PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal loses to Roger Federer in Shanghai final

Roger Federer denied Rafael Nadal a first Shanghai Masters title as he powered his way to a straight-sets victory in Sunday’s final.

The Swiss player beat our champ for a fourth time this season and fifth in succession, needing three breaks of serve and 82 minutes to claim his 94th career title thanks to a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Rafa didn’t move well and we just hope his knee is not bothering him too much.

After the match, Rafa said:

I want to congratulate Roger for a great year. Today you played a fantastic match.

This year for me has been my most successful year in China. It’s been a great two weeks, I feel very happy for what has happened for me.

66 comments

  1. H2H Rafa still the winner! I’m sad today but I know if Roger had been playing as much Tennis and was #1, which he hasn’t and is not, then Rafa would have beaten him today. My champion, on and off the court, is still #1 in the world and RF is #2. ❤️👏🏻💪Rafa!

    • Please give me a break. He lost and don’t blame Roger for playing less.
      Rafa wants to be everywhere and this is the price he is paying. Think with your head.

  2. Congratulations on giving us Great tennis. But Rafa you need to rest and not overdue. I agree with Diane K above..A non fatigued Rafa can beat a non fatigued Roger. I believe the results would have been different today if Rafa hadn’t been playing so much grueling tennis. Love, and God bless you Rafa. Be healthy. Love, Marylynn

    • Hi Marylynn,
      Hope you are well! I was just curious about this stat:: Rafa played 70 matches 2017 and Roger played 43 matches 2017. All in all I am always thrilled to be a Rafa fan!

  3. I know that we all want Rafa to win every time, but I thought today was going to be bad right from the start. Rafa just did not look like his usual self. He lacked energy. Maybe he knew the conditions favored Roger, starting with the closed roof. Roger said in his presser that Rafa had been playing too much lately. I do worry that Roger is in Rafa’s head like Novak was, but don’t forget Roger passed on the clay season because he knew he could not beat Rafa there. We all know that indoor HC are not Rafa’s strength. I hope that Rafa can do enough to retain his number one ranking. Roger will have to defend all of these points next year when he is 37. Rafa will always be 5 years younger. I just hope he stays healthy and happy!!!

  4. this mental block…it happened with novak and now with Roger.

    i think there should be some serious emphasis given to his service games…add more miles and be consistent..thats the key. your overall game is awesome.

    also while returning service…stand a bit closer…change tactics please.

    nole n roger know your game in and out…its some strategy…you also do some analysis and get some perspective so that we(fans) dont see you losing.

    vamos RAFA

    • Rafa must learn to stand on the baseline and simply block the serves – like all other top players do. This business of returning from far is OK only as a change up – not as a default mode. Unless Rafa learns this skill, he can always lose to an attacking player on hard courts, grass, and indoor courts! If he learns this skill, it could make a difference to his legacy!

  5. Rafa. Siento mucho hayas perdido está mañana. Te ví medio apagado y no con la misma energía a la que siempre tienes. Sin embargo, eres joven y muchos más matches jugarás. Tu y Roger siempre han sido mis consentidos. Tienes que descansar. Tu fan desde México.

  6. I ‘ve read a lot of vey annoying (don’t want to say silly) posts here and I’m like….”can’t you guys accept the truth?”

    The issue here is not that Rafa was tired or kneel problem or whatever. Indeed if that match were to be replayed 5 times, Roger will still come out on top of Rafa!

    I;ve said it times without number on this site that Rafa still needs a complete overhaul of his playing style IF he really wants to DOMINATE Novak and Roger (both of whom have spent time and money to thoroughly analyse his ‘unorthodox’ playing style).

    As I’ve said so many times, the problems with Rafa’s game are as follows:

    1. STANDING 6METRES OR MORE BEHIND THE BASELINE – This can only work against his life pigeons like Gasquet, Anderson, Ferrer, Fognini, Thomas Berdych etc. Against Nole or Roger, he would only suceed in giving free points to them. These are real professionals who can take the ball early and smash home on an empty space of Nadal’s undefended court side!

    2. DEFENSIVE PLAYING STYLE – Nadal is essentially more of a defensive player who sets opponents up to play an extra ball in the hope that they will eventually make a mistake which he would now leverage upon. Again, this will not work against excellent shot makers like Nole and Federer. Rafa forgets that the best form of defence is to always attack!

    3. KEEPING THE POINTS SHORT – Rafa still does not know how to do this! Sad.In todays match, how many of Roger’s service games went into deuce? None! Because Roger has learnt to keep it short by playing aces and not go into any 15 0r 20 short rallies, which really is the only way to avoid being broken.
    In the match, i lost count of the many times Roger took Rafa’s service games to deuce!

    4. LACK OF VARIETY – This is essentially the hallmark of Novak and Roger’s service game. The advantage of having these skill is that it keeps the opponent guessing all the time as they cannot predict your serve. Though Rafa has improved a bit in this area, but he still depends largely on his 1-2 FHDL which Nole especially has mastered by returning to his BH!

    5. LOOPING BALLS HIGH ON THE RETURN – This worked perfectly for a long time until Nole perfected the art of flattening out these high balls from Rafa. Yet, Rafa has not changed till date!

    Without a drastic and compelling change in Rafa’s strategy, I’m afraid his current 23 – 15 H:H with Roger will soon be reduced to 23:20. Let’s just pray that Roger will not surpass the H:H like Nole has successfully done.

    Is there hope for our dear Rafa against Roger and Nole? Yes, but he urgently needs to go back home to the proverbial drawing board and do a thorough SWOT- competitor analysis for both Roger and Nole.

    Let us not forget that both Nole and Roger have told the world that it was Rafa who made them to improve so much. Rafa also needs to thoroughly and truthfully analyse/breakdown their games – e.g Roger is using a large-sized racket which has turned things round for him – Does Rafa needs to match this or what can be done to counter this?
    Nole and Roger are using top of the shelf coaches – Does Rafa needs to match this as well? I think it is obvious now that had Delpo not beaten Roger in the USO, Roger would have reached the finals and beaten Rafa. Yes, that is the truth, take it or leave it!
    Nole has even sacked his entire coaching crew – Does Rafa need to do the same? I have said it here several times that Carlos Moya is not the man to take Rafa to the promised land, Rfa should replace him immediately!!!

    As a philosopher once said, ”you cannot continue to do the same thing the same old way and expect to have a different result” Wake up, Rafa!!! Wake up from your deep slumber!!!

    However, if I know Rafa too well (and I think i do), Rafa will not take to my expert advice. We are still going to see more of the same Rafa who will (foolishly) be hoping for a time to come when Roger’s form will drop or when Roger will be injured so that he can leverage on that to achieve success. That is not the way to go, Rafa. That is not the way to be the GOAT.

    But, as always, we’d see…………………..hmmn

    • Have you been watching Rafa’s matches in the last couple of months?? Why don’t you take your “expert advice” somewhere else, why waste your time here?!

    • Chill out Seer 🙂

      Rafa has done incredibly this year. You can’t take anything away from him. Sure he lost to Federer. I’m sure Federer fans were despondent when Rafa made him his whipping boy, but look how the tables have turned now.

      It’s okay. Rafa is fighting right now to be the year end number 1. Which will mean he’s been the most consistent player all year, right? I’ll take that.

      We enjoy the good times. We must also face the bad times. I appreciate your post Maria, and I understand where you’re coming from.

      Thanks RNF for making this site possible.

    • I agree actually. Today’s loss was a loss for the coaches. People disliking your post and attacking you for it, are the same who believe the main stream media. They should support Roger! – msm favorite. That being said, the to of playing too much played a role too.

    • ARE YOU A TENNIS PLAYER OR A TENNIS PRO/ or just like to comment.

      You are correct, Rafa needs to rest and find another couch or do something.
      I love Rafa but his game it is getting very bad and boring. I was in Cincinnati, Ohio this year and he lost on the third round with a tennis player that I don’t even know and he has not in the first 10. Take a rest and find some good coaches.

      I am a tennis person.

  7. Disappointing performance as Rafa did not present a strong challenge to Roger . I think Rafa did not play nor confidently which concerns me . Roger brought his ‘A’ game from the onset, won in 1 hour as if the result was a given ..takng anyi positives out of this performance are difficult . At least Rafa got here beating quality competition and of coirse its not his best or preferrred surface . Let’s hope Rafa can rebound and hold his #1 ranking . Vamos Rafa . My advice is to please not abandon your attacking tennis game and return so deep beyond the baseline on the hard surface .

  8. Rafa cuidate k es lo importante…hoy tu no estabas a tu 100%…sino Roger l hubiera costado mucho mas o incluso l hubiera costado l trofeo…tu estas y has subido mucho tu nivel en estas pistas…y eso es lo positivo k tienes k ver…pero t he visto tu venda en l rodilla y m ha preocupado mucho…mas k perder l torneo….queremos tubienestar….CUIDATE!!!!…siempre contigo en lo malo y en lo bueno

  9. So true ! He did smash his racquet on his knee !!! Hope its not too bad !!! He needs to think better about his schedule like fed !!!

  10. This match was a bunch of hooie. In my estimations Nadal gave Federer the match for the purpose of keeping Fed on the national standings & to pump him up. I believe this is the Tennis Federation doing & it has taken the authenticity & true fairness of the game. Enough is enough of trying to keep Fed at the top. You can’t tell me as a tennis player myself that Rafa hasn’t been able to beat him in the last several tries as well as Rafa is playing.

  11. Sorry Rafa did not win.Time now for some rest and relaxation.Hope the knee problem clears up soon.What amazing tennis we have been treated to,by Rafa this year and not finished yet.Onwards and upwards always for Rafa.VAMOS.👍🏼

  12. I didn’t even wake up super early to watch the match. I just had a feeling of the results beforehand since Rafa won the US Open and then the Bejing Open the week before this tornament plus a 16 win streak which is such a sensational result.

    Too much tennis for Rafa facing Roger with much less tennis. Yes they are both great champions but Roger seems to know when to play Rafa when he is more vulnerable. I’m seen this before.
    Skipping the entire clay court season and not playing in Bejing. More important that Rafa stays healthy. Concerned about the bandage around his knee. To me this loss to Roger is no big deal.
    I know Rafa will beat him again. Difference is Roger strategically picks and chooses when he wants to play to optimize his chances to beat Rafa. I would love to see Roger play as much as Rafa and then play him in a final. Just seems so unequal. But I guess that’s sport!
    Rafa is still the #1 player to me. Always with Rafa who always plays the entire season when healthy. Hope he can get some rest. He certainly deserves it.

  13. Hello friends

    I think Rafa gave it his best, but today it was not to be. Federer was sublime, and from the first set, you just knew that Rafa would have an uphill battle.

    As Rafa would say, if he’d been told at the start of the season that he would win these slams and reach the final of Shanghai etc etc, he would gladly have signed up for it.

    It’s frustrating that Rafa must lose to Federer all year so far, but that is how it is for now. Rafa should figure Federer out hopefully. Just, congratulations to Federer and his fans.

    Regarding the Year End #1, Rafa should be able to do it.

    During the match vs Cilic, did anyone see Rafa bang his racquet against his knee in frustration?? That was so unlike him, I was taken aback. Hopefully he did not hurt himself. But that looked vicious and painful:)

    Few days ago on a flight I saw a woman with her daughter, and the girl had a tumor in one eye. I got her contact details, and I’ll be visiting her shortly in the hospital to make sure she’s doing okay, or that she’s going to be okay. This girl was smiling and winking back at me with her one good eye. Broke my heart.

    So Rafa losing to Federer doesn’t really seem like a big deal. Life goes on. Rafa has made us smile so much in 2017, and he surely will make us smile much more before the year ends.

    • Mac , what you said concerning Rafa is absolutely right , It also looks like Rafa isn’t the only one with a heart of gold , hope it’s good news when you visit the young girl in hospital and wish her good health for the future.

  14. FED ,IS NOT TE BETTER PLAYER THIS YEAR HE HAS HARDLEY BEEN AROUND .ONLY WHEN IT SUITS HIM .!!!!!!!!!!
    I AM SAD FOR RAFA TODAY, BUT NO NOT ANOTHER PLAYER HAS CAUSED THIS UPSET YESTERDAY WHEN RAFA SUDDENLY ,,. EASED OF PLAY I KNEW HE WAS UNCOMFOTABLE . THEN TO HIT HIS LEG . I FELT HEWAS IN PAIN WAS NOT SIRPRISED TO SEE IT BANDANGED TODAY. RAFA YOU ARE NUMBER1 AND YOU WILL STAY THAT WAY .NOW REST YOURSELF AND GET MOYA BACK WITH YOU ,ON THE CIRCLETXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  15. Good thing was rafa was frustrated of his play int he match against roger so that is a positive competitive indication for me….
    He soon gonna win the match against roger definitely in paris if roger play there….

  16. I am so much concerned seeing bandage on rafa knees.. plz stay healthy rafa…if course rafa tried good but it was pitty to start up match with too many faults….i think it is too much about loosing streak with roger this year and that is what kind of playing in rafa mind before playing match with him …..and roger seem to found a formula for rafa…that is to play out an out fast agressive tennis and he dont bother about of loosing the match and so far this pattern is holding good for him…but i am sure it is just matter of a match win against roger and then he will continue to dominate roger the old way…and i am sure rafa going to do that..he is such a fighter…rafa didnt returned well……from bejing rafa returning so good…..till this match….any ways nothin to worry just stay healthy rafa …..may be skip basel and think for paris or skip both if body not holding good ….just stay healthy….
    Vamos rafa…

  17. Rafa looked beat from the getgo.
    Unwatchable match.
    Either he’s tired or Fed is too much in Rafa’s head now, he can’t play properly against him.

    I don’t buy the idea that Rafa can’t beat Fed(poster below or above, anyway mjus) he would beat him on clay (so Fed won’t turn up there) and slower HCs; and I think he could beat him on fast HCs too (look how close AO was till Rafa’s nerves failed leading 3/1 in the 5th) if–and only IF– Rafa gets Fed out of his head and plays him like he intends to win.

    Fed is the new Djok for Rafa. The only flaw in an otherwise unbeleivabl;e season. I’ll still be happy if Rafa just maintains his hold on #1 till YE. Skip Basil please!!!!

    Deeee pressing experience, getting up a 4 am for that one. Yuck.

    • Hi Rafalite. Such a long time since I last saw you hear.

      Totally agree about Rafa absolutely capable of beating Fed even on this fastest court. Mostly I think it was the worst time for Rafa to play him and vice versa.

      I know what I saw. Rafa’s form and level on HC since the USO are real.

      Never bought into anything unless I see them with my own eyes and think by myself.

      Basel and Paris he should skip imo. It’s only 2 weeks until Paris. Too risky. Only 4 weeks until WTF, plus the training and preparation. His health and longevity should be the utmost priority, not the YE #1; though it would be such a pity if somehow he loses it…

      • HI Ranier,

        Good to see you!
        I stopped posting here for awhile, was posting other places. They’re all inadequate and aggravating in different ways. LOL
        SO I like to mix it up.

        Yes, we agree on what took place today, so unfortunate that this next encounter happened on one of the fastest HCs when Rafa was tired (or was he? I’m still not sure. But he looked tired. But mainly he looked, early on, like he knew he was going to lose. It was already in his head.)

        For sure Rafa has great form on HC, this is beyond doubt now. But it’s like there was a serious relapse today, he looked so helpless. That’s troubling, I hope it doesn’t compromise his confidence in general.

        As for skipping Basel and Paris, definitely yes to skip Basel, not sure Paris. I just want him to play the minimum necessary to keep YE #1, that’s such an important record for him. It would be gross if he lost it at the last moment in 2017. He doesn’t have to win paris, just collect enough points to not let Fed pass him. Fed may not play Paris, I wonder if Rafa can wait till the last moment to decide based on that.
        but, LOL if Fed doesn’t play, Rafa can probably win it.
        Well anyway, I’m not one of those fans who has better ideas than Rafa and his team on what his body can withstand, or where he should stand receiving.

        Do you post anywhere else?

      • Hi Rafalite. Sorry for the late reply.

        The reasons Rafa lost, I think it’s the combination of Rafa being tired after too much tennis and worrying about his knee and Fed’s game being much for him to handle on that court. That and the fact that Fed had already had the mental edge, the outcome was inevitable. Fed was the totally deserving winner. Rafa being injured or not, he still has a lot of work to do.

        TBH I wasn’t sad about Rafa losing. I was just sad that he couldn’t even compete, as in making it competitive, and was afraid he might get injured playing the final and his rest of his season would be compromised or even next year. Who knows. Many things happened in the past.

        As for the YE#1, who deserves it more will take it, I have to say. If it’s Fed, it’s Fed. If he could grasp it, he did it fair and square. It’s all up to them.

        Yes, I visit other tennis and sports sites as well. This site is for talking and sharing with Rafa fans only. I like it here, despite some negativity and “pampering”. But everyone are diehard Rafa fans and only wants the best for him. So that’s good enough for me. 🙂

        Cheers.

  18. Interestingly, Roger was asked if he still has his sights set on year end no.1. and he didn’t rule it out. He then said that the the remaining tournaments he enters depends on what Rafa does. So yes, he is still has his eyes that top spot. Roger is in Rafa’s head now and this loss will hurt Rafa tremendously. However, Rafa is good at brushing himself off and moving forward but he’s got some serious problem solving to do against his long time rival. The problem is that Roger is relaxed and so full of confidence in his new brand of tennis. It will taken some other player to soften him up and knock him off his perch before Rafa can go in for the kill.

    Rafa, you just have to tip your hat today to Roger and say “too good”. Remember what you’ve achieved so this year is fantastic, so get some rest, skip Basel and go onwards and upwards to Paris. Remember, GS are the best of five and your endurance is second to none, so think of the marathon not the sprint!

    • Rafael looked tired in the match with Celic.. His tennis was fine, but HE looked tired. He puts so much into every challenge, .. Federer on the other hand is cool and calm so his battery doesn’t get taxed. Rafael is greater than Fed.. but after a marathon of championship runs and winnings, Rafael’s style uses more energy… Put them on a regular court when Rafael is fresh, and you will see Fed go down!!

    • lorna,

      Had federer lost the final he would have only played the atf and then rest for 2018. Now nadal will have to give anything the last important tournaments to prevent federer from claiming the no 1.

      Nadal doesnt have the game right now to beat federer. So he is going to need help from other players. Such as: Krygios and Zverev and Del Potro.

      Nadal off course needs to regroup and rest skip basel. I am very pissed. Because of the bad year of Djokovic I thought that this was the season for nadal to make history by winning second ao title, first miami open title and first sjanghai title. Federer has denied him that three times this year.

      • Lorna,

        This final sprint of nadal in securing the no 1 spot will effect him in 2018 like it did with murray this year.

  19. Sad for the loss, but the team must regroup to beat Fed. We hope Rafael does not have a serious injury. He has been on an incredible run.🤗 Stay healthy and
    confident for the rest of the season.❤️

  20. Federer was the deserved winner. Face it nadal has no chance on this surface against federer. Only djokovic can beat federer on a indoor surface.

    Nadal had a incredible run winning the us open and beijing but this tournament was just one match too long. Right now federer has become djokovic the second in nadal head. Nadal doesnt have the weapons to compete against federer. He doesnt have a djokovic return to return federer serve and he was bothered by a sore right knee.

    This is the third time this year that federer denied nadal history. Federer denied nadal a second australian open title, he denied him a first miami open title and know a first sjanghai title.

    Nadal has two chances remaining of winning a big title paris and atf. Lets hope that he dropped out from Basel and that another people will prevent federer from reaching the final in Paris and ATF.

    Hopefully Nadal will have a chance next year to win Sjanghai

    • I agree with your comments. I thought that Rafa looked dejected from the start. He was probably too tired from playing so much. When I saw Rafa’s bandage, I knew we were doomed. Rafa wanted an open roof and even that went against him. Rafa still had two great weeks in China. I just hope that his bandage was preventive only.

      • Yes, and let’s not forget skipping the entire clay season where Rafa would have kicked his butt.
        He also withdrew, last minute, from the WTF finals against Djok (knowing he would lose) claiming he had a bad back, but then won Davis CUp one week later.

        But the tennis media treat him like the Jesus Christ of tennis. Blech!

      • Oh im convinced Trish that Rafa would have won the AO had it not been for rogers timely MTO. Although that was allowed and not classed as cheating, roger knew what he was doing and it was really bad form. So it was very sneaky in my book. Rafa should have 3 GS’ in 2017 as he was a break up in the final set. I will never forget that.

  21. Federer is the better player this year. Sad but true. In the last three matches Rafa did not have any chance to win. Take rest Rafa. Always with you.

    • No he is not.

      Fed played way less, and beat Rafa on fast HCs, where his game is better suited (one exception was IW). Fed ducked out of the clay where he would have lost.
      Rafa sill won more points, made more finals. And it ain’t over yet.

      They both won 6 titles, 2 slams each.

  22. RAFA ÉTAit trop nerveux aujourd’hui face à federer ms bon ça n enleve rien à son parcours exceptionnel et à son excellent niveau de jeu

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