Rafa Roundup: Fedal final most watched tennis match in Eurosport history

Photo by Juan Aldabaldetrecu
Photo by Juan Aldabaldetrecu


“My simple answer to that question is: No, they can’t,” said Alan Seymour, a sports marketing consultant and former professor at the UK’s University of Northampton. “There will be a void in the short term.”

Sports stars such as Federer and Nadal, plus Australian Open winner and now 23-time major singles winner Serena Williams and her sister Venus, “have taken on iconic status,” Seymour said, adding it will be difficult to replace them once they retire.

“Federer and Nadal have both stood against that in everything that they do,” Seymour said. “They’ve been great ambassadors for the sport and they’ve given a lot back.”

Two weeks later, the expectations that we’re so used to having are back. Not only can Nadal win another Grand Slam, but he should win another Grand Slam. It’s easy to forget because of his injury history and early success, but The King of Clay is still just 30 years old. He has plenty of tennis left in him, and if the Australian Open was any indicator of what lies ahead, plenty of titles left in him.

He’s still hungry, still focused and still as dangerous as anyone in the world.

Rafa wasn’t a popular pick to win the Australian Open, but would you dare bet against him at Roland Garros? Didn’t think so.

What would a Federer-Nadal one-two in majors say for men’s tennis in 2017? That the standard is the best it has ever been, and rising? That winning even a single Open is a serious triumph? That this captivating game, played by some of the best athletes of any discipline, should be enjoyed with the knowledge that we are living through the best of times? Yes, all of the above, and more.

Roger Federer has the trophy but the glory belongs to both of them.

Roger and Rafa, geniuses and gentlemen: thank you. Thank you.

Eurosport is celebrating a record-breaking Australian Open with yesterday’s men’s final between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal smashing the channels audience records and cementing its status the Home of Grand Slam tennis.

As the game’s greatest rivals faced each other in a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2011, more than 15.2m simultaneous viewers tuned in to Europe’s number one sports destination during yesterday’s final set drama… The dream final between two legends of the game has become Eurosport’s most-watched tennis match of all-time…

ESPN said the men’s final — the first Federer-Nadal matchup in a Grand Slam final since 2011 and their eighth overall — drew a record audience since it moved to an overnight ET time slot in 2005. Starting at 3:30 AM ET Sunday, the five-set match posted a 0.9 overnight rating, up 80% from the 2016 final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The network said it likely will be the most-watched program at that hour in ESPN history.

Time will tell if their reunion here was a fleeting epilogue or the resumption of another chapter. There is sadness in the fact that the Roger and Rafa show cannot last forever, but profound pleasure in that happened again at all. Tennis, indeed sport, is incalculably richer for its return.



  1. The ATP has announced that Rafa has committed to the Aegon Championships a/k/a Queen’s Club, to be held June 19-25.

    Both Rafa and Andy have completed the Queen’s-Wimbledon title double in the same year, 2008 and 2013 respectively.


  2. bpnm on February 5, 2017 at 4:06 PM
    Agree with you. He was almost there. It was painful to see him lose that one, because unfortunately opportunity like this will not come very often. Fed deserved to win with his aggressive play. Rafa was so far behind the line(maybe he was tired), but that’s not excuse. He must play aggressive in this last few games to hold his break and trophy. He must understand he can’t afford to play his old defensive style anymore if he wants to win.And even if he said the opposite, he is sad, he is very sad. And he must be sad for miss opportunity(a lot was on line).I love Rafa a lot and I believe he deserves more GS. But I was angry at him after that final.Fed played with better tactics and smarter than him, so …I am disappointed. Just yesterday I checked SI phone interview with Federer from Swiss Alps….grandiosity in action again, pretty disgusting. But hey…he won and that’s what count in the end.I am worry for Rafa that this huge disappointment from the final will affect his future play. I hope he get his 10th FO.Vamos.

    • @Bis I too read the entire Time interview which was copied by SI.

      Roger said he “…would have been happy had Rafa won,” because he expected only to get to the quarters, if that far.

      Roger credits his win to his extended period of rehabilitation; to his hunger to play after being away so long; to his hunger to win after so many years of not winning a slam; to staying focused, and refusing to give in to negative thoughts during the fifth set especially.

      He said he went into the match against Rafa with the mindset, “play the shots, not the man.”

      I was never a Fed fan but this interview has taught me how wrong about him I may have been. Maybe fatherhood and age has mellowed him. I found his responses honest and informative on the man himself. He even spoke of his mental weakness early on in his career. First interview of his that I enjoyed.


    SPACE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!XX

  4. Rafa and Roger has the most fans among all the men in tennis so of course their finals match is the most watched tennis match of all time. Sad the result was not Rafa winning, but glad that he looks like he is playing very well once again. Hope this result will be a lift off to more titles and perhaps hitting double digits at Roland Garros. I can’t wait for his clay season campaign to begin! Go Rafa!


  5. You are welcome Margo… I just feel that some people take you the wrong way. I have always enjoyed your post… Beverley’s and Maria (England) My goodness you all are very articulate in your writing! Maybe everybody is in a lousy mood because of Trump!

    • That’s another reason why I so much appreciate Beverley’s posts; they are so well written.

      Your post about your hair and what your pet may have been wondering was priceless. I couldn’t stop laughing. Honestly!! And one about “bringing out the momma bear” in fans was just great. And so true.

      Just eleven more days for Rotterdam and I can’t wait. Seems like forever that Rafa was gone but happily he is back. For him to reach his tenth at RG would be truly phenomenal.


      • Yes! That was an amazing two weeks in Australia… I just can’t believe that he got all the way to the final! I was very disappointed that he did not win however I was extremely pleased with his all his progress. He just has to get out of the habit of standing so far back…When he does play the baseline he gets more balls back. Do you have an opinion why he stands so far back? All in all it was a great great tournament for him and like you said it was so nice to see his girlfriend there cheering him on… Aren’t they a beautiful couple… She seems so perfect for him quiet and refined! Have you seen pictures of her in her bikini…. for sure their baby is going to have a beautiful bum and beautiful teeth!

  6. Very well put Beverley…You made your point without lashing out! Like I told Susana I did get bumped off for I guess for being sarcastic.I went to post and it wouldn’t go through… Finally when I tried after a few days I got back on but it said I was being monitored… So I was just warning Susana that it actually isn’t freedom of speech… Like on Instagram they want you to keep it friendly and Lighthearted ( for lack of a better word) I don’t think Margo is a mean spirited person… She’s really researches her information and I think that people may take her the wrong way. Rafa has never said anything negative about Roger… It just isn’t part of his genetic make up! On the other side of the spectrum I have heard Roger make negative comments about Rafa I do not remember the source but I remember him saying that he takes too long between points( and he does) and he makes too loud of grunting noises. I was not happy about that because it came after he lost to Rafa. I thought geez you’ve been playing him for 10 years now you should be use to it. I have also heard many commentators make fun of Rafa for all his idiosyncrasies that he goes through before he serves.( get over it already) Yes He has some bad habits the one that he pulls on his shorts is the worst one… I honestly think it’s just a habit more than a psychoses! He says that it keeps him focused.It doesn’t bother me but it does bother a lot of people. If you ever read a Roger site… They really get mean and say they wouldn’t want to shake his hand after him picking his butt…it makes me sad because I just love him so much that I do become overprotective! I would shake his hand anytime anywhere! I really thought the Rafa was going to win and I was sure hoping that he would, however I’m very thrilled that he did reach the final and he did take home a trophy at the end of the year… Just feel very confident that he will lift his 10th trophy at Roland Garros!

  7. Thank you Margo for inquiring about my shoulder. I am no longer wearing the sling but have months of physiotherapy ahead of me as it was a very bad fracture. ( is any fracture good?)
    I am looking forward to Rotterdam and hopefullly. the sight of Rafa lifting the trophy.

    • You’re most welcome. That you are on the mend is great news. Physiotherapy can be grueling but the benefits are well worth the hard work.


  8. Fear not Susie, Discovery the owner of Eurosport have reached an agreement with sky (2 days ago) that will see Eurosport continue to be available to sky customers.Good news didn’t want to lose my partner in crime LOL

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