Where does Nadal go after this?

After seeing him reach the finals of the Nasdaq Open, and nearly beat Federer in the final where does Rafael Nadal go from here? Personaly I think he benefitted both from a dream draw, and a sluggish Federer in the final, but that is my opinion. I dont immediately coronate the soon to be dominant #1 as most people on here seem to.

However I am interested to see where he will go after this performance.
I think it has to be a big boost for him. I see him reaching the top 5 this year. If he wins a slam this year it has to be the French Open. He may not win the French Open, but he is a solid contender going into the clay court season, to win to French. He wont do well at Wimbledon. He could be a contender on hard courts, but no way could I see him winning the U.S open. Indoors he could also do well. Where will his year go from here?


Hall of Fame
I'm pretty sure he'd headed to Valencia for that clay tourny, then Paris in a month or so.


Nadal did benefit from the fact that Safin and Roddick lost early and Hewitt was not even there. Remember Hewitt is 3-0 against Nadal. I don't think Federer was sluggish, it was more that he was not used to Rafa's game. In the post match commentary Roger was talking about how he had to get used to how Rafa's groundstrokes would bounce so high and short.

I just hope that Roger doesn't have Nadal in his quarter at the French. I'd like each to have a good chance to see what happens.

I don't see how people can coronate Rafa as the soon to be #1, because Roger is still young and he wants to stay #1 for several years. Are people already forgetting that they said Roger may be the best ever? Roger and Rafa can't both be #1.
rhubarb said:
I think he'll do ok at Wimbledon. It's the slam he wants to win, after all.
Capriati says Wimbledon is the last slam she wants to win most. It doesnt mean it is her best chance. His game simply wont be that effective for grass.


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He reached the semis at Wimbly when he was a junior, and two years ago he beat Ancic (yes, the guy who took out Fed the year before) at Wimbly, and then also a Brit, getting to the third round.

He does have a heavy clay schedule starting with Valencia this week, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Roma and Hamburg -- then RG. On grass, Halle and Wimbly. After that, he'll go play on clay in Stuttgart, etc.

He has no points to defend between now and Stuttgart in July, because he missed the entire clay and grass seasons last year due to injury. So his ranking is likely to go up quite a bit if he does well in the requireds (masters and slams). Right now he's No. 17 (he was 31 before Miami).

BTW, this is what Jon Wertheim writes in his column this week re Nadal:

]• We've discussed which player can mount a legit challenge to Federer. Sunday we got our answer. And is there any doubt Nadal is a top-five player right now?

Rafa isn't a wily vet who lucked out with a cushy draw, becoming a fluke finalist. If you think that, you are dreaming, IMO. He's just starting his career, at age 18, and still has a lot to learn.

He played on clay, winning two tournaments, went to Davis Cup, got sick so he had to drop out of IW, and came to Miami with no preparation. He did pretty well, beating some good players, including the second hottest guy on Tour, Ljubicic.

Then he plays a major final before the World No. 1 player, and hardly shows any nerves. Many players that age would be confounded by the occasion. But not Rafa. As Roger himself said, "It was extremely close. I consider myself lucky to get through. For me this was a big match, because I know what a great player he will be one day."

Anyway, people see what they want to see. And I realize that. I think that what Fed did yesterday was more impressive than many of his "perfect" wins. He was taken out of his comfort zone, and had to find a way to win, which he did. With more experience, Rafa likely would have stopped it. But credit to both players for making it a worthy final instead of some routine blow-out.

Rafa developed a lot of fans yesterday, and I'm sure Roger got even more, too. BTW, I love this photo of them:


I think Roger's asking Rafa where he can get some of those pirates pants. *lol*

Aykhan Mammadov

Hall of Fame
federerhoogenbandfan said:
Capriati says Wimbledon is the last slam she wants to win most. It doesnt mean it is her best chance. His game simply wont be that effective for grass.
Mats Wilander who won 7 slams except Wimbledon said the same that Wimb is the least important because almost all tournaments are held either on hard or clay and just e few in the world - on the grass. IMHO he never won on Wibmledon - this is also the reason.

By the way, I enjoy yr nick name - it is so long and self-explanatory, even if u don't know German or Netherland u understand it - BIG, BIG fan of Fed.
I hope nadal wins the french...well maybe coria...after all coria deserves it kinda...what a loss to gauido real heartbreaker.