Rafa Roundup: Nadal Scores 50th Win Of 2015

Rafael Nadal's post-match interview after beating Ivo Karlovic in Shanghai


“I think I played a good match,” continued the Manacor native. “The only negative thing was the first game of the match. The real thing is he played so well the first set, the first game, too. He played well.

“In terms of level of concentration and attitude and control of my emotions, it was a fantastic match. To win 7-6 in the third is a very important victory for me, especially because I believe in the last tie-break I did not lose a single point on my serve. That’s because I was in control again of my emotions. That’s the most important thing for me today.”

Nadal’s excited reaction to the breathless 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4) win, when he leapt in the air and pumped his fists, and then stood with his arms aloft, left no doubt about how much the victory meant.

The Spaniard had earlier walloped three return winners in a row, from Karlovic’s giant serve, at 4-5 down in the first set to break the Croatian and ultimately take a one-set lead.

“That game was so important — probably one of the best games return in my career,” said Nadal. “Yeah, almost a miracle. Three winners from his first serve. That was really amazing.”

When Rafael Nadal finally won yet another bruising epic against 6-foot-11 ace-maker Ivo Karlovic at the China Open on Wednesday, he leaped to deliver one of his trademark uppercuts and bellow “Vamos!”

Nadal was clearly overjoyed with the 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4) win. So what if it was just a third-round match? Karlovic is one of the most dangerous players on the ATP Tour — and an ideal stumbling block for the struggling Nadal.

Nadal is clearly fading. There’s no point trying to deny it. But, unlike for tennis champions of previous generations, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s done winning major tournaments. “I don’t know if I can win another Grand Slam,” Nadal said recently. “I believe yes.”

Believing is a good start. Now that he believes again, the competitive juices will start flowing at maximum velocity. Gen. MacArthur — whose greatest military success arguably was the landing at Inchon, when he was 70 — said something else that applies here.

Nadal and short balls. Nah, I don’t think it’s tactical; in most cases, he’s not trying to draw his opponents netward so he can unleash passing shots. To me, it starts with his court positioning, which is like an index for his confidence. The more it sags, the further back he plays. Similarly, during this slump, it’s not as though he’s committing scads of unforced errors. On the contrary, he’s playing too cautiously. His shots are landing well inside the court, delivered without full conviction, leaving himself vulnerable to players with finishing power.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning the match against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in their men's singles second round match on day 4 of Shanghai Rolex Masters at Qi Zhong Tennis Centre on October 14, 2015 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Kevin Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevin Lee/Getty Images

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal Beats Ivo Karlovic In Shanghai Opener



  1. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) & : ) YEAH !!!!!!!!!!!! & Congratulations on your SWIFT, fantastic victory!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) VAMOS…..VAMOS……VAMOS……!!!!!!! : ) Beautiful match !!!!!!!!! : ) : ) God bless you sweetheart !!!!! YOU ARE BRILLIANT !!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) Your amazing STRONG GAME & ENDURANCE & speedy MOVEMENT & excellent SERVE & beautiful ACES….& VOLLEYS…..& AMAZING NET coverage….and STEADFAST creativity …. etc…etc….etc….etc… & etc…. are ALL magnificent …… ALL there for you moving forward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) ci….ci….ci…. An enormous win & you did it w flying colors!!!!!!!!! Love how you play & love your measured powerful presence on the court & commanding Returns!!!!!!!!!!!! OUTSTANDING!!!!!! : ) : ) Impressive to watch your incredible focus and readiness throughout the game!!!!! : ) : ) Fantastic 2 fabulous sets!!!! Your own point by point winners are delightful ….. when your earnest efforts lead to a break it is so exciting to watch!!!!! !!!!! God bless you dear Rafa & have lots & lots of fun celebrating your fantastic accomplishments & wins with your dear loyal TEAM!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Enjoy EVERYTHING & have a great evening !!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) VAMOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!! : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!! : ) : )

  2. Rafa played a great overall game, positioning was superb and his returns were the best I have seen, Vamos Rafa!!

  3. Congratulations Rafa you can be so proud of yourself,in the way you managed this whole game.
    Keep positive and I pray God continues to give you strength and support and encouragement,

  4. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!! : ) Great interview!!!!!!! : ) : ) Please keep in mind YOU started the match brilliantly!!!! You opened royally with a fantastic ACE……which was CLEARLY good. The crowd clapped hands , etc….& the REPLAY camera showed it clearly right then & there that your beautiful ACE was on the line. Clearly, you would gain great confidence from that fabulous first ACE had the umpire did not STOP your flow of serve. it was clearly IN , and we were jumping up & down at the OBVIOUS POOR miscall…. because we could see it being fine from miles away on the screen AS obviously as did the crowd clapping around you…..SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE STORY WAS With THE UMPIRE NOT PAYING ATTENTION right infront of his eyes……IN SUCH AN IMPORTANT OPENING SERVE….. So please Rafa, do not consider that first serve game…….. he only broke you because the poor miscall paused your groove & flow and somehow puzzled you for few seconds…… YOU had the sense it was good ACE, and somehow the unjust miscall interrupted your concentration ……you walked forward to take a closer look and I imagine too embarrassed to Challenge right at the first point…so umpire got away his poor call. BUT the good news dear Rafa is that from then on you used your “Challenges” option, ( funny that all were then happened to be correct calls) BUT certainly, they were all close calls …..and better be wrong w your free challenge, than loosing an ACE point. SO PLEASE keep using up your Challenge option…..
    have a fantastic time practicing & playing !!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

  5. Rafa should be delighted with himself as I am. His passing shots against Ivo were
    just stunning. The entire match was thrilling. So tough to play a big server. Ivo also
    played a great match.

    Rafa was again so calm, cool and composed. So in control of his emotions.
    No hesitation. Swift and smart serving against such a tall order. I love how Rafa
    problem-solves against these big guys trying to get into all their service games with
    smart shot selections, crafty spins and sneaky net play! What a fun match to watch.

    Congrats on your 50th win for the 2015 season! The big 50!

    Best wishes in round 3.

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