Starting 2010 on the right foot

Photo by REUTERS/ Stefan Wermuth

Rafa greeted the 2010 season by playing David Ferrer in the second round of a high dollar exhibition match in Abu Dhabi today. While his tennis wasn’t the best we’ve seen from him, it was a huge improvement over the WTF. He was hitting the ball harder, deeper and more consistently. Ferrer played a good first set, but couldn’t pull it out despite having 5 break points. The second set was more one-sided as Rafa broke early and rolled on through. He wins 7-6(3), 6-3.
As it happened blatherings:

*yawn* Dang. It’s early. Got up at 5am and watched the Fed/Sod match.

Rafa and Ferrer warming up. Commentators talking about Rafa’s strings – saying that perhaps he’s changed them.

george_mccauley: @nadalnews. He has. To black strings
But are they just painted or a true change?
george_mccauley: @nadalnews. A change. Perhaps less spin to adopt flatter shots

Rafa’s making his grumpy face.

Ferrer starts the match by serving an ace. Rafa paints a line to keep Ferrer from holding at love. Easy hold for Ferrer.

Rafa sails a ball long: 0-15. He slips on the next point, but recovers and smacks a forehand winner from the doubles alley. Rafa into the net and Ferrer sends the ball into it: 30-15. Ferrer sails a ball: 40-15. Stress-free hold from Rafa. He seems to be hitting with more pace than he was in London.

Angled shots until Ferrer nets the ball: 0-15. Good length from Ferrer draws an error: 15-15. Rafa nets a ball after being pushed back: 30-15. Ferrer running Rafa well. Decent return from Rafa and Ferrer sends his ball wide: 40-30. Longest rally yet ends in an error from Ferrer: 40-40. Ace. Ferrer holds. They remain on serve: 1-2.

Ferrer nets a return: 15-0. Rafa sends a forehand down the line just wide: 15-15. Another forehand goes wide and it’s 15-30. Wow – that was a fierce return from Ferrer to give him double break point. Ferrer sends a shot long and one bp is saved. Rafa saves another with a good serve out wide followed with a forehand in the opposite direction. Good serve: game point, Rafa. Ferrer hits a wonderful passing shot and it’s deuce. A fierce backhand winner gives Ferrer his 3rd break point of the game. Excellent serve down the line from Rafa: deuce. Ferrer sends a backhand return way wide: adv Rafa. Rafa challenges a fault call on a serve and is correct. Rafa holds.

Twitter seems to hate me at the moment.

Ferrer moves Rafa around until he draws an error: 15-0. Rafa nets a passing shot: 30-0. Ferrer is taking the ball early. Rafa is bent over and breathing heavy. Hmmm. Rafa totally flubs a shot and Ferrer holds at love.

Rafa hit a bit of a sitter volley, but Ferrer can’t quite get to it in time to do anything with it: 15-0. Ferrer nets a forehand: 30-0. And then a backhand: 40-0. Rafa holds at love: 3-3.

Rafa tees off on a second serve return and sends the ball way out. Smash winner from Rafa: 15-15. Beautiful angled cross-court shot from Ferrer pulls Rafa way wide and Ferrer just punches the high return into the other side of the court. An ace from Ferrer closes out the game.

Rafa into the net again: 15-15. Double fault: 15-30. Rafa moves Ferrer from side to side and goes into the net when he’s stretched Ferrer wide: 30-30. Ferrer sends a shot way wide and lets out a bellow of frustration. Rafa holds: 4-4.

Rafa nets a ball: 0-15. I get distracted by a bright, shiny object and Ferrer holds at love.

Rafa runs Ferrer well: 15-0. Rafa sends a shot long: 15-15. And then nets a ball: 15-30. Second serve. Rafa nets another ball and Ferrer has two set points. Good serve out wide and the return is just long: 30-40. Second serve. Rafa paints a line and Ferrer nets the reply: deuce. Drop shot to the left, next shot down the line on the right side of the court: game point. Service winner and Rafa holds.

Rafa’s saved 5 break points. Ferrer hasn’t faced a bp yet.

Rafa goes up 15-0 on Ferrer’s serve, but miss hits a shot wide and it’s 15-15. Nice serve and follow-up from Ferrer: 30-15. Ferrer jumps and taps a winner at the net: 40-15. Service winner and Ferrer holds easily. Rafa will serve to stay in the set.

Rafa frames a ball and goes down 0-15. At the net, Rafa digs out a low return, but David tees off on the passer: 0-30. Service winner: 15-30. A long rally ends with a fierce forehand winner from Rafa: 30-30. Another bellow of frustration from Ferrer and it’s 40-30. Ace. We are going to a tiebreaker.

Ferrer nets a ball and Rafa gets a mini-break. Ferrer sends a forehand just wide: 2-0. Service winner from Rafa: 3-0. Rafa sends a second serve return sailing: 3-1. Double fault, Ferrer: 4-1. Ferrer sends a service return just long: 5-1. Service winner and Rafa has 5 set points. Ace from Ferrer: 6-2. Rafa hits a service return just wide: 6-3. First set to Rafa: 7-6 (3).

Once again, Rafa manages to win a set despite struggling a bit on serve while the other guy was cruising on his.

Rafa starts off the second set with a good serve and a forehand winner from mid-court. Service winner. Rafa holds at love.

Ferrer double faults. Deep shot draws an error from Rafa: 15-15. Rafa pushes David wide and runs into the net. Ferrer’s return sits up, but he still manages to run down Rafa’s next shot. Rafa finally finishes off the point with a mini-smash. Fierce forehand winner from Rafa earns him double break point. Service winner from Ferrer. Ferrer moves Rafa from side to side, but then nets a ball. Rafa breaks to go up 2-0.

Stress-free hold for Rafa: 3-0.

Rafa’s mom and Xisca in the crowd. The announcer saying he can’t recall mom coming to a tournament. He’s not very observant. He’s also wondering if Xisca is his sister.

Kalliopeia: do these commentators on this stream ever actually watch Rafa’s matches?
Kalliopeia: how can they not know that is his mother? How could they think Xisca is his sister?
Kalliopeia: I wonder what Rafa would think if they asked if she was his sister? Haha
Kalliopeia: “I hope not, no?”

Oh. Ferrer held while I was distracted. 3-1

Rafa’s down 15-30 on his serve. Ferrer sets the point up just how he wants it, but nets a forehand down the line: 30-30. Rafa holds with an ace: 4-1.

Twitter hates me again.

Rafa had a chance to earn another break point, but hits a bad shot…and starts talking to himself. Ferrer works his way into the net and smashes a winner. He goes on to hold: 4-2.

Beautiful forehand down the line winner from Rafa gives him game point. He nets a backhand. Ace. 5-2.

Fierce backhand winner from Ferrer and he holds: 5-3. Rafa has a chance to serve for the match.

Ferrer plays aggressively – taking the ball early – and wins the first point of Rafa’s service game. Wide serve, next shot to the other side of the court and then a volley back to the other side. Well constructed: 15-15. Ferrer nets the ball and almost smashes his racket in frustration: 30-15. On the run, Ferrer sends a ball just wide: match point, Rafa.

68 Responses

  1. dutchgirl says:

    I agree with you miri, he didn’t play at his best, but so much more confident than at the O2. More variety in his shots, better placement as well. I hope tomorrow against the Sod he will be able to pull out a win, that would give him a confidence boost!

    • Rahul says:

      Sad for federer that he islost.. Just wanted a Rafa vs federer..just hate this soderling after the FO – 09

  2. patzin says:

    A good beginning. Through french feed saw Ana Maria and Xisca in the stands. Nice that they are with him too. Tomorrow the Sod. Should be interesting. Fed plays Daveed tomorrow to determine 3rd place.

  3. An says:

    Well…. I like what i saw in this start off 2010! Rafa’s game sure did look a lot more solid then what we saw at the end off 2009 ( with exception of his first DC final match ). It wasn’t all executed to perfection jet ( meaning a few mistakes and overhit shots here and there ) but it at least looked a lot more agressive and he was changing directions more and as Miri said the ball landed a lot deeper most off the time…. yep, i’m happy with it! A step up tomorrow and i believe he can bite the first trophy for 2010!

    Happy newyear to all off you and off course to Rafa!

    • miri says:

      I really noticed him changing direction of the ball more. And he didn’t seem to be afraid of angles today.

      • An says:

        Yeah he realy was doing both, changing directions more and hitting more angels, way more… in the end off 2009 he was def. hitting more balls back down the middle, to play safe and not take risks. Today he seemed more confident to take the risks to hit angels or maybe feeling a lot lesser pressure and just going for it! He made some mistakes doing so but kept doing and it payed off…. Iff he keeps this up and can manage to start making lesser and lesser mistakes with it its all looking verry fine imo!

        • CC says:

          Ohhh… I love the angles! Love them. More of that tomorrow please, Rafa! Not that I noticed it. No, I noticed that Rafa’s arse seemed slightly fuller and rounder than before Christmas. (I see that as a good sign.) And that he was burping quite a bit at the beginning of the match, so might have had a heavy New year’s dinner last night. ;)

          I also noticed him stretching his back a couple of times and just before the tiebreak I thought he was asking for the trainer. Thankfully, I was wrong. Paranoid, me? Nooo…

          • Emma says:

            OK Yes, so you saw him burp as well – and I thought I was imagining things. And I thought he looked like he was going to puke anytime.

            • CC says:

              Yeah, he normally does that just before he’s serving (or at least that’s what it looks like), but it was worse than usual today and he was grimasing. :)

              • Emma says:

                Oh you mean the burping is part of his serve routine too?

                • CC says:

                  Not always, but often it looks like he burps when he’s bouncing the ball. I may be wrong. It’s funny, though.

                  • Emma says:

                    ok but the burping part was defintely very very noticeable in that first service game. And for a moment I thought his lunch was going to come up through his gut out of his mouth!

                    • An says:

                      Noticed it too ( and also the bending over and breathing hevay thin at one point, seemed a little strange for Rafa ).

                      Maybe a little stomach problems from time difference, change off food or differtent tempreatures, or too much new years champagne?
                      I think i will feel pretty much a little of the same on court later this evening….

              • faeaki7 says:

                yeah I saw him grimacing after he held his knees to catch his breath. This scares me, I didn’t get to see match coz we had family dinner but watched say until 3-3 all. Glad to hear some positives on here about his game, the Sod seems to be playing well though, didn’t watch him against Fed but just by what I have read, its that damn serve of his its really solid, Rafa will need to be on his return game if he is going to get anywhere tomorrow and must serve well himself! *nervous at the thought of it*

                • CC says:

                  Yes, it’s going to be tough against Söderling today, that’s clear. Robin’s playing with great confidence at the moment and will be on a high from beating Federer yesterday.
                  I will skive off to the cinema and tape the match. Hopefully I will be able to text my brother in Sweden with a “ha, ha, haaaah…” today and not the other way around. ;)

      • sia says:

        Happy New Year.
        Miri, yes he did seem confident with his angles. Nice depth in the court, also. Let’s see how he does against a big guy like Soderling tomorrow. Vamos.

      • sunset says:

        Yes miri a good example would be 5-3, 15-15 in the second set where he hit a solid backhand and won on a volley to the other side of the court–you summed up this one well above too.

        I too think the improvement is obviously there; he is consciously trying out (with the change of the strings) and executing new plans to be more agressive and risk-taking. A few more matches and we shall see more consistency and confidence, hopefully.

        Best of luck tomorrow Rafa.

  4. annabelle says:

    What a great start to 2010! Happy New Year, Rafa!

  5. Karen says:

    Wow Miri that was quick.I only saw last game of match and just great to see Rafa win again.I get frustrated watching scores so really appreciate the tweets during play and match blatherings afterwards. From what I saw Rafa looked pretty good and sometimes brilliant. Let’s hope he’s unbeatable tomorrow!!! That would be the best start of 2010 for him!!! Just love him forever & forever xxxxxx

  6. aRafaelite says:

    Just what we all needed to get 2010 off to a good start!!! And the first test of my faster broadband connection. So far, so good, all round! I thought his movement around the court was a lot better than WTF even if concentration was still a bit off. Missing some shots but going for them. Coming forward of the baseline a bit more on returns and even – oh joy! – at least once he served and volleyed!!!

    Now you’ve had a chance for a little warm-up Rafa, let’s see if you can hit the ground running and flatten The Sod… (pretty please with cherries on top)? Gonna be tough when Sod must be on an all-time high after beating Fed but if you can just step up a gear… VAMOS!

  7. Manahil says:

    Great start to 2010! Few mistakes here and there but overall very good start to the year. Specially loved it when he sang to ‘Poker Face’ during one of the change ups. He gets more and more adorable with each passing day!! I hope and pray someone captured it!

    • Nic says:

      omigahd please somebody post this somewhere!!!

    • Emma says:

      Yeah I saw that too – he was bobbing his head and tapping his feet – adorable!

      • mary says:

        I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that saw it. At first I started to bob to the song & then oh what the shit?, Rafa’s doing it as well. I’m sure he’s done this before, but I’ve never noticed.

  8. Atch2 says:

    You guys were lucky to see the match. My live streaming suxed. It was like watching still photos trying to be animation. Glad to hear Rafa’s trying to change and improve his shots from the end of last year, especially deeper shots and changing directions which is exciting to watch when he’s doing it freely and accurately.

    Is it true that the new strings are to help him flatten his shots?

    Hi to Mama Nadal and Xisca. Papa Nadal was with Rafa at AO 09, so wonder who’s joining Rafa at AO this yr.

    Manahil, you make me want to see a vid of Rafa singing Lady Gaga’s song now.

  9. Manahil says:

    hehe :) It was so unexpected; one moment I’m staring at him during random stuff while sitting in his chair and then he starts mouthing the lyrics from the song! Had me in fits of laughter i swear! He’s soo unpredictable; first the wish he made on the dandelion in the SF of AO and now this…he’s totally adorkable!!

  10. Rafafan says:

    Lovely start for Rafa to boost his (still fragile) confidence but the Sod will be a hell of a different match up for him as we (apprehensively) well know. Although its an exhibition match the one tomorrow is a biggy one for our Rafa (and also the Sod). They both want to prove things about each other.

    Rafa looked OK today – not great, not bad. I think the backhand shots look alot more flatter and harder and an improvement and the forehand. Jimmy might help me out here. However, there were a few too many lose shots. I like the way he came to the net but he has to do more, after all this is only an exhibition match so he can experiment and must try a lot of different approaches and see how he feels – it will be one step up from a pracitce match. When the Sod won against Fed, Fed did a lot of coming to the net being stubborn all the time even though he was losing that strategy so many times at the end – he would never do that in a “real” match or aganst Rafa. So I guess we cant take these games seriously but what the heck, a win is a win and if it’s against the Sod tomorrow it is definitely a win!

    Please someone show the Lady Gaga song and poker face with Rafa singing… mm is that a lost of his concentration? And how the hell didn’t the commentators know on Sky that was his mum and girlfriend in the crowd and the guy didn’t know that Rafa had played the Sod at 02 as well as the French – when he said about the Rafa revenge agains the Sod.

    Vamos for tomorrow. What a Happy New Year beginning. Hope you all had a Rafa wonderful New Years Eve xxx

  11. Emma says:

    I thought Rafa played well today – great angles, taking more risks, more variety, deep shots, better placement, and staying close to the baseline, good serve.
    I might be paranoid but did anyone else feel he didn’t look his best today? And I am not refering to his game but more of his general composure – like he was alittle uncomfortable with something, and early on his the match when he was serving his first game, I thought I saw him pulling his shirt and was sort of burping and looked like he was going to puke anytime.
    Maybe it’s just me hanging so tightly to his every move, but I just thought he didn’t really settle into the match till towards the end of the first set.

    • aRafaelite says:

      Yes I was worried about that too, he looked like he was going to throw up at the start of the match. He rubbed his stomach and burped a few times so I assume it was just indigestion, and he seemed okay later in the match.

  12. Emma says:

    And I am loving his short hair!
    Can’t wait for him to beat the sod flat on his nose tomorrow. If he plays the same way he did today, I think we can all expect a thorough entertaining match.
    And does anyone know whey they are playing for third placing? I thought this was a winner-takes-all kind of exho. And if this is the case, the runner up wouldn’t even get anything, much less the 3rd and 4th placings, which makes me wonder how motivated the players will be and how exciting the match will be?

  13. Rafafan says:

    Emma – now you come to mention it, I actually felt the same. I thought oh know here we go! A few times he was bending over with his hands on his knees (and it was more than once). Even the commentators sort of joked saying Rafa looks a bit tired already and it was only in the first few games. Also I had noticed quite a lot he was gritting his teeth. Never seen that before unless he misses a shot but this was just between points. I don’t actually think he is fit yet and also noticed he didn’t really exert himself and run all over the place like Ferrer. I hope he is not worrying about the knees but yes Emma I did notice it, especially holding the knees. Didn’t want to mention on the post and get people worried unless sombedoy mentione dit first. Let’s put it down to too much xmas pud, cookies and crisps and fine living, but we better keep a watch out. Knowing us fans we may become paranoid but at the same time we know all and I mean all of RAfa’s moves x

    • Emma says:

      ok at least now I know I am not imagining things. Yes he did look a little tired and breathless in between points. And I am applauding the restraint from over-exerting himself and chasing down balls – and I hope he never does this unless it’s an absolutely critical point.

  14. Phyzzie says:

    I am so glad to read about the match. But how are some of you seeing it? I live in the States, Sky won’t broadcast on the computer outside of the UK, and I cannot find any other source. I am so glad the Sod beat Fed and would really, really like to be able to see Rafa vs. Sod. ( mind you, I am not a fan of the Sod’s, but happy he beat Fed. ) I am hoping Rafa can pull it together long enough to beat Sod. soundly.

    • Emma says:

      I feel quite optimistic and postive about this game after seeing today’s match. David played well but I felt Rafa always had the upper hand in the match even if when he was facing break points and set points. When I feel confident about his game, I always get this feeling that he is going to win even if he’s down in the scores. Maybe somehow his confidence permeates through the TV screen to me – haha!
      And I just felt he didn’t need to utilise all his weaponry at his disposal for this match and he would have done even better if the opponent was tougher.

    • sia says:

      Phyzzie you can usually watch on these two sites. Free live streams … although sometimes they don’t always start broadcasting until after the match has started.
      http://www.channelsurfing.net/
      http://www.atdhe.net/index.html

    • patzin says:

      I got the feed through French Euro Sport with French commentary of course. ATDHE website. Didn’t see much of the match, just last few games.

  15. Isabelle says:

    Thanks for the tips on where to watch. Let’s hope we see Rafa with a big win over the Sod!

  16. shani h says:

    Rafa came through pretty well…although I too was a little concerned when he held his stomach…just for a moment I wondered if it was his abs, but he seemed to get into his stride and hit some fabulous shots.It was lovely to see him enjoying the music…he’s just so sweet! If anyone wants a live stream try Fromsport.. picked up Sky TV and a Arabic channel. The pictures were really good today although the quality can change from day to day!

  17. Ch F says:

    Happy new year and all the best to all of you!!! First post after a while, missed you all! :-)
    All the best to our Rafa as well, didn’t watch him play today but your comments show things are getting better and Rafa seems to be starting fresh. Did he seem healthy? No back problems, no strain anywhere, hopefully?
    Happy new year to you Rafa and may 2010 be a great healthy victorious year for you!!!

  18. mary says:

    I saw Rafa’s style of play as much stronger today. He played his shots much flatter which was awesome to see. Yep as have been mentioned his angles & coming into the net is also a positive sign of his confidence.
    Ferrer was playing awesome in the 1st set, so for Rafa to bounce back after risking losing the set on more than one occasion is certainly another positive sign. It’s just a shame the 2nd set was a bit of a fizzer.
    I’m not sure what was going on with the surface, but it seemed a little slippery. I’d heard from the commentators that a few drops had fallen earlier during Fed v Sod’s match, so maybe there was some moisture around. I also heard it is the exact same surface as Rod laver. This means Rafa is getting the right practice in on the right surface & gets to have mum & xisca there as well. Clever boy!!
    Btw, I didn’t see any shots of tio toni. Did anyone notice him there?
    It has been mentioned about him burping & wincing at the beginning. I wonder if it has anything to do with him drinking or more to the point sucking his energy sustenance prior to the game. Maybe it just went down too quick & he suffered a bit of reflux. I have to say that it looked funny & he got over it quickly. ;-)

    • dutchgirl says:

      No, didn’t see Toni either and was wondering the same. He’s probably not there, after all it’s just an exhibition. I reckon he will be there in Doha.

  19. emir says:

    one thing for sure i liked what i saw today..i mean i cant predict that he is going to win tommorow or AO…but for the first time more than six months he hit the ball cleanly from the start,he did have some kind of a game plan change directions etc where there were times last year especially in paris and wtf he has no idea what to do, some good early sighns i hope it continues..

  20. faeaki7 says:

    Thanks for the updates everyone and a happy 2010 to all! but especially to Rafa, lets hope this year is injury free and successful.

  21. Josh says:

    Just wanted to point out; but has anyone actually noticed that Rafa has changed his racket.

    Oh yeah. We no longer have the aero-pro drive cortex we ave the Aero Pro Drive GT.

    http://tennisconnected.com/home/2009/11/25/nadals-new-babolat-aeropro-racket/

    May just be a paint job but; what the hey! New racket.

    • jimmy says:

      The racquet looks to be a paint job. I doubt Rafa would suddenly change the frame.
      The interesting part for me was the strings. They looked black/grey like the PHT (Pro Hurricane Tour) instead of the Duralast that Nadals’ been using all these yrs.
      That said, I guess the string could have been dyed and it’s not really PHT. At this level, the pro players don’t change racquet or strings so lightly. I hope though, that Rafa is atleast considering it.

      • miri says:

        Yeah, considering his last racket was a paint job because he never updated to the “official” one, I’m guessing this is a paint job as well. No idea about the strings, though.

        • jimmy says:

          I agree. Changing the frame is a big step for any pro. We recall what happened to Djokovic when he did change to Head in late ’08.

          I’m a little curious about the strings because Rafa did seem to have more penetration in his groundies yesterday and the pics make the black color clear. And exho is a good time to try a different string. So perhaps he was just experimenting with the PHT which could explain it. Or maybe not, and the old strings are just dyed. Anyway, We’ll know soon hopefully.

        • mary says:

          Btw, miri I noticed that racquet some months ago. I even made a comment on it on NN. I thought I was seeing things but obviously not. I cant be sure but I think it was back in Cincy I first saw it!

          • miri says:

            I’m not sure what you mean. The racket (or paint job he’s playing with now) is new for this year.

            • mary says:

              Oh, ok!!! But I did see a b/w racquet some months ago, I’m sure. I must be hallucinating then.

              • miri says:

                Roig had one.

                • mary says:

                  Well thank god I’m not going nuts.
                  You up late again. Same as me didn’t get to sleep till after 3am & back up at 7. Probably due to inactivity as work is physical & well lazed around New Years day, as one should!!!

                  • Denizen says:

                    miri wasn’t too crazy-late with that post – it was done at 8:26 p.m. in mimi-time. ;)

                    I’m deciding whether to sleep in or get up early to watch Rafa-Sod. I’m staying with relatives who are all coughing and sneezing, so I am inclined to rest up. Besides, knowing the results in advance will allow me to determine on my own whether to view the Sod at ALL.

                    • Denizen says:

                      *miri-time, not mimi-time, obviously!

                      Also, re the coach, Roig is there, not Uncle Toni, which was the case last year as well.

                    • miri says:

                      No,now it’s late. :) Just decided to stay up for the tennis since it’s 3 hours away.

                      Not surprised Roig is there. He tends to show up for hard court stuff and this way Toni gets more time at home with the family during the holiday season.

                    • CC says:

                      That’s pretty hard-core, miri!

      • mary says:

        Jimmy you could be right. They had a different look about them. I just noticed the strings seemed different, maybe thicker & more spring in them. I’m sure one of the commentators said something about his racquet, but it was brief & I didn’t catch it.
        I’m no expert so I could be way off the mark.

        • jimmy says:

          Mary- I wouldn’t read too much into what the commentators say as sometimes they are way off the mark. Regarding strings, I heard one commie saying last year that Rafa does not use synthetic strings because he doesn’t use Luxilon. I don’t think they know that luxilon is just a brand of polyster. And not every synthetic is luxilon :)

          Anyway I was just thinking out aloud and hoping. Most likely it’s all a paintjob (racquet and strings) custom made for Rafa by Babolat. The match performance yesterday probably has more to do with the form on the day and the opponent. Also Rafa is a completely different player on outdoors compared to indoor courts as he handles the weather-elements much better. That could be one reason for his career-low performance at WTF 2009.

          • mary says:

            Yep you are probably correct. We’ll just have to wait & see if in fact it is a new raquet & strings.
            I actually think I’m gonna forget WTF. I’m sure it was just a hiccup in the sceme of things. Lets just say it’s not one of his fav surface’s. What we witnessed yesterday is not the same person. ;-)

          • Rafangel says:

            Jimmy, why do you hope that Rafa’s changed his racquet? I thought that’d be pretty disastrous, as the feel is so important (cf Djoker last year, as ppl pointed out).

            • jimmy says:

              Hiya Rafangel. I don’t hope for a new frame but for Rafa to change strings. It’s just that PHT are the newer strings which purportedly give more power and penetration without compromising the spin too much. Rafa still uses Duralast. Can’t blame him since it’s won him 6 slams. BTW..We’ve got a good discussion on the frames on the photos thread too!

              • Rafangel says:

                Thanks, jimmy. Great to see you here – I really enjoy reading your posts :) Look forward to what you reckon about the victory against the Sod today.

  22. RC says:

    I believe Tennis Channel is going to show the final Monday and Tuesday and Friday mornings this week and Rafa’s semifinal on Thursday the 7th (5am Pacific for all matches), for those of us who missed it. A bit off topic, but ESPN Classic is going to re-air the AO Verdasco match on Monday the 11th (6pm MST). Just FYI to all.