Rafa Roundup: Nadal risks losing his No.2 world ranking after Tsitsipas defeat

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If the Russian beats Novak Djokovic on Sunday and wins this season’s first Grand Slam, he’ll surpass Rafael Nadal and take second place in the ATP ranking.

Nadal has been in the top two best tennis players in the world since June 11, 2017 – 1,350 days – and could displaced by Medvedev if he wins the tournament and takes his ranking points to 685.

Both players are set to play in the Open 500 between March 1 and 7 alongside other top tennis stars.

“People don’t question the severity of your injury for no reason,” said Groth, who is now a top analyst on Australian TV.

“Djokovic has a reputation for being the boy who cried wolf. Federer and Nadal needed a bad guy, and they got Djokovic. Novak Djokovic tries to give an impression he doesn’t care about not being liked, but I’m not convinced that’s true. He will never attract the universal support they (Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal) do. Every era needs a villain. And he’s become just that. On the court, Djokovic is nothing short of incredible. He’s on another level, the guy you never want in your draw. But off the court, he has done himself no favours.”

VIDEO: Rafael Nadal Top 10 Plays | Australian Open 2021

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  1. to be honest roger and novak got the advantage of serve and aces so that makes huge difference in big points and big matches on hard courts or indoor courts…and rafa somehow lacks that which makes him more great because w/o this advantage he still got the trophies on all surfaces…if any one remember 2010 hard court season before US open rafa served great and he won all hard court tournament beaten djoker 2 or 3 times on hard court….if rafa could work on serve a more he is definitely sweeping all trophies

    • I do remember Rafa’s 2010 Season Ashu. For those readers who don’t, perhaps because they are too young, Rafa won 10 Titles that year, including the French Open (for the fifth time), Wimbledon (for the second time) and the US Open (for the first time), beating Djokovic in the Final. He also completed the Career Grand Slam that year and was, of course, year end No.1. A magnificent year by any standards.
      However, Djokovic became No.1 the following year, when he also won 10 titles, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. It pains me to mention it but he beat Rafa in five finals that year!
      When Rafa was asked about his rivalry with Djokovic the following year, he said that Djokovic was extremely tough to play because there were no weaknesses in his game: great forehand, great backhand, great serve, great return, very few unforced errors and moves extremely well and so, very hard to beat. He was also asked if there was one stroke that he would love to have in his armoury, his answer was immediate: Roger’s Serve. It is truly amazing that Rafa has achieved so much against such stiff opposition. I seriously doubt that we will ever witness another era like it.
      I do think Rafa’s serve is much improved though and he served really well throughout the AO, despite the fact that he injured his back and was unable to play and practice prior to the event. He was not nearly as ‘match tight’ as his closest rivals at the AO. So, in all the circumstances, I think Rafa performed well.
      Let’s hope that his body, particularly his back, allows him to continue to work on his game throughout the season. Rotterdam will be tough for Rafa because the indoor hard courts will do him no favours but he knows that. He will be ready and won’t have to face Medvedev before the final (assuming Djokovic doesn’t play).

  2. Although I’m not a fan of Novak, credit where credit is due. Congratulations to him. He was by far the better player throughout the whole of the match. He stayed calm, putting the balls deep in awkward places and made Medvedev scurry around like the road runner.

    I agree that in terms of slams, Rafa’s best chances this year are the French Open and US Open. As for Carlos Moyà, I also feel that it’s increasingly unlikely that he’ll travel outside of Europe due to family reasons, so Rafa has to think outside of his trusted family of Spaniards for ways to elevate his game in particular areas. Alas, he’s a creature of habit and I don’t think he’ll be going down that avenue.

    It will be interesting to see how the rest of the year unfolds. Right now, Novak’s confidence is sky high and he looks like an unstoppable force on hard courts. The only person that can stop him over five sets is an energised Dominic Thiem. So far the “next gen” don’t have the answer and Novak knows it.

  3. I also dont understand why the spaniard keeps playing so many clay court tournaments at the age of 34. Its like he still thinks he is 24 years of age. He only needs to play one clay court tournaments or two maybe why so many.

    He should set priorities when it comes to tournaments. He should put it all on winning grandslams and tournaments he never won. Its no coincidence that after the Us open the spaniard is mentally exhausted and is unable to preform indoor because of the exchausting clay season

    He won all the clay court tourrnaments so many times he should skip a few

    • Rafa’s best surface is undoubtedly clay Marijnt and he obviously loves to play on clay. Unlike hard courts, clay is also much more forgiving on his body. Rafa’s style of play is not best suited to indoor hard courts because generating massive topspin requires ‘time on the ball’, which indoor hard courts do not give him. Those who excel indoors tend to take the ball early and hit the ball hard and flat (or fairly flat). So, even if he was fully rested, Rafa would never win as many indoor tournaments as he wins on clay. So, it makes perfect sense to me that Rafa plays on clay when he ca. Personally, I love to watch Rafa play on his best surface.
      Why do you refer to Rafa as ‘the Spaniard’? It seems so cold, impersonal and inappropriate on this website, which is, after all, the ‘rafaelnadalfans’ website.

      • First o all you right refering to him as the spaniard is not right sorry about that

        But let me ask you you are saying that rafa game doesnt suit Indoor can he at least try to adapt his game so he can compete indoor. He is not to old to learn right. I mean even Nole and Roger are adapting their game so why not Rafa

    • It almost seems as though Rafa is addicted to playing clay court tournaments or he doesn’t want to disappoint the tournament organisers of those competitions. I agree that he should scale down the number of cc tournaments leading up to the French, as he doesn’t need so many repetitions on the same surface. He should be concentrating on making improvements in areas outside his comfort zone.

      Rafa can do well on indoor hard courts. He was close in Paris and was taking the ball early at the AO, but loss his QF because nerves let him down. Rotterdam will be a good test for him to gauge where his indoor game is at against a strong field. Let’s see.

      • Lorna,

        Thank you so much for this comments that is exactly what I am thinking. Nole is only going to play two tournaments before the french open. Nadal is going to play four

        Why is he playing in Monaco en Barcelona. He won those tournaments 10 times. He has already proven himself on Clay he should be focussing other surfaces.

      • I think Rafa can and has worked on his hard court game in the last few years. As you say Lorna, he was playing closer to the baseline and taking the ball earlier at the AO. He has also worked hard on his serve, which is much better than it used to be; not that it was bad before. (In fact, he won more points on serve than Tsitsipas, who has a big serve and served well in that match: 108 for Rafa; 102 for Tsitsipas). Unfortunately, Rafa does not get the ‘kick’ off his unique topspin forehand when playing on hard courts, where the bounce is generally lower; so he was not able to dictate rallies at the AO as often with that shot, in the way that he does most of the time on clay and on the slower hard courts, like those at Indian Wells.
        Personally, I would love to see Rafa approach the net more often (on the right balls of course). He has great hands at net and volleys and smashes extremely well. (His two missed smashes in the third set tie-break against Tsitsipas were an aberration and had nothing to do with his technique, which is excellent.) (In my opinion, Rafa does these things better than any of his close rivals, with the exception of Roger perhaps, who is also excellent at net). This is also how Roger adapted his game as he got older.
        All that said, the clay court season is short and Rafa generally garners a lot of points on clay. If he were to curtail his clay court season he is likely to suffer in the Rankings and he needs to maintain a high ranking in order to avoid having to play his closest rivals in earlier rounds, especially in hard court tournaments. For obvious reasons, he doesn’t want to meet Djokovic in the quarter final or even the semi-final of any tournament. Who does? I don’t see Rafa sacrificing his best chance of winning tournaments (and thereby maintaining a high ranking) by playing fewer tournaments on his best surface. However, I do see him continuing to work on his hard court game, injuries permitting. He is developing his game all the time, which is great to see.

  4. We should acknowledge that mentally right now nobody can compete with Nole. The next generation are a bunch of mentally weak pussies who will never be able to put that kind of work, determination and sacrificies that Rafa, Roger and Nole have done.

    And dont count Federer out that will be a huge mistake. Federer is still the most talented player in the world. And mentally he is on the same level as Nole.

    The next generation will never take over power in grandslams

  5. Congratulations to Nole for winning his 18th grandslam. He deserved it I am a nadal supporter but also a tennis supporter in General. A couple conclusion you can draw after this tournament.

    The top 3 is invincible and has no serious challengers at the grandslams. The only serious challenger was wawrinka but unfortunatly his best years are behind him. Thiem is not a serious challenger at the grandslams
    Rafa is still 2 in front against Nole. I believe that Rafa will win in Paris so the key will be Wimbeldon. Nadal was able to the reach the semifinal in the last two years so I have confidence in his chances.
    Nadal has more chances of winning in Paris, London en New york then in Melbourne. That tournament is a curse for the Spaniard. So he should think about skipping that tournament in the remaining years of his career. Which is not a strange thing to do. I remember Agassi skipping Wimbeldon a couple of years and also Federer skipping the french open.
    This tournament proves again the mental state of mind of the spaniard. The spaniard should demand that Carlos Moya will attend every grandslam and master series tournament. If Moya cant do it which is understandable because he has a family then he should send francisco Roig to his academy and ask Boris Becker to join his team. The German can help him improve his state of mind and become mentally the strong player he once was but also improve his game indoor. Nadal has a terrible record Indoor only won 3 tournaments which is a disgrace.
    Nadal should play Rotterdam and not skip it. That tournament is a challenge on his weakest surface against the best indoor players of the world.
    As long als Rafa does well in Paris and New york he will stay in front of Nole. There were two moments where Nole could have overtake Nadal that was the us open 2019 that rafa won and where nole had to retire and off course Nole disqualication at the Us open which was a huge blessing for Rafa
    If you want to take out Nole at the australian open you have to do it before quarterfinal. Taylor Fritz could have done it but he was mentally weak

  6. That idiotic man has won again. Hardly anyone can stand up to him mentally especially in the finals. The opponents go in with fear and if Novak’s fans are present they create enough of a disturbance.

    Novak lately must be beaten before he reaches the finals. Unfortunately all the chances in the AO fell through.

    I’m always nervous for Rafa at the FO. No matter how good he is, it is tremendous pressure when thinking of the number of Grand Slams etc. and knowing Novak he’s been eyeing it …… . He’s also extremely strong at Wimbledon and US is also a possibility. All the other players must get over their awe of him.

  7. As for his fans, they dont have respect, don’t like their behavior, they disturbing play and therefore justjkeepjsaying one word (quiet pls) until when while the authorities of Australian Open just standing and watching just bcos they want Djokovic to will, that is his last trophy, the boys are watching the moves, watch the space

  8. The lier has won, gunning down Medvedev in streight set, let see if he can lie in all the 4 slams and come out being a winner ha ha haaa how can he claim that he was not feeling well sins the beginning of the tournament and play so amazing and win the tournament while not feeling well ha ha haaa u really a good lier Djokovic

  9. For Rafa it’s all about the slams now. Like many who have posted, I’d rather see Medvedev win the title at the expense of Rafa lose his no.2 ranking – anything to keep the distance between Rafa and Novak in the slam tally.

    At the moment it all seems to be going Novak’s way. Sadly, that gap between him and Rafa looks very much like narrowing.

  10. I read a statistic the other day that said if Medvedev gets to no 2 it will be the first time for 16 years that the top 3 rankings are not held by Rafa, Roger or Novak.

  11. With rank or no rank….stil for me Rafael Nadal is the BEST athlete i’ved known,a very GOOD ONE…LOVE YOU RAFA😘 Take Care and Godbless ❤️

  12. There’s plenty of time before the French Open for the rankings to change again, assuming that Miami and the clay court Masters events go ahead. I would like to see Daniil get his first Grand Slam title, and could do without seeing Nole’s incredibly annoying celebrations!

    • I agree ‘Set in the Past’. Djokovic’s winning celebrations are very annoying (so ‘over the top’) but they accurately reflect the size of his ego! Rafa, I am so proud to say, has no ego. His celebrations are always understated and respectful of his opponents. That is only one of the MANY reasons why Rafa is more popular than Djokovic around the world and always will be. Djokovic is desperate to be loved more than Rafa and Roger but that is never going to happen. On to Rotterdam. I like Medvedev but I hope that Rafa doesn’t have to play him there.

  13. Nadal should’ve not lost the semifinal against Medvedev at the ATP Finals, serving to close the game; and then loosing to Tsisipas in the AO, when he should’ve close it in the third set. Nadal has all the talent and weapons and missed the last shot. He needs to refine these closings and he will get 3 or 4 more Grandslams. Go Rafa Go!
    By the way, I have followed him for the last 15 years and mostly for his example and humility. Blessings upon him!
    AOP from North Carolina

  14. And I do not want to nadal to lose his nr 2 ranking. That could bring him in trouble in future grandslams

  15. And even if nole win his 18 grandslam title. Nadal will be the first one surpassing federer he will still lacks nadal by 2 and since Rafa still is unbeaten in Paris he can extend it again to 3

  16. Djokovic will win tomorrow people and the reason for it is very simple: mental strenght, service and return of serve weapons unfortunatly that nadal lacks.

    I expect that it wille be same kind of final as last year. I think that nole will win in five sets The loss from stefanos against medevedev confirms me what I already know stefanos won against rafa because of rafa not because of stefanos.

    I trully hope that all the players will be playing next week in my country. This tournament will give nadal great opportunity to compete against the best players on his weakest surface Indoor.

    The last time that rafa won a indoor tournament was 4 years ago. So far rafa only won 3 indoor tournaments that is so embarassing.

  17. This is between a rock & a hard place . Pray for Daniil to beat the Joker to prevent his getting 18th GS. or Daniil win & displace Rafa to No.2. My preference to stop Joker getting no 18.

  18. Rafa will lose the number 2 ranking for definite if Medvedev wins. Frankly, I’d prefer to see that than Djokovic getting to 18 Slams. I’m still trying to come to terms as how he lost the quarter final. Then Stefanos did put up any challenge. Rafa will always be our number One.
    All good wishes to Rafa for the next tournament.
    Saw a lovely tweet to Rafa from Jannik Sinner’s Manager.

  19. Although it would be sad to see Rafa’s ranking drop I would take it over the (more likely in my opinion) option of Djokovic winning tomorrow. There could be a silver lining to Rafa being #3 though. If he stays there during the clay season, and Thiem remains at #4, they would be on opposite sides of the draw at RG. It’s difficult to predict anything as the points system might change again in March and nobody knows what the tour schedule will be. I will be rooting for Daniil tomorrow.

    • I too am conflicted about this. On the one hand, if Rafa stays at No. 2 it means he won’t have to face Djokovic before the final of any tournament they both enter. (Djokovic is the only top player that has a match winning record against Rafa.) On the other hand, I really don’t want Djokovic to win his 18th Major! Looking ahead, I believe Rotterdam is played indoors on a fairly quick court, which won’t suit Rafa. So much will depend upon who enters that tournament. (Medvedev would be a big threat on that court, as would Djokovic.)

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