Rafa Roundup: What is Rafael Nadal searching for at the US Open? Uncle Toni knows the answer!

Photo: Beth Wilson
Photo: Beth Wilson


“I try to give some tranquility,” Toni Nadal said. “I think we are not too far from making a good tournament. We are not too far from his best level and only we need a little more confidence and to win.”

Whatever happens at the Open, Toni Nadal said he is not worried about the future.

“I don’t know if his game will come back here in the U.S. Open, but I am sure that his game will come back,” he said. “I don’t know in one tournament in two or in three, but he will come back.”

Indeed, Nadal’s manner of play, at its best, had the feel of a street fight. No matter how polite off court, on it he had a Terminator’s focus, a grinding need for supremacy that bordered on punishment. Part of his appeal was a commitment so total, strokes so demanding, that injury was all but guaranteed. His body might break down, but no one could doubt his full mental presence.

Now? Rafa is Hamlet. He has more questions than answers, a perspective at odds with the world he once ruled.

With recent history of Russian tennis talent like Anastasia Myskina, Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Elena Dementieva, it would easy to assume Kasatkina would look to them as idols. Not so. She has her eyes on only one player.

“I love to watch Rafael Nadal,” Kasatkina said. “My favorite. Today I will go to watch him. He’s unbelievable. A lot of people say he pushes the ball, but he never does. He hits full power with the spin. His character, he is a fighter. An unbelievable fighter.”

PHOTOS: Johnny Mac Tennis Project Benefit Night (via Beth Wilson)


  1. I dont know what happened. You were winning the first two sets and……..you started to loose a lot of returns. I am sooooooooooooooo sad, believe me. It is 2.12am where I am and I just can’t sleep. I HATE FOR YOU TO GO HOME. I think, you really need some new advise. Estoy super triste. Lo mejor para ti en el futuro y yo creo que el Tio Toni tiene ya que irse de tu lado si quieres ganar. No puedo comprender porque se te bajo el juego si ibas ya al punto de ganar con 2 sets. Oye a la gente lo que te dice y trae nueva gente a tu juego. TE VOY A EXTRANAR Y MUCHO. LA ABUELA.

  2. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) Very very very close….. you very nearly done him in at the end of the 3rd set ………and next time you will!!!!! Somehow a couple of points made the difference …… PLEASE ENJOY YOUR EFFORTS & BE PROUD & KNOW YOU PLAYED A GREAT HC MATCH!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE amazing ……keeping up your endurance & point by point focus for so long……and so late at night……. THERE WILL BE other OPPORTUNITIES!!!!!! Tonight, VAMOS for all the great points & the great energy you had in this 5 set happening………..You played GREAT!!!!!!!!!! Have a good night and God bless you!!!!! : )

  3. Rafa . . . Looking forward to a win against Fognini tonight and seeing you next in the Round of 16 . . . Buena suerte . . . VAMOS!!!!!!!

  4. @Fan Love Great post fan love. I hope Rafa has a solid great tennis match tonight. Please be healthy and confident Rafa. Love you and God bless you. Love Marylynn

    • cheers….& yes….I very much agree w you Marylynn…..Rafa will have a great match!!!!!!!! : )
      VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Have fun!!!! : )

  5. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) & an extra : ) for a great afternoon!!!!!!!!! Have a FANTASTIC time tonight w lots & lots of fun playing your beautiful STRONG SOLID game!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 It will be fun…. enjoy your great Tennis gliding forward along with your skillful ability to play your own powerful game!!!!! So much fun for you & I am 100% you will enjoy another beautiful match!!!!!!!!!!!!!! VAMOS!!!!!!!! Very happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOUR MOVEMENT IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!! And so are your decisive ACES….& smashing VOLLEYS & OVERHEADS!!!!!! ci….ci….. Your BEAUTIFUL SHOTS & WELL AIMED 1st & 2nd SERVE will come handy this evening !!!!!!!!! Enjoy it all dear Rafa and have fun tonight w YOUR OWN POWERFUL & CREATIVE TENNIS & your TOP ENDURANCE !!!!! You have all you need to move powerfully forward!!!!!! Enjoy EVERYTHING…….enjoy the challenge of keeping to your own great game!!!!! YOU were successful and managed to overcome all F usual manipulative ill temper BS which he
    does in every match w everybody to try and distract other players…..and for sure CAN DO IT AGAIN!!!!! Pay zero attention to his ill conduct…..Have fun keeping to your purpose of winning & playing your game!!!!! I love your ENERGY dear Rafa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE your overall COMMENDING COURT PRESENCE on the court ….HIGH LEVEL……….. VERY POWERFUL !!!!!!!!! Your HC matches are beautiful!!!!!!!!!! : ) Have a great time this evening playing your solid tennis w each point &…..then….. enjoy knowing how much the crowd & us Fans LOVE enjoying it w you!!!!!! VAMOS…. VAMOS!!!!!! And by the way, YOU DO LOOK just as gorgeous w the Green NIKE gear : ) : ) very cute!!!!!! I was thinking how LUCKY NIKE & TOMMY HILFIGER are to have you on their company ADS…..!!!!! You are both precious & handsome…..a winning combination!!!!!!! : ) Last but not least…..hearing your expressive exhales when you place a feisty FH or BH Return …..OR when you place forth a great Serve hearing your efforts vocally is such a great part of the fun…..LOVE IT …..I love it as much as the unique Ball sound when it lands winners for you!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) CONGRATULATIONS RAFA on all your fantastic efforts & classy wins!!!!! Very happy for you!!!!!! You give it all & your entire match is incredible & captivating from the very first point to the last!!!!!!! During these last few HC Open matches I noticed your great ability to win win & win points from ALL sides & corners of the court w your STRONG RETURNS…… NET ……& ….. playing whatever feels right for you at each moment!!!!! YES SIR!!!!! Your persistence & striding are magical !!!!!! You win many many great points w with your much improved well aimed serve!!!!!! .UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! VAMOS!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Have fun & God bless you!!!!!!!!!! : )

  6. That’s right Rafa you are nearly there, almost at your best again. Take it match by match and you will reach top form again. You may not be back to full strengh this year but certainly in 2016 you will be. We are all behind you our Champ. Vamos Rafa!

  7. Uncle Toni is an idiot man with strange ideas. Rafa’s game is very predictable. his topspin doesn’t bother his opponents anymore. while focus and calmness are very important, Rafa lacks the proper game plan to win. His serves are too weak, his shots are too short. He’s got no chance to beat Djoker, wawrinka, Murray, Roger and unfortunately many other players. I am a Rafa’s fan and would love him to win but we fans should voice our concern.

    • Your lack of respect here is distasteful – Please try to help yourself and your sad attitude by thinking more positive and by offering kinder comments. In the end of the day you have to live w yourself and better you try to do that with goodness & grace.

  8. I’ll see the game tomorrow morning at 8.30 Perth time in Australia. You are a legend Rafael n you can beat fognini. If he starts ranting n raving, ignore him, don’t retaliate. Never lose your wonderful disposition n impeccable manners. Think good things in the locker room n say my prayer if you like to control your nervous system. God bless you. Vamos Rafael. Your Aussie Abuela. 😊😇

  9. Mi querido Rafa, has jugado super bien. Mi pregunta es tonta, veo que sudas pero mucho. Espero tomes muchos liquidos. Buena suerte esta noche te desea tu abuelita mexicana. El ano que viene mi nieto de 6 anicos tiene que conocerte y por supuesto yo. Vamos Rafa a ganar esta noche. Mucha suerta y bendiciones

  10. Great to hear 😊👍 I believe your unique game will come back too. You’re a legendary star 🌟 We all have ups and downs. The best of luck at your next match. – You can do it Champ 😃🎾💪 VAMOS dear Rafa ❤️

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