Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal prepared for clay

Photo via Monaco Info

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Since 2009, Nadal has gained an average of 2,448 points at the four biggest clay tournaments before Roland Garros: the three Masters 1000 tournaments – Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Mutua Madrid Open, Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome – and the Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell, an ATP World Tour 500 event. At the four tournaments, Nadal has won a combined 29 titles.

Should Nadal claim the top spot in the Race, it’s likely he will have captured at least one title from either Monte-Carlo, Barcelona or Roland Garros – the three events he has won a record nine times each. The Spaniard is the only player in the Open Era to have won a tournament nine times. If he were to win the trio of tournaments for a record 10th time, he’d stamp his legacy on the game – and on the clay – once more.

“This is an important event. It’s one of my favourite events of the year without a doubt. Monte-Carlo is unique for me. I’m trying to work as much as I can to be ready for the competition and adjust my game again to clay.

“I am excited to be here. I started slow to adapt to the clay, hitting for 45 minutes, then one hour and one hour and 30 minutes for the first few days. I did what I needed to avoid the risk for injuries. With more practise, I remind myself how to win the points, how to defend and how to move. It’s a process. Things are not that easy. It takes time. I decided to not play on clay in February this year so it’s a little different.”

It’s been a brilliant 2017 for Rafael Nadal, who reached his first major final since 2014 at this year’s Australian Open. Though Nadal has been unable to solve the riddle of Roger Federer in the season’s first three months, he has nonetheless built a great deal of momentum, going 19-5 with three Top 10 wins and two hard court finals to his name.

Now, if the Spaniard can take the next step and summon that savage clay-court form of year’s past, then he might have a real chance to do serious damage over the next two months. The Spaniard thinks he’s ready to do just that.

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15 thoughts on “Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal prepared for clay

  1. I will be up in the wee hours of the morning rooting and cheering you on! Remember to play the baseline and not the Monte Carlo line… Also ace ace baby for free points ..serve & volley you are so good at the net … used dropper sparingly( not your best shot Plus they are very riskky & make me a nervous wreck😱) ) remember angles serve out wide and finished with your FH! VAMOS RAFA … I hope you have an easy match! 💜you win or lose! ( but I really want you to win)! Also remember that you are the king of clay!

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  2. So this is a bit of my “scouting” job. 😀

    The Djokovic vs Simon match was such a break fest. Djokovic survived another close early round full-setter, winning 63 36 75.

    Basically Simon had almost no serve and choke immediately in both times after breaking Djokovic in the decider at 2-2 and 4-4. He put up a great fight though (Rafa, please be inspired), breaking Djokovic 5 times, the best of which was when he was trailing at 15-40 2-2 in the third set, just when it looked like Djokovic already had he game in the bag.

    Besides some great play here and there, Djokovic still looked quite shaky.

    He mishit a lot off both sides – 23W/43UE compared to Simon’s 21W/26UE, of which 15 points are off the BH, which means bad news for him. He also only won 55% (51/93) of points on serve and his net play was average at 10/19.

    He’s still in love with his drop shot though, playing it anytime he felt like it, which was fun to watch if you ask me :p.

    If Rafa survives Birthday boy Zverev on Thursday (should they meet), I think he will do well against this Djokovic; unless, of course, Djokovic suddenly raises his game at the sight of Rafa on the other side of the net again. It’s been a while since they last met on court. A lot has happened since then…

    Rafa will play the third match at court Rainier III tomorrow, after Wawrinka, Murray and before Dimitrov. Such a good tennis day. 🙂

    Good luck, Rafa.

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    1. Some more thoughts (🚫potential novel alert, skip before too late :p), this match reminds me of Rafa quite a lot. Not only because of Djokovic though.

      Simon has a weak serve. So even when he could break his opponent, he then just couldn’t hold on to his dear serve to consolidate in the first and especially the third set.

      That was even worse news than your not being able to break your opponent, but also not letting him break you, at least before the set/match goes to distance, Because letting your opponent break you right back means sending your most unwanted message to him: “Yeah I broke you all right, but I’m also nervous as hell/just not *that* confident. Or maybe I think you broke yourself more than I broke you.”

      Tennis is as much a mind game as it’s a game of skills and athleticism and will and everything else. Don’t let your opponent smell blood.

      Djokovic in the second set was like Simon in the first set, then Simon was back to being Simon in the third set. On the psychological point the match was like “who drops his nerve first”.

      They seemed to be “familiar” with each other after *that* AO16 five-setter to remember :p.

      Well, what I mean to say is, in those recent years, I don’t even remember how many times Rafa was up a set/break or two in the decider or the second set, just to got broken right back, once, two, three times.. and couldn’t do anything beside watching his opponent getting elated for being able to beat *the* Warrior of the Game, especially in that way.

      Was his serve *that* weak? Hell no. Mostly it’s the mannifestation of his nerve.

      We all know Rafa admited he was having a huge mental problem in 2015. And as recently as October last year, after winning “only” MC and Olympics Doubles, he’s basically admiting it again, though not that “huge”, by saying he had lost his confidence in his FH, which basically means his game.

      That’s why though I’m very happy for him that he’s doing better this year, the way I see it, his nerve, his mentality to win “important things” (I’m borrowing his words) is still in question.

      And that’s why no, I didn’t want Djokovic to get upset that early. I felt sorry for him when Simon broke him for the second time at 4 – 4 in the third set. Believe it or not, he looked quite calm and dignified at that moment, not angry.

      Playing good or bad, I want him to play Rafa in the semi, both giving each other a hell of a fight. It’s a bit overdue they didn’t play at AO, Acapulco and Miami. Might as well just do it here and get it over with on this “neutral” court, with both players having passed their prime and still struggling to make a true comeback. I think they need each other.

      In Djokovic’s quarters, Goffin looked like he’s on a mission. And Thiem is also a good clay court player. It will be very likely a great R16 match and the winner of that match is expected to give Djokovic a good run for his money. But I think he will find his way to the semi this time.

      It was quite a match, the Djokovic vs Simon. Gave me a lot of thoughts. So please pardon this rambling (again).

      Good night, everyone. Hope to see many of you tomorrow “at” Rafa match and some more. 🙂 🌌🌠

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      1. Rafalite

        Hi Vy,

        Wish I had seen this match, but felt heartened Simon gave Djok so much trouble.
        I am intrigued by how Simon does this, he nearly beat Djok at a slam in the recent past (AO 2016?) I like Simon and understand his game as very efficient grinding but almost no weapons, great movement and a very steady head. He does not choke or give up.

        1rst round performance by Djok is not an indicator though.

        I’ll be up early to watch Rafa play Edmund, that should be a cakewalk, and I have to say I don’t fear Zverev on clay. The surface just isn’t fast enough to benefit his game, as far as I’m concerned.

        I am so eager to see how Rafa looks on clay at this point. I thought his game at the AO was better than it has been for ages, but setbacks in IW and Miami against Fed.

        Djok is such a different kind of challenge for Rafa than Fed, and we shall see, if they both make it. Thiem has the capacity to upset Djok on clay. In fact, I think of Thiem as very Rafa-like, except he hits the ball harder.

        I just got HD TV so now I can actually see the ball! PLease Rafa win a bloody tournament.

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  3. Ola Ola & VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Very happy for you!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) You look great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ci….ci….ci… Senior!!!!!!!!: ) Nice & fit & smiling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) That’s all for fun…………… enjoy everything sweetheart & enjoy your beautiful Tennis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) THE MAIN POINT IS THAT YOU ARE THE MOST LOVED PLAYER …….FANS FAVORITE…………..MOST RESPECTED PLAYER……AND MOST GRACIOUS ON THE COURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Us fans simply enjoy watching you & very happy to see your success!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) BRILLIANT SPORTSMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) ;:): ) : ) Great photos & video clips….I really like the nice, warm welcoming interview!!!!!!!! : ) 🙂 : ) : ) : ) Very happy for you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Vamos sweetheart!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Have a beautiful day and a fabulous tomorrow enjoying your SOLID, fantastic one of a kind talent , and enjoy lots & lots of fun playing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) It will be la great match for you !!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) I love watching you play and seeing your classy, point by point Rafa magic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) Your Tennis is so special dear Rafa and so passionate and your focus and endurance is simply beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) It is impressive to see your loyal team and beloved family and yes….we always enjoy watching the replays !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) Please tell your physio to cheer more loudly on the sideline starting the singing “LETS GO RAFA LETS GO ” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) I love when they stand up and cheer you on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ): ) Speaking of love…..we Love every point and your wise court wisdom!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) It is a real treat for us to watch you play sweetheart!!!!!!!! : ) My husband already checked this morning your match schedule for tomorrow and informed me of time and details….it is definitely a family affair at our home !!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Our children Ariel and Natanel follow your matches closely, and every few points love to hear the score etc……VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) I have noticed your strength and fitness and speed in such great shape!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) God bless you dear Rafa…..you are a TOP BRILLIANT PLAYER & A VERY VERY SPECIAL COMPETITOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) What a blessing !!!!!!!!! : ) Enjoy every minute on the court sweetheart and keep smiling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) I really love watching you play ……simple …..or fancy …..or anywhere in between…… seeing that gorgeous, feisty spirit and your full of heart shots & returns !!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) ci….ci…..ci……ci….. &…. an extra CI for good measure. …… THE only player you have to please is yourself…..no more no less……keep smiling and keep enjoying your blessed tenacity and drive. You have so many of us GLOBAL Tennis fans, adoring and highly regard your amazing fortitude and skill……that is what is important at the end of the day!!!!!!!!!!! : ) You are loved for not only your unbelievable talent , but also for your charitable character and VAMOS & God bless you sweetheart moving forward looking so sharp & strong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Have a great time playing your own game…..it is a good one…. full of drive and great serve, and all that fantastic Rafa Nadal court presence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Have a good time with THE TEAM and enjoy the sun and the beautiful MC ocean!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) 🙂 : ): ) : ) : ) : ) Lots of love & happiness & VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

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    1. Maria (Siberia)

      Hmmnn………….Bad news for Nadal………Novak Djokovic eventually overcomes Gilles Simon in 3 sets!

      But as always, we’ll see…..hmmn

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    2. In the midst of “the ocean”, for the first time in my life (here on RNF) somehow I was able to pick up *this*:

      “Please tell your physio to cheer more loudly on the sideline starting the singing “LETS GO RAFA LETS GO ” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) I love when they stand up and cheer you on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ): ) ”

      LOL. Gotta admit, I like it. Let us hope so, Fan love, because that means Rafa must be playing great. 😁👍

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  4. If Rafa plays Zverev on Thursday, it’s gonna be his birthday. Zverev is looking good so far and B-Day boys (minus Stan :D) are always dangerous.

    Rafa, please try your absolute best to win MC then pull out of Barcelona…

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    1. Margo

      If Rafa wins MC, I can see him dropping one or two of his scheduled clay tournaments. But remember, he needs time to transition from HC to clay and as he has stated, it’s not always so easy. So he may just stick to his calendar. 😟

      Thursday will be Alexander Zverev’s birthday no matter what. If Rafa plays him, Sacha should worry about a “trick or treat,” instead of a “happy birthday.”

      RAFA ROCKS

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  5. Margo

    Rafa, get your tenth, and tenth. Wishing you the best of all things in tennis and life itself. I’m with you on and off court.

    RAFA ROCKS

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