*** Vamos Rafa in Toronto *** [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

*** Vamos Rafa in Toronto ***

mallorn
07-25-2006, 01:37 PM
I think we may now open a thread for the Toronto tournament because Rafa says he's fit to play in Canada. :yippee:

Here's an article translated by nou.amic of vr.com:
RECOVERY

NADAL WILL REAPPEAR IN TWO WEEKS

He tested himself out yesterday in an exhibition

By Raquel G. Santos

Rafael Nadal reappeared yesterday afternoon in an exhibition for charity at Cullera Tennis Club (Valencia). The Mallorcan did not feel any discomfort and will be back in two weeks in Toronto.

"I felt really good hitting with David Ferrer," Nadal told AS. "I expect to return to the courts in the Toronto Masters Series. That together with the Cincinnati tournament will be my next objective."

Ferrer and Nadal played five tiebreaks (to seven points). Although the result was of the least importance, the exhibition ended with victory for the local player (Ferrer) who delighted the spectators with his serves.

But they did not only play tiebreaks. Before the match began, both players demonstrated how good their aim is with some cones and soft drinks cans as makeshift targets. The aim was to knock over as many as possible. The exhibition also showed what both players are capable of doing: Ferrer who usually uses two hands on his backhand tried using only one, while Rafa Nadal, a leftie, showed what he can do with his right hand.

Javier Piles, David Ferrer's trainer, and members of the public also had their moment in the sun yesterday : Piles was presented with a testimonial plaque, while 15 of the almost 3000 tennis fans that came along to the Valencian tennis court were able to hit with one or other of the stars.
Original article:
http://www.as.com/articulo/deporte/Nadal/reaparecera/semanas/dasmasB00/20060725dasdaimas_8/Tes/

Here's the tournament profile from the Deuce magazine:

http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/3661/deucesummer2006toronto3sp2.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

And my favourite picture from last year. ;)

http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/9505/001fe3.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

MariaV
07-26-2006, 01:30 PM
Thanks Ania! :D
OK, I'm back too and ready for some action. ;)
VAMOS RAFAEL! :bounce: :bigclap: :yippee:

Rafa_magic
07-26-2006, 01:39 PM
YAAAYY!!!!!! :bounce: :crazy: :bigclap: :clap2: :yippee: :D

the_natural
07-27-2006, 08:26 AM
I wanna go for rafa, love the kid, but if he meets Andre I cant go against my much beloved veteran :sad: I hope im not kicked off the rafa fan wagon for this :sad: :sad: :sad: lol...

mallorn
07-27-2006, 11:21 AM
You mean like this? http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/2294/buttkick7nf.gif (http://imageshack.us) Nah, as far as I can tell everyone in this forum is way too friendly to do this. :lol:

I hope Rafa won't draw Andre again...it's tough enough that he had to be the last person to beat him at Wimbledon, I don't want him to have to play Andre in the US as well. :(

the_natural
07-28-2006, 07:56 AM
:P You got it thats the last thing he needs its not his fault he has to win but people will want someone to blame for "takin out" their man haha funny nothin bad about last years USO, no negatives, but so many excuses at this years wimbledon :rolleyes: ANYWAYS ill move on... When is this tournament starting?? And who are the real tough guys he may face?

mallorn
07-28-2006, 10:58 AM
The tournament starts on August 7. Since it's a Masters Series event all the top guys should play it unless they're injured (I guess Mario Ancic is practically out because he hurt his knee).

~RaFa(ESP)FaN~
07-29-2006, 09:03 AM
Yeaaaah!!! VAMOS RAFA!! :bounce: :bounce:

Björki
07-29-2006, 09:40 AM
vamos Rafa :bounce:

NaDALiTa
07-29-2006, 01:40 PM
I hope he won't face Marat Safin,it would tear my heart in two :bigcry: my two tennis love (marat=8years and rafa=5years) !!!!!!

It's less risky for Blake because he is seeded , James would have time to be eliminated :lol: :lol:

NicoFan
07-30-2006, 11:29 PM
I'm so happy that Rafa is going to Toronto. :bounce:

Hopefully I can get some good pixs for you all. :yeah:

the_natural
07-31-2006, 04:47 AM
I hope he won't face Marat Safin,it would tear my heart in two :bigcry: my two tennis love (marat=8years and rafa=5years) !!!!!!

It's less risky for Blake because he is seeded , James would have time to be eliminated :lol: :lol:

Safin is also extremley dangerous to play, rafa would be hitting alot of forehands to his backhand, BIGGGGG PROBLEMS!!!!.... And also Safin gets energetic and motivated when he has a chance to prove himself agaisnt top players, he can lose to a guy ranked 512 one week and take out a top 5 player the next, he just loves playing the big guns. Serve and backhand would be a big key, ive always feared him having to play Marat on any surface, good luck heres to a good draw :angel: :angel: :angel:

Weebl
07-31-2006, 02:48 PM
August 7-13:eek:
I'm going on holiday august 10:sad:
then I'll have to wait untill august 21 :help:

TMJordan
07-31-2006, 06:26 PM
Rafa in Toronto? :worship:

I sure hope he comes! :wavey:

NaDALiTa
07-31-2006, 09:49 PM
Safin is also extremley dangerous to play, rafa would be hitting alot of forehands to his backhand, BIGGGGG PROBLEMS!!!!.... And also Safin gets energetic and motivated when he has a chance to prove himself agaisnt top players, he can lose to a guy ranked 512 one week and take out a top 5 player the next, he just loves playing the big guns. Serve and backhand would be a big key, ive always feared him having to play Marat on any surface, good luck heres to a good draw :angel: :angel: :angel:


It's the same for me, Safin is the guy i fear the most for Rafa (not on clay) but everywhere else, he has the game to make him loose, Rafa has a lot of difficulties against guy with risky games , i mean that hit the ball to make a point in one shot :scared:
As you said Marat is always better against big guns, because he knows what he worthes even if he lost a lot of rank !!!

Deea
07-31-2006, 10:07 PM
:woohoo: Vamos Rafa! :bounce:

But I also hope he won't play Marat..until the final that is...then they can meet...and then...may the best player win! :worship:

Spanish_Powaa
08-01-2006, 01:33 AM
I hope he will be able to keep his title in Toronto ! :)

PoderShileno
08-01-2006, 02:01 AM
Suerte RAFA ¡

nikita
08-01-2006, 09:21 AM
I see that you all forget that Federer plays Toronto. After Wimbledon he has lot of confidence. I am not sure that Rafa will defend last year title.

Weebl
08-01-2006, 01:15 PM
I see that you all forget that Federer plays Toronto. After Wimbledon he has lot of confidence. I am not sure that Rafa will defend last year title.
What made you think we all forgot that? :rolleyes:
Rafa has defeated Rogi before on hardcourt so I believe he can do it :worship: :angel:

mallorn
08-01-2006, 04:42 PM
I see that you all forget that Federer plays Toronto. After Wimbledon he has lot of confidence. I am not sure that Rafa will defend last year title.
We don't tend to talk much about Roger here unlike Roger's fans who obsess about Rafa.

No one's said Rafa is sure to defend his title but we believe that he can and we hope that he will (maybe except for the_natural who is cheating on Rafa with Andre :p ;) ).

From The Star:
Big buzz precedes Rogers Cup

Top players in men's tennis expected to attend

Federer/Nadal rivalry helps boost sales of tickets

Aug. 1, 2006. 01:00 AM
PAUL HUNTER
SPORTS REPORTER

Unlike last summer, when the women's Rogers Cup was plagued by late withdrawals from big-name players, it looks like the top names in men's tennis will appear on the marquee next week.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the world's top two players, are expected to continue their rivalry next week on the hard courts of the Rexall Centre at York University.

"The good news is that the Federer camp and the Nadal camp have booked rooms. That's pretty much the telltale sign right there that they are confirmed 100 per cent," rookie tournament director Grant Connell said yesterday.

"Their rivalry is the biggest reason why we're up 15 per cent (in ticket sales) on last year. I've been part of this event as a player and doing little jobs for about 20 years and as far as I can remember, this is the best buzz we've had going into this tournament."

Last year, the buzz was the grumbling of disappointed fans. On the eve of the event, glamour girl Maria Sharapova and star Venus Williams — both of whom had been featured in glossy ticket brochures — withdrew citing injuries. It cast a pall over the Toronto event, which alternates between hosting a men's and women's event each year. (The women's event this year is Aug. 12 to 20 in Montreal.)

But Connell said the situation is different on the men's tour where the top 50 players in the world are mandated to appear in the nine ATP Masters Series tournaments, of which Toronto is one. That doesn't prevent players from getting hurt, of course, but it does help to ensure a good turnout.

"So, we really don't have a history of people no-showing," said Connell. "It's two different tours, two different management styles. Unfortunately, we do get lumped in with that; there is that perception that there are a lot of withdrawals."

So far, there have been two injury-related withdrawals — Mario Ancic of Croatia, ranked 8th in the world, and 23rd-ranked Frenchman Gael Monfils.

While the draw is still expected to be stellar, one player Connell remains uncertain about is Andre Agassi.

The 36-year-old legend is gearing up for his retirement farewell at the U.S. Open but has been troubled by back and hip problems. He has stated publicly that he plans to play the final tournaments, which includes Toronto where he is a three-time champion.

But unlike Federer and Nadal, who are not playing this week and haven't played since meeting in the Wimbledon final this year, Agassi has been on court in Washington.

"If I have any trepidation, I have a little trepidation (regarding Agassi) only because he is older and I know he's gearing up for his last run at the U.S. Open. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed," said Connell.

Connell received a bonus attraction when Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls moved into the Top 100, hitting the No. 96 spot when the ATP rankings were released yesterday.

The 21-year-old made the leap 16 places by winning a Challenger event in Granby, Que., on the weekend. He's the first Canadian in the top 100 since Montreal's Sebastien Lareau cracked that barrier in 2001.

Dancevic has been given a wild-card entry into next week's event, which runs Aug. 5 to 13, and so has up-and-comer Philip Bester, 17, of Vancouver, who made it to the final of the Junior French Open this year.
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1154382609947&call_pageid=969907740050&col=970081602428

mamasue
08-02-2006, 12:35 AM
I see that you all forget that Federer plays Toronto. After Wimbledon he has lot of confidence. I am not sure that Rafa will defend last year title.
Haha! Hope Fed and all his fans are deluding themsleves with that stupid thought! :rolleyes:

VAMOS RAFA!!!

Mimi
08-02-2006, 03:57 AM
didn't you know its not polite to post these in players' cheering threads :rolleyes:?? we are not saying that rafa is sure to defend his title successfully, we just wish, and if you don't want to cheer him, get away from this thread :rolleyes:

its sad that to see that so many impolite posters are from Croatia, when i went there 2 years ago, the people are most friendly :rolleyes:

I see that you all forget that Federer plays Toronto. After Wimbledon he has lot of confidence. I am not sure that Rafa will defend last year title.

nikita
08-02-2006, 08:12 AM
Impolite???? Hmmmm. I can´t belive it. For all I am not Roger´s fan I just say that I am affraid about Nadal because i think that Roger now has lot of confidence and we must be fair ans say that this surface is much more better for Roger than for Rafa. Will see!!

PS; Mimi where were you in Croatia??? I am from Split. Goran´s and Mario´s hometown!!

Mimi
08-02-2006, 09:46 AM
ok, may be i misunderstood you, sorry for that :wavey: , there are some croatian posters out there who are really nasty towards nadal, so i thought you are one of them, sorry :p

i went to croatia in september 2004, i have been to split, the capital (forgot the name, is it Zegerb? and also 2 other cities (forgot the name, also visited the National Lake Park), it is a very pretty country but sadly it rained most of the times :wavey:
Impolite???? Hmmmm. I can´t belive it. For all I am not Roger´s fan I just say that I am affraid about Nadal because i think that Roger now has lot of confidence and we must be fair ans say that this surface is much more better for Roger than for Rafa. Will see!!

PS; Mimi where were you in Croatia??? I am from Split. Goran´s and Mario´s hometown!!

nikita
08-02-2006, 12:37 PM
I see you like my city. well done!!! Yeah Croatia is very beatifull. Expecially islands. The capital city is Zagreb not Zagerb!!

mallorn
08-02-2006, 01:54 PM
Croatia :hearts: is my absolute favourite holiday destination. Unfortunately it's true that most MTF posters from Croatia loathe Rafa. :sad:

Finally some proper news about Rafa in the Spanish press. He is going to Toronto on Thursday! :yippee:

Here are two pieces translated by the one and only nou.amic of vr.com.

Nadal heading for Toronto

He is to play two tournaments before taking part in the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the season

By Miquel Alzamora

Rafael Nadal has his sights on America. On Tuesday he will make his debute in the Toronto tournament, after that comes Cincinnati and, finally, the US Open.

The tennis player from Manacor, for the last two years without any doubt the great sensation in the world of tennis, has recently been training on Mallorca after returning from London, where he was runner up at Wimbledon. The present world number two, only Roger Federer is ahead of him, admitted that during the last few weeks he has rested and adapted his training to be prepared for next week.

"I've been training slackly, I haven't really had good enough opponents to be able to push things more, either. Today I have done so because I have worked with Carlos Moya. Now I'm about to play the Toronto tournament so I'll up the level a bit more this week," said Nadal. For the moment his intention is to start with a win at Toronto, which he says matters more than the way one plays on court.

"It is important to start off winning. Even more so than the way you play, winning is the main objective when you return after a series of weeks without competing," explained Nadal. When asked about a possible US Open final against Roger Federer, Nadal showed once again that he is a player that has his ideas extremely clear: "It's not the moment to talk about this. First there are two tournaments before the US Open, then you have to start playing and there are many players that want to reach the final. What I want to do is put in a good performance and feel that I can play well and go far," said Nadal.
Original article: http://www.ultimahora.es/segunda.dba?-1+9+368698

TONI NADAL:

"The preparation we are doing is different from that for Wimbledon"

By H. Martín

PALMA.- Toni Nadal, Rafael's uncle and trainer, wants to start the last stretch of the year very carefully, without any euphoria. Toni admits that it is not the best point of the year for his nephew, although that does not reduce his prospects of lifting the titles in Toronto, Cincinnati or in New York. "One thing is the desire to win and quite another the reality, which is that we have not trained very well," he admitted yesterday at Mallorca Tennis Club, where he received the same award as Rafael.

"He has not trained well because of a question of planning." Toni recalled how hard the months before Roland Garros had been - - "From Barcelona, Rome, ¿Hamburg? (Monte Carlo surely!) until Paris... he played at a very high standard and won great titles" -- because of how tiring they had been for Rafael. "He needed to take a break. Then another problem has been finding a sparring partner. The last two weeks have been difficult," he added.

His nephew's preparation has been in no way like the preparation that took him to the Wimbledon final. "This time, for New York, it has been different, very different, because after competing in London, Rafael took an eight day break. It was necessary so that he could recover both physically and mentally after two months of very hard physical activity under pressure," he explained.

Toni Nadal thinks of the preparation for their North American adventure as pre-season training: "We have been training for two weeks at a low level and this week we have begun training with Moya."
Original article: http://www.diariodemallorca.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?

Weebl
08-02-2006, 02:33 PM
Cincinnati starts august 14 isn't it?
And mabe a stupid question but when does Toronto start? :P I read somewhere it starts on august 7, Mallorn says Thursday and the article says Tuesday :confused:

MariaV
08-02-2006, 02:38 PM
Cincinnati starts august 14 isn't it?
And mabe a stupid question but when does Toronto start? :P I read somewhere it starts on august 7, Mallorn says Thursday and the article says Tuesday :confused:
Yes, Toronto starts on August 7, Rafa will fly over there on Thursday so he'll be acclimatized before the tournament, Tuesday in the article means he'll probably playy on Tuesday, August 8. :)
Thanks for posting the articles Ania. :hug: :wavey:

Weebl
08-02-2006, 02:45 PM
Yes, Toronto starts on August 7, Rafa will fly over there on Thursday so he'll be acclimatized before the tournament, Tuesday in the article means he'll probably playy on Tuesday, August 8. :)
Thanks for posting the articles Ania. :hug: :wavey:
Thanks!! :hug:

Tschuk
08-02-2006, 05:21 PM
hi guys
im new here on this site, but it seems to be really good!
im from germany and i support rafa all the way! of course he can win toronto, he will defead roger, im sure he will!!!!
toby

MariaV
08-02-2006, 06:05 PM
Willkommen Toby! :wavey:

Weebl
08-02-2006, 07:42 PM
hi guys
im new here on this site, but it seems to be really good!
im from germany and i support rafa all the way! of course he can win toronto, he will defead roger, im sure he will!!!!
toby
That's the spirit :cool:
Welcome toby :)

veyonce
08-03-2006, 03:03 AM
Another spanish article translated by nou.amic of vr.com



Original article: http://www.diariodemallorca.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pNumEjemplar=1247&pIdSeccion=11&pIdNoticia=201541&rand=1154508531161

Nadal returns to the attack

The Manacorí is preparing for his American adventure, which begins in Toronto on Tuesday, with Moya

2 August
By Héctor Martín

PALMA.- This Thursday Rafael Nadal sets out on his most promising American adventure. He will travel to Toronto and then to Cincinnati, where this month's two Masters Series will take place, to prepare for his fourth assault on the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the season, which gets under way on 28 August.

"I'm looking forward to tackling the last part of the year with great illusion knowing that, whatever happens, it will have been a great season, but one I still have to try to finish well," said Nadal on his visit to Mallorca Tennis Club, where he was made an Honorary Member together with Toni Nadal, his uncle and trainer. The world number two is hoping he will remain free from injuries. Last year he held out until the Madrid final where he won, but the effort of doing so forced him to miss the Shanghai Masters Cup competed for by the eight best players of the year.

Rafael confessed that in recent weeks, since the Wimbledon final, he has only been training lightly, "not at a very high level", but since yesterday he has put his foot on the accelerator thanks to having an excellent hitting partner in Carlos Moya. "I have one week left to get myself in good shape and try to win my first match (next Tuesday) in Toronto," he remarked, knowing that in Canada he will be defending the title points he won last year.

The twenty-year-old has been training on a surface similar to the one he will encounter in the three North American tournaments that lie ahead. The only problem has been finding a hitting partner good enough to train at the same level as the Roland Garros double champion. "There hasn't been many people to train with until today with Carlos," he admitted, although he did not wish to make that an excuse.

With more than a month to go, everyone is already expecting to see the two number ones, the Swiss Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, in the final of the US Open in New York. They have met five times already in 2006 and the Mallorcan has won four of those five matches, including the one on hardcourt (in Dubai). "But we shouldn't be thinking of the final, first we're going to talk about Toronto. I don't think it's time to think of it yet, when it is still so far off. You can't make predictions," he said.

Despite his modesty, Nadal is longing to play in the US Open again: "I have never managed to play well there, I've never felt comfortable. One of my major objectives is to feel that I'm playing well in New York."

- Being made an Honorary Member of a club like Mallorca Tennis Club is a real privilege. Seventy year old Juan García Messía received the same award as Rafael and Toni Nadal. In the 29 editions of the Trofeo Cobra he created and organized, Juan managed to bring together the very best Spanish tennis players of the last three decades. Nadal regrets "never" having been able to play in one, especially "because of how important the tournament was for Mallorca".

"Now we have no tournament. Let's see if in the next few years one can be created because I think that this is the right moment," commented the world number two tennis player surrounded by children and with the temperature around them at an "unbearable" - as he described it - 37ºC.

Tschuk
08-03-2006, 09:07 AM
thank you for the article!
lets hope that rafa stays fit and can train harder in this week than before! then we will see a good performance of him at toronto and the us open.
he just has to believe in his power and cleverness, then he can reach everything! everything!!!

Mimi
08-03-2006, 09:26 AM
i especially like Duborik (wrong spelling again), the castles are very beautiful but due to heavy rains, the lazy mimi did not go, but my hotel has a good view on this :D , my guide told me that the tie was invented by croatia, thats why your flag has a tie on it :wavey:
I see you like my city. well done!!! Yeah Croatia is very beatifull. Expecially islands. The capital city is Zagreb not Zagerb!!

Mimi
08-03-2006, 09:53 AM
welcome tshuk :D

enjoy posting here, most rafa fans are nice people ;):D


thank you for the article!
lets hope that rafa stays fit and can train harder in this week than before! then we will see a good performance of him at toronto and the us open.
he just has to believe in his power and cleverness, then he can reach everything! everything!!!

Tschuk
08-03-2006, 10:50 AM
welcome tshuk :D

enjoy posting here, most rafa fans are nice people ;):D

cool :)
i hope i can talk with lots of people here, espacially rafa fans of course ;)

its a pitty that i cant see much of toronto :( hope that the other rafa fans here can tell me something about the tournament when it starts and when you see rafa winning and winning ;)

Johnny Groove
08-03-2006, 05:01 PM
cool :)
i hope i can talk with lots of people here, espacially rafa fans of course ;)

its a pitty that i cant see much of toronto :( hope that the other rafa fans here can tell me something about the tournament when it starts and when you see rafa winning and winning ;)

Hi Toby :wavey: :hug: Welcome to the board. Youll find it nice here, just try to avoid GM if you can...But its tough to resist ;)

Yes, Vamos Rafa! I hope he can defend his title! I hope that if he wins he is ok for Cincy, as last year he seemed tired, and the fact that he played an on-fire Tomas Berdych didnt help much :awww:

mallorn
08-04-2006, 10:08 AM
From The Wrap by Steve Tignor:
The Others

Posted 8/3/2006 @ 12:40 PM

Now that Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi have suffered early demises in D.C., let’s take a minute to look ahead. Monday will mark the return of the big boys to North America, as the summer’s first Masters event begins in Toronto and the U.S. Open Series hits high gear. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are scheduled to make their post-Wimbledon debuts. It will be interesting to see Nadal in particular match up against the world’s best on hard courts. Despite the fact that Federer skipped this event last year and Nadal claims he has been training “slackly,” it’s pretty much a lock that one of them will take home the winner’s trophy. How can I make this prediction? The two have, outrageously, won 12 of the last 14 Masters events (the exceptions came in Paris in 2005 and Hamburg in 2006, and only because neither entered those tournaments). Couple that with the fact that they’ve also won six straight Slams and you have to wonder: Who else in the near future on the men’s side has a chance to win anything bigger than the Tennis Channel Open or the Umag Classic? More to the point, does anyone other than Federer and Nadal have a chance to win in Toronto, or the following week at the Masters in Cincinnati? Let’s go down the short list of contenders and pretenders.

Ivan Ljubicic
The 27-year-old has performed consistently enough to climb to No. 3, though I question whether he’s really a worthy No. 3—Looby has only made one Slam semifinal in his career, after all, and he has a habit of losing the big match you think he should win (Baghdatis in Melbourne, anyone?) But he has made a few Masters finals, losing, naturally, to Nadal in Madrid last year and Federer in Key Biscayne in March. I think he can beat Nadal on hard courts, but not Federer. Let’s just say he’s got as good a shot as anyone to make a final in Toronto or Cincy.

David Nalbandian
He’s been hurt recently, and I’m not sure he’ll be in Toronto (he is still listed on the tournament website, for what that’s worth). If he does play, he’s one guy who’s proven he can beat Federer, and there’s no reason his steady, deep-ball game can’t hold its own with Nadal on a hard court. The question is whether Nalbandian has the drive to become a guy who wins big tournaments, rather than someone who does well week in, week out but can’t finish (Baghdatis in Melbourne, anyone?).

Andy Roddick
Believe it nor not, Roddick only turns 24 at the end of this month. He’s right—he really isn’t washed up! Canada was the site of his lone win over Federer, three years ago. I doubt he can duplicate that this summer, but I would love to see him play Nadal at night in either location. Roddick got off to a strong, newly aggressive start in Indianapolis; maybe too aggressive, because he hurt himself in L.A. the next week, which means his immediate fate is up in the air. If he’s healthy, I think he’s ready to play some good tennis. And while he’s dropped in the rankings, he’s still at least an even bet on hard courts against everyone other than Federer.

James Blake
The No. 1 American should be looking at the next two weeks as the biggest moment of his career to date. At 27, he finally has a real opportunity to come up with a breakthrough Masters title. He’s been on an upward trajectory for a year now, having made the final in Indian Wells after beating Nadal. (That’s another night match I want to see.) He’s as explosive as anyone, but is he ready to beat Federer? Not at the U.S. Open itself, but at the Masters level, yes. The question may be whether he can beat Nadal for a third time—you have to believe Rafa would would want that one badly (no?).

Marcos Baghdatis
The 21-year-old is No. 10 in the world but hasn’t won anything yet. He has shown, though, that he likes the stage, and that he can at least hold his own with Federer there. The trouble is Nadal, who beat the Bag man badly at both Wimbledon and Indian Wells. There’s a quarterfinal in him at one of these tournaments.

Fernando Gonzalez
Gonzo has a smart new coach, Larry Stefanki, and is serious about improving his backhand and his return of serve. Perhaps this will get him over the hump at a Masters event, where he has never reached a final. But I didn’t like his court positioning in his loss to Dmitry Tursunov in L.A.—too far back for hard courts. Tursunov actually out-hit the Chilean—has that ever been done before?

Lleyton Hewitt
He could be the wild card of the next month, depending on his tenacity level, which has wavered over the last year. He’s at his best grinding away on U.S. hard courts, and he gave Nadal a run on clay in Paris. Still, a win over Fed is highly unlikely, and he actually looked outclassed by Baghdatis at Wimbledon. We’ll see whether that was just a one-day aberration.

Dmitry Tursunov
OK, I may have misspoken when I called him a surfer (thanks for the info, Miguel; it's good to have you back to set things straight). But on court he does seem like a laid back guy—until he explodes. The Russian/Californian is playing the best tennis of his life, and if he’s dialed in, he would appear to be a threat to Nadal on hard courts. He’s got the big serve, and he should have time to run around and hit his monster inside-out forehand off the Spaniard’s topspin, à la Blake.

Tommy Haas
OK, here’s one guy who is not intimidated by Federer. He knew Rog back in the day, before he was the king, and he beat him then, too. Haas probably feels like that could be him. They played a five-setter in Australia, and Tommy looked good last week in L.A., fighting through to win a final when he wasn't at his best. But while he has a nice record this year and three titles, Haas has always tended to go away in the later rounds of the tournaments that matter.

(...)
http://www.tennis.com/blogs/thewrap/entry.asp?ENTRY_ID=294

mallorn
08-04-2006, 10:13 AM
From Globe and Mail:
Rogers Cup organizers expecting impressive turnout

BEVERLEY SMITH
From Friday's Globe and Mail

The epic rivalry between two of the most intriguing men's tennis players is about to continue.

Rafael Nadal, the Spanish player whose physical presence and chutzpah make him a world favourite, arrived last night in Toronto, ready to play at the Rogers Cup next week.

Tonight, the world's top player, Roger Federer will come, his laces tied, his elegance intact.

It is everything that new tournament director Grant Connell could hope for. Between them, Federer and Nadal have won eight of the past nine Grand Slams. He expects the rest of the top 20 players to make it to Toronto, as well.

Connell admitted yesterday he hadn't heard from the camps of either Andy Roddick, who won the tournament in 2003, or Andre Agassi, a three-time winner in the 1990s. But with Roddick, "no news is good news," Connell said yesterday. "He's a little bit hurt from last week, but we haven't heard anything, which is good news. I fully expect him."

Agassi is a bigger question mark. The 36-year-old player announced on the eve of Wimbledon that he would make the U.S. Open in three weeks his final tournament, but he's treading a fine line between getting enough games in to be ready, and yet trying not to fatigue or injure his aging body.

"With Andre, he's prepping for the U.S. Open and I don't know how his body is," Connell said. "He is in my mind a big question mark. I'm keeping every single one of my toes and fingers crossed."

He's hoping that because Agassi did not advance past the second round in this week's ATP tournament in Washington, that he may want to warm up for the U.S. Open.

None of the top 20 players has withdrawn, and Connell doesn't expect any to do so. In fact, the top four, including David Nalbandian and Ivan Ljubicic, did not play last week and should be fresh. Torontonians are licking their lips at the cast, and have already snapped up all the lower bowl tickets and all but 300 of the upper bowl tickets for the men's final match on Aug. 13.

The night of the opening ceremonies -- when Agassi is to be honoured -- is almost sold out, too. "Other tickets are selling fast," Connell said. "You can still get some good seats, but you wouldn't want to wait much longer."

And few seem to be worried about the kind of last-minute withdrawals that plagued the women's event last year in Toronto.

"I'm beginning to believe that tennis is finally growing up a bit more and it can stand alone," Connell said. "When you get pullouts like last year with the Williams sisters, that makes [selling] the next year that much harder. But the past two men's tournaments in Montreal and here, we got nine of the top 10 for one, and 10 of the top 10 for the other. What I've been trying to do is expect them to come, because historically they've shown up.

"We've had a good track record of top players coming to play and I don't want to assume anything else."

He said he wasn't even rattled when rumours surfaced last month that Nadal really didn't want to leave Spain for the month before the U.S. Open. "He's young. He loves to play. It's a major event. And he's healthy," Connell said.

"He's not old enough to pick and choose events to save his body. :rolleyes: He wants everything. He wants to win major events."

Nadal won last year when the men's tournament was in Montreal (and Federer skipped it), but Federer won two years ago in Toronto.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060804.wxtennis04/BNStory/Sports/home

the_natural
08-04-2006, 12:50 PM
Hi Toby :wavey: :hug: Welcome to the board. Youll find it nice here, just try to avoid GM if you can...But its tough to resist ;)

Yes, Vamos Rafa! I hope he can defend his title! I hope that if he wins he is ok for Cincy, as last year he seemed tired, and the fact that he played an on-fire Tomas Berdych didnt help much :awww:

judging from the scoreline he struggled to lose that match, Berdych said "I can beat Federer and Nadal ive done it before" but he didnt come close to blowing either man away in his victory of them :rolleyes: :rolleyes: And hes supposed to have a big power game, big serve, backhand, big forehand, and hes tall makin the serve even better, yet a tired Rafa still nearly won that match, and i bet the loss just made him that much stronger for the tighter matches

mallorn
08-04-2006, 07:57 PM
^^^ As far as I remember Rafa had MPs in that match, so it was definitely very close and could've gone either way.

From Tennis.com:
Rogers Cup Masters Series Preview

By Peter Dopkin, Online Editor, TENNIS.com

The ATP tour stops in Toronto August 7–13 for the seventh Masters Series event of 2006. A lot has changed since last year’s tournament, but defending champion Rafael Nadal is still kicking butt and taking names. The 2005 No. 1 seed, however, will be taking a backseat in the draw to Roger Federer this week.

The top two players in the world will be making their first appearances since Wimbledon and may have to shake off a little rust. Oddly enough, since Nadal’s victory in Canada a year ago, the North American hard courts are the one surface where Nadal and Federer haven’t faced off for a title. Nadal lost at the ’05 U.S. Open and ’06 Pacific Life Open to James Blake and he got wiped off the court in the second and third sets by Carlos Moya in the second round at the NASDAQ-100 Open.

But when all is said and done, this is still the same Rafael Nadal who ended up taking three matches, not three years, to figure out how to win on grass. So regardless of their time off and recent history, Federer and Nadal are certainly expected to battle it out in the finals.

At last year’s tournament David Nalbandian was the No. 9 seed and Ivan Ljubicic was No. 13. Neither of them made it passed the second round, but they have both risen through the rankings and early exits this time around would be nothing less than shock. Nalbandian is steady, and with his big serve and versatile game Ljubicic can be very dangerous. The Croat made it to the finals in Miami, but like everyone else this year whose name isn’t Nadal, he lost to Federer.

Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick were the No. 2 and 3 seeds last year, but neither one made it out of the second round either. It has been a sub-par 52 weeks for the duo as Roddick has dropped in the rankings to No. 10 and Hewitt to No. 12. The one thing they can both take solace in is the fact that neither one is Tim Henman. Last year Henman was the No. 10 seed and lost in the first round to Dominik Hrbaty. Now he is No. 64 in the world—one ahead of the less-than-intimidating Bjorn Phau.

Andre Agassi was the No. 4 seed in 2005 and lost to Nadal 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the final. This time around Andre will say goodbye to Canada. After his first-round loss at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic to Andrea Stoppini in straight sets, any win would be welcome.

The rest of the field in Toronto is loaded with talent, including James Blake, Nikolay Davydenko, Tommy Robredo, Mario Ancic, and Radek Stepanek.
http://www.tennis.com/news/news.aspx?id=37702

Johnny Groove
08-04-2006, 10:05 PM
I really want to see another fed-rafa final. The fact that it will only be best of 3 would mean there would be no time for tomfoolery in the first set.

mallorn
08-05-2006, 10:09 AM
Well last year's final will definitely not be repeated because Andre has withdrawn from the tournament. :sad:

From the official site:
Players Begin Rolling in to the Rexall Centre

http://www.rogerscupmen.com/5/photos/341x230/nadal0804-1.jpg

August 4, 2006 - The Rogers Cup presented by American Express is set to begin tomorrow and many of the world’s best players have already been spotted practicing on the grounds of the Rexall Centre.

The biggest name to be seen so far is Rafael Nadal (Spain), the defending champion of this event and the current No. 2 ranked player in the INDESIT ATP rankings. He touched down in Toronto on Thursday night and was found practicing on centre court on Friday afternoon.

The Rogers Cup presented by American Express marks Nadal’s first tournament since he finished as the runner up at Wimbledon. As one of nine ATP Masters Series events on tour, it is safe to assume that Nadal is more than ready to compete at this event.

“As a Masters Series tournament, it is very important for me to do well here, so we’ll see what happens,” says Nadal.

Also seen on the practice courts were the likes of No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic (Croatia), No. 11 Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus), No. 20 Gaston Gaudio (Argentina), and hometown favourite Daniel Nestor (Toronto), among others. All players seem ready to go and thus far, they are impressed with the overall look of the Rexall Centre.

“The site looks great,” says Jonas Bjorkman (Sweden). “Everything seems to be set up and ready for us.”

Other players were already feeling the presence of world No. 1 Roger Federer (Switzerland), who is set to arrive today, before he appeared on the grounds.

“I think it’s unfair to name the tournament after the number one player in the world,” joked Thomas Johansson (Sweden), the 1999 Rogers Cup champion. “Next year in Montreal I think it should be called the Thomas Cup!”

A lot of action is still to come at the Rogers Cup presented by American Express. The remaining players are scheduled to arrive in the next couple of days and play begins tomorrow morning with the qualifying draw, where 32 men will be vying for one of eight spots in the main draw. The official draw takes place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday while main draw action gets underway Monday.
http://www.rogerscupmen.com/3/en/news/2006/practice.asp

mallorn
08-05-2006, 07:58 PM
The draw is out.

http://www.atptennis.com/en/common/TrackIt.asp?file=http://www.atptennis.com/1/posting/2006/421/MDS.pdf

FEDERER, Roger vs MATHIEU, Paul-Henri
SERRA, Florent vs GROSJEAN, Sebastien
BRACCIALI, Daniele vs TURSUNOV, Dmitry
MIRNYI, Max vs HAAS, Tommy

HEWITT, Lleyton vs CHELA, Juan Ignacio
LOPEZ, Feliciano vs JOHANSSON, Thomas
SIMON, Gilles vs SRICHAPHAN, Paradorn
MALISSE, Xavier vs DAVYDENKO, Nikolay

LJUBICIC, Ivan vs ALMAGRO, Nicolas
MARTIN, Alberto vs CLEMENT, Arnaud
FERRERO, Juan Carlos vs GOLDSTEIN, Paul
SODERLING, Robin vs GONZALEZ, Fernando

BAGHDATIS, Marcos vs BENNETEAU, Julien
HRBATY, Dominik vs Q
PHAU, Bjorn vs ACASUSO, Jose
SAFIN, Marat vs ROBREDO, Tommy

STEPANEK, Radek vs VLIEGEN, Kristof
MOYA, Carlos vs GAUDIO, Gaston
BJORKMAN, Jonas vs HENMAN, Tim
MURRAY, Andy vs FERRER, David

NIEMINEN, Jarkko vs Q
POLANSKY, Peter vs DANCEVIC, Frank
Q vs Q
GINEPRI, Robby vs NALBANDIAN, David

BLAKE, James vs BESTER, Philip
SANTORO, Fabrice vs GASQUET, Richard
Q vs VERDASCO, Fernando
Q vs RODDICK, Andy

BERDYCH, Tomas vs NESTOR, Daniel
YOUZHNY, Mikhail vs RUSEDSKI, Greg
Q vs Q
MASSU, Nicolas vs NADAL, Rafael

Johnny Groove
08-05-2006, 08:31 PM
tough draw for rafa. Fat Dave, James, Andy, Richie, Tomas, all in his half :eek:

mallorn
08-05-2006, 08:36 PM
Yeah, that's the beauty of MS events. :shrug: I hope Rafa is well-rested, focused and healthy - if he is, he should be ok. *fingers crossed*

Björki
08-05-2006, 08:44 PM
Vamos Rafa :bounce:

Johnny Groove
08-05-2006, 09:32 PM
Vamos Rafa :bounce:

Fat Dave is an affectionate term... :sad:

silver7
08-05-2006, 10:11 PM
Vamooosss Rafa!!!
Kick Massu´s @ss :D

NaDALiTa
08-06-2006, 12:25 AM
Did Mirka made the draw this time...... :bigcry:

VaMoS RaFa you'LL RoCk ToRoNTo whatever draw you have http://rylfr.free.fr/smiley/fete/00000821.gif

Xristos
08-06-2006, 04:22 AM
A VAAAAAAAAAAAMOOOOOOOOOS RAFA!! Beat the ugly Massu!

the_natural
08-06-2006, 08:57 AM
Well Rafa has some tough guys in his draw but he also gets a qualifier in the second round no? I think Federer does have a tougher draw this time (Sad no agassi), because of Tommy, Tommy doesnt fear Federer, he has some anger towards him too, this is the place for him to prove himself and to get revenge for the 2 bad losses to fed this year (and the win at Koyoong :))I pray tommy will get through and finally beat Federer like he deserves but hes got tough competitors. Blake Roddick and Gasquet have to knock each otehr out yes? before they verse Rafa? Those 3 could hurt Rafa... And federer would do better against Mathieu than Rafa, none of the guys in the draw fear Rafa which is his only problem. Hopefully Mathieu will bring his arrogance along with him into his first round match and try to win.

BTW someone said "no time for monkeying around in the first set" if Rafa and Roger meet in the final, But id like to point out, RG and Wimbledon the first sets were just because he was really really nervous in 2 of the biggest matches in his career (to date), in Toronto there should be more confidence and self belief should he make the final (I dont wanna jinx it!!! Im such bad luck :P)

the_natural
08-06-2006, 08:59 AM
BTW Tursunov is a very difficult opponent, he would havea chance against Rafa if they played, at the very least he would make him very tired. Id love to see some revenge against blake :mad: :mad: :mad: :devil: :devil: :devil: :mad: :mad: :mad: And bloody Berdych!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :mad: :mad: :devil: :devil: :devil: :mad: :mad: :mad:

NaDALiTa
08-06-2006, 04:10 PM
the problem in the draw of Federer is that all these guys are afraid of him before they play : Paul Henri Mathieu, Ljubicic,Hewitt......they know they'll lose so they don't give their best....except Marat Safin but he is tired !! :lol:

HybridTheory
08-06-2006, 10:51 PM
Rafa will just win the tournament :angel: :bounce:

mallorn
08-06-2006, 11:58 PM
That's the spirit. ;)

Here's Rafa's half of the draw again, after Andy Roddick's withdrawal:

STEPANEK, Radek vs VLIEGEN, Kristof
MOYA, Carlos vs GAUDIO, Gaston
BJORKMAN, Jonas vs HENMAN, Tim
MURRAY, Andy vs FERRER, David

NIEMINEN, Jarkko vs GABASHVILI, Teimuraz
POLANSKY, Peter vs DANCEVIC, Frank
HERNYCH, Jan vs MAHUT, Nicolas
SANGUINETTI, Davide vs NALBANDIAN, David

BLAKE, James vs BESTER, Philip
SANTORO, Fabrice vs GASQUET, Richard
RAM, Rajeev vs VERDASCO, Fernando
GINEPRI, Robby vs KIM, Kevin

BERDYCH, Tomas vs NESTOR, Daniel
YOUZHNY, Mikhail vs RUSEDSKI, Greg
LEE, Hyung-Taik vs FALLA, Alejandro
MASSU, Nicolas vs NADAL, Rafael

Rafa isn't scheduled to play either singles or doubles tomorrow, so we'll likely see him on Tuesday.

HybridTheory
08-07-2006, 12:10 AM
It's tough, but at least Safin, Hewitt & Davydenko aren't in his half of the draw.
Really I think he'll reach the final
VAMOSSS!!! :p

veyonce
08-07-2006, 02:22 AM
Reuters

Federer, Nadal head to Toronto rested and prepared
Mon Aug 7, 2006 1:21 AM BST

TORONTO, August 6 (Reuters) - Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal resume their gold-standard rivalry after a month away from tennis as the top two in the world headline the field at the Toronto Masters starting on Monday.

While Nadal's summer holiday was drama-filled - a minor car crash at home in Mallorca and days in the company of 30 relatives at Disneyland in Paris - it was low-key fun in in the sun for Federer.

The Swiss world number one spent nearly all of his free time at his training and holiday base of Dubai. Along for the tennis portion were coach Tony Roche and fitness trainer Pierre Pagannini plus girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec.

After beating the Spaniard at Wimbledon to reverse a run of four consecutive losses in finals to the 20-year-old, Federer was a man at ease with his well-earned rest.

"I've had a nice, hot build-up," Federer told reporters. "My holidays were nice and relaxing.

"I was surprised at how well I felt. After the long clay season and then playing on the grass I didn't feel tired.

"That was a great sign. I was ready to go to the beach after three days. Usually I can't move for a week. I didn't have to heal anything."

Federer, holder of eight grand slam titles, including his fourth in a row at Wimbledon, opens his campaign in Toronto against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu on Tuesday.

Nadal begins with Chile's Nicolas Massu.

"I didn't miss tennis, I don't need it all the time," Nadal told reporters. "I have played a lot in the last months.

"I was a little tired and had problems with a hand. I needed to stop

"After one month away, I'm ready to begin a new season. It's tough to get the rhythm back quickly, but I will try my best."

Federer's 56-4 season is marred only by four defeats to Nadal.

But the Swiss, with six titles so far in 2006, is not worried.

"I've had the best start of my career," Federer told reporters. "I've played three grand slam finals and won two of them, losing to only one player.

"I'm feeling very comfortable."

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=2006-08-07T002149Z_01_B812388_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-TORONTO.XML

mallorn
08-07-2006, 09:25 AM
From Tennis X:
Posted on August 06, 2006

Federer, Nadal Mark Return of Big-Boy Tennis at MS-Canada

By Richard Vach, Tennis-X.com Senior Writer

http://www.tennis-x.com/images/players/federerandnadal.jpg

The ATP Tour resumes this week after a one-month respite as world No. 1 Roger Federer and No. 2 Rafael Nadal resume their rivalry at the Masters Series-Canada, the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Wait a minute, you say.

We've been playing tennis. The US Open Series has started. James Blake won Indianapolis, Tommy Haas won LA, and over the weekend little Arnaud Clement won Washington. Arnaud Clement, whose business is scrambling around the court frustrating British teenagers.

And as Arnaud would tell you, business is good.

But you have to understand, the last month has been little-boy tennis. Federer and Nadal, who haven't competed since Wimbledon, usher in the return of big-boy tennis and the real start to the U.S. hardcourt season.

You see, when Roger and Rafa take a rest, other players win titles. When Roger and Rafa are playing, especially at the same tournament (and these days they seem to be text messaging each other to align their schedules), only Roger and Rafa take home titles.

These days the Swiss and the Spaniard are professional tennis. They are on another level. Like Tiger Woods at his peak, events without tennis' now-great rivalry are second-tier -- where former greats, up-and-comers, and those ranked No. 3 and below all scrap it out. In the end fans sum up the winner such as a Blake or Haas or Clement and get excited, exclaiming 'Gee, maybe (fill in the blank) can now challenge Rog and Rafa!'

If history is any indication, they won't.

Federer and Nadal have won the last six Slams between them, and 12 of the last 14 Masters Series events. Those two of the last 14 MS events they didn't win? It was because they both skipped them.

The Swiss and Spaniard have both drawn difficult early roads this week in Toronto, as is the norm at Masters Series events, which pack roughly the Top 50 players into the draw without the easy early-rounders you see players get handed at the Slams.

Federer opens against the talented Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu who he has never dropped a set to in two meetings, but then faces two players who gave him trouble in his pre-No. 1 days. A second-round meeting looms with another Frenchman, Sebastien Grosjean, who has beaten Federer twice, though the two have not faced each other for over two years. In the third round the Swiss can renew his rivalry with the former No. 2-ranked Tommy Hass, who has beaten Federer twice, and stretched him to five sets in a loss this year at the Australian Open.

Nadal starts against former Olympic hardcourt champ Nicolas Massu, who retired against Nadal with injury in their only previous meeting in 2004. Second up for the Spaniard will be a qualifier, then a big-serving challenge from either No. 13 seed Tomas Berdych, Canadian wildcard Daniel Nestor, or former Canadian Greg Rusedski.

"I've been training slackly, I haven't really had good enough opponents to be able to push things more, either," said Nadal earlier this week. The Spaniard has taken time off since the Wimbledon final and said he only seriously started training again approximately a week ago. "I have worked with Carlos Moya. Now I'm about to play the Toronto tournament so I'll up the level a bit more this week."

Pundits looking for chinks in the Nadal and Federer armor cite huge serving on hardcourts followed by an effective volley as the best chance to overpower the two. Nadal's effective lefty passing shots and sometimes-jaw dropping scrambling ability have left that theory unproven, and Federer said if he had to play himself he would serve and volley the entire time -- something no player has accomplished against the Swiss this year en route to a win.

Among the non-No. 1-2 multitude, potential upsets to watch for in openers include (16) Tommy Haas vs. Max "The Beast" Mirnyi, (11) Lleyton Hewitt vs. Juan Ignacio Chela considering the Australian's dodgy history with Argentines, (6) Nikolay Davydenko coming straight off the clay title at Sopot vs. Xavier "X-Man" Malisse, (15) Fernando "Gonzo" Gonzalez vs. the equally-explosive Swede Robin Soderling, (7) Tommy Robredo vs. former No. 1 Marat Safin, and (12) David Ferrer vs. Andy Murray if the Brit can recover from blisters on his hand in Washington.

Two prominent Americans will miss the MS-Canada with back injuries -- Andy Roddick who pulled over the weekend, and Andre Agassi who wants to give his body a rest for a strong charge at next week's MS-Cincinnati event.

In last year's final, Nadal outlasted Agassi 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

Former MS-Canada champs in the 2006 field are Nadal (2005), Federer (2004), Safin (2000), and Thomas Johansson (1999).
http://www.tennis-x.com/story/2006-08-06/c.php

mallorn
08-07-2006, 09:29 AM
From The London Free Press:
Federer, Nadal rivalry plum for Rogers Cup

Mon, August 7, 2006
By MARK KEAST, SUN MEDIA

If men's pro tennis is going to grow and flourish in North America beyond where it is now -- and there's plenty of growing to do if that popularity is ever going to get anywhere near the vicinity of pro football in the U.S. and pro hockey in Canada -- a lot of it is going to come down to how well the sport's personalities are packaged and sold.

Two bookends in the ATP's sales strategy were on display yesterday at the Rexall Centre during a pre-Roger's Cup media event. One would be hardpressed to top the rivalry between Switzerland's Roger Federer, No. 1 in ATP rankings, and Spain's Rafael Nadal, No. 2, anywhere in pro sports today. Having 17 of the top 20 players in the world here also is an achievement. On the other hand, Andy Roddick's announcement yesterday that he wasn't coming because of a bothersome strain in his left side doesn't help an event that seemingly always sees its share of high-profile withdrawals, whether it's men's or women's pro tennis.

Still, organizers were quick to play up the positives. And Federer-Nadal is the primary selling point. They've met five times this year, and despite Federer's domination as the far-and-away No. 1 in terms of ATP rankings, Nadal seems to have his number -- while Federer won their last encounter, the Wimbledon final in July, Nadal holds a 4-2 lead in finals showdowns, a 6-2 edge overall. Federer, riding a string of 48 consecutive matches in North America, is being lauded by some as possibly the best ever. Five years younger than the 25-year-old Federer, Nadal, with his fist-pumping, chiselled physique, flashy shirts and white Capri pants, brings pizzazz, showmanship and sex appeal to men's tennis that belies an off-court humility and reserve.

When asked yesterday about the importance of selling glamour in an age of cosmic celebrity worship, Nadal, somewhat sheepishly, admitted: "I can't. I don't have an opinion on that. Maybe I'm a little bit shy."

That humility, plus a sense of humour on display yesterday, and his honesty about his broken English, are all endearing. Perhaps that, plus the squeaky clean off-court reputation of Federer, and the lack of any boorishness in their rivalry, is a reason why it should continue to capture interest beyond the hardcore tennis aficionado.

But trying to sell pro tennis in North America with two Europeans as your selling point isn't a slam dunk. On Saturday, Rogers Cup tournament director Grant Connell talked specifically about the pluses in having the No. 10-ranked Roddick, perhaps the most marketable American-born player, playing here, to help overcome Andre Agassi's withdrawal last week.

Yesterday was a different story.

"I knew his injury was still an issue," Connell said in a release. Ticket sales are up 20 per cent compared to last year's tournament in Montreal, he added. "It's no longer the Pete (Sampras) and Andre (Agassi) show," Connell said. Growing the interest beyond the hardcore into the sight lines of the casual sports fan or entertainment seeker, now that's more of a challenge.

As Federer said: "I think (the rivalry) is a good thing. I think (the hype surrounding it) is deserved. Playing back-to-back grand slam finals has helped that equation. He's No. 2 but he's been able to beat me more than I've beaten him, and that's something that hasn't happened in a long time."

Main draw action in the Rogers Cup gets going today. The tournament runs until Sunday.
http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Sports/OtherSports/2006/08/07/1722540-sun.html

mallorn
08-07-2006, 09:36 AM
From Globe and Mail:
Federer, Nadal would make an ideal final for Rogers Cup

TOM TEBBUTT

Globe and Mail Update

Young girls squealing at tennis stars is nothing new. It happened with Bjorn Borg in the 1970s, John McEnroe in the 1980s and Andre Agassi in the early 1990s.

Today, judging by the twin phalanxes of red-shirted Rogers Cup security guards who protected him as he rode in a golf cart through the crowds at the Rogers Cup on Saturday, Rafael Nadal is the new rock star of tennis.

Nadal was coming back from a practice session on the grounds when screaming, shouting admirers, mostly teenaged girls, rushed at the golf cart. Their enthusiasm for the bronzed and boyishly virile :D world No. 2 was frenzied, bordering on the scary.

The demographic more inclined to support No. 1-ranked Roger Federer is generally older and more sedate. It respects the classic stylishness of the man and his game.

Maybe it has something do to with the players' ages — Nadal turned 20 in June while Federer reaches the tennis-mature benchmark of 25 tomorrow.

“The way he acts, the way he dresses is more toward the younger generation,” Federer said about their respective fan bases. “I'm more all the way through the group of ages. When I look I have so many fans from different age groups it's unbelievable.”

Most tennis aficionados, and Rogers Cup organizers, will be hoping the two make it through this week to the final.

Based on recent tournaments, they should.

They have reached the final of the past four events they have both played in – Monte Carlo, Rome, the French Open and Wimbledon.

The Wimbledon match was of such high quality that an expectant sports world is beginning to mention their rivalry in the same breath as Agassi-Pete Sampras, Boris Becker-Stefan Edberg, and Borg-McEnroe.

Nadal, except for withdrawing from the quarter-final of the pre-Wimbledon Queen's Club event with a shoulder strain, has played in five finals in a row. But, in that category at least, Federer has him totally eclipsed.

In yet another mind-boggling statistic associated with him, the supreme Swiss has reached the final of the 16 tournaments he has entered over the past 14 months, dating back to a semi-final loss to Nadal at last year's French Open.

That is a feat unequalled since Ivan Lendl reached 18 finals in a row over eight months in 1981-82.

Lendl, along with Australian great Roy Emerson, will join Federer for the opening ceremonies tonight marking the 125th anniversary of the Canadian championships.

Federer has met Lendl once but better knows Emerson, who runs tennis clinics in Gstaad, Switzerland. “He helped me milk my cow [a present after his first Wimbledon title],” Federer joked about Emerson Sunday, “because he was from a farming family.” :lol:

Commenting on his streak of 16 finals, he said, “It's amazing because I've put it on the line many times.”

Tomorrow, 2004 champion Federer and defending champion Nadal each begin their quest for a second Rogers Cup title.

Andy Roddick, the 2003 winner, withdrew Sunday because of a lower left side strain sustained two weeks ago in Los Angeles.

This afternoon, Canadian No. 1 Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., plays Peter Polansky of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Daniel Nestor of Toronto takes on 13th seed Tomas Berdych.

Philip Bester of North Vancouver, B.C., faces the fifth-seeded James Blake tonight.

The Rogers Cup is part of the U.S. Open Series, a linking of the 11 men's and women's hard-court events leading up to the U.S. Open beginning on Aug. 28.

While it is a stretch to believe players are driven by its highly-publicized points race and the resulting potential $1-million (U.S.) payoff based on performance at Flushing Meadows, the U.S. Open Series has successfully created a television package that has event semi-finals and finals shown, mostly on ESPN2, each weekend in the United States.

There's no doubt whom ESPN2, and their Canadian counterparts CBC and Radio-Canada, hope to be featuring in next Sunday's Rogers Cup final beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060806.rogers07/BNStory/Sports/home

mallorn
08-07-2006, 09:39 AM
And from The Wrap, by Steve Tignor (featuring Kamakshi of Court Coverage (http://home.cogeco.ca/~courtcoverage/)):
Trials and Errors

Posted 8/7/2006 @ 11:45 AM
Hi Steve,

Not much of substance to contribute today, mostly due to a spell of bad timing: if I were a player, I'd have been spraying shots all over the
place.

The plan going into the morning was to watch Wayne Arthurs win his qualifying match and talk to him briefly afterwards. Arthurs is one of those
great cult players who's never becomes a big star but has nevertheless carved out a distinct identity and following on the circuit. Like many such players, he's got an unusual career trajectory, something legendary about his game, and an appealing underdog-who-made-(pretty)-good quality.

Six years after holding his serve 111 straight times at Wimbledon, Arthurs was beaten in the first round there this year by the ultimate cult player himself, Fabrice Santoro. He ended up flat on the ground with back trouble during the match. When the trainer asked what the problem was, Arthurs reportedly replied, I'm too old.

This year's struggles come after a solid 2005 season that saw him win his first career title at the ripe old age of 33, and he's said his results in the next few months will determine whether he carries on or calls it quits. His first child, a daughter, was born in March.

It seems like as a good a time as any to ask him to look back -- and forward.

Anyway, that being the plan, it should be no surprise that he proceeded to lose 6-3, 6-2 in desultory fashion against Teimuraz Gabashvili. The chances of an interview were further scuttled when the match ended around 1:15 p.m., just when all the machinery was being mobilized for a Rafael Nadal press conference scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.

So the new plan was to cut my losses and instead see if Nadal would have any profound thoughts
to offer.

Naturally, though, "scheduled to begin" turned out to be the operative phrase. The minutes ticked by. And by. Finally, after about 40 minutes of waiting, I decided to wander out and catch a little of Kevin Kim vs. George Bastl. An empty chair can only be a compelling spectacle for so long.

When I wandered back five minutes later, Nadal had arrived, the press conference had started, and... the door was locked.

It's never locked.

I looked at my open-toed sandals. Kicking the door down wasn't really an option. So I turned around and went back upstairs. Kim and Bastl were just starting a very pretty first-set tiebreak, sprinkled with crowd-pleasing volleys from the Swiss player who memorably ended Sampras' Wimbledon career. But two forehand misses and double fault were too costly in the face of Kim's consistency, and Bastl was never able to seriously threaten in the second. Kim won 7-6(3), 6-3.

Meanwhile (according to the transcript), Nadal related how he's spent his time since Wimbledon: fishing, a minor car accident, an event for Nike in Amsterdam, and "thirty days of family parties."

"I was a little bit tired and I have a little bit of soreness in my hand so I need to stop, recharge myself," he said. "Now the first tournament (is) more difficult because when you go a month without competition, it's tough to get the rhythm."

He wasn't specifically asked about his draw this week, but with Roddick out, all eyes are looking at a fourth-round meeting with James Blake, who has a 2-0 record against him. It was his defeat against Blake at Indian Wells, not Federer at Wimbledon, that Nadal named when asked about his most "challenging" loss this year. "I didn't play very good and he was playing very good," he said of the Indian Wells encounter. He did say the toughest win was his five-set victory against Federer in Rome.

http://home.cogeco.ca/~courtcoverage/inprogress/TO06Nadal2.jpg

Nadal brushed off a question about whether having two dominant Europeans hurts the sport in North America, but the most eloquent rebuttal may have been the mob scene that masqueraded as his practice session on Court 4 earlier in the day. A mass of fans with pens, caps, magazines and cameras were already flying behind the golf cart ferrying him to the court, and crowds were lined up four or five deep by the time he began hitting the ball. Things were reportedly similar when Federer had a hitting session on the grounds yesterday.

Today was also the aforementioned 'family day', which means face painting, cotton candy, kiddie shows, and maybe a little tennis just to unwind. The qualifying draw seems weaker than usual this year, so many practice sessions drew large crowds today.

By 4:30 p.m., Nadal was back on Court 4 for another workout. So was the mob.

Kamakshi
http://www.tennis.com/blogs/thewrap/entry.asp?ENTRY_ID=296

Johnny Groove
08-07-2006, 05:13 PM
Damn, did all these people think the summer was so boring without the 2? When they start playing, a novel is written about their next tourney :rolleyes:

MariaV
08-08-2006, 01:45 AM
LOL Blaze, a novel! :wavey: Anyway, nice articles, thanks a lot Ania! :kiss: :hug:
Rafa is up 2nd on Stadium Court.

Stadium
Matches Start At: 11:00 AM
Max MIRNYI (BLR) vs Tommy HAAS (GER)

NOT BEFORE 1:00 PM
Nicolas MASSU (CHI) vs Rafael NADAL (ESP)

And our beloved Fed is playing the night session vs PHM.

Johnny Groove
08-08-2006, 05:30 AM
LOL Blaze, a novel! :wavey: Anyway, nice articles, thanks a lot Ania! :kiss: :hug:
Rafa is up 2nd on Stadium Court.

Stadium
Matches Start At: 11:00 AM
Max MIRNYI (BLR) vs Tommy HAAS (GER)

NOT BEFORE 1:00 PM
Nicolas MASSU (CHI) vs Rafael NADAL (ESP)

And our beloved Fed is playing the night session vs PHM.

:lol: yeah, novels is what im seeing. They couldnt just do some Haiku or some Shakespeare short stories. They feel the need to go all out with some F. Scott Fitzgerald and the great J.K. Rowling impersinations. :lol:

On a side note: VAMOS RAFA!!!!

mallorn
08-08-2006, 09:48 AM
Journalists have been waxing lyrical about R&R for a long time now. :lol:

Thanks for the schedule Maria. :smooch: I think I'll be able to see Rafa's match (you never know with my s***** channel :rolleyes: ).

Rafa's interview is finally up. :yeah:
2006 ROGERS MASTERS
TORONTO, ONTARIO
August 7, 2006
RAFAEL NADAL

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rafael.

Q. How have you spent your time since Wimbledon?

RAFAEL NADAL: So I have one week off at home doing some activities, some accidents with the car.

Q. We read about that. What happened?

RAFAEL NADAL: Big mess, no? Is nothing special. I was 30 kilometers for hour, so very slow. How you say, distraction?

I stay home fishing, go to the beach the first week. After the next week I begin little bit practicing, not much, one hour and a half every day. After I have one thing with Nike in Amsterdam. After I have three days with the all family, 30 people, 30 persons, in Euro Disney, parties. I start preparing for here, no?

So that's my schedule.

Q. When you are away from tennis, do you miss the competition?

RAFAEL NADAL: Not much. Sometimes yes, but not much because I was playing a lot the last months, I was a little bit tired. I have a little bit problem in my hand, so I was need to stop, no? So that's good.

I begin now another time. And now is the first tournament. Is going to be difficult because when you are one month without the competition, it's tough get the rhythm.

But I'm going to try my best. It's important tournament for me. I am very happy be here. I am going to compete all the time, so that's important for me, no?

Q. Can you talk about the rivalry with Roger, why it's so popular with people, why it's caught on as much as it has?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I answer this question a lot of time, so...

Maybe is good for the tennis because the public, we play five finals this year, so that's good for the public, sure, because the public watch the matches. He can say this time win here clay, grass, hard. That's nice.

And for me is very good. I am the No. 2. I am playing unbelievable year for me. Roger is one of the best of the history for sure, no? I not trying to compete against him, no. I am trying myself, trying playing good, improve my game. So that's very important for me. I'm maybe five years younger than him, so I need improve my game.

So that's very important for me, no?

I am young, and I need continuing not thinking about the No. 1, not thinking about compete Federer, Federer. I'm not thinking about that, never. I'm just thinking about my game, about I need improve the serve, I need improve little bit playing more aggressive sometimes. I am thinking about that, no? Is good, a lot of matches against the No. 1 and the No. 2.

Q. Your thoughts on the level of interest in men's pro tennis compared to Europe and other countries, and the fact that Roger and yourself both being European has negatively impacted that growth?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't have opinion about that, no, because I don't know exactly how is the tennis in the United States, in North America. I don't know exactly how is the popular of the tennis now here in Canada, North America.

In Europe now, maybe in Spain - I know Spain - Spain is improving. We have a lot of players. But the popular of tennis is improve, so that's good, no, for the tennis, for the sport?

So maybe North America always is a popular sport, but I don't know exactly how is in this moment, no?

Q. Tremendous amount of success on clay and other surfaces. How important is it for you to show that you can dominate on something like outdoor hard court?

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe if I am playing good on hard, I play very complete year, no, because if you are playing good on clay, good on grass, good on hard, you are playing a very good year, so I going to try that.

I was playing good on hard this year I was winning in Dubai, semifinals in Indian Wells, third round in Miami, no? :confused: Is a good tournaments, no? That's good.

So we will see the next month, the next three tournaments here. We will see.

Q. What do you think about Spain losing in the tournament of soccer?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it was a disappointing moment for everybody, no? We had -- we was playing very good the first three matches, qualifying round, and after we lost against France, no? We always have a bad luck.

Q. You think they'll come back next time?

RAFAEL NADAL: We going to see in 2010. We have the European Cup now in two years. We going to see.

Q. You are very happy you broke Vilas' records?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was a good moment for me. I was winning every tournament on clay. That's very nice moment. Sure is important for me have this record, no? But the most important thing for me is not the record, is continue playing at a high level, at the best level after my injury. I come back and win the same like last year, maybe I improve a little bit.

Q. Muchas gracias.

RAFAEL NADAL: You're welcome.

Q. What is the most difficult aspect of keeping that record going and your standard? Is it concentration? Is it the physical considerations? Is it technique?

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe the positive mentality, that's all. I think always I believe that's the most important thing - not just in tennis, no, but in everything on life, so...

Q. Can you talk about your confidence coming in as the defending champion at this event?

RAFAEL NADAL: It's not exactly the same tournament, is Montréal and Toronto. So the court is a little bit different. Is similar, but Montréal was a little bit faster. Toronto, I lost here in first round two years ago. I hope this year not the same, no? I want to play good. I want to find my level, my best level here, that's important.

And the first match is going to be tough after one month out of competition. The first match is always very difficult. And I play against a good player, no, Massu. Is going to be important, the first match. We will see.

Q. Which match has been your most challenging this year?

RAFAEL NADAL: What do you want to listen? The one of I win or the one of I lose? Because if you say one of I lose, maybe against Blake in Indian Wells. He play very good, no? He was playing very good. If I win the one match, when I win against Federer in Rome, no?

Q. You're a very popular player, bring style to men's pro tennis. Could you talk about how important style and glamour is? Your record speaks for itself, but speak about the importance of style and glamour in this age of pro sports.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I can't. I don't have opinion of that. You can opine, everybody can opine, but not me. And I'm a little bit shy. Prefer don't speak a lot about me, no?

Q. You've talked about focusing on getting better. Do you have in the back of your mind any long-term goals, maybe being one of the best of all times, better than Federer? How do you approach your long-term goals in the sport?

RAFAEL NADAL: I say the same. I am not thinking about Federer, no? Federer is one of the best of the history. Do one of the best of the histories, I don't have -- is very, very difficult, no?

I thinking about every day practicing at hundred percent, every day know exactly what can I do for improve. I want to continuing like this. If I continuing like this with positive mentality, improving my game, maybe in the next three years I going to improve more, no? So we will see. You never know.

Maybe sometimes I am playing good and in the next year I going to play bad. You never know. But is not my expect, no? I want continue improve, and that's my goal.

And 'improve' is not improve on the results, is improve on the game. Sometimes you improve, and the results... Is very difficult improve the results. For my serve, the most important thing is be happy with me and improve my game.

Q. What part of your game do you think needs the most improvement?

RAFAEL NADAL: You can improve all. Especially I can improve a little bit more my serve, my volley, my winner. That's the most important point, no?

Q. The media likes to give nicknames to players. If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would you call yourself?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know.

End of FastScripts...
http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006rogers/080706RN.html

And from Roger's interview:
Q. The rivalry with Rafael, is that overhyped or overblown or is it good for men's tennis?

ROGER FEDERER: I think it deserves the attention because, I mean, we've been playing so good for really the last one and a half years. I mean, me longer. But he's really been coming along since his French Open win back in '05. He's been able to back it up on clay and then also he started, for me obviously, to improve on hard court and on grass. The difference is not that big any more. It's not that fast like it used to be. He's such a good player that he's been able to play quite comfortably finals in a row.

We've had so many finals this year, which is good for the sport I think. Over the last few Grand Slams and Masters Series, we've been able to win every one of them. I think for this reason, playing back-to-back Grand Slam finals in a row, helps that equation. On top of that, he's been No. 2 in the world. He's been able to beat me more than I've been able to beat him. That's something hasn't happened for a long time, you know, since I'm No. 1. So I think that's why the attention's so big.

Like I say, I think it's deserved.
http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006rogers/080706RF.html

silver7
08-08-2006, 08:04 PM
:woohoo: Good and solid Match Rafa :yeah:

cheyk
08-08-2006, 08:04 PM
Nadal def Massu 6-3 6-2 :D

mallorn
08-08-2006, 08:14 PM
That wasn't bad at all. :D

Rafa started a bit slow but then showed some excellent baseline play. What's totally confusing is his first serve %, which is usually so high: 50% in the first set and 61% in the second. :eek: I don't understand this: he said he didn't have good hitting partners in Mallorca, so it would follow logically that his groundstrokes might have been rusty but instead it was his serve! That's the one shot he can practise alone FGS! :shrug:

On a side note, I hope he isn't growing a pony! http://vamosrafael.com/messageboard/images/smiles/icon_gaah.gif

MariaV
08-08-2006, 08:19 PM
Well well well, 6-3 6-2 in 1 h 48 min, that wasn't exactly easy to watch. I really wish he took less time. :lol: My short report before Marat's match, not that anyone needs it.
Jerry Armstrong umped again, there was quite a strong wind and Rafa was clearly match rusty, some astonishing errors at the beginning. Massu chose serve to start, and in the 2nd game had 3 BPs but Rafa hold. It was Rafa who broke first but Massu broke back right away. Nico gave his service game away again on DF to make the score 3-4. After that Rafa hold and broke for the 3rd time on the 2nd SP.

In the 2nd set Massu had 2 BPs again in the 1st game but Rafa saved both and went on to break Massu to take 3-1 lead. Massu got angry at the net LMAO when the mic had went off on his 1st serve. Massu lost concentration and DFed and went on to lose his service game. In the end Rafa broke to love to take the 2nd set 6-2.

Rafa's serve wasn't working at all for the most of the match, 1st serve % 54% was bad. :( Even if he won 70% of points on his 1st and 57% on his 2nd serve. W/UE ratio 23/21 must be improved, hopefully there will be less UEs vs Lee. :)
BP conversion 5/6 was good. :)
Sorry that was my pathetic report. :o

OK, I'm off to watch Marat. :wavey:
Vamos Rafa tomorrow vs Lee!! :bounce: :bigclap: :banana:

Edit: Ania, hopefully he'll get his serve to work in the next match too.

MariaV
08-08-2006, 08:26 PM
On a side note, I hope he isn't growing a pony! http://vamosrafael.com/messageboard/images/smiles/icon_gaah.gif

LMAO, I also think he should cut his hair a bit but that's really irrelevant. :lol:

mallorn
08-08-2006, 08:29 PM
LMAO, I also think he should cut his hair a bit but that's really irrelevant. :lol:
Gee, first Marat and now Rafa... :scared:

OK, I'm off to watch Marat too.

Björki
08-08-2006, 08:54 PM
:woohoo: easy win :D

MariaV
08-08-2006, 09:03 PM
Oh, one last note on Rafa's match that I remembered - he was still staying too far behind the baseline on return and in the rallies.

Denisse
08-08-2006, 09:45 PM
On a side note, I hope he isn't growing a pony! http://vamosrafael.com/messageboard/images/smiles/icon_gaah.gif

oh gosh i hope not, now THAT would be a weird look... ;)

LilyRoseAva
08-08-2006, 10:28 PM
last game massu nadal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz1u4YCR48g

mallorn
08-08-2006, 11:17 PM
last game massu nadal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz1u4YCR48g
Thanks! :)

Rafa plays Hyung-Taik Lee at 7.30 tomorrow. Which means I'm not going to see the match. :( :smash:

MariaV
08-08-2006, 11:20 PM
Me neither Ania. :( But let's hope it will be faster and easier than today. :hug:

mallorn
08-08-2006, 11:31 PM
Oh bummer. :( :hug: Yes, let's hope Rafa will find his serve overnight. :lol:

From Reuters
Nadal opens Toronto defence with win over Massu

Rafael Nadal opened the defence of his Toronto Masters title with a 6-3 6-2 win over Chile's Nicolas Massu on Tuesday.

Back in action for the first time since losing to world number one Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final, the Spaniard took his first step towards continuing his rivalry with the Swiss who plays later against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Federer and Nadal have taken ownership of the men's game, having won six of the last seven grand slams and 12 of 14 Masters Series events, including the last two Toronto Masters.

The world's two outstanding players have already met in five final this year, Nadal winning four of them.

After a month lay-off spent fishing and visiting Euro Disney, Nadal laboured against the feisty Chilean, particularly in a tough opening set that took 68 minutes to complete.

But after nearly two hours under a broiling sun, the second seed declared himself satisfied with his effort.

"After one month it is difficult to get the rhythm," Nadal told reporters. "It is very difficult the first round after a month off. I played a simple match, nothing special for sure."

Despite some rust Nadal secured the crucial break at 4-3 in the first set and broke Massu again to clinch the opening set.

Nadal slowly took control in the second set, breaking to go up 3-1 and again to close out the match to set up a second round meeting with Korean qualifier Lee Hyung-Taik.

Sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia suffered a first-round shock, falling 6-3 7-5 to Belgian Xavier Malisse and joining third seed David Nalbandian and 10th seed Marco Baghdatis on the casualty list.

German 16th seed Tommy Haas continued his domination over Max Mirnyi, disposing of the Belarusian 6-3 6-3 to register his eighth win in nine career meetings.

http://go.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=tennisNews&storyID=13123636&section=news&src=rss/uk/tennisNews

mallorn
08-08-2006, 11:33 PM
From CBC News:
Nadal wins Rogers Cup opener
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 8, 2006 | 5:39 PM ET
CBC Sports

Defending champion Rafael Nadal didn't exactly have an easy time of it Tuesday at the Rogers Cup.

Chile's Nicolas Massu, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist, pushed Nadal to the limit but eventually succumbed to the second-seeded Spaniard 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round of the men's hard-court tennis tournament in Toronto.

http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/sports/photos/2006/08/08/nadal-rafael060808cp.jpg
Rafael Nadal began defence of his Rogers Cup title with a victory over Nicolas Massu on Tuesday.
(Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Nadal beat Andre Agassi in last year's Rogers Cup final in Montreal.

Tuesday's evening session will feature top seed Roger Federer of Switzerland taking on Paul-Henri Mathieu of France in another marquee first-round matchup.

Federer, who is celebrating his 25th birthday, won the last Rogers Cup men's competition in Toronto in 2004.

Back from Wimbledon

Both Federer and Nadal, the world's top two players, are returning to the court for the first time since their match in last month's Wimbledon final.

"The first round is very difficult after one month," Nadal said. "The most important thing is [to] win — and I win. So I am very happy with that."

Nadal broke Massu's serve twice, including on set point, to win a marathon first set that lasted one hour and seven minutes.

Massu continued to challenge Nadal in the second set. Down 4-1, he held serve to make it a two-point contest, but the stylish Spaniard broke the Chilean to win the set and match.

Also on Tuesday, No. 7 seed Tommy Robredo of Spain defeated Russia's Marat Safin 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.

No. 16 seed Tommy Haas of Germany cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Max Mirnyi of Belarus. No. 14 Jarkko Nieminen of Finland defeated Russian Telmuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 7-5.

Sixth seed falls

In a bit of an upset, Xavier Malisse of Belgium defeated No. 6 seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-3, 7-5. American Kevin Kim upended countryman and No. 17 seed Robby Ginepri 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Other winners included Juan Carlos Ferrero and Fernando Verdasco of Spain, Germany's Denis Gremelmayr, Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic, South Korea's Hyung-Taik Lee and Russian Dmitry Tursunov.

Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, the No. 8 seed, pulled out of the tournament Tuesday with a shoulder injury.

In first-round doubles action, Canadians Frank Dancevic and Phillip Bester lost to Todd Perry of Australia and Sweden's Simon Aspelin 6-2, 6-4.

No. 11 seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia takes on Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela, and No. 12 David Ferrer of Spain faces Andy Murray of Scotland on Tuesday evening.

CBC Sports will have live coverage of Saturday's semifinals (1 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET) and the final on Sunday (2 p.m. ET).
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2006/08/08/rogers-cup-tennis.html[/quote]

HybridTheory
08-08-2006, 11:58 PM
Rafaaa :yeah:
Win the tournament! :p

NaDALiTa
08-09-2006, 12:13 AM
it has been a hard way :( i'm not really happy with his level, his serve was very weak and so does the way he hit the ball , there was no real consistancy and his hit were too short, i know he can do much more better on this surface, he has to recover and fix all very quickly because on the third he might play Berdych and for sure it won't be Massu!!!!All weren't wrong today, he did such wonderful points as always, but it's what we are used to with him, ;) so we want him to do better everytime :)

So wake up Rafito and go training :lol:

zoe0907
08-09-2006, 01:10 AM
Rafa/Feli just won their doubles match 7-6 (5) / 6-4!!! Vamos!!! :D

veyonce
08-09-2006, 10:14 AM
thestar.com

The more the merrier

Full posses in tennis predate Agassi's mullet, but today's crews are much tamer, writes Paul Hunter

Aug. 9, 2006. 01:00 AM
PAUL HUNTER


The American doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan has a routine, born of necessity, that plays out when they arrive at some tennis tournaments.

They play a game of "rock, paper, scissors" to see which of the brothers must share a hotel room with their coach.

It is not atypical of the mundane underpinning of a tennis world that, on the surface, appears obscenely glamorous as rarefied stars play for multi-million-dollar prize pools between cutaways of model girlfriends.

While tennis players in Toronto this week receive chauffeur-driven Mercedes rides between the Rexall Centre and their downtown hotel, benefit from on-site massage and physiotherapy treatments while dining on gourmet fare before and after their matches — yesterday's offering included mini-duck and spinach crepes along with beef filet with Cabernet red sauce — the tour reality also includes countless downtime filled with everything from Internet poker, the search for a good restaurant meal and, in the case of the Bryans, musical jams with their omnipresent guitars.

Today's tennis player is much like a mini-corporation, reliant on his own performance for a living in an increasingly competitive game. But it can also be a team sport.

Martina Navratilova once famously travelled with an unwieldy entourage that included her dogs. Goran Ivanisevic frequently brought friends on the road with whom he could speak Croatian and play cards. Boris Becker, too, had countless hangers-on, as did Andre Agassi, who was prone to excess in his younger years.

But those posses ain't what they used to be, especially outside of the Grand Slam events. Prominent companions on the women's side of the Rogers Cup, which moves into Montreal next week, are parents, or at least the fathers who aren't under restraining orders. On the men's side, the entourage tends to include WAGs (wives and girlfriends), a coach and, maybe, a fitness instructor or masseuse.

Some players, such as Australia's Lleyton Hewitt or Agassi, add a racquet stringer to the mix and Marcos Baghdatis arrived in Toronto with his own videographer.

Others travel alone, the expense of paying for extra rooms — each player has one room covered by the tournament — flights and meals just isn't worth it, particularly when an athlete could be bumped from a tournament and move on to the next stop after one match.

"I think it all depends what stage of your life you are in. A guy who is 20 might miss home a lot and maybe needs someone around him to keep him entertained," said Jonas Bjorkman, a 34-year-old Swede who arrived in Toronto by himself, leaving his wife and son at home.

"There are tons of guys here. That's the best part of the men's tour. Nothing against the women but I know they don't practise together, they don't go out and have dinners together. The men's tour is a big family. I have plenty of friends I can go out and have dinner with."

Roger Federer, the world's undisputed No. 1 player, arrived in Toronto with only his long-time girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec. But the Swiss native, who turned 25 yesterday, is the antithesis of the modern pampered athlete.

For years he had no agent or coach. His mother heads up his charitable foundation and his father negotiated his tournament deals and appearance fees. Though he has signed on with IMG, he does not have an adviser with him on the road.

"I don't feel like I need a guy next to me telling me what I should eat and drink, when I should go to bed. I think I know these things," he once said of his low-key approach.

He books his own practice times, takes his racquets to the on-site stringers and remains as self-sufficient as he is dominant.

"I think Roger is a great example, you really don't need a lot of people around you," said Ivan Ljubicic, the No. 4 seed in the tournament who came to Toronto this week with one of the larger groups: a coach, his coach's wife, a massage therapist and his own wife.

"Everyone has to feel free to do what's right for them. If you need four or five people, then bring them. It's expensive, it costs money, but if you think it'll bring your game up, then I think it's right to do it."

Feeling comfortable is often what players strive for in a life in which there are rarely home games. They search for familiarity by hanging out with countrymen — Rafael Nadal toured downtown Toronto with fellow Spaniard Carlos Moya on the weekend — or keep connected through email and text messaging. John McEnroe was wired on the court but today's player is wired off it.

"Fans don't realize how much time tennis players spend online," Russian player Dmitry Tursunov wrote on his blog.

He described countryman Marat Safin as downloading "so many movies it feels like is he planning to open (a) Blockbuster Video in Moscow." And he noted that Frenchman Gael Monfils "is nuts over MSN. A couple of days ago he was sitting in the lobby and, I'm not kidding, talking on six MSN Windows at the same time. The guy is like Neo in Matrix. He has no idea what he is writing anymore or who he is writing to. He just puts `lol' and moves on to the next window. The girl is probably telling him that her kittens died and he just says, `lol.'"

As he walked off the court following his win in the first round here Monday, Slovak Dominik Hrbaty was already text messaging his family with the result as he walked to the locker room.

Players are also using the Internet to connect the world to them. On the ATPtennis.com website, several players have blogs that give an insight into their daily life.

Perhaps the biggest revelation is that it is surprisingly mundane, with players killing time waiting for hotel rooms, stealing towels or trying to avoid the temptation of fatty foods.

Tursunov wrote from Portugal that breakfast is the first battle of temptation.

"There is bacon, croissants, meats, sausages and little cupcakes that are smiling at me and asking me to taste them."

On the flipside, Hrbaty complained of eating in a Toronto Italian restaurant this week that had "giant plates with tiny meals in the middle. ... I'd need to eat five main courses just to get a decent feed at this place! I felt like I needed to call into McDonald's on the way back to fill my stomach."

Tennis players, like tourists, try to pick up a few souvenirs along with the prize money. Bob Bryan said Wimbledon towels are particularly coveted.

"For every match there are two new towels on your chair," he wrote. "When the match finishes, the ball boys try to snatch them from you, but if you shove them deep in your bag and run, they're yours. I played two mixed doubles matches today ... I was 2-for-2 with the matches, but more importantly, I was 4-for-4 with the towels."

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1155073815093&call_pageid=969907740050&col=970081602428

veyonce
08-09-2006, 10:36 AM
Excerpts from another article from The Star.

Lose a final? Relax at Disney

Nadal's head clear after long break

Stepanek pulls out with an injury
Aug. 9, 2006. 01:00 AM

Rafael Nadal did what many people do on vacation. Chill.

"What was I doing? Fishing," he said when asked how he'd spent a leisurely month since losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer.

"I can't play too much golf because I have a problem with my hand."

And there are always family issues tugging at vacationing breadwinners.

"I was in EuroDisney with my family; 25 persons, cousins, small cousins," he said.

The best clay court player in the world today, Nadal knows he'll have many questions to answer when he gets to the hard courts of Flushing Meadows and the U.S. Open next month in Queens; he hasn't been past the third round of that event in the three times he's played there.

"Every year (I) was playing bad there," he said. "This year, maybe I'm going to change because I am preparing mentally."
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1155073815543&call_pageid=969907740050&col=970081602428

__________________________________________________ ______

Globe and Mail

Month off does Nadal no harm

The world No. 2 eases by a determined but outmatched Massu in opening match

BEVERLEY SMITH
9 August 2006

TORONTO -- Not having played tennis for a month, Rafael Nadal could have been excused for being a little rusty yesterday at the Rogers Cup tournament. So could the world's top player, Roger Federer, who hadn't played since Wimbledon last month.

Perhaps Nadal's opponent, Nicolas Massu of Chile, was left wondering what the Spanish star would have been like if he wasn't rusty. Nadal won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, although the score doesn't reflect how dogged, dangerous and tenacious Massu was and how many times he walked to his corner, pumping a fist in exultation. That happened more times early than late in the match, however.

By game's end, Massu had been put through the Nadal wringer, losing steam after interminable rallies, running from one side of the court to the other to retrieve Nadal's tricky shots and trying to catch as much wind as possible during Nadal's excessive fiddling before each of his serves that tarried so long, the umpire told the Spaniard, "Could we move it along a little more, please?"

Nadal apologized, but couldn't seem to reverse nature, taking as long as 30 to 35 seconds before he let loose with a ball.

It's no wonder the match was a marathon, taking 1 hour 49 minutes for two sets.

Federer took much less time -- 1 hour 14 minutes -- to dispatch Paul-Henri Mathieu of France, ranked No. 36 in the world. Federer looked vulnerable at times and left openings for the 24-year-old Frenchman, but Mathieu wasn't consistently deadly enough to take advantage of them. Federer won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, a birthday gift for himself. He turned 25 yesterday. Tournament organizers served him a cake at centre court.

Federer said he was pleased with his first match in a month. "I was happy with my serve, my forehand, my backhand," he said. "I think I can just improve the movement [footwork] a little bit. I have to get used to again the pace. All in all, that was an awesome match for a first round."

Always cool and calm, Federer hardly broke a sweat. He said he's less tired at this stage of the season than he's been before. "I was very relaxed going into today's match, even though I knew that the opponent can be very dangerous and that I played so well is always a bit of a surprise in the first round," he said. "These Masters series are really tough from the first round on."

He said the hard-court surface of the Rogers Cup is the most even surface for everybody.

"This is the surface where normally everybody can beat everybody," he said. "This is why I come into these tournaments thinking, I hope I survive the first round."

Nadal admitted yesterday that he played a "normal match, simple match, nothing special for sure."

After his month of rest after Wimbledon, he said it was difficult to catch his rhythm again. "Is very difficult the first round after one month," he said in his improving English. "The most important thing is win, and I win, so I am very happy for that. Is very important beginning with victory after one month."

Nadal said he took a little while to find his stride early, but when he did, he wasn't brilliant. He admitted his serve was off. "I was serving unbelievable in the practices," he said. "And today, I serve bad. Is strange, no?"

Massu did fairly well against Nadal's serve yesterday, but appeared to tire during the second set.

Nadal got a little more time to practise his serve when he played a doubles match last night with Spanish partner Feliciano Lopez (they won 7-6, 6-4), and it should serve him well when he plays in the second round against Lee Hyung-Taik of South Korea. Although Lee is ranked 85th in the world, Nadal figures it will be a difficult match. He's probably being polite and charitable.

He refuses to even think about meeting world No. 1 Roger Federer in the final on Sunday. "I never speak about the final until Saturday night," Nadal said. "I know from experience every match is tough, so we will see."

Not everybody is conceding that Federer will win this tournament, with Nadal on his back. "He's figured out a secret the rest of us haven't found out about Roger," top U.S. player James Blake said. "He probably could derail it. If he comes up against Roger more and more times in finals, continues beating him the way he has on hard court and clay, then he could change that."

"There are a ton of possibilities. For right now, I still feel Roger is the best player in the world."

Federer will play Sébastien Grosjean of France, ranked No. 33 in the world, late this afternoon. Nadal's match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EDT.

Yesterday, Scottish youngster Andy Murray, 19, upset a seeded player, David Ferrer (world No. 13) of Spain, and will advance to play another Briton today, Tim Henman.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060809.TENNISS09/TPStory/TPSports/OtherSports/

veyonce
08-09-2006, 11:01 AM
From The Hamilton Spectator
Nadal's speed wins out

Defending champion beats Chilean to win his first match at Rogers Cup

By Gregory Strong

The Canadian Press

TORONTO (Aug 9, 2006)

Rafael Nadal cleared the first hurdle yesterday in his bid to repeat as Rogers Cup champion with a 6-3, 6-2 first-round victory over Nicolas Massu.

His rival, 2004 champion and top seed Roger Federer of Switzerland, also advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Paul Henri-Mathieu of France.

Both Nadal and Federer were playing their first competitive matches since the final at Wimbledon one month ago, when the Swiss star knocked off the young Spaniard for his fourth straight title at the All-England Club.

Nadal, the No. 2 seed, looked solid. The young Spaniard was tested by Massu but the Chilean looked fatigued in the second set with Nadal's speed, touch and powerful groundstrokes proving to be too much.

Nadal completed the victory in one hour 48 minutes and said it was nice to get the rust out of the system.

"The first round is very difficult after one month," Nadal said. "The most important thing is win -- and I win. So I am very happy with that."

There were a few upsets on day two of main draw action at the $2.45-million US Masters Series event. Sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia fell to Xavier Malisse of Belgium 6-3, 7-5 and Robby Ginepri, the No. 17 seed, dropped a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 decision to fellow American Kevin Kim.

Eighth-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic withdrew with an injury to his upper back and shoulder.

Federer, the top seed and 2004 winner, was to play Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu later last night.

In other early matches, No. 7 seed Tommy Robredo of Spain knocked off 2000 champion Marat Safin of Russia 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 and Germany's Tommy Haas, the No. 16 seed, advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Max Mirnyi of Belarus. Lucky loser Denis Gremelmayr of Germany -- filling in for Stepanek -- defeated Kristof Vliegen of Belgium 7-6 (2), 6-2.

In doubles play, Philip Bester of North Vancouver, B.C., and Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., bowed out in the first round with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Sweden's Simon Aspelin and Todd Perry of Australia.

Nadal looked relaxed and focused playing on the Rexall Centre showcourt under the bright sunshine. The 10,500-seat venue was about three-quarters full for the matinee and the charismatic Nadal was his usual fist-pumping self. He worked Massu from corner to corner, using his superior fitness to his advantage, and improved his season record to an impressive 44-5. Nadal connected on just 54 per cent of his first serves (33 for 61) but took advantage of his opportunities by converting five of eight break points.

Nadal was scheduled to play a doubles match later yesterday with compatriot Feliciano Lopez against Leos Friedl and Cyril Suk of the Czech Republic.

The tournament has lost some star power over the last few days with the withdrawals of Americans Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick and the early losses of Davydenko and No. 3 David Nalbandian of Argentina. That has even more fans clamouring for another chapter in the Federer-Nadal rivalry, something that would happen Sunday if the seedings hold.

Nadal held two fingers in the air when asked about the prospect.

"We are in second round," Nadal said.

"I never speak about the final before the Saturday night."

Federer will next play Sebastien Grosjean of France while Nadal's will play Korean qualifier Hyung-Taik Lee, a 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-1 winner over Alejandro Falla of Colombia.
http://www.hamiltonspectator.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=hamilton/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1155073816406&call_pageid=1112274690688&col=1112274690734

the_natural
08-09-2006, 01:17 PM
:lol: yeah, novels is what im seeing. They couldnt just do some Haiku or some Shakespeare short stories. They feel the need to go all out with some F. Scott Fitzgerald and the great J.K. Rowling impersinations. :lol:

On a side note: VAMOS RAFA!!!!


Ohh please thats an understatement LOL, they do get quite annoying though I mean for those of us who are fans of other players as well, there are guys out there who can beat Federer on any surface, yes Haas is one of them and Blake can also be a threat to Rafa on Hard courts.

the_natural
08-09-2006, 01:47 PM
Wow im suprised hes playing doubles, thats EXCELLENT!!! :D itll really help his serve and return game tremendously, and of course the volleys, Im really surpised because I thought that after Queens when he found out that he could win more stayin on the baseline, that he wouldnt desire to improve his volleys so much :) You gotta love this kid for trying to push his game to the limits.

BTW Nadal was far behind the baseline, but not like on clay, On clay he stands (this is according to some computer measurements or somethin) 3.5 metres behind the baseline, at Wimbledon he was ON THE BASELINE, and at Toronto he was standing 1.4 metres behind the baseline, yes too far back when he comes up against Guys like Berdych or.... You know who, ones who STAND ON THE BASELINE, that will be tough even with his topspin and all its not enough on the hard courts, he has to save energy.

But I will comment that at the very begginin of the match he played one or two forehands that were simply amazing, he just flicked his wrist and they Flew right to the baseline and kicked up, but he was standing in. I think he was being pushed back because: a) Massu was hitting hard and playin well & B) Because its his first proper match, he wasnt reacting fast enough (See in that article Federer said he is gettin used to the PACE again) to stand close to (or on) the baseline and win the match comfortably. So instead of risking things he played "Safe" And moved back. But With him playing doubles he will get Double (excuse the unintentional pun) the match play so I think he will come into form much sooner (just dont get tired boy!!!!), and he is probably takin more chances in his doubles matches too because its not AS bad when u have someone backin u up at net :)

MariaV
08-09-2006, 01:53 PM
I would go with the b) option, I don't think Massu was hitting that hard, Rafa was just rusty and not settled in yet.

mallorn
08-09-2006, 03:37 PM
^^^ I agree that Rafa was rusty but I think some people are exaggerating the lousiness of his play yesterday. He hit some great shots and his movement was fine, yes he was further behind the baseline than on grass but not as far as he used to be on hard. The match took so long because he couldn't buy a first serve and there were not only lots of long rallies (which was to be expected from these two) but long games as well.

It's funny about the serve, he said he'd been serving fine in practice but in the actual match the serve more or less deserted him. :(

Here's a piece from The Wrap:
Big-Dog Days

Posted 8/9/2006 @ 8:21 AM
Hi Kamakshi,

“Thomas Johansson has sore eyesight while Feliciano Lopez is a sight for sore eyes.” Very nice! Though I have to say Lopez is one of my least favorite players to watch, perhaps in part due to his irritatingly good looks.

These are what they call the dog days, right? Which makes sense from a tennis perspective, because yesterday we saw the reappearance of the dogs. The big dogs, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Neither missed a beat: Nadal won 3 and 2, Federer 3 and 4. Who looked better from up close? It seemed like Federer was a little more comfortable, but then again Nadal struggles against everyone. He’s one of those guys, like Safin, who never makes it easy on himself. He and Nicolas Massu played for 30 minutes yesterday and the score was 2-2! Unlike Safin, of course, Nadal actually wins. The Russian is already out, at the hands of Tommy Robredo.

The latest debate between Fed-Nadal fans around here is, Who gets more gifts from his opponents? I’ve always thought both of these guys benefited quite a bit from others’ unforced errors. But I thought the same thing of Sampras—his opponents just seemed to cave, particularly his great rival, Andre Agassi. Like Sampras, Federer forces players out of their normal games simply by showing up. In the U.S. Open final last year, I thought Agassi got away from his grinding style and went for too much because of who he was playing. It worked for a set but he couldn’t keep it up. As for Nadal, either there’s something tricky about his spin that you don’t see on TV or his opponents miss because, as with Federer, they know he’s going to track down everything except a perfect shot. Or maybe he's just luckier than everyone else. I've heard that that's what Rod Laver actually thought of Stan Smith—that he was lucky. (Can't confirm this, just something I read on some blog somewhere, in that case probably BS.)

As long as they’re winning, Federer and Nadal are going to have a psychological edge over everyone. I can remember Patrick McEnroe, after he played his brother John in a tournament, saying that he couldn’t get it out of his head that he was playing the best tennis player in the world. If Johnny Mac’s own brother was spooked by that fact, imagine what the average guy feels like when he steps out there with Federer. At some point, I think Fed realized this; he’s become a bit more conservative in his play over the years, happy to let the other player try for low-percentage winners. That seems to be Nadal’s greatest strength against him—he acknowledges Fed as an all-time great but still considers it his job to try to beat him. As Emilio Sanchez says, Nadal’s the one guy who’s fast and consistent enough to stay in his system against Federer.

Anyway, thanks for the Gasquet-Santoro report. There aren’t many players who can provoke chuckles with their shot selection alone, but Santoro is certainly one of them. Gasquet-Blake should be a good one. Do you think Gasquet can win a Slam? He’s the one guy out there who you might say has Federer-like talent, but so far he’s been more like the Microwave of tennis (that’s Vinnie Johnson of the late-80s Pistons, in case you’re not an NBA aficionado, Kamakshi; or, in case you're not, like, old), a guy who’s unstoppable when he heats up, but is otherwise erratic. The track record for French men at Slams is not a good one, but I think the incredible expectations on his shoulders—he was on the cover of a French tennis mag at age 9—will force him to work hard to fulfill his potential. Blake will be a good test for today.

Finally, I wanted to ask your opinion of instant replay. I gathered from some comments you made on your site that you’re skeptical. If so, why? Did you see it fail last night when Mathieu made a challenge? Have there been any other snafus that the cameras haven't caught? On the whole, I think it’s a good thing, and I’m even coming around to the idea of keeping the challenges limited.

One thing we won’t see much more of is players telling their opponents that a close ball was out. Whether that makes the game less sporting, or less phony, I'm not sure.

What’s the agenda for today?

Steve
http://www.tennis.com/blogs/thewrap/entry.asp?ENTRY_ID=299

mallorn
08-09-2006, 04:30 PM
Here's a nice detailed report from TennisReporters.net:
http://www.tennisreporters.net/tr_net_photos_art/nadal_mt_wb_06_610.jpg
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Rafa the ‘Supererstar’
Nadalmania/Federermania hits Canada

By Ed Klajman, Special to TennisReporters.net

FROM THE ROGER CUP IN TORONTO - A couple of years ago, event organizers and fans of the Tennis Masters event in Toronto would have felt devastated by the withdrawals of Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.

This year, when both pulled out, there was a sense of disappointment that the charismatic Yanks wouldn't be playing. But it has been dwarfed by the buzz generated by the twin towers of tennis – Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

From the moment the two arrived at Canada's national tennis centre last Friday, marking their post-Wimbledon returns to competitive tennis after lengthy vacations, the two players have held a dominating presence over this event. Their practice sessions have been jammed with spectators and the media attention has been almost exclusively theirs.

On Tuesday, the pair finally took to the court to play their first matches. While Federer headlined the night session, Nadal was the focus in the daytime.

Watching Nadal take his golf cart ride out to the practice court for his morning hit, you had the feeling that he must be jumping-out-of-his-skin anxious to get back to playing matches and pummeling his opponents. For a guy who has trouble staying in his chair during two-minute changeovers, a month off must be tough. Unfazed by the throngs of mostly young girls chasing his cart to Court 4, Nadal's legs were twitching rapidly while he nervously fiddled with his racquets.

Within a minute of arriving, the court's six rows of bleacher seats were full and people were standing five and six deep to watch him hit, wearing his blue-on-the-front, black-on-the-back Nike sleeveless shirt and short green pants.

As Nadal eased his way into hitting more powerful ground strokes, it seemed the only flaw in his game was the occasional fumble when trying pick up stray balls with his racquet.

Maybe he should just stick with using his feet for that. Watching one practice session gives you a sense of why, with one different decision earlier in his athletic life, he could just as easily have been playing in the World Cup last month rather than Wimbledon. This reporter counted four different techniques for flipping a ball from his feet to his racquet – toe kick, heel kick, sideways-sliding-flip from left foot to right foot to crotch, and double-footed raise up to knee and subsequent bump to hand.

For most of the 45 minutes spent tuning up his game, Nadal concentrated stone-faced, pausing only briefly to admonish himself over the very occasional miss hit. But once he had pronounced himself ready tennis-wise, the mood turned light. He engaged with a few Spanish-speaking spectators, smiling broadly as he hit a souvenir ball their way.

Mobbed as he tried to get on the golf cart to get back to the players' lounge, his security detail had their hands full. As they drove off, he signed whatever few autographs he could for a chasing pack of squealing teenaged girls. Ninety minutes later, Nadal emerged on Stadium Court for the start of his Rogers Cup title defense and his first competitive point since falling to Federer at Wimbledon.

His opponent on Tuesday was Nicolas Massu, just another of the Top-50 pros here not named Federer and Nadal who is able to wander the tennis grounds in relative obscurity – with tennis fans on hand who cannot be described as particularly knowledgeable.

Before a two-thirds full stadium on a cloudless and not-too-hot day, Nadal took a while to get into gear against Massu. They played some long games with some long, clay-court-style rallies early in the first set. They exchanged service breaks early, but at 3-3, Nadal took control with a key break and he cruised toward set point after that.

At 30-30 on Massu's serve in the set-deciding game, the Chilean tried to stay alive by challenging an umpire's call on a Nadal winner. The replay confirmed Massu was wrong. It was Massu's second and final overrule attempt of the set. The umpire told the crowd, "Mr. Massu has no challenges left in this set."

That was true in more ways than one as Nadal won the next point to take the set 6-3.

http://www.tennisreporters.net/tr_net_photos_art/MASSU_rc_us_04_bh.jpg
Ron Cioffi/TR
Nicolas Massu needs more weapons to challenge Rafael Nadal.

Actually, the statement should have been, "Mr. Massu has no more challenges left in this match," as a hum-drum second set in which Nadal wore down Massu was a yawner. Nadal took that set 6-2. After the match, Nadal said he wasn't impressed with his performance, but he wasn't expecting much from himself either.

"Nothing special for sure," is how he described it in English that is getting better by the day, explaining that it was tough to find his rhythm after one month off.

Next up for the second seed is qualifier Hyung-Taik Lee. Expect the Korean veteran to be out of challenges even earlier than Massu.
http://www.tennisreporters.net/nadal_080806.html

veyonce
08-10-2006, 04:54 AM
Rafa's 8 August 2006 Post Massu Press Conference is out..

2006 ROGERS MASTERS
TORONTO, ONTARIO
August 8, 2006
R. NADAL/N. Massu
6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rafael.

Q. Your feelings about getting out there and playing a competitive match for the first time since Wimbledon, were you comfortable, did you feel anxious about it?

RAFAEL NADAL: So maybe I play a normal match, simple match, nothing special for sure. You know, after one month is difficult take the rhythm, get the rhythm. I say that before when I was here two days ago. Is very difficult the first round after one month. The most important thing is win, and I win, so I am very happy for that. Is very important beginning with victory after one month.

Q. Did you feel comfortable after a little while? Did it take some time before you felt okay?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I wasn't feel bad. I feel not good, but not very bad, especially a little bit worse in the beginning. But after I play normal match. I was serving unbelievable in the practicing, in the practices, and today I serve bad. Is strange, no, because I was serving good.

But I going to play doubles now, I don't know, in two hours. That's going to be important for improve a little bit and for practice a little bit more my serve. And tomorrow morning I have a warmup. So we going to see. I improve a little bit with my serve and a little bit rhythm. I need one more match maybe, so is important, no? Those are the two things, the most important things.

Q. It was quite a long match. Was that a help for you, to have a long match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, when I saw the draw, I say, no, is not easy match. But if I win, going to be important because I going to run, I going to put a lot of balls in because Massu is not similar player than me, no, but is a clay court player, too, not serve and volley, play attack every time. Is important for the rhythm. Is important.

Q. A lot of people are hoping you'll meet Roger Federer in the finals. How do you feel with the comparisons to Roger?

RAFAEL NADAL: We are in second round. I never speak about the final before the Saturday night. We going to see tomorrow. I have a difficult match against Lee. I know from experience every match is tough, so we will see.

Q. Is that the important thing, not to look too far ahead? You start thinking about Federer, you could lose the next round, not be prepared?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I always do the same, no? I just look for the next match because I know every match is difficult, every match has a difficult moment. Is important be prepared for every match.

I am thinking about the next round always.

Q. This year you've won a title in Dubai on hard, you've won the French Open again, and you reached the final at Wimbledon on grass. You've proved you can play on all services. Do you feel that has taken your game to a new level now?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is important for the confidence can play in all surface, no? I know if I am playing good, if I am playing my best level, I can play good in all surfaces. So that's important for my game, yeah.

Q. What did you do during the break?

RAFAEL NADAL: What I was doing? Fishing. I can't play too much golf because I have a problem in my hand. I go -- I was in EuroDisney with my family, 25 persons, cousins, small cousins. I come to Amsterdam for one day for one thing of Nike. After I prepare for Toronto, no?

Q. When did you restart training?

RAFAEL NADAL: First week off doing activities in Mallorca. Second week practicing. Not complete week. Yeah, maybe complete week. And the third one I go to Amsterdam Wednesday night and I come back from EuroDisney the Saturday night. I practice the week complete, I practice three days until Wednesday, after three days off, and after every day.

Q. The only Grand Slam you didn't perform as well as you could have was the US Open. I want to know, the way you feel this summer, if this year's schedule will prepare you for a better performance at the US Open?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is one of my goals of this year, no, playing better in the US Open. For me, if I lost second round, if I lost third round, is okay, but play good, no? Every year was playing bad there. This year maybe I going to change because I am preparing mentally, so I going to try my best.

I try my best in every tournament, no? But in this tournament, I want to play good. But now I am Toronto. Toronto, Cincinnati is important, no?

Q. Will you get a chance to get out and do anything this week in Toronto, see the city? What are you hoping to do?

RAFAEL NADAL: I go out two days ago maybe with Carlos, with Moya. I was two hours walking near from hotel. So it's okay. Good atmosphere in the city. A lot of people in the middle. A little bit show in the square. It's nice, no?

Q. Did you get recognized?

RAFAEL NADAL: Some. Some ones, yes.

Q. Looking back at the Wimbledon final, you did very well. Now you have had time to think about it, would you have done anything different?

RAFAEL NADAL: Always you can do something more, no? You never know. Always is tough say if I win this game, if I win the other one.

I lost. When you lost, when any player lose because the other one play better, be better prepared for the victory. Maybe Federer was believing more with the victory than me in Wimbledon, and I believing more than him in French. So for that reason I winning French and he winning in Wimbledon, no?

Q. Do you think if you started better, you might have won?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. You never know, no? Because I start bad, but in the second set I have the break 5-4 with break, that game is even important in the match. After that I play very good third set. And in the fourth I have my chance because I have 2-1, Love-30. So the match in that moment is not hundred percent for him, no? Is close because I don't see so much difference of level in that moment, no? After I miss some balls.

http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006rogers/080806RN.html

MariaV
08-10-2006, 09:22 AM
^^^ I agree that Rafa was rusty but I think some people are exaggerating the lousiness of his play yesterday. He hit some great shots and his movement was fine, yes he was further behind the baseline than on grass but not as far as he used to be on hard. The match took so long because he couldn't buy a first serve and there were not only lots of long rallies (which was to be expected from these two) but long games as well.


Yeah, it's not like it was totally bad. And that with the serve that can happen you know, just all of a sudden your serve is off.

Abut the match vs Lee. Which took 1 h 28 min so at least less than vs Nico. :lol: Federer's toughest opponent, Nadal, may be breezing through the Rogers Cup as well, but his match with Lee Hyung-Taik, a qualifier, proved to be the best of the day, with the crowd giving Nadal and Lee a standing ovation for their entertaining fight. Although in the end, Nadal won 6-4, 6-3, Lee, who wore a Mona Lisa smile, was not intimidated by Nadal's star power and flashy shots and led the second set 3-2.

Lee led Nadal on a merry chase several times, fooling him with effectively placed drop shots and smashes. Nadal, known for his fleet footwork and desire to play every shot, sometimes just couldn't get to Lee's bombs.

From this nice article. =http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060809.wxtennis10-early/BNStory/Sports/home]

mallorn
08-10-2006, 09:36 AM
Oh hi Maria :wavey: I checked this thread a few minutes ago and I thought the last win was so routine that it didn't even deserve to be mentioned. :haha:

I didn't have coverage, did anyone see it? Looking at the stats Rafa's serve was still a bit off.

From Reuters:
Federer and Nadal remain on collision course
Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:33 AM BST143

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - World number one Roger Federer and defending champion Rafael Nadal posted straightforward second round wins on Wednesday to remain on a collision course at the Toronto Masters.

Federer was all business a day after celebrating his 25th birthday, strolling into the third round with a tidy 6-3 6-3 win over Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean while Nadal brushed past Korean qualifier Lee Hyung-taik 6-4 6-3.

Federer and Nadal, the world's two top ranked players, have already met in five finals this year and appear headed for another showdown on Sunday.

The Spaniard and Swiss have dominated the Masters Series capturing 12 of the last 14 events, including the last two Toronto Masters.

(...)

COBWEBS

Nadal's victory over Lee was not as polished as Federer's performance but the Spaniard was never under any threat from his 85th ranked Korean opponent.

Also seeing his first action since Wimbledon, Nadal has been slower to shake off the holiday cobwebs and can expect a sterner test in the third round on Thursday when he will take on 13th seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

"If he (Berdych) feels 100 percent it is going to be very, very difficult," said Nadal. "I need to play a very good match for a victory.

"Maybe I didn't play my best match today but that is OK. I won, that's the most important thing.

(...)
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=2006-08-10T023347Z_01_L09114444_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-TORONTO-UPDATE-1.XML&pageNumber=1&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage1

MariaV
08-10-2006, 09:47 AM
:wavey: I see you got the Reuters article, I was just coming to that. :lol: No I didn't see any of it.

"Maybe I didn't play my best match today but that is OK. I won, that's the most important thing. Sums it up I guess.
Good luck vs Berdych. Hopefully it will be better again. :)
3rd match on Stadium Court tonight. If I don't fall asleep I should see that. ttyl :hug: :wavey::wavey:

Denisse
08-10-2006, 10:05 PM
yeah she does, she's great, we should get her a gift or something :p , wait, you are a SHE right?

mallorn
08-10-2006, 10:58 PM
LMAO, yes I'm a she! :haha: It's Ania to friends. ;)

Well, Rafa was totally outplayed by Tomas tonight. His serve stats were once again nothing to write home about and his FH deserted him too. :( Oh well, better luck in Cincy. :shrug:

Kalliopeia
08-10-2006, 11:01 PM
It's a real shame, but he's obviously been off his game all week. I hope he can shake the rust off before Cincinnati.

What on earth will the commentators find to talk about now that there's not going to be a Federer/Nadal final?

Carlita
08-10-2006, 11:01 PM
:awww: Rafa...

after Verdasco and Moya losing....what a way to end the day.....:crying2:

NaDALiTa
08-10-2006, 11:03 PM
What a shitty match he played, i dunno what's wrong with him, but he must solve it as quick as possible, Berdych played has he had to play because rafa was doing this ****** unsual mistakes, i'm so angry and sad.The first image i had of him on the court was a tired guy it was clear on his face, he wasn't as usual on the 1st set, then he recover a liltle bit, and finally played crap in the third.I don't like it, now i'm so stressful for the rest of the american tour. He was completely out of his match , he played too short, the serve was awfull (14% win after 2nd serve), the forehand wasn't accurate and efficient, the backhand was rubbish........i'm sorrowful because i expected much more especially on this game, it would have been a special motivation for him, but it wasn't.

Too many spoilt :sad:

NaDALiTa
08-10-2006, 11:06 PM
:awww: Rafa...

after Verdasco and Moya losing....what a way to end the day.....:crying2:


:bigcry: :bigcry: what a pitty all the chicos are out.
be sure that Toronto 06' is over for me.........see you next year

mallorn
08-10-2006, 11:12 PM
Awww. http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/liebe/f050.gif
It's not that bad, they'll be back next week. :)

Johnny Groove
08-10-2006, 11:22 PM
Toronto sucks :sobbing:

NaDALiTa
08-10-2006, 11:22 PM
but they'll loose because Mirka will make the draw again :bigcry: :bigcry: indeed Toni is still in Manacòr !! I MISS U TIO !!!!! :lol:

mallorn
08-10-2006, 11:32 PM
:lol: Nadalita

Well, I think Rafa's game just didn't click today and he played against an opponent who was on fire. Probably the preparation in Mallorca was not good enough - he said he didn't have a good enough hitting partner. :shrug: He should train with some big hitters in Cincy and finally get back on track. :rolleyes:

Oh, and I guess we should congratulate Roger on another title. :p :lol:

mallorn
08-10-2006, 11:52 PM
Rafa's interview after Round 2 is up.
2006 ROGERS MASTERS
TORONTO, ONTARIO
August 9, 2006
R. NADAL/H. Lee
6-4, 6-3

RAFAEL NADAL

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rafael.

Q. How do you feel after this match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, maybe I don't play my best match, but it's okay. I win. So that's the most important thing. I feel a little bit more confidence on the baseline than yesterday. The serve continuing bad (smiling). Some things better, some things bad, no?

That's okay, we will see tomorrow. Maybe I improve a little bit today my level. We will see tomorrow.

Q. What do you feel you could improve? What weren't you happy with tonight?

RAFAEL NADAL: My serve a lot, that's important. The winner with my forehand is very important. And improve a little bit the level of the all shots when I am playing the rally, improve a little bit the speed.

Q. Do you think a lot of this has to do with the time off that you took, that it's taking you a couple matches to really feel good again?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, the most important thing is win. After one month is not easy to come back and playing well. So that's important. The important thing is win. Tomorrow I will have a very tough match. If I win tomorrow, maybe I going to be prepared for everything, no?

We will see tomorrow. Is one of the key matches.

Q. Was Lee a tougher opponent than you thought?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I know Lee is a good player. He's an aggressive player. He has a very good talent. He don't serve bad. He has a good forehand. Is tough playing him. He play fast with his forehand, with his backhand.
And if you are not feeling the best for play more tougher to the side, so is difficult, no?

Q. Tomorrow's match, Roger says Berdych is one of the guys that's one of the young guys that scares him. Are you worried about tomorrow or are you confident?

RAFAEL NADAL: Who say that? Federer? Can you repeat please.

Q. Federer has said before the player you're playing tomorrow, Berdych, is one of the guys that he worries about playing, he's one of the tougher opponents, up-and-coming best players. Are you confident about tomorrow's match? Is he as good as other players have said he is?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure, that's true, no? He has a very good potential. He has a very good serve, very good forehand, very good backhand. If he feel he's hundred percent, going to be very, very difficult match. And if not, too (smiling).

We will see. I need play a very good match for try the victory. I will try that. I need play a very good match for win.

End of FastScripts...
http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006rogers/080906RN.html

linus
08-11-2006, 12:25 AM
not a good day of course :sobbing:

while dont stay this disappointment too long... let it stop before the end of the day :hug: we know Rafa knows what has happened and do learn from it :) it is just the start for Rafa :cool:

Better luck for next week in Cincy :angel:

btw, very possibly Richie would give Rafa some kind words i think :hug:

mallorn
08-11-2006, 12:33 AM
From Reuters: (http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=sportsNews&storyID=2006-08-10T230446Z_01_B192030_RTRUKOC_0_US-TENNIS-TORONTO-THURSDAY.xml)
Rusty Nadal upset in Toronto

Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:04pm ET

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - A rusty Rafael Nadal lost 6-1 3-6 6-2 to Tomas Berdych at the Toronto Masters on Thursday, ending hopes of a dream final.

After cruising through the opening two rounds in straight sets, Nadal had appeared on a collision course for a Sunday showdown with arch-rival and world number one Roger Federer.

But Berdych spoiled those plans with a gritty performance against the defending champion, who was playing in his first event since losing to Federer in the Wimbledon final.

While Nadal had advanced to the third round with minimum fuss, there were signs of rust from a month-long break all over his game which Berdych exploited to the full.

The match was a contrast of styles and physiques, the muscular Spaniard taking on the lanky 14th-ranked Czech in a tense center court battle that lasted one hour, 48 minutes.

Berdych, seeking his first title of the season, made an impressive start, breaking Nadal early and sweeping through the opening set.

The Spaniard responded by breaking Berdych at the first opportunity in the second set, thumping his chest with a clenched fist as the crowd at the Rexall Center roared its approval.

With the match level at 1-1, Nadal scolded himself during the changeover but his pep talk did not help as Berdych came out and broke the French Open champion at the first opportunity and stormed into a 3-0 lead.

SECOND TIME

The Czech then completed the upset in style, breaking Nadal a second time to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Earlier, Chilean Fernando Gonzalez booked his place in the quarter-finals, outlasting fourth seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-4 6-7 7-6 in a three-hour center court marathon. Britain's Andy Murray continued his excellent run, easing past former French Open champion Carlos Moya of Spain 6-2 6-4.

With new coach Brad Gilbert watching from the stands, Murray, who reached his second final of the year last week in Washington before losing to Arnaud Clement, needed just 76 minutes to secure a place in his first Masters series quarter-final.

The 19-year-old Briton will play Jarkko Nieminen or Davide Sanguinetti for a place in the semi-finals.

"He (Moya) has been one of best over last 10 years, he's won a grand slam and been number one in the world so it's a good win," said Murray, who beat compatriot Tim Henman in the second round.

"It was always going to be tough playing him from the back because he has huge forehand.

"But I played really well, played aggressive on his serve."

Young Frenchman Gasquet, who upset fifth-seeded American James Blake in the second round, advanced with a 6-0 4-6 6-2 win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco. Argentine Jose Acasuso dispatched France's Julien Benneteau 6-3 7-6.

veyonce
08-11-2006, 02:21 AM
Update of Reuters with Berdych's quotes.. He's cocky imo...

Reuters
Rusty Nadal suffers Toronto upset

Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:06 AM BST
By Steve Keating

TORONTO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - A rusty Rafael Nadal lost 6-1 3-6 6-2 to Tomas Berdych at the Toronto Masters on Thursday, ending hopes of a dream final against Roger Federer.

After cruising through the opening two rounds in straight sets, Nadal had appeared on a collision course for a Sunday showdown with arch-rival and world number one Federer.

But Berdych spoiled those plans with a gritty performance against the defending champion, who was playing in his first event since losing to Federer in the Wimbledon final.

Federer was scheduled to meet Russian Dmitry Tursunov for a place in the quarter-finals later on Thursday.

While Nadal had advanced to the third round with minimum fuss, there were signs of rust from a month-long break all over his game which Berdych exploited to the full.

"I don't know if I'm a spectator if I want to see a Nadal-Federer final every week," said Berdych, who ended Federer's gold medal bid at the 2004 Olympics. "I think it's good that there are some different finals.

"I hope I can win a couple more matches and maybe be with Roger in the final."

The match was a contrast of styles and physiques, the muscular Spaniard taking on the lanky 14th-ranked Czech in a tense center court battle that lasted one hour, 48 minutes.

Berdych, seeking his first title of the season, made an impressive start, breaking Nadal early and sweeping through the opening set.

The Spaniard responded by breaking Berdych at the first opportunity in the second set, thumping his chest with a clenched fist as the crowd at the Rexall Center roared its approval.

With the match level at 1-1, Nadal scolded himself during the changeover but his pep talk did not help as Berdych came out and broke the French Open champion at the first opportunity and stormed into a 3-0 lead.

SECOND TIME

The Czech then completed the upset in style, breaking Nadal a second time to set up a quarter-final meeting with Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

"I think when they (Nadal and Federer) go on court many opponents think they are already down a set because they fear them, they think they are Gods or whoever," said Berdych.

"I know him (Nadal) well because we are a similar age and we played matches in junior so I have no reason to be afraid of him.

"I just concentrate on my tennis and play my best."

Earlier, Chilean Fernando Gonzalez booked his place in the quarter-finals, outlasting fourth seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-4 6-7 7-6 in a three-hour center court marathon. Britain's Andy Murray continued his excellent run, easing past former French Open champion Carlos Moya of Spain 6-2 6-4.

With new coach Brad Gilbert watching from the stands, Murray, who reached his second final of the year last week in Washington, needed just 76 minutes to secure a place in his first Masters series quarter-final.

The 19-year-old Briton will play Jarkko Nieminen or Davide Sanguinetti for a place in the semis.

"He (Moya) has been one of best over last 10 years, he's won a grand slam and been number one in the world so it's a good win," said Murray, who beat compatriot Tim Henman in the second round.

"It was always going to be tough playing him from the back because he has huge forehand.

"But I played really well, played aggressive on his serve."

Young Frenchman Gasquet, who upset fifth-seeded American James Blake in the second round, advanced with a 6-0 4-6 6-2 win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco. Argentine Jose Acasuso dispatched France's Julien Benneteau 6-3 7-6.
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=2006-08-11T000641Z_01_SP147268_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-TORONTO-UPDATE-1.XML

Tommy_Babyboy
08-11-2006, 05:26 AM
Hmm very strange championship...seeded players are throwing out like a ...bullets from the gun...:(
Im afraid to stake more...:p

http://img114.imageshack.us/img114/3156/clipboardtommyblakegc9.jpg

Björki
08-11-2006, 06:20 AM
Rafa :sad:

MariaV
08-11-2006, 07:55 AM
:lol: Nadalita

Well, I think Rafa's game just didn't click today and he played against an opponent who was on fire. Probably the preparation in Mallorca was not good enough - he said he didn't have a good enough hitting partner. :shrug: He should train with some big hitters in Cincy and finally get back on track. :rolleyes:

Oh, and I guess we should congratulate Roger on another title. :p :lol:
Sorry I didn't feel like coming here last night after the match. Totally agree to what you said. Berdych played an excellent match. Hope Rafa is not too disappointed. Naah, he's young he'll get over it. ;) And Cincy awaits. :)

P.S. I don't think Berdych's that cocky in what he said, I would say he's quite right about the 'God' thing. ;) Too bad he hasn't played as well against Fed the God in their last matches.

Anyway, have a nice day everyone! :wavey:

the_natural
08-11-2006, 08:06 AM
yeh hes the one who comes out choking :rolleyes: ... hmmmmmmmm i didnt realise till today, murray, gasquet and berdych all in nadals half, all the dangerous players clash befor meeting federer, even haas and tursunov :rolleyes:

veyonce
08-11-2006, 08:07 AM
Rafa's interview is up!!

2006 ROGERS MASTERS
TORONTO, ONTARIO
August 10, 2006
T. BERDYCH/R. Nadal
6-1, 3-6, 6-2


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rafael.

Q. What you've had one month away from competition, is there a greater risk that you can suffer a defeat like that?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure. But I need to stop. I was need to stop. Yeah, that's the risks. But I say that's the risk. If I was playing one month tournaments, Bastad, Stuttgart, I could come here and lose with Berdych, too. He's one of the best players in the world, especially in hard court.

So he play good match. I don't feel my best. I feel bad, especially with my forehand. I can't touch the ball 10 times consecutive with confidence. I lost a little bit the feeling. So for that I lose today, no? He play a good match.

Q. Do you know why you feel bad?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure, sometimes you play better, sometimes you play bad.

If you play against another player and you not feeling your best, you can win for sure, no? You can play tomorrow another time with a little bit more confidence, with a little bit more rhythm. But I don't have the best draw here. Berdych is a bad draw, for sure, in the third round.

It's okay, no? I can't play every week the final, no? I lost in third round against a very good player here. I don't find my best game here, so I will try in Cincinnati.

But I need matches. I need a little bit more confidence. That's how I can get this confidence, winning matches, no? One month without is tough, no?

Q. Is it also a question of his style matches up quite well against your style?

RAFAEL NADAL: Who?

Q. Berdych's style, is it a question that his style matches up well against your style? He likes to have time in which to attack, to hit the ball.

RAFAEL NADAL: So yes, but maybe he can play comfortable because my style is not working a hundred percent. If I am playing good, for sure my style going to be tough for him, no? Because if I am touching hard my ball with the forehand, with the good topspin, not shorter like this, sure, my style going to be tough for him, no?

But if I am not feeling my best, the ball is very low here, very big, he can play very tough, and the ball never go out. That's more easier for him, no? But we will see. We will see in the next games against him. I hope I gonna win.

Q. After going through something like that in singles, is it difficult to go right back out there an hour and a half later and have to play a doubles match as well?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. I was trying my best in the doubles, for sure. I was trying my best. I was playing against -- we was playing against very tough players. They was playing the final of Wimbledon. We play a good match. We don't play a bad match doubles. We lost 7-6, 6-4. We have chances. But that's okay, no?

Q. A lot of people here were talking about you going up against Roger. It seemed in a lot of people's minds, that's what they wanted to see. They thought maybe that was going to happen. Is the sport just so unpredictable, you never know what happens from week to week?

RAFAEL NADAL: The normal thing is not happens because in the draw we are 64, not two. Maybe we understand better that than yous, no? Always is the same question. "You going to play the final against Roger?" No, going to play the first round, third round, second round, quarterfinals, semifinals. If you win a lot of matches, you can play the final. But that's very tough.

Q. Were you feeling better on the court tonight when you were playing doubles? Better than this afternoon?

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe today I serve a little bit better - not in the doubles, in the singles, is my best day with the serve. That's important. But the doubles is not -- I can't compare the doubles, no? Is another sport.

We will see. Tomorrow maybe not practice, but after tomorrow in Cincinnati when I going to practice, on Saturday and on Sunday, on Monday. I hope I going to play Tuesday. We will see the next Tuesday what's my feelings, no?

Q. Berdych beat you twice. Why is it so difficult to beat him?

RAFAEL NADAL: Who beat who? Berdych?

Q. Yes. Why is it so difficult?

RAFAEL NADAL: He's a very good player. He play very tough. He has all shots, good forehand, good serve, good backhand. But I am worries about me, not about the others, no?

I need play good -- if I am playing good, I have chance against everyone because I know I win against Berdych, I win against a lot of -- against all players, no? But I can win and they can lose always. So sometimes win, sometimes lose. If you feel good, you can win, and you can lose. If you feel bad, you have more chances for lose. If you feel good, you can win and you can lose. If you feel bad, you can win and you can lose, but you have more lot of chances for go to Cincinnati lately (smiling).

Q. It was very windy out there. Can you talk about the effect that played?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, maybe that's little bit worse for me because against the wind, he serve better than me, he serve more tougher. He hit the ball much flatter. That's more important, because with the wind is tougher to play with topspin, play with control. That's better for him, for sure.

But he play better than me. We can say -- we can't speak about the wind. I don't like to find more excuses than the game, no? He play better. I lose. That's okay.

Q. Can you talk a little about how much support you had from the fans throughout this whole tournament?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I was surprise here. The fans were unbelievable every day. To say thank you very much to the Canadian fans. I feel very good here - not in the court, but outside sure. Every day was very nice for me, no, when I go to the practice, when I go to the court. Very nice sensation.

Q. After Wimbledon, with the rivalry budding, do you allow yourself to kind of look ahead to the next Grand Slam, to the Open? If so, are you just thinking of your next tournament before you play New York?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no, I think about Cincinnati now. I know the most important tournament is the U.S. but I know for play good the U.S. I need find the good rhythm, the good confidence. I need to play a little bit better in Cincinnati, no?

Q. What would you like to be different at the US Open this year compared to last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: First thing, don't come back to Mallorca, no? Last year I won in Montréal, I played the first round in Cincinnati, and I come back to Mallorca. This time, if I lose the first round in Cincinnati, I going to be there, no? Is tougher, the jetlag. That is the first thing.

After, I don't know what. I put my best. Last year I was arriving to the US Open with not my best mentality. And this year, sure, I can lose. I can lose in first round. But I hope I arrive with my best mentality. That's decisive for my game.

Q. Will you train in New York? Will you be in Manhattan if you're not going home?

RAFAEL NADAL: I going to be in one hotel, no. I don't understand.

Q. (Questions translated.)

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, I going to practice in there, in New York, no? Flushing Meadows.

Q. A lot of players don't actually practice all the time at the tennis center, sometimes at other sites.

RAFAEL NADAL: I prefer play in the main court, no? If I can't, go to other place. But maybe I can.

Q. Television graphics at Wimbledon showed that where you stood to receive serve on grass was very different.

RAFAEL NADAL: I saw. The comparation (sic) with clay, the final of French. I saw on TV this comparation (sic). It was two meters.

Q. A lot.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yes.

Q. Is that something you must do on hard courts or not?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sometimes yes, sometimes not. Is not the same like Wimbledon. Sometimes yes. I need practice these days a little bit all game, no? I going to practice a little bit my return more. That's important. I was returning not good, no? That's important for begin well the point. For me, most important thing now is begin my best feeling with my forehand. If I feel my best feeling with the forehand, all game is easier, no? So we gonna see.

Q. Other than Roger, maybe Berdych was the most dangerous player for you in the draw. Not so lucky to get him in the third round.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don't want to say Roger -- because I lost today against Berdych, Berdych is the best after Roger, no.

Q. The most dangerous.

RAFAEL NADAL: Not the most dangerous. Today, yes (smiling). Today, yes, he's the most dangerous for me. But we will see. Tomorrow he play against Gasquet, maybe he has a tough match. We will see. Gasquet is playing well. For me 50 and 50%.

Thank you. See you next year - next after two.

http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006rogers/081006RN.html

MariaV
08-11-2006, 08:57 AM
Thanks Veyonce! :kiss:
I know I sound silly but hasn't Rafa gained a teeny tiny bit of weight on his tummy with all the holidays? Just a teeny tiny bit? :o

veyonce
08-11-2006, 09:06 AM
Hi MariaV,

Hmmm... I'm not so sure.. Haven't examined his tummy yet.. lol... He's not match fit yet though...

mallorn
08-11-2006, 09:22 AM
Thanks Veyonce. :D
I know I sound silly but hasn't Rafa gained a teeny tiny bit of weight on his tummy with all the holidays? Just a teeny tiny bit? :o
I haven't seen his tummy :lol: but I came across a video from Marseille recently and it seems to me that he has indeed put on some weight back. :(

MariaV
08-11-2006, 09:27 AM
:lol: I am not completely delusional then, I just had to share the thought. But I sound so like those screaming girls running after him. :bolt:

mallorn
08-11-2006, 09:30 AM
:lol:

Tomas was asked a lot of questions about Rafa, so I'm posting most of his interview as well:
2006 ROGERS MASTERS
TORONTO, ONTARIO

August 10, 2006

T. BERDYCH/R. Nadal
6-1, 3-6, 6-2

TOMAS BERDYCH

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Tomas.

Q. What do you think about the match?

TOMAS BERDYCH: I think it was my best match on this tournament and one of my better matches in my season this year. I'm very happy what I was playing today.

Q. Were you surprised that Nadal didn't put up much of a fight in the third?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Sorry?

Q. Were you surprised Nadal didn't put up much of a fight at the end of the third?

TOMAS BERDYCH: I don't know if he doesn't fight. But I was playing quite well. I was attacking every single shot and I was making so much pressure on his side, so I don't think he has some more chances to fight and make better result.

Q. Do you think it was very similar to your match in Cincinnati a year ago or were there differences from that match?

TOMAS BERDYCH: I think there was couple of differences because we decide to try another tactics than in the match in Cincinnati. I think with this tactics was a little bit easier than this Cincinnati.

Q. What are these tactics?

TOMAS BERDYCH: It was to try to going more for the volleys and make the rallies shorter, because Rafael wants to every time play, I don't know, five, ten shots in every rallies. That's his tennis. So I want to make it shorter and something different, and it works.

Q. Do you think if he plays too far behind the baseline on the faster hard courts, that this is a weakness he has?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Of course. But with too many players, it's great for him because he's great moving on the court and still if he's two meters from the baseline, he can run on the court, and the other players make the mistakes, then that's why he's winning so many matches.

So I was playing really well, not too much mistakes. I was attacking him so much and going for volleys. That was the key.

Q. You've beaten him twice. You've beaten Roger Federer as well. Can you get right up there with them?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, I think it's very tough to say I can be there. I want to be there. I'm trying my best to get there. We will see how it goes.

Q. What do you need to do?

TOMAS BERDYCH: I think all the time is something what you can improve and to making better. So I think there is many things, but it will stay only for me (smiling).

Q. A lot of people who bought tickets to Sunday's finals aren't probably going to be very happy with what you did today. What do you think about that, ruining the possibility of a rivalry on Sunday between Nadal and Federer?

TOMAS BERDYCH: I don't know if the people doesn't like it because I don't know if I'm a spectator and every week I can see the final Federer/Nadal, I don't know if it's nice for the tennis. So I think it's good that will be some different final. So I hope I can make couple of more matches and maybe be with Roger in the final.

But there is still a long way to go.

Q. How do you rate today's win with victories you've had before? Can you talk to how well you played today compared with your win over Roger in the Olympics and your win over Nadal in the past?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Every time is different match. I don't know. I don't want to compare like every single match because once, I don't know, there is sunny, no wind. Today was so windy. I don't know. If we going to play with Rafael tomorrow is going to be absolutely different match. I don't know why, but it will be. I think that's why the tennis so nice. So I don't want to say it was because of this, of this. Every match is different.

Q. You seem not to fear Nadal at all. Is that true and why? A lot of players seem to fear when they play him.

TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, I think this is the biggest advantage of these two guys, which is now top two, Federer and Nadal, because I think when they go on the court, the opponents are, I don't know, down one set because they are fear of them, they think that they are, I don't know, Gods or whoever.

So I know him well because we are similar age and we play couple of matches in the juniors and we know long time, so I don't have any reason to be fear from him. So I'm just concentrate on my tennis and play my best.

Q. Is it the same with Roger Federer?

TOMAS BERDYCH: No, it's a little bit different because I think he is a much better player and we don't know well each other like with Rafael, so it's different.

Q. If you're capable of this kind of tennis, why haven't we seen and heard more of you in the last couple of years?

TOMAS BERDYCH: So I think that's one of the things what I need to improve, to stay more consistent and play more weeks like this week, and maybe then if I can make it and play more consistent then you will know more about me.

(...)

Q. Do you feel at all like a villain here? You begin the week by beating the best-known Canadian player, and now you've beaten a player that a lot of people wanted to see some on the weekend. Do you feel people are going to look at you as the guy who wrecked the tournament?

TOMAS BERDYCH: That's tough question, I don't know. Maybe you have to ask them. I don't care what the people say or what they want. I'm here to play tennis and to play my best tennis. I have to say I'm happy that I can beat all of the players. That's my reason why I'm coming on every tournament.

If it's in the first round the guy from Canada, then in the next few rounds I beat the second player in the world, so for me is perfect. Maybe for the spectators not, but that's their problem.

Q. What do you think of Gasquet, your next opponent?

TOMAS BERDYCH: I think it could be not same but very similar because we know each other well also from the junior tournaments. We are same age. He is one year younger than me. We play I think couple of matches, but not on ATP circuit. We will see. He has to play well because he's on the quarterfinals. We need to set some tactics and to be ready for tomorrow.

Q. Nadal didn't seem as dominant in this tournament as he has in the past. Did you notice a difference in his game this time?

TOMAS BERDYCH: I don't know some difference because every game and every opponent is different way. Maybe if he's playing with next six players, he can win easily and he can play his tennis and he will be fine in the next round. But we set good tactics for this match and I was playing really well. I cancel his advantage on the court and that's why I win.

End of FastScripts...
http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006rogers/081006TB.html

silver7
08-11-2006, 01:30 PM
:sad: No 2nd title in Canada. But...
The next Tournament is coming :D
Vamoossss Rafa

Johnny Groove
08-11-2006, 04:05 PM
Ive also noticed that hes put on some weight. Not much, but his pecs seem a bit droopy compared to last year :devil:

Tommy_Babyboy
08-11-2006, 06:07 PM
Vamoossss Rafa :devil: !!!! He is really very good player!
It is always sad when good and cute playes loses to a player who ranks a lot lower... :sad:

mallorn
08-11-2006, 06:14 PM
So Rafa has droopy pecks and a plump tummy... :haha:

He really needs to get lean and mean again. :devil:

Vamoossss Rafa :devil: !!!! He is really very good player!
It is always sad when good and cute playes loses to a player who ranks a lot lower... :sad:
It must be infuriating to lose to a player who can't keep the high level for two matches in a row. :o :rolleyes: Berdych seems to get very pumped up for Rafa but not for many other players. :mad:

MariaV
08-11-2006, 06:19 PM
LOL Ania. It's like Gonzo and Tommy R after beating Marat - they go on and lose the next match and then all I can say is - thanks for nothing!!!!! :p :rolleyes: :( :mad:
Richie is really really good lately though. I like watching him, and yeah his bh is a heaven. :angel:
Hopefully there will be a Richie vs Rafa match soon too, I'd like to see that.

mallorn
08-11-2006, 06:39 PM
I know, there's nothing as mortifying and gratifying as the Marat experience. :hug:

I like watching Richard too (when he's on, I can't stand error-fests from anyone :p ) so yeah, it would be nice if he and Rafa played soon. :D

16681
08-13-2006, 06:24 AM
Sorry I haven't gotten in here more lately. But I was very sorry and shocked by Rafa's loss in Canada :sad: I couldn't see the whole Match as I had an appointment to go to that day. I was surprised when Rafa dropped the 1st Set, but when I left he was leading in the 2nd Set so I thought he would win that Set and go on and win the Match. But when I got home he had won the 2nd Set, but lost in the 3rd :bigcry: And the score of the 3rd Set loss was really a surprise because normally Rafa fights so hard even if he loses it isn't with a score like that :eek: Rafa has had physical problems this year and I hope they aren't taking a toll on him now.

mallorn
08-13-2006, 11:08 AM
I don't think the loss had to do with physical problems, he just didn't play very well on that day and Tomas did. Here's what Uncle Toni told Diario de Mallorca, courtesy of nou.amic of vr.com:
Toni Nadal: "The defeat didn't surprise me, he wasn't well prepared"

Toni Nadal, uncle and trainer of the Mallorcan tennis player, was not surprised at his pupil's defeat for, as he explained yesterday, "he wasn't very well prepared" and even said that "he played better than expected in the first matches". "After Wimbledon we were not able to train at a high level and because of that Rafa wasn't well prepared physically," said Nadal's uncle, who added, however, that this tournament "was useful preparation for the US Open."

the_natural
08-15-2006, 08:40 AM
I don't think the loss had to do with physical problems, he just didn't play very well on that day and Tomas did. Here's what Uncle Toni told Diario de Mallorca, courtesy of nou.amic of vr.com:


Thats something that needs severe work, Rafa has to learn to win when hes not playing his best and to win without relying so heavily on being in absolute peak physical condition, otherwise mentally it will take its toll. Next year will be his most difficult year on the tour.

Weebl
08-15-2006, 01:19 PM
Boehoehoe I'm very sad now :sad:
I'm on holiday in Rhodes and I Finally found an internet-thing.. and even before I checked my mail and stuff I went here and the first thing I see Rafa has lost :awww:
I hope he'll do better in cincy:bounce:

RogiFan88
11-06-2006, 08:05 PM
:wavey:

Only a few months late but here are a couple of pix I took of Rafa in TMS Toronto06 -- practising w Richard Gasquet:

mallorn
11-07-2006, 07:07 PM
Thanks! :D