafa complained of cramps from the Rio heat, and said he simply has not played enough. He said he’s motivated, and said Rio “was not a negative week.”

“I have to be happy the way I played that first set. But I got tired too early today. … But these kinds of things can happen.” (via AP)

22 comments

  1. Rafa needs to regroup if he wants to continue his dominance. Add a new coach to offer another perspective. Even Uncle Tony’s good advice over the years can get stale. All the losses to qualifiers and former losers like Berdyche and Fognini are wake-up calls. He sweats profusely and much more so than other players, a good nutritionist to help him combat this problem will help. Look at Novak, always making changes to fit his needs, whether it’s diet or new coach. Rafa needs to be more flexible mentally if he wants to play many more years. Tweaking here and there will do some wonders, give it a try.And please don’t ever wear pink again, just bring him bad luck. Also, how about shave the thinning hair a la Andre Agassi, not only will that alleviate a bit in the sweating department but also better to look at when the camera zooms in and the looming baldness is not good to his handsome image (just a suggestion).

  2. Rafa will always be the best to me but I have never seen him struggle like this before, and not going for every ball. I hope there is no underlying health problem we are not aware of. I do fear that this year Rafa ‘s French Open will come to an end. I know he is very loyal but he needs to take on another coach a former tennis player like Novak, fedderer and Murray has and I think he would be on top again ,if Uncle Tony has Rafa’s best interest at heart he won’t mind .

  3. I agree, he HAS to change his game. Concentrate on getting Aces, less running about. Play more tactically less energy used. He cannot go on as he has done, over these last 10 years, he will burn out too soon.

  4. Fabio had a very difficult match right before Rafa, and he must of having been tired as well… I think it must have been hard for both. .. Rafa losing is totally understandable, I mean, it happens to all players. However I agree with the previous comment: someone new on his team could be very helpful to help him through this phase. He respects all adversaries, that is wise and good, but it is sad cause he could have won this match. I agree he would profit from a new addition to his team but I doubt it is going to happen cause Rafa likes continuity and it is important for him. I believe 100% he will win big things this year, including one Slam. When he is on top form he can beat anyone.
    I also think Ferrer consistency must prevail over Fognini’s ups and downs, even with all his talent and his spetacular hits.

  5. Being a fan of Rafa should also mean that we should tell him the truth. And what is the truth? The truth is that Rafa needs to introduce variety into his game. A lot of players have (sadly) caught up with his style and techiques. And this happens when you don’t change tactics, using the same playing style in over 10 years!
    Novak, even though was doing well with Marian Vadja in charge, nonetheless realised that his game needed some improvement and he brought Becker on board. And the result has been great.
    However, I do believe that Nadal would peak in time for the FO in May.
    All the same, he needs an additional ‘hand’ to lift up his game for the next 5 years. In the Rio open, he struggled all through – Carreno Busta would have busted him early, but for lack of experience.
    Time for a change in Rafa’s approach, methodology, playing style is NOW.
    I predict a David Ferrer victory in the Rio final.

  6. Rafa has been and will continue to be the best in my opinion. Having to play so late in the quarter finals was too hard on him to come back the same day to play semis. I can say one thing…they don’t call him the king of clay for nothing.

  7. You are my HERO, Rafa, WIN of loose! Good luck for B.Aires – I know you will lift the trophy next Sunday!!! VAAAMOOOS …VAAAMOOOS …VAAAMOOOS !!! We are all behind you as ALWAYS!!!

  8. No one in this universe wins all the time. Rafa has not been playing consistently for almost 7 months + surgery, so it is normal for Rafa to take time regain his form. I will always support and love Rafa in all time!

  9. had a feeling Rafa will lose to Fabio ! Rafa played an amazing match with Pablo was very intense and lees than a day to recuperate was brutal that’s why he was cramping, He had a good tournament and hope he continue to improve for his next tournament I really enjoyed looking at his game in the wee hours this morning. Love Rafa and all the best inthe next tournament !

  10. Go and rest bi proper for the next tournament. Rafa .i hope you have a good times and Carnaval the Rio ,love from your fans for ever.vamosssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

  11. time violations are necessary to keep play moving…so sad that Rafa lost today, i agree more than a few hours of sleep did not help Rafa, but could you play at 3 a.m. and win a match the next day? probably not!

  12. So sorry to see Rafa lose to Fabio! I saw he cramped up badly towards the end of the match.
    I sincerely hope he will be okay. I can’t believe how he had to play his previous match
    at 1:00 am until 3:21 am and then was expected to play way less than a day later. No time
    to properly recover. I still feel Rafa will be back to his 100% as the season progresses.
    He is still a great champion and competitor. No doubt about it!

    I also couldn’t believe the chair umpire issued a time violation to Rafa especially
    since he had to play earlier in the day. No courtesy or respect for the defending champ!

    I look forward to seeing Rafa at his next tournament. As always, I remain a devoted fan.

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