Nadal...Next King Of Clay?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by verdasco67, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. verdasco67

    verdasco67 Professional

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    i think he will become the king of clay in a few years time! also break into the top 10!
     
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  2. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Well I know Hewitt has said that its not a case of 'if' Nadal will win the French and break into the top ten, its a case of 'when' . So, it sounds like the other pros think he's going to be up there for a fair while. Actually think he might do pretty well at the Aus Open as well as the French, just needs to get a little fitter.
     
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  3. rhubarb

    rhubarb Hall of Fame

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    Looks like he's completed his mission in South America to get enough points to get into the clay TMS comfortably this spring. Can't wait to see how well he does against Coria on the red stuff; that would be an interesting test.
     
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  4. verdasco67

    verdasco67 Professional

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    i hope he is going to do well in the TMS Clay tournaments. Looking to see him break into the top 20-30 this year.
     
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  5. tennisboy87

    tennisboy87 Guest

    I hope he does well in the clay TMS tournaments as well. I'd also like to see him make a run at the French. I think a Federer-Nadal match on the red clay sounds pretty inticing. I also think a Coria-Nadal match would be a good one as well.
     
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  6. Free_Martha

    Free_Martha Guest

    I am still waiting for Coria to become the next King of Clay.
     
    #6
  7. 10sfather

    10sfather New User

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    I think Nadal is incredible. If he's healthy I can't see him losing on clay. He reminds me of Rios but faster and without the bad attitude.
     
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  8. Vlad

    Vlad Professional

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    I think it is a little too soon to call him the next king of clay. Just couple of weeks ago he was actually clocked by Gaudio in the second and third set... so I would put him right after guys like Coria, Ferrero and Gaudio... but he is getting up there rather quickly...
     
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  9. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    His ability to make a run at the French may be determined by how fast they make the courts. If they're too fast his lack of a powerful serve will cost him. The days of being able to just spin it in are long gone on the men's side.
     
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  10. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    The court in Mexico was much faster, and the balls smaller, than in Brasil. It took Rafa two matches to really make the adjustment, but he hit his stride against Canas in the quarters. After that he became quite confident, and that likely was the big difference in the semis and final.

    Montanes did not play badly in the final -- he just was outgunned. Rafa was hitting aces, and making some nice dropshot winners.

    After the match, Montanes said, "Nadal is at a very high level. He gave me a tennis lesson like no one had done in a very long time. The thing is that I was playing well. He has a huge self confidence and a very high ball rhythm that only a few can stand at the moment."

    So we'll see what happens when he gets to Europe. What will help him most is that he's still a kid and can play without much pressure.
     
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  11. RogerFan

    RogerFan New User

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    He has no chance this year against Coria or Gaudio.
    Maybe next year.
    BTW where is GUGA???
     
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  12. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    He'd be the underdog for sure, but I don't think it would be a total shock if he beat anyone on clay right now.

    Guga just had some more surgery. He was it the Brasil Open as a spectator. He plans to come back soon.

    I'm not sure what his comeback tourney will be, but he is on the player list for Valencia.
     
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  13. RoddickRulez

    RoddickRulez Guest

    just a friendly question you guys are saying "next king of clay" who is the king of clay right now then
     
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  14. snowpuppy

    snowpuppy Semi-Pro

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    it was coria.... until he choked
     
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  15. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    I think he can become the best on clay. He needs another year though. I really like the kid, he seems very sportsmanlike and nice, and he has flair and talent.
     
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  16. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    I don't disagree with the assessment that Rafa's potential won't be realized for a year or two, or even more. It rarely is, at age 18, even on the ATP.

    For those of you with The Tennis Channel:

    The Tennis Channel will re-broadcast the Acapulco final at 12 a.m. EST on Sunday/Monday, and at 8 p.m. EST on Monday. Both Acapulco semifinals will be broadcast on Tuesday, March 1, followed by the final.

    The Calleri/Montanes semifinal was a classic claycourt battle, going to a third set tiebreak, with Montanes saving a matchpoint. That was definitely the most interesting of the 3 matches.

    But it's always nice to hear from Wayne Bryan. Nice to see him commentating for TTC. :)
     
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  17. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    Anyway, since I'm putting up this article on our site, I thought I'd re-post it here.

    It's a translation of an article about Rafa, but it's basically done from his parents' point of view.

    It's from Spanish MAGAZINE, November 2004:

    The challenge of raising a tennis prodigy

    By Josefa Paredes
    Translated by Becky

    Rafael Nadal is almost a kid. He is barely 18 years old and he lives with his parents, Sebastián and Ana María in Manacor (Majorca). His room is small. It has just enough space for a gawky kid that measures 182 centimeters and yet is not all that comfortable in his own body. It is a room that would be exactly the same as the room of any other boy except for two reasons. You won’t see notes, or textbooks, but you will see dozens of brilliant trophies.

    “Congratulations champion.” The first time he heard that phrase, Rafa was only 4 years old and they were laughing at him. His uncles (Tony, who is now his coach, and Miguel Angel, former soccer player on the Barça team and now on the staff of the Majorca team) bombarded him with balls and he tried to defend himself with his first racquet. “Rafa played tennis and soccer with them. When they beat him, it would bother him so much. They congratulated him, they called him champion and he couldn’t tolerate it. He would become sick,” recalls his father.

    Fourteen years later, nobody laughs at the boy. The illness that he caught on the driveway of his house is called competitiveness, and it is incurable. The symptoms are on the court: aggressiveness, confidence and insolence. He does not just conquer his rivals, he destroys them. He won his first tournament at the age of eight in the Balearic Islands. He has broken precocity records on the circuit one after another. Besides Michael Chang, he is the youngest player (at the age of 17) to enter the select list of the ATP’s top 100 players in the world.

    Sebastián and Ana María will go to the final match. They do not attend more than a few competitions. They watch at a certain distance without any worries about their child prodigy despite the fact that at the age when most are asking for allowances and don’t have any idea of what to do with their lives, he travels throughout the world, is a multimillionaire (he has already earned more than 700,000 euro solely on the court), and shows a confidence in himself that is frightening. For example, his answer during the Master Series Madrid when they asked who his progression model was: “I am my own model. I have always been first in different categories and I try to follow my own path.” He’s sure of himself. Perhaps too much, “but that is good, no?” questions his mother.

    Rafa is a humble person. But it is difficult to hear that one is the future of Spanish tennis for so long and not have that leave a mark. Ana María and Sebastián are prepared: “We are used to it in this family. At times they tell us that we don’t pay attention when he wins or when he loses. But it’s not that. His uncle was a player on the Barcelona team and in the family there have been many sportsmen. To us, he’s our son with all his flaws and his virtues.” They figure on possible failures: “You know that sometimes things will go well for him and other times badly”, says Sebastián.

    The expectations created around Nadal would be oppressing for anyone else. This year was marked with the objective to be among the top twenty ATP players, while some took for granted their entrance in the top-ten. The attention that the public, the press and the avid sponsors have given him has multiplied. And that carries weight. “But since he was young we have instilled in him that he was not that important. The first time that he won a Spanish Championship he was 11 years old. His uncle gave him a list of 15 or 20 of the last champions of that tournament. And he asked: How many do you know? Rafa only recognized two or three.”

    Still, Rafa's ATP success has not only been in Davis Cup. He as one of six players that managed to beat Federer, the number 1, in 2004. At the beginning of year, he was ranked number 30. But injuries stopped him from playing Wimbledon and Roland Garros, and his ranking fell to the 70s. Today he is among the top 50. “If he loses, he takes it really bad at first. But, if he plays well, no. Last year, in Australia, he lost on Center Court against Hewitt. He knew that the level of playing was very high and that it wasn’t the best conditions. Yet he was happy. On the other hand at times, even after winning, he is annoyed. He demands a lot of himself.”

    The price of early success is that you don’t get to experience part of your childhood. Arancha Sánchez Vicario, for example, has admitted that publicly. Nevertheless, the parents of Nadal deny completely that this is the case with Rafa. “His life has been very normal. It began to center around tennis when he was somewhat older. With his friends at school, for example, he never spoke on the subject,” says Ana María.

    But the studies were there in the raising of the boy. He had to abandon them in 4° of ESO, after sometimes losing his books traveling from airport to airport. “We told him that he had to finish his courses, although he did them a little slower. He didn’t play at one Roland Garros because he had exams to do. We did not allow him to go and he understood why. But later his abilities hastened and he began to win tournaments,” explains his father. His mother tolerated it the worse. “He became a professional too soon and it was completely impossible to agree on it. I took it very badly.”

    Millionaire. This profession cannot be more profitable. There are only 43 tennis players elsewhere that make more money on the court. According to his accounts as of November 1, 2004, he’s pocketed almost 450,000 euro just from playing. That number makes his father laugh because that figure does not nearly approach the balance of his account. Stars make a lot more money selling than they do sweating.

    –How much does he make in reality?

    –A lot more, with the publicity.

    –But how much, more or less?

    – I don’t know, I don’t know. A lot more. I have no idea.

    Sebastián avoids clarifying who controls his money. The finances of the boy, in the future, may be able to fly in checkbooks full of zeroes to the same paradises as others before him (Moyá, Coast, Corretja, Arantxa) have placed their savings. Ana María worked in a perfumery but left it when the children were small. Sebastián owns a glazing business and a restaurant. But there are experts in the family at handling large numbers such as the other Rafael, uncle of the tennis player and councilman in Manacor. For the time being, an agency negotiates Rafa’s contracts.

    When he returns home, Nadal goes out fishing and plays golf. He goes out with his friends and his sister who is 13 years old. But if he meets up with Moyá in Majorca, he stays to play with him. He’s been a great friend and his mentor since he was young. He’s able to give him advice because like Rafa, he burst onto the scene when he was still young. His Playstation and walkman might as well be appendages of his body and he’s already advertised for cars and faucets with the pose of a sex symbol. He test drove a red Porsche and teenyboppers swooned as he passed. Rafael continues down the road, but his parents do not see him behind the steering wheel of a sports car. “At the beginning when he was going to play I would give him some money. He kept track of what he spent and if he had any change, he would return it to me. And he has not changed. We still don’t give him much (laughs). But a little while ago he asked me permission to buy a computer. He asked which the cheapest one was. He himself does not know what he earns,” says Sebastián. “He is a very simple person and he knows the value of things. He’s never broken a racquet deliberately. Others have done that. And he spends less than any boy of his age that still lives with his parents. The most expensive thing that he’s bought is that computer. We’ve never had to tell him anything. He’s a very mature kid. A lot more than others,” his mother assures.

    “We are very relaxed with respect to it all because he has always traveled with my brother. The other day they returned from Switzerland by train. It is not that they could not have traveled by airplane. It is just not to waste money. He never flies in first class if the trip is not very long. But its uncle doesn’t control him. He alone controls himself.”

    Nadal controls so much that he does not let one detail go past him. In the end, his contracts ask as much of him as the sport, which makes him a little tense. To prepare for this photo shoot, he’s not exactly picky about looking good. Fame does not spoil him. He surrenders without asking much. His only interest (which he tells us every moment) is that he doesn’t want to appear among things, not a ball, not a toy, not even a cap from a company that doesn’t sponsor him now. One that you couldn’t even guess from the logo. His attitude suggests iron bondage. Companies spoil the promising boys from a young age. But the advertising empire does not respect intimacies or childhood memories.

    –Do you have you first racquet here?

    –I would show it to you, but I can’t.

    –Huh?

    –It’s not Babolat.
     
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  18. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    Here's the rest of the article:

    He still remembers the foot in mouth incident of Martina Hingis when, years ago, after receiving an ATP trophy, wanted to pay homage to her proprietor and went so far as to say: “I give thanks to all my sponsors except the brand of watches. I have a contract with another.” Is that not a lot of pressure for a kid? “No. It’s normal to give a pitch at every moment. After all it’s my job.”

    Travels and Girls. Rafa lives in his house, in theory. But in practice, in hotel rooms half a world away. This year he has played in India, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Portugal, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Poland, where he won his first tournament. Thus it is difficult, for example, for his parents to know if he does or doesn’t have a girlfriend. They say that it doesn’t worry them that a girlfriend may cause him to lose focus, but they give the feeling that they haven’t contemplated on the possibility of him going out with someone: “That would surprise me,” resolves his mother. “I believe that he has made it very clear that he’s not longing for a girlfriend. If he goes out with girls it would be when he’s away from here. But he’s very reserved. And, besides, he gets annoyed if you ask him about it.”

    The Nadals try not to neglect daily contact and they continually speak by telephone. Otherwise, all they would know about the boy is when they see him on television. They know all of his gestures by heart. On the court, when he gets nervous, he systematically picks at his underwear. He’s done that since he was young. But does not have more tics nor does he send signals. Nothing gets pass his mother: “We realize when he’s tired. By the face that he gets we know when things aren’t going well. And we tell him that has to have fun. If you don’t have fun things won’t go well for you.” His father gives him advice during the bad times: “One must know to live with those times. Many will come because tennis is very hard. The best play four grand slams during the year. And he only won one tournament. You always lose in tennis.”

    Nadal plays with a fury. That is what distinguishes him on the court from the beginning and it’s what has given him many of his victories. He is aggressive and he continues to grow. And that fact had caused an injury. “It’s very hard for all of us. And this year has been very bad.” A fracture in the scaphoid of his left foot set him apart from the circuit in April. “They told him that the recovery would take about six months, but in three and a half he was back playing.” He trained while seated in a chair so that he wouldn’t lose his drive. He started playing with bandages but he still was not 100%. “You go through it badly. You are afraid that you’ll re-injure yourself and the tennis season becomes very hard.”

    Those months at home were not easy for him. “He is very energetic. He’s aggressive only on the court. It’s not like he’s like that at home. But he is 18 years old,” excuses his mother. “He’s always out in the world. He lives in hotels and one must understand that when he comes home it turns out to be very difficult to adapt to chores and family schedules. There are some storms, but that’s normal,” explains Sebastián. “In his game, on the other hand, he is disciplined and constant. He’s normally relaxed. And very responsible. The other day I went out to dinner and he told me: “So you don’t drink anything, eh?’” he laughs. “He’s been on his own for many years and because of that he seems a lot older than he is.”

    But he is not that old. His mother realizes: “I worry a lot when I watch his matches on television. I get so nervous. I don’t know why. His father is a lot colder. I do not suffer because he loses. But on the court he always seems so young. With so many people around him I get the feeling that he is very small.” Because Rafael “is only a boy.”
     
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  19. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Great article. To be 18 and on the ATP tour! Sigh...
     
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  20. Serve-And-Volley

    Serve-And-Volley Rookie

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    I think that he has the potenial, and if he goes in strong to the French and other clay court events he could at least make it to the semis or even a final. But as far as winning I think a guy like Gaudio or Coria could stop him. But I think he can easily get into the top 20 or 30 this year.
     
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  21. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    He's No. 31 right now. And he'll be No. 30 next week, so I think Top 30 is definitely realistic, especially as he has no points to defend between Miami (March) and Bastad (which is in early July). He missed the entire claycourt and grasscourt seasons last year because of his broken ankle.

    So if he stays healthy, he should pick up a few points during that period, and finish well within the Top 30, and perhaps the Top 20. Top 10 may be a year or so away, IMO.
     
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  22. SydW

    SydW Rookie

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    Has he won any big titles on clay already?
     
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  23. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    Depends on what you consider big. Acapulco is a fairly big claycourt title, as it's an International Series Gold event. He won $118,500, and got 50 points in the Race. Not bad, for an 18-year-old.

    He hasn't won a clay Masters or the French yet, but he's never played the French, and he missed last year's claycourt season, as I said.

    So he hasn't played any "really big" clay court events since he was 16, and he did fairly well even then, going through qualifying and reaching the third round at Monte Carlo and Hamburg.

    He beat Costa in Monte Carlo, and then lost in the third round to Guillermo Coria.

    He beat Moya in Hamburg, and then lost in the third round to Gaudio.

    So we shall see how things go this year, now that he's 18. *lol*
     
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  24. aj_m2009

    aj_m2009 Professional

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    I think he could definitely get into the top 15 if not higher by the end of the year, especially if he plays clay court events all year(which he could if he really wanted to. I mean come on, does the clay court season really ever end?). And I would consider Acapulco a fairly big event. And I think he can really be a threat at the French. Not necessarily win it but I think he could get to the second week for sure.
     
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  25. SydW

    SydW Rookie

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    VR, I didn't say it's not impressive for an 18 yo and I know his win here and there over the other good clay players but so far he has not won any big clay titles, and it's too soon to consider him the next king of clay. Actually especially on clay, when there are many other players who are equally capable in it and can beat him at any matches.

    I see no reason looking past Coria or Ferrero or Gaudio as next king of clay before Rafael at this moment.
     
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  26. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    Okay. Agree with you re the next "King of Clay." He doesn't deserve that title. What 18-year-old does?

    But who currently owns it?

    Is it Gaudio? He did win RG, and does seem to have the best record on clay since RG. But he's injured at the moment.

    Is it Ferrero? Who is now No. 98 in the ATP entry system. Ouch????

    Is it Coria? Perhaps, but he hasn't played on clay for quite some time. Too many appearance fees in Europe.

    Come on, give the kid a break.

    He goes to Latin America for the first time to play on clay, against all the claycourt specialists (mostly Argentines, Spaniards and the like in the draw), and he wins 2 out of 3 tournaments, and only loses one match -- and that's to the current RG champion.

    You may not be impressed, but the ATP sure has taken note.

    Especially since the other guys you mentioned are significantly older than 18.

    And Rafa was challenging them when he was 16.

    Many players have already said that Rafa will be the so-called "king of clay" at some point. It's just a matter of time.

    The only question in many players' minds is whether he'll be able to transition to other surfaces. He seems to have that one covered, so to speak.
     
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  27. SydW

    SydW Rookie

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    talking about overreacting.

    I didn't say I wasn't impressed and already acknowledged his achievements at only 18. I am only pointing out many others who in my opinion will be the next king of clay than Nadal at this moment.

    How is that not being impressed with him?
     
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  28. K!ck5w3rvE

    K!ck5w3rvE Hall of Fame

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    Heaps good article. Love the 'its not a Bab' comment too lol.
     
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  29. swedechris

    swedechris Banned

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    very soon..

    nadal will be the king or in battle for that title this season already . he is ready to go , for sure.
    i see him and coria as tops and federer , gaudio, ferrero as the outsiders.
    i think people in general undersestimate nadal. he is lightning quick and has the legs and lungs of a horse.
    also ha can generate his own winners of the forehand and more and more off the back hand too.
    he drop shots weel and is good at the net .serve is the weakness but he kicks and slcies well enogh and on the the clay it will be fine .
    i pick him to win the french this year .
     
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  30. @wright

    @wright Hall of Fame

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    I'm looking forward to Nadal taking on some of the heavyweights this season on clay and hard courts. I was really impressed with his DC win over Roddick, the kid can play!
     
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  31. 10sfather

    10sfather New User

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    I guess he is!
     
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  32. Boy Wonder

    Boy Wonder Banned

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    yeah, ha ha, I guess he is. I can't wait to see how he does during grass courts and US hard court season.
     
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  33. Max G.

    Max G. Hall of Fame

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    Yep, for this year, Nadal is head and shoulders above the rest of the pack when it comes to claycourt play.
     
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  34. gugafanatic

    gugafanatic Hall of Fame

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    Nadal is the new king of the clay, he is soo dominant and is likely to contend Guga's 3 titles at RG in the modern era.
     
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  35. DashaandSafin

    DashaandSafin Hall of Fame

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    Ahem. Im sorry but at the rate Nadal's going hes going to be Way better that Guga. Provided that he does not get injured or burned out of course.
     
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  36. gugafanatic

    gugafanatic Hall of Fame

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    DashaandSafin I think you are undestimating the difficulty in obtaining three FO titles. The field for the FO gets stronger every year, and winning back to back titles at the French is very difficult even for a great claycourter like Nadal. In addition, Nadal has to finish yr end world no 1 and win the end of yrs masters cup to be considered greater then Guga. DashaandSafin, there are very few players on the tour if any that can beat Agassi and Sampras both on hard court during their prime, as Guga did in LISBON (2000) and gain the world no 1 position. After coming through the Round robins Guga knew he had to defeat Agassi in the final to claim the world no 1 spot. He produced a memorable Performance (6-4, 6-4, 6-4). The first South American to finish the yr end World no 1. Had Guga not suffered Chronic hip problems, then one would have have expected him to make some serious noise at the US and AUS Open as he was beginning to make the transition to hardcourts.
     
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  37. 10sfather

    10sfather New User

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    In this thread I said"I think Nadal is incredible. If he's healthy I can't see him losing on clay". So far he hasn't. This is the only time I've been right in tennis. But I believe Federer is ready to break the streak.
     
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  38. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    This thread is priceless. It was created on Feb 2005, a year ago, right when Nadal STARTED to win something on clay. And look where he is now :)

    Hate to say it, but the kid is goooooooooooood!!!! ;)
     
    #38
  39. simi

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    Ya don't have to hate saying it. He is good! I just hope he can adapt his game to be a force on faster surfaces. Then, we can say that he is a 'great tennis player' instead of just a 'great clay court tennis player'.
     
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  40. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    I hate saying it, because I don't like the guy, but I can't help it: That guy is a monster... ;)
     
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  41. simi

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    You working graveyard shift, Andres? It's 3 in the morning in Argentina right now.
     
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  42. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    12,540
    Location:
    Mar del Plata, Argentina
    2:21, actually. But I work in the evening / night, from 7 pm to 1 am, on the radio.
    I have a more flexible schedule in my recording studio.

    So I got home at 1:30, had dinner, and here I am :p
     
    #42
  43. Fatmike

    Fatmike Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
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    aren't he right now?

    opus, didn't see the date of original post....
     
    #43
  44. flyer

    flyer Hall of Fame

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    I ramdomly found this thread when I was searching for a different thread, I actually found all the speculation and predictions of like 3 years ago and how off and on some were to be facinating, its just funny I feel like I can see into the future somehow; alos I found the posters interesting, most of them are long gone onto who knows what, still a couple farmiliar names/faces/avitars though...anyway I kinda just found it really interesting reading the posts and such, like a blast from the past, like I discovered a fossil
     
    #44
  45. Nadal_Freak

    Nadal_Freak Banned

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    I wasn't on this board when I made this prediction but I thought Nadal was going to win the French Open after seeing him battle Federer to a 5 set match at Miami in 2005. Soon after I became a fan.
     
    #45
  46. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    Jun 26, 2007
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    intriguing how i noticed a post back there mentioned that the poster felt he could challenge Guga's 3 RG titles....and 3 years later....lol

    i think he lived up to the expectation, dont you?
     
    #46
  47. flyer

    flyer Hall of Fame

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    Nov 25, 2007
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    ^^haha yeah i'd say so, i just found it so funny when people were like "yeah hes got great potential, top 10 in a year" and stuff like "gaudio, coria are still better on clay" stuff like that cause it prolly made some sence at the time but now we are like "what were they thinking"
     
    #47
  48. tacou

    tacou Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
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    7,248
    how nostalgic is this thread...

    on clay he's definitely surpassed guga but overall he's still got some things to achieve (namely becoming #1) and coria/gaudio were amazing back in the day, no need to fault them now.
     
    #48
  49. daddy

    daddy Legend

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    Aug 13, 2007
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    Yep a great dig flyer. This really did not catch that much attention back then, only 3 pages of posts .. ;) But hell, was this a good thread - future telling one !!

    Nadal the king of clay. For how long ? Can he do a Borg on clay .. ?
     
    #49
  50. TheTruth

    TheTruth G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
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    That was fun to read. Many posters were spot on!
     
    #50

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