Rafa Roundup: “I have room to keep improving”


“I think I have been able to play better and better during the whole week [in] every single match and today was a little bit better than yesterday. I have room to keep improving. I was not perfect,” said Nadal. “I really believe that I can play better than what I am doing on clay and I really hope that the victory of today is going to help me to raise a little bit [my] level that I need today to fight for the next couple of events that I am going to play.”

Nadal hasn’t reached his clay-season peak yet. He knows he has another month to get there, and he knows better than anyone how to save an extra gear for Paris. But this win felt special because, as he said, he hasn’t played any epic finals like this one at his home tournament. It also felt special because these types of wins won’t happen forever for him, even on clay. And it felt special because of how Nadal and Tsitsipas pushed each other. For three and a half hours, they made each other get tight, they forced each other to make mistakes, and they inspired each other to fix their flaws and do whatever it took to win. Nadal crossed the finish line first, by a millimeter.

Patrick McEnroe has spoken on the familiar subject of how Rafael Nadal appears to be all but invincible on clay, in particular at Roland Garros.

“The longer it goes on clay the better he gets and the more devastating he is,” the 1989 French Open and tour finals doubles champion said as part of an interview for Tennis.com.

“The other two [Federer and Djokovic] will beat the crap out of you,” McEnroe went on to admit. “But not in anything like the same way Rafa physically punishes you on clay.

PHOTOS: Rafa Nadal To Enjoy Cycling On A Mondraker! | mondraker.com

At Mondraker we are tremendously proud to announce that Rafa Nadal, the best tennis player our country has ever produced and considered to be the best clay court player in history, will be using one of our bikes: An F-Podium DC RR. And we are doubly proud because thanks to the values that have taken Nadal to where he is today and which we feel we share: simplicity, humility, respect and work (lots and lots of work), we’re offering him the absolute best product for his training sessions.

VIDEO: Rafael Nadal had a sweet surprise for PSG star Neymar’s son in Barcelona | ATP Tour

“Davi Lucca, how are you?” Nadal said in the video as the youngster’s face quickly turned to shock. “I heard that you came to watch one of my matches recently. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to greet you, but with the virus around it was impossible. Hopefully when this is all over, you can come back and we can meet properly some day. Sending a big kiss.”

“You’re kidding. Mum, you’re lying to me,” he exclaimed, before literally jumping with joy. “Mum I’m so happy! He spoke to me… Nadal!”

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  1. According to the ATP

    “The Draw Is Set!

    Is Rafael Nadal in the toughest quarter of the draw at the Mutua Madrid Open? Check out the line-up of Nadal’s possible opponents in the early stages of the Masters 1000 tournament:

    #NextGenATP stars Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner

    Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz

    Daniel Evans, who upset Novak Djokovic in Monte-Carlo

    Karen Khachanov, an ATP Masters 1000 champion

    Kei Nishikori and Alexander Zverev, who have enjoyed past success at La Caja Magica…. “

    • You’re right Margo if you are suggesting that Rafa has the toughest draw. Possibly Sinner in the round of 16, Zverev, in the quarter finals, Theim in the semis and S.T.or Medvedev in the final. If I remember correctly Rafa may avoid Rublev if rankings hold but that’s about it.

      I think the big questions are whether Rafa continues to improve and how will Dominic look.

      • That’s all the ATP quote.

        It [the draw] looks tough but Rafa can win if he keeps improving and wins any tiebreakers. Let’s see what happens and how his draw will or won’t change.

        Wishing Rafa the best.

  2. Novak skipping Madrid means that he would only lose 50% of the 1000 points awarded to him for winning the title in 2019. It’s also a great opportunity for Rafa to gain 640 points if he wins the tournament.
    This scenario would bring them closer in points – Novak 11,463 and Rafa 10,450. An intruiging prospect.

  3. The Mayor of New York City announced today that NYC will open up 100% on July 1. I hope this means that the U.S. Open will look something like normal late this summer.

    Thera are lots of reminders that pro tennis is still nothing like the pre-pandemic tours. I read that Rafa’a prize money for winning Barcelona is 68% below the 2019 prize money. No one needs to feel sorry for Rafa but the point is that the tours as a whole are still hurting.

    Rafa, Dominic and others have talked about the emotional energy that’s missing because of the absence of fans. Many of the top players are dealing wuth nagging injuries. Could that be due to the weird tour schedule and lack of opportunities to compete?

    What’s the latest on the number of fans allowed at Roland Garris this year? Wimbledon? I fear that it may take Europe the rest of this year for sufficient vaccines to be available for life to feel better again.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    • David, nothing definitive yet about RG. The following is from the FO website:

      “In his latest speech, on 31 March, the French President announced that a schedule to progressively get cultural and sporting events back up and running would be set up from mid-May onwards, subject to the improvement of the health situation.

      Using this as their starting point, the FFT worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the relevant government services on potential scenarios for organising Roland-Garros, while taking the international sporting calendar into account.”

    • Wimbledon is planning on a minimum of 25% capacity, but leaving the final decision as late as possible. The famous queue won’t be happening and interestingly Middle Sunday will be a day of play.

      We aren’t hearing much anymore about what conditions the players have during and between tournaments. I was wondering about the players who have stayed in Spain between Barcelona and Madrid – I would guess they’re still restricted even during a week off. It can’t be very beneficial to them. Rafa said that just the hour they were allowed outside in Monte Carlo made him feel better.

  4. Keep it up Rafa and practice more the get you confident back vamosssssss champ you can do it 💪💪💪😘🎾👍

  5. Rafa says it best that he fully expects to improve upon his play in Barcelona and I believe he will
    champion Roland Garros 2021 . Vamos and stay healthy please.

  6. Patrick McEnroe, like many announcers (Jimmy Arias this past weekend), spend 90% + or – of their time explaining what Rafa’s opponents must to do in order to beat him. I promise you that they take those blinders off when RF is playing. He can do no wrong. Please, media, do your job and help us to enjoy Rafa’s matches more and profile more of Nadal’s overall game and contributions to the sport!

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