Rafa Roundup: Nadal-Djokovic showdown in Qatar

Photo via beIN SPORTS
Photo via beIN SPORTS


Rafael Nadal will attempt to capture his first ATP World Tour hard-court title for two years on Saturday when he plays familiar foe Novak Djokovic in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final. “I know if I’m playing well, I am going to have opportunities,” said Nadal.

Nadal played this semifinal with the urgency of a man embracing a personal confirmation day. Consistently whipping the wide slider on the ad side, the 2014 champion won the first 23 points played on his first serve.

“It’s something that I don’t think about. It’s something that it’s obviously not worries me much. I know if I’m playing well, I gonna have opportunities.  The last, I don’t know, six tournaments that I played on hard court I have been playing semifinals in Beijing, semifinals in Shanghai, and then final in Basel, quarterfinals in Paris and semifinals at the ATP World Tour Finals. And last week, although it is not an official tournament,  but I played against tough opponents on hard court too in Abu Dhabi, taking the titel in the end,” the world number 5 told about his hard court performances and is looking forward to his 47th tour meeting with Djokovic, tied 23 a piece.

But one look at the men’s draw and, more impressive still, the prize money, and the Qatar Exxonmobil Open in Doha leaves no doubt: This is an ATP 250 that flexes its muscles.

No other tournament at this level on the tour offers even half the purse. It even out does some of the 500 events—and the standing of the men who line up to play a part is its reward.

Brad Gilbert calls it the “fearhand” and I have to agree: This is the stroke that has made Rafa not just a great player, but an all-time player. Without this whipping storm of RPMs and tornado-like speed, Rafa wouldn’t be the force on each surface that we know him to be.

Tennis champion Rafael Nadal can once again count on his lucky million-dollar wrist “charms” made by Richard Mille for the 2016 tennis season. .

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal through to 99th career final at Qatar Open



  1. The only comment I have is that I am crying that Rafa who used to beat Djokovic hands down has allowed him into his head , he knows he can do it but lets the double jointed Novak into his head, DJOKOVIC stands central and runs Rafa around the court and then applauds Rafa if he wins a point knowing he has him on the ropes such arrogance but I will love you forever Rafa ,if nothing else you are a much finer person

  2. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : : ) : ) You played BEAUTIFULLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HIGH TOP TENNIS with INTENSITY & UNBELIEVABLE LEVEL !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your few mistakes came in but the game was close & solid. You nearly broke him on the opening 1st serve and the score does not reflect on the difficulties Novak had to face with your POWERFUL GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep going SWEETHEART & KNOW YOU CAN TAKE NOVAK & so does Berdych & even the new comer Marchenko stands a chance…..so please take lots of pride with your fantastic amazing fighting to the last ball…………..it is just around the corner when you can take Novak again all the way to the cleaners….. he is all arrogant now and lets face it, most of his recent wins over you came when you were returning from being out. . You are a fantastic competitor & we love you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Enjoy your ride to the next tour , VAMOS SWEETHEART…….& have a great time playing next.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) Lots & lots of of love & happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) We are so proud of you DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : )

      • Sosa Laforge,

        Like i said before, that guy called Fan Love is clearly not from this planet.
        Even if Rafa is beaten 6-0, 6-0 he will still write the same terrible lies that he keeps saying all the time.

        But then, these are the type of lies that Maria, Elizabeth Howard and other crazy fanatics feed on. They all love it.

        What a shame.

  3. I am quoting from someone else : And there we go. May as well not show up. It’s like Maria Sharapova against Serena Williams; a full gone conclusion before a ball is struck.

  4. Deep thinker you sound like a mad cult trying to get fans to come round to your way of thinking and join you . not in this lifetime or any other

    • Maria, i shouldn’t be wasting my very precious time replying you but suffice to say that there are only a handful of true fans on this site and you’re certainly not one of them. But there are a whole lot of FANATICS here and you’re certainly one of the lot. Yeah, the whole lot that deceive Nadal and make him look good even when things are really, really bad.

      If someone is not doing well, why cant you just say the truth as it is, so that he can take a good look at the mirror and truly make corrections. Look at that fellow who calls himself Fan Love, how in the world can you come out here and say Nadal played a ”Powerful game”?? Why are you deceiving him? Why cant we all say the truth AS IT IS and not AS IT WAS so that our beloved Rafa can improve.

      So, Maria, stop being a DECEIVER; join the people who says the truth no matter whose ox is gored. That way, Nadal will rise to prominence again. But if you and your likes like Fan Love persist in deceiving Nadal, persist in making feel like a hero when he is clearly not one, then our champion’s day of glory may have well disappeared in this lifetime or any other.

      Be a truthful person, dear Maria.

  5. So sad for Rafa. You did play well Rafa but Novak was just too good today. Good luck for the rest of 2016. Vamos Rafa!

    • I am sad for the real fans, the fans that nobody seems to listen to in the most stubborn tennis team in the world: the Nadal ‘family’.

  6. And that’s it. The biggest beatdown ever and that’s it for the h2h. If they’d keepl playing eachother regularly, it would be 23-40 before one of them retires, but that’s not gonna happen cause Rafa is no longer a challenger to Djoko. He gets eaten alive. And now I just hope that Rafa will start to think and not come up with lame comments like “He just played incredible” or “Today I was not playing very well” but just get back to that remark of earlier this week, when he said that he and his team (TONI) worked on new things. Get back to that remark, to those plans and realize what a clown of a coach you have.

  7. This is the worst result in this tournament.
    Even Dustin Brown fared better at 6-2, 6-2!

    Djokovic has simply turned Nadal into a ball boy….what a shame!

  8. The internet trolls on this site are loving this match and are actually revelling is seeing Rafa lose .You are getting exactly what you want you sad individuals. If you are fans then God help Rafa

    • You don’t get it you will never get it. I am rooting since 2005 for this player. It is just incredible that a professional refuses to approach his biggest challenges the way a pro should. Rafa and his coaching team should be ashamed of what they have done, or better: what they have refused to do, since Djoko took charge of the tennis world. Ignorance leads to failure and we are witnessing it. And keep you BS to yourself please, it is totally useless.

      • J Beer: spot on. I didn’t watch the match since I knew what the result would be although I was hoping for a miracle. My suggestion: let’s start a petition demanding the resignation of uncle TONI and the rest of Rafa’s team right now. Rafa needs to see a sport psychologist right after the match. what happened to him?. he is a total wreck.

    • Maria,

      No use crying over split milk, is there?
      If you and your like had joined us in crying and shouting from the roof top, may be this ‘mismatch of a match’ would not have happened.
      But instead, you and the likes of Fan Love kept praising and praising Nadal even when it was apparent that all was not well. Now, see the outcome of your worthless praise singing!!!!

  9. This is a beatdown the way Rafa has never suffered it before. Djoko is able to hit harder and better from both wings. And Rafa of course has a backhand that is hardly good enough for the challenger circuit (thanks Toni, for never working on that).

  10. KEEP GOING no matter the score!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rafa you are playing beautifully & your serve is fantastic……keep going sweetheart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • OMG. FYI: Rafa is the guy with the Nike Outfit and the half long hair. The guy with the short hair and the calm look on his face, hitting those lethal serves and winners, is Djokovic.

  11. I want to give a big compliment to Toni and the rest of the team. Great ideas, the new tactics are working wonderfully.

  12. It’s really SAAAAAAADDDDD!
    Djokovic is just giving Nadal Tennis lesson!!!
    Djokovic is controlling the match from one spot while Nadal runs from pillar to post retrieving balls! So disgraceful, so embarrassing!

    The 1st set has ended 6-1 in barely 40 mins in favor of Djokovic.

    I think anytime Nadal and Djoko plays, to help Nadal they should start the match at 4-0 in Nadal’s favour because for sure, Djokovic will catch up at 4-4 and eventually win 6-4!

    Nadal, as we’ve being saying, has to overhaul ALL ASPECTS of his game to have any chance at all against the Djoker, His game is far too weak for Novak.

    That’s the truth.

    • It’s the truth and it sucks. You really wonder how Djoko has gotten so little out of set of skills so far and how come he still did not win RG. The man is two classes above Rafa now and a full class better than Federer ever was. And Rafa is a classic case of a sportsman who becomes mentality weaker over the years. Most athletes improve in that part during their career. It was Rafa’s best point, but now that it is gone, it’s open house.

  13. And that’s 1-6. OK can the tunnel visioned obsessed “fans” that have been spreading nonsense about Rafa “being back” and “playing wonderful” lately, PLEASE just SHUT it from now on or at least admit they got it a 100% wrong? What a sheer humiliation.

  14. The more I look at these two playing it becomes evident: Rafa is now Djoko’s favourite opponent. He brings out the Djoker’s best and Rafa looks as if he’d rather be somewhere else. Horrid.

  15. Timely ACE SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO……GO……GO……………….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Uncle Toni & TEAM please cheer from side line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After 26 back & forth shot s Novak looks out of it…. if only Rafa can sense that….. GO RAFA GO……….

    • If you were a sports journalist, I am sure you’d summarize this match as follows: NADAL HITS ACE AGAINST DJOKOVIC (Serb wins the match, despite being clearly impressed).

  16. VAMOS DEAR RAFA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) IT IS OK SWEETHEART KEEP GOING PLAYING YOUR GAME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO…….GO……GO……..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Great start Rafa, immediately broken and hitting UE’s. Incredible, 1-8 after the US Open 13 and so retardedly nervous again. My god.

  18. OLA & VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Your new year is filled with goodness & fruitful impressive work & us fans are entirely fortunate to have & enjoy your beautiful matches!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) THANK YOU & VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) GO OUT THERE with YOUR FEISTY SOLID FORCE & ENJOY EACH POINT playing your POWERFUL MAGICAL GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) & VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

  19. I really want Rafa to win but I won’t put my money on Rafa. It’s painful to watch how Djoker toying Rafa on the court. Rafa’s game is too predictable and Novak doesn’t have to do anything special to beat him. I just hope that Rafa at least takes one set from Novak. I won’t watch the match. it’s just painful for me seeing Rafa struggling out there.

  20. lets not be realistic!! did you NOT see Rafa play yesterday he has a come back so well you really should go,
    and not come back to this page. your simply not a fan.

    • That is really unfair, since I am a long time Rafa fan. I did watch yesterday’s match but also the one the day before. I hope Rafa fans tolerate all opinions as long as they are not unpleasant. I really want Rafa to win.

      • “…As long as they are not unpleasant” – there is no place for someone like you in a democracy, who does not understand the extreme importance of freedom of speech. Extremists of the gutmensch kind – the worst of the worst.

  21. GREAT PHOTO !!!!!!!!! : )

    VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) 🙂 : ) : ) Have a great time & lots & lots of fun playing your magic !!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : )

  22. Good luck today Rafa , you have reached the final which is a good start to 2016 and great practice for the Australian Open

  23. Rafa I trust you. N confident about you putting your best leg forward.

    All the very best.

    All the luck in the world.🌹 to you.

  24. While all Rafa fans hope for a victory, let’s be realistic. Novak is ranked number one and should be favored. I am just hoping for a competitive match and a healthy Rafa.

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