Rafa Roundup: Nadal congratulates Barca

Tennis player Rafael Nadal watches the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday May 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Oscar del Pozo)
Rafael Nadal watches the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday May 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Oscar del Pozo)

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“For the past couple of days I have been playing better and better every day,” said Nadal. “That’s always very good news. I am in the final. I am happy for that. I am enjoying a lot the fact that I am playing in front of an unbelievable crowd. For me, that’s the best crowd in the world without any doubt. So that gives me a lot of really positive energy.

He will look to overturn a 5-15 mark in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry against Nadal. It will be their first meeting since the Spaniard triumphed in the Roland Garros semi-finals last year. “Against Rafa it is going to be extremely difficult, especially playing here in Spain. I think he’s played very well this week, too. Hopefully I can put in a good performance and make it tough for him and see what happens.”

Manuel Santana, a former Spanish champion who is the director of the Madrid tournament, said Nadal had arrived here “very motivated” and clearly determined to “get back his confidence” after some of his recent setbacks, particularly his loss in Barcelona against Fognini. “The way he played today, it’s going to be very hard to beat him,” Santana said Saturday. “If he doesn’t have any physical problems, he’s on course to win his 10th French Open, and who knows if then not the 11th and 12th?”

It used to be Monte Carlo that kick-started Nadal’s season; these days it’s the home crowds in Madrid that give him a boost. The last two years, he has lost in Monte Carlo, won in Madrid, and gone on to win the French Open. So far the pattern is holding in 2015. Rafa hasn’t dropped a set in Madrid, and he looked as confident in his semifinal win over Tomas Berdych as he has all season. For the first time that I can remember, Nadal was lights-out with his forehand, and comfortable enough to hit both of his ground strokes to either corner whenever he pleased.

“Esta vez, mi drive no fue vulgar. Fue un gran drive, de alto nivel. Digo las cosas como las siento y cuando es lo contrario también las digo. Pero hoy no solo fue bueno el drive. Las piernas, la energía, todo fue muy positivo. Lo hice muy bien durante todo el partido”, destacó Nadal, el mejor Nadal del año, cada vez más cerca de ese Nadal guerrillero y dominador, a apenas dos semanas vista de París.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning his semifinal of the Madrid Open Tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, May 9, 2015. Nadal defeated Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 7/6, 6/1. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Nadal offered his congratulations to Madrid’s arch-rivals, who need to beat either Atletico Madrid or Deportivo La Coruna to wrap up the Primera Division title, though he is convinced Ancelotti’s men were not distracted by their Champions League semi-final decider at home to Juventus. “That draw has essentially given Barca the Liga trophy, pretty much,” he admitted. “One simply has to congratulate Barca. I don’t think Real Madrid had one eye on Wednesday’s clash with Juve. They shouldn’t have been doing that, anyway.”

PHOTOS: Nadal powers into final of Madrid Open

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8 comments

  1. the miss call when Nadal was breaking in the first set 15:40 w his beautiful corner shot was frustrating to watch….lack of players integrity is an issue….and the way Andy made the bogus circle outside the line was no where near where Nadal hit it…. much like the one Novak did in the French Open last year…both got away w it…..Indifferent Empires who do not go down to double check a miscall should not be allowed to cover finals….the crowd clearly noted the miscall by their BOOOEING reaction….. anyways, lets hoe dear Rafa can over come the miscall and move forward….no respect for cheating players….they may get away w it right there & then but ultimately it catches up w them one way or another…..Vamos dear Rafa …..

  2. Dear Rafa, OLA!!!! : )) God bless you & have a great time!!!! : )) VAMOS!!!!!!!! : )

    As you know, some top players have the IT factor, Andy is not one of them……instead, he resorts to wearing black to artificially make him look tough…. He resorts to artificial externals such a beard or hard facial expression to give an image… Well dear Rafa….you have been blessed w the IT factor that is genuine, and is backed up by your amazing tennis over the years…. I have also noticed that when Andy begins to loose, he then changes a shirt color right in the middle of a match….again, an artificial way to make it look as if there is a new player across the net…. ALL nonsense and when you know his motive, then you realize he feels shaky inside…..if he does change the color of his top, please see that as indication that his confidence is shaky and he once again tries to change his circumstances relaying on external cues….. I also noticed w him that when he does begin to loose, he makes a big deal on facial expression as if he has 100% expectations to get each & ever ball in…..that is another indication of over the top drama look to give his opponent a reason to believe he can deliver more than he actually can….

  3. Vamoooos Rafa tonight n win the trophy! I asked our dear Lord in church today to be with you in your time of need. Love your Aussie Nana. 😄😊☺️

  4. Andy needs to BELIEVE that he can beat Rafa. With his comment above, he has already lost. He should be saying “I’m going to give my best to win”, not “Hopefully I can put in a good performance and make it tough for him and see what happens”. Andy should know by now that “seeing what happens” is just asking for trouble… and a slaughtering.

    COME ON ANDY!!! WAKEN UP!!! GO OUT AND WIN!!!!!!! DON’T SETTLE FOR SECOND BEST!!!

  5. Rafael is always gracious and as a Barcelons supporter appreciate his move words . All support for him to day as he plays to retaining his title . It has been a great week for him , so good to see our champion playing with confidence and power. So happy for our champion

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