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50 Responses

  1. Nana says:

    Hey thanks for making the youtube video start exactly at Rafa ;P Didn’t know you could do that.

    Glad to have Manolo in there with him to give him a pat on the shoulder. Emotional Rafa breaks my heart ;’(

    BTW, did he really speak Italian or they just understood his mix of Mallorquin + Italian?

  2. CC says:

    Awww…baby. That sigh at 5.33 is quite telling, no? Rafa is lubbly. *blows kisses*

    • An says:

      Aaaaww… yes, that sigh hurts me more then the loss yesterday did!!
      I’d say its time for consolation “inside” the shower, now! ;)

  3. midsun says:

    God, win or lose, I love that boy.

  4. Emma says:

    aww – rafa baby looked teary – cos he was emotional or from the fever (i normally get teary eyes when i am running a temperature)
    but he is so precious, win or lose we love him. we have seen how he can bounce back so no worries there rafa dearie!

  5. Luisa Rivas says:

    still breaks my heart watching him :(

    great italian of both of them…

  6. Maria says:

    Thanks for the article Xta. Makes for a nice read. Uplifting!

    • xta says:

      you are welcome for the article, but realize that all i did was forward it…the credit goes to dootsiez and her blog at allineedisapicketfence.wordpress.com

  7. Patricia says:

    I enjoyed the Xta article, made me smile, yes we are all a bit freakie about Rafa!

  8. Viva says:

    Here is, I tkink, an interesting interview that Rafa gave after his final to the French newpaper Le Figaro:
    Here

    Google mangling for non-French speakers.

    Nothing that we do not really know, but Rafa kind of admits his relationship is not as warm with Djokovic as it is with Roger. Or that being the numbre one player in the world gives him obligations that prevent him to enjoy life sometimes…

    • miri says:

      Thanks for the link!

    • Ch F says:

      Great read. Thanks.

    • Ch F says:

      On the part about their relationship, I think it’s difficult to compare a well established rivalry to an emerging one. It’s true Rafa and Roger have been through a lot together and it’s probably just too early to say the same about Rafa and Nole. Things may change in the future though if they meet each other in finals regularly and after they have shared much more than they have now.

      • L says:

        I’m not sure their relationship will change that much and they may actually grow further apart. I know Djokovic is very confident and he’s come a long way but I’m sort of put off by some of his on court actions and I’m sure this hasn’t gotten past Rafa. Rafa always had a deep respect for Roger and I always felt that although he played to win it wasn’t about shoving Federer or any opponents face in it, which I get from Djokovic.

        My favourite quote from Rafa about Federer sums it all up: “He and I are 100 % on the same wavelength”.
        They are special champions and they shared a special time in tennis.

        • Ch F says:

          Probably. Well we’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

          Nole was very gracious when he lost the US Open final, I try to remember that all the time. I remember feeling a lot of respect for him. Some people find Rafa’s on court actions off putting and exaggerated too, which I don’t, so I try not to be too critical of Djokovic’s celebrations. But I do understand what you’re saying and I also find it too much at times.

          • L says:

            I think it’s more important to show respect when you win than when you lose.

            • Ch F says:

              Certainly. I just think it’s also easier to be nasty when you’re losing than when you’re winning, that’s why I made the point about the USO. Well, hopefully Rafa will return to the winning position soon ;-)

              • Emma R says:

                I know what you mean about his on court actions. I have always been very fond indeed of Nole because I have found his grace and affectionate nature beguiling. The way he would always run up for a big hug after a tight match, win or lose.

                I feel a bit like since he started winning, all he does is stand there bellowing and roaring, and beating his chest like Tarzan. At the end of the final it looked like Rafa was lucky to be able to lean over the net and get a handshake from him as he was too busy bellowing and thumping himself.

                I am putting it down to youth and over excitement at his incredible winning stretch. At least he still smiles during rallies and applauds some points.

                • An says:

                  Yep. Djokovic has evry right and evry reason to celebrate, i’m not willing to take anything away from that but my opinion is that he does it realy *ugly*!

                  I noticed in Madrid last week and here in Rome too that the handshake after the match does’nt feel so warm as i normaly see from Rafa and his opponent, i realy do not dare to say that Djokovic is the cause off this alone but when i look at pic #20 in the final pictures topic i can’t help but finding Nole’s whole body language arogant. Just makes me realise why, altough i have a lot off respect for him, i’m not a his fan…….

                  • JC says:

                    I agree. In IW and Miami they were hugging (or at least semi-hugging)and talking to each other on the podium.
                    In Madrid and Rome it was only a brief handshake and not one word seemed to be exchanged between them during the ceremony. I know Benito has split with Nole and maybe that has caused some friction, but the Rafole bromance seems to have cooled.

                    • Susanna728 says:

                      I like Nole well enough. And he deserves to win with the astounding way he’s been playing. But I feel like his grand gestures of hugging Rafa etc when he loses and applauding other players’ shots are a little contrived and pretentious – more calculated to get attention for himself and to show what a generous person he is. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying bash him and not saying he isn’t a good person. It’s just that it feels always little staged and artificial to me.

                    • Viva says:

                      Actually that “bromance” has always seemed a bit forced and fake to me. If we look back, Djokovic’s several impersonations of Rafa were always a bit tacky and not in a very good taste.
                      Then, I think that Djokovic’s (his whole team’s, acutally) way of celebrating at the moment is kind of disrespectful to Rafa.
                      Both men apparently do not share the same values and in that sense, Rafa certainly feels closer to Roger.

                    • dingax says:

                      I had to jump in here. Nole was pretty gracious in his presser. He killed all talk of him being the new king of clay, saying Rafa was the greatest claycourter ever.

                      Just because Rafa is closer to one does not mean he isn’t friends with the other.

                      Also, I feel like we put too much stock into body language in trophy ceremonies. They have had a couple of emotional matches the last 3 months. It can’t be easy plastering a smile every time for both Nole and Rafa. Also, how many times do you call each other the greatest ever in speeches before it becomes just plain silly? I have seen Rafa subdued before when he has had a tough loss at the net. Fedal have had a lot of very subdued ceremonies where they barely make eye contact. I am not saying everything is peaches and cream. But I need something more concrete before I believe there is serious friction there.

                    • miri says:

                      This doesn’t really sound like two guys who don’t like each other.

    • L says:

      Thanks Viva, really enjoyed it.

    • Suzanne says:

      There is a small (but important) mistake in the Google mangling to English. The initial French caption of the photo means “If you think ONLY of tennis, in a few years you either go crazy or you end up hating the game …”

      Rafael Nadal: “If you think that tennis, a few years, you go crazy and you end up hating the game …” Photo

  9. Ch F says:

    Watching the highlights again, well, the game was there a lot more than in Madrid, but the belief wasn’t. And that’s exactly what Novak had. Rafa lost because he’s been losing and Novak won because he’s been winning. Maybe next time.

    • JC says:

      Knowing he’s on the right track will strengthen his belief, I think. It’s all about patience and faith for Rafa now.

    • john f says:

      Do you know of any one (or any site) who has the complete matches for rafa on file? I’m particularly thinking last years us open final and the 4 finals this year against djoko
      occasioanlly i have recorded screen capture video (not too bad) of complete rafa matches, but i don’t have these – perhaps someone else in the fan club does??

      sounds a bit weird maybe ,but i would very much like to watch those, in sequence, to get an idea of what appears to be going on in the rafa djoko matches. I disitinctly remeber rafa’s comment at the end of IW that he felt after the first set (which he won) that he was in control of the match…buth that his serve really let hom down, put himself under a lot of pressure (i think it was something like 25% first serves in during the latter part of the match). So the belief was there, and the recognition – ok one part of his armoury wasn’t firing on all cyclinders.
      But since then, against djoko, something has happened/slipped, well a lot actually!

      cheers
      john
      ps

      i’m sure rafa’s team will be looking at these things (i HOPE they have a strategic element that pours over these videos identifying strenghts weakensses, in the dynamics of match play)

      • JK says:

        Not sure but try this – http://www.youtube.com/user/mrsupertennis

        Let me know if it works.

      • Ch F says:

        Unfortunately I don’t know of any site that has Rafa’s complete matches…I agree with you it should be very interesting.

        I think if Rafa had managed to win one of those two matches, either in IW or in Miami, he would have won on clay as well. I think that’s probably where the mental edge shifted. Until then, he believed he could beat Djokovic but got unlucky with the serve issue.

        It’s a question of mental edge if you ask me. Their matches used to be very tight in the past as well; only then Rafa was mentally stronger and refused to lose. No it’s the other way round. Hope it turns again, and soon.

        • JK says:

          It will turn. Nole will lose sooner or later to Rafa or someone else and the doubts creep in.
          it is human and that is life.

        • dingax says:

          +1.

          To be fair, Rafa has been playing well below his high standards during this period even in non-Nole matches. And he still came within two points of beating Super Nole on a hard court. Its really a testament to how good he really is that only Super Nole could beat him on both hard and clay. And he has played some pretty decent players in this period. He needs to find his tennis first. The mental side will come with it. I am hoping his form in Rome is a good sign of things to come.

          • john f says:

            watching the ferrer dolgopolov quarter final in Nice (19 may) , made me think a bit of rafa…. There is something exciting about dolgo’s play that reminds me of rafa – not necessarily the style, just the excitement. Yes ferrer did not have a good day. But dolgo creates stuff – he makes it happen. And so does rafa, against virtually everybody except djoko just now.
            We’ve been commenting on rafa’s return of serve. I like the way dolgo attacks EVERY second serve. Backing himself, he stands on or inside the baseline and really goes after that second serve. That has GOT to create a lot of pressure on the opponent in that second serve – knowing it is going to get hammered. I think djoko does that as well – different style than dolgoolov, but same “psychology” : its not just the execution of aggression but the psychology behind it – the statement is “I take control of the point if you miss that first serve”. So, as a result, more pressure on that first serve too.
            Rafa does not return serves against djoko – or anyone else??- that way. There is kind of a “permission” in rafa’s defensive approach to return of serves, first and second serves. Is this new? In hardcourt US open it seems to me he was playing up, taking the ball earlier – still not ON the baseline or even inside it. I remember him in last years semi final against murray, had double faulted and was down at set point in a tie breaker, something like 6-? – murray missed his first serve and rafa stepped up and NAILED murray’s second serve – no hesitation, no defensive wait and see…just tok advantage of th eopportunity murray threw his way. Against djoko I’d like to see him try that , more. I mean he IS quick, he CAN pummel the ball, power through it, punish short serves, and react fast to those slower second serves. But typically this is not his strategy.

            mixing things up, being creative, clever play, drawing man in, out wide, then punishing….that is NOT happening in rafa djoko matches; well, not enough to make a difference….rafa’s play generally (most of the time) is NOT troubling djoko . I’m just stating this as a n observation, not something I like. If in IW he felt he was in control of the match after set 1, I don’t think that “feeling” is showing in the remainder of the recent matches, esp on clay. Djoko IS anticipating and predicting what rafa is doing . Other players can’t do this consistently against rafa, djok can and does. Solution? has to be a strategic issue – to start doing unpredictable things – is it coming into the net? is it taking the ball on the rise, going opposite way to what is expected, more disguise?? …something?? Because djoko IS reading rafa – that “taken by surprise” element ain’t there. It’s not just rafa’s execution of those perfect banana down the line shots from out wide, or steeply angled crosscourt drives, or improving his first and second serves…I’m not talking execution – though of course that matters. I’m talking disguise and strategy and surprise – recreating that. Because djoko needs to have that happen to him – he’s not going to give it away himself. If he anticipates correctly and gets set up he’s just too consistent now….Defensive play waiting for an error, expecting to capitalize on it just won’t work for rafa against djoko – it does work for many other players, few can stay with rafa in rallies…and when the inevitable error occurs he does pounce. But that strategy isn’t working against djoko

            So we need the coaches here to do some creative thinking….an dpersonally i think rafa has to be experimenting with this stuff in the opening rounds of RG.

  10. majida says:

    i live in uae in city called dubai. i.ve been watching rafa since i remember. and it was alaways easy for me to accept if he looses to federer but to loos to nole it has been heart brakin for me, yesterday i couldn’t watch the final i was so sad all night and day, i can’t accept it at all iam not strong mentaly and say to my self it’s just a game, it was his 6 title to defend and against who thw bloody serbian any one but him, i love rafa i hope he beleives on him self and his game and win RG. and many other tournaments.

    • Eliana says:

      I know what you mean about the Rafa losses, even though
      I like Novak…I watched the match until it was 6-4 in the 1st set and then bailed, on the match, not our guy(too nervous)! And then watching the trophy vid, he’s so dissapointed and yet, people gave him an ovation just as big as Novak! I’ve been incredibly sad since yesterday, just thinking how Rafa may feel right now. I know he will get over this-what I think more of a mental obstacle-but still is heartbreaking.

      • faeaki says:

        Yes it was indeed heartbreaking for Rafa, Djokovic looked smug… I hope he gets over this and keeps on giving his heart out at RG, we can only hope right?

  11. An says:

    Thanks XTA for the article! Its true…..

    Lets wait and see whats going to happen next. Nothing we can do other then support our Rafa and what he’s doing trough thick and thin! Better times will come again :D

    • xta says:

      you are welcome for the article, but realize that all i did was forward it…the credit goes to dootsiez and her blog at allineedisapicketfence.wordpress.com

  12. dingax says:

    Thanks a lot for that article, xta and miri. Its nice to be reminded from time to time what champions are made of. One day, he will sotp coming back. I am not ready to believe that day has arrived yet.

  13. Bebe says:

    thanks as always miri. i can’t bring myself to read “New Boss, Old BOss” quite yet. Or any press for that matter. Just looking ahead.

  14. L says:

    Here’s a link to a piece which I think highlights a lot of positives for Rafa (and his fans) after Rome:

    http://gregcouch.com/2011/05/16/french-open-week-reverse-chase-is-on-no-1-rafael-nadal-trying-to-catch-no-2-novak-djokovic/#more-909

  15. faeaki says:

    Thanks L. I hope they are right.. sighs* watched the match tonight and see the positives too compared to Madrid BUT Nadal needs to improve 1 his serve and 2 his backhand is a liability at times.
    Djokovic is thinking like he is king of the court right now and is feeling so mentally strong really stepping it up when it matters, it would take someone stronger and I don’t know anyone other than Rafa who could be.. lets see..
    Gotta give credit where it is due and Mark Petchey on Sky said that the good thing about this challenger to Rafas throne on clay is that it might just make him an even better player on clay!
    Lets not forget that Djokovic is playing and going for his shots like crazy and not missing BECAUSE he is on this winning streak prehaps for the first time and is feeling super confident right now and with that confidence he is able to produce such tennis, it won’t always be that way, his confidence I mean, at least for Rafas sake I hope not..

  16. Gh says:

    Djokovic won because Nadal was not at his best (100%) level. We will see if he will continue or hopefully get better at Roland Garros. Good luck Rafa.

    GH

  17. beegee says:

    Thank you for posting the article. There will always be highs and lows that we will have to roll with in this sport, but I do find the commentators to be “fair weather friends”. Time and again I have watched and listened as they jump on the band wagon of the player-of-the-moment and begin to predict the demise of the beaten hero. I find it difficult to read any press since Indian Wells, and if I am honest with myself, it may be tinged with a bit of sour grapes because I really do not like Djokovic – never have. I appreciate that he is dominating the sport right now and that he has worked really hard to do so, but I do not find him to be a good role model. He does not have the class that Rafa and Fed possess, nor the humility to carry the torch they way they have. As for Rome, how many players do you know who can go out there and play everyday with a fever and WIN? Rafa said himself that he gave it his all and could not ask his body for more. That is good enough for me. I am anxious to see how this “new rivalry” plays out in RG when we get to best of five sets. Rafa will grind him down.

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