(Reuters) – Rafa Nadal’s French Open defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic on Wednesday provoked the predictable question of whether the Spaniard’s career is in terminal decline. Those in the know, however, his fellow players, believe Rafa remains a force to be reckoned with.
David Ferrer: “Rafael is still among the best players in the world. We should not rule out Rafa Nadal. There is no player like Nadal.”
Andy Murray: “Rafa is still playing well. Just not as well as before. He’s coming back from a pretty rough six-seven month period, struggling with injuries and illness. Obviously he had (appendicitis) surgery as well. It takes time. Rafa will come back.”
Novak Djokovic: “At the end of the day, he’s human. I understand that people are questioning his game and where he’s going to be. But if you need a reminder of who he is, just look at his career stats and grand slams that he won. He’s somebody that understands what he needs to do when he’s feeling down to come back and fight to be the best. That’s what he has done after nine months of absence from the tour and he came back, had one of the best years of his life in 2013. So I don’t think that this is a big deal. He is 29 and still has years in front of him, and I’m sure he’s going to bounce back and play very strong.”
Yes Rafa has accomplished an enormous amount in tennis but the truth is that he has gone as far as he can with Toni. The new Rafa is older, slower, and finds it more difficult to dominate from behind the baseline, and his coach is patently unsure how to deal with this new reality. Coach and player have lost their way a bit here. Rafa doesn’t have to get rid of Toni but he needs a new perspective from a fresh pair of eyes. Novak did it with Becker and now has a stranglehold on no. 1. Federer, Murray, Wawrinka, and Nishikori did the same and look at their results. If Rafa and Toni are too stubborn to accept this fact, his decline will only pick up speed. You heard it here first!
I agree my sons and I said the same ! Rafa needs a new coach to help him with his game and at 29 yrs Rafa needs new perspectives on his game ! Rafa and Tony are very stubborn bring on the new coach Rafa and more slams will be added on your list ! Hurts like hell to look at such a talented Rafa with all the skills so vulnerable on court to lot of players.
He’s still held in very high esteem by his peer group and they are the ones that know, not the press who wish to sensationalise things.
I’d love him to get a Coach a la Tony Robbins… There are others who have done this.
As always Rafa is a true champion a nd a gentleman of course He will come back, it,s not in his nature to just bow down, He may be bloodied but not bowed down . He is atrue Champion.and will come back stronger than ever Vamos Rafa
VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!! : ) Nice to see you back home for a good break & nice to see how everyone in Palma de Mallorca airport adores you !!!! Very happy for you!!! I love everything about your tennis playing!!! I have such high regard and respect for your passion & your beautiful attitude on the court. It is fantastic to see you full of eagerness and determination moving forward!!!!: ) VAMOS SWEETHEART & enjoy lots of fun wherever you play next…. Best wishes & please practice sliding-like- movement on grass…. : ) !!!!! : )
I have followed him faithfully for 10 years, so it saddens me to say, he is no longer a player with whom to be reckoned. Unequivocally. His demeanor is one of continued grace and humility, and is therefore a role model. Thank you for the powerful lessons of sportsmanship and courage.
Hi there Sally & Yitzhak Rosenbloom, you forgot to add also the following lessons too:
1. A lesson of how to remain tatically arrogant and bad management of change – The field has moved on long time and Nadal still remains the same. He continues to stick dogmatically to good, old Uncle Toni when virtually all his major competitors have changed coaches and have successfully analysed his game.As it is, the only person that Nadal can still beat hopelessly on any surface is Richard Gasquet.
2. A lesson of how to underestimate or limit the gifts from Nature and pay the price- Nadal said he does not want to win 15 Roland Garros. But what if God (who created Nadal) has destined him to win 15 or more Roland Garros? No man should limit God. So, God must have decided to disfavour Nadal because of what he said.
3. A lesson on how to take competition for granted – While Novak, Andy and Roger were dissasatisfied with their game level and therefore kept tweaking and retweaking their strategies and tactics to beat difficult players like Nadal, what was Nadal doing? He was busy playing poker with Ronaldo de Lima and now, we can all see the result!
4. A lesson on revealing secrets in Pressers and paying the price on the courts – Nadal committed the greatest ‘faux pas’ that an athelete could ever make! How can a champion of his status come out and tell the whole world that he is beginning to feel nervous at critical time? Even Serena Williams coach and other tennis expert around the world condemned him for making such an embarassing statement. He made himself look very ordinary and so, hitherto awed competitors now see a fellow weakling who can be capitalised upon.
Let’s tell Nadal the truth so that he can sit up and make changes to his game. With the exception of Richard Gasquet, every other player knows how Nadal plays. They know how he applies ”the banana” the forehand etc, etc.
Let’s tell Nadal and Uncle Toni tthat the only permanent thing in life is CHANGE. Change has made Djokovic a PERFECT TENNIS MACHINE; Change has Andy Murray a FANTASTIC, UNBEATABLE PLAYER and has made Roger Federer No 2 in the world even at 33!
Very true Rafa needs change for not being so predictable to his opponents and Rafa needs to listen bring on a expert to his team for new ideas if Rafa do will work wonders for him, I know Rafa don’t like changes as he goes to the same hotels, same restaurants for over ten years he’s on tours. but his game needs changes now
Yesterday was my birthday too and was 29 the same age as Rafa…well I was hoping his birthday day gift will be defeating Novak but Novak played better than Rafa but that is not the end of his life. Rafa I believe in you I know you will bounce back soon but remember that every player want to beat you just to get fame. Please do what ever it takes to come back and sweep all these players away especially Fognini, Novak, Wawrinka etc.
We ur fans know they r happy for ur downfall but it won’t happen. I remember Murray used to kick out first, second round of most tournament a year ago till he Change his coach. Well this year has not been good year for you Rafa but we still has 7 months ahead so you can really catch up… I will pray for you every day. ..you played well yesterday it just that Novak wanted you out of the FO to make name for him self.. his time will come too.
It’s great to hear Rafa’s opponents at the highest level acclaim him as one of the greatest in the history of Tennis! Many have put him on a pedestal as a role model for younger people because of his wonderful sporting nature, graceful in defeat, returning with a vengeance to win on another day, always full of praise for his opponents n never critical of them, never proud, respectful, intelligent n always smiling! A lot of this is derived from a loving family background, n whom Rafa cares for tremendously. I know, because I have a loving family that I cared for lovingly n who now care for me. Recovery from an appendix operation is slow n debilitating, plus Rafa plays with constant pain in his knees. Rafa will be back like a raging Spanish Bull n God willing he will win his cherished RG back in 1916. My dear self adopted grandson Rafa, my prayers will be for you. God bless n be with you. Vamos Rafa. Love your Aussie Nana. 😀😀 🌺🌹🌷🎈🎈🎈
yess!!! thats true….rafa will come back……in a while go and rest first…enjoy your day and dont think to much about it….
Rafa is the Cuencessational ‘Come Back Kid’!! He’s been here before and came back with a Vengeance, many injury time out of the Tour by comes back on top! Agree lots of his fans writes him of because they cannot comprehend his losses! Rafa has many accomplishments and also a Legend in his own right! So let’s not forget these! HD also has a lot of fish to fry and the world is his Oyster so to speak!! HD will always be my Number One!!
This is my second look at these comments, and I feel that Debbie really strikes the right note!
Thanks, Debbie!!! VAMOS RAFA! Eres nuestro Campion Numero Uno!!!
Take a rest…….come back & good luck…….
Rafa forever; LONG LIVE RAFA.
It’s nice to see the other players stick up for Rafa with the confidence that he will regain top form. It was very disheartening to read all of the negative comments from supposed fans – on this site and elsewhere.
Perhaps it would be nice to see those try to emulate their “hero” a bit more; if not, find someone perfect to support who will never disappoint “you.” There is another player who is #1 right now if you’re interested. I, for one, am not – for all the reasons I support Rafa. If HE can handle his loss, perhaps there is a lesson there for you. Many of us love and support him whether he wins or loses, and are disappointed FOR him, not IN him.
HE WILL COME BACK!!! Of that I am CERTAIN!!! AND, he’ll win his TENTH FRENCH OPEN! Im also certain about that!!! VAMOS RAFA!!!!
Vamos Rafaseguiras siendo un champion
I believe he can but if he doesn’t “so what”? Every single player has to finish their career at some point. Borg finished it at 25, Roger is in decline too and so on and so on. That doesn’t mean they aren’t the greatest ever and we fans were very lucky to have 10 years of the best tennis in history. I don’t see the future in tennis so attractive as these last 10 years. I don’t see the passion and excitement in the new players like Rafa and Roger generated in us fans. That feeling goes beyond the sport and it is for ever!!!
Rafa will come back! I know it!! Believe in our champion, Vamos Rafa!!!