Nadal News 2.0


Khachanov or Kyrgios

It's quite difficult for Nadal, don't you think?
If he achieves the title it would be a legendary feat.

PS: I still think he shouldn't have participated in the ATP Cup after his demanding end of the 2019 season.

Raphael Nadal

Hall of Fame
Khachanov or Kyrgios

It's quite difficult for Nadal, don't you think?
If he achieves the title it would be a legendary feat.

PS: I still think he shouldn't have participated in the ATP Cup after his demanding end of the 2019 season.
Kyrgios is easy, because the points are a lot shorter than most opponents.
Khachanov would require some running.
Thiem is very physical, but not a good AO player.
Medvedev is physical, but Rafa can beat him in straight sets as we saw at the US Open (Rafa was up 2 sets and a break in the 3rd set).
But what are the odds of both Thiem and Medvedev making it that far? I bet at least one of them won't make it to Rafa :)
Djokovic doesn't matter, because Rafa will do whatever it takes in the final so adrenaline will carry Rafa over the line no matter how tired he is.
The ATP Cup was essential, because it proved to Rafa that he's ready to beat Djokovic in the AO Final.....because in the 2nd Set Rafa had 5 break points in one game, and was up a minibreak in the tiebreaker before Djokovic's lucky shot hit the top of the net and lobbed over Rafa outplayed Djokovic (slightly) in that 2nd Set.....whereas their other sets on hardcourt were lopsided, so Rafa needed the ATP Cup mentally to prepare for turning the tide when they meet in the AO Final.

Raphael Nadal

Hall of Fame
I think 2017uso was the worst black kit he's ever worn, not bad, but not on the level of 2010uso and 2013uso.
There are some great kits, but I only listed the Top 5, so plenty of great kits had to be left out :)
Rafa's top 20 kits are all great.


Rafa looks more muscular now which also means heavier. I wonder if that's good or bad for this tournament. Probably good because he will be too depleted by the semis if he was skinny.


Rafa looks more muscular now which also means heavier. I wonder if that's good or bad for this tournament. Probably good because he will be too depleted by the semis if he was skinny.
I think he is simply leaner and thus more vascular than usual which gives off a more muscular impression, but I don't think he's actually larger.


Rafa looks more muscular now which also means heavier. I wonder if that's good or bad for this tournament. Probably good because he will be too depleted by the semis if he was skinny.
I had the same exact thought. I don't think he is muscular per se. I think he's gained weight. What with holiday season a new marriage etc etc.

The emphasis for Nadal in the past couple of years has been to be VERY LEAN. That is the only way to protect his knees.

I'm sure his trainers would be working overtime to shed off the pounds and bring Nadal's body fat % lower and decrease the weight thereby having less stress on knees.


Australian Open 2020

Rafa was interviewed by the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais. He says that the court is slower compared to last year and the balls become heavier during play. He doesn't know yet whether he prefers to play during the day or at night.
Rafa: “...balls become very heavy [during play]. I don't know if it's because the court is a little slower…They say it's the same ball as last year, but I think it's totally different. A ball is fast at the beginning but it becomes very heavy after ten shots." (Translated from Spanish via Google)



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Rafa is back to the Cage 3's for tonight's match vs. Delbonis (and the practices before it, apparently... just saw the vids of his practices from above).


Australian Open 2020

January 23, 2020
R2, Rafa vs F.Delbonis

Rafa's post-match press conference (a part of it):

Rafa believes he'll play better. :)
An excerpt from his post-match press conference:
¤¤ “I think I can do lot of things better,” Nadal said. “But is not because of Delbonis, no? I can do things better because of myself.
“I need to play better. Especially I need to convert the break points.
“But that's just something that happened today. We don't need to put a lot of attention on this, no? …. I am confident that I’m going to play better because every day in the third set I have been able to show a good level of tennis. I need to do it before the next time.” ¤¤

Vamos Rafa!




The Daily Telegraph, January 24, 2020:

¤¤ Rafael Nadal’s heartwarming photo after ball girl drama

Rafael Nadal is melting hearts around the tennis world again after a photo emerged of his incredible behind the scenes catch-up with the ball girl accidentally struck by a stray ball on Thursday night.

The Spanish champion showed his reputation as an athlete of absolute class runs right to his core when he produced a touching moment during the third set of his second round win over Federico Delbonis.

A blistering forehand from the Spaniard flew down the line and scarily crashed into the head of a ballgirl standing near the umpire’s chair.
The crowd shrieked as Nadal rushed over to check on the wellbeing of the youngster.
As he consoled the ballgirl he planted a kiss on her cheek to the delight of the crowd.
Nadal even planted a friendly kiss on the girl’s cheek which was met with wild approval from the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena.

The 34-year-old showed his classy concern for the ball girl was much more than a cheap gimmick when he sought her out at Melbourne Park during his day off on Friday, before his third round match on Saturday.

Nadal posted a photo on Instagram of him and the ball girl, whose name was later revealed to be 13-year-old Victorian Anita Birchall.
“Very happy to see that Anita is doing well,” Nadal wrote in an Instagram caption.
“I also had the chance to meet her, her brother Mark and parents. Thank you.”

Channel 9 cameras were there to see the moment Nadal met the family and revealed Nadal had even handed over a special gift to his new friend.
“I just got to have an interview with Rafael Nadal. It was amazing,” Anita said.
“No, I can’t believe it. He’s my favourite tennis player so I never expected this at all.”
She said the concern Nadal showed was heartwarming.
“He asked me if I was OK. And he talked about how he is going,” she said.
“It was just so nice to meet him and to talk to him. And he gave me this hat which says, ‘To my friend Anita. All the best’.”
Channel 9’s Clint Stanaway then said: “You’re besties”.
Anita responded: “Yep. It seems like it.
“I was touched by his kindness because most tennis players, if you got hit, they’d ask if you were OK, but they wouldn’t interact with you as much. I didn’t expect that to happen.

Nadal said after the match he was scared for her after seeing the stray ball strike her.
“Well for her, was probably not a good moment. I was scared for her, honestly. The ball was quick and straight on her so she is a super brave girl,” Nadal said.
“Honestly, it was one of the more scary moments I have had on the tennis court. I am very happy that she is good.” ...¤¤

(y) to Rafa!


Rafael Nadal Is Closing In on His 20th Slam. He Isn’t Counting.
Tennis fans are obsessed with the chase for the most career Grand Slam titles. Rafa, not so much.

By Christopher Clarey
  • Jan. 23, 2020
MELBOURNE, Australia — One more major title, just one, and Rafael Nadal will share the most prestigious record in modern men’s tennis with Roger Federer.

But Nadal is panther-quick to assure you that he is not ripping forehands in practice or drifting off to sleep with “No. 20, No. 20” ringing in his head.

The chase obsesses tennis fans — this three-way tussle to finish with the most Grand Slam singles titles in the history of the men’s game.

With the Australian Open well underway, Federer has 20, Nadal has 19 and Novak Djokovic has 16. All are comfortably into the third round, but when Nadal sat down for an interview at his Melbourne hotel this week, he insisted that he had never viewed it as a chase.

For him, the number by his name is simply a byproduct of his relentless pursuit of the best effort within himself.

“I am happy with who I am,” he said, tapping his barrel chest with an index finger. “I was very happy with 16, very happy with 17, very happy with 18, very happy with 19, and if one day I get to 20, I will be very happy, too. But my level of happiness is not going to change because of this. Do I make myself clear?”

It is as if Nadal is trying to build fences around the achievement before anyone else has a chance to start putting up anything resembling barbed wire.

“Getting to 20 does not make me incredible,” he said. “And if I get to 22, I am not more incredible. I see my life as something more normal.”

Would it be different if Nadal were chasing a record from another era instead of his own? When Federer equaled Pete Sampras’s record of 14 in 2009, Sampras was retired. When Sampras equaled Roy Emerson’s record of 12 in 1999, Emerson was long retired.

Nadal is on the verge of equaling Federer, his longtime tennis yang who has become a very friendly rival. They are headed for Cape Town, South Africa, to play a charity exhibition together the week after the Australian Open.

“I think the good thing is to appreciate being part of a story that has never happened before,” he said. “You never had so many matches between three players like this: Novak against me, me against Federer, Novak against Federer. So many finals and semifinals and important matches between all of us, and that is a story that will remain in the history of our sport.”

Federer is 38; Nadal, 33; Djokovic, 32. All would once have been considered past their tennis primes at those ages. “I wouldn’t have thought I’d still be here,” Nadal said.

But they have inspired one another, and as the 2020s begin, Nadal is ranked No. 1, Djokovic, No. 2; and Federer, No. 3.
Their collective staying power explains why no active player in his 20s has won a major singles title, which is unprecedented in the Open era or any era.

“I don’t hear much talk about the Grand Slam record in the locker room,” said the American veteran Sam Querrey. “At least the guys I talk with a lot, the Americans, we never talk about it, probably because none of us have even one. It’s not relatable. Actually it’s not relatable to someone who has three, like Stan Wawrinka. He’s a star. They are superstars.”

Djokovic and Federer are in the bottom half of the draw in Melbourne, but danger still lurks in the top half for Nadal.

If he beats his Spanish compatriot Pablo Carreño Busta in the third round, he will face either Karen Khachanov or Nick Kyrgios.

Kyrgios, who relishes getting under Nadal’s skin and once upset him at Wimbledon, actually mimicked Nadal’s service motion during his second-round victory over Gilles Simon on Thursday.

“Honestly I don’t care at all,” Nadal said of Kyrgios’s stunt after defeating Federico Delbonis 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-1 on Thursday night. “If it was funny, good.”

But Kyrgios, for a change, has looked more inspired than conflicted in his home nation.

Inspired is, of course, Nadal’s default mode. He practices like he plays: at full in-the-moment throttle, even if he practices and plays less often now to preserve his energy and fragile knees. Last April, he experienced a rare motivational crisis, brought on by his latest round of injuries, that had him muttering “I want to get out of here” in the midst of a victory over Leonardo Mayer in Barcelona.

But he has rebounded convincingly and said he still plays for the same reasons — love of the game and the fight, and the desire to achieve personal goals for himself and those close to him. He is newly married to his longtime girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello and, despite his fiercely protective attitude toward his private life, is speaking openly about their desire to start a family.

The Australian Open remains the major tournament he has won the least. His only title came in 2009, when he reduced Federer to tears after a five-set victory in the final.

He has won 12 French Opens on the red clay in Paris, two Wimbledons on grass and four United States Opens on an acrylic hardcourt surface quite similar to the one at Melbourne Park. But he has often stumbled at the final hurdle here, losing four finals, the most recent one to Djokovic last year in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 rout.

Djokovic, who has beaten Nadal nine straight times on hardcourts and won the Australian Open a record seven times, remains the rightful favorite again. If Nadal cannot get to 20 in Melbourne, he will, if he remains healthy, have a fine shot of getting there in Paris in June.

Federer, five years older, has had ample time to see this coming, but it is also worth remembering that the Grand Slam career record is a relatively contemporary obsession. Until Open tennis began in 1968, many of the greatest players, including Jack Kramer and Pancho Gonzalez, quickly turned professional, which made them ineligible for Grand Slam events. Rod Laver, who twice won all four Grand Slam events in a single year, has said he paid scant attention to his total. In the 1970s and 1980s, the game’s greats regularly skipped the long trip to Australia.

Nadal has won an absurd 12 titles at Roland Garros.

Even a more recent player, Andre Agassi, skipped the tournament for eight straight years at the beginning of his career. But by the mid-1990s, with prize money and crowds increasing at the Australian Open’s new venue at Melbourne Park, the stars had begun making the trek as a rule.

So it has remained, and the Grand Slam events and the Grand Slam record have become an increasing focus.
Nadal understands the trend but resists it.

“I cannot evaluate my whole career on four tournaments a year,” he said. “Tennis is much more than that. I try to value everything. If I go to Acapulco, I’m happy playing Acapulco, and if I win there, I’m incredibly happy. Same in Barcelona.”

For those who keep track, and not many do, Federer has won 103 tour titles, Nadal has won 84 and Djokovic has won 77.

Still, the numbers that resonate are 20, 19 and 16.

“I am happy to be part of this from the inside, but if I end up finishing third, I don’t think I’m going to be less happy in the future,” Nadal said. “And if I end up finishing first, I don’t think I’m going to be any more happy in the future, either.”



Australian Open 2020

January 25, 2020
R3, Rafa vs P.Carreno Busta

Through to R4:

Photo by TPN

Match point:

In action:

Photo by Cameron Spencer




Photo by Jason Heidrich

Via Rafa IG

Via rafa_nadal19


Photo by Cameron Spencer

Players and spectators:

Via Henrik Cederin

Job done!

Screenshot via Jose Morgado

Vaaamooos Rafa!!!
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Raphael Nadal

Hall of Fame
very bad dunlop will be played this year at roland garros

for the ao...nadal has the hardest quarter compared to the three other quarters.
if he can´t find his beast mode i can´t see him back in the final....
Rafa almost always deliver's his beast mode in slam semis :) so he's almost a lock for the Final, unless Thiem can upset him (Rafa isn't as consistent at slam QFs) but no chance of Monfils beating Rafa in the QF that's for sure.

Thiem is the only obstacle, because Rafa is a lot better than Medvedev than what you think (Rafa almost beat Medvdev in straight sets in the US Open Final......was up 2 sets and a break in the 3rd).
And even if Medvedev plays great, he's never won a 5-setter in his life.

Also factor in that Zverev is 5-1 vs. Medvedev, so it may be Zverev vs. Rafa SF, and Zverev has never made a slam SF so I wouldn't expect him to beat Rafa here (even though he played a 5-setter with Rafa early in 2017ao).

This is the sharpest Rafa has ever played at the AO, 42 winners and 7 unforced errors in the win over Busta.
And most of Rafa's opponents in his AO history are not as good as Busta.
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