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Post by hawkeye on Mon 25 Apr - 18:25

With his back to back wins in Monte Carlo and Barcelona Nadal has moved up to number two in the race. He has 2,300 points behind Novak who has 4,350 points. Nadal is still number 5 in the rankings with 5915 points and this is a long way from Novak's 15,550 points but he isn't that far off Wawrinka on 6,460, Federer on 7,535 and Murray on 7,925. Wawrinka, Federer and Murray have more to defend than Rafa over the clay season too. I don't think it's clear that Federer is playing either Madrid or Rome and I would put Nadal as favorite against either Wawrinka or Murray after his recent wins over both. How quickly things can change. If Nadal can continue to do well over the clay season he will solidify his number two position in the race and has a very good chance of getting back to number two in the rankings. If they go very well and that must always be a possibility with Rafa on clay he could get to number 1 in the race...

But maybe that's getting a little ahead Wink Just great to see Rafa winning trophies again Very Happy

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Post by Haddie-nuff on Mon 25 Apr - 18:58

I am glad your cup is not just half full, but indeed  running  over
However my chickens are still hatching so I wont count them yet.

It is great to see him biting on a couple of trophies and I am hoping for more .. but there is a long way to go yet Hug

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Post by lydian on Mon 25 Apr - 19:08

Agreed. Cant see Rafa getting #1 back, either in the race or the full 12 month rankings to be honest. Even pushing for #2 wont be easy as he needs to do well over grass and hardcourt later on. A lot of this will come down to how well he does at RG, Wimb and USO. If he can reach the semis of them all then he has a good chance of #2...but any early exits will cost him as its likely the others will do well. I think he could get to 3rd...behind Murray who always tends to run deep at the slams. I do think Federer will start to tail off slightly this year...maybe making QFs on average (give or take a round up or down). Let's see how Rome & RG go first...I don't count Madrid as a proper Masters as its such an unusual event with the altitude and the court surfaces seem different too (faster/slippier). Its a great start to the spring though for sure.
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Post by Danny_1982 on Mon 25 Apr - 20:27

I think it's good for the sport to see the old Rafa coming back. We need a meaningful rivalry at the top and Rafa is looking the most likely to create that due to Roger's age and Murray seeming to focused on beating himself to get near Novak.

The signs are very good as the Murray match the other week is the best I've seen him play in years. It actually looked like the old Rafa. We could be heading towards a tremendous RG showdown between him and Novak.

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Post by Guest on Tue 26 Apr - 1:12

Danny_1982 wrote:... It actually looked like the old Rafa. We could be heading towards a tremendous RG showdown between him and Novak.
Surely you mean he looked like the younger Rafa?  But I disagree - I don't think this older Rafa is physically as good as the younger Rafa.  Too much wear and tear in the joints, too many operations.  I think he has adapted his technique (?) to cope.  I suspect when he meets up with Djokovic at the French Open, everything else being equal, Rafa will lose to Djokovic.  But sport is a funny old game, except in the elite Men's tennis where consistency has become the norm.

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Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 26 Apr - 2:46

I wonder Erm Headscratch If after the Vesley match and watching Rafa win MC and Barcelona whether Novak is as confident as you might think
Wink

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 26 Apr - 3:18

Haddie-nuff wrote:I wonder Erm Headscratch If after the Vesley match and watching Rafa win MC and Barcelona whether Novak is as confident as you might think
Wink

The Vesely match won't have bothered him in the slightest but Rafa in a run of very good form will be of concern to him and every other tennis player in the world.
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Post by hawkeye on Tue 26 Apr - 3:21

Nore Staat wrote: I don't think this older Rafa is physically as good as the younger Rafa.  Too much wear and tear in the joints, too many operations.

Perhaps. But that would only be a problem if there were any significantly younger players posing a threat. The only player in the top ten who that is a few years younger than Nadal in the top ten is Kei and he is 26. Nadal is 8-1 or maybe 9-1 against Kei and beat him again just yesterday so their difference in age was not a problem for Nadal. Apart from that the rest will not be as physically good as their younger selves either.

Too many operations? Too many injuries perhaps and too much time taken to recover form and fitness.

Haddie-nuff wrote:I wonder Erm Headscratch If after the Vesley match and watching Rafa win MC and Barcelona whether Novak is as confident as you might think
Wink

Boris was caught on camera watching one of Rafa's matches after Novak had departed. He was taking notes... Not sure if I was imagining it but I thought I noticed he had a worried look on his face Wink

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Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 26 Apr - 4:07

CaledonianCraig wrote:
Haddie-nuff wrote:I wonder Erm Headscratch If after the Vesley match and watching Rafa win MC and Barcelona whether Novak is as confident as you might think
Wink

The Vesely match won't have bothered him in the slightest but Rafa in a run of very good form will be of concern to him and every other tennis player in the world.

I don't know how you can be so sure of that.. because if it didn't it should. Like it or not Vesley found a way of beating him Novak never lost that match.. Vesley won it especially if Rafa and Uncle Toni have watched it .. doubtless numerous times Whistle

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 26 Apr - 4:11

I would agree IF Vesely had gone on to win the tournament but he bombed out tamely in the next round as I predicted he would at that time. It was more a Darcis or Rosol to Nadal moment I'd say - an unexpected loss but one that those players won't repeat again against them.
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Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 26 Apr - 4:20

CaledonianCraig wrote:I would agree IF Vesely had gone on to win the tournament but he bombed out tamely in the next round as I predicted he would at that time. It was more a Darcis or Rosol to Nadal moment I'd say - an unexpected loss but one that those players won't repeat again against them.

That frankly is not the point.. whether he went on to win the tournament is immaterial.. he found a way to beat Novak
that was the important factor... an unexpected loss to a player who was courageous enough to take his game to him. and not be intimidated by him....don't get many of those to the pound.. I agree with most of your views CC but not this one of them

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Post by Danny_1982 on Tue 26 Apr - 4:47

Nore Staat wrote:
Danny_1982 wrote:... It actually looked like the old Rafa. We could be heading towards a tremendous RG showdown between him and Novak.
Surely you mean he looked like the younger Rafa?  But I disagree - I don't think this older Rafa is physically as good as the younger Rafa.  Too much wear and tear in the joints, too many operations.  I think he has adapted his technique (?) to cope.  I suspect when he meets up with Djokovic at the French Open, everything else being equal, Rafa will lose to Djokovic.  But sport is a funny old game, except in the elite Men's tennis where consistency has become the norm.

I meant the Rafa of a few years ago, of course. Maybe he's a yard short of what he was but if he's hitting that forehand with the velocity he did in that match then it doesn't matter as he'll still dictate points. I think there is one clear sign when Rafa's in the groove, and that's the forehand up the line looking like the best shot in tennis. And it did against Murray.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 26 Apr - 4:55

Haddie-nuff wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:I would agree IF Vesely had gone on to win the tournament but he bombed out tamely in the next round as I predicted he would at that time. It was more a Darcis or Rosol to Nadal moment I'd say - an unexpected loss but one that those players won't repeat again against them.

That frankly is not the point.. whether he went on to win the tournament is immaterial.. he found a way to beat Novak
that was the important factor... an unexpected loss to a player who was courageous enough to take his game to him. and not be intimidated by him....don't get many of those to the pound.. I agree with most of your  views CC but not this one of them

Okay I will put it another way. Will you mess your pants the next time Rafa plays Darcis or Rosol? No and that is because they were freakish results and they came in bigger matches. This was the opening Round of a Masters match so can't see this bearing any relevance. If this was Rafa or Andy or Roger or Stan say handing out the defeat I'd put far more stock iin it as they induce more scars mentally.
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Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 26 Apr - 5:22

Well that's one way of putting it ...wow Yikes !!!!!
I think you could have worded somewhat better, but since you ask....Yes
I hate it every time he meets either of them because I know they have the game to take it to him ... as did Soderling none of them went on to win the tournament though did they.

I think we had better leave it at that CC.. I think Im picking up on your general mood on here at the moment and we just don't agree

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Post by socal1976 on Tue 26 Apr - 5:25

Well that is all well and good but lets remember the first part of the season is front loaded with all the slower surfaces and clay court events and that the race becomes more relevant once all the slams and different surfaces have been played on. Typically, Nadal hasn't performed well in the second half of the season the big exception being 2010 and 2013.

Very good to have him dominating again on clay and racking up wins. It makes RG so much more intriguing.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 26 Apr - 5:31

Haddie-nuff wrote:Well that's one way of putting it ...wow Yikes   !!!!!
I think you could have worded somewhat better, but since you ask....Yes
I hate it every time he meets either  of them because I know they have the game to take it to him ... as did Soderling  none of them went on to win the tournament though did they.

I think we had better leave it at that CC.. I think Im picking up on your general mood on here at the moment and we just don't agree

We shall agree to disagree. Hug
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Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 26 Apr - 6:26

CaledonianCraig wrote:
Haddie-nuff wrote:Well that's one way of putting it ...wow Yikes   !!!!!
I think you could have worded somewhat better, but since you ask....Yes
I hate it every time he meets either  of them because I know they have the game to take it to him ... as did Soderling  none of them went on to win the tournament though did they.

I think we had better leave it at that CC.. I think Im picking up on your general mood on here at the moment and we just don't agree

We shall agree to disagree. Hug
Hug absolutely

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Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 26 Apr - 6:59

Well it seems that HE is not the only one to think so

A reported comment from the Maestro


Federer was asked if he ever doubted a Rafa comeback, and the Swiss former world number one had a clear-cut response.

“Zero; absolutely not,” Federer said. “Maybe you journalists were upset, but we players of course were not. A guy who won nine times in Paris, nine times in Monte Carlo, who was world number one for much time does not lose his qualities. Maybe we have come to expect to him to recover faster from injuries, but I cannot imagine Nadal at such a low level. To me, he is always there at the top. And on clay, he is still one of the first two or three players in the world,” Federer said.

“[The] King of clay is Rafa,” Federer said. “He is the tennis player to beat. Novak’s never won in Paris. Maybe now he’s the favorite, but Nadal is Nadal. I am happy of what he showed to those, who did not believe that he could win in Monte Carlo.”

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Post by socal1976 on Tue 26 Apr - 16:56

Honestly, it does feel more exciting that Nadal has recharged his game and looks like he will really contend at the French and possibly beyond. It just ups the level of competition and I think makes all the top guys up their ante as well.

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Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 26 Apr - 17:41

I know I can speak for us Nadal fans when I say it is so encouraging to see Rafa "coming" back from his decline. I hopefully can soon watch his matches sitting on the sofa, rather than from behind it Wink
Im not suggesting he will win the FO but hopefully he will have a good crack at it.. should he meet Novak.. then we can light the blue touch paper and wait Shocked Should make things a lot more interesting

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 26 Apr - 19:35

[quote="Haddie-nuff"]I know I can speak for us Nadal fans when I say it is so encouraging to see Rafa "coming" back....

It's also encouraging for non-Rafa fans. You want to see some competition at the very top of the game and the prospect (if the draw works out) of a Djoko-Rafa ding-dong RG final is mouthwatering.

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Post by Guest on Tue 26 Apr - 20:33

Nice words from Federer for Nadal.

For Nadal, the French Open is the last remaining bastion, but for me it was finally breached by Djokovic last year.

Favorite for the French Open Novak Djokovic.
Big Gap.
Second favourite for the French Open Rafael Nadal.
Gap.
Next favourite for the French Open.

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Post by lydian on Tue 26 Apr - 20:59

Sure he's favourite (Djoko) but the pressure to win is mounting...and wonder how much of a monkey on his back it might become.
Agree nice words from Federer...
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Post by bogbrush on Wed 27 Apr - 0:24

Funny how Federer has never had a personal problem with Nadal. Over so many years it can't be put on, not for this long.
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Post by HM Murdock on Wed 27 Apr - 1:27

^Mutual respect from the very outset for each other's talent.

For the sake of my own sanity, I'm refusing to engage with the clay court season but I'm pleased to hear of Nadal's improvement. Tennis is stronger for having an at least half-decent Rafa.

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Post by hawkeye on Wed 27 Apr - 1:59

bogbrush wrote:Funny how Federer has never had a personal problem with Nadal. Over so many years it can't be put on, not for this long.

They like each other. Always have. You can tell by the body language when they are together (off court of course). Can't help respecting both for this but for Federer perhaps this has been more impressive. 5 years older and this "kid" comes along as a spoiler. Credit to Federer for not acting like many would in this situation. As tennis fans we are very lucky to have them both Very Happy

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Post by Haddie-nuff on Wed 27 Apr - 2:57

If it is the one thing I have credited Roger with is his support of Rafa he has always shown him the highest respect. Rafa too has admired Roger and has walked in his shadow. I have read reports in the past that when Rafa was injured for those 7 mths Roger would telephone him to find out how he was.. also that Rafa and Xisca have spent a holiday with Roger and his family,
They are genuine friends of that I am sure Very Happy

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Post by lydian on Wed 27 Apr - 4:01

Remember that video with the pair of them laughing like school kids together? Yep they get on like a house on fire for sure.
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