The current loss of Nadal vs. Federer is, to tennis fans, like the removal of the Red Sox from the Yankees’ schedule. Rafa and Roger isn’t just a rivalry. It is a brand, a monument to tennis, a reason for huge purses and TV audiences. They are a reason to watch and care.
Will Nadal become Nadal again before Federer starts taking the court in a walker? Will their next head-to-head be on the senior tour? Are we ready to let it go and prepare ourselves for the Federer-Fognini rivalry? Are you kidding?
- The End for Rafael Nadal? Don’t Fret (via The Wall Street Journal)
These are just a few points in a long match, but essential points because Nadal became Nadal by paying attention to detail. Look back on his matches of old and you’ll see all the times he was close to defeat before turning a match in his favor with a few shots. This is not easy to do, and Nadal may never do it as well as he used to do it. But he’s still not too old or broken down to do it for a while longer. He says he’s getting closer, and he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.
- Rafael Nadal now a fading force after US Open defeat to Fabio Fognini (via The Guardian)
Nadal can come back, but he is finding it increasingly difficult. The reason, almost certainly, lies deep in his heart. He has loved tennis all his life, except for a couple of dips when things have not gone well, notably in 2009 after his parents split up. That deep love may have gone for good, replaced by golf and assertions that all is well.
But as Nadal says, whether winning or losing: “Is only sport, no?”
- Poor play or bad luck for Rafael Nadal? (via ESPN)
Nadal has won these kinds of close matches recently. There’s no reason he can’t recapture that luck — or skill in the clutch, or whatever it was — and turn around his losing streak in lottery matches.
- A Fab Night (via tennis.com)
When you woke up on Saturday morning you may have asked yourself, as you scrolled through the tweets on your phone and shook your head in growing disbelief: How in the world did Fabio Fognini, of all people, come back to beat Rafael Nadal, of all people, from two sets and a break down at the U.S. Open?
- Sharapova Shows Nadal Some Twitter Love (via Tennis Now)
Maria Sharapova took to Twitter today to give Rafael Nadal and his fans a boost. Sharapova showed compassion for Nadal and, like many of his fans, is apparently growing weary of reading negative things about the Spaniard as he struggles to find his game in 2015.
… Nadal took the court in a black and gray camo top emblematic of his indomitable spirit. He looked fierce, and the pink Nike swoosh on his headband seemed like a subtle way of reminding his great rival Federer that he too can dabble in the flamboyant.