Rafa Roundup: “Nadal’s tennis I.Q. is off the charts”

Photo by Fiona Hamilton/Tennis Australia via Getty Images


Nadal Has Won Multiple Titles For 18 Consecutive Years
Rafa moved to 10-0 on the 2022 season on Sunday with triumphs at the Melbourne Summer Set and the Australian Open. With those two trophies, he has earned at least two tour-level crowns in 18 consecutive seasons.

Overall, Nadal has lifted 90 tour-level titles in his storied career. The only men who have claimed more in the Open Era are Jimmy Connors (109), Federer (103) and Ivan Lendl (94).

What is greatness if not the sight of a 35-year-old outplaying and outlasting an uninjured opponent 10 years his junior, a mere four months after surgery and four weeks after respiratory illness? What is his legacy if not the painstaking, go-for-broke approach he has applied to every point, on every surface, of his 21 Grand Slam victories? What is radical if not the sustained, brute force of a game in direct contrast to the humble persona who wields it? Sunday’s victory was the culmination to twenty years of grunting and groaning his way through all manner of setbacks. Clay is the surface that made Nadal, but it’s fitting, in a way, that it was the hard courts of the Australian Open—his least successful surface—to finally anoint him as the game’s all-time great.

“His tennis I.Q. is off the charts,” his coach, Carlos Moyá, told L’Équipe, the French
newspaper. “I don’t know if he’s the best player in the world, but he reads the game better than them all.”

When an increasingly weary Medvedev began trying to shorten points with drop shots and unusually risky tactics, the message was not lost on Nadal.

“I think that gave Rafa a lot of energy,’” Cahill said. “Just hang in there and keep pushing and pushing. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Well, we know now, and it was extraordinary.

“It’s (Nadal’s win) more monumental than [Stefanos] Tsitsipas being up two sets to love [in last year’s French Open], even though that was a huge moment for Novak to be able to come back and win the French Open for the second time.

“Considering everything that had gone on as far as Rafael Nadal, not playing for almost six months, having the surgery, then getting Covid and then everything that was going on with Novak because they were slated to play in the semi-finals.

“To see him do that the way he did, I would like to say that was the greatest comeback – at least since the guy who beat me in the [1984] French Open (McEnroe Vs. Lendl, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5).”

However, Karatsev says Medvedev should take it on the chin and accept Nadal is always going to be a crowd favourite wherever he plays.

“I think for me it’s pretty normal,” said Karatsev ahead of playing in Pune this week.

“Nadal has just made his comeback and didn’t play for almost half a year, of course fans will support him. He’s coming back from injury and the same thing happens if you play against Roger [Federer].

“So yeah I know it can be disturbing when fans try to distract you while serving and all, but I think sooner or later Daniil will realise that and move on. The same thing happened with me but you cannot do anything like telling the fans ‘come on you support me’, that would not make sense.”

Godall referred to Nadal as “Rafael Navidad”, translating Nadal, which means Christmas in Catalan, into the Spanish form of the word.

He wrote on Twitter on Monday: “Rafael Navidad has made me uncomfortable from day one. I have him in the same group as La Roja (the nickname for the Spanish national team), Real Madrid, (Fernando) Alonso and everything that represents the enemy state.”

Godall announced his resignation on Twitter on Wednesday. “The tweet with my opinion about a famous person and his profile can harm the Barca Foundation due to pressure from some companies and the media,” Godall wrote.

Social media related to Rafa:


  1. Hi lorna I agree with you there and he looked so happy I hope that it won’t be the last trophy that rafa gets

  2. After waiting so long for DelPo to return to competition, the message at his news conference was devastating. I knew it would take time for him to become competitive again but his hint of retirement was so sad: sad for him, for tennis, and his fans.

    He has yet to say the “R” word but it’s looking as if he will have no choice, during or after his match tomorrow against Delbonis.

    I hope he gets some relief from the physical and psychological pain he has been suffering from. May his future be bright.

  3. Tennis TV has uploaded a video asking players who they would choose to bring along with them on a desert island. Daniil Medvedev was one of the players who chose Rafa. “I need to take somebody with me who’s going to help me survive to maybe cooking food, to maybe…get food….So I need someone strong mentally. So I would say Rafa! Why? Because he is capable to adapt to any situation. I’m not sure if he would be happy to have me there, but I would be happy to have him there.”

    Hopefully, Daniil would be sharing in the chores (haha). I think they’d get on really well together and between them, they’d have the mental toughness, humour and resourcefulness to survive….

  4. Just seen a video of Rafa putting his newly acquired AO trophy into a glass cabinet at his Academy. I felt so proud. Then there was a shot of the camera panning round, showing all the trophies he’s won. Absolutely magnificent.

  5. Delpo will be missed; had the privilege of seeing him on court, and he was such a warrior and a gentleman. Hope you are recovering well, Rafael Nadal🙏💪👏👍🎾🍀❤️

  6. I am heartbroken…. Juan Martin Del Porto has announced his retirement in a very tearful press conference… He goes on to say that his return to playing in Argentina will be “likely” more of a farewell than a return… He has suffered so much pain in his knees that at 33 the choice of living a more normal life is his only option versus the grind of tennis and effect it has on his body…
    I had always hoped that his last surgery in Chicago would be the answer but unfortunately not….

    I have had the good fortune of seeing him play many times… and for that I am grateful….

    • It is sad that Juan Martin has to retire. I think Rafa considers him a friend. He gave Rafa very difficult matches.

      • You’re right David….He did give Rafa difficult matches…. Juan Martin had a forearm like no other… That ball resembled a bullet when JM got behind it…..

        In 2018 I was at the semi final match at the Open between Rafa and Delpo…. I remember seeing about 25 fans of Delpo’s outside Arthur Ashe stadium, holding their countries flag and singing a song ” Olay …Olay Olay Olay…. Delpo…Delpo….” (over and over again)
        30 minutes later we were all inside waiting for the match to start…

        In as much as I liked JM… let’s not forget who I was rooting for….. That first set was very close and it was brought to a tie-break… Rafa fought hard but we could tell something really bad was happening with Rafa…. He called the trainer as a sinking feeling stirred within all of us….It was his right knee…. Rafa came on court for the second set and could hardly move. It was one of few times I had seen Rafa call off a match…JM couldn’t have been more of a gentlemen as he spoke to Rafa for quite awhile before Rafa left the court and I was devastated…
        Had Rafa not had that injury, I always thought this would have been a great battle…

        Delpo’s fans were still chanting their Olay song …. and I was like enough already!!! 🙂 lol

        And now JM has the knee issues…. It gives you some perspective on this sport… The age, the injuries, and the love of sport these athletes have for tennis….

      • Hi Marileena. You’ve seen a lot of great tennis. I saw that match on TV. Delpo was playing really well. Rafa had to have a procedure on his knee after that and missed the remainder of 2018.

        Rafa won a fantastic match against Delpo at Wimbledon. That may also have been 2018 but I’m not sure.

      • Good memory…. that was a 5 setter in 2018 at Wimbledon…. It was a great match….
        And you see David …who won!! 🙂

        Rafa is just the most fantastic champion…. We have witnessed so much as we stand side by side with him as our loyalty knows no end…..

        He IS the greatest and we just witnessed that fact a few weeks ago in Australia.

        Can’t wait to see what’s in store for him next…..

  7. Winning the Australian Open in 2022 was the most fantastic result I could have dreamed of for Rafa! Rafa, you kept winning every match until you were biting the trophy at the end which made me the happiest fan. May you continue to bite trophies for as long as you can!

  8. Wishing Delpo all the very best as he returns to the at the Argentina Open on Monday. Win or lose, it will just be great to see him playing tennis again.

    • Lorna great to see Juan Martin back but why not a comment about Rafa? His amazing achievements are staggering.

      • Elizabeth, please see my post about Rafa’s tennis IQ and all my previous posts praising him. My comment about Delpo doesn’t diminish my love and admiration for Rafa. I just admire the will and determination of any athlete who has returned to competitive sport after a long injury lay off. No harm in welcoming someone back is there?

    • Yes Lorna… I love Del Potro and his ‘fearhand’; it’ll be great to see him back on tour:) Hopefully he stays injury free for the rest of the season!

      • Watch out Mac and Lorna, the Comment Police is on the prowl. 😂🤣😂🤣

        Both you and Mac summed up my feelings about DelPo. I hope this last surgery has him back on court and winning, but NOT against our #21.

        I was looking forward to seeing Dominic and Stan, too. Was happy to see that Monfils was on a match-winning streak. What tennis players go through has really opened my eyes. Keeping my fingers crossed that Rafa stays healthy and pain free for this already exciting 2022.
        👮 Will we get arrested? 😱

    • Lorna,

      Sadly DelPo has announced his retirement…he will be remembered as a great guy and champion.👏
      Wishing him all the best in the next chapter of his life.❤️

      • Mimi, does that mean he won’t play Tuesday? He has always maintained that he wouldn’t retire at some press conference.

        DelPo has not announced his retirement according to the ATP. He has admitted that previous messages he sent out were not in keeping with his reality. He is in constant pain. I’m just so upset for him. One of the sweetest and talented guys there is.


      • Hi Margo, I think he will play, but he says his comeback is more like a goodbye according to a YouTube video my friend forwarded to me. Title: Juan Martin Del Potro announces his retirement from tennis

      • Mimi, I read the emotional announcement DelPo made, stating that he’s likely to retire after the Rio Open and that’s extremely sad news. After Rafa, he was always one of the players I enjoyed watching. Such a humble champion – love his swagger too.
        Injury has dealt him a cruel blow but as he said, he wants to “live like 33 year old” and there’s plenty of life after tennis. I wish him all the very best in the future.

      • Very sad news indeed, Lorna.
        Glad he won the 2009 US Open beating Rafa, then Roger!👏

  9. I believe that RAFS’s heart is as big as the heart of SCRETARIAT AND SEA BUSCUIT rolled into one you can’t even put into words what a GREAT PERSON AND ATHIETE HE IS thank GOD gpt him

  10. Yes, Rafa has amazing tennis IQ – the best in the game. He’s like a champion chess player on court. He’s able to read play quickly, anticipate his opponent’s next move and think ahead about what shots to make to gain the advantage.

    • I’m also glad to see the gentle giant, Del Potro, return to tennis. I hope he stays injury free. Had he been able to play over the last few years, I’m sure he would have been a real contender for a few slams. Always support him if Rafa is not there. However, Rafa is the main man and his tennis IQ has always been quite astonishing, as well as his ability to put his tactics into practice. The GOAT for sure, even if his rivals exceed 21.

  11. Godall is apparently a Catalan separatist. Rafa is very pro Spain! I think he picked the wrong time to trash Rafa! lol

    • The man is so wrong to make such a comment. Rafa believes in a United Spain but speaks Catalan but does not believe in strife.
      Rafa is the country’s greatest ambassador and the greatest sportsperson of any era.
      He has always been able to adapt to situations during play. He’s a bright guy in every way.

    • I agree with everyone that delpo is retiring from tennis I was so looking forward to seeing him play again but the health comes first

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