Rafa Roundup: Why Robin Soderling will be happy if Rafael Nadal loses again at French Open?



Rafael Nadal has made a habit of winning almost everything in sight on the clay, but this year, he hasn’t played up to his standards. The Spaniard is down to No. 7 in the rankings and will be seeded to meet one of the top four in the quarterfinals of the French Open, yet he is still second in points earned on clay this season. That’s partly because he has played six clay events — more than any of the top players — and partly because he was a titlist and semifinalist at the South American events in Buenos Aires and Rio. Even if those were taken away, he’d still be fourth with his Monte Carlo semifinal and Madrid final, so it’s not like the nine-time French Open champion isn’t one of the guys to beat.

“This year, for the first time in a long time, Rafa is not the favourite,” Soderling told the Telegraph. “Novak is. Of course it’s going to be tough to beat Rafa at Roland Garros, over five sets on clay: a much bigger deal than playing best-of-three. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.” And what about that crazy statistic: 10 years of struggle against the world’s elite and only a single loss? “It says more about Rafa than it does about me,” Soderling replies. “It will never happen again, not in 100 years. “It’s good to be the only one, but everybody is asking me only about this match. I am really proud of many other things in my career… So maybe it’s better that Rafa loses again, then everybody will stop asking me about it.

With his quarterfinal loss to Stan Wawrinka in Rome, Rafael Nadal could be the No. 7 seed at the French Open, his lowest ever seeding at the clay-court Grand Slam. The Spaniard had been ranked in the Top 5 for over a decade before his loss to Andy Murray in last week’s Madrid final.

“You cannot take away the past 10 years,” said Federer. “It’s going to be best-of-five sets. We know how tough Rafa is physically and mentally. He is the favourite still to me. Novak at this point probably has to win, with the results he’s shown this year. It feels similar to 2011 when he didn’t lose the whole year. Maybe Rafa isn’t having the same success as before but nevertheless that remains the situation for me. But it’s all talk because in the end his racquet’s going to do the talking.

Again, the match-to-match consistency isn’t there. After making the Madrid Open final and losing to Murray, Nadal made the Italian Open semifinal and lost to a slumping Stan Wawrinka. To be fair, Wawrinka played his best match in months to upend Nadal, but it’s not often you’ll see Nadal squander quadruple set points and lose.

The Murray loss in Madrid was a one-off train wreck that could be quickly forgotten. But the Wawrinka loss in Rome seemed worrying, because Nadal gave it his absolute best, played pretty well, and still lost in straight sets. The things that usually lead to winning tennis for him—big forehand, great defense, major chest thump—didn’t work this time. Even a 6-2 tiebreaker lead didn’t work. Rafa generated the momentum, but couldn’t capitalize on it. Was Stan just playing out of his mind, or does he represent a locker room that’s more confident against Nadal now, even on clay? We’ll find out very soon.

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal Roland Garros 2015 Nike Outfit


Reminder: Rafa’s Birthday Project 🙂


  1. Soderling won but. Later year he loss against Nadal in the title match thus made him very disappointed. That’s why lead him having bad thought for Nadal. You are the loser !!!

  2. A prophet (known for may accurate predictions) in Nigeria has predicted that Rafael Nadal will not triumph at this year’s French Open, which commences next week in Paris. The prophet, however, stopped short of predicting who will emerge as the winner. He only stressed that a new and unexpected champion will emerge!

    The prophet further stated that Rafa Nadal is destined to win Roland Garros next year and at least 2 more majors before calling it a day in Tennis.

    To all Rafa fans, I say, let’s rejoice, afterall Rafa will reclaim his title next year.

  3. Worried about Rafa. Very painful to see him losing in the manner in which he has. I too felt it might have been better if he didnt play the FO – but how can that be – especially for someone as gallant as Rafa. He definitely needs more luck too!

    All I and all Rafa fans can do is to hope and pray. Bugs me no end the way Novak fans talk and act. He is playing excellent tennis but it is also a time when the others are not in top form and he is. Makes it all the easier for him to win.


  4. I am very big fan of Rafa since he started his career. Always believe when he plays no matter what it is going to be excited. Its very easy to judge somebody but just go there play and see how far u going to go with it. Judge yourself first before u do that to anybody else. People forget things like how long he wasn’t playing and recovering, also he is not 20 anymore. I will always believe he is was and will be the most remember player of all with his ambition, hard work and never giving up. God bless u Rafa you are the Best for me and some people without judgment.

  5. Actually it’s not all doom and gloom for Rafa. He played 14 matches this European clay season, won 10 and lost 4. He played 11 good matches and 3 poor ones, that means he’s still playing well overall, it’s just that he’s not the all conquering Rafa on clay that we know all along. He wasn’t either last year but still beat Novak in the final last year.

    Do note that 2 of the losses were when he played at night – the Madrid final and the Stan QF at Rome – something told me he’s going to lose when I found out that the Madrid final was at night, likewise for the Rome QF. I feel that Rafa couldn’t adjust his play from day to night – he was playing all day matches at Madrid until the final; he was playing all day matches until the QF vs Stan at Rome.

    Rafa is in poor form no doubt about it so any changes in conditions worry him and he takes longer time to adjust, or even couldn’t adjust, if not how do we explain his matches, from one stellar performance to another very poorly played one? (Though his opponents in those two losses were playing well but a ‘normal’ Rafa would be able to handle them). The Fognini loss I would ‘blame’ it on the new racket and also nerve playing against an opponent who had beaten him on clay early this season and also playing in front of home crowd. Rafa had his chances on that match but again squandered them and lost.

    I’m confident that in BO5, Rafa has more time to calm his nerves and works things out during the match. There’re no night matches at RG, I only want to hope for fine weather for Rafa, no rain and no heavy conditions, so that Rafa can just concentrate on his game instead of worrying about the conditions. VAMOS RAFA, go get that trophy for the tenth time!!

    PS. I do feel it’s a mistake by team Rafa to let Rafa change racket just before the clay season, I do feel that resulted in him playing with even lesser confidence, lost at Barcelona playing so poorly was the last straw; changing back to old racket needed getting used to again, really bad decision about racket change I feel.

  6. Rafa va en descenso tiene el tenis pero no la cabeza!!! Ojala cambie su entrenador alguien que lo empodere para que vuelva a la cancha sin miedo y a hacer sus tiros ganadores. Un año muy malo y de bajo tenis.

  7. As an avid RAFA FAN I am intrigued by all the talk about him, and all the ‘WHYS AND THE WHEREFORE’S about his present form, where he stands behind the baseline, the continuing errors, and everything else the Media and his fans go on about….they all know better then RAFA himself it seems…….here’s some quotes from RAFA, they kinda helped me to put things into perspective as I more then anyone admitted that I would rather see him miss Roland Garros this year, what is there to prove he has already won it 9 times as we already know, why would I say a thing like that, well I feel so deeply about his present form, and its heartbreaking to see him struggling so much to find that ‘Brilliance’ we all know RAFA possesses as hard as he is trying, you have to love his fighting spirit at least he still has that and never gives up, I was thinking more about the Media and the commentators and all non RAFA fans who will ‘Rip him apart’ like Vultures in for the kill, if he does the unthinkable and either exits early, or loses somewhere along the way before the finals. As always when RAFA loses, the Media focus more on that, then anything else he has achieved in his career, is it such a CARDINAL SIN HEAVEN FORBID, that he is not in his best form, after all he has been at the top for most of his career, and ranked 1 and 2 and has been in the top 5 for 521 weeks in a row from May 9 2005 to May 4 2015. These are some of his latest quotes, which have helped me so much to understand where he is at………I KNOW I CAN PLAY WELL IN PARIS…..I STILL HAVE A SHOT AT WINNING AND I AM CONFIDENT I CAN DO IT…I HAVE NEVER BEEN RANKED SO LOW BEFORE THE FO SO IT WILL BE SOMETHING NEW FOR ME AND I WILL POSSIBLY FACE TOUGH OPPONENTS EARLIER I DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT, ALL I CARE ABOUT IS TO WORK WELL NEXT WEEK PRACTICE WELL AND HEAD TO PARIS….EVEN I DONT WIN IN PARIS WELL I WILL SURVIVE SERIOUSLY LIFE GOES ON AND I WILL SURVIVE. IT HAS BEEN WEEKS I HAVE BEEN PLAYING WITHOUT NERVES THAT’S WHY I SAY I CAN BE COMPETITIVE AT THE FO CONTROL THE NERVES I AM GOING TO FIGHT FOR IT…..LOSING IS PART OF LIFE. I CAN BE THERE PLAY BAD AND LOSE EARLY, BUT I AM GOING TO FIGHT TO HAVE A GOOD. TOURNAMENT…ENDS QUOTES WAY TO GO RAFA YOUR FANS WILL BE CHEERING YOU ON THE LOUDEST, AND WE WISH YOU EVERY SUCCESS AT ROLAND GARROS.

  8. I’m really worried about Nadal’s chances in this year Roland Garros. Not just because Djokovic is in great form but Nadal has been inconsistent throughout this clay tournament. For the first time I’m witnessing Nadal has been struggling to win a match against Top 5 in Clay tournaments. Consistency is the major issue for Rafa. He might beat Novak in QF but it doesn’t guarantee that he would lift the trophy for the 10th time. Hopefully I would be proven wrong by Rafa.

  9. Heading misleading Robin was complimenting Rafael, just some sub editor decided to pit a slant on it!

  10. Roger resisted coming in from the baseline a long time until he finally started to lose regularly. To his credit he bit the bullet and changed his approach. Now he’s winning again and back on top. Nadal needs to do the exact same thing. After a certain age, you cannot hope to dominate from the baseline against the young guns. The longer Nadal resists this fact the more he’ll slip down the rankings.

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