PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal Loses In Miami Open Final For Fifth Time

Rafael Nadal has lost in straight sets in the Miami Open final to Roger Federer.

Fifth seed Rafa was defeated 6-3, 6-4 in Miami, in what is his fifth loss in the Miami Open final, two of which have been to Roger Federer.

After the match, Rafa said:

Well done to Roger, I am very happy for him.

I just want to say thank you to everybody here, it’s been a good two weeks for me in Miami. It’s been a good start to the season and it’s disappointing for me to always be in this position here with the smaller trophy…

I’m going to keep trying hard over the next couple of years and hopefully I won’t have to wait three years again to fight for the title.

Better luck next time, Rafa!


  1. That was a depressing show yesterday.

    I just read a good analysis (there aren’t many) by Craig O’Shaunnessy on the atp site who siad exactly what I thought (hence good!) that Rafa did change his tactics against Fed–did not go the BH much as it’s been vastly improved, so instead played Rafa BH to Fed’s FH mainly, which is not a great pattern of play for Rafa.

    Craig also showed stats that showed Rafa wins the most points when he hits a FH as the first shot after a serve, but yesterday it was mainly. So Rafa did try other tactics, but they failed. That’s how it looked to me.

    It also was apparent his FH kill shot, the shot that he has lived and died by, the ISOCC FH, wasn’t working. Without that, forget beating the top guys. That wasn’t working, I thought, because he wasn’t hitting enough FHs in general, to hone the biggest FH of them all.

    Rafa kept the score close with fantastic serving (he may have had as many aces as Fed, I haven’t seen the stats) but otherwise he was scrambling. He started strong but once broken in the 1rst set at 3/4, he played like he was going to lose.

    So with three finals and three sequential losses to Fed (one to Querry) we can say Rafa is better than last year but not anywhere near his previous best.
    Fed was beatable, and someone needs to do it soon. Fed has been escaping too much, building up that aura of invincibility which makes him even harder to beat. He’s in Rafa’s head now. Nick would have beat Rafa too, I have no doubt of that.

    So what next for Rafa? A good clay season will build his confidence back up, maybe that’s all that’s needed. But somehow that FH has to fire, or his days of being top 4 are over. Plain and simple.

  2. Good luck at the claycourt tournament, dear Rafa ❤️🍀 Win or loose always with you 🤗😘

    VAMOS CHAMP!! 🎾💪🏼

  3. I think one has to realize that we are rooting for something that is just not realistic anymore. Federer has always had clearly the game that would carry him for longer years. Not relying on extreme defensive moves and top spin applied with force. He is unfortunately getting his dividends now that the Djoker and Murray are out and in a clear dip. He waited 4 full seasons for his chances!
    As for Rafa, his game always relied on a brutal forehand (spin created by raw power, generated from the knees, hips, arm and shoulder). With the body aching and aging, the torque is much less (2/3 of what it was, shown several times on Europsport stats). Add to that the fact that the hound dog is no longer retrieving, and we’ve got a shade of the old Nadal. It is in fact quite a surprise that he is making finals here and there. Only with a lot of luck he may get far at the French Open. But an all out hard hitting strategy, as applied by Rosol, Brown, and now Federer, will unfortunately knock Rafa out there too. The machine is rusty and we can’t stop that process. Rafa does not have the technique and body to drastically change. To get a better serve and a better forehand at this stage, for him it is impossible.

    • jason,

      disagree with you a little bit. I believe that the problem with rafa is that his game has become to predictable. This whole tournament except the final his forehand went very well. What he needs is a great serve. The disadvantage he has in compair to players like federer, murray, djokovic, krygios, zverev and wawrinka is that they have all a great serve that brings them free points and gets them out of trouble nadal doesnt have that. Well he had that serve during the us open 2010. That was the best grandslam nadal every played. He was invincible on his serve. I never saw that serve again.

      Then his returns because he stands 40 meters behind the baseline he is unable to put depth in his returns. They are falling short which is easy then for his opponents to put the ball away. Then his groundstrokes I cant remember the last time nadal hitted various times the ball down the line with both his forehand and backhand that tells you something. Furthermore his courtposition by doing that his groundstrokes are falling short very easy to put away.

      As long he refused to improve these points and decides to do the same thing he will never ever compete for the big titles again. For the people on this forum to think that everything will be fine on clay they are sadly mistaking. Players like thiem, zverev, krygios, murray, djokovic and wawrinka are wating for him on clay.

      • You agree on the serve. But you in fact also agree on the FH. Why do you think he stands indeed miles behind the baseline. Because his old school technique does not allow for solid returns with a short movement. Rafa needs a swing. And for a swing he needs time. And to have time, he needs distance. Apart from that, he is not able (anymore) to analyse during a match what he should change in his tactics. He looks unfortunately not very intelligent in the many losses that one as an outsider can see coming from very far away, quite often after two games already.

      • Well of course it went well against KOhl, Fog and Sock! The issue is Fed, or Nick (or Delpo or Djok etc.) He is no longer losing to the players out of the top ten at least. It’s an improvement, but we (and he) hope for more than that.

      • Hi Mjus,

        Responding here to your comment below, for some reason some replies don’t have reply buttons.
        So yeah I’ve rewatched USO final 2013 against Djok many times, that was a magical time for Rafa he won two Masters on Hard, Montreal and Cincy prior, then USO–unbeleivable results on HC for Rafa. He was hitting very deep and flatter. I beleive flatter is the way he must go–NOT MORE topsin–but these are very difficult changes to make at this stage. They’re difficult even at 15.
        He was serving in the 120s. He’s serving there now, btw. I think the seve is maybe better than it’s very been, but the FH is not. Virtually all commies have said this, Rafa’s serve really improved with Moya.
        But the topsin and the FH:
        So often I see Rafa’s balls just sit up in mid court waiting to be clobbered. Small wonder he gets burned on them. Every time he hits a short overtopped ball I know it’s coming and it usually does.
        BHDTL and FHDTL: totally the indicator of his confidence and level when he’s playing them. That’s when I know he could beat anyone, when all those factors are working for him. Depth, a bit flatter, and the DTL shots.
        I saw the DTLs against Sock. He played a great match against Sock, and Sock is pretty dangerous these days. But he’s no Fed.
        Rafa’s game these days seems to go up and down in quite fast cycles. But Fed is still too much for him in his current mindset. If had beat Fed AO, I have no doubt he would have beat him again at IW. Fed is definitely in his head now, and that’s the problem.

    • I see you know your tennis, but I disagree. I don’t think it’s age at all, I think the game has changed, Rafa was very slow to change with it, the feild is way stronger now too.

      Biggest problem always still biggest problem–lack of court penetration of Fhs when feeling not confident or put in a chronic defensive position. Fed put him in that position and he went to back old ways.

      Also ISOCC FH killer shot not working. Without this, forget about beating top 5 players.

      That’s not an age thing, it’s a head thing, and a technique thing. Not feeling it. But he was at the AO, showing it’s all still possible. I beleive the loss there to Fed, when leading 5th set3/1, put another dent in his confidence.

      • Toni has been complaining for some time now about how the game has changed. Remember his’ “Wam, bam!” comment, and not long thereafter Rafa echoed his uncle’s words in an interview that was posted here. The “wam, bam,” shots don’t lend themselves to strategic thinking or setting up a shot by Rada as in days past, according to Toni.

        RAFA ROCKS

    • YOu are dead on with your comment below about why he stand back so far, needing time for his huge backswing on the FH.
      This is a core problem and I sometimes think the big topspin players are finished; the flatter hitter who take the ball early (Fed, Nick) are on the rise, the game has become way more aggressive.
      I have wondered this about Rafa for awhile, and it’s even true on clay. More players used to stand back and wait for the ball to come to them. No longer the way.
      But Rafa did change all of this at the AO. He was revieving closer in, and generally playing in a more aggressive court position.

      So somehow, he relapsed in IW and Miami, went back to old ways. And the results show it.

      • rafalite,

        I was watching the us open final 2010 between djokovic and nadal. And yeah nadal was younger then he is now. You know how he was hitting the ball? very flat and his serve was unbelievable. If he still would have that serve today i guarantee he would have been a unbelievable competitor. His courtposition was also better. This year australian open he was playing the quarterfinal against milos raonic. In that match he was taking the ball early and brought milos in trouble. I dont believe for a second that he is not capable of doing these things anymore. In my opinion he knows how to return, how to play inside the court how to hit the ball flatter, how to take the ball early. Please tell when was the last time you saw rafa hitting the forehand or backhand down the line?

      • Roger has transformed his game in to the new age wham/Bam type game… I don’t know how he has done it with just a new racket but he has… Rafa is playing old school tennis and it doesn’t appear that he is going to change. We true blue Rafa fans just have to accept things the way they are… One title and three finals is not too shabby. I was hoping that Moya would help revamp his game but I do not see any changes as of yet… Still playing far behind the baseline… honestly I don’t know the answer… I’m just going to take one match at a time and hope for the best… I’m just happy he’s healthy and seems to be having a good time! Love you Rafa win or lose!

  4. Regardless of his breezy nonchalance, Fed did not get his current form easily. Neither will it be simple for Rafael to regain his fire. Stay healthy and choose wisely. There are so many nagging injuries among the top players, the scheduling certainly takes its toll. Good luck to the Nadal team to solve this puzzle.🔑👑🏆

  5. It bothers me a lot if Roger is going to take a break before the FO. It’s a dangerous and ominous sign. Rafa can’t let Federer win against him at the FO – regardless of which round it is – for that matter the same goes for nole. That’ll flatten his confidence even if he smiles afterwards and doesn’t admit it. He desperately needs a win (or more) against them and other top players. Every time Federer wins against whoever- especially the way he did against Berdych and Kyrgios I can’t but help thinking if his horoscope and what has been predicted. Sorry 😞.

    Cmon Rafa! You are doing better this year so believe more in yourself – wake up – se agresivo!!! Stand in front of the mirror everyday and say “im the best” “I am a winner” etc. etc.

    Alas, Rafa will not be comfortable saying that. Will have to
    make a tremendous effort – walk over his own shadow – very difficult I know believe me but try!

    Always Rafa! VAMOS!!!

  6. Rafa, if, and only if you are still capable of winning titles that’s what I want to see. If the passion is still there, that’s what I want to see. If that never-say-die attitude is there, I want to see it.

    Are you considering bringing in a consultant or should we just remember what Toni said about you not changing your style after all these years, just a few tweeks here and there?

    I am thrilled you are in finals after such a long absence from the podium. If your body and mind can get you the winner’s trophy, let’s see that. But if your torn-up body is letting you down, I can surely live with that.

    FYI, Roger is disappearing until the French Open. I hope you are prepared to beat him and anyone else seeking to deprive you of your dixième, or as you would call it, your décima. What new weapons are you hiding?


  7. I think Rafas doing well considering he has been out of circulation,yes its disappointing at Miami but Roger is playing like a demented 20 year old not 35,Dont forget Roger had his off season a while back,he came back, so can Rafa.
    And Novac And Andy have lost to lesser players of late……all is change even for the top players.

  8. I will always be a Rafa fan – no matter what. But I will also write what I think and feel even if it sounds like criticism. Even now in 2017 even though Rafa is playing a bit better than in 2015/16 his mental problems – complete lack of confidence and belief in himself are glaring points. His body tightens and sometimes he looks lost – hits shots just to get the ball over the net (at least so it seems )I hate it when Rafa makes Federer and djokovic look better than they are and puts Them on a pedestal. His attitude is sometimes so submissive. He seems content coming into semi-finals and finals. Please Miya don’t you recognize that Rafa badly needs mental healing and coaching. That is the core problem. It’s not arrogant if one he is good – can win against anybody – is the best. Putting oneself down etc. as has been seen in the things he says finally gets one down.

    Please help him coach and team and all!

    • rafa fan,

      i agree with you complety. I am a nadal supporter since 2007. And it saddens me to see him like this. So unbelievably predictable. Bad serve, bad returns, bad courtposition. Afraid to use backhand and forehand down the line. Balls falling very short. To me it look like a trainingsession. I dont mind him losing tennis matches after all he is human. But what i am angry about is his unwillingness to learn from it and improve his game. Federer used his absence to work on his game and see the results. And that at the age of 35. And also his attitude towards other players trying to be a nice guy instead of a ruthless champion. I mean look at djokovic he doesnt give a crap wheter he his liked or not for him its all about winning titles and be the best of the world. The serb hates losing and to me he is a ruthless champion

      Nadal smiled yesterday like he won the title and also he was overwhelmingly praising federer as he did in the past by calling him the whole time the goat and talked about him like the swiss is his big brother or something. To me that is the behaviour of someone who lost the passion and desire to win titles and is not upset by losing at all. but instead bowing his head to a tennisplayer who he caused tremendous pain in the past (federer crying at ao 2009). Federer doesnt give a crap about nadal all he wants is to win at all costs. Even his wife mirka is doing her part to achieve this. (mocking krygios in the semifinal)

      Rafa said in the press conference that he was ready to win titles again. He also said that it was a close match and that he had many opportunities. To me the behaviour of someone who is living in denial and doesnt know what is wrong with his game. I dont see him dominating clay court season. Not with how he was playing yesterday.

      He will face fierce competition on clay from players like: djokovic, murray zverev krygios, thiem and wawrinka. These are not the years of 2007 till 2013 where he was invincible

    • Really like your post.
      But it’s not so much that he makes Fed and Djok look better than they really are–the really are incredible–it’s that they make him look like less. Tennis all about domination and submission, it’s a fascinating battle. Fed used to Rafa’s whipping boy–the tables have been reversed, and it’s humilliating.

      Moya has already done Rafa much good. Not sure anyone in that camp wants to engage a mental coach–though look what wonders the sports psychologist did for Nick K!! But somehow I sense Rafa wouldn’t bite on that one.

      So strange that Rafa used to be known (and is still known) as one of the game’s toughest competitors ever, and yet I’m not sure that’s still the case. When his confidence is low, he becomes very submissive–it’s a natural reaction–and somehow that cycle has to be interrupted.

      Fascinating and vexing problem. He’s better than he was, but not as good as he was before he got worse.

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