Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal thinks he’s playing well (and he’s right)

Photo via Mercedes Cup
Photo via Mercedes Cup

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Rafael Nadal will contest his first grass-court final since Wimbledon 2011 after defeating Gael Monfils in the semi-finals of the MercedesCup on Saturday. He prevailed 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 19 minutes, converting on two of six break chances, while saving all four faced on his own serve.

“I’m playing with the right intensity and waiting for my moment,” said Nadal, who is hoping to win the trophy for a third time. “I’m very, very happy to be in a final again. I think I’m playing well. It’s important for me after losing at Roland Garros to keep going and have the right attitude, the right level of tennis in the next couple of weeks and that is what I am trying.”

“I do not care about the expectations coming from outside. I have been playing for 13 years on the tour now. It’s not about what the people are thinking, it’s about myself. During the first half of the season, I just didn’t find myself on court. I played with too many nerves. I am starting to feel better now and played good tournaments in Monte Carlo and in Rome. I am playing well here, too. That’s the most important thing for me. My level of tennis is there. I have not forgotten how to play tennis in six months,” Nadal explained with a smile and enjoyed playing in front of about 6,000 spectators today.

“I’m very happy with this performance,” said the Spaniard. “I’m slowly improving on grass. It would be fantastic to win on grass here, but I can only focus on the final and try to play my best.”

Nadal will rest on Monday before playing Alexandr Dolgopolov in his opening match on Tuesday. It is seven years since Nadal won his first tournament on grass, here at Queen’s, before going on to beat Roger Federer in one of the great Wimbledon finals – and, although he has tumbled down the rankings this summer to a 10-year low of 10, the Spaniard seems to be repairing the damage to his tennis on the surface to which he is least suited.

Photo: Tennis TourTalk
Photo: Florian Heer/Tennis TourTalk

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal defeats Gael Monfils to reach Stuttgart final

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9 comments

  1. Come on, IDOL – yr first trophy in a few long months is here for u to grab!!! We all want it DEPERATELY !!! VAAAMOOOSSS RAAAFAAA , VAAAMOOOSSS . VAAAMOOOSSS…VAAAMOOOSSS ………!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Rafa is playing much better than expected on grass, but the expectations were very low to begin with due to his early round losses at Wimbledon the last 3 years, and his extremely poor results on all surfaces during the last 12 months.

    I saw all 3 matches this week from start to finish. Here’s how I grade Rafa’s performance, based on a “Rafa Curve”, i.e. relative to his own A game that is absolutely necessary to win Wimbledon:

    Serve – A-

    Volley – A+

    Forehand – B+

    Backhand – A-

    Overhead – A

    At first glance, these grades look very promising for Rafa. But there’s a major fly in the ointment – his forehand – his most important shot – is still far too erratic. It’s too up & down. He’ll hit 3 or 4 or 5 solid forehands in a row, and then, out of nowhere, he’ll hit one 10 feet past the baseline, into the stands, or into the bottom of the net. These frequent unforced errors off his forehand wing must come to a stop if he intends to do well at Wimbledon. His forehand must be in A form – preferably A+ form – to win that tournament. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    For that to happen, Rafa must stop second-guessing his forehand game plan, which SHOULD be to fully commit to that shot at every opportunity. That means hitting the ball early(on the rise). That means hitting off his toes, not off his heels. That means hitting through the ball, not over the ball, before finishing up high. When Rafa was in top form, that’s how he hit his forehand, and that’s how he won 14 slams.

    VAMOS!!!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!! : ) Beautiful match…. VAMOS!!! It was outstanding & I kept thinking GRASS IS RAFA’S SURFACE just as much as Clay & hard court….. you moved so incredibly well, and the sound of the ball on your racket was just perfect!!!!! : ) Nice & full ….and by the way, Congratulations on serving yesterday 14 Aces….very special…. FOURTEEN ACES!!!!!!!! : ) Today was amazing too…. even with out Aces, you took great command of closing points w your amazing shots & great serve……. it was lots of fun !!!! Gael is a natural player w good touch & fit movement and so your win was especially great ….VAMOS again & enjoy celebrating w your team!!! Please get extra two hours of sleep & enjoy tomorrow & the rest of the season!!!!! Best wishes always & God bless you!!!

  4. Best of luck for today’s Final Rafa. You are playing like your old self. Enjoy the Match n have fun. God bless n be with you. Vamos Rafael. Love your Aussie Granny. 😀😀🌹🌷🌺🎈🎈🎈

  5. Rafa looks better than the last weeks. Hopefully he is able to win the final tomorrow. Vamos Rafa <3 <3 <3

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