Another day, another Italian

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

For round two of the Doha tournament, Rafa took on #62 Potito Starace. He started out by breaking in the very first game of the match. He broke again in the 7th game to go up 5-2 and served out the first set in the next game. After a close game on his own serve, Rafa broke in the 5th game of set two to go up 3-2. Once again, he broke in the 7th game to go up 5-2 and then served it out. He’s through to the quarterfinals where he will play qualifier Steve Darcis.

Stats:

Nadal Starace
Statistics on Serve
Aces 3 1
Double Faults 1 0
1st Serve % 64% 70%
1st Serve Points Won 26/32 (81%) 14/30 (47%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/18 (50%) 7/13 (54%)
Break Points Saved 0/0 (%) 1/5 (20%)
Service Games Played 8 8
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 16/30 (53%) 6/32 (19%)
Second Return Points Won 6/13 (53%) 9/18 (50%)
Break Points Won 4/5 (80%) 0/0 (%)
Return Games Played 8 8
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 35/50 (70%) 21/43 (49%)
Total Return Points Won 22/43 (51%) 15/50 (30%)
Total Points Won 57/93 (61%) 36/93 (39%)

73 Responses

  1. patzin says:

    Rafa looked strong today and aggressive. Came into net more than usual it seems. Good win for him. On the the quarters.

    • Emma says:

      he was hitting the ball well overall – though there were still some short balls but I guess we can cut him some slack!

  2. Emma says:

    I watched the match via live streaming – my first time and it was smoother than I expected! Happy that I am no longer at the mercy of my cable provider for rafa matches!
    Rafa was good but at 5-2 at the changeover before he was about the serve out the match, he sat down and held his head in both hands for quite a few good seconds (like what most people would do if they had a bad headache) before he looked up, and seemed to be mouthing some words (and opening his eyes wide) to someone in the stands. I hope I am being paranoid again and over-analysing his every move.
    I thought it was quite unusual as I had never seen this from him before.

    • Emma R says:

      I picked that up as well. Thought it was oddly negative body language for someone who was doing so well. Don’t know – maybe we do over analyse.

    • CC says:

      I noticed the head resting in the hands as well, then the muttering to himself. I thought he was just annoyed with himself. Maybe he had a headache, I do too sometimes. ;)

      • dutchgirl says:

        That’s what I was thinking. Came home myself with migraine, so I figured Rafa and I were sharing something. I’d like to share different things than headaches with him, though.

        • An says:

          Hmmmmm, saw it too ( in fact that and the last service game was all i saw from the match ) and i must say it immediatly had me worried…. and i did notice too that he didn’t bent his left leg during the the sitting…

          Yes, maybe we are all way to sensitive after last years injuries, lets just hope and trust that we read to much in it!!

          • CC says:

            Yep, saw the not bending the leg as well. Chose to ignore.

            *sighs*

            • dutchgirl says:

              I choose to ignore lots of similar signals, I’d hate it so much when some other injury would come along, I simply couldn’t handle that. And I do think we tend to overreact because of the last couple of months.

          • CC says:

            And yes, we probably are reading too much into tiny details. Rafa burps-I think he is seriously ill. It’s on that kinda level sometimes… :)

          • Ch F says:

            I only saw the part after the match, and what I saw was a very happy Rafa! According to an article I read, Rafa supposedly said he’s 100% fit and ready to defend his AO title. But your comments have me wondering…Let’s hope the not bending the leg thing is nothing to worry about.

            • CC says:

              I’m sure it’s fine! As I said, we are known to overreact a bit, no?

              • An says:

                Yes, we are.

                When it comes to Rafa i react, perfectly natural, can’t do anything about it!
                And yes, i mean in all aspects;)

              • Ch F says:

                Sometimes I think, we’re so sensitive to his body language, we’d better get over it cause apparently he’s more expressive than he used to be, no? Maybe he behaves more naturally now, maybe he feels the exact same way as before but only shows it more.

      • Emma says:

        maybe he was frustrated with some of the shots he made – mabye he thought it could be better and he was just censuring himself privately! – good for him if that’s the case – at least he’s keeping close tabs on himself!

        • CC says:

          Maybe?! He was definitely frustrated with a lot of his shots throughout the match today. Did you see some of the shots he missed at the net? Pffftpffftpft… ;)

          • mary says:

            Hey girls I miss out on all the chatter. Too fucking far away & I keep bloody bad hours. ;-)
            CC I’m gonna believe he had a headache cause we weren’t there. He’s missing us!!! And you know what a stiff leg means. lol

    • faeaki7 says:

      I didn’t see this, Eurosport must have put on adverts or like I do, during changeovers, got up to grab a drink.. I did see him mouthing something to someone(probably Francois), but I don’t know what it was off course so something was bothering him.

    • John F says:

      Emma
      Can u tell me which streaming service (s) that you subscribed to, or that you reccomend? I live in New Zealand and TV coverage of ATP tennis in general, and Rafa in particular, is pretty pathetic. Last year I subscribed to tennistv.com, but it is pricey….
      thanks
      John

      • aRafaelite says:

        That’s what I use usually in Oz but they’re not showing anything until Rotterdam anyway. I can’t even seem to find a schedule (due to unusable Doha website) let alone a live stream! ATDHE had Brisbane but not Doha when I checked but not knowing what time matches were supposed to be I didn’t stay up all night hoping.

        • John F says:

          I found a good quality streaming service through bet365.com
          Yes you have to lay down 10 euros deposit and register as a bettor with them (still uch cheaper than tennistv.com) …but they do have a very wide range of tennis being played – eg all doha just now- and the quality was at least as good, better usually, then tennistv.com

          i do like the look of this bet365 service. My understanding is that the bigger betting houses are offering (being competitively driven to offer) this service as a promotional add on to attract customers in . OK I confess that I occasionally do lay down a 10 euro bet on a tennis match . I “say” I think Rafa will win, say against a top 10 opponent , but how much of that is hope, vs sensible assessment? SO when Rafa was up against Djokovich in one of the later matches last year, on current form I didn’t think his chances were even 40% (a little worse than a coin toss at 50/50) of winning . But the sports bookies still had Rafa favoured, following their practise of setting opening odds based on ATP rankings…not current form. I thinka rafa win was paying something like $1.50 and a Djokovich win something like $2.50, for a $1 bet. Of course I wanted rafa to win, but i bet on Djokovich and as it turned out rafa was still far from his best and Djokovich on top of his game. On the other hand, I didn’t bet on or foresee the results of the Shanghai open against Davydenko – who played superbly in that match. Of course this is why ATP tennis is so fantastic, the top 5 are VERY close, and the next 5 are only a tiny bit away,…and all the players seem to gather momentum and confidence at diferent times througout the year . fantastic sport.

          • xta says:

            do you live in the u. s. ??? i only ask because i was going to register with them but they didn’t have united states as an option for country…

          • miri says:

            Online betting is illegal in the US, so people from the US are not allowed to register at that site.

          • xta says:

            sorry, i just looked up the chain of replies and see that you live in new zealand…i don’t think we americans can use bet365…

  3. Emma R says:

    Well that made my afternoon! Struck me that he was really going for his shots and coming out aggressively. No wonder he said he was feeling good on his Facebook. So good to see him walloping his shots with more confidence. Loved it.

    Liked the commentator’s analogy of Rafa as a caged animal as well. Another highly distracting mental image arises:)

  4. Emma says:

    and I am loving his outfit! this is the outfit he’s wearing for the australian open right? he looks so bright and vibrant and invigorated in orange and pink (what a combinatinon of colors and it takes a manly man to be able to pull off colors like this!)

    • Emma R says:

      Did you notice the linespeople are echoing the pink and orange theme with pink caps and orange tops? Obviously the fashionable way to go in tennis this year…

    • Karen says:

      I’m sure Rafa will wear something different at Aussie Open.Take a look at the shop on his official website there are some interesting colour combinations. Soooo glad he played well again,,will look for some highlights later, nearer bedtime!!!! Sweet dreams all Rafa fans. Xxx and of course Rafa too!!

  5. CC says:

    Rafa looked ANNOYED today. There was shouting, pouting, grimasing muttering and swearing going on. He was clearly not pleased with a lot of his shots and seemed to make quite a few silly unforced errors. I also think he retrieved back behind the baseline too much and didn’t hit as deeply or aggressively as yesterday.
    Starace didn’t play particularly well, so I think Rafa was a tiny bit lucky at times.

    Still, a win is a win and tomorrow is another history, no?

    • Emma says:

      Yes I agree – I think his shots were not deep enough. Be aggressive Rafa! and at some point, he was reverting to his loppy shots. but yes a win is a win!

    • Eliana says:

      Yep, and not only some of his shots were really short, which Potito(love that name:)) obviously took advantage of, his 1st service percentage was down the toilet. I was annoyed with that, and I’m not the one playing.

      CC, completely agree with you that Rafa was sometimes lucky cause Starace wasn’t playing top notch.

      But his smile while playing with the kid was sooo worth it. Hope tomorrow is a better day for Rafa.

  6. Ch F says:

    I came home running from work to watch the last few games but the match had already finished, so there was Rafa with a huge smile, hitting with another lucky kid. He was adorable and looked very very happy. I’m guessing he played a good match, so I’m waiting for the comments of those who watched it to confirm it ;-)

  7. Maria says:

    The story of today’s match=the beauty of good cross-court forehand vs the bad sleeping backhand? Rafa at the net=cat on a cooling roof? Way too many grimaces though…

  8. emir says:

    i dont think he played s well as he did yesterday but the numbers are still good 31 winners and 17 errors.the number winners still good…but unfortunetly i also saw rafa annoyed abaut something…i hope thats just because he is perfectionist,didnt like he missed some shots not injury or something…

    • Ch F says:

      We all hope so, emir. I really hope he’s fine and not hiding another physical problem. Cause he did say he was fit and healthy. I don’t really care about titles, they will come, as long as he is healthy and injury-free.

    • aRafaelite says:

      He IS a perfectionist and I wouldn’t read too much into the signs of frustration – look back at some of his best matches and there’ll still be a few grimaces!

  9. Rafafan says:

    As I said on the cutey pussy site, I have got the vid and about to watch Rafa’s match (having risked life and limb through the snow in England – nothing will stop me seeing Rafa, especially after being allowed to leave work early and trying to rush back. Lucky my friend taped it so had to go all the way to the house to get it in the car ).

    Seen all your comments and will note the grimacing, short balls etc. The way you have said already (short balls) problem with leg might say it all. But of course Rafa is not gonna say anything – tennis is like a game of poker (you keep your cards close to your chest) or its like a game of chess. He has suddenly said he is 100% fit – now why did he really need to say that? to convince us all or to convince him? Bit like Federer saying he wants to be number one as long as possible and can get more slams this year. (puke puke).

    I do find it slightly disturbing Rafa has come out with the fitness bit. Remember his only goal this year is to keep fit healthy and enjoy, not bothered about no1 – that will take care of itself by winning tournaments.

    Jimmy – where are you? – would like your analyse on the Rafa match today. You seem to have the “nose on the button” or whatever the cliche is.

    Yeah like you all we will analyse any little thing. He seems to be more expressive these days – duno whether good or bad – in terms of his mentality? Before he showed no emotion on court apart from celebrating a winning shot and vamos but these days there seems to be a lot of muttering, which is great to interact with us fans but just slightly worried the mental concentration is not as it used to be – although getting better is still not there. Will come on the site later when I have seen the match.

    • Ch F says:

      He also said he doesn’t care about being No1 or No2, that his goal is to improve constantly and then went on to say he is now fit and hits the ball well. I might be paraphrasing a bit but that was the gist of it and it was, again, out of context.

  10. faeaki7 says:

    I would just like to say I do think that Rafa is tweeking his game, and some of the u/e were due to him hitting a bit too flat, if you watch him carefully especially at the end of the second set he was polishing up his volleys too, he’s serve wasn’t as good as it has been though today, lacked accuracy and pop, anyone agree?

  11. Rafafan says:

    Ok just seen the vid – my friend missed taping the first set. But duno whether I go enough of the 2nd to gage how he is playing. To be honest the opposition was poor and I did see a lot of short balls. I kept thinking if that was the SOD behind the net he would have crucified Rafa. Anyway noticed too the head in the hands attitude and the leg straight out instead of bent. Quite disturbing – but let’s not get the alarm bells ringing yet.

    OK on to the quarters to a guy I havent even heard of. Trocki in the ssemis and Fed got Davadenkok in the Semis. I am getting slightly worried about Murray – he is brimming with confidence in the Hopman cup and the climatising and I think is quite right when he said (not much atmosphere or words to that affect in Doha – doing a match at 8pm at night with 100 spectators in overcoats – is not good prep for the AO open). mmmmmmmm

    • CC says:

      I think Rafa’s fine, he always has at least one match every tourney where he’s not quite happy with things, no?

  12. Ch F says:

    Back in December, during the WTF, we were all concerned about Rafa’s poor play and lack of focus. We were thinking, what if he can’t beat a top player ever again? He lost all his top8 matches then. Now he’s beaten Soderling, in straight sets, and still we’re not happy because he’s grumpy. He could be grumpy for any reason. He could be stressed, feeling the pressure, trying out new things-which he can now afford and that’s also quite an improvement-and feeling frustrated when they don’t work. He was unhappy in his last DC match as well. We had suspected a back problem then, which doesn’t seem to bother him anymore. He just didn’t need to do a lot more to win then and he didn’t need a lot more than some good shots to win today. He probably does the absolute minimum whenever he can. If that’s the case, we should all be happy.

    The leg thing-the guy’s an athlete, he probably feels his knees every now and then. I understand we are all sensitive after the past few months, and I can totally relate to that cause the last thing Rafa needs is an injury of any kind when he’s about to get his tennis back on track. But even if there is a problem, Rafa is doing the right thing: saving himself. He seems to have learned his lesson. So right now I refuse to panic when he’s doing so well: straight sets against Soderling, easy victories against average opponents. It’s not like he lost this match or allowed it to turn into an epic.

    • faeaki7 says:

      Well said, Rafa wins a match easily as he should do against such a lower ranked opponent and everyone is being so negative, we need to keep faith in Rafa. Like you say he is an athelete and his knees will have aches occasionally.
      Thanks for putting things into prespective. Ch F

      • Ch F says:

        Hey, what are co-Rafafans for? ;-)

        • Emma R says:

          Yes thanks for that – I agree and feel better now. I enjoyed the match and to me he looked more confident than he has looked recently, even if he was self critical. To me he seemed to be more like “dammit I missed that shot by a few inches” than looking over at his camp in blind panic like “what the hell is wrong with me I am falling to pieces” which I distinctly saw in London as I was about 6 foot away from Uncle Toni.

          He is definitely getting better and you are right about the positive sign of beating Robin Soderling (a) on a hard court which he is uber on, and (b) after Robin beat Federer for the first time which must have been a major confidence boost for him.

          Think it’s a really positive sign for Rafa that he won that match, and bodes very well for the AO and the US hardcourt season.

  13. George McCauley says:

    I’ve read everyone’s comments. I have to say i thought rafa was exceptional today, really really good. He had plenty of winners 31 to be precise and 17 unforced errors. He made 11 unforced errors in the first set and 6 in the second set. Thats pretty good, if he can just get off to that better start then things will be flying. I noticed a few short balls, but hey rafa is human it will happen when on the defensive. I also thought that Rafa looked more confident, he is getting more confident by the match to be honest taking the ball earl and going for it, thats what made him the champion. We notice rafa not chasing down them “impossible” shots because i think he has leart his lesson as Ch F stated and wants to save himself.

    About rafa looking poorly. I think it’s a reaction of the heat in Qatar. If it was the knees or his body we would be able to see that more because it would be playing on rafas mind. But with myself being a tennis player when you sit down you want to strech a but and give the leg and knee a bit of a rest before you do battle again. It’s nothing to be worried about Rafa is improving and getting better match by match. He is grimacing and murttering because ou have days where your with more “colm” than others so there might be a little reaction but that will only make rafa cut out the errors.

    Basically from what i see, Rafa is getting more and more confident, feeling the heat :) and getting annoyed because he feels his game is at the right level now and should not be making unforced errors

    Nadal Vs Darcis. WILL BE AN IMPROVEMENT. VAMOS!!!

  14. jimmy says:

    I don’t think we can come to any firm conclusion on Rafa’s form based on 2 early matches in a ATP 250 event. Specifically about today, Rafa did enough just to get the job done against a sub-par opponent which is all that is required. Sure, I’ve seen Starace playing much better than today. And quite frankly, Rafa should have finished the Italian off with an even better scoreline if he hadn’t made all those Unforced Errors( UFEs) or hit his forehand with more penetration. (The timing on his backhand looked a little off too. I was heartened by his attempt to volley, however, even if he had a little more pace on his volleys than required) .

    Rafa’s definitely made more Unforced errors (in his last 2 matches) than usual, but I thought they were good UFEs, if such a thing exists. Meaning the ball was going “long” rather than hitting the net, which says that he’s at least trying to play the ball deep. I’d rather see him throwing him an extra UFE or two any day of the week than him landing the ball inside the service box time and time again and getting killed by his opponent. Also Nadal seems to be working on his slice. While it still sits up when he plays it from a defensive position, it seems a little better (good even) when he’s on top of the ball with sufficient time to execute the shot.

    Is Rafa at his best? ( for me best = Wimb 2008 and parts of AO 09). Not by a long shot…
    His forehand is nowhere as flat as it was early last year and his backhand is not close to being as attacking or decisive as it was in Wimb 2008. He’s also not running around his backhand with gusto and hitting those inside out forehands which leave his opponents flummoxed.

    All that said, this is just the start of a new year. At this time, a very good indication comes from the way a player is moving, serving, and most importantly, striking the ball just 2 weeks before a major. From that aspect I think both Nadal and Federer look exceptionally sharp for such an early stage of the season. I’m sure Nadal will raise his level as he plays more matches and will time his game to peak at the 2nd week of the Australian Open. But there’s no firm conclusion on his form until he plays one of Federer/Davydenko (preferably Davydenko) in the Final.

  15. miri says:

    I agree that it’s truly difficult to understand where his game is at since he’s playing such lower ranked players. I take more encouragement from his match against Soderling (who is top 10) and the fact he hasn’t really had a mental walk-about in these “easy” matches – something he was doing a lot last year when playing lower ranked players. He’s kept pretty steady through the matches.

    As far as the “head in the hands” thing, I noticed it and thought it looked odd, but it didn’t make me worry about injury, just thought that maybe he had a killer headache and that the horrid music was annoying him – even given his awful taste in music.

    Most probably his knees hurt all the time when he plays – or close to that. There’s just different kinds of hurt – the pain he plays with all the time and is used to dealing with and injury pain. Even he said last year that it was difficult to know when to stop playing because he often has knee pain anyway.

    • jimmy says:

      I suppose you are correct about the knee pain: chronic tendinitis is a hard one to overcome. I suspect no one (other than him) really knows about his knees. And he’s not the one to trumpet his shortcomings. How many folks had a clue on how bad his knees were during F.O 2009?

      And so it doesn’t make sense to me that he’s signing on stuff such as Rotterdam. Well, reportedly there’s a 7 digit appearance fee (in $$) for that event. But even still, he should know better..

      • faeaki7 says:

        I didn’t know it was his knees at Roland Garros, but I sure knew that his game wasn’t where it should have been, the exho match he played at the begining of the tournament said it all.. somehow I was least confident than I had ever been watching him play RG, he didn’t look like the strong relentless clay king we all know, far from it.

        • jimmy says:

          Well there was something wrong in his game right after AO 09. Even when he won IW he was brilliant only in patches. Things went downhill in Miami. And in clay Nadal was again inconsistent, but as he says, he’s so good on that surface that he can win even when he’s not playing well.

        • miri says:

          I think the main thing is that he was giving interviews saying his knees were just fine right up to that loss in the French – I think the day before, in fact. (Hmph – I was going to link to a video of that interview but it appears my account on Viddler has been deleted without any notification. Dang it.)

  16. faeaki7 says:

    thank you Miri for your views, I couldn’t agree more!

  17. MJ says:

    Thanks for all the great videos…Does anyone have a stream for the matches in the US? I haven’t been able to find any…

    Thanks,

    MJ

  18. Ch F says:

    Yes although we didn’t know about his knee problem, we could sense there was something wrong because there was no reason for him not to play well, other than fatigue of course; he’d had such a good year until then. I suppose some might be tempted to say the same applies now, ie that his game isn’t perfect and he seems bothered by something, much like in RG 2009, therefore there must be a problem and it’s history repeated. Which in my opinion does not make sense, since now is the result of what happened then.

  19. emir says:

    if we talk abaut phsical stuff i always belive he was such a pyhisical animal in 05….since then he got better as a player but never 100 percent fit….he will never be….but the value of the injury how it affects him is important,he learned how to play with proplematic foot….can he learn how to play with WEAKER KNEES we will see….altough we can discuss rafas game all the time here,some things are clear even the matches where he PLAYED SO WELL,he isnt the same passing shot KING as he once was altough still good,we rarely see amazing shots WOW HOW CAN HE MAKE that stuff any more…altough he is hitting the ball so much better in my book compare to london,THATS CLEAR IN MY MIND,his return of service still not as good as it once was…if i didnt see that service return and HIS TRADE MARK PASSING SHOTS,i will stay worried…because you cant change your trade mark thats makes you great,that much some little adjustments better serving being more agrresive ok,but you are who you are in the end…

    • aRafaelite says:

      Re. no clues about the knee problems last year. I don’t think that’s true. He was barely able to move in the Rotterdam Final – Murray commented afterwards that Nadal was so good that he was able to win the 2nd set on one leg! His movement didn’t seem 100% in several tourneys (esp Miami) after that, and I really began to be concerned at the beginning of the semi against Nole in Madrid when he just didn’t seem to be chasing down balls that he would normally return without problem. Something was clearly wrong and it’s amazing to me that he was able to win that match. It was no surprise he lost to Fed in the final, which seemed to me to be more than simply a case of exhaustion, he seemed to be expecting to lose, which is not like our warrior at all. Even one of the commentators (I think it was Robbie) started to question if he was playing injured although the other commentator dismissed the concern. I picked up on it because I was thinking the same.

      But I don’t think we should get too concerned at this stage of the year. I think 100% fit right now = no injuries, as opposed to no pain (playing at that level everyone is experiencing some kind of niggling aches and pains) or 5-set 5-hour match fit. He’s working his way back there, and as long as he stays mentally strong (and he does seem 100% more confident than at the end of last year) I still think this is going to be GREAT year for him. Fuerte Rafanatics. He’s already started better than this time last year.

  20. emir says:

    i was the first one who opened thread during the french open on the tennis forum BEFORE HE played and LOST AGAINST SODERLING…the headline of the thread SOMETHING CLEARLY WRONG…fed fans attacked me at that time like rafa his fans playing mind games,rafa fanatics thinks i am too pesimistic,no one would like to be more wrong than me..

  21. emir says:

    anyway too much from negativity from nowhere now…i think this year there will be some good days,as i said before i think he is hitting the ball pretty well right now…

  22. Atch2 says:

    Didn’t watch the match, read everyone’s comments and am overwhelmed with worries and positives.

    But you know Rafa’s results so far have at least matched last yr (he lost to Murray in Abu Dhabi & to Monfils in Doha qtrs). And it appears like he is improving and experimenting in different aspects of his game. And if there is a twitch in his knees, he will have at latest from Sun 10 to recover before AO on 18th, and I think he would retire a match here if he felt something rather than risk damaging his hopes at AO.

    Hope to catch tonight’s match. I note no more Italians in the draw for Rafa to beat.

  23. arwen says:

    these guys are just candies for our guy.he is gonna play one real and
    pushing match against Fed or Kolya on final.ı always pray for the knees
    to be injury free.ı watched the match live on eorosport,in the second
    set,during the changeover he sat and took his head between his hands
    and muttered something.there was something wrong about him.ı hope it was only a headache.ı am worried a bit.

    vamos rafa….

  24. Rafafan says:

    Hi Arwen / Emir

    There was of course definitely something wrong with him, and I am sure it wasn’t a headache. I think he will learn his lessons not chase the balls and retire if he has to.

    Emir – interesting what you said about the website at the French Open. I can related when it was mooted there was concern in his knees before the Sod match. I had been scouring the web at the time and utube and came across the betting site when all of a suddently there was a dramatic drop in bets for Nadal to win the FO – yes he was still favourite, but they were analysing why the odds had suddenly dropped so dramatically overnight and then it was leaked out that that people have got wind/been leaked out that Nadal has knee problems and could be injured. I remember being alarmed at this at the time, and given his result in Madrid and not playing so well I felt there could be some truth in it. But obviously being on his favourite clay, all hyped up about winning his 5th thought he would be ok but I remember how niggled and concerned when I heard this on utube.

    Let’s hope it’s nothing and for sure Rafa will not say anyting anyway so we have to scrutinise and guess at times.

    • Ch F says:

      Although I also felt less confident about Rafa’s success in the 2009 French, I think drawing such parallels will only make us go crazy. I’m tempted too, I really know where you come from, but I’m trying to resist this. Even if there is a problem, which with all my heart I hope is not the case, he’ll know better this time. If this wasn’t due to a headache, it could be he was feeling a little more pain than usual; the last few months have left him entirely dependent on his body and it’s only normal than he is more worried when he feels some pain. After his injury, he started off by trying to find his game but his lack of confidence was blocking him. Now he’s moved to the next stage, he has more or less found his game, his confidence is back, but he’s not always sure he can trust his body. So I guess if his legs hurt, he’s immediately worried, more than he use to before the injury. I hope that’s just it, please tennis gods, help our Rafa out.