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Barcelona Open 2015

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CaledonianCraig
temporary21
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Post by Matchpoint Tue 21 Apr 2015, 6:53 pm

First topic message reminder :

Draw: http://www.atpworldtour.com/share/event-draws.aspx?year=2015&eventid=425

Although Djokovic has been doing all the winning of late, the lead character in the current clay season scenario is still Nadal. He did better this year than last year in MC, reaching the semi and thereby moving up the ranking from #5 to #4. Would Nadal  continue to gain momentum this week and win Barcelona? Hard to stay. To win Barcelona he'd probably have to defeat a very motivated defending champ Nishikori who will definitely fight very hard to recapture his earlier #4 place back from Nadal. Will the main attraction be the battle of #4?


 Kei looked pretty good winning his opening match in straights. Good to see a non-Spaniard posing a real threat on clay for a change. Buckle your seat belt and stay tuned! Bubbly

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Thu 23 Apr 2015, 8:19 pm

Yes SoCal, I feel the same, about his new racquet, but also about the way he moves and hits his shots. As usual he's playing from too defensive a court position, his shots landed short most of the time, it's as if he has lost his power. He was hitting too safely at times, and those times when he tried to be aggressive and hit his CC I/O FH, he over hit them. It's just a very messy match from Rafa, broke his opponent's serves then served badly the next game, not making a single first serve and so lost his own service game; got a second break and lost the advantage yet again. When facing the last MP, he over hit his FH yet again and so lost the match. He made 30 UEs! It's not unlike that MC2014 QF match vs Ferrer, too many UEs in a match.

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Post by lags72 Thu 23 Apr 2015, 8:55 pm

Fair comment socal.

Fognini sure does have red-hot patches, with a truly instinctive feel for the game. And when he can keep it going for just an hour or so, then as you say it's enough to take care of pretty much anyone - especially if they're even a tiny notch below their best.

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Post by Haddie-nuff Thu 23 Apr 2015, 9:35 pm

Your comments are spot on socal. I feared Fognini today I saw him as a potential banana skin for Rafa. Praying if you will, that he would have one of his hit and miss days as he sometimes does. But knowing if he was firing on al l four cylinders he could be Rafa's undoing.. and he did. . Though I never saw the match (not broadcasted here) I was somewhat disappointed that Rafa did not at least make three sets of it. It was not the  confidence booster for him that  he so  needed, if his fans get disappointed at his frequent losses lately he must Im sure.  It sure is difficult being a Nadal fan al a momento !!!! Though credit to him he made no excuses for himself in his presser and was so ready to hand the praise to Fabio.

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Post by bogbrush Thu 23 Apr 2015, 9:46 pm

A few years ago Fognini would have got a few games.

I really wonder what the effect of the more strict time rules is. Rafa is having to get points restarted faster, I suspect it's a real pressure on him.
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Post by Haddie-nuff Thu 23 Apr 2015, 9:57 pm

You may well be right. The world and his wife are attempting to psychoanalyze him at the moment, give reasons, and excuses for the way he is playing.. Me?? Im confused.. Rafa has gone AWOL and I think even his coaches are lost for words. Something other than nerves is wrong here.
And I would like to see him back. This is not Nadal

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Post by Matchpoint Thu 23 Apr 2015, 9:58 pm

Jahu wrote:
Matchpoint wrote:
Belovedluckyboy wrote:If Rafa can't improve in time for the FO, I wonder who's the player who's going to challenge Novak at the FO. Nishikori?

Fognini.

My god, you are getting worst then me, even quicker Laugh

Be more balanced please Whistle

? Did I offend someone? Any more balanced I'd be comatose. Laugh

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Post by Matchpoint Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:08 pm

bogbrush wrote:I really wonder what the effect of the more strict time rules is. Rafa is having to get points restarted faster, I suspect it's a real pressure on him.

No question the time rules have built up untold pressure in his mind not allowing him to play properly. He needs a sports psychologist.

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Post by TRuffin Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:10 pm

bogbrush wrote:A few years ago Fognini would have got a few games.

I really wonder what the effect of the more strict time rules is. Rafa is having to get points restarted faster, I suspect it's a real pressure on him.


Weren't they enforcing the time rules during his great 2013 run though?- I think all the talk and Tour focusing on the time abusers started in early 2013.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:18 pm

This is the worst match I've seen him played on clay. Its comparable to his worst match I'd seen him played on the indoor HCs of Paris Masters in 2009 against Almagro!

He had no BH, no FH, no serve, bad returns, slow, no power, full of errors and very defensive. How could his game just collapsed like that overnight, when he was playing much much better vs Almagro yesterday??

Something is very wrong with Rafa, its not just mental but also physical. Oh, and Rafa said its about his tennis and his technique and I agreed with him. It seemed that half or even most of the times he was just contented running around behind the baseline returning or retrieving shots; his ROS position was horrible to say the least, resulting in so many short returns! And when he hit hard to return serves, he over hit them. Even his always solid I/O CC FH failed him so many times in this match! And, during some of his service games, he didnt even make a single first serve. His BH was forgettable, not to mention how slow he was reaching for shots resulting in shanking.

I agree, this is not Nadal, the Rafa that we know so well in the past. I want to see that Rafa back, not this present Nadal.

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Post by Haddie-nuff Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:36 pm

I agree when I watch Rafa these days, Im not filled with that feeling that something exciting was about to happen. Now,  when he wins , he has a look of a man who is grateful that he survived, rather than won.
The passion and desire appear to have deserted him. People are banging on about him getting another coach; something I feel sure that he wont do anyway, but no coach can put back the spark that has gone from Nadal.
If he cant get that back, which is the essence of the man, then I see no future for him. He has lost the belief in himself.. and that I think scares him. Who or what has caused that is pure conjecture. Sad

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Post by temporary21 Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:39 pm

Very dramatic im sure, but theres a simpler answer


Hes out of form...


No psychological breakdowns, or nutjob conspiracy theories about decades of faking illness, or time violations, he is... quite simply... out of nick.

Its not actually that weird, tennis players, even Federer went out of form, it just happens.

He'll either find it at RG, or Madrid or next year, hes gotta cede his title sometime, and I think Noles earned the right to finally catch Nadal out of form at RG

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Post by LuvSports! Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:44 pm

This.

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Post by Haddie-nuff Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:55 pm

temporary21 wrote:Very dramatic im sure, but theres a simpler answer


Hes out of form...


No psychological breakdowns, or nutjob conspiracy theories about decades of faking illness, or time violations, he is... quite simply... out of nick.

Its not actually that weird, tennis players, even Federer went out of form, it just happens.

He'll either find it at RG, or Madrid or next year, hes gotta cede his title sometime, and I think Noles earned the right to finally catch Nadal out of form at RG


The intention was not to be dramatic but rather what I felt and my opinion, which is at odds with yours Rolling Eyes simple

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Post by temporary21 Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:56 pm

He played Almagro, and he was excellent, he then followed it up with a bad match.


Sound like a living legend of the game when he had a bit of a dodgy back and was out of nick anyone?

Nadal clearly hit his peak some years ago, whether this patch of bad form is a permanent decline, we wont know for a year or 2.

eve had The Rafa pyscho analysis before and weve done it to death, in fact it started to grate on people a bit. Maybe its best we all leave that to the sports psychologists and professionals, who understand and know what theyre talking about.

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Post by Haddie-nuff Thu 23 Apr 2015, 11:03 pm

I was not aware that I had suggested otherwise

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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 23 Apr 2015, 11:48 pm

Haddie-nuff wrote:You may well be right. The world and his wife are attempting to psychoanalyze him at the moment, give reasons, and excuses for the way he is playing.. Me?? Im confused.. Rafa has gone AWOL and I think even his coaches are lost for words. Something other than nerves is wrong here.
And I would like to see him back. This is not Nadal

I have said it once and will say it again - self belief and inner confidence. Rafa has had a rough time of it since just after the last clay court season. He somehow overcame a rough period early last year to retain the French Open and since then he has had some surprising losses, injury and illness. Since his op and long run of far from eye-opening results then his belief must surely erode. Now Rafa always had an aura of invincibility but now players fancy their chances against him as well so that boosts their chances. With the surprising defeats confidence wears away and self-belief diminishes and those qualities Rafa has always had in abundance so now that is lacking he probably feels lost and also looks lost on court. People have pointed out where has his DTL shot gone well I'd say it hasn't but the confidence to play it has. All he can do is keep working hard and hope he meets a top player off his game and gets a win then it may set him on the road to recovery. We shall see.
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Post by Haddie-nuff Thu 23 Apr 2015, 11:59 pm

self-belief diminishes and those qualities Rafa has always had in abundance so now that is lacking he probably feels lost and also looks lost on court.

Basically what I have said but probably better CC

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 24 Apr 2015, 12:12 am

Yes Hn. People seem to forget that Rafa is a human being not a robot. In the past ten or eleven months he has had a lot to contend with and a lot has happened to affect Rafa. His operation must surely have affected his pre-season training which is key to every player and even more so to Rafa considering how much emphasis is put on his physical style of play. Lack of full preparation must sure have put some nagging doubts in his head before the season even began. Secondly, last year ended in a poor run of form which he may have been able to convince himself was due to his appendicitis but that poor form continued into this year after the op so that must have him worried, perhaps stumped and lacking confidence and with every unexpected defeat that confidence and self-belief takes a further blow. In short much has come together at the same time to affect Rafa in various areas.
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Post by yloponom68 Fri 24 Apr 2015, 12:49 am

Well firstly Congrats! to Fabio - he deserved the win today - well done.

Rafa? After breaking 3 times in a set, on clay, he loses the tiebreaker - rather worrying!

BUT that said, I don't really care who wins MC, Barcelona, Rome and whatever other "non GS" tournaments are on clay. As long as Rafa wins Paris, that's the defining tournament for the year, on clay. It's not looking good BUT is there's anywhere Rafa's likely to "shine," it's Roland Garros. If he doesn't make it, well, a better player has won, and deservedly so. It's only tennis, after all......

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Post by Haddie-nuff Fri 24 Apr 2015, 1:01 am

[quote="CaledonianCraig"]Yes Hn. People seem to forget that Rafa is a human being not a robot. In the past ten or eleven months he has had a lot to contend with and a lot has happened to affect Rafa. His operation must surely have affected his pre-season training which is key to every player and even more so to Rafa considering how much emphasis is put on his physical style of play. Lack of full preparation must sure have put some nagging doubts in his head before the season even began. Secondly, last year ended in a poor run of form which he may have been able to convince himself was due to his appendicitis but that poor form continued into this year after the op so that must have him worried, perhaps stumped and lacking confidence and with every unexpected defeat that confidence and self-belief takes a further blow. In short much has come together at the same time to affect Rafa in various areas.[/quot


I agree the problem is I suppose he has always been so confident when he plays and to see him so unsure of himself is not what we are used to seeing. I will admit that mine, and others, expectations of him have been way too high. I hope he can find the solutions for himself soon

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Fri 24 Apr 2015, 3:11 am

Yep, our expectations of him are way too high. Maybe, he wont win the FO this year, let everyone says the king of clay is dethroned, and then the focus wont be on him anymore but on the new crowned king.

Let Rafa get depressed for a while and then starts from zero again. Its time to revamp his game, not some drastic changes but just simply work on making full use of what he already has and comes out with a better game plan. Its possible to work on finding that more aggressive Rafa of 2013 Na HC season, adopt that style on ALL surfaces, instead of playing so defensively on clay the way he used to do. Whether the desire is there or not, or he simply will quit this time, it all depends on him. Like I said before, Fed has set a good example of how to make changes to make himself stay relevant, perhaps Rafa and his team could look to Fed for inspiration.

I feel too that its time that Rafa revamp his game on clay. In the past when he was younger, and also when during his peak years, he was so quick and so powerful, glided so well on clay, and that enabled him to defend so well from well behind the baseline and changing from defence to offence so quickly and at will, thats the winning formula for him on clay. Now that hes getting older and inevitably less powerful and getting slower, its time to move away from his defensive style and plays a more offensive game (which he is capable of playing). Players now play against him with full aggression esp.on clay, knowing that's the best way to beat him on clay. We saw how Gulbis, Ferrer, Dolgo and even Andujar pushed him to the limit on clay last year by playing their very aggressive attacking game. Fog was doing the same here at Barcelona. Its time Rafa and his team wake up and counter his opponents with Rafa's own aggression.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Fri 24 Apr 2015, 3:30 am

I thought Rafa played well vs Novak at MC; he was trying to be more aggressive and to dictate by moving forward, he had some initial success but he faded away when Novak raised his own game. I thought that was a good start and was hoping he would play that way here at Barcelona; was a little disappointed that he went back to more defensive play against Almagro but he some how raised his level to beat Almagro in the second set 6-1. I thought that was a positive start to the week, but Rafa was feeling unsure of himself and his game once he met Fog, the first person to beat him on clay this year. In fact Rafa looked hestitant and looked lost out there, its as if he couldnt decide how to play this Fog. Its horrible of Rafa to lose the second set and the match when he was having a break advantage against his opponent. He waited for too long and was too late in fighting hard to stay in the match in the TB, when if he fought harder earlier on would have avoided the TB in the first place.

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Post by HM Murdock Fri 24 Apr 2015, 8:47 am

IF this is a year where Rafa is out of form at Roland Garros, then I fully expect an underwhelming QF/SF exit from Novak, following which he says he felt emotionally flat and couldn't produce his best level.

It's the way of the universe.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Fri 24 Apr 2015, 9:36 am

What? I thought Novak would be motivated to win his first FO if Rafa is not thete to block his way? If Kei is playing well at Barcelona and then the coming Masters, I'll tip him to challenge Novak for the FO title. All these is based on the assumption that Rafa couldnt find his form in time for the FO.

Oh, the shocking loss here for Rafa may serve as a final wake up call for him, that if he's not going to up his level and do better, he may even exit the FO early! If he does better at Madrid and Rome and then wins the FO, then i must say this loss at Barcelona is a turning point for him in this season.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 24 Apr 2015, 10:13 am

I still think Rafa will win the French - his whole season is geared to that end. Apart from the Soderling defeat in 09, the one time I thought Rafa might not win it was in 2011 when Djoko was having that amazing run. But of course Fed stepped in to end the prospect of a blockbuster final.
  Rafa didn't do that well in the April claycourt matches last year but still took the title at RG. It's still an awfully big ask to beat him over five sets at the French.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Fri 24 Apr 2015, 10:42 am

As a Rafa fan, I certainly hope that sirfredperry is right. I've never seen Rafa played so badly on clay, not even last year. Rafa had the second set within grasp but literally threw it away when serving for it!

Its no wonder Rafa said he was ashamed of himself, of the way he played. Its understandable, when he put up such a horrendous performance in front of a packed home crowd, many or all of them were shocked by Rafa's performance I'm sure. Rafa was peed with himself and I do hope now he really will up his level and goes all out to win his matcb. An aggressive Rafa is definitely more exciting to watch than a defensive one imo.

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Post by Haddie-nuff Fri 24 Apr 2015, 11:30 am

I agree it must have been devastating for him to lose so badly and in front of a home crowd .the hurt and disappointment in his own performance will not help him build the confidence he so badly needs .He is the pride of Spain and it must be humiliating for him. But wearing a hair shirt will not help him to be aggressive.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 24 Apr 2015, 12:03 pm

sirfredperry wrote:I still think Rafa will win the French - his whole season is geared to that end. Apart from the Soderling defeat in 09, the one time I thought Rafa might not win it was in 2011 when Djoko was having that amazing run. But of course Fed stepped in to end the prospect of a blockbuster final.
  Rafa didn't do that well in the April claycourt matches last year but still took the title at RG. It's still an awfully big ask to beat him over five sets at the French.

I think there is a big difference between this year and last for Rafa. Last year he was in far better physical and mental shape. He was a finalist at the Aussie Open and had won the US Open a few months earlier. Whereas this time around he comes into the French Open having missed the US Open and losing in the quarters in Australia and precious little to cheer about after that. That sort of run (especially for Rafa) is a lot worse than he was on last year coming to RG.
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Post by Belovedluckyboy Fri 24 Apr 2015, 12:07 pm

Hmm... That's why I hope this loss is a wake up call for him. Last year, after losing early at MC and Barcelona, he did up his level at Madrid.

I watch matches played on HC and on clay and do find that players these days are playing the same way regardless of the surfaces, ie they hardly need to adjust their game for the surface changes from HC to clay, maybe even on grass. Most of them are now hitting hard and serving big, their DHBHs are also their solid weapons, I see only some of the Spaniards and S Americans are still playing the clay court game on clay, the rest of them are way more aggressive than the traditional clay courters.

I don't see Fed, Novak or Kei playing clay court style tennis on clay, yet they're doing very well on clay; they have the game to excel on any surface. Even Ferrer has chosen a more aggressive style when playing on clay, maybe Rafa should do the same, adopt his more aggressive HC/Grass court style to be his default style and plays that way on all surfaces. As he grows older, he couldn't cover the court as quickly as he could when he was younger and playing deep behind the baseline would turn out to be a losing proposition.

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Post by It Must Be Love Fri 24 Apr 2015, 12:14 pm

HM Murdoch wrote:IF this is a year where Rafa is out of form at Roland Garros, then I fully expect an underwhelming QF/SF exit from Novak, following which he says he felt emotionally flat and couldn't produce his best level.

It's the way of the universe.
lol, he's gonna win the Calendar Grand Slam

We should set up betting companies, with both of us betting on Nadal and Djokovic matches.

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Post by temporary21 Fri 24 Apr 2015, 2:04 pm

I'm putting a tenner on the grand slam.  When federer won it in 09, though he didn't beat Nadal it didn't take anything from it. That was his reward for making the final 4 years straight. He had earned the right to get a crack at it with Nadal in poor nick.   Novak by being soo consistent has earned this opportunity to take RG without Rafa in form, anything but the title is a disaster the way he's playing. If it is to be that Nadal doesn't find his firm out of nowhere like last year, I couldn't think of someone more deserving

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Fri 24 Apr 2015, 3:37 pm

I dont think we should take anything away from Fed or Novak if he wins the FO beating a subpar Rafa.

When Rafa won his USO, people were questioning his USO draw, saying he didnt beat some top players to reach the final, even though he beat Novak who's one of the top players, to win. Rafa proved his worth by beating Murray the next year to reach the final in 2011 even though he lost to Novak there. Rafa again reached the final in 2013 and beat Novak there. He had reached three consecutive finals (he missed 2012 due to injury) when he played there - 2010-2013 - yet people question his ability and said he had easy draws for him to reach the finals. He had reached two SFs (2008-2009) and three finals (winning two), not unlike Novak at the FO where he reached four SFs and two finals. So, by the same logic, Rafa should be given due respect too at the USO and his victories there well deserved.

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Post by Jahu Fri 24 Apr 2015, 3:45 pm

I'm putting a bottle of Coke (hint not a can, so its expensive glass) on Fed beating Nadal at FO.

And 2 bottles on Chokovic not winning it.
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Post by Henman Bill Fri 24 Apr 2015, 5:13 pm

Fognini has done it again. The extra rest Nadal will now get as a result of this will be critical to once again undermining Djokovic's chances at the FO. Smile

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Post by Henman Bill Fri 24 Apr 2015, 5:21 pm

In all seriousness, if you look at the history of the Nadal-Djokovic rivalry, there have been various cases when pundits were able to call correctly the result of finals before the match based on form. It does seem to be a rivalry where mental and physical form can be used more accurately to predict a match rather than who has the best tactics or who has their eye in on the day.

I generally think form is over-rated, but I'm not sure if that applies to Nadal-Djokovic. A good example is US Open 2013. The hard court and general head to head record, and matchup on hard, generally should have favoured Djokovic but majority of forumites, ex-players etc, correctly called a (comfortable-ish) Nadal win based on form.

Rafa badly needs a win at Rome (or Madrid) to go into the FO with confidence. He needs 1 tournament win and 1 head to head win against Djokovic before the FO.

I am the brink of calling the FO for Djokovic, but I think I'll wait to see the results at Madrid-Rome first.

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Post by socal1976 Fri 24 Apr 2015, 10:27 pm

Henman Bill wrote:In all seriousness, if you look at the history of the Nadal-Djokovic rivalry, there have been various cases when pundits were able to call correctly the result of finals before the match based on form. It does seem to be a rivalry where mental and physical form can be used more accurately to predict a match rather than who has the best tactics or who has their eye in on the day.

I generally think form is over-rated, but I'm not sure if that applies to Nadal-Djokovic. A good example is US Open 2013. The hard court and general head to head record, and matchup on hard, generally should have favoured Djokovic but majority of forumites, ex-players etc, correctly called a (comfortable-ish) Nadal win based on form.

Rafa badly needs a win at Rome (or Madrid) to go into the FO with confidence. He needs 1 tournament win and 1 head to head win against Djokovic before the FO.

I am the brink of calling the FO for Djokovic, but I think I'll wait to see the results at Madrid-Rome first.

I agree with that in 2013 we could see that Novak in the summer of that year was down and Nadal was playing some of his best tennis on the hardcourt. Despite being a better hardcourt player we couldn't see Novak winning that match. I think streaks have also been very important in this rivalry, when one player is ascendant in the rivalry they generally win 5, 6 straight against the other guy or more. Then the other guy seems to flip it around like what happened after Novak's 2011 when he turned the tables on Nadal only to have Nadal reassert himself After RG 2012 and now after Novak's loss to Nadal last year in RG he seems to have turned it back around again on Nadal.


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Post by socal1976 Fri 24 Apr 2015, 10:32 pm

I feel that the racquet change while Nadal is in a slump and having to defend his grandslam at FO was a disastrous move. I mean changing racquets in mid year, right before his most critical time of the season. Whoever's idea this was especially regarding the timing should be fired. Maybe they should have waited for the second half of the year when Nadal hasn't been winning that much and doesn't have that much to defend. He was slumping before the racquet and if anything this makes it more difficult for him to build momentum.

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Post by temporary21 Sat 25 Apr 2015, 12:54 am

Nadal, Novak and Roger arent like normal players though. They dont need a slow build up to a slam over 6 months, it can be as much as just one good win over a top player.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Sat 25 Apr 2015, 6:48 am

And now Fog was duly dispatched by Andujar! What a shame, that Rafa had to play so badly against Fog. I think Rafa has a physical problem, ie his fitness problem. I suspect his stamina isn't up to par yet. He was feeling fatigue and his legs gave way during his match vs Novak at MC, after two long matches. He's playing back to back tournaments now from MC to Barcelona, and I think he looked slow playing against Fog. If he does well and goes deep at Madrid, he may end up losing early at Rome, I feel. For his own sake, I think he needs to up his level and finishes his matches quicker. BO5 x 7 matches, he'll have problem if he plays defensive tennis and let things drag on..

I think it will be a Ferrer vs Kei final at Barcelona, and I hope Ferrer finally wins a Barcelona title after reaching the final so many times and being stopped by Rafa each time.

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Post by LuvSports! Sat 25 Apr 2015, 10:40 am

It's hard to just "up his level" and "finish his matches quicker" when you are very low on confidence and your whole game plan is not about hitting winners. It's about patient play before going for an opening.
Don;t you think he would go for the winner sooner if he could instead of doing these long draining rallies?

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Post by bogbrush Sat 25 Apr 2015, 11:51 am

I don't see any fitness problem for Nadal at all.

I just think he's finding it tough now the officials are finally enforcing the rules. It's not that it incapacitates him but it almost certainly erodes the confidence that he can grind everyone down, which leads to panic and shanks / confused strategy. The last time he was like this was when Djokovic first got all over him for fitness and his play went exactly the same way.
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Post by Born Slippy Sat 25 Apr 2015, 12:15 pm

bogbrush wrote:I don't see any fitness problem for Nadal at all.

I just think he's finding it tough now the officials are finally enforcing the rules. It's not that it incapacitates him but it almost certainly erodes the confidence that he can grind everyone down, which leads to panic and shanks / confused strategy. The last time he was like this was when Djokovic first got all over him for fitness and his play went exactly the same way.

Why would it stop him thinking he can grind everyone down though? It didn't seem to effect him when they first started enforcing. If you are fitter than the other player you force them to play quickly and they can't sustain it.

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Post by It Must Be Love Sat 25 Apr 2015, 12:19 pm

bogbrush wrote:

I just think he's finding it tough now the officials are finally enforcing the rules.
Firstly in 2013 they were as harsh if not more so with the rule. Secondly it was Barcelona, and as far as I'm aware the umpire didn't seem too pro-active in his match against Fognini.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Sat 25 Apr 2015, 12:27 pm

LuvSports, looked how he played Novak at MC. He certainly could take the initiative to dictate. Like I said before, I was disappointed that he went back to defensive play vs Almagro at Barcelona. He wasn't low in confidence after MC, but he chose to play defensive game when facing Almagro and Fog, two of the players who had beat him on clay. I said that he was physically not fit because he usually played defensively when he's low in intensity.

BB, I don't think you got it right. This time enforcement rule was already implemented back in 2013 when Rafa was just back from injury break, and despite he being warned for TV, he still had his stellar year in 2013. Rafa wasn't having any issue with the TV warnings last year, he still won Doha, Rio, Madrid and FO, and reached the finals of AO, Miami and Rome! So, your theory of this time enforcement thing affecting Rafa doesn't hold any water,

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Post by LuvSports! Sat 25 Apr 2015, 12:32 pm

If he gets outlasted at RG, I won't eat my hat but I would be v surprised.

Surely if he isn't physically fit, he would look to end the point sooner, instead of playing more defensive which is more physically draining.

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Post by temporary21 Sat 25 Apr 2015, 12:40 pm

Theyve been enforcing it for years now, it never bothered him then, and its not the reason hes out of form now, not having played a ful season for three years and the simple fact that people get out of nick is fr more likely the reason. "Reckoning" something without anything to back it up doesn't make it close to true.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Sat 25 Apr 2015, 12:49 pm

I've to add, it's obvious that he was slow in his movements, a sign of fatigue and so his intensity was low. He has to up his intensity in order to play aggressively, that's his style that he developed through the years. He's unlike the other players, who played aggressively to finish points quicker when they're tired, while Rafa would revert back to defensive play when he's tired. (Sigh, it's regrettable, as IMO, had he sticked with the way he played back during 2003/2004, ie more aggressive play, he might be a more attacking/offensive player than he's now).

As his fan, I certainly hope he could start a match playing with aggression and finish the job ASAP, so that he won't feel tired as he goes through the draw, and he won't have to revert back to defensive play. He was aggressive during the 2010 clay season and 2013 U.S. HC season and looked what he could achieve. He's human and would also grow old and loses his speed and power, so he has to play more efficiently to conserve energy. He seems to get tired more easily these days, his stamina is not there yet, or maybe he simply couldn't cope with his physical style of play anymore now that he's not that young, who knows?

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Post by Born Slippy Sat 25 Apr 2015, 1:31 pm

Kei looking very good so far today.

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Post by Haddie-nuff Sat 25 Apr 2015, 1:40 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:
bogbrush wrote:

I just think he's finding it tough now the officials are finally enforcing the rules.
Firstly in 2013 they were as harsh if not more so with the rule. Secondly it was Barcelona, and as far as I'm aware the umpire didn't seem too pro-active in his match against Fognini.


Come on now IMBL don't stop his fun he is enjoying this Rolling Eyes

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Post by bogbrush Sat 25 Apr 2015, 2:25 pm

Nonsense, they were ever going to enforce the rules while Rafa was at the top of the game. I think he'll get a much harder time now he's not the focus of the sport.

And it does disadvantage him; his incredibly intense game means he puts more into it than others, even though it's they who are intimidated or run out. I think a number of players now look like they don't feel under pressure to finish rallies quickly. Fognini was a case in point, he looked positively relaxed about letting the rallies run and Nadal the one pressing too hard.
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