PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal downs Fabio Fognini to claim Hamburg title

Top seed Rafael Nadal defeated Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-5 to claim his third title of the season at the bet-at-win Open in Hamburg on Sunday afternoon. He extended his run of having won at least one European clay-court title every year since 2004 when he took his maiden crown in Sopot, Poland.

Rafa now has 47 clay-court titles, second to Guillermo Vilas’ 49. It was Nadal’s second title on clay this year after Buenos Aires in February and his third championship of the year. Our champ has 67 career titles overall.

Source: AP

33 comments

  1. Congratulations again on your amazing win dear Rafa & God bless you!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) I just watched the replay & enjoyed it all over again……ci….ci…… your game is fantastic W lots of spirit & bright enthusiasm …… such a fantastic win!!!! : ) You had such focus & consistency with your returns….& fantastic movement throughout the match!!!!: ) I loved how creative you were adjusting your game to what was going on on the court…..you are wise beyond your years & I liked seeing your enormous patience & steadfast purpose w each point!!!!!!!!!!! Plus of course always nice to see you be a complete mench on the court !!!!!!!! : ) KUDOS & VAMOS : ) SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!! : ) You are fortunate to have such a great team & your own God given inner discipline…..so wonderful to see you over the years doing your magic on the tennis courts & respectfully moving forward …. fine qualities….. God bless you!!!!! Have a blast celebrating your beautiful 2015 500 Clay Title & then go fishing for few days!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!! : )

  2. The good news is that Rafa won an ATP 500 event, his biggest title of the year. The bad news is that he played high quality tennis in only one of his 5 matches this week. Aside from the Seppi match, it was the same old same old for our favorite player: hitting way too many short balls and balls into the net as a result of playing way too conservatively. That may work against 2nd and 3rd tier players like the ones he played this week, but it will definitely NOT work against Djokovic, Federer, Wawrinka, Murray, Nishikori, et al.

    I am so sick and tired of hearing Rafa talk about his struggles with confidence, as if that’s the reason he’s not playing more aggressive tennis, when in fact, the exact opposite is true: his stubborn refusal to play more aggressive tennis is the very reason why he’s having confidence problems.

    Confidence or no confidence, Rafa should NOT be talking about his “low confidence” level. Have you ever heard any great athletes talk that way? Have you ever heard Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic or Maria Sharapova or Roger Federer talk that way? How about Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretsky or Joe Montana or Derek Jeter? How about Pele or Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi? How about Muhammed Ali or Sugar Ray Leonard or Mike Tyson?
    Great athletes NEVER talk about having “low confidence”, even if they’ve just suffered the worst loss or losses of their career.

    Confidence is NOT an option for great athletes. It’s a necessity. If you don’t have confidence, you’ve lost the battle before it has even begun. All great athletes understand this, with the exception of Rafa, who apparently, never got the memo.

    Hey Rafa: hire a new coach, damn it!

    VAMOS!!!

    • you’re annoying and your comments are annoying. For everybody following Rafa even from far away, it is evident that his level isn’t the same. Rafa and his team are the 1st ones painfully aware of it. He doesn’t act like he played the matches of his life or won a Grand slam again but he and his fans are happy about a title that a lot of people doubted he could win. The same people that are saying that of course he won because the competition was subpar in this tournament were saying he was gonna lose against Paire or Fognini or Verdasco and never win an ATP500 again in his carreer.

      For the confidence talk, what is your problem really? That Rafa is honest about it? Yeah he isn’t confident and it affects his level drastically. Do you think if he didn’t say anything it would change? Everyone and their mothers know that Sharapova is low in confidence when playing against Serena Williams, we all know that Federer has confidence issues against Nadal. They never say it, it doesn’t change that it is still there impacting the matches and that everybody still knows about it.
      In any case, it doesn’t matter what Rafa does, you’ll never be happy. When he is honest about his lack of confidence, people complain it is not a “champion’s attitude” (lol really Rafa is not a champion? even if he never comes back to his level he is already one of the GOATs in tennis and sports in general), when he says he is happy about his match, people moan that he shouldn’t lie and admit how badly he played. And if he actually did that, the same people would moan about him not keeping a poker face!
      Of course confidence is a key to great success, thank you for that groundbreaking input. But yeah Rafa isn’t confident at the moment and needs to gain his back. One thing is certain, constant criticism and negative thinking isn’t going to do that.

      For the change of coach, what makes you think it is god given answer to all Rafa’s problems? Maybe it could help, but it probably wouldn’t. Do you know Rafa at all?

      • Well said, daphenaxa! I’m sick and tried of hearing the negative comments over and over again. As a fan, I applaud every victory Rafa has, small or big. Nobody can stay on the top of a competitive sport forever. Not Rafa, not Roger, not Djokovic. or any of the greats in the past. But it doesn’t diminish their incredible accomplishments when they are not winning as much as they used to. Rafa will always have my support and admiration!

      • You’re ignorant and your comments are ignorant. You sound like you’ve never picked up a racquet in your life, much less played the game seriously at any level.

        Your comment about Sharapova and Federer not being confident in their games when they play Serena and Rafa is pure nonsense. They may not be confident about beating those two players, but they’re still confident about playing their normal level of tennis, even if it’s not good enough to win. And that’s usually exactly what happens.

        Rafa, on the other hand, has NOT played his normal level of tennis for the last 22 months. He has played WAY BELOW THAT LEVEL – as his current ranking proves – because he has somehow managed to convince himself that he can’t play as aggressively as he used to play when he was winning 2 or 3 slams a year.

        He has talked himself into believing that self-defeating pablum with his constant chatter about how great it is to doubt your own abilities, nerves, and performance. “It’s good to have doubts. It’s arrogant not to.” Those are his exact words. You NEVER hear other superstar athletes say stuff like that – certainly not when they’re in the prime of their career like Rafa is.

        As 18-time slam winner Chris Evert said earlier this year, Rafa is using his supposed “low confidence level” as a CRUTCH – as an excuse not to play more hard-hitting, deep-hitting, aggressive tennis. John McEnroe, Paul Annacone, Darren Cahill, Brad Gilbert, Jim Courier, John Lloyd and other coaches & former top players have made similar comments about him.

        But hey, what do they know. You – ‘Daphenaxa’ – know far more about tennis than they do. Right??? ….. WRONG!!!

        VAMOS!!!

      • well maybe you can give some of your arrogance to Rafa it would solve all problems. Since you are such a grand specialist in tennis, you should even coach him yourself. I can’t wait.
        Rafa has always been self-deprecating and maybe too humble and it may be a problem now for him but you can’t just ignore these are the very same things that made him the champion he is. There is no magic mold, not everybody is the same. I don’t understand your argument about other sportsmen never admitting their confidence is low.
        Rafa is playing under his best level, there is no argument about that. His best level isn’t unfortunately his normal level. You know that right? Because he has won 2 or 3 GS “only” 3 years in his career. And these times are exactly the times he managed to play more aggressive. IMHO because he was on a winning streak and gaining confidence, but after all what do I know?

        I am very pleased that all these past champions and experts (were they also the same predicting he would be finished at 23?) know better than Rafa himself and his team what exactly the problem is. That is also fantastic that you take it upon yourself to repeat their opinions on every single comment you post here. And no, I am certainly not a specialist like them, or like you “move in Rafa or move out”, because from what i gather you are probably at Federer’s level. Good job. Can’t wait to see you on the tour, once you’ve fixed Rafa’s loser mentality of course. I’ll be curious to see how you completely change your game when you are low on confidence and already struggling with consistency.
        Also yes, I’ve played tennis, and also competitively, I wouldn’t say at a serious level tho.

        VAMOS!!!

      • You’re obviously too ignorant about the game of tennis, and too blinded by your infatuation & idolization of Rafa, to understand my analysis or that of the experts I mentioned above – none of whom, BTW, predicted that he would be “finished at 23”.

        I never said or suggested in any way whatsoever that I was “at Federer’s level”, or that you would soon “see me on the pro tour”, or that I was going to “fix Rafa’s loser mentality”(only he and his team – or future team – can do that).

        You just make stuff up out of thin air to defend your silly arguments, because you can’t do so with facts and logic.

        I hate to break the news to you Daphenaxa, but Rafa and his team do NOT know “exactly what his problem is” – if they did, it would have been fixed a long time ago.

        If Rafa was truly as humble and self-deprecating as you and others keep telling us he is, then he would be far more open to new voices and new ideas on his team than he has been thus far in his career.

        Apparently, Rafa thinks he and his uncle have all the answers, and if they don’t, then nobody else does either.

        That, my dear friend, is NOT very humble and self-deprecating, last time I checked the definition of those 2 words.

        VAMOS!!!

      • Don’t worry for me I know the game of tennis quite well for I have played it since I was 5. Also sure clearly I love Rafa, he is one of my favourite sportsmen and I’ve followed him since 2005 but I don’t blindingly idolize him. Don’t worry further, I don’t believe you’re the next Federer. You did suggest that you were an expert in tennis though so I was a bit ironic. I won’t again. It is too challenging it seems.

        Do you really play tennis? Because I understand your arguments pretty well, and I am surprised that you would think that playing an unnatural game for you (very aggressive in Rafa’s case who is more a defensive and defense-t-attack player) is the answer or even a possibility when low in confidence. It seems like the recipe for UE to me and we have to keep in mind that these days he is already at something like 20+ UE a match.
        Also how do you play super aggressive when you are really struggling with your serve and that it automatically makes you play in defensive position?
        Let’s no forget that Rafa has been trying all his career to play more aggressive. Every single interview he said the same thing, that he knew he had to be more aggressive, play more inside the court blablabla. He has managed to change his game a bit and when he was really confident he has finally played aggressive. It just seems ludicrous to me to ask a player to just switch to their very best when they are actually at their worst and then act all condescending and downright disrespectful when they can’t do it, or can’t do it yet.

        How do you know they don’t know the problem, how do you know they are not changing anything? Why is it so difficult for you to understand that maybe, Rafa knows himself more than you do and knows what could help him or not? How pretentious of Rafa!

  3. @ Karthik – Good analysis, and it sounds accurate. I also did not know that much about Rafa’s shoulder problem. I saw the headline, but I don’t think it gave an account of what the actual problems is, or how serious it is. I think that Rafa will gain tremendous confidence from his victory today. I feel he will continue to get better and better and will soon be back on top. In fact I know he will. I really hope, thought, that he does not have a serious shoulder ailment. He has had his share of injuries. Great match today Rafa and well deserved. Rest and relaxation is what you need now. Enjoy your victory. God bless you. Love you, Marylynn.

  4. YES! You did it Rafa. Awesome match 😃 Concratulations on your victory today, you deserve it so much 🏆 Your the best champ – VAMOS sweetie 😊 ❤️U. All the very best of luck to you at the US OPEN! 🎾😘 From me in DK

  5. This win is important. A loss would have been devastating at this stage on the ongoing decline. There are clear positives to take away from this tournament. At the same time, today’s Nadal is still a shade of the 2013 version. In that regard, all should be cautious: this win is similar to the Stuttgart win, Nadal beating a rather mediocre field with 1 or 2 sub top players. A long way to go still and a masters victory in August is highly unlikely. Vamos nonetheless.

    • What do you expect? The U.S. Series are on HCs, it’s a different surface from Hamburg; Stuggart, Queens and Wimbledon were on the same surface ie grass. Grass is now Rafa’s poorest surface!

  6. Forgot to add in my previous comment as I have complained in the past about the depth of his ground strokes and that he was not hitting through the court.. weight on his heels etc… He was awesome today on the aspect. His FHs were deep and his BHs were FLAT HARD and DEEP. Went down the line flat as well. You can see the gradual amping up all through the week. So happy for Rafa and I truely think he is back. If he continues like this.. I know he will.. he will be where he belongs very soon :).. cant wait to see him in N American hard courts 🙂

  7. Congratulations Rafael. I just returned home from a party n was so happy to see you had won. I hope Foxtel have a replay of the match. You can do it – back to the top. I hope you were able to serve many Aces. God bless you. Vamos Rafa. Your Aussie Abuela. 😊😊🎈🎈

  8. Hard fought match, breaks and set points, but it seemed your confidence is well and truly intact! Congratulations!

  9. Always gracious, win or lose. That win must feel fantastic! How great is it to regain your form and rhythm! The battle continues-welcome back.

  10. WOW!!! Congratulations Rafa in your glorious fight to the finish line! Superb effort
    against a self-determined and unpredictable opponent. Such a hard fought battle
    and roller-coaster of a match. A true test that Rafa’s self confidence and fighting spirit
    is back. Way to play and win! Loved it! So glad you slayed the mini dragon in 2 straight
    sets without even going to a tie-breaker! Just spectacular! Enjoy the celebration with
    your team and family!!!

  11. Awesome Awesome.. cant be happier for Rafa.. The celebration showed how much this meant to Rafa. You cannot get a better example of “Hard work gets rewarded”. Humble to a fault. What a champion. what a role model. Amazing. Everything was awesome, except the serve.
    My take on the serve is not that Rafa was not confident with his serve. Hey he was hitting his serves on grass much better than here. I think like Rafa mentioned in the press throughout this week, he is trying to get consistent. So he is going back to building his game back block by block. In my field of work, to fix a problem/improve on something, you usually remove the variables and go back to tried and tested first, get that in working order and then go for the improvements. If you notice all through the week Rafa has done exactly that. His ground game has been getting better and better and he has been doing more each game with his groundies, all the while maintaining his first serve % around 80%. Taking the serve variable out and fixing his groudies. I think he has achieved it. Fabio is no joke. He can hit his spots as good as the Djoker or better. Rafa nuetralized him with aplomb. I think he will get to the next step which is to get the serves going in N America. Like I said after the Verdasco victory on this board.. I am optimistic now.
    Also, if you see the reaction of Uncle tony after offensive pts from Rafa throughout this week, like down the line shots, coming into the net etc, whether it is a winner or error, you can read that Uncle is trying to get Rafa to change his patterns and direction. Rafa does mention that he is trying to change direction in his play in the press. So may be it is Rafa and not uncle T who is anemic to change. So not sure how much a new coach will help. So maybe we should go easy on Uncle T. Not sure. Anyhow.. really +ve for Rafa not just for the victory but also getting to beat Fabio after 2 losses to him this year IN STRAIGHT SETS.

      • I saw the headline about that but did not read about it in detail. I stand corrected then. Thanks for setting me straight :). All the more reason then.. the serve is not coz of issues in confidence. Also remarkable that he won despite the shoulder issue. I hope it is not serious and he is 100% for the HC season.

  12. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Lots of love & happiness!!!! : )
    Congratulations on your beautiful win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) Your strong powerful game is beautiful to watch and is amazing!!!!! VAMOS & God bless you sweetheart!!!!!! Have a great celebration with your lovely family & amazing team & know you are incredibly special TOP PLAYER & amazing person & such a gift to TENNIS!!!!!! : )) Our respect & all best wishes for the rest of the season!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) VAMOS sweetheart & enjoy a great run in the US OPEN!!!!!!

  13. Vamos! Vamos!! Vamos!!! So proud of Rafa! Please take confidence out of the win!! Take rest and enjoy your win! You are the best. Love you <3 <3 <3

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