Rafael Nadal after Dominic Thiem loss: “I hope to play my best tennis in Roland Garros”

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal said he intends to have a free weekend before ramping up his preparations for Roland Garros from Monday.

Tomorrow I’ll be in Mallorca fishing or playing golf, or another thing. I’m going to rest a little bit, I think I deserve it. Then from Monday and Tuesday I will start to prepare for Roland Garros. It’s an important event for me. If you do things well, you have more chances in Roland Garros. I hope to play my best tennis in Roland Garros.

I didn’t play very well. I want to congratulate him because he was better than me this afternoon. Great, in all aspects. He played long, he played very aggressive, hitting the ball very strong with high intensity. In general I was not able to push him back. He got a lot of points, maximum, more times than me. And that’s the key of this game. It’s obvious I didn’t play my best match.

I’ve been playing a lot. It’s difficult, every day. Madrid then Rome back-to-back, after Barcelona. It’s not easy playing every day for the last four weeks.

Source: AFP


  1. Looks as if Thiem wore himself out yesterday! (Result against Djokovic…) Don’t know how he’ll cope with several 5-setters. We’ll see.

  2. i am impressed that it took djokovic only five months to get back in form where it took nadal two years to get back to his form

    • Before agreeing with you I’ll wait to see what happens at RG. I think you posted before Zverev beat Nole.


    • Please bear in mind that Rafa’s lengthy return to form was also due to injury, Toni publicly and possibly privately telling him that other players were better than him, and Rafa losing matches he should have won which only compounded his loss of confidence.


  3. djokovic has crushed thiem into pieces that means that his victory over nadal was a coincidence. I was impressed by djokovic it looks like this tournament is a gamechanger for djokovic which is good news for rafa because i dont want la decima handed easily to him he has to earned it and a inform djokovic is good thing

  4. Well, I feel quite negative when I say this – pardon me – but Novak seems to be back to where he was and if he defeats thiem then I don’t know what will be going on in Rafa’s and his team’s minds. Thiem will have to be very strong mentally to beat Novak. Aaaah Novak really seems to be a thorn in our sides.

    If only Rafa really believed that he could beat anyone and not give his opponents especially Novak and Roger too much respect ……

    VAMOS Rafa!!!! Attack, play your shots early and flat., vary your game, don’t stand too far behind the baseline ……

    Sorry people – I am actually no one to give Rafa advice but just thinking aloud.

  5. YIKES… DelPo just added his name to the list of other tennis well-knowns who lost at Rome. He was trounced, demolished by Nole 6-1, 6-4. I hope it’s just because DelPo is rusty.


    • Margo, I am replying to your comments dated May 21 but there was no reply button to press under those comments.
      Yes, Rafa was 19 when he won Roland Garros for the first time. He celebrated his 19th birthday during the tournament a few days before his victory.
      And yes, he was 22 when he won Wimbledon for the first time in a match that has often been described as the best ever.
      But he has won so much over so many years it is understandable that people can sometimes get confused over when they all occurred.
      However a win at Roland Garros 2017 would be something we would all remember for years to come.!!

  6. Rafa , you have played some exceptional tennis this year ,and have exceeded many expectations, you deserve a rest . Go home now to your beautiful Island, relax have some downtime and come back refreshed and ready for the French Open You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it, but win it you will.

  7. Rafa a fait 1 début de saison époustouflant et à bcp donné c est sûr on aurait préféré le voir gagner ms même les plus gds champions ont des failles à présent il lui faut 1 peu de repos bien mérité et vamos pr rg ! On est très très fiers de notre champion 👑👑👑👑👍👌👏❤❤😉

    • “Époustouflant,” quel mot marveilleux pour décrire notre Rafa.


  8. Imagine this happening at Roland garros! I would say disaster averted. Thiem was simply awesome but their is no doubt that Rafa was looking tired. It’s indeed a blessing in disguise that it happened here. With Thiem playing so well n djokovic showing some improved performance off late, Nadal needs to be fully fresh and on his toes. Now to be honest I am very sure he would win the French open.

  9. Rafa’s take on why Roger withdrew from RG:
    “Probably he had that decision before. Probably he doesn’t want to announce before. But thinking in a logical way, is strange that if you don’t play on court in not one event and then you start on the biggest one–playing best of five–will be not very logical thing. So is normal his decision when he decided to not play in not one event before.”


  10. Yes, have a good relaxing rest. I could only watch the scores, not live match,
    but thought he wasn’t serving as well as he has been, or playing tactically.
    Vamos for RG x🎾🎾🎾

  11. It’s alright Rafa …..them played great…..as he has too…..he has given too much as he know he lost big times before …..so played injury tennis ….i don’t wanna say bt he may get injured with such tennis…… And he knows too he want to give so much to this match even at the cost of injury ….bt let it be…..
    Rafa i just want to see u moving thiem in both directions get him drain by making him run
    And drop shots is so good against thiem …..
    As he plays deep

    So Vamos Rafa rest well ……enjoy some days and best luck for preparation

  12. RAFAEL U Played well but Theim did play better…as U said😎 Go home & have some!!! Fishing Golfing whatever suits UR fancy!!! Luv U Babe😊🇪🇸
    Vamos RAFA!!! 💜😎❤️😊💚🇪🇸🍾

  13. That is why he shouldn’t have played Rome. It is too much. A whole more week of rest instead of a weekend would have been better. What he did so far this year is ridiculous, so Rome was a poor choice. I heard a commentator last week in Madrid saying he should rest. It is not only me. People that know much more than me said the same thing. Poor choice from his team. Hope he recuperates his energy for RG.

    • I think he played Rome to defend his QF points of last year. He has already committed ahead to play in Rome and Rafa is considerate enough for the organizers and the fans not to show up. Winning 3 Consecutive Titles, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.. in hindsight breaks all negative expectations and that Rafa’s form is right on track, and playing one more tourney could lead to another title. This loss in Rome i think is already expected. This will only drive Rafa to persevere and be prepared for FO.

  14. Tomate in descanso…y preparate pa GSFrancia…te lo mereces…
    Mantener un nivel como l tuyo es muy duro y dificil x tanto tiempo….tienes k ir combinando ya tenis y descanso…queremos k dures mucho tiempo…ADELANTE RAFA!!!!

  15. You will, Rafa, with a properly rested and well prepared body and mind.

    Like a lot of people here, I also think this loss might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. A weekend sounds not much but it might be invaluable in the sense that he can have have some real time to look back on things, to really process all the things that have happened this clay season, which are a lot and frankly happened really fast.

    Sometimes you need to take a step back to have a better look at the road ahead.

    I believe Rafa will learn a lot from this loss. All credit to Thiem and he certainly deserves the win. But the fact is Rafa was clearly taken off guard today.

    Thiem was again throwing the kitchen sink at Rafa today. FH 139 kmh FH and BH 142kmh on average in the first set! He was hitting only at 112kmh against Querry yesterday even though on scoreline it seems like a tough 3-setter match (well, not if you really watch the match and look at the scoresheet. It’s only thrilling in the TB in the decider), because he knew he didn’t have to do more.

    He was smartly saving his tank for Rafa today, hitting even harder than he did in the Madrid final where his average groundstroke speed was 126kmh, compared to his 117-118 in the previous match and Rafa’s 114 in that match. That difference is huge!

    Meanwhile Rafa was being overhit and overtopspinned by Sock and chose to inject more both pace and topspin into his strokes to level with Sock – both were hitting at 122kmh on average(!) and that’s much harder than he normally hit these days, instead of opting for another game plan which requires less of him physically.

    Thiem is still very young and he can do that. Rafa, should not. Plus since he was the loser in their previous two matches, apparently he has learnt a lot and has come up with better game plan each time.

    This is pretty much like his losses to Fed this year. No one is more serious than Rafa but his approach to those matches in term of tactical and game plan was more casual than it should be.

    People said “There’s nothing Nadal could have done more”. Rafa said “I didn’t play my best match” or “I could have played better/done more damage”. I choose to take Rafa’s word for it, which means he definitely could have played better. Could have had Plan B, Plan C as well.

    Not that I’m complaining. I’m grateful for all that he has done and achieve this season and now the “extra” rest.

    But I’ve been observing closely, like I’ve always been, that Rafa’s BP conversion ration this year is not as good as it should be, considering how “dominating” he has been.

    Also in tough matches when his opponent was on fire and blowing him off the court, he tended to try to be more aggressive but that usually didn’t last long if it didn’t work right away. He tended to revert back to his usual way and became passive against an firing opponent.

    I don’t mind him losing as much as how he lost. Have you noticed the pattern? In every match he won, usually in straights, he won the first set, bar the third round match against A.Zverev at AO or the “crazy” one against Kohlschreiber at IW (the 1000th match).

    BUT when he lost the first set, he lost the match. Also IN STRAIGHTS.

    Usually little resistance at BPs in the second set and especially at MPs. This, besides his health and proneness to injury, is what I’ve been worrying a lot. Also one of the reason I have been considering Fed very dangerous since early rounds AO, besides his new BH and well-rested body and mind obviously. Thiem and even Goffin lately have proven the same impressively improved mentality.

    You can look at the statistics of his 42 matches this year to see it yourself. I have all the stats and I have an eye on all of his opponents’s stats as well.

    Yep, just look at the number! Rafa has played 42 matches already – that’s the most matches played and won (36) this year by any player. I’ve been repeating this a lot since MC but many optimistic fans and pundits were still saying that he needed the momentum and should win and accumulate points as much as he could on clay. I just wasn’t convinced.

    We’re only 1/4 into the season in term of Slams and 5/9 in term of Masters, 0/1 in term of WTF which equals 1.5 Masters in term of ranking points and Rafa has already played that much at the age of 30.5-31. Straight sets win still take a lot out of you and more so if your game is defensive.

    Rafa more or less admitted he was tired today. Mentally, physically. He was LIMPING after the Madrid final and when being asked about it, even though he said it’s only soreness, not injury, that should still be viewed as the signs he should have pulled out of Rome. Injury or not, prevention is the key. I was really worried.

    Before Rome he said he was playing very well and the “logical” thing is to try to win Rome. Now that he has been stopped at “only” 2 matches into the tourney, he admitted: “I’ve been playing a lot. It’s difficult, every day. Madrid then Rome back-to-back, after Barcelona. It’s not easy playing every day for the last four weeks.”

    Nothing wrong with trying to do and achieve more “unbelievable” things, to use his favourite words, like to win Rome again and then *the* La Decima. But please Rafa, take a leaf from Federer’s book. You have all the abilities to do that but your health is still the upmost important thing and it should be prioritised for the upmost important titles/achievements, especially now that you’re almost 31.

    Okay I should stop here. I’m typing on computer so it doesn’t look too crazy but on mobile phone or small tablets it must look so. Sorry abt that.

    From a very emotional fan.

    (P.S. Please don’t edit/”condense” this comment, RNF. Thank you.)

    • Rainer…Good Grief Charlie Brown! U almost wrote a book!!! We all agree RAFA Wsnt up to par today
      Remember Uncle Toni taught him a long time Ago get used to losing!!! There is only 1winner! U will lose more than U will win!!! He will be fine!!!

      • “U will lose more than U will win!!!”

        Not if you’re a champion. 😉

        Rafa was born to win. Really. He was beating Slam champion at the age of 14, then reigning RG champion at the age of 16, then world no1 at the age of 17. He was also winning almost everything in his short junior years (except for Junior Slams which his parents didn’t allow him to attend; the only exception was Wimbledon and he made the semis the first time he played it).

        He also won in football and poker (against the world champion again, no less :p) and card/video games and who knows what more.

        One of Novak’s coaches was thinking “Nadal was born to win matches” at the USO 2013 final.

        I wasn’t saying he won’t be fine because of his loss. I think you probably miss the most of my comment, which is no where near an essay, let alone a book.


      • Didn’t Rafa first become world number one in 2008 at the age of 22?

        RAFA ROCKS

      • Do you have the stats for every match Rafa played versus every match he lost since turning pro? If not, where could these numbers be found? Should exhibition tournaments be included?


        RAFA ROCKS

    • Ranier, I have felt all along that he should have pulled out of Rome , regardless of losing ranking points. He will gain a lot of points in Paris even if he does not win but goes deep into the tournament as he had to pull out very early there last year with his wrist injury.
      Fed has the right idea, protecting his body in readiness for the Grand Slams ( although his not playing any clay court matches, not even Roland Garros, points to his conviction that he can’t beat Rafa on clay .)
      Let’s hope Rafa comes back refreshed for Roland Garros and that Moya persuades him to make any necessary adjustments to his calendar to avoid ” burn out ” for the rest of the year.

    • rainier,

      i am reading with a great amout of interest your analysis. It never appeared to me how badly nadal is this year in converting breakpoints. But i also noticed indeed what you are saying. So far this year the matches he lost he lost after losing the first set. Only the match against raonic in brisbane he lost it after winning the first set. All the best of three sets everytime nadal was winning the first set i had a sight of relief because i knew automatically that nadal would win the match.

      After winning madrid i wrote a couple of times on this forum that i thought nadal should skip rome because of the concern of fatigue and that the main goal should have been roland garros. He decided to play rome anyway. That is why thiem gave the legend a hugh gift. He can rest for 15 days in order to recharge the battery. He will appear in paris with new energy fresh legs and mind.

      I dont doubt the legend for one minute. But la decima will not be handed to him easily. He has to give everything he has in order to win. His main contenders are going to be wawrinka, djokovic and thiem.

      Thiem will not be able to produce this kind of tennis in a best of five i dont believe that. In fact i think if nadal converted those breakpoints in the second set that would have been a game changer because thiem was getting tired.

      Nadal overestimated his amount of energy he should learn from this in the following years and not playing that much clay court titles. He has proven himself on clay. It should be all about winning grandslam titles. That is what the pundits will remember nadal for not how many times he won the italian open

      • Thanks, mjus.

        Always like to read your insight, even though sometimes it might be a bit “controversial” here with so many optimistic Rafa fans. :p

        I’m with you from the get go about Rafa’s scheduling and more. Also I gotta admit when I learned that Moya wasn’t Rafa in Rome, I had some doubt about Rafa’s game plan there, especially when he would have to face Thiem again just after 5 days, then supposedly Novak after 7 days if he could pass Thiem.

        In my view now Moya is definitely better for Rafa both for practice and coming up with game plans. He’s also much better in terms on “mental coaching”. When he joined the team, he said he would give Rafa the same message but “in a different way”. And I think I get what he meant.

        Now it seems Novak has been waken up since his loss to Rafa last week. He’s just destroyed Thiem in the semis and I wasn’t surprised TBH.

        Thiem was playing an extremely high risk game against Rafa yesterday and it paid off. He more or less said so in his post-match interview.

        Against Novak today? Not. He just played right in to Novak’s hand and partly self-destructed. He kept playing the same way he played Rafa yesterday, hoping for another amazing feel for the ball and a bit of luck. But he forgot the most basic thing, or maybe he just didn’t have enough time and mind to prepare after all those matches against Rafa – it’s simply a different match-up.

        Rafa can hang comfortably with Novak from the baseline. Thiem tried to pretend he’s almost a baseline kisser as well and can win spectacularly from that position if he wanted to. But the fact is that’s Novak’s trademarked game, he can only lose by playing it.

        He should have just played the way he normally do and would have much more chances, even against a redlining Novak. Instead he looked like a mindless ballbasher against him, which is sad to watch, especially right after his win over Rafa yesterday.

        But one of the reasons I think is he must have been at least a bit tired from all the tennis he has played his season, from all the extremely hard ball hitting against Rafa.

        So now one day after playing probably the best match of his life against Rafa, he played one of the worst, if not the worst, matches since he’s come out on tour against Novak, which is frankly embarrassing.

        But that makes things even more interesting now. I’m still sad about Rafa’s loss yesterday but now for some reason I’m feeling much better. Novak is probably BACK. Thiem is still Thiiem. Murray and Wawrinka will be like back as well.

        It’s game on. Rafa will be even more alert.

        I expect no less than Novak will win Rome, which will put him ahead of Rafa again in Masters count. But it’s all right. Rafa might want to be even more competitive. Come Roland Garros, he just needs to stay healthy and play his game, not to doubt himself like he admittedly was still doing at times in recent matches, no adversaries will be too much for him to overcome.

        It’s game on! How I love tennis (and Rafa). 🙂


    • Yes i felt Rafa should have skipped Rome too. He just couldnt go on day in day out at top level. Thiem had played Rafa enough times to know Rafa’s game n being younger went all out to hammer him. Felt sad for Rafa but honestly as you said tis a blessing in disguise. Get your much needed rest Rafa. RG is yours play smart. We love you no matter what! Just a thought maybe he should stay off the grass court season n prepare well for the hard court?

      • brenda,

        no no i dont think so. Look everything you said true i agree but no he should absoluty play wimbeldon are you kidding me. I think if he wins la decima this loss will be forgotten. I was not upset or dissapointed at all like the loss he had against federer in miami. I was exactly relieved. The legend is being disrespected by others on other forums. I think that if he wins in paris he should skip queens and practice for wimbeldon. That tournament will be very important

        I still believe that nadal can overcome federer when it comes to winning grandslams.

      • Hi Brenda.

        What I meant by “a blessing in disguise” is not only that he has more time to rest and to look back on things, it’s also because “the loser is often the hungrier”.

        When you keep on winning, you tend to do what’s working over and over again, until, well, it doesn’t work anymore. But when you lose, you can learn a lot from your loss. Your perspective is widen. You get even more motivated.

        About the grass season, Rafa will never skip it unless he’s badly injured, Brenda. I think he should skip more hard court tourneys and one more clay tourney each year, still play the full grass season which is so short anyway and he really loves, despite his “subpar” runs at Wimby since 2012. If anything that’s even more reason he should try to do his best on grass in his “coming back” year like this year. 🙂

        Power game can make him more vulnerable these days but when he believes in himself, he can still handle them well. In the Madrid final against Thiem, the average groundstroke speed difference was 12kmh, combined the topspin and that is huge; but Rafa wasn’t opting for a power game himself (like he did in the Sock match) and still won the match in straights.

        So don’t worry too much. It mostly depends on his mind and his game plan. Novak and Fed are still doing well against power game and of course Rafa can do that as well.

        Cheers. 🙂

  16. Rafa, you sure deserve some rest 🤗 You’ve played indcredible – today just wasn’t meant to be, that’s okay. What you’ve achieved is amazing 😍 Now you have the chance for some extra preparation for RG after resting – enjoy 𗀃
    Win or lose always with you Rafa. – The best of luck at RG 🍀❤️
    VAMOOS CHAMP! 🎾💪🏼😘

  17. Take rest and than all the best for the French Open. YOU CAN DO IT. Vamos Rafa <3

  18. Rafa you need to rest.remember this Year Is your 2017 vamossssssssssssss .good luck CHAMP.🎾🎾🎾🎾👍👍👍👍🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸❤️❤️❤️❤️😇😇😇😇

  19. Congrats to Dominic. That guy has got game.
    I was unable to watch the match but this could be a blessing in disguise for Rafa.
    I know he always plays to win but he didn’t lose any points at this tournament.

    Ironically, when Nicco Almagro had to unfortunately retire the match the other day after his injury I felt badly for Nicco, another good guy and great competitor but I was relieved for Rafa. Rafa has been playing so much intense tennis and winning. I felt Rafa needed some rest after the 3 previous victories in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. Plus Rafa has been reaching the finals during the hard court season. Better to be fresh and well rested for the French Open. I still believe Rafa is the favorite without question!

    So glad Rafa will be at home tomorrow fishing and playing golf. This has to be his 1st free weekend in such a long time. Best wishes, Rafa!

  20. very wise thing to do rafa take good rest rafa dont think about tennis. And dont let this loss distract you or taking you down. You had good clay court season. But hopefully you will do things the next time differently against thiem if you meet him.

  21. You underestimated the gas in your tank Rafa. Glad you will be getting some needed rest before the BIG WON…[pun intended].


  22. Tienes toda la razon Rafa ahora descanza y a prepararse para el evento mas grande el Roland Carros French Open Buena suerte y se que jugaras tu mejor tennis, Vamos Rafa

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