Cincinnati Masters 2016 Draw: Who does Rafael Nadal face?

The Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the last big lead-up tournament before the U.S. Open and our champ is supposed to play there.

According to BBC, two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray has booked a private jet to Cincinnati and will be sharing it with Rafael Nadal, who also claimed his second gold medal as he partnered Marc Lopez to victory in the men’s doubles in Rio.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafa is the No. 3 seed behind Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. Following a first round bye,  he opens up against Pablo Cuevas or Sam Querrey in the second round, with possible matchups against No. 14 seed Nick Kyrgios in the third round and No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

Seven-time champion Roger Federer and five-time finalist Novak Djokovic will be missing from Cincinnati due to injuries.

Potential Quarterfinal Matchups: 

  • Andy Murray vs Kei Nishikori
  • Milos Raonic vs Dominic Thiem
  • Tomas Berdych vs Rafael Nadal
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Stan Wawrinka

Rafa’s potential route to the final:

  • 1st round: Bye
  • 2nd round: Pablo Cuevas or Sam Querrey
  • 3rd round: Nick Kyrgios
  • Quarter-final: Tomas Berdych
  • Semi-final: Stan Wawrinka
  • Final: Andy Murray

Click here to check out the full draw.

After so many hours spent on the court in Rio and still feeling pain in his wrist, the big question is how much will Rafa have left in the tank?



  1. Rafa I hope you are newly rejuvenated for matches this week. I hope you didn’t leave Zeus in Rio. Get rockin!!


  2. If wrist is not perfect withdraw from Cincinnati and get ready for at this stage in his career only winning majors is important

  3. Rafa’s 2nd round match will be with Pablo Cuevas who beat him for the first time in 3 meetings earlier this year in Rio de Janeiro. I’m sure Rafa is looking to even the score for that loss.

    Vamos and protect that wrist sweet Rafa!!!!!

  4. Looks as if Rafa will play Cuevas, winner of their last match, in Rio, 2016, on clay. Rafa won their other two matches, both in 2015, and again on clay. The above is from ATP H2H data.


  5. After his grueling competitions in Rio, I thought that Rafa would rest up until the US Open. He has not given his wrist time to heal completely, but if he’s not worried neither am I.
    His opponents are talented and probably well rested, two crucial elements needed to win a Masters event. I hope he has rested sufficiently and that his talents carry him to another trophy.


  6. I wish Rafa would rest his wrist and himself if he wants to compete well in the US Open.

    Good luck and Vamos!!!!!

  7. I understand the concern here, but I take it as a very good sign about his wrist. We all know that Rafa needs competitions for his best tennis. He may need points here to stay in 5th place since Raonic is close. Roger is out, of course, but he wants to be fourth for the Open. I hope he can get a delayed start. I thought I heard Andy say, however, that he was not sure about the departure due to his four hour match.

  8. Bonne chance à rafa pour cincinnati ! Après ce fabuleux parcours aux jo de rafa nul doute sur son avenir 👍👍👍👍👍vamos rafa👏👏👏👏👏👏👏❤❤❤❤

  9. The best of luck dear Rafa and please take good care of yourself 🍀😘

    VAMOS CHAMP! 🎾💪😃❤️

  10. Seems an odd decision – surely the US Open would be the next best tournament. Agree with Ashish.

  11. I don’t understand why he’s playing Cinci either. After the Kei match, instead of exhausted, he looked hyped speaking to the press like he wanted to get going again. People blame his team but I think it’s his mentality. I came across an old article seriously questioning why he continued to play the season through appendicitis. He is a fanatical competitor but it’s like he’s racing against himself and time. They will have to put him in a straightjacket to stop him.

    • Very good points! I adore him, also for being such a tough one, but it is sometimes hard to see how he is acting against his own body and limits. Indeed that was madness playing on with the appendicitis. Only one example of so many. But I’m still not sure if this mentality of unstoppableness is founded all alone in his nature or if it would have turned out different if he had been educated by a team that was less tough with him. Maybe success would also not have been the same. It is a combination of education and his character, maybe. I respect his oncle a lot and all he does for Rafa, but it all it has both sides. Success in sports on this level also has. But it is also good and relieving to see from time to time that he also has a full and great life outside of tennis. Btw. I apologize for hyperbolizing into hobby psychology when it comes to points like this.

      • I think many of us look for explanations for what Rafa chooses to do when it makes little sense to us. Recently, Rafa has been accused of lacking common sense (a sports writer). The first time I have read that explanation.

        I very much doubt there is one simple explanation for Rafa taking on tasks that don’t conform to my reality. I take into account that tennis has been his life since competing as a young teen; his competitiveness, his need to win, and his hate of losing. And then there are the additional ones that you mention.

        Our questions remain unanswered. Maybe he will publish an updated bio which will give his fans some insight as to how he thinks, and reasons for the choices he has made.

        He does have a social life which probably helps keep him balanced.

        RAFA ROCKS

      • Good points and you’re right we’ve seen this pattern in his behaviour since, at least, 2005 when he refused to accept he could no longer play (even when Uncle Toni believed it was the end). Interestingly, I’ve also been questioning how much of a full life he has without competition (and this is understandable considering his behaviour). It should be great but, I suspect, he would be unfulfilled without competitive sport of one kind or the other. Psychology is my thing, so don’t get me started!

      • Even before 2005, Rafa at thirteen years of age, played the Spanish under 14s in which he broke a finger in his first match. He refused to have it bandaged because he said it would hinder his play. He won the tournament. To this day he is playing while injured.

        When he was finally diagnosed with a deformed tarsal scaphoid, and after a second round of medical advice, Rafa was told that it was possible to play if he wore modified shoes with special orthotics to divert pressure away from the bone in his foot. He was also advised of the consequences of using the orthotic: knees, hips, back, or all would eventually buckle under the shock absorbing stresses. He decided he would worry about the complications at a later date. I think I would have chosen the same way.

        I was surprised also to read he is definitely playing the W&S after saying he was only playing because it’s the Olympics and repeating that his wrist is still not full healed. Go figure…

        RAFA ROCKS

    • Would be really wonderful if he publishes a new bio. But we have to be grateful – as compared to other sportsmen- he already gave us quite deep insight into his private life. I also like the fact that he speaks open-minded about his doubtful, sensible and somehow anxious being as it really helps me to see how he never gives up despite this character -trail which I know very good by myself. He’s bold to speak about things like this (as like you Margo once wrote), general public can be very cruel in their reactions towards open-hearted people. Especially when they are celebritys. True Teresa, I also think that Tennis is his life and very important for him and will always be. But I think he is realist enough to see that this thrilling life on the tour he has now will end sooner or later, and now he wants take as much as possible until the end of his career. This is comprehensible for me and I still hope he does it with some reason.

      • Btw. I hate it so very much when people are making fun of him because his behaviour is different than others on the tennis – courts. I could really bite, yell & shout at all this people who only see this side of him. I guess I will never learn to stop getting upset and sad and angry when they do.

      • Well, I used to think that his underwear was not fitting him as they should. I would ask myself what is he doing. He should get some custom made underwear. I finally found out that his behavior is just one of his many idiosyncrasies. Make fun, no. But other players have been made fun of also. So I don’t think Rafa is singled out. Rafa is loved no matter how he places his water bottles, how many lines he avoids stepping on, or how much picking he does. They understand. People will always make fun of others, given the opportunity. Don’t let it get to you.

      • One or two youtube videos have upset me (when compiled by haters) but most people seem to understand and trivialise his behaviour as funny – which in some ways is good. I came across this recently from a journalist who said ‘he is the nicest player one could meet in person’:

        ‘I became less enamoured with his play and more with his strange mannerisms around the court. Can we just say this out loud for once? Rafa is kind of odd. I say that not as a criticism, but more of as a point of real fascination. His nervous tics and mannerisms during the match can actually be overwhelming and when one focuses in on them, they reveal a person in a state of constant motion. Watch a Nadal match with a non-tennis fan and ask them what they notice first. Inevitably, they will mention that Nadal is picking at his butt on serve after serve.’

        What most journalists fail to realise (although Rafa has now explicitly stated it) is that this is not simply on court behaviour. It is both on and off and manifested itself maybe earlier than 6 years old. There are youtube videos of him as a child and you can see exactly the same pull on his clothes. This suggests a neurological disorder and OCD is associated with these involuntary tics.

        It could be that he is ‘wired’ differently and explains why his decision making is not as we think it should be. As you suggested, it could be the influence of his ‘machismo’ uncles on a sensitively natured child. We don’t know of course, as Margo suggested, but like the journalist, I find him fascinating, had he not been a little ‘odd’ I wouldn’t be so much of a fan.

        There is also clinical evidence of the connection between forced hand switching and nervous disorders (I told you not to get me started:)

      • Hi Teresa, I was too busy to respond yesterday. Thought I should post the following. I don’t know if you’ve read Rafa’s book.

        This is what Rafa has to say about “forced hand switching,” in relation to his left-hand playing. (Rafa, p. 30)

        Toni always encouraged me to think for myself on the tennis court. I’ve seen reports in the news media saying that Toni forced me to play left-handed, and that he did this because it would make it harder to play against me. Well, it’s not true. It’s a story the newspapers have made up. The truth is that I began playing when I was very small, and because I was not strong enough to hit the ball over the net, I’d hold the racquet with both hands, on the forehand as well as the backhand. Then one day my uncle said, “There are no professional players who play with two hands and we’re not going to be the first ones, so you’ve got to change. So I did, and what came naturally to me was to play left-handed. Why, I can’t tell. Because I write with my right hand, and when I play basketball or golf – or darts – I play right-handed too. But in football I play with my left; my left foot is much stronger than my right. But this was definitely not something that Toni, in a moment of genius, thought up. It’s dumb to imagine that he might have been able to force me to play in a way that did not come naturally to me.

        Please let me know if you found something from Rafa that contradicts the above. Thanks in advance.


      • Wow, yes, I got you started ;). But as I like what you write I’m glad about. You both are right. My problem when people making fun of him is only that they do not really care about him at all and only see it as either funny, annoying or “sick”. They do not want to know why he is doing those things. I know I can’t expect from everybody to be interested in Rafa as a person but I also expect in general and in life respect for idiosyncrasies. Of course it is understandable that non-tennis interested people only see those things. That journalist really has a good sense to encompass Rafa, and you can feel it with every word he writes that he respects him. This is exceptional. I see, we are all fascinated by Rafa’s personality 🙂

  12. So happy for you. Congratulations on your gold for doubles. Yet the gold for singles was so metric short. But good luck with your next week of games. Sure miss you.

  13. I don’t why Rafa playing this if the wrist bothering him ………Rafa we want to see u playing for long time and the tennis needs u So take care and be heathy and100 % for US OPEN The draw is tough for Rafa since he is coming back from injury. All the best rafa

    • Isn’t it possible that the wrist needs exercising rather than resting? Obviously, I’ve never had a similar injury, but I have broken a wrist, and it certainly needed using to strengthen up.

      • Yes, you are right – it comes to a point when the wrist needs exercising but Rafa did say he would not have played if it was not the Olympics and taken further rehabilitation time. So the fact he has rushed to Cinci is confusing. Also, the nature of this particularly wrist injury, is that it will reoccur if the activity that caused it continues. So quite how healed it is and whether he will exacerbate the injury is worrying.

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