***The So Far So Good/More Positive Vibes Vamos Rafa in the USO Thread*** [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

***The So Far So Good/More Positive Vibes Vamos Rafa in the USO Thread***

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mallorn
08-18-2006, 09:14 PM
We need to focus on the next tournament. We also need some positives after today's match, so if you can come up with any, feel free to share. ;)

Rafa can't play worse than he is, right? Right? :awww:

Rafa doesn't have points to defend in the USO. :yeah:

Toni is coming to the USA! :rocker:

mallorn
08-18-2006, 09:16 PM
Oh, I actually have proper news. :p

From Tennis X:
Your U.S. Open Schedule

by Lynn Berenbaum

Getting ready for the U.S. Open? Got your giant tennis ball and camera all ready? Here’s a quick t’do list for next week:

(...)

Thursday, August 24th, 11am: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play an exhibition match in front of Golfsmith Golf & Tennis at 54th and Lexington. Might wanna crack out the riot gear for this one!

(...)
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2006-08-16/83.php

http://www.offthebaseline.com/wp-content/fednadal.jpg

veyonce
08-19-2006, 05:42 AM
Hopefully Rafa will find his forehand back... His backhand & forehand failed him at Cinny. He may not have any points to defend at US Open but he lost a lot of points at Montreal & that's not good, no? Hopefully, Blake & Berdych will not be at his side of the table again... Maybe he should not wear the black pants, bad luck for him.. ;)

connectolove
08-19-2006, 07:20 AM
I love the title of this thread "No expectations..." that's funny considering how is all going for Rafa lately.

VAMOS HOMBRE, A VER SI NOS DAS UN ALEGRIA A TUS FANS EN EL US OPEN!!!!

connectolove
08-19-2006, 07:27 AM
I love the title of this thread "No expectations..." that's funny considering how is all going for Rafa lately.

VAMOS HOMBRE, A VER SI NOS DAS UN ALEGRIA A TUS FANS EN EL US OPEN!!!!

mallorn
08-19-2006, 10:30 AM
Hopefully Rafa will find his forehand back... His backhand & forehand failed him at Cinny. He may not have any points to defend at US Open but he lost a lot of points at Montreal & that's not good, no? Hopefully, Blake & Berdych will not be at his side of the table again...
That's not positive, Veyonce. http://img2.menstennisforums.com/793/icon_no_no.gif How about this: he lost points in Toronto but at least he doesn't have points to defend in the USO. ;)
Maybe he should not wear the black pants, bad luck for him.. ;)
I don't like the black baggy shorts at all and he must be super hot in them. :( The white ones are much better but I think we're going to see the red and black :devil: look at the USO. :o

mallorn
08-19-2006, 10:33 AM
I love the title of this thread "No expectations..." that's funny considering how is all going for Rafa lately.

VAMOS HOMBRE, A VER SI NOS DAS UN ALEGRIA A TUS FANS EN EL US OPEN!!!!
;) I don't know if you read the Wimbly and Cincy threads, but the title is directly related to Wimbledon when I had no expectations at all and just wanted Rafa to use the tournament as a learning experience and tried to send him positive vibes. :) Of course, it's a bit more complicated now, I hope the vibes won't drown in the Atlantic. :p

Castafiore
08-19-2006, 11:21 AM
One small positive thing: His serve was better in Cincy than in Toronto. His serve really helped him to stay in the match to bring it to a tie-break twice. :)



Good luck in the USO, Rafa http://yelims2.free.fr/Drapeaux/Drapeau03.gif...and get ready to do battle...http://www.yelims.com/IPB/Invision-Board-France-290.gif


Vamos!


PS Please Rafa, don't play a clay court game on a fast hardcourt...remember what you did well in Wimbledon

Deea
08-19-2006, 11:41 AM
Well, it doesn't really matter if our dear Rafa didn't do magic in Toronto an Cincinatti, because we all know he can concentrate, get his game all together and perform just great in the US Open! And of course, Toni coming back is also a big PLUS!!!! It might be better for Rafa right now to get some rest, think a little about what he has to do in the USO and just chill...he has the talent, the game and the head (you know what I mean :p :p he can win a match when it seemed lost a long time before...unlike others :rolleyes: as let's say...Marat :rolleyes: ) to make something great at the USO! ;) VAMOSSSSSS!!! :bigclap: :woohoo:RAFA bring us some joy! ;)

mallorn
08-19-2006, 01:34 PM
Great points, Castafiore and Deea. :yeah:

Rafa said: "I have a lot of illusion in the US Open, so I gonna try." So that's another positive, no? ;)

Castafiore, love the knight smilie. :lol:

atheneglaukopis
08-19-2006, 08:32 PM
:p :p he can win a match when it seemed lost a long time before...unlike others :rolleyes: as let's say...Marat :rolleyes:Marat can lose a match when it seemed won a long time before, and he does it a different way every time. That takes talent too. :p

Go, Rafa! I'm still a Fed fan first, but you can do better than you have been. Good luck.

Johnny Groove
08-20-2006, 12:03 AM
Rafa needs his 3/4th's pirates! The black shorts arent long enough :awww:

Positives: Toni will be back to smack him into shape and little points to defend for a loooooong time. :yeah:

mallorn
08-20-2006, 06:05 PM
Here's the latest news translated by nou.amic :worship: of vr.com:

Rafael Nadal out to bounce back

The Manacorian aims to get back to his very best in the count down to the US Open

Tolo Jaume

With scarcely the time to lick his wounds after being knocked out of the Masters Series Cincinnati, Rafael Nadal is in New York [he travels today according to Willy Vilas via Susan in her Cincy Blog ] to begin his preparation for the US Open. Two very irregular performances have been the sum to date of his return to competition on the North American hardcourt swing after a one month break, with the big event yet to come. The world number two has begun the count down to return to his best level in the Big Apple. The US Open is one of Nadal's main aims before the Masters Cup in Shanghai and he must recover the necessary rhythm and impetus to improve on his best result there, the third round in 2005. To help him recover the desired level of play and reach full physical fitness to meet the challenges that lie ahead, he will have his uncle and trainer Toni Nadal, who leaves for New York on Tuesday to reverse the dynamic his pupil has got himself into. The aim is none other than to get back the Nadal who shone in Paris and London.

One of the main problems that has prevented the Manacorian from repeating the good results he had throughout the first half of the season is a lack of rhythm, though it has also been obvious that he has been playing a few steps further behind the baseline than he had been lately. First Berdych in Toronto and then Ferrero have forced the world number two to face up to reality, which is none other than that he must recover the version of himself that made him one of those that dominated Roland Garros and Wimbledon if he wants to shine in the final Grand Slam of the season.

In Canada, the Mallorcan player was trying to retain the title he won last year in Montreal, but he did not find himself at all comfortable on court in the first rounds and was eventually eliminated when he came up against Berdych, one of the most promising players on the circuit. Toronto was the touchstone to assess Nadal's return to competition, although he was also defending the points won when he took the title last year and, because of that, the visit to Cincinnati where last year he had lost in the first round was a good opportunity to make up those lost points.
Original article: http://www.ultimahora.es/segunda.dba?-1+9+370502

mallorn
08-20-2006, 06:21 PM
Also, Rafa is going to take part in the Tennis Grand Slam event on Fri, August 25.

Here's the information:
TENNIS Magazine will put New Yorkers in the US Open spirit a few days early by converting Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall into a full-day tennis festival � complete with interactive events and many of the biggest names in tennis, including Chris Evert, Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal. Commuters and fans will have the opportunity to meet tennis stars from today and yesterday, receive tips, and win great prizes, including 2006 US Open tickets, Babolat tennis racquets, and VIP access to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour player party. The event offers tennis activities and clinics on custom-built tennis courts, along with a unique opportunity to hit with the pros and even play table tennis against top Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players.
And the schedule of events:
7:00 & 11:00 am
Henry Elkins - Tennis Trick Shot Artist

7:30 am
Robby Ginepri - 2005 US Open Semi-Finalist

8:00 am
Martina Navratilova - Hall of Famer

8:30 am & 11:00 am
Chris Evert- Hall of Famer

Noon
Rafael Nadal - 2-time defending French Open Champ

1:00 pm
Andy Roddick - 2003 US Open Champ

2:00 pm
Ai Sugiyama - Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranked #27

Plus many other players TBD
http://www.tennis.com/microsites/2006/grandslam/index.html

dele
08-21-2006, 05:02 AM
go rafa give it your best you can do it you are a great player .. i love whatching you ..all the best for the us open weather you lose or win ..you are still the best take care ..adele..xx

mallorn
08-21-2006, 07:00 AM
Feli has news about Rafa's whereabouts in his ATP blog:
I had a nice surprise for the tournament director Anne Worcester. I spoke to her on the courts today and told her that Rafa was coming to get in some practice. It's too early for him to go to New York to practice as none of the players are there. You can imagine that Ann was very surprised, but because the draw had already been made she knew there was no point asking if Rafa wanted to play the event.

Rafa wants to practice here today and tomorrow. Today he couldn't find anyone to hit with so he hit with my coach. The fans were very surprised to see him here and when word started to get around it became packed around his practice court. Tomorrow I think he's going to practice with Blake.

Rafa and I are doubles partners and very good friends. We share almost everything and practice a lot together. It's good to be around a guy with so much energy! We became friends during a year when we shared a coach, Francisco Roig. He still sometimes helps Rafa when Uncle Toni is not with him.
http://www.atptennis.com/1/en/blog/current.asp

Damn, why is it so hard for Rafa to find decent practice partners recently? :scratch:

mallorn
08-21-2006, 12:47 PM
This article is about Blake but also about his scheduled practice with Rafa in New Haven.
Blake-Nadal Would Be Just Practice

August 21, 2006
By MATT EAGAN, Courant Staff Writer

NEW HAVEN -- James Blake says he revels in every perquisite that comes his way now that he is ranked among the 10 best tennis players in the world.

Some of these benefits are tangible.

His coach, Brian Barker, can enter the main locker room at the French Open. And the gift bags for seeded players at the U.S. Open are a little swankier than those for the rest of the field.

"It's things like that," Blake said. "You try to appreciate all the things that come with it because it might not last forever."

Other bonuses come without packages, boxes or bags.

Blake is scheduled to practice today with Rafael Nadal, the No.2 player in the world, who is not playing in the Pilot Pen but drew the biggest crowds Sunday during a late-afternoon workout on Court 3. Nadal is coming off a quarterfinal loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero in Cincinnati and is preparing for the U.S. Open.

Trading ground strokes with the No. 2 player in the world is the kind of thing that doesn't happen to a wild card entrant, which Blake was at this tournament a year ago. That only happens to a defending champion ranked No. 5 in the world.

"That's a pretty good change," Blake said. "I hope it doesn't change back the other way. I like this much better. It's been a crazy ride but it seems like my whole career there have been little roller coasters, peaks and valleys along the way.

"This seems to be a peak but I hope I'm still moving upward."

(...)
http://www.courant.com/sports/hc-penmen0821.artaug21,0,7404392.story?coll=hc-headlines-sports

And, I know this was supposed to be a positive thread but there's a piece of bad news today http://img2.menstennisforums.com/793/icon_pullhair.gif (from Diario de Mallorca, translated by Nou.amic of vr.com):
Martorell stops working with Nadal

Juan Antonio Martorell, the physical therapist who accompanies Nadal to all the tournaments on the circuit, ceased working for him at the Toronto tournament, where Nadal was eliminated by Berdych in the third round. Martorell, who formerly worked for Carlos Moya, cited personal problems as the reason for this decision. Among those are the fact that he has two small children he hardly ever sees because he is away most of the year.

prima donna
08-21-2006, 04:34 PM
Good luck, Rafa!

You've got the stuff it takes to win big in NYC, Vamos!

adelaide
08-21-2006, 05:11 PM
this is funny in a way. Some of us have been following Rafa since the days when we used to get excited over a first round victory :lol: but now it's like DAYUM he's only getting to quarterfinals, this sucks. I was just thinking to myself, omg, he hasn't won a title since like, June. This is terrible.

Isn't it funny though, to think that puny!Rafa has gotten to a point where it's abnormal for him not to win tournaments? I think it's great. :p

Vamos Rafa, I want to see you win again :D

Johnny Groove
08-21-2006, 08:16 PM
Prima Donna in a pro-Nadal thread :rolleyes:

mallorn
08-21-2006, 09:02 PM
this is funny in a way. Some of us have been following Rafa since the days when we used to get excited over a first round victory :lol: but now it's like DAYUM he's only getting to quarterfinals, this sucks. I was just thinking to myself, omg, he hasn't won a title since like, June. This is terrible.

Isn't it funny though, to think that puny!Rafa has gotten to a point where it's abnormal for him not to win tournaments? I think it's great. :p

Vamos Rafa, I want to see you win again :D
It's awesome. :D

From todayonline.com:
http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/afp/20060821/capt.sge.ghj56.210806191422.photo00.photo.default-512x372.jpg
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a backhand while practicing with James Blake during the second day of the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut.

Nadal in New Haven ahead of US Open

Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 22-Aug-2006 03:14 hrs

Rafael Nadal was completing his preparations for next week's US Open despite deciding to miss the New Haven ATP tournament.
.
The 20-year-old French Open winner was bundled out of last week's Cincinnati Masters Series event at the quarter-final stage by compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero.
.
And he said that he had chosen to come to Connecticut to close out his buildup to Flushing Meadow instead of immediately heading to New York.
.
"I came here to give backing to my friends (compatriots David Ferrer amd Feliciano Lopez) and because it's calmer and quieter here than in New York," he said.
.
Nadal will be seeded second for what will be his fourth US Open hoping to beat his previous best of a third round loss to James Blake last year. — AFP

Rafael Nadal was completing his preparations for next week's US Open despite deciding to miss the New Haven ATP tournament.
.
The 20-year-old French Open winner was bundled out of last week's Cincinnati Masters Series event at the quarter-final stage by compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero.
.
And he said that he had chosen to come to Connecticut to close out his buildup to Flushing Meadow instead of immediately heading to New York.
.
"I came here to give backing to my friends (compatriots David Ferrer amd Feliciano Lopez) and because it's calmer and quieter here than in New York," he said.
http://www.todayonline.com/articles/137732.asp

Alexandy
08-21-2006, 09:21 PM
Ooh, I hope there are some pictures of this. Two of my cute favorites practicing together.

I'm sending Rafa some positive vibes and hoping that he plays well, win or lose. :)

PoderShileno
08-22-2006, 01:51 AM
Vamos RAFA¡¡¡¡¡

MariaV
08-22-2006, 08:22 AM
Oh, it's about time for me to come in here and give my positive vibes to Rafa too. :D :bounce: :bigclap: :yippee: :banana: VAMOS!!!!! YOU CAN DO IT! :bounce: :bigclap: :yippee: :banana:

Seeing as Prima is still coming back for his S&M dosage - what's up with Prima? :scratch:

the_natural
08-22-2006, 12:22 PM
This article is about Blake but also about his scheduled practice with Rafa in New Haven.

http://www.courant.com/sports/hc-penmen0821.artaug21,0,7404392.story?coll=hc-headlines-sports

And, I know this was supposed to be a positive thread but there's a piece of bad news today http://img2.menstennisforums.com/793/icon_pullhair.gif (from Diario de Mallorca, translated by Nou.amic of vr.com):


Oh God no, isnt that Personal Trainer the one who was doing that "Specialised training routine with rafa?? The one in the article that said it trains the body to adjust to moving on different/irregular surfaces.

mallorn
08-22-2006, 06:33 PM
Oh God no, isnt that Personal Trainer the one who was doing that "Specialised training routine with rafa?? The one in the article that said it trains the body to adjust to moving on different/irregular surfaces.
Yes, that's him. :sad:

mallorn
08-22-2006, 06:40 PM
From The Connecticut Post: (http://www.connpost.com/chriselsberry/ci_4217951)
Nadal practice appearance stirs quite a buzz

Chris Elsberry

NEW HAVEN — They stood elbow to elbow along the top row of the bleachers on the neighboring grandstand court, looking down at two of the biggest names in men's tennis who were taking part in a friendly, little practice session on Court C.

Along the waist-high fence right next to the court, a couple of hundred people were bunched together even tighter. Some held their cell phone cameras in the air to snap a picture or take a couple seconds of video as the two players pounded the ball at each other and worked up a sweat in the process.

And buzzing back and forth from one end of the court to the other was Anne Worcester, in full mother-hen mode. She was working her walkie-talkie hard, issuing instructions and finalizing details, making sure that nothing could, or would, go wrong.

If first impressions are the ones that truly stick with people, then Worcester, the always-energized tournament director for the Pilot Pen, wanted to make sure that this first impression stuck in Rafael Nadal's mind. If the way to an ordinary man's heart is through his stomach, then the way to get a top-ranked tennis player to think possibly committing to your tournament is to pamper the heck out of him.

So, that's what Worcester did.

"I want you to put one of those Brook Brothers sweaters into the goodie bag," Worcester spoke into her radio. "Pick a nice color and make sure the size is right. I'll give it to him personally before he gets into the car."

Aside from the sweater and the goodie bag, if Worcester could have given Nadal the key to the city, she probably would have done that, too. But hey, that's what tournament directors do. Her mission — and she always accepts it — is to make sure that every player has the best possible time at her event. Even if they are just here to practice for a few hours.

"I think there's no better way to recruit a player than to have him experience the tournament," Worcester said. "I wish he was playing in the main draw, but this is the next best thing."

If you ask the hundreds that crowded around Court C for an hour Monday, watching Blake and Nadal hit balls back and forth, they would most certainly agree. They applauded shots that kissed the end lines, they oohed and aahed when a routine volley got a little more intense and they cheered when either player rifled home a winner.

Hopefully, that buzz is still ringing in Nadal's ears.

"I know James, playing with him was good," Nadal said. "I have a lot of friends here playing the tournament from Spain. I'm just alone in New York, and I wanted to practice here."

The whirlwind started on Sunday. Feliciano Lopez, who lost to Blake in last year's Pilot Pen men's finals, called Worcester and asked if Nadal, who is a good friend of his, could come and visit New Haven on his way to New York and maybe get in a couple hours of practice.

Worcester could have screamed.

What? The world's No. 2 player? He wants to hang out at the Pilot Pen? Are you kidding?

Worcester quickly organized a car to pick him up at the airport, booked him a hotel room and set up a two-hour practice window Sunday night.

She even recruited Blake to put the Pilot Pen bug in Nadal's ear.

"I tried," Blake said after the practice session. "It's a long way away to try and talk him into it, but I put the idea in his head."

And, as far as Worcester is concerned, that's a start.

"In my opinion, this is a great way to experience how easy it is to play the Pilot Pen," Worcester said. "He had a good time practicing and could not have been nicer. He's just a nice, shy, quiet unassuming guy."

An unassuming guy who, on Monday, created a buzz bigger than any match at the Connecticut Tennis Center.

"Everything was fine and I want to say thank you very much to the tournament," Nadal said before being whisked away to that waiting car and a sponsor commitment in New York. "They've been very nice to me here."

And playing in the 2007 Pilot Pen?

"You never know, maybe."

Hey, it's not a no. Worcester will take that.
I can't believe all these articles, it was just a practice! :shrug: :lol:

I hope all this pampering won't go to his head. :rolleyes:

Alexandy
08-22-2006, 07:59 PM
Thanks for the article. Reading that made me laugh. Worcester was so happy to have Rafa grace their tournament with his presence. She gave him a Brooks Brothers sweater...personally. LOL.

I'm glad Rafa is so popular. :)

Johnny Groove
08-22-2006, 08:04 PM
Everyone loves Rafa :hug:

And I hope James defends New Haven :)

Kalliopeia
08-22-2006, 11:16 PM
I wonder how depressing it must be if you're a player and more people show up to watch Rafa practice than show up to watch your match.

I wonder how depressing it must be to be James Blake, number 5 in the world, and have the tournament director ask you to try to talk some other guy into playing next year. :)

atheneglaukopis
08-22-2006, 11:39 PM
I wonder how depressing it must be if you're a player and more people show up to watch Rafa practice than show up to watch your match.

I wonder how depressing it must be to be James Blake, number 5 in the world, and have the tournament director ask you to try to talk some other guy into playing next year. :)I wonder how depressing it must be to be asked to write the blog and to be so resigned to living in Rafa's shadow that you feel your entire first entry must be about him.

RogiFan88
08-23-2006, 02:40 AM
I don't think Feli is depressed about "living in Rafa's shadow" at all -- he's quite happy to be there as he's his friend and doesn't mind at all talking about him. I'm more depressed about it than he is! :haha:

atheneglaukopis
08-23-2006, 02:59 AM
I don't think Feli is depressed about "living in Rafa's shadow" at all -- he's quite happy to be there as he's his friend and doesn't mind at all talking about him. I'm more depressed about it than he is! :haha::lol: Probably! No, it's just someone in the Feli's blog thread in GM said it read like he didn't think anyone wanted to hear about him, and I re-read the entry and went, :awww:, it does. Tommy Haas did finally get fed up in his post-match press conference that all they wanted him to do was talk about Nadal. But hey, as a fan, I can't argue with all the Rafa-love in the air! (Maybe I was just thinking, Feli, make every word count, you're only going to have a couple entries! :tape: Not even the power of the blog could avert today's disaster of the last-minute lefty.)

TMJordan
08-23-2006, 03:00 AM
Good Luck Rafa at the USO!

Castafiore
08-23-2006, 07:30 AM
I do wonder if some of the players don't get jealous a bit because of the attention he's getting at the moment.
I have no idea really. I do know that it gets on the nerves of fans of other players ;) but I don't really know about players. I don't get the feeling that Feli is annoyed by it at all.

mallorn
08-23-2006, 09:32 AM
Everyone loves Rafa :hug:
Hmmm...I hope it will translate into people actually supporting him DURING matches, not just mobbing him for autographs.
I do wonder if some of the players don't get jealous a bit because of the attention he's getting at the moment.
Some players definitely get jealous/annoyed that they don't get the attention they think they deserve. I can't really blame them. I just hope they are adult enough not to resent Rafa for this - it's not his fault the media are going crazy.
I have no idea really. I do know that it gets on the nerves of fans of other players ;) but I don't really know about players.
You can say that again. :p
I don't get the feeling that Feli is annoyed by it at all.
Me neither.

A tournament preview from New York Observer:
The Jewels of Flushing

By Matthew DeBord
The Men

Roger Federer

The No. 1 seed, Wimbledon and Australian Open victor, recently accorded metaphysical significance by novelist David Foster Wallace, the impeccable Swiss arrives at Flushing Meadows seeking a third consecutive Open title. If not for a loss to Nadal in the French Open final, we’d all be talking calendar-year Grand Slam, but three out of four isn’t too shabby. Federer has shown some vulnerability this year, notably on high, nastily top-spun balls to his backhand; he hasn’t really gotten into a serving groove yet on hard courts; and Britain’s Andy Murray bounced him out of a lead-up tournament in Cincinnati in the second round. Still, he’s the clear favorite. A dream final would pit him against Nadal in a French-Wimbly rematch.

Rafael Nadal

For the Spanish sensation, the U.S. Open represents his second-best chance, after the French, to capture a Slam. His murderously effective topspin and obscene quickness should see him easily into the second week, and his competitive fervor—not to mention his desire to get a third crack at Federer—could carry him all the way to the finals. Wimbledon showed that he has been developing his forehand into a point-ending weapon, but depending on how the seedings go, No. 2 Nadal could have to get through both James Blake and a suddenly resurgent Andy Roddick. Nadal’s results in the U.S. Open Series leading up to our national championships have been unremarkable, but with the format switching to a grueling best of five sets, he will strive to break opponents down physically and mentally.

Andy Roddick

With his win two weeks ago in Cincinnati after more or less two years of wandering in the wilderness, A-Rod has announced that, even though his ranking has dropped him to the bottom of the Top 10, he continues to be a force to reckon with. The 2003 Open champ has, in an unexpected move that caught everyone’s attention, added Jimmy Connors as a part-time coach, a move that appears to have restored Roddick’s swaggering aggressiveness (as opposed to last year’s freaky, AWOL “mojo” of the Am-Ex ads). He’s back to pounding his first serve, then pouncing on any weak returns, crushing them with his brutal forehand. He’s even starting to attack the net more frequently. It isn’t pretty and never has been, but it makes him the most dangerous man in the draw, as well as a good bet for a run to the semifinals, especially if the USTA delivers slick courts.

Andy Murray

Out of basically nowhere, this moody Scottish kid has abruptly popped up on the tennis radar after beating Federer in Cincinnati—becoming the only other player besides Nadal to notch a win over the Great One this year, but more importantly exposing Federer’s troubled serving by breaking the Swiss seven times in two sets. Onlookers credit “Winning Ugly” coach Brad Gilbert, who was hired by the Brits earlier this year to do something with this arrogant, sullen but deceptively talented teenager. Murray has a unique capacity to make just about everyone he plays look and feel uncomfortable—he’s the professional equivalent of the club-level “pusher,” flubbing the ball around before slipping in a drop shot or a crackerjack backhand down-the-line winner. The last time a prospect entered the Open with Gilbert newly in his corner, that prospect’s name was Andy Roddick, and he won the whole shebang.

James Blake

After starting out the hard-court season impressively, Blake has struggled of late. He’s still the top-ranked American, however, and in returning to New York he will once again enjoy the fanatical support of his “J. Block” cheering section. Far and away the most dangerous hard-court player on Planet Earth, Blake has the kind of foot speed that keeps him in points, a missile-like flat forehand that he can pound for winners from anywhere on the court, and a backhand that’s no longer a liability. Regrettably, he’s shown flashes of his old mental weakness since Wimbledon, this time around based on his inability to maintain his intensity and, when pressed, to take his game into higher gear. At 26, he’s smack in the middle of his prime, so if he hopes to bring home the one Slam that he has a realistic shot at winning, he needs to dig deep on the Open’s hard courts.
http://www.observer.com/20060828/20060828_Matthew_DeBord_pageone_newsstory8.asp

lilfairyprincess
08-23-2006, 12:58 PM
"Rafael Nadal

For the Spanish sensation, the U.S. Open represents his second-best chance, after the French, to capture a Slam. His murderously effective topspin and obscene quickness should see him easily into the second week, and his competitive fervor—not to mention his desire to get a third crack at Federer—could carry him all the way to the finals. Wimbledon showed that he has been developing his forehand into a point-ending weapon, but depending on how the seedings go, No. 2 Nadal could have to get through both James Blake and a suddenly resurgent Andy Roddick. Nadal’s results in the U.S. Open Series leading up to our national championships have been unremarkable, but with the format switching to a grueling best of five sets, he will strive to break opponents down physically and mentally."

I think his second best chance is the austrailian open (obviously the surface is slower)..but also, i think i read sumwhere last yr that rafa did not really feel comfortable with the atmosphere at the US Open.

Vamos Rafa!!! :bounce:

atheneglaukopis
08-23-2006, 04:19 PM
I do wonder if some of the players don't get jealous a bit because of the attention he's getting at the moment.
I have no idea really. I do know that it gets on the nerves of fans of other players ;) but I don't really know about players. I don't get the feeling that Feli is annoyed by it at all.Clearly Feli has as much of a crush on him as anyone not named Carlos Moya does (pretty funny having a thread in GM filled with pics of Rafa cuddling!), and is devoted to promoting him at every opportunity. It's very sweet. :D

So, Rafa...I'm sending good vibes, as are all your fans plus everyone you've ever cuddled, and with all that positive energy you should be in good shape for the Open.

mallorn
08-23-2006, 04:23 PM
Rafa's first round opponent is Mark Philippoussis...tbc

And the full draw:
http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/draws/ms/index.html

Björki
08-23-2006, 05:23 PM
Tommy Robredo ESP (6) vs Flavio Saretta BRA
Hyung-Taik Lee KOR vs Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo ESP
Ivo Karlovic CRO vs Robin Soderling SWE
Stanislas Wawrinka SUI vs Juan Ignacio Chela ARG (31)

Dominik Hrbaty SVK (19) vs Mikhail Youzhny RUS
Nicolas Massu CHI vs Davide Sanguinetti ITA
Oliver Marach AUT vs Justin Gimelstob USA
Nicolas Almagro ESP vs David Ferrer ESP (11)

Jarkko Nieminen FIN (13) vs Xavier Malisse BEL
Bjorn Phau GER vs QUALIFIER
Jiri Novak CZE vs Arnaud Clement FRA
Paradorn Srichaphan THA vs Jose Acasuso ARG (24)

Gael Monfils FRA (27) vs QUALIFIER
Max Mirnyi BLR vs Wesley Moodie RSA
Luis Horna PER vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ESP
Mark Philippoussis AUS vs Rafael Nadal ESP (2)

MariaV
08-23-2006, 05:44 PM
Hmmm, I'm sorry for Mark. Mark seems to be well & fit again. I'm not gonna predict anything with Rafa's current form. Just VAMOS, you can do it! :D :bounce: :bigclap: :yippee: :bounce: :bigclap: :yippee: :bounce: :bigclap: :yippee:

mallorn
08-23-2006, 05:54 PM
It'll all depend on Rafa. If he finds his form, he should be ok. I'm just a bit worried about all the off-court activities he's got planned. I'd be much less nervous if he just focused on practising with Toni.

VAMOS RAFA! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

MariaV
08-23-2006, 09:40 PM
In an interesting first-round clash, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will play Australian wild card and 1998 finalist Mark Philippoussis. Nadal, who lost to James Blake in the third round last year, has the chance to gain ground on World No. 1 Roger Federer in the INDESIT ATP Rankings. As the defending champion, Federer has 1000 rankings points to defend. Philippoussis, who is 11-8 on the year, has not won an ATP-level match since winning the Newport title on grass in mid July.

http://www.atptennis.com/1/en/newsandscores/news/usopen_draw.asp

Lsale25048
08-23-2006, 10:57 PM
What is GM....atheneglaukopis????

I want to see the pic's :)

mallorn
08-23-2006, 11:01 PM
GM=General Messages

She means this thread: http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=84206

Johnny Groove
08-24-2006, 12:03 AM
Scud :scared: Although it should be no problem :yeah:

veyonce
08-24-2006, 02:12 AM
Nadal continues his quest for skills to unseat Federer

By Simon Baskett

MADRID (Reuters) - With his long brown hair, sleeveless shirts, pirate pants, bandana and bulging biceps, Rafael Nadal does not fit the archetypal image of a tennis player.

But appearances are deceptive. The 20-year-old Spaniard's high-octane mixture of aggression, athleticism and steely determination have helped make him the most entertaining player on the men's circuit.

The left-hander is the only player who has consistently managed to mount a challenge to Roger Federer's imperious domination of world tennis.

He has upset the Swiss six times in their eight meetings to date and is the only player to beat Federer more than once since he took over the number one spot in February 2004.

Nadal is the undisputed king of the clay court, extending his unbeaten record on his favored surface to 60 matches as he claimed his second consecutive French Open in June with a four-set victory over Federer.

However, he is not the sort to rest on his laurels and the young Mallorcan is desperate to acquire the all-court skills that will give him a chance of one day unseating Federer as world number one.

Unlike many of his predecessors as Roland Garros champion, Nadal has also been keen to try his hand on grass and surprised many by making it all the way to this year's Wimbledon final, where he lost to Federer in an enthralling four-setter.

His enthusiasm to learn has earned him admiration from some of the game's most experienced players.

"It shows you the competitor's heart he has," Andre Agassi said during the grasscourt season. "Any time you got a ticker like that, you got to leave room for some great things."

POPULAR SPORTSMAN

Four-times Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman agreed with the American.

"When you compete as well as he does, it is dangerous to write him off on any type of surface," he said.

Together with Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, Nadal is Spain's most popular individual sportsman, although his relaxed and down-to-earth demeanour make him a more accessible figure than the somewhat stilted Asturian.

Nadal first hit the headlines in December 2004 when he beat Andy Roddick to help Spain lift the Davis Cup at the age of just 18.

The following season he became the first man since Mats Wilander in 1982 to win the French Open on his debut, and victories in the Masters events in Montreal and Madrid helped him wrap up the season as world number two behind Federer.

His successful defense of the French title confirmed his status as the world's best on clay, but he surprised even himself by becoming the first Spaniard since Manuel Santana in 1966 to reach the Wimbledon final.

He will be out to provide further evidence that he is capable of becoming an all-terrain player when the U.S. Open begins on Monday.

Nadal lost to American James Blake in the third round at Flushing Meadows last year and has never progressed any further in the tournament, but the same was true of Wimbledon until 2006.

He is now less reticent to come to the net so he should be confident of giving a better account of himself this time round.

Defending champion Federer is, of course, the overwhelming favorite, but neutral observers are hoping the world's two best players pitted against each other in the final just as John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg were at the start of the 1980s.

Updated on Wednesday, Aug 23, 2006 9:09 pm EDT

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news?slug=reu-opennadaldc&prov=reuters&type=lgns

atheneglaukopis
08-24-2006, 02:22 AM
What is GM....atheneglaukopis????

I want to see the pic's :)GM=General Messages

She means this thread: http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=84206
Yep, and...you can call me "Athene" or your favorite spelling thereof. The epithet makes it too long to type, as well as being hard to spell if you don't know Greek. :)

mallorn
08-24-2006, 04:51 PM
From Peter Bodo's blog: ;)
Drawing Made Easy

Posted 8/23/2006 @ 3:26 PM

(...)

Men’s Fourth Quarter:

If Luis Horna wants to make the move up to the Big Time, this is his potential moment of reckoning. All he has to do is get by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Rafael Nadal, Gael Monfils, Jarkko Niemenen and – bingo – he’s got a made-for-TV quarterfinal with – get this! – Tommy Robredo or even fashion plate Dominik Hrbaty.

Go Luis!

The more conventional way to look at this is: Rafael Nadal runs amok and loses a total of six games enroute to his semifinal with Marcos Baghdatis. I have an idea. How about Jet Boy and TMF going shopping together during Week 1, while Mirka and Xisca have pedicures back at the hotel, then all of them going out for sushi together?

And about Philippoussis, from The Courier Mail:

(...)

Mark Philippoussis, who did not train at Flushing Meadows yesterday, drew second seed Rafael Nadal in a first-round appointment which could not ask a sterner test of his match fitness.

Philippoussis has pulled out of his past two Challenger tournaments because of a bruised toe.

(...)
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,20238949-10389,00.html

Also, don't forget to watch this ATP video of Rafa's media day on Monday. (http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2006/nadal_nyc06.asp) Some nice pictures will be published soon. ;)

cmurray
08-24-2006, 05:30 PM
Somehow, I can't see Mirka and Xisca doing ANYTHING together. Well, maybe unsheathing their claws for a few swipes, but other than that? I think not.


Cheryl

Alexandy
08-24-2006, 05:50 PM
I saw that media day video on the ATP site. It's so cute. But what was up with him being shirtless and rubbing his chest? LOL I started laughing so hard when I saw that.

I'm glad that Rafa is getting some attention. I was up late last night and I decided to check out who was on the late night talk shows and if there was anyone talking about tennis. I turned to David Letterman and John McEnroe was on talking about the U.S. Open. He mentioned Nadal twice. Letterman asked JMac who he wanted to win the U.S. Open and JMac said he'd like to see Agassi make a run, that Federer would be in the final and probably win it, and then he said "But I'd like to see this kid Nadal maybe win it. He's from Spain. I hope everyone will get to know him here because he plays with such enthusiasm and he's really fun to watch." Those weren't his exact words but that was the summary of what he said. I was so happy that JMac talked about him. I really hope people will support him at the U.S. Open.

mallorn
08-24-2006, 06:16 PM
Somehow, I can't see Mirka and Xisca doing ANYTHING together. Well, maybe unsheathing their claws for a few swipes, but other than that? I think not.
:lol:

Nah, I can't picture them spending time together, either having sushi or a catfight. :shrug:

sprinterluck
08-24-2006, 06:18 PM
Somehow, I can't see Mirka and Xisca doing ANYTHING together. Well, maybe unsheathing their claws for a few swipes, but other than that? I think not.


Cheryl

I saw Rafa and Roger at a promotional event in Manhattan a few hours ago!

Nike dressed them up in contrasting colors: Rafa in red and black colors (like a bull) and Roger in blue and white. The two exchanged groundstrokes and volleys on a temporary court set up on a busy street. They literally stopped traffic with their tennis!

Roger arrived with Mirka, then Rafa arrived with his girlfriend Xisca (she's so skinny) and I think his manager. Definitely no sign of Uncle Tony.

On a side note, I'm sure Mirka and Xisca saw each other because they were both inside the tennis store waiting for their men. :D

mallorn
08-24-2006, 06:27 PM
I saw that media day video on the ATP site. It's so cute. But what was up with him being shirtless and rubbing his chest? LOL I started laughing so hard when I saw that.
:tape: Do you remember the shirtless picture on the bed? They want to sell him as a sex symbol. :rolleyes: It made me laugh too. :p

I'm glad that Rafa is getting some attention. I was up late last night and I decided to check out who was on the late night talk shows and if there was anyone talking about tennis. I turned to David Letterman and John McEnroe was on talking about the U.S. Open. He mentioned Nadal twice. Letterman asked JMac who he wanted to win the U.S. Open and JMac said he'd like to see Agassi make a run, that Federer would be in the final and probably win it, and then he said "But I'd like to see this kid Nadal maybe win it. He's from Spain. I hope everyone will get to know him here because he plays with such enthusiasm and he's really fun to watch." Those weren't his exact words but that was the summary of what he said. I was so happy that JMac talked about him. I really hope people will support him at the U.S. Open.
:yeah: Nice plug from JMac. :D

mallorn
08-24-2006, 06:29 PM
I saw Rafa and Roger at a promotional event in Manhattan a few hours ago!

Nike dressed them up in contrasting colors: Rafa in red and black colors (like a bull) and Roger in blue and white. The two exchanged groundstrokes and volleys on a temporary court set up on a busy street. They literally stopped traffic with their tennis!

Roger arrived with Mirka, then Rafa arrived with his girlfriend Xisca (she's so skinny) and I think his manager. Definitely no sign of Uncle Tony.

On a side note, I'm sure Mirka and Xisca saw each other because they were both inside the tennis store waiting for their men. :D
Thanks a lot for the report. :) :hug:

The damn devilish outfit. :sobbing:

MariaV
08-24-2006, 06:32 PM
Tio Toni is supposed to fly over there tonight, no? It said somewhere he'll fly on Thursday if I remember it right.

P.S. Red & black looks good. :devil:

mallorn
08-24-2006, 06:38 PM
Tio Toni is supposed to fly over there tonight, no? It said somewhere he'll fly on Thursday if I remember it right.

P.S. Red & black looks good. :devil:
It said Tuesday! I hope he's there. http://img2.menstennisforums.com/793/icon_pullhair.gif

I like black and red, but in this particular outfit Rafa looks like a devil. :lol:

MariaV
08-24-2006, 06:47 PM
It said Tuesday! I hope he's there. http://img2.menstennisforums.com/793/icon_pullhair.gif

I like black and red, but in this particular outfit Rafa looks like a devil. :lol:

Oh, Tuesday. Then he probably just arrived yesterday.

Castafiore
08-24-2006, 08:17 PM
"But I'd like to see this kid Nadal maybe win it. He's from Spain. I hope everyone will get to know him here because he plays with such enthusiasm and he's really fun to watch." .
Thank you, Alexandy for sharing this.

JMac was the person who drew me to tennis so I'm glad that he shares the same feeling: he's really fun to watch.

Johnny Groove
08-24-2006, 08:37 PM
Xisca would definately kick Mirka's ass in a fight. :p

MariaV
08-24-2006, 08:44 PM
Xisca would definately kick Mirka's ass in a fight. :p
Blaze!!!!!! :haha: :haha: Mirka weights more but that's not the decisive factor here. ;)

mallorn
08-24-2006, 08:44 PM
Xisca would definately kick Mirka's ass in a fight. :p
I don't know, Xisca is featherweight. :shrug:

mallorn
08-24-2006, 08:58 PM
From CBS Sportsline:
Contenders aren't content with just-the-two-of-us U.S. Open

Aug. 24, 2006
By Joel Drucker
Special to CBS SportsLine.com

As the U.S. Open nears, there is a slight degree of movement in the ranks. Reigning superpowers Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal might soon be challenged by a flock of intriguing contenders.

Coming out of the French Open and Wimbledon, I hadn't thought that would be the case. By romping to each of those finals, Federer and Nadal seemed headed to Martina Navratilova-Chris Evert levels of dominance.

Each pragmatically took off the balance of July and only played two events in August. Federer's victory in Toronto was likely enough for him to feel he's sharp, but surely Nadal was disappointed to not reach the semis in either Toronto or Cincinnati.

Though I still see these two as finalists in New York -- Wimbledon proved conclusively that Federer-Nadal is not restricted to clay -- to me the major story of the 2006 U.S. Open is less a matter of who will win but who has the goods to at least attempt to join Federer and Nadal at the top of the game.

Consider the range of personalities and playing styles that are bubbling beneath the two titans, ranging from cagey Andy Murray to clean-hitting Tomas Berdych, resurgent Andy Roddick, aggressive James Blake and shotmaker Richard Gasquet. Workhorse Ivan Ljubicic and fluid crowd-pleaser Marcos Baghdatis didn't do as well as expected during the U.S. Open Series but certainly have the skills.

This summer's series thus far has been bracketed by the triumphs of Blake in Indianapolis and Roddick in Cincinnati. But Blake floundered over the next few weeks, his game still subject to valleys of self-doubt and spotty play.

Despite losing his opening match at New Haven, Blake comes to New York a man well aware of his skills -- recall last year the way he thumped Nadal and took Andre Agassi to a fifth-set tiebreak in the quarters -- but hoping to at last consolidate them, shake off the demons of his 0-9 five-set record and make a case for himself as a true Slam threat.

Certainly he'll feel the crowd support from the New York fans, but I'm still not completely sold on Blake's ability to sustain excellence through more than three or four matches at a Slam. I hope I'm wrong, given that Blake is pleasing on many levels, ranging from his improved all-court game to his thoughtful, friendly personality.

While for Blake the U.S. Open is a matter of showing he's a sustainable top 10 player, in Roddick's case the issue is one of renaissance. He wants to prove that his 2003 New York triumph was something more than a blip before the Federer Era.

It was quite compelling in Indianapolis and Cincinnati to see Roddick applying the wisdom of his new coach, Jimmy Connors -- moving forward, committing to his shots, taking charge of points. In other words, doing things dozens of unknown teaching pros have been suggesting Roddick do for years.

This whole matter of coaching is an odd thing, a bit like the Wizard of Oz telling the Scarecrow he indeed has a brain. By contacting Connors, Roddick reached into the bag of mythology -- he'd hardly ever seen Connors play -- and grabbed someone he's willing to listen to.

A fairly benign draw in the first two rounds of the U.S. Open could give Roddick the confidence he needs to get himself back in the thick of things and, equally important, springboard him for a robust 2007.

Murray is rapidly becoming one of my favorite players to watch. I loved it when I heard how as a child he used to study his opponents and figure out what tactics would be necessary. This is a dramatic contrast to the narcissistic and often unproductive amount of time many players spend merely focusing on their own strokes.

What Murray needs now -- and I'll be intrigued if uber-tactician Brad Gilbert has the skills and patience to delegate this task effectively -- is to get stronger physically so that he can improve his serve and stamina.

Berdych is more of a meat-and-potatoes player than Murray, but if he can keep his focus, he can play powerful contemporary tennis. Baghdatis didn't do much this summer, but I think the big stage of New York will bring his all-court game to life.

As for Ljubicic, I wonder if he plays too much and doesn't always give himself the best chance to peak properly for the Slams. And Gasquet has a wonderful set of tools but I think, like Murray, he's physically (and maybe even mentally) several years away from his best tennis.

Still, from a stock market perspective, these are all players in whom I hold strong investments. I'll also continue to maintain a stake in big-serving Mario Ancic.

Then are the others I'm starting to divest from the portfolio.

Tommy Haas, for so long the next German hopeful after Boris Becker, won in Los Angeles in July, but at 28, it seems the sun is sinking on his hopes.

David Nalbandian has lots of skill, but, like Ljubicic, I think he plays too much and hasn't figured out if he's even worthy of pacing himself and competing wisely enough to make a winning Slam run.

Ditto for grinder Nikolay Davydenko.

Lleyton Hewitt's body is showing signs of wear and tear.

Marat Safin? Who knows if this guy will lose in the first round, win the tournament or break his wrist getting out of a limo?

And, finally, it's the last U.S. Open for Agassi. His farewell summer has hardly gone well; injuries forced him out of Toronto and Cincinnati. Word has it he took another cortisone shot, and surely he will do everything possible to play in New York. But I have a feeling it will be a superb effort if he can make it to Labor Day.

Then again, at 36, for all he has committed to tennis, Agassi can hold his head high. It's uncertain when there'll next be an American man who endures so well and so long.

* Winner: Federer.
* Americans in quarterfinals: One.

Joel Drucker has worked for a variety of print and broadcast media, including Tennis Magazine, USTA Magazine, Cigar Aficionado, Los Angeles Magazine and the Tennis Channel.

http://www.sportsline.com/tennis/story/9617893

Johnny Groove
08-24-2006, 09:40 PM
I don't know, Xisca is featherweight. :shrug:

Shed have to pick up some serious pounds in the NYC restaurants to get to Mirka's weight group :devil:

Blaze!!!!!! :haha: :haha: Mirka weights more but that's not the decisive factor here. ;)

Indeed, a cupcake lure would be the decisive factor. Mirka would get tired out and then Xisca would pound with flying jiu-jitsu and wonderful hair :)

RogiFan88
08-24-2006, 09:45 PM
You have seen this, haven't you all?

http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2006/nadal_nyc062.asp

mallorn
08-24-2006, 10:03 PM
I posted the link upthread, but thanks! :)

Sunset of Age
08-24-2006, 10:07 PM
I can't help but feel a mite sorry for Rafa seeing that vid... hope all that interviewing/photoshooting/whatever doesn't distract him from his tennis.

VAMOS, Rafa!

HybridTheory
08-24-2006, 10:28 PM
Vamos Rafa in NYC!!
Tough draw, but he is the number 2 in the world :) :yeah:

sprinterluck
08-25-2006, 03:21 AM
Oh, to be a fly on that store's wall. :devil:

:devil: That would be juicy.


While Rafa was giving an interview towards the end of the promo event,
a cluster of fans (lots of male voices) directly across the street tried to get Rafa's attention and screamed in unison:

"Te quiero Rafa!" It was pretty hilarious.

El Nino is sweet. He really tried to cross the street and sign for the fans behind the barricade, but security decided against it for fear of oncoming traffic. He's great with the fans--still humble (hope he doesn't change!)--and accomodating. You get the sense that he's not completely jaded by the attention and appreciates the support.

mallorn
08-25-2006, 08:11 AM
While Rafa was giving an interview towards the end of the promo event,
a cluster of fans (lots of male voices) directly across the street tried to get Rafa's attention and screamed in unison:

"Te quiero Rafa!" It was pretty hilarious.
:haha:

I hope Rafa won't become jaded any time soon, although reading all the reports from practices and media events, watching this last video, I reckon it'll take a small miracle for him not to get tired of it all.

mallorn
08-25-2006, 12:08 PM
Some quotes from Rafa and Roger, from the BBC:
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42014000/jpg/_42014166_fed2_ap_203.jpg
Federer and Nadal played an exhibition in New York on Thursday

Federer would relish Nadal final

Roger Federer says continuing his rivalry with Rafael Nadal by facing him in a third straight Grand Slam final at the US Open would benefit tennis.

"If it continues the way it is going at the moment, that we play each other often in the Grand Slam finals, that's only going to help," said Federer.

"So I am excited that he has come along and he's done a great job, playing very consistently at a young age.

"It's an unbelievable thing - something I was not even close to doing."

Federer will attempt to join Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe as the third man to win three successive US Open titles in the open era when the tournament starts on Monday.

"The US Open has been good to me in the last few years and I am back here as defending champion and number one in the world, so I hope I can live up to the expectations," he said.

Nadal has not been in top form since arriving in North America and, with a tough opener against Mark Philippoussis, he is putting any thoughts of another Grand Slam final to the back of his mind.

"I am not thinking much about a final with Federer," said Nadal. "I am going to focus on my match with (Philippoussis). I am thinking about that. Nothing more than that.

"I am practising hard every day, so I am happy to be in New York.

"I want to play good this tournament. It's one of my special goals of the year and I'm going to try."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/5285122.stm

liisa
08-25-2006, 04:15 PM
hey, Sprinterluck, thanks for your reports! they're cool.
But please, tell me: are you SURE it was Xisca with Rafa there?

mallorn
08-25-2006, 07:12 PM
From International Herald Tribune:
Once teen idol, Nadal is growing up

Christopher Clarey International Herald Tribune

Published: August 25, 2006

NEW YORK Watching Rafael Nadal cavort about the world's tennis courts as if he were plugged into an infinitely renewable source of energy, it is no stretch to envision him tackling all aspects of life with the same manic zeal.

But the young Spaniard, believe it or not, is not prone to scissors kicks and fist pumps when there is no racket in his left hand and no bandanna holding his thick, dark locks more or less in place. Nadal, a teen idol who at 20 is no longer a teenager, has a reflective side, too, and New York brings it to the fore like no other Grand Slam city.

He first visited in early 2001, not to take part in a tournament but to take part in a family vacation dreamed up by his father, Sebastian. Several members of Nadal's extended clan, including grandparents and uncles, made the journey from their home of Majorca.

One of their day trips took them to the top of the World Trade Center, and several months later, after coming off a tennis court in Madrid, the teenage Nadal stared at the television screen like so many others that Sept. 11 and felt a personal sense of loss over as the dust rose and then slowly, sickeningly dissipated.

"For me, something is still missing here," he said this week, before the start of the U.S. Open on Monday. "Whenever I come back to New York, I have this sad feeling somehow.

"I think if I hadn't come here before the towers were destroyed, it wouldn't have changed my feelings so much about the place, but the fact I was here at that age, that changed things a lot for me. Every year I come back, I go to Ground Zero."

Nadal has returned four times to New York since 2001, and though his connection with the city has deepened, he has yet to look entirely at home at the city's biggest tennis tournament. The world's No. 2 player, the young man who has won the last two French Opens, who was a surprise Wimbledon finalist last month and who has gotten the better of Roger Federer on a regular basis has not made it past the third round at the U.S. Open.

His early losses to Younes El Aynaoui in 2003 and Andy Roddick in 2004 were nothing unexpected, but last year's third-round loss to James Blake was a genuine upset, and it left Nadal determined to show the better side of his flashy game to New Yorkers and himself this time.

"Last year was the first year where, before I came here, I had done some significant things, and I played poorly, quite poorly," he said in the presidential suite of an elegant midtown hotel. "This year, we'll see. I've always said since the beginning of the season that this was one of my big goals for the year, what I really wanted."

Early summer hardcourt reviews have not been favorable. After taking an extended break after Wimbledon, during which he emerged unscathed from an automobile crash in Majorca and faced the paparazzi in earnest for the first time with his new Majorcan girlfriend, he was beaten in the third round in Toronto by Tomas Berdych. He lost again in the quarterfinals in Cincinnati to his resurgent countryman Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former world No. 1 who, like all Spanish players, has been relegated to the shadows by the Nadal phenomenon.

Spanish tennis, for all its great talents in the past 20 years, has not seen anything quite like Nadal: a player with the charisma and consistent results to grab headline space from fútbol. Carlos Moyá, Nadal's likable Majorcan role model, did reach No. 1 in the world, win the French Open and don some cutting-edge tennis apparel, but he never won 60 matches in a row on clay with an all-time great like Federer for a foil and never projected the same sort of ratings-grabbing blend of youthful enthusiasm, gladiatorial instincts and a winning smile that Majorca's next-generation tennis star possesses.

Despite Nadal's brilliant season, one that has eliminated all lingering suspicions of a clay-court dependency, it has not been all sweetness and light. The year began with him exercising in the swimming pool instead of behind the baseline as a small crack in a bone in his left foot forced him to miss the Australian Open, whose high-bouncing surface theoretically suits his game nearly as well as the crushed red brick in Paris.

"People have forgotten," he said. "These are difficult moments, moments where you never know whether, when you come back, you're going to get back to a high level."

Nadal, with a new insert in his left tennis shoe, rebounded quickly, winning on a hardcourt in Dubai in March, beating Federer in the final. He then beat Federer again to win on clay in Monte Carlo and soon found himself in Barcelona, breaking down in tears in the locker room before he took to the court for his semifinal.

"To realize that I was back among the best was a very emotional thing," he said.

He had the same reaction inside the All England Club after beating Marcos Baghdatis to reach the Wimbledon final. "I don't think it's good to control it too much sometimes; I think if you need to cry, you should cry," Nadal said.

He remained more stoic about an allegation in the French press during Wimbledon that he was a target of Operación Puerto, a Spanish government investigation into doping that centers on cycling. The un-bylined report that cited Nadal appeared in the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, but the International Tennis Federation and Spanish government have since released statements denying that Nadal was a target.

Clearly, the brouhaha did not affect his play. "Why would it have been complicated? It might have been complicated to handle for someone who had doubts about whether they had doped or not," he said. "I'm totally convinced I never took anything in my life and never will take anything in my life. I love sports and love competition, and I prefer much more to lose than to cheat. For this reason, I wasn't nervous about this. It hurt me, though, and what hurt me was that there are bad people who would write such things, such lies, and not even have the courage to sign their article."

Nadal said he was "almost 100 percent" convinced tennis has no doping problem, despite several prominent cases of late, including those involving the Argentines Mariano Puerta and Guillermo Cañas in 2005.

Both Puerta, who lost to Nadal in the French Open final that year, and Cañas had their suspensions reduced on appeal. "You shouldn't exaggerate it too much," Nadal said. "I think there are often little mistakes, but you don't need to treat these people like delinquents. To not allow Cañas to enter the U.S. Open last year seemed to me one of the most pathetic things."

But Nadal has not soured on the Open in general. He likes the atmosphere of the night matches, which he thinks suit his flamboyant style. Unlike last year, when Toni Nadal grew frustrated with his nephew carping on the unresponsiveness of the balls, Rafael no longer wants to espouse negativity.

The draw has not been uncooperative. His first- round opponent is Mark Philippoussis, the oft-injured Australian who no longer plays much like the Mark Philippoussis who reached the U.S. Open final here in 1998. Nadal's quarter, though it includes Tommy Robredo and the unpredictable French teenager Gaël Monfils, is hardly the roughest neighborhood.

But if Nadal is to transition from a slightly melancholy New York tourist to champion, it will require much more convincing hardcourt tennis than he has produced in North America so far this year. If he does manage it, he is prepared to let the emotions flow "I'll cry again; it's a sure thing," he said.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/08/25/news/tennis.php

sprinterluck
08-25-2006, 08:47 PM
hey, Sprinterluck, thanks for your reports! they're cool.
But please, tell me: are you SURE it was Xisca with Rafa there?

Hi liisa. I'm 100% sure it was Xisca. She emerged from the car a minute after Rafa and was wearing a form-fitting brown T-shirt.

mallorn
08-25-2006, 08:57 PM
Sprinterluck, just to clear this up, is that Xisca in the picture posted by Hawkeye Texasgirl? (behind Roger)

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=4023617&postcount=3848

Johnny Groove
08-25-2006, 09:23 PM
Sprinterluck, just to clear this up, is that Xisca in the picture posted by Hawkeye Texasgirl? (behind Roger)

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=4023617&postcount=3848

I dont think so. Xisca is lighter than that. And her nose is kinda pointed. The girl in that pic is darker that has big honker pointing down.

sprinterluck
08-26-2006, 03:40 AM
Sprinterluck, just to clear this up, is that Xisca in the picture posted by Hawkeye Texasgirl? (behind Roger)

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=4023617&postcount=3848

Yes that's definitely her in the brown T-shirt and pants. I saw her get out of the car. Also saw her this morning in Grand Central Station with Rafa for the Tennis Magazine promotion.

Rafa arrived at the Glam Slam Player Party tonight (sponsored by the Tennis Channel) with Tony Nadal, Carlos Moya and Flavia Pennetta, but I didn't see Xisca with them on the red carpet (however I could've sworn a girl in a red outfit who ran in discreetly was Xisca). Rafa posed solo (in a beige colored jacket) while Moya and Pennetta posed as a couple. Tony Nadal was also at the party.

Rafael, Moya and Pennetta were easily the best looking trio of the night. :D

mallorn
08-26-2006, 07:34 AM
Thanks a lot, Sprinterluck! :hug:

liisa
08-26-2006, 11:49 AM
Hi liisa. I'm 100% sure it was Xisca. She emerged from the car a minute after Rafa and was wearing a form-fitting brown T-shirt.

ok, thank you! :D

Xristos
08-26-2006, 12:03 PM
Vamos RAFA!

veyonce
08-27-2006, 11:00 AM
Nadal wary of enigmatic Scud
Sunday Aug 27 12:21 AEST

Mark Philippoussis may have escaped the pre-US Open spotlight but he hasn't escaped the attention of his first-round opponent, Spanish sensation Rafael Nadal.

Philippoussis hasn't yet been sighted at Flushing Meadows as the bulk of the field for the year's final major have been hard at it getting set for Monday's start to the tournament.

Australian Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald said he hadn't heard from the 1998 finalist, while others have reported Philippoussis to have been preparing in Florida.

It emerged though, that the Australian wildcard had been fine tuning his game at a charity doubles event at Long Island, just outside New York City.

And, despite the two-time grand slam runner-up having slipped to 113th in the rankings, Nadal is on guard ahead, mindful that Philippoussis has the power game to blow any rival on his day.

The world No.2 admitted he wasn't exactly thrilled to be opening against one of the most enigmatic figures in tennis.

"He's a big server, so it's going to be a tough match. The first round is not a comfortable rival," Nadal said.

"He's a good player. He was in the top 10. He's played very good matches, so we'll see."

"I know if he is playing his best, it's going to be very, very tough."

While the two-time French Open champion dispelled any lingering doubts that he was merely a claycourt specialist with his progression to this year's Wimbledon final, Nadal has to prove his credentials at the hardcourt majors.

Only once in five attempts - and never at Flushing Meadows - has Nadal made it past the third round at either the US Open or Australian Open, leaving Philippoussis with a glimmer of hope, even if most pundits have written off the 29-year-old Victorian as a spent force.

Nadal, though, is bent on rectifying his poor record in New York, which reads: 2nd rd, 2nd rd, 3rd rd.

"The US Open is one of my special goals of the year," he said.

"I was playing bad the last two years, so it's going to be important for me this tournament."

"I have worked a lot the last weeks to be ready for here. When I started the season, I always was thinking about this tournament.

"Last year I played my worst tournament of the year here and this year I want to change that. I want to play a good tournament and I need to be 100 per cent physically and mentally for sure."

If he fails to perform, Nadal said he would offer no excuses - regardless of the surface.

"I always say that the toughest thing is to play good," he said.

"If you are playing good, you have a chance on any surface. If you are playing bad, you are going to lose here, on clay, on ice, on the beach ... anywhere."

Nadal and Philippoussis won't clash until at least Tuesday (Wednesday AEST), with the men's and women's first-round matches at Flushing Meadows played over three days.

©AAP 2006

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=125474

the_natural
08-27-2006, 12:36 PM
First of all im soo sad about him losing that trainer, that man is so important I hope someone can replace him.

To whoever said that his second best chance is the Australian, you are Absolutley right cos its almost like a clay court mostly its just the movement that is different (that will be nadals biggest hurdle, if he slides even a bit he can injure himself terribly, and your feet stick to that surface I hope he is careful when he wins it next year).

And im very worried about him having mark, Mark is Like Robert Kendrick but 10 times more talented. HUGE serve, the best serve in the game today if he is serving well, and lots and lots and lots of power off the forehand and backhand and even the return, plus he is a solid serve volleyer, you have to pass him (6'5) at the net cos he doesnt easily fold understrong attempted passing shots (if hes in good form and he seems quite strong and fit).

I dont think Rafa will lose but he will be challenged to some extent depending on how Mark plays., the rest of the draw is pure murder though, this is THE most one sided draw ive ever seen, i am not kidding, I mean like im not saying every tough player has to play rafa, but the very top quarter is soo safe, even in the quarters there is only one "tough" player, James blake, and then possibly marat or nalbandian but no other dangers in that top half, maybe Berdych but he is like Marat right now.

Aggghhhh The worst part for me is that Andre is in Rafas half, if Andre overcomes Marcos and then Roddick, he may be taken out by rafa which wont do too much for the american love for him. Anyway either roddick or Baghadatis are also dangerous opponents for Rafa.

cmurray
08-27-2006, 01:08 PM
Rafa is right. If he's playing well, he can win on any surface. If he isn't playing well....

I am giving Rafa the benefit of the doubt. He has played exquisite tennis in the majors this year, having reached the finals of every major he participated in. I think we'll see him fight through Mark. One thing is that the best of 5 format is well-suited for Rafa. He has superior conditioning. In the end, I don't think Mark will be able to keep up with him physically.


Cheryl

mallorn
08-27-2006, 06:28 PM
The good news is that Rafa is training four hours a day and he's much happier with his progress. :D

***

From Townsville Bulletin:
Scud in Nadal's path

By Paul Malone in New York
28aug06

IT just gets worse for Mark Philippoussis – his US Open welcoming committee, Rafael Nadal, yesterday revealed the depth of his anger at a shabby New York record.

Nadal said Philippoussis's serving power and his history as a top-10 player as recently as 2004 made him expect to face a tough match against the Australian wildcard entry in one of the showcase first round matches at Flushing Meadows.

But Nadal, the world's second-ranked player and claycourt king, said he was desperate to improve on a record of having not gone past the third round on New York's hardcourts in three campaigns, including a flat loss to American James Blake last year.

"He's a big server and I know if he's playing his best it's going to be a very tough match," said Nadal, who jested that if he was in a boxing bout with world No. 1 Roger Federer, rather than tennis, he would win because he is "a little bit tougher".

"He was in the top 10. He's a good player and the court is quick, but not very quick, so that's OK," Nadal said of Philippoussis said.

"The US Open is one of my special goals of the year.

"Last year I played my worst tournament of the year here and when I started the year I was thinking about this tournament – I worked a lot the last few weeks to be prepared."

Nadal did not make a semi-final in either of his two North American Masters Series appearances.

Australia Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald says Philippoussis is not without a chance despite the best-of-five-set format enabling the powerful Spaniard to draw the 1998 US Open runner-up into longer exchanges as it progresses.

Philippoussis, ranked No. 113, practised again at a private site away from Flushing Meadows, which has saved him from the media scrutiny he dreads but also prevents him from practising on the exact pace of surface on which he will meet Nadal.

Philippoussis's performance against Nadal will give Fitzgerald a reliable read on whether he has the tennis in his legs to be a viable singles option for Australia's claycourt semi-final in Buenos Aires on September 22-24.

Lleyton Hewitt, who would not comment on his availability for the Argentina trip because of security fears – despite Fitzgerald saying last week he was certain to play if fit – questioned the accuracy of the Hawk-Eye line-calling technology which makes its grand slam debut in New York this week.

Hewitt said he and his Washington DC conqueror Arnaud Clement had been in agreement on a challenged linecall each in their match – and the technology verdict surprised them both despite the evidence of a ball mark on the court.
http://townsvillebulletin.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,7034,20271061%255E23216,00.html

mallorn
08-27-2006, 06:30 PM
A very nice article from International Herald Tribune (http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/08/27/sports/TENNIS.php):
The glider and the hustler face off
Christopher Clarey International Herald Tribune

Published: August 27, 2006

NEW YORK Roger Federer convincingly won the latest round, on a grass court at Wimbledon that looked more like dirt. But as the final Grand Slam tournament of the year begins here Monday, Rafael Nadal is the one who still holds the convincing 6-2 lead in their rapidly evolving tennis rivalry, which is cranking out new chapters at a pulp novelist's pace.

As if that weren't enough, Nadal also has the better view from his Midtown Manhattan hotel room.

Only a few blocks separate the five- star establishments that are housing the game's two leading men during the U.S. Open. Nadal's digs are on Central Park, and the picture window in his suite looks out from a great height over the verdant inland sea of the park, hemmed in by some of the highest-rent peaks in real estate.

Federer and his longtime girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec, are farther south in an elegant if less spectacular corner suite that looks out on Fifth Avenue facades instead of treetops.

But Federer is still No. 1 in the rankings by a big margin and still the two- time defending champion at the U.S. Open. Last week, both he and Nadal were willing to throw open the doors and re- open the now familiar discussion on the state of their games and rivalry as they prepared for the tournament that should serve as the Grand Slam tiebreaker.

The nostalgia pump is fully primed as Andre Agassi, 36, prepares, fragile back and all, to play the final tournament of his career and as television producers worldwide prepare to tap into footage of Agassi's hirsute, style-over-substance days of long ago. A finalist here last year against Federer, Agassi would appear to have zero chance of making another such run, considering that he has played and won little on hard courts this summer. He is due to start his last Open on Monday night against the Romanian veteran Andrei Pavel.

The game that Agassi is leaving after a compelling career and disappointing final season revolves around Federer and Nadal. Both men are weary of discussing the other, but both recognize that the topic is unavoidable in the bipolar world of their own making.

"I think this rivalry is a beautiful thing for tennis," Nadal said. "It's not negative or hostile. It's about the tennis."

Because of a broken bone in his left foot, Nadal missed the Australian Open that Federer won in January. Since then, the two have taken turns pushing the other around. Nadal dominated the clay-court season, running his victory streak on the surface to 60 matches by beating Federer in four sets in the French Open final.

Federer dominated the shorter grass- court season, taking his victory streak on the surface to 48 matches by beating Nadal in four sets in a Wimbledon final the Spaniard had not expected to reach.

Now comes a chance to crunch more numbers (and opponents) as the outdoor hard-court season peaks, and the general tennis public understandably expects to see Federer and Nadal slapping more topspin forehands at each other in the U.S. Open final on Sept. 10. It was why a few hundred spectators jammed into 54th Street on Thursday as Nadal and Federer hit and giggled while they played mini-tennis inside a narrow cage to promote a sponsor.

Still, history makes a poor case for another rematch: since the Open era began in 1968, no men have faced each other in three Grand Slam singles finals in the same year. And, for a change, neither Federer nor Nadal arrived at this major tournament riding a winning streak. Federer was stunned in Cincinnati by the Scottish teenager Andy Murray after having to work particularly hard to win the title in Toronto. Nadal didn't hold up a trophy in either place, losing early to Tomas Berdych in Canada and to a fellow Spaniard, Juan Carlos Ferrero, in Cincinnati.

"After Wimbledon, we went to the doctors, and they said it's better if Rafa takes a break, because he'd had months with lots and lots of intensity," said Nadal's coach and uncle, Toni Nadal. "Turns out the break wasn't ideal. In Majorca, it was difficult to find people to train with."

"Mentally, he was not strong in Toronto or Cincinnati," Toni said. "He had a lot of unforced errors, which meant that his attention was not 100 percent on what he was doing."

Federer has seen enough of Nadal's good qualities to doubt reports of newfound vulnerability.

"I guess the chances are there that it happens again," Federer said of another final with Nadal. "It didn't happen in Toronto and Cincinnati, where we both played, and right away you see how difficult it is. It's in a way good that it didn't happen, because it reminds people.

"I think both our draws are all right here, not terrible, not as much danger as maybe at Wimbledon for me or him in other tournaments. So I think there is a chance, but I don't like to think of a final yet, because it's just too long, and there's too much tennis to be played."

Federer, here without his coach, Tony Roche, but delighted that Roche has agreed to help him again next season, plans to be in New York for the duration. The hotel room to which he welcomed a reporter Thursday morning was a portrait of order after he pushed the breakfast cart out the door.

Eleven rackets were lined up side by side, their pristine white grips leaning against a fireplace. On the desk were a laptop and portable printer. A newspaper was folded and centered on the coffee table. Equipment bags were neatly stacked with the day's tennis clothes folded in a plastic sack. A butler would not have looked out of place.

"Mirka helps me out, you know; I like it tidy anyway," Federer said. "I used to be so untidy. I like it this way, especially here where I'm going to be here for hopefully three weeks or so."

The state of the room fits Federer's on-court persona. The Swiss is slick and polished between the lines and, unlike the sleeveless Nadal, does not seem to relish the idea of opponents seeing him sweat for a very good living. Both men do wear bandannas, do come from close families and do control the flow of play with high-kicking forehands and spectacular athleticism. But the similarities trail off quickly from there.

Nadal is the lefty with the two- handed backhand, Federer the righty with the one-hander. Nadal likes to roam beyond the baseline, even if his coach and uncle Toni would like him to push forward; Federer toes the line and catches the ball earlier.

Federer glides; Nadal hustles. Federer is elegant, seemingly incapable of winning, or even losing, ugly. Nadal is a motion machine who lunges, slashes or employs any other action verb available to keep the rally going.

That was how he overcame a big deficit in the fifth set in the final in Rome in May, a five-hour thriller that both consider the best of their matches. It was also the only one in which there were signs of animosity as Federer accused Toni Nadal during the match of illegally coaching Rafael from the players' box. Both Nadals denied the allegation afterward, saying that Toni was merely cheering for his nephew rather than giving him cues or counsel.

"It was a moment that ran totally counter to the image of Roger as a calm, respectful and good person," Rafael Nadal said. "I still think he is a good person. I think what happened in Rome was just due to a rise in the tension level and the nerves. I think it was a moment when Roger was under a lot of pressure."

Federer, though reluctant to reheat the sensitive subject, is still convinced he complained with good cause.

"I just felt like it was going on in Dubai, Monte Carlo and in Rome and before that at the French in the semifinals the year before," he said. "I have proof that every time they were talking to each other and, of course, toward Dubai and Monaco, all of the sudden I said to myself this is now out of control.

"If you come through juniors, you have all this stuff, and eventually it's hard for some just to let go and say, 'O.K., we're on the men's tour, and there's no coaching here.'"

Nadal not only makes Federer hit uncomfortable shots by getting his cross- court topspin forehand up high to the backhand. He also makes him hit extra shots, and Nadal has made Federer hit enough on hard courts to hold a surprising 2-1 edge on a surface that roughly equates to neutral ground. But the Swiss and the Spaniard have yet to play on neutral ground in New York.

"First, let me worry about playing well in New York," said Nadal, who has yet to make it past the third round in New York.

Johnny Groove
08-27-2006, 09:58 PM
Only 4 hours? Lazy ass :o

prima donna
08-28-2006, 04:30 AM
Vamos!

cmurray
08-28-2006, 04:45 AM
And once again, I contend that Roger bitched about Rafa in those tourneys because he lost them when he so badly wanted to win. He couldn't very well say, "well, you know, he's just better than I am on clay". I think underneath it all, Roger is a pretty egotistical guy and he HATES that Rafa "owns" him so to speak.

Cheryl

mallorn
08-28-2006, 10:29 AM
Only 4 hours? Lazy ass :o
Yeah, he's all talk, isn't he? ;)

From USA Today:
Nadal's passion should play well

By Douglas Robson, special for USA TODAY
Updated 8/28/2006

http://images.usatoday.com/sports/_photos/2006/08/27/topper-nadal.jpg
"When I (started) the season, I always was thinking about this tournament. Last year I played my worst tournament (of) the year here, and this year I want to change that," Rafael Nadal said in July of this year's U.S. Open.
By Robert Laberge, Getty Images

http://images.usatoday.com/sports/_photos/2006/08/27/nadal.jpg
Rafael Nadal's vocal style on the court should gain him the support of a usually racous New York crowd at the U.S. Open.
By Ron Scheffler, US PRESSWIRE

NEW YORK — For a kid used to the carefree cadence of soft Mediterranean breezes, Rafael Nadal seems ill-equipped for the chaos of New York.

His performance at the U.S. Open — a third-round showing last year is his best result — supports that premise.

But once the indefatigable force from the Spanish island of Mallorca sets his sights on a prize, conventional wisdom doesn't necessarily apply. Consider Nadal's gallop to the 2006 Wimbledon final on grass, a surface pundits predicted would bedevil the 20-year-old king of clay for several years to come.

Brace yourself, New York. Nadal has his eyes trained on the U.S. Open.

"I want to play good in the U.S. Open, no?" Nadal said after his four-set loss to Roger Federer at July's All England Club final.

"When I (started) the season," he reiterated Saturday, "I always was thinking about this tournament. Last year I played my worst tournament (of) the year here, and this year I want to change that."

Nadal tweaked his summer schedule to peak in New York, playing fewer events to stay fresh and remaining in North America to train and practice.

"It is important to play well at the big events," he says, "and the one in New York is big, very big."

Even so, Nadal concedes it takes a certain mental maturity to conquer Queens. His Popeye biceps and on-court precociousness notwithstanding, the 6-1 southpaw is still very much an adolescent.

At news conferences, he often fiddles with his cellphone (or whatever is in reach) and occasionally jumps out of his chair to illustrate certain points when his limited but improving English lacks the requisite vocabulary.

A homebody who is coached by his uncle, Tony, and who remains hermetically close to his tightknit family, Nadal spent the weeks after Wimbledon fishing and going out with friends in his hometown of Manacor. His big outing? A weekend trip to Disneyland Paris with his family.

"Manacor is, for me, the best place in the world," Nadal says. "I have all my friends there and enjoy every minute when I am there. It is hard (to leave), but at the same time I am doing what I love, what I have a passion for, which is to play competitive tennis."

Despite the happy-go-lucky rhythms of his hometown, on the court Nadal is more hurricane than gentle island zephyr. With flowing dark hair tucked behind a bandana, skin-hugging sleeveless shirts and medium-length pirate pants, he looks like a marauder swept in off the high seas.

That bold attire, combined with a kinetic playing style laden with leaping fist-pumps, shouts of "Vamos!" and never-say-die attitude, should sell well in the Big Apple.

"Nadal's energy will suit the New York crowd," four-time Grand Slam champion Jim Courier says. "People like to see blood, sweat and guts on the court. He lets you in like very few players do."

Nadal agrees that New York suits his professional persona, if not his eye-averting off-court personality.

"People (in the USA) show passion for things, and I love that," says Nadal, who responded via e-mail. "It is one of my favorite cities in the world. I think it has the vibes."

New Yorkers like winners. If Nadal intends to generate the vibes for fans, he will have to bring his "A" game.

Continued success

The world No. 2 has put together another terrific season, winning five titles and capturing a second consecutive Grand Slam in Paris. But he has been shaky since arriving in North America this summer.

At the Toronto Masters, Nadal, the defending champ, fell in the round of 16 to 14th-ranked Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 1-6, 6-3, 2-6, only the second time this season Nadal has departed before the quarterfinals. A week later in the Cincinnati area tournament, he lost to unseeded Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3) in the last eight. It marked the only time in 2006 Nadal has failed to reach at least the semifinals in consecutive tournaments.

"He's struggling a little bit," says ESPN commentator and U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe, who believes the month-long break after Wimbledon was too long for a grinding player such as Nadal. "He needs to play a lot of matches and hit a lot of balls."

Observers also have noted a few fissures in the Mallorcan's usually rock-solid game, particularly on hardcourts.

On clay his topspin shots bounce higher, and he has more time to use his athleticism to fend off attackers. On the cement he sometimes lingers too far behind the baseline, allowing opponents to exploit his poor position. His backhand slice is less effective, and aggressive foes who take the ball on the rise, such as American James Blake, who has beaten him twice on hardcourts, can make Nadal look uncomfortable.

"On a relatively quick court, he's vulnerable," McEnroe says.

Still, it would be unfair to count Nadal as anything but a serious contender, just as it would be inaccurate to label him a clay-court specialist. His two French Open crowns and record 60-match winning streak on dirt aside, Nadal is no one-surface wonder. He owns two Masters Series titles on fast surfaces, and he knocked off Federer on cement in the final at Dubai this year — one of four victories vs. one loss against the Swiss No. 1 in 2006.

"Rafael has not just been successful on (clay), he's been successful on everything," says No. 5 Blake, the top-ranked American.

In London, Nadal illustrated his ability to adapt. With fewer than 10 matches on grass as a pro, he made almost daily and dramatic improvements in each round.

"I changed a few things, such as the grip and a few others, especially the way to move and receive the ball," Nadal says. "I also learned that I can do well on grass."

If Federer is the balletic Baryshnikov, Nadal's physics-defying athletic gifts are of a different nature. Nadal is bullish and demonstrative; his forte lies in a hunger to retrieve ball after ball, a skill that can wear down opponents on any surface.

"To win a point against him, you have to hit the ball really good two, three or four times," says compatriot Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champ and a former No. 1.

Offense and defense

Nor does Nadal play defense at the expense of offense, which is why, unlike many clay-court phenoms, he has been able to make the transition to faster surfaces. He can impose his slingshot topspin forehand and blast winners from all over the court. He can surprise opponents by flattening out his double-fisted backhand and whacking it down the line. He can sneak into the net and knock off volleys.

"What you have seen the last couple years is always that he's very quick, gets a lot of balls back, and once in a while he does some phenomenal shots," says Germany's Tommy Haas, who lost to Nadal at Cincinnati two weeks ago. "When you think actually you're going to get an easy ball back, he seems to come up with an incredible winner or passing shot. That's what makes him (unbelievably) difficult."

Nadal has shown he can bounce back from adversity. Published allegations that were unconfirmed linking him to investigations surrounding this year's Tour de France doping scandal haven't affected his tunnel vision. He emerged from a post-Wimbledon car accident unharmed and has been handling the local media crush centered on his Mallorcan girlfriend with aplomb. Nor has the foot injury that kept him out of the Australian Open in January derailed his position at No. 2 in the world.

He's also maintained his sense of humor. Asked to assess his summer season since Wimbledon, Nadal cracked up the news corps Saturday by saying he'd played "unbelievable" and had "very good wins" during his month off in Mallorca.

Nadal is characteristically forthright about his desire to succeed in New York. He wants to shine so he can win over American audiences.

"I don't think I have any special pressure," says Nadal, who believes last year's decision to return home between Montreal and New York contributed to his third-round loss to Blake. A fast learner, Nadal chose to stay in the USA despite the extra time his early defeats this month afforded.

Besides, he argues, with two-time defending champ Federer (whose 55-match winning streak on North American hardcourts ended at Cincinnati) so far ahead of the field, everyone is an underdog. His goal is to improve.

"Roger is the great favorite," he says. "I hope I can do well, but if not, I hope I continue my learning process."

Potential showdown on neutral ground

Rafael Nadal leads Roger Federer 6-2 in their head-to-head series, but the surfaces have made a difference. Federer leads 1-0 on grass; Nadal leads 4-0 on clay and 2-1 on hardcourts. The slow, high-bouncing clay perfectly suits Nadal's strengths; the fast, skidding grass accentuates Federer's smooth strokes. The U.S. Open hardcourts, slower than grass and faster than clay, might be the perfect testing ground for tennis' biggest rivalry.

Year Event Surface Round Winner Score
2004 Miami Hardcourt R32 Nadal 6-3, 6-3
2005 Miami Hardcourt Final Federer 2-6, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-1
2005 French Open Clay Semifinals Nadal 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
2006 Dubai Hardcourt Final Nadal 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
2006 Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
2006 Rome Clay Final Nadal 6-7 (0-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5)
2006 French Open Clay Final Nadal 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
2006 Wimbledon Grass Final Federer 6-0, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (2-7), 6-3
4http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/open/2006-08-27-nadal-cover_x.htm?POE=SPOISVA

The Pro
08-28-2006, 04:45 PM
IMO Nadal's US Open draw is ok. He would be in a sore state if he had Berdych and Blake in his half, as they are very troubling to him on hard court.

I think Scud will be difficult but will be overcome, from there... who knows?

I see another Rog V Rafa final!

MariaV
08-28-2006, 11:16 PM
Hey lovelies! :wavey: The OOP is finally up. Rafa's up 2nd on Ashe. But the forecast is not good as I understood so it might rain the whole day and he might not even get to play tomorrow. Let's hope for the best though. :)

Arthur Ashe 11:00 AM

1. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Amelie Mauresmo (FRA)[1] vs. Kristina Barrois (GER)

followed by
2. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Mark Philippoussis (AUS) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

mallorn
08-28-2006, 11:25 PM
Thanks, Maria! :wavey:

Is there a dance to make rain go away? *sigh*

the_natural
08-29-2006, 07:47 AM
And once again, I contend that Roger bitched about Rafa in those tourneys because he lost them when he so badly wanted to win. He couldn't very well say, "well, you know, he's just better than I am on clay". I think underneath it all, Roger is a pretty egotistical guy and he HATES that Rafa "owns" him so to speak.

Cheryl

Your so right :rolleyes: Thats why he whacked that ball outta the stadium in Rome as well and he shouted at some spectator or somethin. He has never ever Admitted that Rafa is better than him at anything haha Even Fred Stolle and John Newcombe who worship federer said at French Open time "I just wish he would admit that Nadal is better than him on clay, in my days the clay courters admitted we were better on Grass and we admitted they were better than us on Clay". Hes only said something like "hes the best clay court player in history" or something.

Anyways im torn, I want Agassi to go far, I want him to make the finals but he cant, because then that ruins my dreams of Rafa making the final (not to mention he has Baghdatis and then Roddick to contend with :rolleyes: ) Im caught between a rock and a hard place!!! I want Andre to make the finals but I know that if he does he will be worn down from those 3 matches (especially rafa's) and he wont be able to do anything.

The worst part is just having rafa and Andre in the same side :mad: :mad: :mad: So unfair I wanted both of them to do really well
:sad: :sad: :sad: And Also my other dillemma is that I wanted mark to do something significant but I dont want him to push Rafa to 4 or 5 sets cos then Rafa might get tired!! :mad: :mad: :mad:

Worst draw for me EVER!!!!

Weebl
08-29-2006, 08:51 AM
o I hope he will play!!
I'm so nervous :awww:
and I hope it won't be delayed cuz it's like middle of the night then in Holland and i'll have to stay up all night..

mallorn
08-29-2006, 11:04 AM
And once again, I contend that Roger bitched about Rafa in those tourneys because he lost them when he so badly wanted to win. He couldn't very well say, "well, you know, he's just better than I am on clay". I think underneath it all, Roger is a pretty egotistical guy and he HATES that Rafa "owns" him so to speak.

Cheryl

Your so right :rolleyes: Thats why he whacked that ball outta the stadium in Rome as well and he shouted at some spectator or somethin. He has never ever Admitted that Rafa is better than him at anything haha Even Fred Stolle and John Newcombe who worship federer said at French Open time "I just wish he would admit that Nadal is better than him on clay, in my days the clay courters admitted we were better on Grass and we admitted they were better than us on Clay". Hes only said something like "hes the best clay court player in history" or something.
Well of course Roger hates the head-to-head, I can't imagine it being otherwise. He wouldn't be where he is if he didn't loathe losing. Also, losing to the same player is so rare for him these days it must be extra hard to take. In Rome he had match points and he blew it, so it's understandable that he was pissed after the final. I can understand the frustration but I still think his ungracious comments were disappointing. It's easy to be nice and classy when you're winning. Funny how before the Wimbledon final he talked about one-dimensional game, coaching, Rafa not being a better player on clay than he is, etc., but in New York he said: "I am excited that he has come along and he's done a great job, playing very consistently at a young age. It's an unbelievable thing - something I was not even close to doing." :lol:

***
Well, the forecast is bad. :rain: But the good news is Rafa seems to be rearing to go and got his timing back, he said: "I've got back the good sensations when I hit the ball." :dance: :yeah:

cmurray
08-29-2006, 01:23 PM
Well of course Roger hates the head-to-head, I can't imagine it being otherwise. He wouldn't be where he is if he didn't loathe losing. Also, losing to the same player is so rare for him these days it must be extra hard to take. In Rome he had match points and he blew it, so it's understandable that he was pissed after the final. I can understand the frustration but I still think his ungracious comments were disappointing. It's easy to be nice and classy when you're winning. Funny how before the Wimbledon final he talked about one-dimensional game, coaching, Rafa not being a better player on clay than he is, etc., but in New York he said: "I am excited that he has come along and he's done a great job, playing very consistently at a young age. It's an unbelievable thing - something I was not even close to doing." :lol:

***
Well, the forecast is bad. :rain: But the good news is Rafa seems to be rearing to go and got his timing back, he said: "I've got back the good sensations when I hit the ball." :dance: :yeah:


I'm sure if I were Federer I'd be pissed too. Essentially, Rafa is threatening his legacy. How can you be the best player to ever live and get routinely thrashed by the same guy over and over and over again?

I'll go a step further than just disappointment in Roger. I'm downright angry with the way he's talked of Rafa. He accuses him of CHEATING, says he isn't a threat (which is, of course, stupid), calls him one-dimensional - and people call this guy a gentleman???? Why? Because he can afford to wear Armani and Prada? Because he "glides" around the court? Rafa is ten times the gentleman that Roger is. Have we ever heard him utter even ONE nasty comment about ANYONE? Roger is busy running Rafa down to whoever will listen. But what does Rafa have to say about Roger? "He's the best player. I'll have to play my best match to beat him".

He could easily say "The record speaks for itself" when people ask him about Roger. But he doesn't because HE'S A GENTLEMAN. I've heard people call him crass and even ugly (??????) because they don't like the way he plays the game. But I'll tell you what. I'll take Rafa's fight on court and his graciousness off it ANY day over Princess Roger's ballet tennis and derisiveness.

Sorry. Rant over.


Cheryl

cmurray
08-29-2006, 01:25 PM
Your so right :rolleyes: Thats why he whacked that ball outta the stadium in Rome as well and he shouted at some spectator or somethin. He has never ever Admitted that Rafa is better than him at anything haha Even Fred Stolle and John Newcombe who worship federer said at French Open time "I just wish he would admit that Nadal is better than him on clay, in my days the clay courters admitted we were better on Grass and we admitted they were better than us on Clay". Hes only said something like "hes the best clay court player in history" or something.

Anyways im torn, I want Agassi to go far, I want him to make the finals but he cant, because then that ruins my dreams of Rafa making the final (not to mention he has Baghdatis and then Roddick to contend with :rolleyes: ) Im caught between a rock and a hard place!!! I want Andre to make the finals but I know that if he does he will be worn down from those 3 matches (especially rafa's) and he wont be able to do anything.

The worst part is just having rafa and Andre in the same side :mad: :mad: :mad: So unfair I wanted both of them to do really well
:sad: :sad: :sad: And Also my other dillemma is that I wanted mark to do something significant but I dont want him to push Rafa to 4 or 5 sets cos then Rafa might get tired!! :mad: :mad: :mad:

Worst draw for me EVER!!!!



This is exactly how I feel. I've never in my life cheered against Andre Agassi (i've been watching the man for 18 years). But I HATE the fact that he's in Rafa's half. Once Andre is gone :sad:, it will be the Rafa show. For now, I don't know what I'll do if that match comes about.

Cheryl

Johnny Groove
08-29-2006, 03:12 PM
Why is there speak of...HIM?!?!!?!?!

That type of language is not allowed in a positive vibing Rafa thread! This is RAFANIAL!!!!

mallorn
08-29-2006, 03:58 PM
This isn't RAFANIAL just yet, it could become RAFANIAL if he lost in the first round. :eek: :p

The courts are drenched and the forecast is bad, although it's not raining atm. Eurosport is showing Roger in his room, he just said "this is my cosmetic table, very important for me..." :haha: One more thing about Roger; The Jacket is going to be back :scared: this time with Swiss insignia. :tape:

They just announced that provided there's no more rain play will start in 45 minutes.

cmurray
08-29-2006, 04:34 PM
This isn't RAFANIAL just yet, it could become RAFANIAL if he lost in the first round. :eek: :p

The courts are drenched and the forecast is bad, although it's not raining atm. Eurosport is showing Roger in his room, he just said "this is my cosmetic table, very important for me..." :haha: One more thing about Roger; The Jacket is going to be back :scared: this time with Swiss insignia. :tape:

They just announced that provided there's no more rain play will start in 45 minutes.


Sweet Mary, mother of God. The Jacket is BACK? Cripes, could this guy get any more pretentious?

From now on, I solemnly swear to call Federer Princess Roger. What a little girl.

MariaV
08-29-2006, 04:51 PM
Eurosport is showing Roger in his room, he just said "this is my cosmetic table, very important for me..." :haha: One more thing about Roger; The Jacket is going to be back :scared: this time with Swiss insignia. :tape:


:tape: :tape: :ignore: :ignore:

Johnny Groove
08-29-2006, 04:53 PM
O lord. O my god. If that jacket makes a return, GM will explode.

mallorn
08-29-2006, 04:55 PM
^^^ :lol: I really hope this information is wrong but:
Federer plans to wear a fitted, sky-blue T-shirt and classic white shorts, topped by a blazer with Swiss insignia.
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1156801811830&call_pageid=969907740050&col=970081602428

I think it's raining again. :(

Kalliopeia
08-29-2006, 04:56 PM
This is exactly how I feel. I've never in my life cheered against Andre Agassi (i've been watching the man for 18 years). But I HATE the fact that he's in Rafa's half. Once Andre is gone :sad:, it will be the Rafa show. For now, I don't know what I'll do if that match comes about.

Cheryl

I can't even bear the thought. If Andre has to lose, I hope it's to Rafa, though. And if Rafa has to lose, I hope it's to Andre. It goes against my very being to root against Andre, though, so if it comes about I'll whine and wring my hands and finally, reluctantly, chant "Go Andre!" But it will be like a knife in my heart every time.

I think they should both win!

Johnny Groove
08-29-2006, 05:07 PM
That blazer is so ridiculous. He cant find a single jacket in NYC that better than that thing? :help: :tape:

Weebl
08-29-2006, 06:22 PM
...Eurosport is showing Roger in his room, he just said "this is my cosmetic table, very important for me..." :haha:
Hahaha seriously? lol :p
Princess Federer indeed :haha:

eurosport says they're beginning in 2 minutes!! :D

mallorn
08-29-2006, 06:37 PM
Hahaha seriously? lol :p
Princess Federer indeed :haha:

eurosport says they're beginning in 2 minutes!! :D
No, of course he said it tongue-in-cheek. :lol:

Yeah, the girls are playing. Please Amelie, make it quick! :angel:

Weebl
08-29-2006, 07:00 PM
No, of course he said it tongue-in-cheek. :lol:

Yeah, the girls are playing. Please Amelie, make it quick! :angel:
well I could easily imaging him saying that :p

it just started raining again..:awww:

Weebl
08-29-2006, 07:11 PM
haha the commentator speaks with a lisp :p
two fatpoints for amélie lol

mallorn
08-29-2006, 07:15 PM
^^^ :lol:

Amelie took the first set in 32 minutes. Keep it up, girl! :D :yippee:

Weebl
08-29-2006, 07:32 PM
Barrois is actually playing better then I thought she would..
hopefully Amélie will do better quickly so it won't be a 3setter and we can watch Rafaaa:D

mallorn
08-29-2006, 07:37 PM
Amelie got broken, it's 2-4 in the second. Damn.

Weebl
08-29-2006, 07:41 PM
2-5 :awww:

Weebl
08-29-2006, 07:45 PM
that commentator is really weird :shrug:
'Look at the umbrella, it's wet!'
duhh :cuckoo:

mallorn
08-29-2006, 07:56 PM
:haha: Which channel are you watching?

Eurosport showed more of the Roger interview, he's staying in a very nice suite in NY. :yeah:

Weebl
08-29-2006, 08:01 PM
Yeah I'm watching eurosport too :p
I saw roger and his suite too but I have a dutch commentator I think you don't ;)
now I see agassi for the 4th time..

mallorn
08-29-2006, 08:21 PM
No, I don't have Dutch commentary. I'm watching ES International with British commentators. I'll take them over the Polish ones every time. :lol:

Damn, I don't think we'll see any Rafa tonight.

Weebl
08-29-2006, 08:32 PM
I really really do hope so :awww:
why are mauresmo and barrois not playing while monfils and russell are?
or isn't that live? :p

mallorn
08-29-2006, 08:50 PM
It was from tape. Now they're showing Feli again.

I know some of the rallies by heart now. :haha:

Jogg
08-29-2006, 08:51 PM
Does anyone know what will happen if it stops raining there this evening, will they carry on with Amelie and then go to Rafa or will they do the night matches instead?

Weebl
08-29-2006, 08:57 PM
I have no idea..
I hope they will just carry on with Amelie and then go to Rafa :angel:

Weebl
08-29-2006, 08:59 PM
It was from tape. Now they're showing Feli again.

I know some of the rallies by heart now. :haha:
So true :rolleyes:
why don't they show Baghdatis in stead of this for the third time :confused:

Jogg
08-29-2006, 09:11 PM
I have no idea..
I hope they will just carry on with Amelie and then go to Rafa :angel:

me too Weebl

Weebl
08-29-2006, 09:52 PM
Damn screw that rain :crying2:

Weebl
08-29-2006, 09:53 PM
I'm watching these stupid reviews for more than 2 hours now and getting pretty frustrated by it :awww:

Kalliopeia
08-29-2006, 10:41 PM
There was a short interview with Rafa during the rain delay. He was in the players lounge. There wasn't really anything new in it but he looked nice. I hope someone else got it and can upload it for everyone. This was about three hours into USA's coverage today if anyone Tivoed it and wants to find it...

Johnny Groove
08-29-2006, 11:51 PM
There was a short interview with Rafa during the rain delay. He was in the players lounge. There wasn't really anything new in it but he looked nice. I hope someone else got it and can upload it for everyone. This was about three hours into USA's coverage today if anyone Tivoed it and wants to find it...

I saw that too! I dont have the vid, but I realized that his English is getting so good!

Rafa = Fed Killa
08-30-2006, 03:48 AM
Rafa's playing at 11AM, so he might have to play his second round on Thursday. :mad:

MariaV
08-30-2006, 05:08 AM
Morning everyone! :wavey: :banana:
I'm gonna watch Rafa on ES! ;) :bounce: :yippee:
And FYI, the suspended matches cannot be put up 1st the next day, they are continued after the 1st match of the day as a rule.

MariaV
08-30-2006, 05:10 AM
It was from tape. Now they're showing Feli again.

I know some of the rallies by heart now. :haha:
:haha: But it was a great match from Feli so I didn't mind watching it over & over again. :D :D :D
:wavey:

mallorn
08-30-2006, 08:49 AM
Yes, it was a great match so I didn't mind so much. ;)

Oh damn, ES coverage starts at 17.40 and could well start later than that because of the Vuelta. I'm going to miss the beginning! :mad:

MariaV
08-30-2006, 08:54 AM
Oh NOOOOO!!!!!!! :mad: :fiery: NTV+ will most definitely show Marat. :bolt:
So we both might miss Rafa's start. :sad:

mallorn
08-30-2006, 09:10 AM
Or maybe not, look at this: New York hourly forecast: SHOWERS POSSIBLE ALL DAY UNTIL AT LEAST 6:00PM. :eek: :(

From the Boston Globe:
US OPEN NOTEBOOK
Rain doesn't dampen Nadal's spirits

By Amalie Benjamin, Globe Staff | August 30, 2006

NEW YORK -- On the court, Rafael Nadal is mature beyond his years , both in his game and his reactions, no matter the circumstances or the venue. So it was noticeable when another sort of emotion was splashed across his face yesterday as evening approached and his first - round match, against Mark Philippoussis, was shoveled off to today.

Pure, youthful glee.

Standing at the controls of the foosball table in the far corner of the players' lounge minutes after the announcement came that his match was among several that were postponed, Nadal looked as relaxed as any other 20-year-old in the midst of a lazy, rainy afternoon.

``Yeah, it's fun," Nadal said, on his way out of the lounge. ``Everything is fine. I leave to go to the hotel now."

It was probably wise. The room was filled with bored players, coaches, and guests -- even supermodel Gisele Bundchen, seated in the players' lounge , began to look weary from the delay. Scoville Jenkins, who gave Nadal a battle in the second round last year, offered a tidbit of advice on dealing with the tedium: ``You've got to be patient."

Nadal didn't look as if the rain had dampened his day. He bounced away from the foosball table after giving playful hugs to his playmates and went on his way.

But he will have to be back early.

Nadal is scheduled to play Philippoussis at 11 a.m., today's first match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/tennis/articles/2006/08/30/rain_doesnt_dampen_nadals_spirits/

MariaV
08-30-2006, 09:16 AM
Thanks for the news Ania! :wavey:
The forecast still doesn't look good huh? :(

RogiFan88
08-30-2006, 01:59 PM
They did a profile of Rafa last night on that CBS hilites show -- he was modelling "topless" and they just did a feature on him in the "Beyond the Baseline" segment. Just a few minutes. BTW, they introduced Rafa as the "Spanish Heart-throb".

Mallorn, you get La Vuelta on TV? I remember BEING in Madrid the last day of the Vuelta a few yrs ago! ;)

mallorn
08-30-2006, 03:20 PM
Yes, I'm watching the Vuelta instead of tennis. :rolleyes: There's not a cloud in the sky. They should put the players on a plane and fly them to Spain pronto. :p

mallorn
08-30-2006, 03:59 PM
:eek: That must be a record. Rafa took the first set in 29 minutes. :eek:

mallorn
08-30-2006, 04:44 PM
Rafa is 6-4, 6-4 up. Very, very clean play from Rafa so far. :D :dance:

Weebl
08-30-2006, 04:48 PM
O my god I've been waiting so long and then I miss the first set!!!
I'm terrible..:awww:

Weebl
08-30-2006, 05:30 PM
YAAAYY RAFAAA!! :yippee:

mallorn
08-30-2006, 05:33 PM
:D :D :D Rafa played such a clean, focused game. He found his forehand :hearts: and the backhand was fine too :yeah:. Only 10 UEs in the whole match, including ONE in the first set. :worship: He survived 19 aces from Flip and saved four BPs (all in one game). He won 10 out of 12 points at the net. He was pumped up and focused and never looked in danger. :woohoo:

Weebl
08-30-2006, 05:37 PM
well it doesn't look like ggl is going to win.. so Horna in the second round? :p
I don't know him.. should I be worried? :rolleyes:

MariaV
08-30-2006, 06:20 PM
:D :D :D Rafa played such a clean, focused game. He found his forehand :hearts: and the backhand was fine too :yeah:. Only 10 UEs in the whole match, including ONE in the first set. :worship: He survived 19 aces from Flip and saved four BPs (all in one game). He won 10 out of 12 points at the net. He was pumped up and focused and never looked in danger. :woohoo:
Thanks Ania! :worship: :worship:
Because of Marat oafing ;) I only saw the very start a bit and the last set. Looked MIGHTY FINE indeed! :D :D :D :D
VAMOS!!!!!!!! :bounce: :bigclap: :yippee:

MariaV
08-30-2006, 06:21 PM
well it doesn't look like ggl is going to win.. so Horna in the second round? :p
I don't know him.. should I be worried? :rolleyes:
Horna shouldn't be much of a problem. :D I hope I don't jinx anything. :tape: :o

atheneglaukopis
08-30-2006, 06:24 PM
Nadal didn't look as if the rain had dampened his day. He bounced away from the foosball table after giving playful hugs to his playmates and went on his way.:hearts: He's such a kid. He's so cute.

Congrats on a straight-sets win, Rafa!

mallorn
08-30-2006, 06:25 PM
I hope not, Weebl, not if Rafa keeps playing well. :D

Maria, I've got Marat on TV now. :yippee:

From SI:
All clear at the Open

Nadal wins as play starts on time with huge schedule
Posted: Wednesday August 30, 2006 12:06PM; Updated: Wednesday August 30, 2006 2:13PM

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2006/tennis/specials/us_open/2006/08/30/bc.ten.usopen.ap/p1_nadal_0830.jpg
Rafael Nadal was the first major name to bag a win Wednesday, beating '98 finalist Mark Philippoussis in straight sets.

NEW YORK (AP) -- For all of his success on clay, Rafael Nadal clearly is much more than a surface specialist. He reached the Wimbledon final on grass last month, and now he's intent on showing he can succeed on the U.S. Open's hard courts, too.

The second-seeded Nadal beat 1998 runner-up Mark Philippoussis 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday, when play got under way right as scheduled.

"The last two years, I didn't play very good here, and I want to play good," said Nadal, a two-time French Open champion but never past the third round at Flushing Meadows.

Marat Safin, the 2001 U.S. Open winner, also advanced in early action a day after there was pretty much a total washout at the year's last Grand Slam tournament. Light rain and mist through most of Tuesday made it the first day at the U.S. Open with zero matches completed since Day 1 in 1987.

Nadal began in the best way possible, winning the first eight points against Philippoussis, a two-time major finalist whose career has been sidetracked by a series of injuries. Now ranked 113th, he needed a wild card to get into the tournament.

Philippoussis still has a big serve, and he used it to pound 19 aces, but Nadal broke him three times. Nadal limited himself to 10 unforced errors, 25 fewer than Philippoussis, and saved all four break points he faced.

Safin, too, has had his injury problems, and failed to get past the second round at 13 tournaments in 2006. That's why the former No. 1 is ranked 104th, but he played more like the former for stretches while defeating Robin Vik of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Safin hit 15 aces, didn't double-fault, and was broken only once in collecting his first match victory at the U.S. Open since 2002.

"I'm still far away and looking for my best game," Safin said. "Trying to win my matches without playing well, which is the way to get confidence."

Also moving on Wednesday were No. 10 Fernando Gonzalez, No. 12 Tomas Berdych and No. 26 Olivier Rochus. Ryan Sweeting, a 19-year-old wild card from the United States, advanced when his opponent, 2004 French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria, quit during the first set with an injury.

No. 16 Ana Ivanovic, the U.S. Open Series winner, got past Vera Dushevina 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

With so many matches pushed back Tuesday, Day 3 offered the potential for quite a show.

All manner of stars were slated to play, including No. 1-seeded players Roger Federer and Amelie Mauresmo and plenty of other past major champions, including Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Mary Pierce and Anastasia Myskina.

Mauresmo and Myskina were among those who managed to get started Tuesday; they were involved in two of the nine matches suspended in progress. The bad weather also forced the U.S. Tennis Association to put off a planned remembrance of Hurricane Katrina on the one-year anniversary.

Mauresmo, who failed to win any of her first 31 Grand Slam tournaments and now has won two of the past three, resumed her watch Wednesday leading 6-1, 2-5.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/tennis/specials/us_open/2006/08/30/bc.ten.usopen.ap/

MariaV
08-30-2006, 06:34 PM
Nadal Opens with Convincing Victory Over Philippoussis
by Neil Schlecht
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, determined to prove his hard-court prowess and improve upon his previous appearances at Flushing Meadows, looked extremely sharp in a straight-sets, opening-round dismantling of former US Open finalist Mark Philippoussis.

The Spaniard from the Mediterranean island of Mallorca used his trademark foot speed and withering topspin groundstrokes to withstand the booming serves and aggressive play of the 6’5” veteran from Australia.

Nadal began his US Open campaign—his fourth—on a brisk, overcast morning the day after a total washout at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the first since 1987. Clad in the bold colors of a Spanish matador—black-and-red muscle shirt and long red shorts, Nadal converted on three of the four break-point conversions he earned and made only 10 unforced errors in the two-hour match.

Some observers had anticipated that this match would prove a challenge for the second seed, who has had difficulty in the past with big-serving net rushers, but Nadal raced out of the gates, breaking Philippoussis at love in the opening game. He nailed two precision passing shots and reeled off the first eight points, setting the tone for the match.

The oft-injured and unseeded Philippoussis, whose ranking has dropped to No. 113, showed sparks of the talent and atlhetic form that made him runner-up to countryman Patrick Rafter here in 1998. He routinely smacked serves in the 130-mph range and racked up 19 aces. Although many points on the Aussie’s serve were short and more Wimbledon-like than most played in London earlier this summer, longer rallies were clearly Nadal’s turf, and the Spaniard dominated play from the backcourt.

Nadal has never advanced beyond the third round at the US Open, but his draw—sprinkled with clay-courters—appears to be very favorable. The Mallorcan would not meet another seed until the 4th round, where he might encounter another exciting youngster, 27th-seeded Gael Monfils of France.

Match Facts
- Philippoussis converted none of his four break points, while Nadal capitalized on three of four.
- Nadal made just 10 unforced errors, compared to 35 for Philippoussis.
- In 2006, Philippoussis won his first title, the 11th of his career, since 2002, taking the grass-court title at Newport.


http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/reports/2006-08-30/200608301156972309765.html

Weebl
08-30-2006, 07:05 PM
lol federer is playing and my cat is acting like a dog in front of the tv :p
I guess she doesn't really like him...
sorry for this unimportant and off-topic fact :angel:

I'm very glad rafa is playing good again and Horna should be noooo problem :D Vamoss :kiss:

16681
08-30-2006, 08:08 PM
Congrats to Rafa on his win today :)

Johnny Groove
08-30-2006, 08:09 PM
Rafa kicked the shit outta him! :rocker2: :hearts:

MariaV
08-30-2006, 09:42 PM
From Reuters. :D
Nadal impressive in opening win
Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:17 PM BST

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Second seed Rafael Nadal made an impressive start to his U.S. Open title bid when he beat former runner-up Mark Philippoussis 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the first round on Wednesday.

The Spaniard, who has never been beyond the third round in three visits to Flushing Meadows, looked full of confidence as he brushed aside the Australian wildcard in just over two hours.

"I play very, very good match. I am very happy," said the 20-year-old Nadal.

Philippoussis hammered 19 aces but French Open champion Nadal broke once in each of the first two sets to take command, aided by 35 errors off the big Australian's racket.

Nadal broke again in the opening game of the third set and after saving four break points in the fourth game, held on to set up a clash with Luis Horna of Peru.

"He served unbelievable, especially the first serve. Sometimes three aces in a game, two aces," Nadal said of Philippoussis, who lost the 1998 Open final to compatriot Pat Rafter.

"Mark was playing good. He had a very good forehand, too. I played a very good match. If I was playing a bad match, I was losing," added the Spaniard, who ripped 34 winners.

Playing aggressively was a key to success for Nadal, who won just two matches in Toronto and fell in the quarter-finals in Cincinnati in his hard court preparation for the Open.

"I need to get a little bit of confidence and play a little bit more aggressive," he said. "I felt good today. I played very aggressively today, more than the last weeks."

Nadal, who won his second successive French Open in June and advanced to the Wimbledon final before falling to Roger Federer, said doing well in the U.S. Open was a priority for him.

"I like this tournament. I like this city," said Nadal. "I want to play good here. That's one of my special goals of the year."

today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=tennisnews&storyID=2006-08-30T201646Z_01_L30253707_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-OPEN-NADAL-UPDATE-1.XML

Kalliopeia
08-30-2006, 10:49 PM
- Nadal made just 10 unforced errors, compared to 35 for Philippoussis.

:eek:

Well it's good to hear that Rafa is back on form. Now I'm going to go watch the match and see for myself.

cmurray
08-31-2006, 12:48 AM
Rafa is such a complimentary person. "Mark was playing good. He had a very good forehand, too. I played a very good match. If I was playing a bad match, I was losing," added the Spaniard, who ripped 34 winners.

He insinctively knows the right thing to say so that he isn't insulting his opponent. "I had to play really well to beat him" is PERFECT.

I love Rafa. He's such a classy gentleman.


Cheryl

Mimi
08-31-2006, 02:52 AM
rafa is always classy, his maturity flies beyond his young age :worship:

Leonandy
08-31-2006, 03:21 AM
rafa played well today.
just come by and say "vamos,rafa!!!" :woohoo:

mallorn
08-31-2006, 08:35 AM
Order of Play for today:

Arthur Ashe 11:00 AM

1. Women's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Jelena Kostanic (CRO) vs. Lindsay Davenport (USA)[10]

followed by
2. Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Luis Horna (PER) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

Rafa's interview. He had some stomach problems :eek: looked pale and put his head on the table a couple of times. :hug: I hope he'll be ok today. :scared:
An interview with: RAFAEL NADAL

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
RAFAEL NADAL: Hello. Sorry to have little bit problem in the stomach.

Q. You're not feeling well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Little bit... no, no. No, when I finish the match, I go to the locker and... no, no, no, not toilet, locker. I don't know what's happening.

Q. No fever?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. After 30 minutes, gonna stop. But sometimes I have that.

Q. Yesterday having to wait with the weather, did it feel good to finally get back out on the court and play after yesterday all day long waiting, waiting, waiting?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I feel good. I am happy for the with my match today. I play my best match for sure in the last three weeks. I play better today than Toronto, Cincinnati. That's sure.
I play very, very good match. I am very happy.

Q. Translating your game from clay to hard court, do you feel like you have to get even more aggressive than you have been in the tournaments leading up to the US Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I need play a little bit more aggressive. That's true, no?
So I was playing like this in Wimbledon. I was playing good tournaments in this surface. I need get a little bit confidence and play a little bit more aggressive, so that's it, no? I feel good today. I play very aggressive today, more than the last weeks. So very good.

Q. If you could go back to play against Juan Carlos again, would you be risky would you play a riskier type of game?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, no. That's stupid to think about that, no? Because I feel the ball much better today than Cincinnati, no? That's the thing, no?
If I was the same, if I gonna play the same match in Cincinnati with my feelings in Cincinnati, maybe I was playing the game, I gonna play the same, no?
Here, maybe I gonna play different. That's sure.

Q. Were you a bit surprised at how much trouble he gave you, especially when he got his first serve in? Were you surprised how well Philippoussis served today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, yes. Philippoussis is a very big server, no? He serve unbelievable, especially the first serve. Sometimes three aces in one game, two aces. But I was beginning very, very good, no? I play unbelievable first game. That's important for the rest, for the confidence. I have one set.
And after, I play two points, I make two mistakes from Mark at 4 4 in the second. But, sure Mark was playing good. He was a very good forehand, too. I play very good match. If I was playing a bad match, I was losing, no, I think.

Q. When Mark first came on the tour, he was considered a very, very promising young player. He's had a lot of difficulties over the years. Do these things cross your mind when you're playing a guy? Do they affect your confidence level, the way you perceive him?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't understand.

Q. We'll move on. It's complicated.
BENITO PEREZ BARBADILLO: (Translating).
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don't know. This is the first round of the US Open, so that's very important for me, no? I was thinking just about me, not the rival. So that's it, no?
Sure, to play against big servers is always tough, but I was practicing very well the last days, very touching the ball very, very good. I arrive to the match with a very good confidence, no?

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your opinions on Etienne's proposals for the changes in the game. It sounds like you're in favor of it. I wondered if you broke it down a little bit, whether you were worried about playing too many matches in a given week. If it's a Round Robin format, you may have to play
RAFAEL NADAL: The Round Robin, maybe is the best change.

Q. The best change?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me, yes. And for everybody maybe.

Q. Not worried about playing too much tennis in a given week.
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, now we have some problems always with the pull out of the tournaments. I want to say I'm sorry for every tournament director of the year I pull out, but sometimes is not my fault, too, no? I can't. Because I would love play every week and play every tournament, no?
With the Round Robin, you know, I gonna play three matches for sure. So you can your schedule, you can prepare your schedule better, no? But if you go to the tournament and you never know you gonna play one match, two matches, three matches, four, five. You can't say, I gonna play this tournament, this tournament, and this tournament.
But if you know approximately you gonna play three matches for sure, that's very good, no? And is good for the sponsors, for the television, for everybody, for the tournaments, too. Because the tournaments wants, for example, Federer but that's not the case because he always wins (laughing).
No, but I don't know, any very good player. If he arrive to the tournament and lose in first round, had a bad day, is very, very bad for the tournament, no? So is very, very important for more chance.

Q. You say three matches guaranteed, and that would work if there were a 32 draw with eight groups of four players each. But at the end, they were talking about a 48 draw with 16 groups of only three players. So you only play two matches, and it would be much more difficult if a top player lost to move on to the knockout phase.
RAFAEL NADAL: First of all, I don't understand exactly. Second, if you play two matches and you are best player, you have more chances than if you just play one. That's true or not; what do you think?
Because if you are the best, the best of all the players, normally you don't gonna lose 6 1, 6 1. You gonna lose 7 5, 6 3 or 6 3 in the third. And if you win the match, so with draw and part of draw, no? With the tie, you have more chances for go to the second round or quarterfinals.

Q. True. But if you lose your first match and win your second and you win one, lose one, everyone has to be 1 1 for you to get out. Does that make sense?
RAFAEL NADAL: You have better result, you go. You don't like?

Q. I like it, but not for 48.
RAFAEL NADAL: I prefer, too, the four players in a group. I prefer that, too. But you the first thing is maybe we can excuse a lot in English.

Q. How do you feel this time in New York compared to your other times here?
RAFAEL NADAL: So I was beginning better than the other years, that's for sure. I was beginning great. I am very happy, no? I was playing bad the last two tournaments, especially Toronto. Cincinnati, I improve a little bit, but not much.
I was practicing very, very good all the day the last week. I am happy for that. I say before the tournament I just want to play good this tournament, no? I don't know if the result is second round, third round, fourth round quarterfinal, final, but I want to play good so I have chance.

Q. Are you more comfortable in New York now?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I like a lot this place. I like this tournament. I like this city, and I want to play good here. That's one of my special goals of the year.

Q. You're almost hyperactive as a person. Isn't it difficult for you in New York to be in an apartment or hotel and closed in the way you are in New York City? How do you express your everyday energy?
RAFAEL NADAL: With the rain or what?

Q. In general.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, because I was practicing a lot this week. After, if I finish soon the practice I never finish soon but if I have time, I go out. I go to walk a little bit for the city.

Q. Much has changed in the four years that you've been here. It wasn't long ago that not many American tennis fans knew you or knew your game. Now any fan of tennis, of course, knows what your capabilities are. Do you feel it when you're out here? Talk about how different it is to come into the US Open second seed, No. 2 in the world, and the reception and energy you get from the crowds here.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I want to say thank very much everybody. I was here for one week. I enjoy a lot here. I saw the people knows me more this year than the last year, so is surprise for me, no? Because last year I was the No. 2, too, when I am here. But this year, the people knows me more, support me a lot, and that's very good, no?

Q. I read a story that you had been at the World Trade Center before 9/11 and that you have visited since the Ground Zero. Can you talk about that experience, and do you plan to go this time?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I was two days ago, yeah.

Q. Two days ago. Can you talk about what you feel when you go there and your experience.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I feel little bit change, no?
BENITO PEREZ BARBADILLO: They built the station.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, down is the station? Yeah, so the place is the same, no. I saw the photos. That's unbelievable photos there.
(Speaking in Spanish).
BENITO PEREZ BARBADILLO: The big hole is still there.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Speaking in Spanish). Strange sensation, no?

Q. Why do you go? What makes you go visit?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I always have a big remember when I was in the last floor of the tower. I was sit like this. You remember the benches in front of window. I was sitting like that. For half an hour. I remember exactly.
So when I saw that on TV I finish a match in Madrid. I remember exactly the day because I lost 12 matchpoints for my first point ATP. So I arrive to the locker room and I saw that on TV. It was a very shock for me, no? I was there just three or I don't exactly remember, three or five months before, no? I come back every year, and I always go there, no?

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

Kalliopeia
08-31-2006, 11:02 AM
Wow, I don't think I could possibly disagree with him more about the round robin nonsense.

You can always tell when Rafa doesn't quite understand what he's being asked because he always comes back with "I was playing with good confidence, he's a good player, I'm very happy with my game, no?" or something similar. :D

cmurray
08-31-2006, 12:39 PM
I LOVE LOVE LOVE his English.

"I was touching the ball good, no?" OMG, it is SO FREAKING CUTE.

Deea
08-31-2006, 01:39 PM
Good luck today Rafa! :yeah: :bounce:

Sunset of Age
08-31-2006, 02:41 PM
"But you the first thing is maybe we can excuse a lot in English."

:cuckoo: :confused: :rolls:

One just has to adore the guy's English. :worship:

tangerine_dream
08-31-2006, 05:27 PM
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,3-2006400359,00.html

Nadal visits Ground Zero
By CHARLIE WYETT

RAFAEL NADAL went on a pilgrimage to Ground Zero to pay his respects to the victims of 9/11.

The Spanish second seed overcame Aussie Mark Philippoussis 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the US Open first round yesterday.

Nadal, 20, is bidding to reach the men’s final on September 10 — just 24 hours before the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Centre attacks.

Nadal said: “I remember once sitting in the top floor of one of the towers. I always used to go there. I also remember exactly the day it happened.

“I was playing in Madrid and was in a match when I lost 12 match points.

“After that, I arrived in the locker room and I watched it on TV. I now go there every year and have already been there this year.”
Bravo, Rafa :worship: What a class act he is! To pay his respects to terrorist victims in a foreign country, that is wonderful to see. Unlike so many other people, he doesn't confuse American politics with humanity. I'm so impressed with his empathy and his maturity. I don't recall hearing or reading about any of the other players paying their respects to 9/11, which makes Rafa's outreach even more special. Thank you, Rafa. :hatoff:

mallorn
08-31-2006, 06:33 PM
Rafa is two sets to one up but it's been a real struggle for the last set and a half. He's definitely not the Energizer Bunny that he usually is, I wonder if the stomach problem bothered him more than he said.

NeverSayDie
08-31-2006, 06:38 PM
"But you the first thing is maybe we can excuse a lot in English."

:cuckoo: :confused: :rolls:

One just has to adore the guy's English. :worship:

:haha: I love his English, no? :haha:

mallorn
08-31-2006, 07:10 PM
Phew. Rafa is through 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

He clearly wasn't 100% so I'm extremely relieved that he managed to wrap it up in four sets.

MariaV
08-31-2006, 07:16 PM
Oh phew! 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-2. Exciting match to watch IMO. Like a clay court match with those long rallies. :lol: And they kept saying Rafa looks subdued and not as intense as usual. I hope his tummy is OK today. :awww: :hug: :hug: He did what he needed in the end. :hatoff: Horna played really really well and deserved the applause from the crowd. :yeah: And how great of Rafael to acknowledge his opponent again with this hand gesture after the match like he did with Federer in Rome and RG I think. Did you notice that? He is SOOOOOOOOO nice, he is simply TOO nice, almost hard to believe. :hatoff: :worship: :bowdown: :worship: :bowdown: :worship: :bowdown:
OK, I'm off for tonight I guess, ttyl. :wavey:

16681
08-31-2006, 08:22 PM
Congrats to Rafa for his win today :) And yes he seems almost too nice for people to believe that someone in sports can be that nice :D

mallorn
08-31-2006, 08:50 PM
From AFP via Turkish Press:
Hurricane Nadal gaining strength in New York

08-31-2006, 20h02
NEW YORK (AFP)

http://www3.turkishpress.com/i-s/SGE.JEM20.310806200251.photo00.quicklook.default-245x180.jpg
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Luis Horna of Peru in the second round of the 2006 US Open in Flushing Meadows.
(AFP)

Rafael Nadal moved smoothly into the third round of the US Open but was given a stern workout by Peruvian dynamo Luis Horna.

The Spanish second seed was always in command, despite dropping the second set and he ran out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner in 2hrs 05mins.

He will play either Gael Monfils of France or Wesley Moodie of South Africa for a place in the last 16.

One more win and it will be the 20-year-old's best performance at Flushing Meadows improving on his third round loss last year to James Blake.

"He was beginning to hit the ball harder in the second set and I had some problems so I had to play more aggressive," Nadal said.

"It was a very tough match so that's important for the rest of the tournament."

Playing against the 25-year-old Horna for the first time, Nadal grabbed the first service break of the match in the seventh game and he comfortably took the first set 6-4.

But he was left gasping in a high-octane second set as for once he was outraced and out-hussled by the fleet-footed Peruvian, ranked a lowly 61 in the world.

Nadal went 2-0 up but Horna broke back in the sixth game to level and four games later he whacked a forehand wide of the Spaniard to convert his second set point.

In typical style Nadal bit back immediately to grab a break of serve at the start of the third set and held on to that to move two sets to one ahead.

The final set followed the same scenario with Nadal well in control jumping out to an early lead and refusing to let go.

Nadal has proved to be invincible over the last two years on his favourite surface clay winning back-to-back French Open crowns and repelling world No.1 Roger Federer notably in June's final in Paris.

But he knows that the road to dethroning the Swiss star leads to the three other Grand Slam tournaments in Melbourne, London and New York where Federer reigns supreme.

Against all expectations Nadal reached the final at Wimbledon in July and took Federer to four sets and he has made the US Open his top priority of the year sensing he has a chance of breaking his rivals's stranglehold.

The two are seeded to meet in the final on September 10 which would be the first time in the professional era that the same players have met in three Grand Slam finals in the same calendar year.

http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=140103

Jogg
08-31-2006, 09:11 PM
Oh I didn't realise he had stomach problems, thought he seemed a little out of sorts at times, poor sweetie

it was a really good match though and he did well to deal with Horna's shots and get the win

MariaV
08-31-2006, 09:34 PM
The King of Clay Proves He Has What it Takes to Dominate on the Hard Courts
by Stephanie Norris
Thursday, August 31, 2006

Round two of the men’s singles and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal was back in black both looking and playing the part of a fiery Spanish Matador. In four grueling sets, Nadal took out Luis Horna 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Although Nadal prevailed, the win didn’t come easily.

Stepping onto the Arthur Ashe Stadium court, Nadal’s presence sent eager fans into a frenzy – fans who quieted down for Horna’s entry. The crowd – and Nadal – were taken by surprise as the match started and Horna quickly asserted his presence with swift serves, easily taking the first game. Nadal responded appropriately with vicious serves that Horna could not combat. The first set continued in this same vein; Horna and Nadal alternated wins on the first four games and there were minimal rallies as neither man was able to return serve. The two combined for 15 aces and Nadal narrowly took the set 6-4.

The second set revealed an entirely different type of play for both men. As Nadal found his niche on the court and answered Horna’s forceful serves, Horna’s intensity level, too, rose and he fired back line drive backhands and aggressive forehands. Pumping with adrenaline, the play between Horna and Nadal captivated fans; the second set was characterized by longer rallies and challenging shots and with each point played, Nadal and Horna forced each other to rise. In an unusually long rally, Nadal and Horna both shuffled sideways, back peddled, attacked the net, attempted drop shots and cross-corner drives and even added some topspin. The crowd roared and mid-match, as Horna won the exhilarating point, the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium rose to its feet. Even those fans who had booed when Horna took the court – who were clad in homemade “Adoramos Raffa!” – We Love Raffa! – T-shirts acknowledged Horna’s somewhat surprisingly exceptional ability and gave the Peruvian a standing ovation. With both men sprinting cross-court, arms extended and sneakers screeching, the second set favored Horna.

The favored Spaniard retaliated fiercely and came back to win the next two sets and the match. Although Horna played notably well, his downfall was his repeated effort to send Nadal sprinting back to the corner and then to follow up with a soft, topspin heavy drop shot; Horna’s game struggled in these attempts – too often not adding enough force for even a soft drop shot – and he had 55 unforced errors to Nadal’s less cutting 19. Horna also double faulted six times to Nadal’s zero, among these on a first set point that handed the set over to Nadal.

Nadal acknowledged the strength of Horna’s game today. “I prefer to have a tough [match] because you feel the pressure sensations, the difficult moments. So that’s important for the next matches, no? So I prefer have a tough one.” Smiling, Nadal added, “If I am playing good.”

Before Nadal can think about facing No. 1 Roger Federer, as so many tennis fanatics and sports analysts are eagerly anticipating, Nadal must first advance past the third round, a feat he has had trouble with in past years at the Open. In 2003 and ‘04 he fell in the second round; in 2005, Nadal reached the third round for the first time, before losing to James Blake in four sets. Hoping to improve his US Open stats as well as his hard-court record, Nadal next aims to blast through round three by taking down the winner of No. 27 Gael Monfils and Wesley Moodie.

Match Facts
- Nadal successfully defended his Roland Garros title in June, defeating Roger Federer in the final for his fourth victory over the world No. 1 player this year.
- Horna defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round, for his first ever US Open victory.
- At this year's French Open, Nadal also broke Guillermo Vilas’s record for the longest Open Era winning streak on clay, eventually stretching this to 60 straight victories.

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/reports/2006-08-31/200608311157067652859.html

Weebl
08-31-2006, 09:41 PM
:crazy:

mallorn
08-31-2006, 09:42 PM
Thanks Maria. :kiss:

It'll be Moodie next.

MariaV
08-31-2006, 09:44 PM
Moodie next. :scared: :unsure: Another hard hitter who deprived Mario his Tokyo title last year.

First news from Reuters.
Nadal survives tough test to reach third round
Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:23 PM BST

NEW YORK, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Second seed Rafael Nadal came through a tough test of his U.S. Open credentials on Thursday as he beat Peru's Luis Horna 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-2 to reach the third round.

The Spaniard, who has never been beyond the third round at Flushing Meadows, coped well with an inspired Horna before clinching victory in two hours 43 minutes.

"It was a very tough match," Nadal said.

"Luis was playing very well with his forehand and serve so I am very happy with this victory."

Nadal looked set for an easy victory when he led by a set and a break but world number 61 Horna produced some outstanding tennis to break back in the sixth game and again in the 10th to level the match.

The French Open champion saved two break points when serving for the third set and then eased through the fourth to set up a clash with Frenchman Gael Monfils or Wesley Moodie of South Africa.


http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=tennisnews&storyID=2006-08-31T192339Z_01_L31488584_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-OPEN-NADAL.XML

mallorn
08-31-2006, 09:49 PM
Bravo, Rafa :worship: What a class act he is! To pay his respects to terrorist victims in a foreign country, that is wonderful to see. Unlike so many other people, he doesn't confuse American politics with humanity. I'm so impressed with his empathy and his maturity. I don't recall hearing or reading about any of the other players paying their respects to 9/11, which makes Rafa's outreach even more special. Thank you, Rafa. :hatoff:
Rafa does seem to have a lot of empathy for others. :) Also, Spaniards know particularly well what terrorist attacks mean because they've experienced them first hand.

MariaV
08-31-2006, 09:51 PM
Rafa does seem to have a lot of empathy for others. :) Also, Spaniards know particularly well what terrorist attacks mean because they've experienced them first hand.
Exactly Ania. :) :hatoff: :worship: And did you see how he acknowledged Horna today, it's almost TOO nice as I said.

mallorn
08-31-2006, 09:58 PM
Moodie next. :scared: :unsure: Another hard hitter who deprived Mario his Tokyo title last year.
Yep, that's a third one in a row. :rolleyes: Well, practice against the big hitters could come in handy later on, I guess. :shrug: *positive vibes*

mallorn
08-31-2006, 10:05 PM
Exactly Ania. :) :hatoff: :worship: And did you see how he acknowledged Horna today, it's almost TOO nice as I said.
Yeah, it's funny how he's so ferocious during the match and often seems almost apologetic at the net. :lol: And cuddles up to people. :p

mallorn
08-31-2006, 10:38 PM
Rafa's interview is already up.
An interview with: RAFAEL NADAL

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you lost the second set, was there a feeling of a big upset?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, first of all, is the second match. I lost the set, no? I lost one set. I was the match under control maybe in the 6 4, 3 1. But now I play a little bit more defensive, so that's not good, no? Only I can play more easy.
So after that I change. I play a little bit more aggressive all the time, and the match was different, no?

Q. You were never worried?
RAFAEL NADAL: When I am to the locker room and before the match, I am worried. But the other one, too. The other one maybe is worried about the lose, no, or win? You never know what's happening.

Q. Is it sometimes helpful to have a difficult match early in a tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Can you repeat, please?

Q. Sure. Is it a good thing to have a difficult match early in a tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I understand.
You never know, no? Sometimes you have a tough match in the second day or the first day, and after you play very good tournament. Sometimes you have a tough match in the second or first day and you lost the next one.
I prefer to have a tough one, because you feel the pressure sensations, the difficult moments. So that's important for the next matches, no? So I prefer have a tough one, no? If I am playing good (smiling).

Q. In the third set at 5 4 you were on the verge of being broken. The linesperson calls out, he challenges, you replay the point. It seemed a pivotal part of the match. From your perspective, how did you see that changing the course of the match, that play?
RAFAEL NADAL: That ball?

Q. At 5 4, yeah.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but the match is continuing playing this point, no? Is not winner for him; he change. He put the ball still in play, so you know, no? So after I miss the first serve and he play the point with second serve.
No, no, the match was he was playing a very good game. A lot of winners with the forehand. I defend good, no? Important I stay with calm. In that moment I was with calm, with good mentality, and I can win that game. That game was very important, decisive.

Q. Not only has your record improved, but it seems that you've become quite a trendsetter among young tennis players. How do you feel about so many people paying so much attention to your style?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, so that's nice, no? That's nice for me, no?
I always have I always stop for sign autographs, for say hello to the people. And if I lose and if I win, I always stop for long time for sign autographs, no?

Q. You said yesterday you have a special goal of doing well at this tournament. What result would be a success for you? Will it be
RAFAEL NADAL: I say that, too. I say I want to play good. I want to play good, but not any result. I say if I am playing good and I lost third round, gonna be good. If I lost in fourth round, I am playing good. Good.
Sure, I want to play the more matches that's possible, no?
So sure, I would love play the final here. But if I will play the final, maybe you need play your best.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

MariaV
09-02-2006, 06:13 AM
:wavey: Saturday will probably be a washout anyway but just in case Rafa's scheduled for the night session. Hopefully on Sunday the weather will be good and they can play. New schedule then of course.

Day 6: Saturday, 2 September
Arthur Ashe 7:00 PM

1. Women's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SCG)[16]

followed by
2. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Wesley Moodie (RSA) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

NaDALiTa
09-02-2006, 05:27 PM
VaMoS RaFa VaMoS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.dnl.freesurf.fr/animations/anim2.gifhttp://www.dnl.freesurf.fr/animations/anim2.gif
http://www.dnl.freesurf.fr/animations/anim2.gifhttp://www.dnl.freesurf.fr/animations/anim2.gif
http://www.dnl.freesurf.fr/animations/anim2.gifhttp://www.dnl.freesurf.fr/animations/anim2.gif

mallorn
09-02-2006, 06:30 PM
OMG, Nadalita, that is some smiley! :eek: Is that a butt? :haha:

Well, the weather messed up the schedule as expected and goodness knows what time/if Rafa's going to play tonight. ES said play should start in about ten minutes, with Sharapova up first. According to schedule she should be followed by Roddick, Agassi and Williams, then Rafa - don't know if it's going to change or not. :shrug:

Edit: more :rain: and no play for now.

NaDALiTa
09-02-2006, 07:53 PM
OMG, Nadalita, that is some smiley! :eek: Is that a butt? :haha:

Well, the weather messed up the schedule as expected and goodness knows what time/if Rafa's going to play tonight. ES said play should start in about ten minutes, with Sharapova up first. According to schedule she should be followed by Roddick, Agassi and Williams, then Rafa - don't know if it's going to change or not. :shrug:

Edit: more :rain: and no play for now.


You ArE NoT DreAMiNg It'S A BuTT :haha: :haha:

I ReALLY PrEFeR ThiS TiTLe .....BeCaUsE i HaVe GrEaT ExPeCtaTiOnS FoR ThiS UsO!!! http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/5033/gsaca4428b449bb1f9e7914f21606924bcqx9.gif (http://imageshack.us)

No MaTTeR If I HaVe To Stay AWaKe aLL NiGhT LoNg To See RaFiTo .....I'm AlReADy JeT-LaGGeD!!!!! :lol:

mallorn
09-02-2006, 08:04 PM
So am I, the question now is: to go to sleep or not. :( The day session's been officially cancelled.

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/weather.html

NaDALiTa
09-02-2006, 08:07 PM
i really think that nobody will play today, because there are matches from yesterday to finish first (Davenport) on the Arthur Ashe , so Rafa shouldn't play today , there are also Safin/Nalbandian to play on the central......... things seem very far away from Rafa :(

mallorn
09-02-2006, 10:28 PM
Yep, it's finally official - no play today.

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/weather.html

NaDALiTa
09-03-2006, 12:14 AM
the session of today will be played tomorrow

Johnny Groove
09-03-2006, 12:53 AM
what a nightmare for the USO organizers. :hug: They really need some :drink: :drink: :drink: :drink:

NaDALiTa
09-03-2006, 01:10 AM
i dunno why, but i feel that they will in a short laps of time buy a ROOF to this courts!!!!! :lol:

MariaV
09-03-2006, 07:48 AM
LOL Blaze!!!! :drink:
Rafa is scheduled on Armstrong now with all the USA starts on Ashe.

Armstrong 11:00 AM

1. Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
David Nalbandian (ARG)[4] vs. Marat Safin (RUS)
followed by
2. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Wesley Moodie (RSA) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

I wonder if I'll be able to see it after Marat. Hopefully ES will show at least some of it. VAMOS Rafa!!!!!! :bounce: :bigclap: :yippee:

mallorn
09-03-2006, 08:15 AM
Morning! :wavey:

I doubt ES will show Rafa when Roddick/Verdasco are on AA at the same time. Maybe they'll show a couple of games at the end of sets, I'm not counting on more. :(

From Times Online:
Nadal hits new heights

PAT CASH

The Sunday Times - Sept. 3, 2006

The Spaniard can prove himself the world’s best player in his expected showdown with Roger Federer at the US Open

In an attempt to be a little different, one inquisitor at the US Open has been asking who would come out on top if Roger Federer took on Rafael Nadal in the boxing ring. The overwhelming response is that the young Spaniard would pack a weightier punch and looking at the size of Nadal’s biceps, it’s hard to argue with that point of view.
Nothing is new in sport, of course, and several years back John McEnroe actually squared up to Mats Wilander to raise money for the charity Goal. I can’t see Federer following suit, but there’s no denying another potential showdown between the pair in next Sunday’s final would provoke an atmosphere akin to a title fight and the winner would be the undisputed champion of the world.

New York’s cement is the perfect middle ground between the pair, if you regard Wimbledon’s grass as Federer’s territory and the clay of Roland Garros as belonging to Nadal. The past two Grand Slam finals have proved their relative superiority on those surfaces. While each could reflect on at least winning a set as the other lifted the trophy, the greater achievement in defeat was Nadal’s.

Federer grew up on clay and should know how to play on the stuff. Nadal is a relative rookie on grass, yet he extended the guy who is revered as one of the best of all time on the surface and caused Federer more anxiety than Andy Roddick managed in two attempts.

We already knew that Nadal had managed to dent Federer’s confidence, but to do it in the champion’s favourite arena caused me to question whether the time could be right for a change at the top of the game. Regardless of what the rankings say, Nadal will be the best player in the world if he wins the US Open, and I see the signs of that happening.

There will be many who will question my judgment. Federer has been relatively untroubled by the mysterious Yeu-Tzuoo Wang of Chinese Taipei and the more familiar Tim Henman in his first two rounds, has yet to drop a set and was even confident enough to play the most outlandish of trick shots through his legs against Henman, winning a round of applause from everybody, including his opponent. Nadal, on the other hand, was extended to four sets by Luis Horna of Peru, who is ranked No 61, and hardly set the world on fire in his preceding tournaments on cement, losing in the third round in Toronto and the quarter-finals a week later in Cincinnati.

I don’t take too much notice of those results because, even at the age of 20, Nadal is a big-time player who peaks for the majors. Sure, people will say that Toronto and Cincinnati are Masters Series events but there are nine of those during the course of the year, which is too many, and Nadal has already won a couple in Monte Carlo and Rome. He wouldn’t have lost too much sleep by those defeats in the same way that Federer could easily shrug off losing to Andy Murray.

There’s no way I would go along with the theory going the rounds that Federer tanked, or threw, the game against Murray. There are plenty of top players who have been guilty of such a misdemeanour but it is not in Federer’s make-up.

It is the Grand Slams that really matter for the very top guys. They are the tournaments and prizes for which you are remembered.

Playing in a Grand Slam is all about building up momentum. You don’t really want to play your very best tennis in the first few rounds and I like the way Nadal’s game is shaping.

Federer hasn’t done anything wrong either, but I don’t think anybody could argue that he is more worried about Nadal than the Spaniard is about him. Let’s look back over the past two or three decades and players who were at the very top of the game. So many of them struggled to stay where they were and consequently suffered a dip in fortunes. Sometimes it was down to injuries, otherwise it was basically just a case of maintaining the motivation after winning so many times. Look at the names: McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Jim Courier. Not Pete Sampras, admittedly, but in my book he is still the best who played the game.

I’m not talking about anything fundamental in technique. It is just a question of going out there and being stimulated by the challenge and assured enough in your mind that you can overcome your fiercest rivals.

I am beginning to wonder whether Federer still feels that way. For a long time he had things his own way and once he got the hang of playing and beating rivals such as Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt, he wasn’t overly troubled. Maybe that lulled him into some false sense of security — and now Nadal has come out and really put doubts into his mind.

He doesn’t play the same way against Nadal. He seems intimidated, somehow reluctant to come out of his shell and play the all-court game of which we all know he was capable. He sticks to the baseline and doesn’t attack in the way he should, clearly thinking that if you give Nadal a target he will readily exploit the opportunity.

However, there is one technicality that goes very much in Nadal’s favour. The balls used at the US Open are lighter than those at any other Grand Slam tournament. Consequently, they bounce much higher, and that is a massive boost for Nadal, who whips up a tremendous amount of spin and loves to take the ball at shoulder height.

Federer is happy playing balls low around his knees but is happiest with it coming through just above waist height. We have seen repeatedly on the clay how ill at ease he can be with the higher bouncing ball and with Nadal employing all the benefits of being a left-hander, things only get more difficult out there. I’m certainly hopeful of another enticing showdown between this pair of real heavyweights. And I foresee a big left hook coming from on high to finish off Roger Federer.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2094-2340409,00.html
Hold your horses, Mr Cash...

connectolove
09-03-2006, 09:53 AM
I hope that Nadal does well. About winning, I dunno if he will, but I am cheering for him all the way.

NADAL, BEST OF LUCK AND WIN ALL YOU CAN!!!!!

Castafiore
09-03-2006, 09:59 AM
^^ oh that article from Pat Cash.

*winces*

One the one hand, it's nice to see the confidence in Rafa and all that but on the other hand..oh boy, this is so exaggerated and so premature. :rolleyes:

First of all, he has to reach the final and that's not exactly a given at this point.

Sunset of Age
09-03-2006, 12:14 PM
^^ oh that article from Pat Cash.

*winces*

One the one hand, it's nice to see the confidence in Rafa and all that but on the other hand..oh boy, this is so exaggerated and so premature. :rolleyes:

First of all, he has to reach the final and that's not exactly a given at this point.

Couldn't agree with you more. Ridiculous article - it's clear that the Rafa Hyping runs high in the US.
Of course, I cheer for him and wish him the title, but it's not like it'll be an easy job for him. No way.

Johnny Groove
09-03-2006, 04:32 PM
Unlike the USO organizers, Pat Cash needs to stop with the :drink: and the :smoke:

Meanwhile, VAMOS RAFA!!!

MariaV
09-03-2006, 06:11 PM
Unlike the USO organizers, Pat Cash needs to stop with the :drink: and the :smoke:

Meanwhile, VAMOS RAFA!!!
:haha: :haha:

Weebl
09-03-2006, 07:32 PM
Yaaaay vamos rafa :hug:

mallorn
09-03-2006, 08:04 PM
:D Rafa took the first set 6-4 in 36 minutes and looks very pumped up. As I thought, ES only showed the last few games of the first set and now we're watching Andy/Nando again.

Come on Rafa, make it three in a row! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

MariaV
09-03-2006, 08:07 PM
:D Rafa took the first set 6-4 in 36 minutes and looks very pumped up. As I thought, ES only showed the last few games of the first set and now we're watching Andy/Nando again.

Come on Rafa, make it three in a row! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
Well done Rafael! :yeah: I'm sure he'll wrap it up in 3 now! He's no Marat! ;) I am almost DEAD as you can imagine ;) so .... cannot be here too much tonight. I need to recover. ;) :tape: :help: Hopefully we can catch some of Rafa later. :D
:wavey: :hug:

Johnny Groove
09-03-2006, 08:33 PM
Who is that joker on CBS pronouncing it "Nay-Dahl" or "Nul-dul" :retard:

RogiFan88
09-03-2006, 08:37 PM
I predict another straight sets win for Rafa. Moodie, he's all serve and nothing else...

mallorn
09-03-2006, 08:43 PM
Incredible. Rafa lost four points on his serve in the first two sets until he served to stay in the second at 4-5, when he lost three and was 15-40. :rolleyes: He then went on to defend the second setpoint on a crazy dropshot that almost gave me a heart attack :o and won the game on an unbelievable passing shot. Come on Rafa, break him finally!

Johnny Groove
09-03-2006, 09:00 PM
mallorn, i almost died from those two games at 4-5 and 5-6. hopefully the tb wont be as nerve-racking

mallorn
09-03-2006, 09:09 PM
The end of the set was frustrating to watch, he just couldn't win consecutive points on Moodie's serve.

Three incredible (misshit :o :lol: ) returns and an awful overhead that he missed at 5 all in TB and a crazy point to take the set.

Come on Rafa, finish it quickly, you've got no rest day.

And now ES is back to Roddick. :(

MariaV
09-03-2006, 09:11 PM
mallorn, i almost died from those two games at 4-5 and 5-6. hopefully the tb wont be as nerve-racking
I LOVE that kid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bounce: :bigclap: it was nerve-racking but WTG Rafael!!!!! How pumped he was after finally taking the TB 7-5. :lol: Vamosing even after sitting down. :lol: I simply LOVE that kid!

mallorn
09-03-2006, 09:13 PM
He is VERY pumped up today, full of positive energy, quite different from the previous round. :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

MariaV
09-03-2006, 09:14 PM
He is VERY pumped up today, full of positive enrgy, quite different from the previous round. :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
:lol: Yeah, hopefully the 3rd set will be fast & nice. Vamos Rafael!!!!!! :bounce: :bounce: :bigclap: :bigclap:

Johnny Groove
09-03-2006, 09:16 PM
:D I LOVE that kid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bounce: :bigclap: it was nerve-racking but WTG Rafael!!!!! How pumped he was after finally taking the TB 7-5. :lol: Vamosing even after sitting down. :lol: I simply LOVE that kid!

When Moodie hit that volley out, and Rafa did an amazing combo of fist pumps and leg kicks of Mortal Kombat calibur, I hope one of the billion camera men took a pic of that, Ive been looking for a new Avie and I love USO Rafa :D

mallorn
09-03-2006, 10:16 PM
6-4, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4)

Rafa broke Moodie in the second game only to be broken back in the third. :mad: I hate when he does that, and of course then he couldn't break again grrrr. :rolleyes: Finally he won the TB on an incredible forehand "banana" pass. :lol:

Well done Rafa! :clap2:

MariaV
09-03-2006, 10:17 PM
PHEW Rafael! :D :D 7-4 the 2nd TB! Now get some good rest for tomorrow! :D :D :D
Jiri Novak next, should be easy even if Novak seems to be back playing quite well.
I hope I didn't jinx it now. ;) :tape:

Weebl
09-03-2006, 10:19 PM
YEAH VAMOS BABY :rocker:

Johnny Groove
09-03-2006, 10:20 PM
Why must he torture us like that? Hes looking like a sure thing for the semis, what with novak being old and Robredo being his bitch :rocker2:

MariaV
09-03-2006, 10:24 PM
Good new title Ania! :yeah:

mallorn
09-03-2006, 10:31 PM
Good new title Ania! :yeah:
One match at a time. :p

MariaV
09-03-2006, 11:02 PM
Open-Nadal reaches fourth round for first time
Sun Sep 3, 2006 11:31 PM BST

NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Second seed Rafael Nadal edged out big-serving South African Weslie Moodie 6-4 7-6 7-6 on Sunday to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the first time.

The Spaniard was pushed hard by the world number 82 but finally clinched victory after two hours 49 minutes to set up a fourth-round win clash against Czech Jiri Novak.

"This tournament is very special for me," Nadal said.

"I reached the fourth round, which is good and I am improving on hard courts."

One break was enough to give Nadal the first set and the French Open champion snatched the second on a tiebreak to take complete control.

Moodie continued to test Nadal with his serve-volley game but the world number two always held the edge and won the third-set tiebreak 7-4 to advance to the last 16.

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=tennisnews&storyID=2006-09-03T223148Z_01_B121338_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-OPEN-NADAL.XML

I guess this is what he said on the court. :D

MariaV
09-04-2006, 01:37 AM
Arthur Ashe 11:00 AM

1. Women's Singles - 4th Rnd.
Shahar Peer (ISR)[21] vs. Justine Henin-Hardenne (BEL)[2]
followed by
2. Men's Singles - 4th Rnd.
Jiri Novak (CZE) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

Good luck tomorrow Rafa! :D :bigclap: :bounce: :bigclap: :bounce: :bigclap: :bounce:

MariaV
09-04-2006, 02:13 AM
Match Report. :D
Not in the Moodie: Nadal Triumphs Over South African Veteran
by Erin Gell
Sunday, September 3, 2006

He would have to battle through two tiebreakers but Rafael Nadal wrapped things up in straight sets Sunday 6-4, 7-6, 7-6.

He was facing South Africa’s Wesley Moodie, who was through to the third round here for the first time. Moodie was playing in his first Open as a direct entrant, rather than a qualifier, and enjoyed an impressive run, taking out imposing Russian Max Mirnyi in a first round five-setter and upsetting 17th seeded Gael Monfils in round two.

As for Nadal, the US Open has never been his strongest Slam. Until Sunday’s win it remained the only major in which he had yet to reach the round of 16.

In the first set, Moodie demonstrated an assertive serve and volley game, approaching the net three times as much as his opponent. With Nadal most comfortable back on the baseline, it would take a few games for the two to adapt to each other’s styles. The first break of the match came after Nadal had just lost a challenge on a ball that was out by mere millimeters, but he won the game regardless, to go up 4-3. Nadal would commit just one unforced error in the set, which he took 6-4.

The next set stayed on serve, though both players had break chances. Nadal and Moodie each used up a challenge, but both were incorrect, and it was pushed to a tiebreak. The back and forth momentum did not let up, and Nadal just squeaked by 7-5 in the tiebreak.

Though the score remained close, Moodie actually ended up with more than twice as many unforced errors than the young Spaniard. The lanky South African won a third set challenge at 3-3 when it turned out a Nadal ball was actually out, but it wasn’t enough give him the edge. In another tiebreak, Nadal smacked a ball right on the baseline for the win.

This summer the two-time French Open champ Nadal silenced critics who dubbed him as a one-surface player by going all the way to the final at Wimbledon. With his first trip to the round of 16 here he continues an impressive year.
http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/reports/2006-09-03/200609031157336383437.html

16681
09-04-2006, 03:30 AM
Congrats to Rafa on his win today :) I love that hot outfit also :D :devil:

eddie_hyden
09-04-2006, 08:07 AM
congrats for reaching 4th round at USO for the first time :worship:

although after that wimbledon run we pretty much expect him to still be around till the 2nd week :cool:

however, seems like rafa's not at his best yet. i watched the horna match and he was way behind the baseline playing defensive tennis.

where's toni?? i do hope he gives rafa a tip or two to improve.

cheers all!



...ed

mallorn
09-04-2006, 08:25 AM
^^^ Don't worry Ed, Toni is there with Rafa. ;) He did look a bit out of sorts in the Horna match but was better against Moodie.

I've no idea why Rafa's interview isn't available. :( So far we've only got the quotes from the Reuters report and this:

From AP via Tennis.com:
NADAL'S BEST: Rafael Nadal has won the French Open twice and reached the Wimbledon final, but the U.S. Open always has given him trouble.

He made it to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the first time by defeating Wesley Moodie of South Africa 6-4, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) Sunday.

``It would have been very frustrating failing in this round,'' said Nadal, who lost in the Open's third round in 2006 and the second round each of the prior two years.

``I'm on cue with what I want here. I'm aiming for the quarterfinal,'' he added. ``I don't care about losing there. I'll be satisfied by reaching that.''

http://www.tennis.com/news/news.aspx?id=43396

And from The New York Times, about Agassi's last match:
Players Salute a Champion and, for Many, an Idol

(...)

Rafael Nadal watched much of the match and slipped into the stadium for the final game. He stayed for the crowd’s standing ovation while Agassi sat crying in his chair. Nadal, seeded second, was about to play at Armstrong Stadium but did not want to miss the experience.

“I got pretty emotional,” Nadal said in Spanish. “I started to cry a bit. These are always emotional moments. They are beautiful to keep in your mind, and to be able to see them here in person, as I did, it’s a fortunate thing.

He later added: “Agassi was a reference point in world tennis. He was surely one of the most charismatic players and he’s someone who, by changing style and image, I believe, left his mark on the game.”

(...)

cmurray
09-04-2006, 12:45 PM
It is so sweet that Rafa came to watch Andre. I like that he can admit that he cries/gets emotional. Andy Murray said the same thing. He said the entire men's locker room was choked up.


Cheryl

mallorn
09-04-2006, 07:07 PM
6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-4. Could anyone who saw it explain to me what happened in the first two sets and what the problem with the ankle/tape was? :confused: I only saw the last few games and Rafa played worse than yesterday, especially on return. :(

I hope he plays better against Youzhny, who killed Robredo. :eek:

Johnny Groove
09-04-2006, 07:36 PM
6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-4. Could anyone who saw it explain to me what happened in the first two sets and what the problem with the ankle/tape was? :confused: I only saw the last few games and Rafa played worse than yesterday, especially on return. :(

I hope he plays better against Youzhny, who killed Robredo. :eek:

Sure :D

In the first set, Rafa spanked him. Then in the 2nd, novak stepped it up on serve and held alot, then rafa broke him at 5-5, just to be broken back (typical :rolleyes: ) for the tb. Then, at 2-3 in the tb, there was an AMAZING point which rafa eventually won, went on to win the tb, then break Novak for the match in the 3rd. the tape thing was not an issue. He just had his ankle retaped, it WAS NOT an injury :)

mallorn
09-04-2006, 07:45 PM
Thanks Blaze :kiss:

I was worried by what I saw in the third set. :(

I hope he'll rest up now and come out blazing ;) in the QF. :bounce:

Johnny Groove
09-04-2006, 07:46 PM
Thanks Blaze :kiss:

I was worried by what I saw in the third set. :(

I hope he'll rest up now and come out blazing ;) in the QF. :bounce:

Misha has no chance :rocker2:

MariaV
09-04-2006, 07:53 PM
It is so sweet that Rafa came to watch Andre. I like that he can admit that he cries/gets emotional. Andy Murray said the same thing. He said the entire men's locker room was choked up.


Cheryl
Awwwwwwwww how sweet, cry baby Rafael! And Andy M. :angel: :hug:

MariaV
09-04-2006, 07:53 PM
Sure :D

In the first set, Rafa spanked him. Then in the 2nd, novak stepped it up on serve and held alot, then rafa broke him at 5-5, just to be broken back (typical :rolleyes: ) for the tb. Then, at 2-3 in the tb, there was an AMAZING point which rafa eventually won, went on to win the tb, then break Novak for the match in the 3rd. the tape thing was not an issue. He just had his ankle retaped, it WAS NOT an injury :)
Thanks for the report Blaze! :D :D :D

Edit: OOOH, Misha looks on fire! :eek: :eek: :eek: I haven't seen Misha play but seen his interviews he's confident, he says he's playing great. And the reports have said he's been playing great indeed.

RogiFan88
09-04-2006, 08:22 PM
I doubt Misha can beat Rafa tho... what happened to Robredo anyway?? Is he hurt? He did have some prob in Cincy when Juanqui beat him.

mallorn
09-04-2006, 08:45 PM
From the official site:
Nadal Says 'Adios' to Novak

by Kristen Sardis
Monday, September 4, 2006

No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal from Mallorca moved on to the quarterfinals Monday afternoon after defeating Czech Jiri Novak 6-1, 7-6(3), 6-4. This is the first time in his four US Opens the Spaniard will compete in the quarterfinals. Next up he faces Mikhail Youzhny from Russia.

At 31 years of age, Novak moves up as the oldest player in the men's draw now that Agassi is out. Although he has been plagued with a stress fracture in his foot which kept him off the courts for six months, he has managed to win three matches in this tournament. And he gave Nadal some trouble.

It appeared as if Nadal would have an easy time winning the match in the opening set. In the first game alone, Nadal already had one ace. He moved quicker than Novak who is 11 years his senior and Novak looked as if he couldn't keep up. In just 29 minutes, Nadal won the set, 6-1.

In the second set, however, things got more exciting. Novak began to look more comfortable, and there were no breaks of serve for either player. After taking a time out to re-tape his right ankle, Nadal won the tiebreak to take the set.

One hour and thirty-two minutes into the match in the third set, Novak was still keeping Nadal on his toes, serving well throughout the set, but lacking enough power behind his shots to take the lead. Nadal held Novak at 5-4 to take the match.
http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/reports/2006-09-04/200609041157410115515.html

MariaV
09-04-2006, 08:54 PM
I doubt Misha can beat Rafa tho... what happened to Robredo anyway?? Is he hurt? He did have some prob in Cincy when Juanqui beat him.
No idea what's up with Robredo. He had some thigh problem or smth niggling form earlier on, maybe it got worse again. :shrug: I'll report if I have some news.
I am still in shock after Marat's 3-setter in 1 h 30 min (and no oafing) :eek: :eek: so I think I need to get some rest.
Cya all later! :wavey:

mallorn
09-04-2006, 08:59 PM
I watched some of the match on ES 2 and for once the Polish commentators were complimentary about Rafa and they were hilarious. :haha: :yeah:

RogiFan88
09-04-2006, 08:59 PM
MariaV, Maratski always comes out to play when he has Rogi in his draw, the silly Hippo Oaf. ;)

mallorn
09-04-2006, 09:02 PM
According to ES Tommy was injured. :sad:

RogiFan88
09-04-2006, 09:05 PM
Yes, I wondered about that, after Cincy, what a shame and he was winning his matches easily, without dropping a set... thanks, Mallorn.

mallorn
09-04-2006, 10:33 PM
From Reuters: (http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=sportsNews&storyID=2006-09-04T221215Z_01_N04263671_RTRUKOC_0_US-TENNIS-OPEN-MONDAY.xml&pageNumber=2&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage2)
Nadal reaches quarter-finals in style

Mon Sep 4, 2006 6:12pm ET

By Steve Ginsburg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Second seed Rafael Nadal reached his first U.S. Open quarter-final on Monday and the Spaniard is showing no signs that he intends to stop there.

Hoping to close the gap with world number one Roger Federer, the left-hander has lost just one set in four matches, including Monday's 6-1 7-6 6-4 fourth-round triumph over Jiri Novak.

Nadal, at 20 already a double French Open champion, is playing down his results at this year's Open so far.

"I am happy. I am playing my best tennis here since last month, that's for sure. I'm not playing the tournament of my life, but I am not playing bad."

With Federer having won the Open for the last two years, Nadal conceded: "It is important for me play good here".

(…)

UNFORCED ERRORS

On the men's side, just one day after sending the great Andre Agassi into retirement, 112th ranked Benjamin Becker of Germany committed 39 unforced errors as he was eliminated 6-3 6-4 6-3 by ninth seed Andy Roddick.
Although Novak lost to Nadal in just over two hours, he was satisfied with his play in the second and third sets at least.

"In the first set, I was just trying to get my rhythm," the Czech said. "In the beginning of the second set I improved my game a lot. But he was definitely better."

While Nadal is almost unbeatable on the slow red clay of Roland Garros, Novak believes the Spaniard could walk away with his first title on the hardcourts at Flushing Meadows.

"His game is excellent, on the hardcourt as well," said Novak. "He's won so many tournaments on the hardcourt already. He can beat any player in the world.

"He's improved a lot on the fast court. Did you see Wimbledon where he reached the final on the grass court? Nobody expected it but he did it."

(…)

16681
09-05-2006, 02:09 AM
Congrats to Rafa on his win today :) He is a player that can really get a crowd going :D

MariaV
09-05-2006, 07:00 AM
The Interview is up. :D
Monday, September 4, 2006
An Interview with Rafael Nadal
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I would like to know about your ankle. During the match, you had a problem.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I had a little bit problem after the first set, 2 1 of the second. I don't feel nothing, no? I don't turn off the ankle, nothing. But is beginning the pain, so, you know, I little bit scared, afraid.
But after, I can play. I was with pain, but I can play, so that's important. I can finish the match and now I have 48 hours for improve, no?

Q. Did it hurt the last match, no?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yesterday I turn off a little bit the foot, but nothing, no? After, I play, and I don't feel pain, I don't feel nothing.

Q. If you were to make the semifinals, one of your opponents would be Lleyton Hewitt. Could I ask you, whether you think he's still one of the top guys? Do you think he's one of the top guys still?
RAFAEL NADAL: Who?

Q. Hewitt.
RAFAEL NADAL: Is one of the top?

Q. Top players, one of the top players to beat.
RAFAEL NADAL: Hewitt was two times in the No. 1 in the world. Sure, he's one of the best players in the world, top players.

Q. Can you talk a little about the point in the tiebreak, the one that leveled it at 3. You seemed to enjoy winning that point, celebrated with that double fist pump.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was very important point, no? Because after, if I was losing 4 2, I have chance. But is more difficult than with 3 All, I change the part. I change. The wind is in my favor. 3 3 and the wind in my favor, I have big chances for win the tiebreak. So if I was losing 4 2, you never know, no? So was very, very important point.

Q. I would like to know why you put your water very you put this one in a place, this other. Is it something that is
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I do that sometimes. So, no, is not I don't know if is superstition or not, but is part of the I don't know.

Q. Routine?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I don't know. I always do the same, so...

Q. This year you're going to make the Tennis Masters Cup. It will be your first time going to the Tennis Masters Cup?
RAFAEL NADAL: I hope (smiling).

Q. Is that exciting? Looking forward to it? How special is that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, gonna be important for me be for second time consecutive in the Masters Cup. So that's very good new, because I am one of the eight best players in the world. That's very nice, no?
Now I am focus in US Open, but I hope this year I can play in Shanghai, no?

Q. What makes that event special?
RAFAEL NADAL: Huh?

Q. What makes that event special? What makes the Tennis Masters Cup special for a player?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, Tennis Masters Cup is special tournament. You play with Round Robin, so that's very nice. After, you play with the top players in the world. So with the eight best players in the year, no? So always is a special sensation.

Q. Safin said he thought the HawkEye machine might not have been that successful over the past week. I was wondering what you thought, if you thought it was right.
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I don't know.

Q. Have you enjoyed using it?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's funny, Marat sometimes (smiling).

Q. Is the HawkEye system what do you think of the instant replay?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? The statistics is 90% on, 90% okay, no? So if the statistics is that, the numbers is the numbers, no?

Q. Can you talk about your performance here so far? This is your best result at a US Open. Obviously, there's a long way to go, but you've beaten your previous performances here.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, well, I play I am playing a good tournament, no? Is important for me play good here, too. Was tough, the last years playing bad here, especially the last year. I come back here. I have I was for one month here in America. I was not playing my best in Toronto and Cincinnati, that's sure.
But I have the special preparation for here, no? Is the that preparation, play Toronto, Cincinnati and be here, not come back to home the same like last year, no?
So I try my hundred percent always in every tournament. I was not playing my best there, but, you know, I was playing seven matches, so that's important for the performance here.
I am happy. I am playing my best tennis here since last month, that's for sure. But I'm not playing the tournament of my life, but I am not playing bad. I am playing good. I am in quarterfinal. So if I am quarterfinals in one Grand Slam, sure, I am not playing bad, no? I am playing good.

Q. You beat Federer on hard court in Dubai. Is that about the same kind of court we have here?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, similar.

Q. It is similar?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.

Q. Same stuff, okay.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.

Q. Anything you like to do in New York special? You like New York? Too big for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: When is not raining (smiling)...
Yeah, I go out a little bit. Not much because I play so I play yesterday, I play today. But today in the afternoon maybe I go out, no?

Q. Like to shop or go to the theater?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I go to walk and if I find anything nice, I can shop, no?

Q. What about Youzhny? You beat him last three times?
RAFAEL NADAL: Last three times? I play three times? I play in Australia, in Rome last year.

Q. Two time on hard court.
RAFAEL NADAL: Australia, Roma, Doha... I don't remember the other one.
So, yes, is a good score, no? Youzhny is playing good. I don't know what's happening in the match, Youzhny and Robredo. Youzhny was winning very easy, but I don't know nothing. So is very strange. Youzhny is winning very good matches again. Ferrer, against Robredo. Very good wins because Robredo and Ferrer is very tough players. He was playing very well. So we will see. But I will have a very difficult match.

Q. You've tried very hard this year to have good results on grass, on hard courts. I wanted to ask you, in view of that, what do you think of Agassi's achievement of having won each of the Grand Slams once?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Speaking in Spanish.)
Yeah, I don't know, no. Winning in all surface is always very difficult. That's it. Agassi was a special player, unbelievable player. He can do. I don't know.

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2006-09-04/200609051157439826171.html

Castafiore
09-05-2006, 07:31 AM
^^ Jiri Novak was very gracious in defeat! Always nice to see that :)

Thanks for the articles, everybody!

mallorn
09-06-2006, 09:18 AM
I'm afraid Rafa's ankle wasn't just retaped but there was a slight sprain, according to Toni who spoke to El Mundo Deportivo. Hopefully it's nothing serious.

**

From the official site:
What Will It Take for Nadal to Win?

by Brian Cleary
Posted Date: Tuesday, September 5, 2006

When Rafael Nadal reached the final at Wimbledon this year, it sent a minor shock through the tennis world. Everyone knew he was the king of clay, with his back-to-back titles at the French Open and his record 60-match winning streak on clay. But grass? Rafa?

Which is why, although Nadal isn’t favored here at the US Open on its relatively fast hard courts, nobody is ready to exactly bet against him.

“His fitness is so great, he’s capable of winning any tournament. Wimbledon kind of proved that,’’ said Vince Spadea, who reached the third round at this year’s Open and lost to Nadal in the first round at Wimbledon in 2005.

So far at the Open, Nadal has cruised into the quarters, dropping just a set in his four matches. His next match, for a spot in the semis, is against unseeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, ranked just No. 54. While Youzhny did take out No. 6 Tommy Robredo, it’s still a great draw for Nadal.

“He’s looking more confident, he’s hitting his forehand bigger—like he made the adjustment at Wimbledon, he’s making it here,’’ said US Davis Cup captain and CBS commentator Patrick McEnroe.

But can Nadal pull another Wimbledon-like surprise and win it all here?

The truth is, he didn’t have a great hard court season, losing in the third round of Toronto and the quarters in Cincinnati. In his last three US Opens he has struggled, compiling just a 4-3 record. The scouting report on him on hard courts is that, with the spin he hits his ground strokes with, his shots often bounce short in the court and allow opponents to attack him.

“On a hard court, guys that can take the ball early and hit it hard, like [Andy] Roddick or [James] Blake can give him trouble,’’ said McEnroe.

Nadal has an 0-2 record against Blake, losing to Blake in the third round here last year and at Indian Wells in March. Both events were played on hard courts.

Spadea watched Nadal play a few matches in Cincinnati and isn’t sure his game style at the moment will allow him to consistently win on hard courts.
“He still plays quite a bit back behind the baseline, still relying on his legs and reaching to hit passing shots,’’ said Spadea. “And I don’t think his serve is there yet.’’

According to Justin Gimelstob, who lost to Nadal last year on hard courts in a close three-set match in Beijing, the key to beating Nadal is to not let him get in a rhythm. “He likes hitting a lot of balls,’’ said Gimelstob. “The more balls, the more running, the bigger advantage he has.’’

But while Nadal's game isn't tailor-made for hard courts, it isn't for grass either, although Spadea argues that on grass Nadal could count on getting a few more free points on his serve. Nadal has also been to the hard court summit, in a sense, having beaten Federer earlier this year in the final of a hard court tournament in Dubai.

At the start of the tournament, Gimelstob had picked Nadal to reach the semis here and to then lose to Andy Roddick. But he concedes that, if he was proven wrong on Nadal, it wouldn’t be the first time, just this year.

"When Nadal beat Federer in Dubai, that was surprising to me," said Gimelstob. "And that he played so close to Federer at Wimbledon was a surprise to me. I would have thought Federer would have pulled away from Nadal on every surface but clay, but so far I’ve been proven wrong."

Nadal seems to be able to rise to the occasion in Grand Slams, where his preternatural toughness, both mentally and physically, turns into an even bigger weapon.

"First of all, he’s a physical specimen," said Gimelstob. "And he competes like a mad-man."

"He’s a mental monster and a physical monster," said Spadea.

While Federer and Roddick remain the tournament favorites at the moment, ESPN commentator and former US Open semifinalist Jimmy Arias feels Nadal's chances rest with Nadal himself, and the style of game he chooses to play here.

"If he’s hitting through the ball, and not over-topping, Nadal can win on anything," said Arias. "But if he’s hitting with too much spin, and the ball is landing at the service line, he won't win here. He can get away with that big, short-landing topspin on clay, because he can run down so many balls. But here, guys that can bang the ball, like Roddick and Blake, will take advantage of those short balls and eat him up."

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/articles/2006-09-05/200609051157505686484.html

mallorn
09-06-2006, 09:23 AM
Rafa plays last on LA today:

Armstrong 11:00 AM

1. Men's Singles - 4th Rnd.
Andy Murray (GBR)[17]
vs. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)[7]
To Finish 6-1 5-7 6-3
Not Before 12:00 NOON
2. Women's Singles - Qtr. Finals
Amelie Mauresmo (FRA)[1]
vs. Dinara Safina (RUS)[12]

followed by
3. Men's Singles - 4th Rnd.
Roger Federer (SUI)[1]
vs. Marc Gicquel (FRA)
4. Men's Singles - Qtr. Finals
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)
vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

MariaV
09-06-2006, 09:58 AM
Hi Ania! :wavey: I hope they get to play tonight. :)
Hopefully the ankle is OK.

MariaV
09-06-2006, 09:06 PM
I cannot watch this horror from Rafael any more. I am going to sleep. :zzz:

Edit: Misha is absolutely nuts of course. :eek: :scared: :unsure:

Weebl
09-06-2006, 09:19 PM
Ooo I can't sleep now
I'll be so curious I keep turning the tv on..
3-6 6-5 now..:scared:

mallorn
09-06-2006, 09:27 PM
It's a nightmare! http://img2.menstennisforums.com/793/icon_gaah.gif

I can't believe how bad Rafa's played so far. :eek: Of course it's not helping that Youzhny is playing a fantastic match.

mallorn
09-06-2006, 10:30 PM
And the nightmare continues - Rafa had three set points on Youzhny's serve and couldn't convert and then lost the first set point on his own serve in the TB. http://img2.menstennisforums.com/793/icon_gaah.gif

Johnny Groove
09-06-2006, 10:45 PM
Rafa :sobbing:

But its not over till Mirka sings :devil:

mallorn
09-06-2006, 11:08 PM
^^^ :lol:

What can I say...Misha played a fantastic match, he never slowed down. Rafa had a great chance to win the third set and he blew it, and after that he always seemed out of sorts. :sad:

texasgirl
09-06-2006, 11:16 PM
I'm glad he lost. He did not deserve to advance with the play I saw from him in this tournament. I saw negative "little signs" all year long even on clay. It's all coming to light. The players are onto his game and unfortunately he is not making enough adjustments. Youhzny played very, very well but not "out of this world" which I'm sure people will say to comfort themselves. Rafa's game is in trouble. He's just not good enough, I'm sad to say. Please, Rafa get a good hard court coach (in addition to Toni) before it's too late. It's time to grow up and get out of that comfort zone. That's my big recommendation among many.

mallorn
09-06-2006, 11:26 PM
^^^ Texasgirl, I'm also upset, but come on, Misha did play incredible tennis today.

Please check your PM (about sth else).

texasgirl
09-06-2006, 11:33 PM
Yes, he played very well I'm not saying he didn't. But you had to see Rafa was still playing the same defensive tennis. His opponent dictates the play and he is running around all the time. It reminds me of Ferrerro. Everyone is saying how amazing he played but Roddick handled him easily and he went out in the second round at the US Open. Although, I agree Youhzny played a lot of better than Ferrero. I'm not even upset just sad for him but like I said I think Rafa is in big trouble.

mallorn
09-06-2006, 11:41 PM
I agree, Rafa didn't have a chance playing defensive tennis like that. I kept screaming for Rafa to be more aggressive and positive. But he did play better in the middle of the third set and had setpoints - and when he missed them the belief seemed to go and he was even more defensive. Plus, we need to remember that Rafa was so defensive because Misha kept attacking, very successfully, often even from defensive positions. And as Rafa's confidence went down, Misha's went up and by the end he could hardly miss a shot. :shrug:

Rafa took a step back compared to Wimbledon but I'm hoping it's temporary. He knows what he needs to do on hardcourts, now he needs to work on executing it better.

texasgirl
09-06-2006, 11:56 PM
I wish I could be more optimistic but I think I have good insticts. I'm not seeing a very nice picture. If things continue on as they are, Rafa will start to drop in the rankings next year. Wait and see.