Rafa Roundup: “I love France. I feel the love of the people in France”

Spain's Rafael Nadal waves after defeating Australia's Sam Groth of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Tuesday, May 24, 2016 in Paris. Nadal won 6-1, 6-1, 6-21. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Spain’s Rafael Nadal waves after defeating Australia’s Sam Groth of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Tuesday, May 24, 2016 in Paris. Nadal won 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. (AP Photo/David Vincent)


The nine-time champion never faced a break point and breezed past Australian Sam Groth 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in an hour and 20 minutes to move into the second round. The Spaniard lost only five points on his serve (40/45), landed 84 per cent of his first serves and hit 25 winners to three unforced errors.

“It’s obvious that it was a good start for me. The most important thing that I had to do today, I did well, which was return. I played without making many mistakes,” Nadal said.

His domination was such that that in the first set he produced a streak of 11 winning points in a row, and in the second set another of 14 successive points. He produced love-hold after love-hold, winning almost 90 per cent of points on his first serve.

“It’s great to play here in France and in Roland Garros. I feel always the support of the crowd here…Because is the most important place in my career, so to feel the support of the people here is something very special for me,” Nadal said after the match. “I’m not tired. Life is great. Everything is well. I played all the clay court season whether it’s a long match or a short match. It doesn’t change anything for the future. Today I won, but it doesn’t mean that I will win the next match.”

The strength of Groth’s game is supposed to be his blistering serve, but Nadal handled even that — then literally laughed when he showed up in the postmatch interview room and reporters ran out of questions for him within minutes because his dominance was that complete.

“Not much work today,” Nadal joked, then directed the press officer to start taking questions in Spanish.

Q. Was it especially disappointing to see Roselyne Bachelot’s accusations against you, because it’s coming from France where you’ve won the French Open nine times?

RN: But it’s not from France ! In my opinion, there are some people in France who have said some things, but it’s not from France. Only a few people. I don’t put everything in the same way. I love France. I feel the love of the people in France, I feel very comfortable there. It’s possibly the most important country of my career. So it’s not because some people say some stupid things that I won’t feel the same about a country I really love so much. I spent a l lot of time in Paris in my life, I know the city very well and I feel a little bit like home there. What Bachelot said: now we have to wait about the process, how it goes. I’m 100% confident in justice in France.

Nadal has won over 91% of his career clay court matches—the highest winning percentage in the Open Era. His closest active competitors, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, are fifth and 14th on the Open Era list respectively. Djokovic might be the current top ranked player but  Nadal is still the best ever on clay.

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal Hurries Into Second Round


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  1. Rafa, I have no doubt you will shine again tomorrow. Stay focused, don’t lose concentration and mix it up good. Keep him guessing. Great luck with your match. Nobody does it better than you.

    Kei and Stan thru to round 3 in easy straight sets today.


  2. Well done to Rafael on a great start even if the opposition was poor. He was confident , I loved the fun he had with the Hotdog shot. Always delighted to support this great guy, King of Clay and lovely human being. 🌅

  3. Djoker is still pretending to be “tired” on his face. I am still worried that he would complete his career grandslam this year. Rafa, you’re nearly the only hope. Andy and Wawrinka couldn’t beat Novak now with their shaky form. Rafa if you could improve your return of serve, you can “rally” Novak in his game then the chance would appear like Rome 2016. I really hope that Rafa could make it.

  4. 4afevre…Love your comments about Rafa…I feel exactly the same way you do… I have loved him from day one as well… My parents were Roger fans and I was not interested in tennis until Rafa came along ! This adorable young teenager was kicking Rogers butt and I have been an ardent Rafa fan ever since… I love his character … Humble unaffected by fame and an unbelievable athlete. I think all of his fans feel the same way… He has this aura about him and when you see him in person; he looks taller and slimmer than on TV. I would love him to win number 10 RG but honestly He has already had such an illustrious career already that for me he is already the GOAT!

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I am envious that you saw Rafa in person. It does seem that he has a lot of fan support wherever he goes and he should. I actually do not believe in having athletes as role models, but maybe Rafa is the exception.

  5. Well done Rafa, I can see from the shots that you had a great game and you were really enjoying it.
    All the best for the next game, and I will be praying for you,

    Love and prayers,


  6. Intelligent thinking on and off the court; enjoy every moment for you have earned
    it. Wherever in the world you are competing, the values you have from your family, team, etc. shine through. That is why you have worldwide support and adulation. At Indian Wells, I notice that no one garners more interest or excitement than Rafael Nadal, even at a practice court. So, let the fire burn brilliantly-fight on!🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆💪👑❤️

  7. Rafa, I can never understand how anyone does not love you! I have been a fan since the first time I saw you play. I have never heard you say an unkind thing about your opponents and you always treat everyone with respect. You are such a role model for everyone. I only want you to play well, stay healthy, and be happy. The rest will come. You have such a great perspective on what really matters in life. We are lucky to be your fans.

    • Most haters are bitter Federer fans …didn’t like the new kid on the block whupping their hero …fact

  8. Rafa one match at a time keep playing the way your are playing all your fans everywhere love you and want so much for you to win
    So good luck in your next match

  9. Rafa looked totally at peace with himself and his tennis on court against Groth. You have nothing to prove, Rafa so take one match at a time and remember what got you your nine RG titles- your incredible ability and dogged determination! La decima awaits!!!

  10. Rafa has spoken. “He feels the love of the people in France.”
    May this clay court season be his happiest yet. Vamos brigade!


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