(AFP) – Rafael Nadal rued missing out on the Wimbledon final after losing to great rival Roger Federer and admitted his chances of adding a third title on the grass of the All England Club are receding.
The 33-year-old Spaniard, who remains two off Federer’s Grand Slam record title haul of 20, has two Wimbledon crowns to his name.
But he said his game on Friday was never at the level required to repeat his epic win in his first championship victory over Federer 11 years ago.
Rafa, who won his 12th French Open trophy in June, ended up on the wrong end of a 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat.
“I am sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity,” he said.
“But at the same time I created another opportunity to be in another final of a Grand Slam.
“Just accept that was not my day. I played a great event. I take this in a positive way.
“At the same time, today is sad because for me I know chances are not forever.
“Last year I had chances here (he lost in five sets to Djokovic in the semi-final), I had another one, and I was not able to convert to win it one more time here.”
Rafa, who suffered his first loss to Federer in a Grand Slam semi-final after winning on the previous four occasions, said it was a wonderful experience to be part of the great rivalry with fellow 30-somethings Federer and Djokovic.
Indeed — Andy Murray aside on two occasions — no other player apart from them has lifted the Wimbledon trophy since Australian Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.
“We spoke about that one thousand times,” said Rafa.
“The same time is great to be part of this rivalry, be in the middle of these three players that achieved that much in this sport in the same era.”
If the increasingly harassed ‘NextGen’ group of players — who speak of the unbearable pressure they feel in trying to break up the trio’s dominance — were hoping for light at the end of the tunnel Nadal offered none.
“It is something that is going to be difficult to see again,” he said.
“We are not done, so… Things continue. Just another episode this afternoon.
“Of course, as I said the other day, we know that every time there are less chances to play against each other in these high quality matches.
“Was another chance this afternoon.”
Rafa said defeat was tough but graciously congratulated Federer on being the better player on the day.
Rafa said 37-year-old Federer’s qualities remain undimmed and constant.
“The same like all my career, no?” he said. “He is always able to do the most difficult things easy.
“He’s able to move inside the court quicker than anyone.
“He puts pressure on the opponent all the time because he has the ability to take the ball earlier than anybody else.
“That’s probably the most difficult thing to make that happen, and he is able to do it so well.”
No matter the outcome ever, Rafa will always be my no.1
Comment on today’s Wimbledon final. Although Djokovic is not my favorite player I want to congratulate him on his victory over Federer. Roger fell from any admiration I might have had when in his arrogance wore that gold outfit in 2009.
Rafa will always be my man. I want to take this time to wish he and his intended a glorious betrothal and future happiness.
I agree too with observatons on Rafa’s anxiety levels and Toni’s authoritarian handling of Rafa over the years. Have been wondering about it for a while. Why would he feel so anxious and unconfident after winning RG 12th time and hammering RF enroute ? Until the match started, I was pretty sure Rafa would have the mental edge over Fed. None of it. He coyldnt serve like he did in earlier rounds, couldnt return Fed’s serves at all, didnt come in to the net hardly (his shots were so tentative, how could he ?), and he failed to win the long baseline exchanges as well. Crucial bad choices in serving placement also were evident – Fed’s forehand in deuce court when he had won a few cheap points serving down the middle to Fed’s BH. This happened in last yr’s SF match against Djoker – set point for Rafa – in comes the most tentative serve down the middle curving nicely to Novak’s FH – strong return, Rafa loses the point and never regained that game. Yes, Rafa gets brainwashed by his coaches – mainly Toni, who over the years has been a beast with Rafa, and nowcRoug. He places too much importance on Roig’ss observations on Fed’s game, and keeps serving to the FH. And once he gets into the groove, it becomes a habit through the match- our dear habitual Rafa. Overall, Uncle Toni destroyed some self-condfidence in Rafa – now he crows on about how great his nephew is- a little late in the day.
If Rafa ‘s going to fulfil his potential on other surfaces, a new look coach is obligatory- who can wash away those psychological scars, infuse fresh all-conquering confidence, and really think smart and intelligent on game plans against big playing opponents. Moya has done great – improved Rafa’s direction changing abilities a lot on ground strokes – another Moya is required – for added coaching weight – soft spoken and smart like him.
Lets hope Rafa’s not going to lean too much towards respect and loyalty here – he wants to win so badly- has postponed marriage and children for the sake of tennis – he has to take that bold step towards pushing Roig out – and evade Toni also – because he keeps popping up – he may well have screwed Rafa’s mind up on the eve of the SF by flying in to watch the match ! Get good smart people around you Rafa – out of the box thinkers – not just loyal hanger-ons. And prepare yourself for busting out into unrestricted open minded thinking – about your tennis.
Reading a lot about the negative impact Roig has on Rafa… never heard this before! I am aware of the bully tactics Toni has employed over Rafa, and I was so happy that he decided to stop coaching him, Rafa would never have forced that decision on him. Bit pissed off that he is still having so much to say about Rafa, and more so because it is so negative and seems to have a detrimental effect on Rafa. So, what’s with Roig? Personally, I have never been able to understand why or how Roig is coaching Rafa and have been unable to see the benefit he brings to Rafa’s game but I was also unaware that he had a negative impact. Can you enlighten me please?
Yes to me Rafa is the most exciting tennis player to watch i enjoy him even when he loses because he is my favorite tennis player ever. I believe that Rafa could have won against Roger Federer had he not had a much tuffer draw then Nole and a tuffer draw then Roger Federer. I believe Rafa was tired and i did hear him say that he could not see because the bright light from the sun was shining direct into his eyes. I thing both of these things reeped havock on his performance. I hope Rafa Nadal will rest and be ready to play again his best tennis in the US. OPEN.
The truth is Roger will not win over Djokovic and Rafa can do it. His celebration will be short lived. Looking forward to Rafa at the US open. I just hope he’s healthy.
Heart broken over the way Rafa played his semi final match against Roger. I agree with most everything the other
commentators stated. I have disliked Roig for years I believe also there are psychological issues plaguing Rafa along with the need for Rafa to get more outside the Spanish “battalion” for new eyes and coaching expertise. Both Djokovic and Federer have brought in several other player/coaches and continue to do so. Where was the Rafa of the quarter finals and round of 16??? Something is wrong here. Rafa put too much pressure on himself
that he could not execute competitively. He had a strangle hold on himself with anxiety. I love you Rafa all the
best to your future matches. I believe his present situation appeared to me that his coaches are inept. They
take advantage of Rafa and have not made a big difference in years. Roig should be dismissed and Moya should
be at the Grand Slam tournaments at the very least. As far as I am concerned Rafael Nadal is the most
exciting tennis player ever. He will always be no.1 to me Vamos.
SubG’s comment on bringing in a grass-court specialist coach like Becker sounds like a very good idea – but, — let’s pause and consider the actuals of a big-head, big-mouth Becker coming in just for 3 or 4 weeks and imposing his ideas on Rafa. It wouldn’t be smooth and frictionless. They could meet, and talk and try to get used to each other first- but is there enough time for all this in the short grasscourt season ? At the end of the day Rafa is as conservative as they come in some respects. He gets on great with Spanish-speakers and less so with non-Spanish. But, this is perhaps a part of him that needs to open up, be more adventurous about trying other coaches (non Spanish if useful)- and overall, look at a more aggressive allcourt game and mindset for grass. Thought Rafa was doing great this time until Fed came along !!
Halep has lifted my spirits a bit. Very she beat serena and that too kn 56 minutes! Great!!!
Tough loss for Rafa and I’m quite sad about it. He needs to show the real intent of winning at Wimbledon. For the last few years it’s the same pattern by not bringing in his full-time coach to Wimbledon. He will not win another Wimbledon with that useless Roig who is just one or Rafa’s vassals. In order to best his opponents like Novak & Roger he needs to at least try and emulate some of their strategies by bringing in super coach/consultants for the grass season, someone like Becker (who needs cash now) could be really useful and just his presence in Rafa’s box would definitely rattle Djokovic and probably Roger too. So long he continues with same bull crap strategies of coming to wimby with Roig as if on a English holiday it is never going to work. But I don’t think it matters to him otherwise he would have taken measures by now, I mean it’s been 11 years since he won here last time.
Most commentators here are true Rafa fans who are hearbroken together with him every time he looses a match we feel he should win if… Much as if… does not change results, it changes if measures are taken to try to avoid future hearbreaking results.
I agree with all opinions which indicate the problem with coaching that Rafa has. Rafa has had all his tennis life coaches that did not believe sufficiently in him. To start with the uncle who instilled in Rafa an inferiority complex (humbleness is probably in his character an authoritarian uncle coach hammered inferiority). Moya who chooses to watch Rafa’s Wimbledon matches on television. Roig what is his use?
Finally, how can Rafa’s mental block toward RF be broken and he understands that RF is no friend and is not better than him? Same block is true for Djokovic where there is no friendship rhetoric but Rafa believes D…. is better than himself.
Any way to change the situation?
Somehow I kind of agree with Rafa fan from London and sushi Krish.
I’m totally baffled at how history has repeated itself. I feel soo sad, dejected and and and …… . Will Rafa win another grand slam other than the FO? Tennis wise he is certainly very capable BUT … . And it must be against either roger or Novak never mind which round. Then his confidence will be restored. Watched a bit – saw that Rafa was not playing like in the earlier matches and stopped. Of course he is gracious. That’s our Rafa but as I’ve said he doesn’t have to put R and N in a pedestal. I almost feel that roger is a different t kind of rival for Rafa. He seems to almost hero-worship him.
I know I will always hope and will always love Rafa – no. 1 for me.
Yes to me Rafa is the most exciting tennis player to watch i enjoy him even when he loses because he is my favorite tennis player ever. I believe that Rafa could have won against Roger Federer had he not had a much tuffer draw then Nole and a tuffer draw then Roger Federer. I believe Rafa was tired and i did hear him say that he could not see because the bright light from the sun was shining direct into his eyes. I think both of these things reeped havock on his performance. I hope Rafa Nadal will rest and be ready to play again his best tennis in the US. OPEN.
Very sad and utterly disappointed.
Rafa was brilliant in all previous round matches till Quarter Final and against Roger was opposite. Carlos Moya Speaking to ATPTour.com said : Whoever goes on the attack in an ultra-aggressive manner will emerge victorious. So Nadal never played like this.
A similar pattern in Australian Open, till Semi Final Rafa was super aggressive and brilliant and the way he dismantled Stefanis Tsitsipas and in final against Novak he was worst.
I see a big mental and physiological challenge, unless he addresses that he will remain a force only on Clay and not sure if he can win on Grass and Hard against Roger and Novak. Need serious mental action.
Nice going through all the comments. Gives me some reconciliation, but not fully reconciled though. Still a bit sad and unable to fully accept Rafa’s chance of making it to the final and winning a 3rd Wimbledon, evaporate like that.
Watched the 1st 3 sets, stopped watching the 4th after Rafa got broken in 4th. Too painful. Saw a clip of the last game – those 2 amazing points on highlights clip.
After pondering over the match again and again, I feel Rafa didn’t prepare the way Roger did for the match. Roger practiced with Llodra, that great leftie serve, and Nieminen also it seems – so he was well in the groove returning big leftie serves. Rafa might have overlooked the service return in practice, confident he could handle Roger’s serve, after breaking Querry several times. But, Fed is on a wholly different level – he just smashed back deep, offensive returns off Rafa’s serve, and served so well and consistently throughout. Rafa’s serve was weaker, and so were his returns. He couldn’t even get into baseline rallues until the end, because hus confidence was shattered after sets 1 and 3. If he had practiced with a big server like say Mahut, just practiced several returns and the next shot, like approach the net for a volley, say- he would have found the returning groove quicker and easier. Overall, Fed took the game out of Rafa, he pretty much disarmed him from the word go. Rafa was just hanging in there throughout except for set 2, whete Fed made many errors.
Fed did his homework better than Rafa, Rafa was probably too wound up, and not relaxed enough. Hoping so much Rafa looks back at the match positively, and gets into a constructive analysis of how better he could approach these big 3 duels in future.
Santoro said Rafa looked untouchable in practice with Raonic at Wimbie – he is still a great great grasscourter – but he was more fearless and aggressive in that 2008 final.
Just wanted to air my thoughts – my regrets really – to lift the sadness from my heart. Have been a devoted Rafan for the last 12 yrs or more.
Yes, another positive Press Conférence 😀 although the first one this week after a loss 😐 He seemed to echo what we thought when the match started , Roger was going to be stronger today 😕 Sad 😢like us fans but facing the next matches ☺ good rest in Mallorca 🌞🌴 Fiona in Paris
VAMOS RAFA! YOU ARE THE BEST!