Rafa Roundup: Believe in Rafael Nadal

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02:  Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts in his Gentlemens Singles Second Round match against  Dustin Brown of Germany during day four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 2, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

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Lukas Rosol was ranked 100 when he beat the Spaniard in the second round in 2012; Steve Darcis was No.135 in the opening round a year later; in the last 16 just 12 months ago, Nick Kyrgios was No.144; and now Nadal’s string of defeats has reached a new low. Never before in any Grand Slam has Nadal been beaten by a qualifier – until the second round of Wimbledon 2015.

“I don’t have [any] more work here in London, so… If you want to use the house, [it’s] going to be free tomorrow,” he told the media with a laugh.

In good spirits despite the loss, Nadal maintains that he still has the motivation to improve his level and looks at the big picture when it comes to his relationship with the grass at Wimbledon.

“[It’s] going to be in my heart and in my memories forever, the 2008 final. That was probably one of the most important moments of my career, and [it] was here.

The game evolves, and it will evolve past Nadal one day. Maybe Rafa is starting to see that or feel that, and finding it harder to combat it with the weapons he has, and the strokes he learned 20 years ago.

For my own part, I still believe Nadal has more major titles in him, and another run up the rankings—he has slumped before and recovered. But this was the first time I’ve seen a healthy Rafa take a very bad loss, and thought that we should have seen it coming.

“Rafa has too many highs and lows for the moment,” said Toni Nadal, his uncle and coach. “And so he doesn’t have the right feeling with the racket in his hand. Changing rackets is a possibility. We’ll see. We’ll do some testing.”

Nadal was asked what he would do if he could not get his career back on the upswing. Would he be prepared to play on with a low ranking?

“I’m not going to deceive you; I don’t know,” he said. “I think today it’s early for us, but hey, if it lasts for two years or more, then of course we will see what happens.”

Tim Henman, former four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist: “Rafael Nadal has struggled with confidence. When you have won 14 Grand Slams and 60-odd tour titles, it amazes me how fragile his confidence is.”

John McEnroe, three-time Wimbledon champion: “Rafa admitting publicly he was struggling for confidence – maybe that inspired players in the locker room. But I still believe he will win a few majors.”

Marion Bartoli, the 2013 Wimbledon women’s champion: “Rafa Nadal is too much of a champion to not come back to the level he played. He needs to find a reason why his forehand is not working. You can’t write him off.”

Speaking on his BBC Radio Five Six-Love-Six programme: “Rafael Nadal is one of the great champions – a class act. He plays with a lot of effort and energy but, dare we say, is it time for some fresh blood in the Nadal camp? Can we say that? Uncle Toni’s going to be upset.

“I know that he has had other people – Carlos Costa, Francisco Roig, but athey have tried to gently persuade Uncle Toni – who has done a magnificent job since he was a little kid and told him it was a good thing to go left-handed – but clearly at this stage it would appear that some fresh ideas would be in order.”

After being told he was being diplomatic by co-presenter Tim Henman, McEnroe replied: “I’m saying get a new damn coach!”

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53 comments

    • Don’t worry. After his beach vacation, Rafa’s headed straight to the nearest golf course to work on his wedge shot, and after that, straight to the nearest poker tournament for more fun and games. He’s got it all covered. Except tennis. Uncle Toni is taking care of that by finding him a new racquet. That will fix everything. NOT!!!

    • It’s obvious that this man is no longer interested in Tennis.

      He should just take a graceful bow, before Djokovic destroys all of his legacies!

      With current Richard Gasquet’s form , I don’t think Nadal can even whip Gasquet anymore. Even minors like Gasquet and Steve Johnson would fancy their chances against Nadal these days!

      Time for Nadal to exit and focus on Sky diving, poker and golf. Who kows, maybe he’s the next Tiger Woods!

      • The way things are going for Rafa, it won’t be long before his only public appearances will be “competing” on the Seniors’ circuit with all the other old-timers, and his occasional appearance at slams sitting in the front row applauding Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Wawrinka, Cilic, Nishikori, etc… as they battle each other for the next slam trophy. That day may come a lot sooner than many of his fans think, if Rafa doesn’t get his act together. PRONTO.

  1. THE BIG QUESTION IS: DOES NADAL BELIEVE IN HIMSELF????
    IF NADAL DOES NOT BELIEVE IN HIMSELF, THEN HOW DO WE BELIEVE IN HIM????

  2. A qualifier, Dustin Brown, without a coach actually played and defeated Nadal !!!
    What a shame!!!!
    Nadal should exit immediately and move over to playing Poker anf golf with Uncle Tony.

    • Very good point about Dimitrov. He did the right thing by sacking Rasheed, as did Radwanska when she sacked Navratilova in late-April after 4 months of poor results under her tutelage. It doesn’t mean that Rasheed & Navratilova are bad coaches. It just means that they are no longer the right coach for those 2 players. The same is true with Rafa & Uncle Toni. It’s time for a change. And has been for quite a few years now. But unfortunately for us fans, it appears that Uncle Toni’s career is their top priority, not Rafa’s.

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