(AP) – Rafael Nadal’s first fist pump Friday followed his second point in the Miami Open, when he kissed a forehand off the sideline to win a long rally.
He accompanied the celebratory gesture with a skip in his step and then hit the accelerator, holding every service game to beat Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-4.
Thus began Rafa’s latest bid to win Key Biscayne.
“A lot of big motivation,” he said.
He is playing the tournament for the 13th time and has never won it, although he was the runner-up in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2014. At 0-for-12, it’s Rafa’s longest drought at any event and perhaps the most glaring gap in the 14-time Grand Slam champion’s resume.
Does it bug him? He won’t admit to any frustration but let slip that he still remembers the exact score when he was two points from the title in the third set versus Novak Djokovic.
That was six years ago.
“Against Novak — 6-5, 15-30,” Rafa said. “It didn’t happen.”
The Spaniard has always enjoyed the atmosphere in Miami, where Latin fans give him enthusiastic support, and he likes the tournament’s hard courts. He’s simply overdue.
“I’m trying my best every year,” Rafa told the stadium crowd after dispatching Sela. “I’ve been very close four times. I will try to give myself another chance.”
well done nadal,you will do great in the next game,will be watching you vamos rafa.
Oh I’m so looking forward to that match maria. Just as I was to the match that never was, between Roger and nick at indian wells. Should be some good tennis being played over the next couple of days. Before I shoot off – best of luck to rafa this afternoon!
Happy to see they both won , Jolly Roger against Del potro tomorrow, that will be one to watch Susie.
Good luck Rafa and DelPo.
As did nick kyrgios it seems.
Fabulous – Delpo won his match yesterday.
Rafa win or lose you are a CREDIT to yourself, family, team and country.
the fact that you keep putting yourself forward says it all.
ALL the best for next game at MIAMI tomorrow.
Love and prayers,
Thiem just lost to Coric.
Take Miami Rafa, it’s yours! ❤❤❤
Hmpf and I had hoped to get a tennis fix at some point tonight but I hear it’s begun raining again. I’m a bit weird about recording tennis Maria as I much prefer to watch it live but in rafa’s case I will record before I go out tomorrow. With any luck I may catch some of it if I get back early enough. Cross fingers.
I know sorry Susie, I was trying really hard but it was one prod to many. I’m with you I think the record button will be getting hit as i don’t think we will be seeing any live tennis this side of midnight .Go and get some sleep and enjoy your day tomorrow.
Hi Maria England – I leave you alone for half a day and look what happens! Lol. No dominic hasn’t always worn a hairband nor is is hair usually this long. Maybe he’s trying to emulate rafa in more ways than one. Seriously though I hear he is a really nice and down to earth guy. Saw some highlights of tiafoe’s match cos of the rain and he was playing well, you’re right. I’m quite tired and with the rain break if nick doesn’t play at midnight i may have to hit the sack. Plus we lose an hour tonight. I will do my best though. But I’d also like to see del potro and he’s playing even later. What’s a girl to do?
I’ve just caught up on the days posts as been really busy. Maria siberia – nice to hear from you again – you mentioned some names that were a blast from the past. Where are they all now I wonder? They were indeed a feisty bunch. Looking forward to your predictions for this tournament. But will you get it right? We will have to see…….
Hi Susie , haven’t watched thiem’s match , isn’t that annoying you just give them a compliment and then they throw it back in your face by smashing their racket Lol. Did Thiem always wear a headband ? Not sure it suits him , he just needs a pair of leg warmers and he will look like he’s come out of the 80’s ., (Doesn’t wear it like Rafa does ) Waiting for the Kyrgios match to come on , actually quite looking forward to watching him now. Your comments / essay/ novel made me laugh.
Vamossssssssssssss Rafa you can do it Champ.good luck love your fans for ever.🎾🎾🎾🎾🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸❤️
Just having said dominic is a very nice young man – he’s just smashed his racket as he’s so frustrated with the rain break at set point. I’ve NEVER seen him do that and I’ve watched him loads. Lol
Oh my goodness. Lol. Well Margo – I don’t know how can dare say that Maria England writes essays, when a good few of us here have had a few birthdays just trying to get through one of your posts! Your attitude to her is also so appalling – consistently. I suggest you leave her alone, leave Rafantastic to contact who she likes as it’s sweet FA to do with you and leave me alone too. Just in case you decide to attack me too. Your immaturity knows no bounds. Hi Maria – sorry – I’ve not been able to watch any tennis today until now. Watching dominic thiem at mo – now there’s a very well brought up young man – a bit rafaesque in that regard – but not as good a player. I saw tiafoe play his 1st round and was impressed. Sorry Roger took him out but he is one to keep an eye on. Must stop before this turns into an essay zzzzzzz zzzzzzz. Whoops sorry – just bored myself to sleep. Nothing wrong with your posts Maria. Keep em coming. Most helpful
A win but not routine as hoped. Rafa let Sela back into the match in the second set due to a few wayward forehands. This shows that his confidence has still not fully returned. It’s worrying because he can’t afford to make the same mistakes against better players than Sela. He’ll have to play a much more solid match against Kohlschreiber.
Sorry Rafantastic , neither do I, seems to be an ongoing fued between Margo and I , you have just been caught in the crossfire . My apology
Oh please, I don’t want any conflict in here because of a request that I made 😳✌🏻☮️😊
All finished. No conflict.🤗