A slight bump on the comeback trail

Photo by REUTERS/Shaun Best

Photo by REUTERS/Shaun Best

Rafa lost in the quarter finals of the Rogers Cup to Juan Martin Del Potro 6-7(5-7) 1-6. There were times in the match when he looked like the Rafa we’ve come to know and love. Then he blew a lead in a tie-break and it was all down hill from there. I think he was having a bit of a problem with his back as I kept seeing him try to stretch it. A few stiff muscles wouldn’t be unusual in his first tightly fought match in quite a while. Oh well, it’s on to Cinci for team Nadal.

I’m just going to post my day’s report here – a very quick one since I’m dead tired. Maybe kefuoe will blog about her day as well.

It was actually a lovely day until the end there. I slept in (wooo!) and then headed over to the tournament in time for the Murray/Davydenko match. It was blistering hot and sunny in my stupidly purchased West-facing seats.

After that match, I met up with kefuoe and we chatted through a junior’s match on court BN where it was a bit more shady and the windy payed us a much welcomed visit. Both guys were playing like the walking wounded by the end of the match – hobbling around the court. After that, it was a doubles match with Nestor and Zimonjic. We then went for a lovely dinner with Johanne from VB, her friend and her brother and sister-in-law.

After that, it was time for Roddick/Djokovic. That was a good match and stress-free for me since I was okay with either guy winning it. I think the right guy won as Roddick was playing better.

We all know what came next. Rafa looked good at the start of the match. He did have some trouble with shots flying wide/long, but there was one rally that, I swear, he painted at least 3 different lines with pin-point accuracy. It was a thing of beauty. It felt like the air was taken out of his balloon in that tie-break. I can’t explain it, but it just kind of felt…inevitable. It’s the same feeling I had while watching last year’s semi at the US Open.

The bottom line, though, is that reaching the quarter finals of your first tournament back after a long lay-off and then being beat by a top 10 guy who’s on a roll is nothing to be ashamed of.

84 Responses

  1. Suzanne says:

    I hate to be the bearer of these tidings, but Mooray did make it to the final and will be jumping to number 2. Brace yourselves for the onslaught of naysayers who will be readying a wake for Rafi’s career. If he can blow it off, so can we. Let’s cheer him on and watch him get the last laugh at the end of this season. BTW, the downplaying of Fed has started up again with his loss yesterday. They both know how it feels.

    • kalliopeia says:

      I sometimes feel bad for Fed when he loses a match and everyone starts in on the doom and gloom, and I’m usually annoyed by the “ooh, shocking, stunning upset!” thing they break out every time a lower ranked player beats a higher ranked one. But…let’s be honest. 5-1 in the third and he lost? That really was shocking, and very un-Federer like. I’m not predicting the demise of his career over it, but it does make you wonder where his head is that he allowed that to happen.

  2. AnaR says:

    This short interview was done yesterday by Rosana to Rafa after losing against Delpo. Rafael recognizes that he left the match mentally … it’s too late now but tomorrow I promise to translate it. Good night. And please.. to note of very tired face of Rafa.. in these images.

    http://www.rtve.es/mediateca/videos/20090815/nadal-peligrar/567298.shtml?s1=deportes&s2=tenis&s3=

    • dutchgirl says:

      He certainly does look tired in this interview. No wonder he couldn’t keep up with Del Potro. But hey, a couple of days of rest and he will be fitter.

  3. Delta says:

    Oh, he will knowing Nadal & “be with calm” for the moment. It will “blow off” and he will blow right back to No. 2 or better yet Numero Uno! He may very well get the “last laugh” if he attains the “measure” at the
    US OPEN! Then not only have ranking up, but all 4 SLAMS Under his belt at the age of 23! Of course hel’l be
    supported by all the Nadalnews fans ( which are numerous ) & the vast majority of tennis fans with an
    affinity for greatness & heart, and that is Rafael Nadal!

  4. Atch2 says:

    Rafa is now no.3 in the world. With all the changes in the top section of the men’s ranking, it’s starting to feel like the WTA. At least Fed won’t get crap for being no.1 without a grand slam. He’s only won 15 though. LOL.

  5. Manahil says:

    Suzanne could u pls giv a link to his facebook page..

  6. Manahil says:

    Thanks mary!

  7. CC says:

    I haven’t watched the match, but taped it (yes, I still tape things on a video recorder, I know), so will watch it when I have time. Sounds like Rafa was fairly pleased himself, though, so… He’ll be alright.

  8. Rafafan says:

    Hi everyone – yes like you I was gutted when our Rafa lost the first set (and I wonder whether there was the problem with his knee in the last game or tie break as AnaR says? and played on his mind in the 2nd?). I must admit even more gutted that Murray got the no2. I know its great to see Rafa playing at last and all he is worried about (and us) is his health and doesn’t matter about the rankings. I do think Del Potro is quite a player – so I don’t think we should worry too much. Anyone gonna bother watch the Murray v Del Potro Match? – I am only glued to it more than I would be coz I hat Murray (and I am British!) and I would love to see Del Potro win – it makes it not so bad then when our Rafa/Rafi lost no?

  9. Rafafan says:

    Anyone watching. Del Potro just got the first set!

  10. Manahil says:

    Delpo won da 1st set wooohooo!! Hopefully he wins da whole match as well..murrays gonna be no2 for a very lil time..he betta savour da time he has..!

    • Delta says:

      Am w/you Manahil, want Delpo as he beat Rafa, watching but doesn’t have the excitement/aura as does
      Nadal/Fed. Don’t want to get use to this, but give the guys credit as there’s a lot of talent in the field.
      As for Murray being No.2 ;- hope he “represents” it as well as Rafael did. Change happens, & in 2wks
      could all be on here talking again about Nadals’ comeback to No.2 or No.1. Look @ this time last year, almost to the day. 18. Aug. 2008 Nadal was No.1 and a great one at that!!!!

      • Suzanne says:

        I don’t think that either of these guys (or anyone else in the top 20 field) has the staying power of our boy!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Delta says:

          And or the charisma, charm, “jaw-dropping looks” Need I go on………
          That is only the beginning, not to mention his physicality re; his sport & raw talent.
          OMG! “a little taste” of Rafael and can’t wait till tues, & US OPEN!
          The other weird thing with the rankings is; think possibly Nadal & Fed could be in same ss (half
          in Medical jargon) so that would mean no more Rafa/Rog in Finals no?

          • Suzanne says:

            Am I crazy or is it possible that there are no orthodontists in the UK? If we are comparing everything in these boys, I must mention that Rafi has such beautiful teeth…What a smile!!! Moooooray needs some serious dental work. He might not be nearly so homely if he’d just get his teeth straightened. He could have EVERYTHING replaced, however, and never have what Rafi has, inside and out. He’s just toooooo cute!

  11. Manahil says:

    Tennis is soo weird, just a day bak i was cursing Delpo to hell n now i want him to win soo badly!!

  12. Suzanne says:

    I’m not a big Moooooray fan either, but I can’t help but like him a little bit because our Rafi likes him and has such respect for him and also because he seems to be rather fond of our boy too. Delpo just got the first set in a tie breaker. I think that it’s gonna be a long match as they are both trying to prove themselves and climb that ladder. No matter what happens from here on out, our boy has done something that will never be done again, of that I’m certain. Who will ever be able to say that they were never below the #2 spot for more than four years? The record he held at #2 is pretty solid (insurmountable, more like) and then to be #1 for nearly a year is great. Also the only Spaniard ever to hold the top spot at year end. Well, what else, let’s see…well, you know there is soooooo much more we have to be proud of in him. I think that Moooooray and Delpo are both good players, but neither will be “holders” if you will. They’ll be on top here and there, but I don’t think either one has the stuff that Rafi (or Fed for that matter) has. Rafi will return to two and probably even one, and once again will make challengers shake in their boots at the thought of playing him. We need to have patience and understand that it’s a process. I still have high hopes for Cincy and especially the US Open, but the main thing is that he’s doing well physically and emotionally. BTW, it is fun to be on his facebook page…it felt like I was personally getting a post from him when his message showed up on my facebook page. I’m glad he’s posting himself…What a cutie!

  13. Manahil says:

    I hav nuthin against murray either (though i can neva like him, hes too grumpy) but if he wins he puts quite a distance btw him n rafi..My tennis loyalties r totally rafi centered! lol

  14. Suzanne says:

    Hey everybody, I just copied this from Rafa’s website. They are posting new stuff pretty much daily lately, which is a new thing for them. They must realize how much everyone wants updates. Anyway, the below post is very sweet. Those Delpo haters might be softened by his words…

    Cincinnati, August 15th, 2009

    Rafa’s stay in Montreal may have ended earlier than he would have liked, but “It’s normal… After two months out of competition it’s tough to play at that level,” said Rafa after reaching the quarterfinals and second round of doubles at the Rogers Cup tournament in Canada.

    For the millions of fans around the world though, just seeing him back playing was enough, and even Juan Martin Del Potro confirmed it, “I’m very happy to see him back on court fighting. It’s good for me and for everyone else to have him back.”

    Now in Cincinnati, Rafa remains satisfied with the results of his comeback but won’t forget that there is still a very long and difficult road ahead of him at the American Tournament. Based on the draw, he has a bye in the first round and will play the winner of the Seppi -vs- Qualifier match in the second Round.

    Other big names on his side of the draw are, Gael Monfils, Novak Djokovic, Karlovic, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, and Gilles Simon.

    Vamos Rafa!

  15. AnaR says:

    A new article from El País of today,

    http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/nuevo/Nadal/nuevo/peligro/elpepidep/20090817elpepidep_11/Tes

    And the translation,

    A new Nadal, a new danger

    The Spanish left the ‘number two’ to give it to Murray and the double half years after deconcentrated ”

    When the clock is close at 17.00 hours local time on Saturday, speakers from Montreal airport with thunderous warnings and Rafael Nadal and his team hope to ship for Cincinnati, where he will play on Wednesday. The tennis player who leaves Montreal, however, is not the same as that reached Canada. It’s a new player. Has lost the world number two, won by Scotsman Andy Murray. Is forced to travel with a machine magnetotherapy, which sleeps plugged. He decided to change an important habit to him in competition a thing that ever had done (don’t play matches of doubles)
    “Rafael pay inactivity and fatigue”, says Toni Nadal
    Back in the tracks after two and a half months of inactivity by the pains he suffered in both knees, Nadal announced that no will play doubles in Cincinnati along with Novak Djokovic, who had already agreed in this case. “Rafa wants to take this tournament more relaxed,” say sources from your computer. What has prompted this decision number three? “I do not know,” replied Toni Nadal, his uncle, and technical mentor. “I suppose it will be for not force more than account.” How is he of his injury? “Fine, but if he was bad he would say that he’s okay. But he is fine.”
    Murray has changed everything. “This is the biggest step I have taken in my career,” reflected the 22 years Scottish player. “Rafa has been injured, but I’ve done enough to justify being the number two and on to become one day, I hope, number one, which is one of my goals. It is a difficult thing to do, because Rafa and Roger, perhaps, are the two best tennis players in history. ”
    The Scots is the first tennis player to get accomplished between Nadal and Federer since July 2005. Murray has followed a rigorous training program during the summer holidays, with two weeks in Miami with his large team, two coaches, a physiotherapist and a physical trainer. The goal: to sculpt your body to the beat of whistle with a series of 400 meters-ten with intervals of 1 m 16 seg. between each race and 11 km, with diets based on eating sushi and chocolate, food of high caloric content and with training scheduled to coincide with the hottest hours of the day, never lost a set. His successes, however, have not only changed the classification.
    If Nadal keeps his resignation to play doubles it will be the implementation of the first significant change in the way of address the full schedule of tennis. “The loss of number two does not have any relevance,” argue, however, from his team. “In the race [the classification of the Year], Rafa is the second close to Federer.”

    How about his game? “I was surprised a bit [so well] the first set agains Del Potro,” says Toni Nadal, who has spent his nights watching matches on television of his ward. “If I’d had the first set, he could have won. But three sets for him … still played a good first set and then had no reaction possible. He paid inactivity, fatigue,” he continues. “Now we have yet to see development: Rafael seems good, but that is normal, because what we have seen is a little. He has illusion remain up there of course”. And the problems of concentration? “You have the concentration when you are in competition. This is achieved on based playing matches. After playing half a year deconcentrated, it costs more to regain concentration habits. But I hope that he will succeed.”

    Sia, I hope your corrections please.. Thanks in advance..

  16. AnaR says:

    A big mistake.. where say “sources of your computer” is “sources of his team”.. OMG!.. I am sorry..

    • mary says:

      AnaR it’s perfect in everyway. Woudn’t want to read it any other way. Poet & didn’t know It!
      Rafi you gotta get plenty of exercise, rest, fluids & good diet to build your stamina. You already have the concentration & focus. Remember your philosophy, play each point as it comes. Don’t hang on to the last one & don’t think of the one to come. Flov ya!!!!!

    • Atch2 says:

      So Rafa is taking a more relaxed approach and not wanting to put his body thru too much stress. I’m much relieved that he is not panicking. But a shame for us that we can’t enjoy a Rafa/Nole pairing in doubles.

      Also anyone see Papa Nadal in the stands at Montreal. I only saw Xisca, Roig, Maymo and Benito. Maybe Papa Nadal only saw Rafa and the Posse off at the airport but didn’t come too.

    • Atch2 says:

      Qu. How is it that Murray is training for 2wks during the hottest hours of the day in Miami, and still manage to maintain his paleness? What brand of sunscreen does he use?