Nadal: "One of my worst matches on clay in 14 years !"

ChaelAZ

Legend
Fair assessment.

Fog played great, but Rafa was a mess.
Exactly. He didn’t look confident in either matches before. He is fully a confidence players and he lacks it right now. With Fognini playing great tennis it was easy takings.

One of the things I like about Nadal is he is very good at self-examination so he knows what needs to improve. The question moving forward is, can he...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

True Fanerer

G.O.A.T.
Why was Fognini on fire? Fognini is a very good player, but he's not capable of raising his game to the point where he has a routine victory over an in form Nadal on clay. Fognini was able to step in and hit with authority because Nadal's shots weren't jumping off the court like they usually do. Did he lack confidence and timing in the conditions, or have his shots lost some of their bite?
Nadal didn't lose the 1st set due to Fog, but the 2nd set Fog came out firing. On almost every important point of the match Fog hit a winner or a shot that Nadal couldn't handle. Nadal wasn't at his best, but he didn't have any real chance to settle in after a bad 1st set. Just the way I saw it anyway.
 

JackGates

Hall of Fame
In the end you can't really stop people believing what they want to believe. Earlier in the week I had a brief discussion with a poster who said there was nothing FAA could have done against Zverev because of the quality of Zverev's play. Perhaps today there was simply nothing Nadal could have done. He's simply no match for an in form Fognini.
I'm not here to convince people, I'm here to talk and have fun.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
At the end of the day much more credit has to go to Fabio than talking about what Nadal did wrong. If Nadal had played Lajovic today he would've beaten him in 2 simply because Lajovic is the much easier match up for him.

But Nadal knows that Fognini has the ability to make him uncomfortable when he plays well. Fognini has the 2HBH. He has the redirection ability off both wings, and he has the power to punish short balls that Pella doesn't have. And he used all of it today to play one of the greatest matches I've ever seen him play. Probably the greatest if I'm honest.

So it isn't really about Nadal playing bad. That was a prerequisite for an upset anyway. If Nadal constantly played his A+ game on clay he wouldn't have a loss on his record in his entire career, but life just doesn't work that way. You can't always play your best. In fact tennis is one of the worst sports for people that nit pick about who played well and who didn't.
 

Boom-Boom

Hall of Fame
After losing to Fognini in the semifinal, frustrated Nadal said it was his worst performance on clay in 14 years and deserved to lose.


“The vision is clear,” added 32-year-old Nadal who was playing his first tournament in a month after opting to rest his troublesome knees.

“I played a very bad match against a good player. In that situation, you have to lose.

“I had a bad feeling, it was a tough day. I’m coming from low moments in terms of injuries, and in terms of the mental side it has not been easy to accept all the things that have been going on during recent weeks.

“Everything was wrong. I always expect the best. But you have to be ready to accept the negative things and today was a negative day.”
Sore loser as always taking credit off his opponent :rolleyes::X3:
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
How much of that was due to Fognini taking the ball super early and hitting endless winners tho? He got outplayed and he made excuses, he was moving fine and hitting well so i don't see this "worst matches in 14 years" he seems to believe. So many points looked like Nadal was getting the rally in a position only for Fognini to pull the trigger first and catch him out. That is what happened, he got beat by the better player and should of given credit to him, not make excuses.
The point is that Nadal never had a level this low in his peak years.

Ever.

So he was correct that this indeed was one of his worst matches on clay in his entire career.

2008 Nadal was incapable of playing a match like this, but then again, he was then 21 years old. It's hilarious to see the Novak and Rafa fans digesting these losses (and making endless excuses) when both fan bases have screamed that "age is irrelevant" for at least 9 years. The rooster's coming home to roost.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
2008 Nadal was incapable of playing a match like this, but then again, he was then 21 years old. It's hilarious to see the Novak and Rafa fans digesting these losses (and making endless excuses) when both fan bases have screamed that "age is irrelevant" for at least 9 years. The rooster's coming home to roost.
Let us say 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 or 2017. Because in 2008, even though he won RG as convincingly as in 2010 and 2017, he had an equally bad match against Ferrero in Rome. Then the excuse was having blisters. ;)
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
he had an equally bad match against Ferrero in Rome. Then the excuse was having blisters. ;)
Nadal has strategically tanked Rome several times in the past for a brief respite before RG. The only Rome losses that were legit were when he lost to Novak. Nadal would never lose to Ferrer if motivated.
 

Purplemonster

Hall of Fame
Fognini made him play bad.

Seriously, the way Fognini played today was scary. He can defeat anyone with that level at RG.
What ?? That makes sense so you cannot be right.

Nadal was injured, out of form, wasn’t playing well, the clay wasn’t the right colour today, it was overcast, his underwear was creeping into his crack more than usual, the yellow EA7 insignia on Fabio’s attire was distracting him etc.

All those are logical arguments for Nadal’s loss.

What is amazing is how he managed to get to the semi final carrying multiple injuries and being so out of form. Anyone here care to explain that ??
 

SLD76

G.O.A.T.
Hmmm...injuries mentioned.

Should have been 6-0 in the second set.

Fognini’s otherwordly ability to take BOTH wings right off the bounce is incredible and when he gets hot and has time to prepare, he hits some of the cleanest, purest FHs AND BHs. If you take the 100 cleanest strokes in this match, 90+ were hit by Fognini. Did you see those lasers right off th bounce off of both wings and even a few on the stretch like in the last game?

Now, about Nadal’s play. He looked like a 33 year old, sluggish player. The movement wasn’t good at all and the FH was terrible for his standards. Fognini’s BH and FH were better than Nadal’s FH. How many Nadal CC FHs did you see that moved Fog off the court? Where were they? The damper conditions helped Fog as the ball wasn’t hopping, but man did Nadal’s strokes look like garbage. It was stunning really.

He came out looking nervous and expecting bad things like he did against Djoko at the AO and his strokes looked just as ineffectual.

I only saw snippets but I agree. His fh looked like a shell of its former glory. no depth , too spinny and landing right in the service box and Fog crushed those every time.
 

Towser83

G.O.A.T.
Fognini made him play bad.

Seriously, the way Fognini played today was scary. He can defeat anyone with that level at RG.
Did he really play that good? I'm not sure if he can keep great form over 5 sets though but he's capable of some extremely high play which is why he's so frustrating lol
 
To me, Nadal's defense is just gone. He's either going to blow you off the court with pristine aggression, or lose because you can be even more aggressive than him, and he doesn't have the stamina to run around and defend anymore. Story of the past year..... Delpo at Wimby, Thiem at USO, Djokovic at AO, etc, if you can match his level of play, he's either going to barely beat you and be gassed for the next match, or lose. It's perfectly normal for his age.
I think this is it. And this would explain the number of times recently I have seen him just give up in a match. Started with IW against Fed in 2017, did the same at Shanghai, then against Djokovic at AO this year. He was out of the frame in the second set yesterday. So this is a different problem from 2015. He was giving too much air today on the FH but he wasn't shanking it anywhere near as much as 2015. People have simply forgotten how bad 2015 was. His solution against this kind of clean, on the rise hitting has always been just to outgrind and outlast. And he can't do it quite as much as before. I think the Pella match took its toll. Those who didn't watch it will say bah it was a straight sets win but the first set was intense and Nadal had to claw it back from a long way. He was leading early on against Fog in the first but then had a bad game at 4-5. After that, it was like he simply couldn't be bothered trying to fight.

Also, unlike on HC, on clay he is still too fond of that lasso forehand hit almost falling back. That simply didn't give him any confidence when he had to break the CC exchange pattern against Fog. What he had to do was change direction, go DTL and force Fog to run but he had no confidence in the DTL because he was, again, allowing the ball to get big on him before hitting it rather than taking it early. If he can sort out this technical adjustment, he has got the key to extending his career. But Nadal is stubborn so...
 
Huge win for Fognini right after coming back to take Coric in 3. Saw set 1 and some of set 2 of Rafa Fabio semi, but I ff’ed to end of 2nd set, cuz I had a hunch Rafa lost and this kid I hit with a lot yelled “Fabio Fognini” to me today at the tennis courts—- Don’t ya hate being spoiled?? Geez!

Perhaps Michael Nadal and others have intimated this, but I really believe that (physical) recovery is going to be an issue for Rafa more than ever. In these Bo3 Masters where there’s a match every day, he may struggle by the Friday 1/4s or Sat. semis imo. Even at RG, he’ll have a day to recover. Overall, if he wins tidy matches in straights at RG under 3 hours early rounds, he’ll be fine... If he gets into some slugfests early in Paris, that could spell doom. I’m aware that Nadal is known for high intensity practices, but I’ll bet my bottom $ that he will lower the intensity on off days in Paris for full recovery. If he doesn’t, he’s dumb.

It’s well known that Rafa won RG 17 & 18 in straight sets except for Schwartzman match....In all candor he needed to do that, and 2019 will be no different.
His form vs. RBA and Dimitrov seemed exquisite to me. Then, he seemed a touch sluggish vs. Pella and almost trailed 1-5! There was, thus, a drop off in movement after his first two matches, even though he found his form vs. Guido, the tricky lefty.

Also, the conditions today in MC were also really bad for his big spin game, no sour grapes, just the reality of the situation, esp. as he is now about 33.
Those damp, cool conditions are his worst nightmare nowadays on clay, as it deadens that bounce big time.

As far as the wind, Rafa has earned a rep. as a great wind player for good reason, but all those last second movements that once came natural in his 20s now elude him, so the wind didn’t help his more quasi aggressive style.

Rafa will contend for RG and other clay titles this year, but he will pray for warm, dry conditions I can promise you.

One silver lining in Nadal losing to Fognini in MC semis (and almost getting bageled) is that Djokovic does not seem to have his clay form yet either so far.

Should be interesting.
 

Luckydog

Professional
That is why I despise this Spaniard.
When sb defeat him,he almost never said anything about how great his conquers played,but how bad he played.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Nadal has strategically tanked Rome several times in the past for a brief respite before RG. The only Rome losses that were legit were when he lost to Novak. Nadal would never lose to Ferrer if motivated.
So you're saying Nadal can only legitimately lose against Novak? If he wanted to tank Rome, why bother playing it at all? Just pull a sickie and have done with it!
 

Noletheking

Hall of Fame
It's not impossible that he could win Slams in 2021 or later. But I agree that if he doesn't win any in 2019 or 2020, it won't look good for him to come back in 2021.
Nadal will have his chances even at 35 cause next gen is sh*t. Also if Djokovic is out he can still win slams.
 

Noletheking

Hall of Fame
That is why I despise this Spaniard.
When sb defeat him,he almost never said anything about how great his conquers played,but how bad he played.
So Nadal said anything wrong?you really think it was more of Fog playing well than Rafa sucking ?
 

Noletheking

Hall of Fame
Nadal
So you're saying Nadal can only legitimately lose against Novak? If he wanted to tank Rome, why bother playing it at all? Just pull a sickie and have done with it!
Take clay ms very seriously so it doesn't look good for his chances at RG.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
T
True but when Nadal has sucked in clay masters it has affected his RG form too(2015,16)
Nadal always loses a clay masters though. I wouldn't panic yet, but to me this is par for the course, Rafa will have more and more bad days as he gets older. I wouldn't mind seeing ThiemThiem beat him in the RG final :)
 

Sentinel

Bionic Poster
I can't find an article online that has any good commentary on this topic and this one is quite amazing: "We don't even have to deal with the "the wrong guy". This is why I think of these type of problems, and it's why there's so much focus in this area."

I have no problem with a person's attitude, it's just another one of a bunch of crap. I'm pretty sure it's something that needs attention.
 

Julian Houston

Semi-Pro
Fognini played normally. If u give him too much short balls he can finish points. Its down to Rafa's defense not working well anymore at this age.

Fognini is a ball striker like Agassi, need to push deep against him and counter attack. So far is missing in that match for Rafa.
 

chjtennis

G.O.A.T.
He will have more of these 'worst performances in his career' from now on. He is 33 and there's nothing anyone can do about that. Just enjoy the Fed-Nad-Djok show as long as you can. It won't last long, I suspect(maybe 2 more years?).
 
Bad choice to practise on an indoor court

Can’t avoid the wind, press and public during the match.

Either something was wrong or Nadal wanted to get away from the crowds

Unfortunately you are only as good as your last match....


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
Bad choice to practise on an indoor court

Can’t avoid the wind, press and public during the match.

Either something was wrong or Nadal wanted to get away from the crowds

Unfortunately you are only as good as your last match....


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
But Rafa nor Fognini play their best so early in the season, they are peaking for RG. You need match practice to play higher level. No like Fognini was at his best either. None of the clay courters were at their best, they all peak at the end of the season, that's the point.
 
Fog had a really good year in 2018
Match points for 4 titles, something Panatta never had

Nadal is coming off injuries, needed to practise indoors yesterday and hit the perfect storm

Now we have 300 posts on Fog’s 3rd clay win over Nadal

Just spare a thought for Dimitrov whose problems are not just temporary


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Noletheking

Hall of Fame
Generally its Madrid or Rome but he doesn't well at MC.
Nadal always loses a clay masters though. I wouldn't panic yet, but to me this is par for the course, Rafa will have more and more bad days as he gets older. I wouldn't mind seeing ThiemThiem beat him in the RG final :)
 

Wilhelm

Professional
I like Rafa, but was it really one of the worst matches in 14 years? Come on...

Fabio is simply a tough opponent for him. It has to do with the way he returns serve and lets the other guy play. Nole and Fed return differently and never have issues with Fognini.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
I like Rafa, but was it really one of the worst matches in 14 years? Come on...

Fabio is simply a tough opponent for him. It has to do with the way he returns serve and lets the other guy play. Nole and Fed return differently and never have issues with Fognini.
Well, he can say that bc how many matches does he have to choose from like this on clay? :D #Epic
 

mr tonyz

Semi-Pro
Fognini has the game to annoy Nadal . It's all about matchups , Fog is such a talented , clean & flat hitting ballstriker that excels on clay . Nadal on an average to off day will get chewed up by Fognini playing @ his standard level.

How many times did it look like Fog was just standing there waiting for an eternity to slap Rafa's short spinny balls?

It's just the matchup game . For reference Fed is 4-0 vs Fog without dropping a set . Fed/Delpo , Delpo/Nadal dynamic is another one.

Even Fog is well aware that he has the game to disrupt/annoy & potentially defeat Rafa. It's just the way it goes.
 

JackGates

Hall of Fame
You have no idea what's going on, I'm three steps ahead of people here. If not being at their best excuses can be used for top guys, why not for others? I was just using this to point out the irony.
If Rafa is not at his best all the time, neither is his competition. And yet people here are so biased and lazy they can't consider some deeper levels of thought.
 
Top