PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal loses in first round at Queen’s to Alexandr Dolgopolov

Rafael Nadal’s first match in four years at Queen’s does not go to planned. He’s lost to the world No79, Alexandr Dolgopolov, who was excellent, and his preparations for Wimbledon have been disrupted. There were flashes of class from Nadal and his fighting spirit remains intact, but he’s still not entirely comfortable on this surface. (via The Guardian Live Blog)


  1. “Rafa is not reading your comments. He’s not looking for your tips, suggestions & advice.” ~ Debby(paraphrased)


    Is he reading your comments Debby? Is he looking for your consolation, sympathy & coddling?

    I doubt it.

    But I’m pretty sure that there are some readers of this website who appreciate my comments, and even some who might appreciate yours.

    Like I said earlier, nobody is forcing you to read comments/commenters whom you disagree with. If you don’t like those viewpoints, don’t read them. Calling them “silly”, “disgraceful”, “ridiculous”, etc… is not a mature or civil response, and reflects very poorly on the person spewing those pejoratives.


  2. The law of diminishing returns appear to have caught up with Rafa.
    Again, and if he wants to continue to be relevant in the Tennis world, he has to urgently address these 2 critical issues:

    1. The field has definitely caught up with his playing style and tactics which explains why those who win against him now usually have more winners than him. His defensive baseline approach can no longer work against opponents who can serve well and catch the ball on the rise. Such opponents, the likes of Novak, Stan Wawrinka, Fognini, Dolgopolov and lately Andy, will make Nadal only run from pillar to post while driving winners into open spaces! It is only the likes of Richard Gasquet that Nadal can still beat hopelessly with his worn-out tactics.

    2. Motivation – Rafa’s motivation is also an issue. For a player of his status to say that he has accomplished everything and so has nothing to lose or prove is a real tragedy itself. This more or less means Rafa is just playing for the fun of it: and not really to win any more.

    These 2 critical issues MUST be addressed by Rafa as soon as possible!

  3. Sorry, it’s not about denial. Now you’ve upped your comment, J Beer – “He might as well not play Wimbledon?” Really? Now that’s a ridiculous comment. So the “Rafa of old” would not have lost the match after being up 4-2 in the third. Yes, he’s not the Rafa of old. So according to you, he should retire? How silly and disrespectful.
    And people giving “constructive criticism.” Do you think you are actually addressing your comments to Rafa? No, he’s not sitting here reading them. He’s on the court, practicing harder, because HE knows what jut happened – he knows what he didn’t do. A professional, and a champion, keeps trying to do something about it.
    Oh, actually, he was winning a doubles match. Maybe you want to comment it’s only a doubles match. I didn’t see the match, can’t comment. The point is, a lesser competitor would have bagged that match. Or maybe you thought he was so bad he shouldn’t have bothered to take the court?
    He missed a few shots he “should have made.” Agreed. Guess what, it happens. When he is forced to be pushed back and feels uncomfortable on the court and has less time with flat shots, he doesn’t, at his own admission, play as aggressive as he should. He’s human. He’s not a machine. Even “the machine” didn’t win RG. HE should have won RG. Oh – it happens.
    Do I think this means he’s on a downward slide and should retire? Maybe he should be so embarrassed he should kill himself. Seems to be what you’re saying. Excuse me for thinking your comments are as silly as you think mine are.

    • According to me Rafa should not retire, but as a pro tennis player he should do anything he can to win matches, tournaments, majors. That includes having the right attitude. And the attitude is not right: if he says after a match ‘I don’t need to win more majors, I won enough’ it tells me two things: he’s again trying to take any pressure of himself (can’t deal with it anymore apparently) and he’s not hungry anymore for the big ones. This is a game of small margins. Few percents less and you lose to the no. 100 in the world.
      Not all ‘fans’ are the same. There are a lot of fans here who think Nadal is ‘cute’, ‘sweet’ etc but there are also other fans. I personally think a player in the position of Nadal should make the very most of his opportunities. He’s in the unique position to be the best player in the history of the sport, to win 17 majors in the strongest era ever. But it seems he does not want to take the challenge and go for it. Do not be mistaken. This loss to Dolgopolov is telling and a clear sign. It will happen in similar fashion at Wimbledon. Nadal needs a new coach and indeed a kick in the butt. In my opinion fans who just say ‘ah, you did so much, you are great anyways’ don’t contribute anything at all to potential new success.

  4. Constructive criticism of Rafa by myself and other commenters is NOT “negative”. It’s an honest attempt to HELP him get out of the slump and rut that he’s in. And we’re not the only ones doing it. Professional coaches and former players such as Paul Annacone, Jim Courier and Darren Cahill – among others – have made similar HELPFUL suggestions.

    What’s truly “negative” on this website is those commenters who constantly coddle, console, and pat Rafa on the back while he’s in the process of self-destructing. That’s the very LAST thing that he needs. Rafa needs a kick in the butt, not a pat on the back.

    If anyone here doesn’t like my comments or J Beer’s comments or Anthony’s comments or anyone else’s comments, then don’t read them. Just move on to the next comment. It’s that simple. I do it all the time with certain commenters on this website and others. You can do it too, if you really WANT to.


    • It is rather odd a couple of former older players & other tennis watchers occasionally have the idea they know what Rafa must do etc…..Somehow all these “helpful tips” / suggestions never come across helpful at all….. because fundamentally, these comments indicate that the writer has no real knowledge of Rafa’s brilliant game & his relevant ongoing development. Over the years, more than any other player, Rafa is constantly learning, evolving & keeping up his amazing tennis success. Last week he placed 14 Aces !!!!!!!!!!!!!! :): ) ci…ci…. his movement on Clay ,Grass , & Hard Court is incredible!!!! : ) His returns are powerful and classy…everyone now imitates his style, his shots, his backward running hitting FH etc…he is a legend tennis player and currently we see that his game serves as an example players look up to, & are learning from…..His net coverage is beautiful & creative….his respectful manner on the court is outstandingly rare & polite….BUT MOST OF ALL it is his passion!!! : ) No other player comes near to Nadal’s passion and drive to win and he has earned such Longevity, love for Tennis & love for competition. So I dare say such comments telling Rafa what he must do are irrelevant. He is a blessed character and he is building up on his own success and experience and his own hands on practicing w his devoted team!!!!!! : ) He is such an incredibly hard working earnest player….and he has earned the respect of his performance seven time folds…. Would be most helpful if well meaning folks would politely keep out of Rafa’s business and simply thank him and admire his beautiful game!!! Rafa knows well what works & what is best for him and we have solid proof in his beautiful, creative, powerful game!!!! He is a tennis tower with solid foundation!!!!!! : ) He is blessed with rich common sense & a gorgeous positive attitude…. so thank God for all of that!!!! : ) Rafa with his parents & family with Uncle Toni and the rest of his remarkable excellent team are amazing and outstanding in creating fine balance & greenhouse nurturing conditions for him to excel….and excel he does!!! ….
      Lastly, Rafa has an internal discipline which is well cultivated & effective!!!! He is self driven, self motivated & he is blessed w the right blessed energy to practice…practice…practice….He is His own best teacher with his hands on long hours on the court learning , & his intelligence to do all corrections is magnificent!!!!: ) He has built up tennis experience no other former player or tennis instructor can offer him. His respect for others is what makes him ultimately successful!!!!: ) His managing of the MEDIA is superb & tactful & thankfully, we get to hear & see his pre & post match wisdom!!! VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!! : )

      PS: I also think Alex D. is a natural….real fantastic gifted player…. has creativity & tennis know how & if the ATP was to truly embrace him & not always give him such tough draws, Alex could over take Novak in no time….. he is amazing and I wish ATP will allow him to shine as bright as he can. I love his beautiful presence and love watching him.

      PSS: He was not better than Nadal today….but was lucky Nadal had missed a few important shots….

  5. I think Dolgopolov deserves a lot of credit for playing a super match with incredible serving (relative to his size), movement, and unconventional shot-making. Remember the three-set match he had with Djokovic earlier in the year? He is a super talented player who just lacks consistency (therefore the low ranking), but on any given day, he could put on a jaw-dropping performance. As a die-hard Rafa fan, I’m sad for the loss, because I really thought he had a great chance to win the match after coming back from a set down, and up a break on the third. Unfortunately, he missed a few relatively easy forehand and backhand shots (while making some incredible volleys), and his serve was not as strong as last week. It’s a set-back, but Rafa still has time to improve and fine-tune his game on grass, and I’m encouraged by the improvements he’s already made so far. Rafa, please stay healthy, happy, and motivated. Win or lose, you will forever be my champion!!

Leave a Reply