Just wanted to thank Miri for the chance to vent all my tennis thoughts here on NadalNews this week. Thanks also to all who posted comments ❤️
*Miri might appreciate a few reports from the upcoming nightmare scheduling of the Australian Open if anyone is so inclined.
(Note: Yes, I would appreciate any help! And thanks for all the help, sia! – miri)
Ok. So are we ready for this? I’m up and eating yogurt with lemon and turmeric (healthy new year thing … really, though I just covered everything with a lot of honey. It was delicious!)
Rafa in the “tunnel”. Spanish flags flying!! We have a marching band on court. Novak a little more subdued … we all know that means very little. All rise the National Anthem of Qatar being played.
Cedric Mourier will be our chair umpire today. He and Rafa wait for Novak at the net. ND wins the toss and chooses to serve.
Here we go. Crowd is so very ready for this. We have two exceptional competitors on court today. Nice conditions, no wind.
Novak serves first and hits an ace. Rafa’s FH goes wide. Rafa returns well and his FH does some damage 30-15. DF from Novak. Rafa forces an error with some deep penetration and gets a break point. Novak finds a new gear and although Rafa pushes in that game, Novak holds with an ace.
Rafa hits nothing but second serves in the second game of the first set (oh except for a challenged serve which is called an ACE), you really can’t do that against the world’s best returner … Rafa is broken! Novak goes up 0-2.
Lots of “Vamos Rafa” from the crowd trying to urge him on.
Rafa looks a little rattled and Novak serves and holds again to go up 0-3. Not really the start we were all hoping for. Rafa has to serve well and make absolutely no mistakes to have a chance. Yikes!In the next game Rafa serves a little bit better and holds(!) for 1-3. He’s on the board.
Already Novak has upped his level … not sure if Rafa can keep up, quite yet.
Novak hits some great serves; Rafa hits some short returns and score is 1-4. Novak really has been serving so well these last months, combine that with his tremendous return abilities and he really becomes an impenetrable force. Boris was such a good server.
Rafa starts his next serving game well but ND is pushing him so far off the court in their rallies and then just hitting winners. Rafa is BROKEN for the second time. Novak serves for the set and basically hits everything from the centre of the court. He wins the set. 1-6
Rafa to serve. We have a ferocious rally Rafa comes out on top 15-0, then he DFs, hits a second serve, another second serve and goes down 15-40. There is a great rally where Rafa uses a lot of shot variety and pulls an error from ND, another good serve and we are back to deuce. Rafa can’t keep tempo with ND though and loses the next two points. Rafa starts the second set being BROKEN. Sadness.
One of the TTV commentators about Novak, who had stumbled a bit in last game. “When he does fall there is a thespian element to it, sometimes, isn’t there?” Hahaha.
CROWD IS CHANTING RAFA’S NAME. 😭
Novak has no trouble holding in the next game and goes up two games to love. Rafa hitting himself in head after going long with one of his his FHs.
Rafa serves well in the game and holds. Rafa not able to get any depth on his returns and ND holds with ease. Rafa’s got the crazy hair but it does him no good as ND BREAKS in the next game and he goes down 2 breaks of serve.
Novak wins the first two points in the next game and then Rafa seems to get feisty with someone in the crowd. “You come down here and play Novak” is what I think he trying to say. The commentators let us know he was letting loose a little Rafa snark “Do you want to be my coach?” Haha. Rafa wins the next point. ND does hold.
Rafa serving at 1-5 wins the game with some good FH action. 2-5. Novak to serve for the Championship. Which he does. Rafa loses 1-6 2-6.
ND hit 30 winners. Rafa 9.
Novak goes ahead in their Head to Head for the first time. 24-23.
Rafa could have created a few more opportunities for himself but Novak was dominant throughout the match. Rafa looking lovely and slightly sad in his white jacket on his bench watching ND hit balls into the crowd.
Everything goes dark and we have a full on Titanium music and light show to start off the trophy ceremony. Rafa looks on tentatively … Ah the crowd trying to cheer up Rafa, who was lost in thought and captured by the camera. He smiles and raises his hand in a wave.
Gaston Gaudio is here to present trophies. Rafa gets a lot of applause “Positive start of the season for me” Happy to be in a final. “… going to keep working so hard to be ready for Australia and the rest of the season“ FANS LOVE RAFA !! Rafa thanks the tournament for all their hospitality.
Rafa makes jokes. “I find a new coach today, too .. so .. I think he’s travelling with me to Australia tonight, and I’m sure I’m going to win against Novak with him.”
“Thanks everybody. Many thanks” Rafa is so great. He turned that Finalist speech around to something so special. Steamy! That’s why we love him!
Rafa’s trophy ceremony interview:
Posted by rafanadal-kingoftennis.ru/.
Comments from Rafa after the match can be found in this ATP article:
“The match is easy to analyse,” said Nadal. “I played against a player who did everything perfectly. I don’t know anybody who’s ever played tennis like this. Since I know this sport I’ve never seen somebody playing at this level. So I just congratulate him and that’s it.
“I know I can do a few things better, but the real thing is with these conditions, playing during the night and with the feeling of the ball here, it’s so difficult to have chances against him playing like this. It is probably impossible.
“When somebody is better than you, you accept it and you work to try to improve yourself. That’s it. I am not frustrated. I look at the things very clearly and I am always honest. Today he’s better than me without a doubt.”
“The real thing is I had a positive week. I am playing well and I am going to keep working hard to try to be ready for Australia. I think I will be. I am motivated for it.
“He played so good. Accept it and congratulate him. Nothing left to say. The only thing is the opponent is better than me today. And here especially. Let’s see in Australia and let’s see later during the whole season. I’m going to fight and I feel ready to fight. I feel ready and excited about this fight and I hope to be closer.”
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||65%||75%|
|1st Serve Points Won||14/28 (50%)||26/33 (79%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||6/15 (40%)||8/11 (73%)|
|Break Points Saved||3/7 (43%)||1/1 (100%)|
|Service Games Played||7||8|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||7/33 (21%)||14/28 (50%)|
|Second Return Points Won||3/11 (27%)||9/15 (60%)|
|Break Points Won||0/1 (%)||4/7 (57%)|
|Return Games Played||8||7|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||20/43 (47%)||34/44 (77%)|
|Total Return Points Won||10/44 (23%)||23/43 (53%)|
|Total Points Won||30/87 (34%)||57/87 (66%)|