RafaLint: June 17th

Photo by Beth Wilson

Photo by Beth Wilson



Social media related to Rafa:

Nice racket and clothing choices there…

Other stuff:

  • Toni shows up about 17 minutes into this.
  • “No Wonder Everyone Thinks You Are Garbage” – by Ben Rothenberg. Fascinating (and sad) piece on the kind of abuse betters hurl at players via social media.
  • Andy Murray’s column on the BBC site has a mention of Rafa:

    I know there will be a lot of interest in the draw this year as Rafael Nadal looks like being seeded fifth, but as a player you can’t get too obsessed about the draw.

    I’d sign up to be in the quarter-finals against Rafa tomorrow if someone offered me that.

    You could say if I get through that match, then the semi-final might not be as tough, but if you want to win the biggest tournaments you have to beat the best players in the world. It doesn’t really matter where they are in the draw.

    Well said, Andy.

32 Responses

  1. Merrill says:

    Again I must disagree with you miri. I think what Andy said is pure rot (and after Rafa, Andy is the player I would favor to win Wimbledon). Using Andy’s reasoning, if he truly believes what he says, why seed the players? Why not do a completely random draw? Then Andy and Novak could play in the first round and then all the rest of the matches will be easier for the winner. Horse manure!
    Everyone knows it’s better for the players and the fans if there is a slow momentum built up over the tournament which leads to a climactic final. The best example of this is Wimbledon 2008. Ideally, each round is a step up from the previous round; the semis are better than the quarters; and the final is the most intense and best match of the tournament.This is why tournament organizers seed players in an attempt to attain this result.
    If Andy were to play Rafa in the quarters no one would be happy—neither fans nor tournament organizers. In fact, no one wants the top three to play Nadal in the quarters, it is too much too soon. The problem is that Rafa’s ranking went down because he missed too many tournaments, and this is creating all sorts of chaos for tournament organizers and players. I don’t fault Wimbledon; they do make accommodations for players who are particularly skillful on grass. Yet there is still something out of whack when one player is ranked above another on points, yet their head to head record is 4-20, with four of those 20 losses in 2013.
    I don’t know the answer to this dilemma and I’m afraid that the luck of the draw will play an even greater role than usual in this year’s Wimbledon, but Andy’s statement that he’d “sign up for Rafa to be in his quarter” is arrant nonsense!

    • robert says:

      Not only that, but if you play a big cat in QF, it’s almost certain you’ll need to play 2 more big cats in SF and F (if you manage to get that far), and by that time you’ll be very tired and spent, both physically and mentally.

      Of course “if you want to win the biggest tournaments you have to beat the best players in the world”, but it would be much easier to avoid playing 3 of the best players in a row.

      That’s why what Murray wrote is BS and just him whistling in the dark. He would surely love to play somebody easier in QF.

    • miri says:

      “the luck of the draw” – exactly. Thus his “but as a player you can’t get too obsessed about the draw”. It’s luck. He had to concentrate on the things he can control, his tennis and his mindset about it.

      Yes, to a certain extent what he’s saying is bollocks – or as Gulbis would say, boring and nice. You don’t want to face #1 in the first round, but if you haven’t gotten your game in synch by quarters, you are in trouble. And that’s what we are talking about with Rafa’s ranking – the difference between quarters and semis. So, it’s also got truth to it too.

      I remember when my former fav Mats Wilander would talk about his draw luck. His biggest fear wasn’t often the highest ranked players, it was Miloslav Mečíř. That dude had Wilander’s number. It’s like me always thinking it’s better for Rafa to have Fed in his half/quarter than Djokovic – even when Djokovic was ranked lower. Rafa’s matches against Nole were often tight nervous affairs whereas I always thought he felt more confident playing Fed.

    • Allyn Sims says:

      Rafa said something nearly identical when Federer’s rank dropped to 3. “Meet Federer in the semi-final? I’ll sign right now.” What he meant, I think, was that if you can guarantee me a place in the semis, I’ll take it, regardless of who I have to play. Andy may have meant something similar.

  2. heath says:

    What Andy said was that if he could, he’d choose to play Rafa in the quarter finals (not to sign up for Rafa to be in his quarter) because if he could win that match, his semi might be easier! In saying that he’s explicitly acknowledging Rafa’s very likely seeding at #5 and that a quarter between the two of them is a possibility. Perhaps such a match-up isn’t desirable, but for *this* year, it’s possible.

    I believe Andy is simply stating that Rafa is the man to beat, but that to win Wimbledon he’d have to beat other players too. I don’t think he’s being arrogant at all here. He’s showing due respect to the player in form at the moment – Rafa. Well said indeed, Andy.

  3. L says:

    I thought Andy was just saying that if someone could guarantee him a quarterfinal spot right now, regardless of it being against Rafa, he’d take it. Rafa has said similar things in the past when the media has speculated about his possible semi-final or final opponents in the majors.

    • Lynn says:

      I agree with L..Its like “so you’re giving me a free pass to the quarters. I’ll take it.” Like saying, it’s not that easy to get there, as you assume.

      • Suzie says:

        Yes – that’s just how I read it too. He was just speculating – like everyone else does. And its the kind of thing people enjoy reading in a sports column.

    • Sam says:

      It’s sometimes difficult interpreting a comment in isolation however Murray doesn’t say that he’d sign up for a quarter final spot against anyone he specifically said he’d sign for one against Rafa. He then goes on to say why he’d like this specific match (because the semi would be easier). My immediate thought when reading it was how arrogant and stupid to say such a thing.

      • miri says:

        Then click through on the link and read the whole article. There’s no need to interpret the comment in isolation. Murray was specifically talking about seeding and Rafa…thus the mention of a quarterfinal against him. He’s just saying he’d be damn happy to be in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon even if it means he’d have to face Rafa. He then implies that if he wins against Rafa the next matches would seem easier. (As in, Rafa’s so tough a win, it’s all downhill from there.) I see nothing arrogant at all.

        • Sam says:

          I did read the whole article. I read it on the BBC site before seeing it quoted here and was surprised that it was seen differently. Reading it again it still looks like he would choose to play specifically Rafa in the quarters. Looking through some of the British media reports I’m not the only one who read it that way. For example this from the Sun (not the most reliable source but it shows the story is out there)

          “Andy Murray roars: Bring on Rafa – King of Clay in Murray’s sights on SW19 grass”


          Also some of the comments after this article show that at the very least the quote is open to misinterpretation


          Maybe Murray did mean to say he would just sign to be in the quarters against anyone but he hardly makes this clear. Also talking about having an easier semi (against possibly Federer). Ha ha! Who does he think he is Rafa?

          • miri says:

            I never trust the intentions of the in how they pull and interpret quotes. They want clicks. And Andy has a winning record against Fed, not against Rafa, so…..

            We see things differently…vive la différence!

            • Lynn says:

              So next they’ll be saying Andy actually “roared”..such an exaggeration. They ask a question. Then twist his answer into a headline, To make us think Andy is cocky about Nadal. Really? What’s he suppose to say? “I’m too afraid to even show up?” This goes to the point Gulbis made. The top four are boring interviews, because if they say anything at all, people run wild with it and they never hear the end of it.

          • Lynn says:

            So he actually did roar??

            • Sammy says:

              Andy was simply saying that he’d be happy to meet Rafa in the quarters, not because he’d necessarily like to meet Rafa (a.k.a. his slam tormentor), but because it would mean he made it to the quarters wasn’t bounced in an earlier round! I didn’t see even a hint of the “bring on Rafa” attitude in what he said.

        • Ch F says:

          Actually it’s the opposite of being arrogant. After all, he has been having more trouble against Rafa than against the other top3 in slams, so in a way he says the difficult part would be Rafa and then it would probably be easier, for him, based on his accomplishments against Novak or Roger. I really fail to see how this is arrogant.

  4. BeBe says:

    I, too, interpreted his comments as: you have me in the QFs? Great, I’ll take it. I think Rafa would probably say the same thing. Wimbledon is one of those slams where the first rounds are very dangerous. Plus, Tsonga would be no picnic in the QFs. Neither would Berdych on the surface.

    I think Wimbledon will be so interesting as there is a question mark besides so many of the top players (except probably Novak) on how they’ll do. Andy’s been out and can he bounce back from last year; can Roger really do it again; how will Rafa perform on grass; I’ve got my fingers crossed for a good draw for Rafa. I hope he does really well at the championships.

    Can’t wait!

  5. Mystic says:

    I think some of you are reading far too much into Andy’s comments. Andy is not discussing how the draw effects the “quality” or entertainment value of a tournament. He is simply stating a fact that at the slams all the best players are there and you have to face them and can’t rely on the draw to spare you from anyone, regardless of where you are in the rankings.
    It doesn’t matter where Rafa ends up in the draw, he still has to win 7 consecutive matches to win the thing and each one will present its own challenges.

    • miri says:

      This is exactly how it came across to me.

      • Lynn says:

        I agree, but have heard a lot of people calling him arrogant over this. Seems a stretch to me and I’m a Rafa fan.

        • Ch F says:

          I haven’t really read about that a lot but it never ever sounded arrogant to me neither.

      • heath says:

        and me :)

        • Sharon/London says:

          I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I took it that If Andy was told he would be in the QF against Rafa he would sign up tomorrow ( speaking on the pretext that Rafa was in his part of the draw) and if he WERE to beat Rafa his SF would not be such a tough match. He didnt say he was going to beat Rafa or I’m not scared of Rafa etc.. Nothing arrogant in what he said IMO.

          The newspaper headlines are just Murray mad at the moment as always prior to Wimbledon. They make up the headlines to sell their papers . I have not read that andy said any of those things.

          It’s going to be like this for the next 2 1/2 weeks so going to have to get used to it or ignore it which is what I shall do.

          • Lynn says:

            Yes, ignoring it is good for us. But it is a shame that they (the big four) can’t do an interview, or express an opinion without getting exploited. Goes with the territory, I guess. Then they’re called boring, for never saying anything interesting. I’m probably making too big of an issue out of it. (It happens all the time.) But unfair is unfair!

  6. kikim says:

    Stop with the Andy Rafa nonsense. This page is my sanctuary, where I can read and contribute to realy interesting comments, thanks to Miri for brining us all the wonderful news and lets keep these blogs positive like Rafa. When asked recently if he could improve on the level of his game further his response was. ” I am not sure if I can, the only thing I am sure of is I will try”.

  7. Susanna728 says:

    Thanks for the 2004 Sopot video! I’d love to send it to Steve Tignor – although since the clay season is over it might not be of enough interest in the media. 18 year old Rafa already hitting absolutely amazing shots (Acasuso too). But Rafa also already hitting short and getting nervous when it’s time to serve for the match :))

    • Patricia/England says:

      Yes I enjoyed that video too, interesting to see that he had tape on his knees then.

  8. Dana says:

    Sweet picture, Miri!