- Nadal: ‘Let’s Hope These Days Don’t Repeat’ (via ATP World Tour)
“I cannot leave Madrid not happy. I have to leave happy and just delete what happened today. I will just stay with the good things that happened this week, and there are a lot of them, more good than bad. I will try to recover the good feelings in Rome.”
- Rafael Nadal’s Roman Holiday (via Rolling Stone)
The question on many people’s mind after Barcelona remains: What is going on with Rafael Nadal? Are the issues psychological? Is his mind putting a brake on his body, or is it the other way round? Will a good win make all the doubts disappear? That seemed to be the promise after the Berdych match, yet it proved not to be the case. What is refreshing is hearing Nadal discuss his issues during press conferences, and seem as concerned as everyone else in the tennis world. He gives the impression that he’s more or less in the same position as we are: looking for answers. It’s just that there are so many questions.
- Magic Man (via tennis.com)
In 2014, he also suffered defeats in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, and he was in danger of suffering a blowout loss to Kei Nishikori in the Madrid final. But instead of completing that win, as Murray did today, Nishikori pulled up with a back injury and retired. After that, Nadal still didn’t turn things around in Rome, where he lost to Djokovic in the final. Yet he won the French Open anyway. Roland Garros, in other words, remains a tournament unto itself for Rafa. Perhaps the best news for Nadal fans is that he walked to the net on Sunday with a wry smile on his face, as if this defeat was so bad, and so out of the ordinary, that it’s not worth dwelling on or worrying about.
- Brain Game: Murray Breaks Down Nadal’s Lethal Shot (via ATP World Tour)
The only bright spots for Nadal was hitting more winners for the match (18 to 11), and winning 10 of 11 points at the net. While the net play would normally be a good secondary pattern to complement his dominating baseline game, this time it seemed much more like Nadal was going to the net to escape Murray’s suffocating groundstroke tactics.
- Aces and Faults (via SI.com)
After walloping Tomas Berdych in the semis to advance to the final without dropping a set, it felt like Nadal was back on course with his game. Prior to the tournament he decided to end his racket experimentation and return to his old trusty Babolat. Against Berdych his forehand was as devastating as ever. Then he came out and played an absolutely terrible match to lose to Murray. That match-to-match inconsistency, which we’ve seen a few times this season, continues to plague Nadal.
- Win a trip to the 2016 French Open (via Tennis Channel)
- Rafael Nadal loses Madrid Open final to Andy Murray
- Relive the action: Best photos from the 2015 Madrid Open (via SI.com)