Stuttgart: Time to buy a new garage

Photo by Daniel Kopatsch/Bongarts/Getty Images

Photo by Daniel Kopatsch/Bongarts/Getty Images

In his first grass final in quite a long while (2011), Rafa played #28 Viktor Troicki in Stuttgart today. It was their first meeting on grass and Troicki’s first grass court final. The first set was all about Troicki holding at love (or close to it) with Rafa’s serve coming under presser a few times, but he still only had one break point against. That meant a tiebreak was pretty inevitable. Rafa stepped it up in the tiebreaker. Troicki? Not so much. With his 9th ace, Rafa took the first set 7-6(3).

Both guys hold at love to start the 2nd set. In the forth game, Rafa got ahead on Troicki’s serve. Troicki double faulted to give Rafa a break point and then hit a ball long to be broken. Rafa went up 3-1 and then consolidated at love. Serving for the title at 5-3, Rafa got a little timid and went from double championship point to 40-40. He kept his head, though, and finished the match off at the net. Rafa wins his third Stuttgart title and his first on grass: 7-6(3), 6-3.

So far, I think grass has been the perfect change of pace Rafa needed. He’s under much less pressure given his results in the last few years. Also, he knows he must play aggressively on grass – this means he has fewer options to decide between and, thus, isn’t hesitating as much. Lastly, he knows errors are a given on grass, so they don’t make him as nervous.

What’s the deal with the post title? When asked in the on court interview if he had room in his garage for the car he just won, Rafa said, “If not, we buy a new garage.”

Nadal Troicki
Statistics on Serve
Aces 11 8
Double Faults 4 3
1st Serve % 75% 63%
1st Serve Points Won 42/49 (86%) 30/34 (88%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/16 (56%) 11/20 (55%)
Break Points Saved 1/1 (100%) 0/1 (0%)
Service Games Played 11 10
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 4/34 (12%) 7/49 (14%)
Second Return Points Won 9/20 (45%) 7/16 (44%)
Break Points Won 1/1 (100%) 0/1 (%)
Return Games Played 10 11
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 51/65 (78%) 41/54 (76%)
Total Return Points Won 13/54 (24%) 14/65 (22%)
Total Points Won 64/119 (54%) 55/119 (46%)

17 Responses

  1. john f says:

    FANTASTIC result today. Rafa’s serving was spectacular, and the depth on his shots superb (i’m not too worried about the times he goes long – that’s inevitable for him when he pushes hard for depth). Return of serve? I guess the grass court game is so VERY different – servers seem to have so much more advantage, and Troicki was pretty impressive. His serve must be hard for Rafa (anyone but djokovic perhaps?) to read becasue so many of his service games were incredibly quick. But it was all about being 99% consistent rather than say 97% consistent, on serve or in Troicki’s case at the net! At 40-40 with rafa serving for the match Troicki missed an easy volley that would have put him at advantage . Rafa grabbed the gift and took the next point and the match. Excellent stuff!
    But what was so enjoyable about this game was the all court movement from Rafa, good consistently good ball striking (especially avoiding short balls) , and just overall tenacity and dtermination (the good serving helps him sooooo…much though, and my guess is he’ll be really pleased about the improvement in that aspect of his game. As the commentator on eurosport said ….”He’ got his game back”!

    PS I’ve had excellent success watching live streaming for tennis using the eurosportplayer/uk combined with a VPN service – i use tunnel bear (from new zealand) , but there are many options. Yes you have to pay a modest amount for each *4 euros a month for eurosport player and about the same for tunnel bear , but it REALLY has been worth it to have a decent stream and good commentary.

  2. cythere72 says:

    Had to pay extra $$ for tennis channel since now they only show live matches on their TCPlus. BUT how could I miss seeing Nadal live!!!!

    So happy for his win. He was playing well and I was glad that he played the tiebreak so well. This is where the test of where his mental strength was (to me) came into play.

    Congrats Champ! Welcome back!

  3. RAFAFAN1 says:

    Wonder what the colour of the car is underneath the yellow tennisball foil? And yes, it is a car to be envious of Victor :)

  4. JayDee50 says:

    Nail biting match (aren’t most of them?) but so happy to see Rafa come out on top. Viktor’s serving…..WOW! how hard was it for Rafa to break him? Hardly any points lost on serve for VT, yet when the chance came Rafa snatched it. So awesome to get another grass court title after so long. Our Eurosport commies mentioned that he seemed like a different player this week, absolutely agree. Soooo good to see, hope it continues.

  5. Dirk says:

    Who’d have thunk it. 2nd win this year and it on grass. Great serving, great length, great movement, great pickups of low balls on backhand, great passing shots off the backhand,great volleys. Really pleased to see his game at such a good level. Saw some reports about a weak field. It’s of no consequence- it’s great practice on grass regardless. Queens should be interesting. I wish him well.

  6. emir says:

    Positive week really. Trying to serve big and try to come to the as much as possible is right attitude on grass. I hope he keep this up. There still some nerves out there and we have seen when he serve for the title. Movement wise not bad not the Rafa old who comes with the most amazing passing all time but if he somehow makes his serve as a weapon ( which ı believe he has all the talent and right body for that ) he might found respectable results again. You know win or lose ı want to see this Rafa who knows his weaknesses and he is no more 20 years old but not shy of trying to play attacking tennis. Will this ever bring domination to him or let say Wimbledon title or a GS outside of RG well thats a long stretch ı am not so sure but thats worth trying and for a spectators worth watching as well.

  7. emir says:

    Positive week really. Trying to serve big and try to come to the net as much as possible is right attitude on grass. I hope he keep this up. There still some nerves out there and we have seen when he serve for the title. Movement wise not bad not the Rafa old who comes with the most amazing passing all time but if he somehow makes his serve as a weapon ( which ı believe he has all the talent and right body for that ) he might found respectable results again. You know win or lose ı want to see this Rafa who knows his weaknesses and he is no more 20 years old but not shy of trying to play attacking tennis. Will this ever bring domination to him or let say Wimbledon title or a GS outside of RG well thats a long stretch ı am not so sure but thats worth trying and for a spectators worth watching as well.

  8. quid says:

    Such a pleasure to watch the match!
    Please do enjoy the 2nd half of the 2015 tennis season, Nadal: there truly doesn’t appear to be any reason not to.
    PS: I agree that the yellow shade is a bit too much, but what a magnificient car!

  9. Tina says:

    So happy for Rafa, finishing so strong after playing some great tennis this week. Sweet victory and hilarious moments at the ceremony as well. Yes, you build yourself another garage, Rafa:-) VAMOS for next week and take care.

  10. So happy-for-the-win! Just great to see Rafa relaxed and smiling again.

  11. RafaMatters says:

    So pleased for you Rafa! Hope to see you biting the Queen’s trophy next. Looks like our London weather will mostly shine for you.

  12. kaushik says:

    Vamos rafa !!! Congrats for your 4 th career title on grass .displayed very good skills to win it here .I am sure that there is very less pressure or expectations this grass season so rafa can play freely without much mental cobwebs .vamos and enjoy yourself

  13. luckystar1 says:

    So happy for Rafa! Like many of us have/had guessed, Rafa is now playing without pressure or burden on his shoulders unlike during the clay season, and we see how well he can play!

    His serve, wow, how can he improve it so much within a week? May be secretly working on it even during the clay season, but couldn’t bring it on clay because of the pressure. I hope he continues serving so well on grass, as he needs it vs his opponents on grass. Well done Rafa! So pleased for him.