Rafa Roundup: A long way to La Decima at Roland Garros

AFP Photo/Josep Lago


The Spaniard capped a record-breaking two-week stretch, which saw him become the first player to win 10 titles at a tour-level event in Monte-Carlo and repeat the feat on his native clay of Barcelona. He has won 20 of 21 sets thus far on the European clay-court swing.

“I’m very satisfied. It’s been an emotional day for me. Winning a 10th title here is something difficult to describe. Playing in front of my crowd and my club and winning the 10th title here is something that’s impossible to even dream of. It’s very special and unique,” said Nadal. “I played my best match of the tournament this afternoon against probably the toughest opponent in the tournament, so I’m very happy.”

Toni Nadal: “… So you can understand that given what Roland-Garros represents to us Spaniards, winning 10 times in Paris would be… (he exhales, then spreads his arms out wide) enormous. … Yes. Because it would be the tenth. And also because every time Rafael wins Roland-Garros, we can then say already that he’s had a great season. … So yes, it’s true, we’re very confident at the moment. But maybe if Rafael loses in Madrid, we’ll be less confident. We’ll see! A lot of things can still happen by the time Roland-Garros comes around.”

… Nadal has to prove that he can beat Djokovic again before he can be considered the favorite. He’s lost his last seven matches to the Serb, including three on clay, dating back to Roland Garros in 2014. In those seven matches, Nadal has been unable to win a set.

Last year Rafa said his only regret was that, just at the moment when he was playing his best, during the clay swing, he hurt his wrist. Like last year, he has started that swing with wins in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. In 2016, Nadal finally met Djokovic in the semifinals in Rome, and he lost a classic. I could go for another showdown like that in the next couple of weeks.

Nadal, who was just 15 years old at the time, had only played three matches going into his first ATP event, one at the Futures level and two at the Challenger level, and he was ranked a lowly No.762.

But that first ATP event being held on home soil in Mallorca may have given him the boost he needed, as he beat No.81-ranked Ramon Delgado in straight sets in his first ever ATP-level match, 6-4 6-4.


AUDIO: Alex Corretja: ‘Nadal favourite for French Open’ | BBC



  1. It is great to see that Rafa is on track to winning form, Grand Slam winning form. I always believed that he should have opted for big changes, once the slam win drought started (first quarter of 2015 was really the moment that he should have ultimately done this). And now I read this, and it confirms to me that it would have been logical! Djokovic went from winning 4 slams in a row to three losses (including a final, mind you), and he kicks them all out. Because he wants to win! http://novakdjokovic.com/en/news/media/i-want-to-find-the-winning-spark-on-the-court-again/ That is what we call damage control Nobody needs a 3 year drought and counting in some of the best years left!

  2. Rafa you and your seasoned team do what you are ALL TRAIned to do and we will await your hearty good knowledge and experience and results.

    Love and experience,


  3. Bernard Guidicelli on the French Open: “Roland Garros is the most difficult tournament to win, since clay is so demanding, changeable and temperamental. It forces the players and their staff to be able to adapt.”

    I hope his says that when Rafa clinches his DIXIÈME.


  4. I have watched Rafa since his first win at Roland garrison on his 18th birthday and have followed him ever since
    I watch his play over and over and I think he is amazing
    I am an old broad71 and get great joy watching him
    I have read his book which is wonderful so heis not just a hot looking great tennis player with a great body but a man that never gives up I will be there with you when u play the frien and will watch u give your best like you always dodonna
    You are still on my bucket list to see in person which I pray I will be lucky enough to see
    I am handicapped and don’t have use of my left side so travel is very difficult
    I do get a little irritated that you put ur body thru so much abuse
    I would hate to see u truly handicapped due to overuse
    You are number one in my books and have nothing toprovetoanyone
    You will be in the record books forever
    Vamps Rafa
    Donna from winnipeg Canada

  5. In an exclusive chat with Mary Carillo, Federer revealed the following:

    1. “I’m entered in the French, and the plan is to play the French.”

    2. I am eager to achieve something over there and not just show up and make people happy.” [Moi: Modest, isn’t he…LOL]

    3. “I could get on a roll, and you never know, even though Rafa is the favorite.” [Modesty personified]

    4. “Novak winning there last year, I think there’re going to be 1-2 favorites.”

    5. “The goal is to go to Paris.”

    Federer had previously indicated that he was likely to play Roland Garros, but would not decide until finishing his next training session.

    I wonder when his next training session is. And I do hope he plays the French, as he calls it. If he does play, Rafa will cover him in clay.

    Is Roger holding out for more money to play the French, I wonder. Do they do that?

    When Rafa wins his DIXIÈME, he will have avenged the French invasion of Spain by Napoleon I.


    • Yeah Margo, he’s definitely gunning for RG, Rafa and the first double career slam.

      Many predicted he would skip the who clay season including RG to focus on Wimby but he’s not the type of players who skips slams when he certainly can play PLUS he can only achieve so many things if he does well or wins there. He has nothing to lose. No harm done even if he goes out in early rounds.

      Even with his new back hand and power racket, Rafa still should be the superior player on clay. Rafa only needs to stay healthy and hungry and never steps back when Fed is on. His serve is getting better and better in years which compensates for his decline in other aspects. Plus the most important thing, beside his health of course, is his mind.

      Fed has been claiming that he’s playing his best tennis ever. No way. He has a new powerful BH and somehow even more powerful serve all right, but the biggest weapon is his mind, his tactics and overall he’s NOT playing his best tennis ever.

      Hopefully it will be the case with Rafa too, the mind thing. He’s been showing it already but we still need to see more proof at big stages, against more top players and his “arch rivals”.

      One more thing, I’ve been rewatching some of Rafa’s play from previous years and I still firmly believe he definitely can do more damage with his return of serve, especially with his BH, hence shorten the points and mount up even more pressure on his opponents. Plus I hope he will come to the net MUCH MORE often. He’s too good for not doing that.

    • I would love nothing more to see Rafa leave Roger in the dirt. Nothing!!

      Roger got in Rafa’s head in their last 3 meetings on HC, and it would be so so so good for Rafa to get him out.
      He will also have to Djok out of his head–Djok is probably still the bigger threat on clay.

      Roger never would have even won a career slam had someone else–Soderling–not beaten Rafa for him.

  6. Goffin vs Nadal, Monte-Carlo

    “The boos weren’t entirely for Nadal. In fact, most of them were directed at chair umpire Cedric Maurier. He made an enormous mistake in overruling a line call.” [ PETER Bodo, ESPN]


  7. CNN quoted Federer as saying: “If I feel like I’m not 100 percent [and] I’m not really fired up, then it is better to skip [Roland Garros].” [Peter Bodo, ESPN]

    My opinion is that he’s been watching Rafa and the fear of Rafa beating him and winning RG is making him veeeery nervous.


    • margo,

      here is what i think and i dont know if you agree with me. Since nadal is probably not going to skip madrid and rome lets say nadal win these tournaments and he wins the french open (that will be absolute miracle considering the last two awful years) then wimbeldon will become very interesting because nadal is on a winning streak playing well and is playing with confidence. And federer is going to regret that he skipped the clay court season because by doing that he allowed nadal to build momentum and confidence. Do you agree with me?

      • Rafa, time and again, has accomplished the seemingly miraculous. In his current form and high confidence level I wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa won Madrid, Rome, and RG.

        To keep my sanity, I don’t think of the possibility of Rafa reinjuring his left wrist. From what information is available, Rafa may be using PRP treatments to keep his wrist in good form. This may explain his rapid recovery after retiring from RG. All indications were that he should have rested for 6 months, on the side of caution.

        As far as Roger “regretting” anything, I think he is so full of himself that he doesn’t have room for regret. However, should Rafa make a clean sweep (MC, Barca, MM, Rome, RG), I think Roger should be very worried about Wimbledon.

        Before getting ahead of myself, I’d like to see how Rafa does at the MM and Rome.


  8. You can do it to La Decima Rafa my boy. Wish I could be there to see you hold the cup up high. I will be praying all the way for you. God bless you. Vamos Rafa. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. 🐂⏳👑🎈🎈❤️❤️😊😇😀

  9. Asked how important it would be to be among the first four seeds at the Roland Garros. Nadal, who has 290 points less than world number four Roger Federer, replied, “In order to do it I have to win Madrid or Rome title, but I CAN WIN ROLAND GARROS EVEN IF I WON’T BE IN THE TOP FOUR.” [TennisWorldUSA.org] I am thrilled to hear these words from Rafa, himself.

    Rafa has:

    1. put all opponents on notice

    2. demonstrated, by his response, his high level of confidence and self belief

    3. told all that he expects to get his DIXIÈME Coupe des Mousquetaires.

    4. finally revealed that he is unequivocally in charge of his destiny.

    Stay healthy Rafa. Maybe others will now realize that you are back, back for the BIG ONE.


  10. i have said a couple of times that he should skip madrid because that tournament is bad luck. Unfortunatly nadal will not do that. Rafa is not federer he find it difficult to skip tournaments because he doesnt want to dissapoint organises or fans. Look how difficult he found to cancel rotterdam. And since madrid is a spanish tournament he feels responsibility to play

    But on the other hand why do you want to skip tournament when you playing well and are in a good rythm and have momentum.

  11. Let’s hope that Rafa will be healthy at the French Open. Than he will have all chances to win it.

  12. I’ll try to look on the bright side of things.
    I am worried about Rafa exerting himself if he plays both Madrid and Rome, after having played Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, back-to-back.

    He has this week off, and a minimum of another week off between the end of Rome and the first rounds at Roland Garros. If he gets a first-round bye, it will be at least a week-and-a-half off. Maybe with his new fitness schedule, he will be more than prepared to win his DIXIÈME at Roland Garros and lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires once again.


  13. After his exhibition game yesterday, said he intends to play Roland Garros but won’t make a yes-or-no decision until his next training is session, which he did not reveal. Sounds as if he is toying with everyone.


  14. Okay. So Fed still plays French, as expected. I heard the news a couple of days ago but since now RNF’s just updated it, I have to admit I’m still very worried about the possibility of Rafa getting tired out/injured this clay season, before or at RG. Since he’s back to winning this year he’s been playing A LOT of matches already, pro
    I know it sounds like a broken record but the fact is Rafa is approaching 31 already and has just covered from repeated injuries. It wasn’t easy for him when he was young and it certainly can only be much harder now.
    A fully rested and prepared Fed wil be waiting for him at RG, just as I expected because no matter how I lood at it and how many people were convinced that he would skip RG to focus on Wimby, I know that this is THE LAST chance for him to achieve *The Impossible* – the one thing that has eluded his glorious career and haunted him the most – to beat Rafa at RG, especially in the final – for once and for all.
    It’s easy to understand. He must have a huge, probably the biggest and final statement to make. It’s the ideal where and when for him at RG this year. And there’s a chance Rafa still underestimates his drive, which can only be as big as it could be after all those “miserable years” and the “fairy tale” this year.
    Who wants it more should take it.
    Not to mention, Djokovic, Murray and Stan will be likely to come back just in time for RG, probably even “long” before that at Madrid next week, simply because they are the players they are. Not to mention the young guns, though have been beaten on clay this year, are still dangerous and can turn red hot at any time.
    It’s never been easy even when Rafa was at his peak. And I still believe be still needs to solve the Djokovic riddle at all cost this year. They can’t avoid each other forever and will meet sooner or later in this season.
    It would be devastating for Rafa and us fans if he loses to Djokovic again either because of his nerve or his health, or both. He could have won the Rome match last year if only he could have held his nerve a bit better or hadn’t had that unfortunate injury that untimately forced him to pull out of RG in tears…
    Okay, this is a bit too long already. What I’m trying to say is, like uncle Toni said, Rafa health and nerve cannot be separated. He needs to be healthy and injuried free in order to gain confidence,
    otherwise he doesn’t trust his body and that leads to so many problems as we had witnessed for two years and a half since RG2014.
    I know Rafa treats every tourney (and opponent) with the same respect but let’s be honest, two Masters and even three are still NOT equal to a Slam, especially the *impossible” La Decima, in the bigger picture.
    Okay. I should stop now. Only repeating myself helplessly. Hard to explain why I care so much. Probably because it’s been such a long journey and there has been so much emotion involved..
    I promise I won’t ramble too much again and should talk about Rafa’s game and matches mainly.
    I want Rafa to skip Madrid but now just can’t wait for Madrid! ☺☺☺

    • Rainier, I share your fears that Rafa may either tire himself out and/or injure himself before he gets to Roland Garros in which case a tenth title there would be doubtful.
      Like you i wish he would skip Madrid. Neither the altitude nor the surface (although clay but more like hard court ) suit his game and put too much strain on his body.
      However a healthy and fully fit Rafa I would back to win RG regardless of who he plays.
      But win or not my admiration for Rafa both as a tennis player and a person will never waver.

    • Keep rambling, it’s all good:) Rafa knows best what he is about, and if he thinks his body will hold up well through Madrid, Rome, then RG, it’s his decision.

      One thing is for sure, Federer would not have it so easy against Rafa at RG:) Fed can rest all he wants, but Rafa in Paris is a totally different beast. Of course it is possible that Rafa can be defeated by Fed in RG, but I highly doubt that. Djoker is the one Rafa must be wary of.

      Anyway, bring on Madrid. My only concern is that Rafa stays healthy.

      • Appreciate it, Mac. 🙂

        And pls excuse the messy apperance of my comment. For some reason all the space between the paragraphs disappeared after I post it.

        I think atm Fed is more dangerous to Rafa (until proven otherwise :p), both game-wise and mentality-wise, even on clay. The thing is if Fed played at least one clay Masters and met Rafa, Rafa could “gauge” both his game and his own game and tactics. But no. Fed seems to determine for another amazing AO17 and I from his interviews I have no doubt he’s confident and gunning for Rafa.

        I’ve been re-reading some of Rafa’s interviews in 2012 when he’s out of the tour to treat and recover from repeated injuries and I still firmly believe he shouldn’t play both Madrid and Rome this year. He had to withdraw from the Miami SF that year and was playing through injuries and injection all those months until his shocking lost to Roso at Wimby. Made me “mad” even now remembering all that stuff.

        I have no problem with Fed being the Goat now but I never stop believe if over the years Rafa and his team had “listened” more to his body, he definitely could have had the chance to claim that “title”. Not that I need it or am after the “glory” or live in “could-haves”. Just saying it to prove my point and also to be less worried. 🙂

  15. I agree with Jason ( a previous rafapage) when he said about the No. 1 spot for London in November. I honestly don’t think that this event is more important than winning the majors/slams. These wins are the targets they aim for in tennis, not being no. 1 at the year end finals. Rafa is playing so so well now that I believe he can win his no. 10 at Roland Garros this year. It will be a huge boost if he can also win in Madrid and Rome. Vamos Rafa🍀🐃🍌🎾🎾🎾🆑1️⃣0️⃣🇧🇴<

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