Rafael Nadal: To be happy, I need to be healthy

Rafael Nadal talks about his loss to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open.

Q. Was that the best that Novak has ever played against you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Difficult for me to have a clear opinion. I think, of course, he played I think fantastic. At the same time is true that when he’s playing that way, I think I needed something else. I was not able to have that extra thing tonight, being honest, no?

Yeah, was unbelievable the way that he played, no doubt about that. But at the same time is true that probably physically I was not able. I played fantastic tennis during both weeks, is true, but probably playing that well, I didn’t suffer much during the both weeks. Five months without competing, having that big challenge in front of me, I needed something else. That something else probably today, I don’t have it yet. That’s my feeling, to compete at this super high level.

I think I was playing great during the both weeks in offensive positions. In defensive positions, I practiced what I practiced. I practiced well, very well I think, but because of the things that happened to me in terms of surgery, then what happened in Abu Dhabi, I was not able to work that much the defensive game. I worked a lot on the offensive game, but not that much on the defensive game.

To play against a player like him, playing the way he played tonight, I needed that defensive game to finally have the chance to be offensive, no? When he was hitting, is true that maybe was difficult to beat him even if I was at my 100%. But probably will be a little bit more fight.

Q. When you’re talking about needing something else against him, is it the offensive game only or other things you need to do differently or better?
RAFAEL NADAL: We are 32. I am 32 and a half. Is not the first meeting that we had. Is not the first time that he beat me that way. The only thing that I said is even if I was playing so well and I had a great two weeks, being honest, I can’t be sad. Will be not fair to be sad. I played against a player that today was better than me. That’s no doubt about that. That’s all.

I have been lot of months without having the chance to practice, without having the chance to compete. And have been two positive weeks. The only thing probably that I need is time and more matches. You know, my feeling was I have been always in offensive position during two weeks, during six matches. Today I know that will not happen. Of course, he played better than what probably he played during the rest of the tournament. Being honest, I saw him the tournament more or less. He probably played the best match so far. Playing that well, is so difficult for everybody, for everyone, when he plays that level, is so difficult to fight for victories against him.

But if I am able to run 100% and to resist every ball, then you find ways. The things that looks easy for him become little bit more difficult when you have to do it one more time, one more time and one more time. I was not able to push him to do it one more, one more, one more every time. That’s my feeling.

What I need is I need time, I need work, and I need more weeks like this one. That’s really the only thing that I hope is to have the chance to keep practicing well and to have the chance to keep playing with healthy conditions. Like this, I believe the level of tennis have been great. Probably the only thing that remained a little bit more to me was normally the best thing that I have. Is something that I am not worried much. Only thing is about time.

Q. Can you explain how you feel against a player who has answers to everything? How is it to be there on that court on such a big day? You tried everything?
RAFAEL NADAL: I try what I had. No, no, is not what I feel. No, that’s the game. You go on court, you can win, you can lose when you face players that are playing that well. You accept that somebody is able to play that well.

Q. Stefanos felt destroyed against you.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but Stefanos is so young. He don’t have been destroyed enough times to know that that can happen on a tennis court. I am not new on this. I know these kind of things happens. Even to the best players of the history happened. I don’t say I have been destroyed. I have been playing against a player that was at the highest level possible, in my opinion, tonight. A player playing like this is difficult to win.

He was better than me tonight. That’s the sport. We can talk a lot, but when the player did almost everything better than you, you can’t complain much. The only thing that you can say is congrats to the opponent, well done. For my side being very happy, big personal satisfaction about the two weeks, you can’t imagine — is nice and easy now playing the final here, looks always that. But I have been going through very tough moments. After the US Open, I didn’t had the chance to play for three weeks or four weeks for the knee. Then I came back, and two days or three days before Bercy, I felt the feet, that something going wrong. I went to Bercy, had a strain in the abdominal. Then I came back, had to do surgery to the feet because a small portion of the ankle was gone. Is all the time under a tough process of things.

Then when you want to start the season, what happened for me in the thigh at the beginning of the season, is a lot of issues. Even if I always say that I am a positive, believing that the things can go better all the time, that’s tough. That’s mentally tough. It’s painful that you can’t do the things that you need to do to be 100% fit.

If we analyze all this stuff, have been probably better impossible two weeks for me, even if tonight was not my day, because the opponent played too good, and I was not ready to face that level tonight. But I believe that I can be ready in a couple of months if I am able to keep practicing and to keep competing at that level.

Q. You said you need more conditioning, more matches. What will you do with your schedule? Will you pack matches in?
RAFAEL NADAL: I need matches, but I can’t go crazy to play matches. I have my age. I have my calendar. I have my priorities. My priority now is come back home, have some rest. I played good tennis for couple of weeks. Now is the time to be back, to have a good physical work, keep working on the things that worked very well here. Step by step, working on the things that I need a little bit more. That’s the mobility, the defensive positions, the recovery from positions that are difficult to come back. That is something that I have naturally good, but I need to practice and need to be able to do it at that highest level.

Then my next step is Acapulco. That’s my goal. Is a tournament that I like to play. I had some success there. I am excited to come back to Acapulco. I have Acapulco, I have Indian Wells, and that’s my calendar today. The only thing I am sure I am not going to play something before these two events. That’s my calendar today. Then we see. Depend how things go, I keep going or I take a rest to play on clay.

I know that the season is long. My first priority at all, more than winning titles or not, is be happy. To be happy, I need to be healthy. I going to do the things that give me better chance to be healthy more than anything. That’s the priority. If I am healthy, I am competitive, I am happy, I have the chance to win tournaments. If not, things change 100%.

Q. Were you more nervous tonight at the start of the match than you normally are in a big match like this? You seemed to be making more mistakes than you usually make in the first few games.
RAFAEL NADAL: I make more mistakes because he pushed more. That’s all. Is not about being more nervous. I have been normal nerves, like final of Grand Slam. But the things started so quick (snapping fingers). He was pushing me to every ball.

What on other days have been a serve and a ball that I can have in offensive position, today have been in defensive position. That’s not nerves. That’s things that happened quicker than what happened the previous days.

I don’t like to say he played unbelievable well because looks like you find an excuse for yourself. The real thing is he played so well. He did a lot of things very difficult unbelievable well. He hit so long. His return was fantastic. He was super quick.

I really believe that he was able to work very hard on the off-season on his movement. He was moving unbelievable well. I felt that good shots came back with offensive position for me, after not a bad shot from me, I have been in the defensive position.

In my opinion, is all about have the chance to increase that step of intensity. As I said before, probably I was not able to make that happen tonight. But I have the confidence that I did a lot of things well this tournament. I have the confidence that I will reach this extra level of intensity in the future if I am able to practice well.

But answering what you say, I was not nerves, not more nerves than usual, no. That’s all.

Q. Does a match like this, the way it went, hurt mentally or is it one that you can forget quite quickly and get over?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, you come back home more proud of the level of Wimbledon than tonight, of course. But in terms of mental pain, is harder the semifinals of Wimbledon than this one. In the semifinals of Wimbledon, I was so close, and I was playing so well, having a lot of matches in a row, winning Roland Garros, playing so well on clay. I had that extra intensity in that moment.

For me, was a big chance lost to win another Wimbledon. Tonight I didn’t have that chance. Is easier to forget, yes. In terms of personal satisfaction, I have a better personal satisfaction about the match of Wimbledon. But overall probably was more difficult to do the tournament that I did here than the tournament I did in Wimbledon, because in Wimbledon I came back after winning Roland Garros with big confidence, winning a lot on clay, winning a lot of matches. Is much easier to play that well. If I am healthy, everybody knows I’m a good player on grass, no?

I have better personal satisfaction because my two weeks here have been more difficult than what I did in Wimbledon. But about the personal match, that’s what happened, that’s all.

109 comments

  1. I avoided Tennis news since last Sunday when Rafa lost, but as usual my love for Rafa brought me back. I heard his oncourt speech and post match press conference today and it kind of gives some sense of relief. I thought Rafa would be more down after that beating he received from Nole. I thought he was having a mental block against Nole, but his comments do not show that to be the case and in fact Rafa puts it in more simple terms and as straight as you get. I really hope that to be the case and I hope he can bounce back and take some territory back from Nole in French and Wimby…. Lets see! I still hated that feeling last Sunday…. Such a dampener of my mood for the whole day!

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  2. All I can say now is that this is really FREAKY. I don’t know about numerology or whatever. Here goes:

    “Twenty-two year’s ago on 1/26/1997 Carlos Moyá lost to Pete Sampras at the Australian Open 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.”
    [Source: AS en directo]

    I was trying to find out how the Spanish language press was handling Rafa’s loss.

    RAFA ROCKS

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  3. Tennis podcast may be good to listen to – although it doesn’t make one feel better – as Alex has already said.

    Wish you all the best and every happiness, Rafa!

    🍀🍀🍀🍀😘😘😘😘

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  4. I lost my bet. So what. My next bet will be on Rafa as they have always been. I am neither embarrassed by this loss nor do I feel Rafa should be. Here’s why, and it’s not much different from what some other fans have said.

    Rafa: …I was not ready to face that level tonight. [he gave his reasons]

    My first priority at all is to be happy. To be happy I need to be healthy. I [am] going to do the things that give me better chances to be healthy more than anything. That’s the priority. [no matter what, his health is coming first]

    Physically I was not able. [over doing it could have jeopardized his health].

    I have better personal satisfaction because my two weeks here have been more difficult than what I did in Wimbledon. [I agree].

    I am speculating that Rafa took a mental walkabout perhaps thinking of his beloved clay; or thinking about not injuring himself; or any of the other plausible reasons offered by Alex. Yes, a lot goes into winning a Slam final.

    I ignored the comment about his abdominal bandage because I didn’t want to have to face another injury. Rafa wouldn’t discuss it so it’s possible he hasn’t completely healed.

    We just don’t know what caused Rafa to make such a showing. And don’t forget that he said it may take some months for him to be at his best.

    From here he said it will be Acapulco and then Indian Wells. And then “we’ll see.”

    My takeaway is that he didn’t retire. I just hope he didn’t play the final only to appease the tournament, fans and sponsors. I still have not gotten over his FO retirement because he continued to play until he couldn’t after being so severely injured.

    Now that Rafa is believing in “luck” I am wishing him the best of luck for 2019. And yes, he will win at least two Slams this year.

    RAFA ROCKS

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    • I dig your positivity Margo!

      And yes, that FO withdrawal in 2016 threw me for a loop! I cried like a baby that day… It was much worse than any loss.

      Anyway, the world turned. And it still turns:)

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      • Thanks Mac. I reciprocate by digging your response. No joke. Just a play on “dig.”🤗

        Rafa needs positivity from his fans. ESPECIALLY when we don’t have the answer[s] to why he lost.

        Like you, I have faith that the Team returned to Mallorca with a newfound urgency to find out what didn’t go as planned. Who knows, they may have had the answer before Rafa even hit the court for his final.

        If it is a technical glitch, I hope they resolve it.

        If it is a psychological glitch, clearly they have a lot more work to do in that arena.

        I believe you were here when many of us suggested he employ a sports therapist to get him through tough times; injuries, his parents’ separation; not winning any Slams; losing to certain players; extreme-nervous tendencies. But a therapist may not have worked any way. Unless Rafa knows the therapist, or unless the therapist is a Mallorcan, or a Spaniard, or highly recommended by a team member, I think Rafa’s trust level would be very low and obviously this would not be good for therapeutic reasons.

        For sure, I am always thrilled for a winning Rafa. A double career Slam would have been nice. Maybe next time. At this point in his career it may be more difficult, but such a win would be even sweeter.

        And I honestly don’t think about whose record he breaks. As far as I’m concerned, he can keep breaking his own records and that’s fine with me. I simply want to see him happy playing competitively. He has enough pressure in his life without this fan adding to it.

        RAFA ROCKS THIS FAN

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      • Margo, yes to *everything* you’ve said here. We’ve got to love our fav; pros and cons, rough and smooth, ups and downs. That’s loyalty. That’s reality. Unless he does something which we find unacceptable and choose not to support him anymore, he is to be respected as a human being giving his all to play a complicated game under intense conditions. I couldn’t ask for more than he already gives. He is who he is, and if he doesn’t employ the methods or tactics that other players do, well… it’s his choice.

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    • Margo,

      Did you just say Rafa will win at least 2 slams???????
      Rafa himself will be mad at you for making such a preposterous proposition!!!!!

      And as John McEnroe would famously say, ”You can’t be serious”

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  5. Ok, we’ve had more than a day to absorb and fully digest what happened at the AO final. After some rest, Rafa will look back at his defeat and dissect the match with his team to find out exactly how he lost that match so emphatically. I’ve certainly done my post mortem, but now it’s a new day and i’m looking at things with fresh eyes.

    Rafa and his team still have a lot of work to do, but Rafa will bounce back. I hope that he goes into the FO in May with confidence restored. Meanwhile it’s practice, practice, practice and best of luck to him for the rest of the hard court season.

    It’s been great sharing thoughts and views with my fellow Rafa fans during the AO and I hope we can celebrate many title victories for Rafa during the rest of the year.

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  6. Very disappointing performance,we all know Rafa can do much better than this ,I have a feeling he is unfit and not recovered from the surgery but keeping it quiet so as to not give any advantage.
    Either that or he was very tired after two weeks of tennis.
    He appeared not to bother about chasing some balls…just not the Rafa I know,but Novac was on top form,before this embarrassment of a match,I thought Rafa was as well…. In the past Rafa’s game seems to suddenly collapse and he plays like a non seed… maybe its a mental problem.
    Saying all that,Rafa will always be my favorite player.

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  7. anyone accept here or not but it is jhst mental issue for rafa he has lost 8th straight match against nole so its always bavk in ur find evnthough ur ar GOAT and vice versa it help oppsit player to play confidently…..nole olay same tennis for rafa he just olay long and deeper and also have deep.good returns…now to come through this situation only u need is to win against opposite player….and i think rafa for surely will gain confidence after beatung nole….good thing is clay season is coming and rafa will look to beat nole all clay season….that will do wonders for rafa next time he will play against nole on hard court….and i agree with rafa that he needs to go to his best wuality which is he is known for that is his defense i think when defense gets good there is always as chance….also against nole rafa have to play deep from baseline and also from 2meter behind of baselinse just gonfor deep shots push back nole from baseline.. and he have to go for doen the line forehand…..nole dont have answer to that shot

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  8. Rafa my dear adopted grandson. Your Press Con. was the greatest,as usual, n it brought tears to my eyes. You are such a gentleman on n off the Tennis Court with a generous, kind n honest nature for which God will always bless you. You are the King of Clay … no one else has a royal title! I will always pray for you Rafa my boy. Vamos Rafa. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley.🐂🏆👑🎉🎉

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  9. 24 hours after the beatdown. For some reason I am feeling better then in 2017 when he lost against federer after leading a break in the fifth set. Nadal got humiliated and embarrased enough about that. Lets look to the rest of the season

    Obviously nadal has a lot of homework to do and lets hope that this humiliation and embarrasement could be the beginning of something new the season has just started the australian open is over and another waisted opportunity for rafa and you must look forward to the rest of the season and not look backward anymore its done.

    I hope as is said numerous times that Carlos Moya refuses to accept novak dominance over Nadal. Moya has made some changes to rafa game which is good and i give him credit for that something that uncle toni should have done long time ago.

    I disagree with people on this platform. Nadal has a excellent record against the next generation so I am not writing him off he has shown that during this grandslam untill the final. The main problem for him is Novak Djokovic.

    Nadal has lost 4 grandslam finals against Nole and has not beat Djokovic in a grandslam since the french open 2014. Furthermore Nadal has not won a set from Djokovic on hardcourt since the us open 2013.

    Nadal would already surpassed roger record if it was not for djokovic. These are terrible statistics. More embarrasement losses will follow if nothing happens you can continue the status quo.

    I know that rafa and his team are not reading our comments but let me give some tips on how to beat djokovic since rafa doesnt now it anymore:

    – BETTER SERVING AND WITH THAT I MEAN MIXING THE SERVE FOR EXAMPLE SERVING THROUGH THE MIDDLE OR USING THE BODY SERVE

    – CHANGING COURTPOSITION WHICH HAS BEEN SAID NUMEROUS TIMES. HE NEEDS TO COVER THE DEUCE COURT BETTER SINCE DJOKOVIC SERVES A LOT THOUGH THE DEUCE COURT. ALSO STAY CLOSER TO THE BASELINE. BY STANDING SO FAR BEHIND THE BASELINE HE IS PUTTING HIMSELF ON DEFENSE AGAINST NOVAK. STANDING CLOSER TO THE BASELINE WILL ALLOW HIM TO PUT MORE PRESSURE ON NOVAK SERVICE GAMES ESPECIALLY RETURNING BETTER

    – STAY ON THE BASELINE AND TAKE THE BALL EARLY AND MIXED IT UP FOR EXAMPLE USE THE DROPSHOT MORE OFTEN SINCE DJOKOVIC IS A EXCELLENT DEFENDER. STAYING ON THE BASELINE WILL PUT NADAL IN COMMAND IN THE RALLIES.

    – USE THE FOREHAND DOWN THE LINE MORE OFTEN EVEN MATS WILLANDER SAID IT STOP GOING TO THE BACKHAND OF NOVAK THAT IS HIS BIGGEST STRENGTH. NOVAK CAN GO CROSS COURT DEEP TO NADAL FOREHAND OR DOWN THE LINE. BY USING THE FOREHAND DOWN THE LINE WHICH IS NADAL BIGGEST STRENGHT HE IS OPENING THE COURT AND PUT DJOKOVIC OUT OF HIS COMFORTZONE.

    – LAST BUT NOT LEAST GO FOR YOUR SHOTS. I WATCH THE FRENCH OPEN FINAL BETWEEN WAWRINKA AND DJOKOVIC WHERE WAWRINKA DID THAT AND AS A RESULT OF THAT DJOKOVIC IN HIS PRIME WAS PUT ON DEFENSE THE WHOLE TIME AND WAS STANDING FAR BEHIND THE BASELINE SOMETHING THAT HE WAS NOT USED TO DO

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    • LOL! Feel better now? I don’t think the day will ever come when pro players or coaches look for tips on the internet from fan sites. Rafa and Carlos know what they have to do. What Rafa does look for is support!

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    • Finally someone said what I am thinking. Thanks for your comment. Totally agreed with you.
      Doesn’t matter how good Rafa played against other….losing to Djokovic is costly. Cost him GS and status. Very soon Djokovic if not stopped will surpass Rafa and maybe Fed in the future in total GS.
      Rafa needed this changes long time ago,but Tony teaching Rafa acceptance was so wrong. You can’t accept Djokovic own you…you must found the way to beat him up again…..if you can…

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    • Also he was too predictable as though Djocko knew where he’s going to return – At least, he could play those points intelligently and patience. He was so much in hurry. Like you said when he saw obviously Djoko was playing well cross court backhand, WHY NOT DOWN THE LINE??? Same thing got repeated against Roger in last set of AO17 final. I think it’s nerve and impatience too. He had to slow down the game somehow to change the momentum of the game.

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    • GREAT TIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) .
      THE ONLY MISTAKE IN YOUR COMMENTS IS REPEATING OVER AND OVER GIVING N FURTHER REINFORCEMENT WITH YOUR CONCLUSION…….NO, N IS NO PROBLEM……..A WAY TO APPROACH IS BY THE WAY OUR PRECIOUS GOAT IS DOING………STEP BY STEP MOVING FORWARD………PRACTICE BY PRACTICE LEARNING……IMPROVING………AND DELIVERING SUCH BRILLIANT RESULTS. UNCLE TONY AND NADAL MADE A BRILLIANT , OUTSTANDING UNIT….STRIDING, WINNING, ACHIEVING AND DOING IT ALL WITH HUMILITY AND MODESTY WITH THE REST OF THE TEAM!!!!!!!.: )
      RAFA HAS A BRILLIANT TENNIS INTELLIGENCE……..HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING………NO NEWS THERE…..AND THE GREATEST FAN UNDERSTANDING IS FOR US TO ACCEPT THAT WE ALL HAVE DAYS WHERE WE ARE STRONGER……..WHERE EVERYTHING CLICKS…..AND SOMETIMES AN OCCASIONAL, AND I MEAN OCCASIONAL, RARE DAY WHERE ONE WISHES IT COULD BE BETTER…….GIVEN HIS BRIGHT SUCCESS DURING THE PAST AO OPEN AND THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER, WE CAN ALL SIT BACK AND ENJOY WATCHING HIM CONTINUE TO EVOLVE. HE IS THE ULTIMATE PRECIOUS GOAT, AND THE ULTIMATE IMPROVEMENT HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )
      VAMOS SWEETHEART AND ENJOY YOUR BEAUTIFUL EFFECTIVE BRIGHT SERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) YOU ARE SUCH STRENGTH…..SUCH TALENT…..AND SUCH AN EXTRAORDINARY SPORT STAR……..BRILLIANT IN EVERY WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) SOLID, AMAZING COMPETITOR………AND A BEAUTIFUL FEISTY FIGHTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) IT IS ALL THERE FOR YOU TO CONTINUE WITH EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING ALL ALONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )
      WE LOVE YOU SWEETHEART AND SENDING LOTS OF LOVE & HAPPINESS AND VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) KEEP SMILING SWEETHEART & ENJOY EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAY AND A GREAT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ENJOY YOUR VACATION AND KNOW WE ARE ALL SO VERY PROUD OF YOU AND YOUR BRILLIANT TENNIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) MUCHAS GRACIAS SENIOR CHAMP AND GO RAFA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂
      🙂 LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WE WERE SO VERY HAPPY YOU TOOK ALL THESE YOUNGER PLAYERS TO THE CLEANERS IN THREE FEISTY, SOLID SETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ROCK SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) IT HAS BEEN SO EXCITING TO WATCH YOUR REPLAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS SWEETHEART & HAVE FUN KNOWING WE APPRECIATE YOUR DRIVE AND PASSION SO MUCH AND YOUR BRILLIANT GOD GIVEN TENNIS ABILITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU HAVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS SWEETHEAART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

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  10. Rafa has the unique (for me) ability to make me feel better about his losses when I watch his pressers. I feel it’s a burden he should not have to bear, but he does it with such grace and optimism. Maybe it comes from always giving his best, as much as he has to give. Love him forever.

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    • Losses to Dvokitch are painful . Rafa must try to overpower Nole and play offensive tennis as he does against all other opponents . This is a matter of confidence and perhaps tinkering with court position . Vamos Rafa and I am sure he will get his payback against Nole during the clay court season . But winning the grand slams means defeating Dvokovitch !

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  11. Rafa you have our soport all thesay ,vamosssssssssss chamo we love you fans for ever go and rest
    And prepared for the next ,❤️😘🎾🌍💪😘🎾🇺🇸🎾😘💪🇺🇸🎾😘💪🇺🇸🎾😘💪🇺🇸🌍

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  12. 5. on which note, *his new serve* and *remaining injury free all tournament* – who of us wouldn’t have cheered this as an exceptional achievement last year? who of us wouldn’t have celebrated his going so deep at the Aus Open without this complication? I am excited about what it means for his hard court game, and how he can build on it – now is the time he needs our support and praise, because for every match but one this tournament he was pure class and dominance, after making a change which must have been hard for him

    Okay, sorry for the essay. Obviously this is a free speech community and it’s great that we have different views and technical looks at the game. I’m enjoying reading the suggestions for how he can improve. But let’s not blame him for not being the perfect version of himself we imagine and need. Let’s accept and enjoy and praise the reality. He has given us so much, and continues to do so.

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    • Thanks for that analysis Alex. I for one have no doubt that Rafa will do his best in the future to avoid such a one sided loss:):)

      I’m feeling inspired!

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  13. 4. there are such things as “off” days, and they don’t signal the end of a career or good results or anything so drastic – anyone who plays tennis knows it is a very technical and subtle sport with many variables – if a singles player can’t execute a match properly, that’s not surprising, especially at the highest level – we are only used to consistently dominant performances from Rafa because of the extraordinary amount of work he puts in – if something doesn’t work for him, it’s easy to blame his deficiency, rather than see all the hundred other things that are working which we never have to complain about

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  14. 3. I’m assuming none of us are paid tennis professionals – we don’t know what it’s like to be out of competition for 5 months, and then get all the way to a slam final – I bet it’s exceptionally hard work and worth a title in itself – (in fact, that’s what the Tsisipas match was for me, a celebration of Rafa’s tournament) – we also don’t know what it’s like to carry the burden of expectation for millions of people, and work constantly on maintaining a crazy level of fitness and preparation – there will be loads of details and logistics which we simply can’t imagine

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  15. 2.b. conversely, there may be changes that Rafa can make to defeat Novak – and maybe he is extremely motivated to solve this puzzle, and will do it – in which case he has to integrate and implement these changes on the most public of stages under the highest pressure – and if they go against his natural game style, don’t blame him for not doing it first time – celebrate him for considering at all – today was an ask too far, he wasn’t ready – he seemed embarrassed but not that surprised

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  16. 2.a. let’s not get obsessed with Novak – Rafa vs Novak is not the only tennis story – there may not be significant changes that Rafa can make to defeat Novak – just as there are hundreds of others who’ve never been able to make changes to defeat Rafa – tennis is all about match-ups and if your player only really has one or two terrible match ups, those are pretty sweet odds – imagine what it must be like for fans of other players, coming up against Rafa – maybe Rafa looks at the rest of his career and Novak’s game and thinks “that’s not really where I want to put my efforts, I don’t know what else I can do, so f* it” – maybe he would prefer to enjoy the very successful game he already has and just take the losses to Novak – so what? Novak’s an amazing player – plenty feel that way about Nadal

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    • Alex…Never in a million years will I ever believe that Rafa will be accepting of his destiny that he will not beat Novak and it is OK with him. Rafa is a competitor to the nth degree… He is passionate about his sport and winning is what its all about. He will go home and rest and then the work begins not only on his defense but his strategy in figuring out how to dismantle Djokovics game. As we all know if Rafa plays the next tournament or 2 or 3 as beautifully as this one…then the chance that he and Novak will meet again is excellent and this time he needs to be ready.

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      • I agree with you…except this Djokovic issue is not new…it’s not now only…It’s forever…or at least that how it’s feel

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  17. There are some salty comments on here so let’s reframe it a little for the sake of our mental health and enjoyment of Rafa’s tennis:

    1. I think people are getting confused by what Rafa said in his press conference – he didn’t say he didn’t have enough match practice to beat Novak, he said he didn’t have enough match practice to work on his defensive skills, which was only *one* aspect of what he needs to beat Novak (or anyone playing Novak’s level, which others do some days) – he needed all aspects of his game to have a chance today, and not having a critically important one, he couldn’t employ any of the improvements either – which of course drained his confidence against a player who knows how to beat him

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      • You have to factor in those times when Rafa was just back from injuries.

        Granted, Djoko did beat a healthy Rafa seven times in a row in 2011 right up to AO2012, but most of those seven matches went the distance esp that AO final in 2012, with the exceptions ironically on clay where Rafa lost in straight sets at Rome and Madrid.

        Rafa did beat Djoko in return from 2012 to 2013, on clay in 2012 (MC,Rome and RG) and in 2013 at RG, Montreal and USO., ie six times and lost only once on clay in 2013 at MC and twice on the HCs (Beijing and WTF finals).

        In 2014 Rafa was 1-2 vs Djoko, won at FO and lost at Miami and Rome, before he got injured while preparing for the USO.

        So, from 2011 to 2014, Rafa did beat Djoko seven times, five on clay and twice on HCs; whilst Djoko had beaten Rafa twelve times (four times on clay, once on grass and seven times on HCs).

        We know the HC is Djoko’s domain, ever since Miami 2007, Djoko has been beating Rafa regularly on the HCs, and so by end of 2014, Djoko was 14-7 vs Rafa on the HCs. Rafa OTOH was 14-4 vs Djoko on clay.

        Their H2H then was 23-19 in Rafa’s favour, however slim the edge was.

        It’s from 2015 onwards that Rafa, after losing his confidence because of his multiple injuries in 2014, that he started losing seven times in a row to Djoko again. It’s during this time that Djoko picked up another three wins on clay and four on the HCs.

        Too bad for Rafa, during Djoko’s slump in 2017, Djoko didn’t even make it to face Rafa that often, only twice on clay which Rafa won. Had they met more often, I would make Rafa the fave of the two to win their matches.

        I seriously don’t think a healthy and match fit Rafa would allow Djoko to play this way (as in AO2019 final) against him that often in the future, even on the HCs.

        As long as Rafa stays positive, works on his game, esp his first and second serve, his BHDTL, and his ROS and court positioning, I think Rafa can and will beat Djoko regularly in future. I think they won’t dominate over one another but their H2H will be close.

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      • Nice comment. Thank you.
        But to get his confidence back he needs to beat him up over and over again…and that requires..a lot of changes in his game
        Hopping for better future

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  18. VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) LOVED YOUR PRECIOUS TWO WEEKS AND SO PROUD OF YOUR BRILLIANT TENNIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) WE LOVE YOU AND VERY HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOUR POST MATCH INTERVIEW IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND WISE ANS FULL OF SOLID POSITIVE RAFA NADAL INTELLIGENCE AND WISDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE SUCH A GIFTED WINNER IN LIFE AND ON THE COURT AND IT IS INSPIRING TO HEAR YOUR ACCURATE, TACTFUL AND TAKE AND PRACTICAL LOOK AT ANALYZING THE MATCH, AND LOOKING TO BEST NEXT STEP, MOVING FORWARD. VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) HIS EYES BY THE WAY HAD AN ARTIFICIAL STARE…….LOOKED LIKE A ZOMBIE WAY TOO WILD AND STRANGE, SPOOKED AND FRIGHTENED LOOK. DURING THE ENTIRE MATCH HE HAD AN UNNATURAL EXPRESSION, AS IF HE WAS UNDER A SPELL OF SOME SORT……….WHO KNOWS WHY OR WHAT CAUSES THAT, BUT ONE THING FOR SURE IS THAT I DON’T BELIEVE HIS RESULTS WERE ALL DUE TO HIS PLAYING WELL……THERE IS MORE TO IT THAN MEET THE EYES……..NOT SURE WHAT IT IS I HAVE SEEN THAT FIXATED,, WIRED EYES EXPRESSION DURING HIS OTHER GS AND SO IF YOU TAKE A LOOK YOU WILL SEE WHAT THE DIFFERENCE FROM HIS OTHER 250 OR 500 OR EXHIBITION TOURS. THERE IS A DEFINITE DIFFERENCE IN THE STARE….AND THE AUTOMATIC, RIGID PLAY.
    BUT HE IS NOT A FAVORITE AND GOING BACK TO WHAT WE ADORE ABOUT YOU DEAR RAFA, . WE ALSO LOVED YOUR COURT CEREMONY, THE PRIDE IN WHICH YOU ACCEPTED THE TROPHY, AND THE INTEGRITY OF YOUR PRESENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE ONE COOL SPORTSMAN DEAR RAFA, SO CLASSY AND GENEROUS IN STATUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOUR ACCEPTING THE TROPHY AND CLASSY WORDS WERE IMPRESSIVE AND SO INCREDIBLY GENUINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) WE ARE VERY VERY HAPPY FOR YOU, AND WHAT IS CERTAIN IS THAT ONE MATCH GOING ONE WAY OR ANOTHER IS INSIGNIFICANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) GOD BLESS YOU SWEETHEART AND MUCHAS GRACIAS FOR HE BEAUTIFUL, BRILLIANT TWO WEEKS OF MATCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) GO RAFA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) HAVE A BEAUTIFUL TIME AT HOME AND ENJOY CELEBRATING WITH THE FAMILY AND YOUR LOVED ONES. LOTS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS AND VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) WE LOVE YOU SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) KEEP SMILING! 🙂 XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

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  19. Yes. Craig O’Shannessey’s article some like when Nadal went right Djokovoic went left very interesting. Hope Rafa and his team read it too.

    Can’t get over today

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  20. Good Luck Rafa for the rest of the season Its good to know you are not injured and healthy. If Rafa can improve his mobility level as he says, that will give him confidence . Rafa has excellent coaches with Moya and Roig and I am sure they will dissect this game and work on what is necessary to overcome the next Djoko challenge. Craig O’Shannessey (on Djoko’s team) has published another article on the ATP site about how to beat Rafa. It annoys me to the max so I will just stop reading them . I assume Rafa’s team read them too?

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  21. Amazing to read so many negative comments from supposedly Rafa “fan” s . Can’t understand that they aren’t top class coaches as they have all the answers !!
    Some have surfaced after long absences . Defeat brings them out .
    Rafa was beaten on the day . He was honest and realistic about it . Move on and support or else go away .

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    • They are not negative comments. They are what people who watched the match felt. Admiring and respecting someone, as all Rafa’s fans do, does NOT mean that we have to think that everything he does is right. If people think Rafa did not do the best he can, they are free to express that opinion. I have loved Rafa since I first saw him at 16 yrs old, playing at Monte Carlo. I think he is a perfect sportsman, and role model. It does not blind me to the fact that he does not always play as brilliantly as he is capable of doing, and today was an example of that. You can be a Rafa fan without having to think that what he and his team does is always the right way.

      Valid criticism is not “negative”, just because you don’t agree with it.

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  22. I so remember listening to a press conference a few years back after Rafa suffered another loss to Nole in which Rafa said that the way Novak was playing, he didn’t think he would be able to beat him. And I remember thinking to myself …well how about dissecting Noles game and find the answers… find the chink in Novak’s armour. And perhaps Rafa tried…But I began to believe that Novak is in Rafa’s head and that Rafa doesn’t mentally have what it takes to beat him. Last night watching Rafa whiff a ball that went right by him along with missing so many shots that he should have made was painful to watch… I adore Rafa and respect his talent but unless they figure out Novak’s weakness and along with elevating Rafa’s entire game, I am worried for Rafa even in Paris… I’ll be at Indian Wells rooting our boy on and hoping for victory through the finals!

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    • Exactly. He doesn’t believe he can beat Novak. He has inferiority complex when playing Novak, because Djokovic beating him on Regular basis…..its mental…so if they meet at French open final,even will be so painful, because I love Rafa.. I WILL PUT MY MONEY ON DJOKOVIC

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      • Bis, I believe you will lose your money if you bet on Djoker for the FO:)

        Today was a tough tough loss, very discouraging and dispiriting I admit. But I still believe in what Rafa can do. Once our champ is healthy, he has the drive and motivation to get better. He will work on whatever it will take to overcome the Novak challenge.

        I think Rafa is rebuilding his game, which we’ve seen in the first 6 matches of the AO. Of course he didn’t stick to the plan in the final, and he got destroyed. It’s a process which is not complete to the point where Rafa’s game can break through Djoker’s defense. But it will happen with time and more practise.

        Moya apparently likes stats and such. So he will have a ton of material to work with in modeling Rafa’s game going forward.

        Rafa will come back strong! I mean, I have nobody else to be crazy about (Naomi!) in men’s tennis, so I just have to hope for the best for him.

        Rafa did us proud in 2017. How did 2017 start? Oh yea, he lost the AO final. I know, 5 sets, but a loss is still a loss. He got the serving tray!

        Rafa knows he has a problem. His team knows. They will work on it. I have no doubt our champ will overcome this setback.

        Thank you champ!!

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      • Thanks for your comment…makes me feel better. And I hope you are right. What’s bother me is that “Djokovic problem “is not new,it’s from 2011….I afraid he doesn’t believe he can beat Novak and that will be a problem even if he improve his game(what I am sure he will). Djokovic is not only game or technical problem…its mental problem for Rafa. That what makes that complicated and the smile face of Mr Arrogance is so annoying…isn’t it?

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      • RAFA WON MANY MANY MATCHES AGAINST N…..HE KNOWS HOW TO DO IT…..BUT LIKE ALL HUMAN BEINGS, WE ALL HAVE DAYS WHERE ALL WORKS RIGHT AND OTHER DAYS WHERE WE WISH COULD BE EASIER….SO GIVEN ALL THE WORK AND EFFORT AND BRILLIANCE THAT RAFA PRODUCES, IT MAKES ZERO SENSE TO GENERALIZE ANYTHING ABOUT HIM, HIS TENNIS, HIS SITUATION ETC…….MAKES ZERO SENSE TO CONCLUDE POOR, INACCURATE STATEMENTS, ESPECIALLY SINCE RAFA PLAYED BRILLIANTLY IN THE ENTIRE GS MATCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) IMHO, TRUE, WE ARE ALL FREE TO VOCALIZE WHATEVER, BUT SINCE THIS IS A RAFA FAN SITE, TRY TO KEEP AN OPEN, RELEVANT PERSPECTIVE.
        VAMOS SWEETHEART AND THANKFULLY, YOUR PRECIOUS PERSPECTIVE IS THE ONE THAT COUNTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

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      • RafA will win Roland Garros especially if he successfully wins 3 of the 4 – Monte Carlo , Madrid , Barcelona and Rome . It won’t matter if Dvokovitch is is his opponent. In fact , he may welcome that matchup for the revenge factor ! Vamos Rafa .

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