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First, a confession: When Fed pulled out of this tournament, I claimed that Rafa and Novak would withdraw or feign injury. I was wrong, so hands up about that.

However, it's now clear that Rafa should have withdrawn.

There's a fundamental problem with the complicated team format, in that it can force players to overplay even when they're not in form.

Before a GS, having control over how much you play is important. If you play a regular tournament (or a half-hearted exho like the Hopman Cup), you have that control. If you're not in form, you get beaten, and that's the end of it: you go back to training and maybe squeeze in another tournament. What doesn't happen is that you get beaten by a lower-ranked player and then have to play the next two days, ultimately against an opponent you fear, just because your team-mates do well in their matches.

Here's what the ATP Cup has cost Rafa:

a) He lost two singles matches.
b) He played a lot, but still lost ranking points relative to Novak.
c) From a patriotism perspective, losing the singles and then claiming to be too tired for the doubles, while understandable, is a bad look for someone who was so highly lauded for leading Spain to victory in the Davis Cup. The contrast to Djokovic in this respect is particularly sharp,
d) The H2H has swung further in Novak's direction.
e) He looked 2nd best today by a long way, which will have eroded his confidence.
f) The two matches against Goffin and De Minaur showed other players a clear and replicable gameplan to trouble Rafa in these conditions.
g) He travelled lots and presumably slept little.
h) He was rattled and moaned a lot. Grousing about the Serbian fans comes across as thin-skinned and petty.

So, at a time of the season when he should have been controlling his environment as carefully as his water bottles, he got sucked into a dispiriting experience.

A bad move all round, then. And a cautionary tale for other top players when considering whether to play this tournament in future.
 

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Rafa's not winning the 2020 AO anyway because of Djokovic and Rogie... He has to hope they're in the same half away from him AND both don't make the SF, so in the F if Rafa say makes it past Medvedev or so in the SF, his F opponent would NOT be Djokovic or Rogie!!
 

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Meh, two or three days of rest, and Rafa will be fine for AO. Playing with tiredness is a part and parcel of a professional tennis player. If anything, losses to Goffin and Djokovic will be a good assessment of where he stands at the moment and to improve on the aspects of the game he is lacking or lagging in the next few days ahead of AO.
 

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Meh, two or three days of rest, and Rafa will be fine for AO. Playing with tiredness is a part and parcel of a professional tennis player. If anything, losses to Goffin and Djokovic will be a good assessment of where he stands at the moment and to improve on the aspects of the game he is lacking or lagging in the next few days ahead of AO.
People always underestim what Revenge Thirst can make you achieve.

I would have said Djokovic is full of confidence because of this week and a favourite BUT I heard him telling Courier "afterwards we won DC, our careers had a major improvement" as if he expected it will repeat.
Unfortunately for him, you cannot wait this like a reward, and he can pay this attitude.
Hopefully Bo5 is a format when you can react if you have entered a match head full of your previous trophies....
 

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I love this cup.

Its a superior DC.

Rafa could have done everything the way he did, but skip the final. He was in no condition to play and wouldnt have taken a needless loss.

Much of what you say its true. Rafa lacks feel for that, IMO. Laver Cup 2018 and 19 was pretty questionable also.

But right now he is on a great run of health. I think he just wants to make the most if it.
 
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Meh, two or three days of rest, and Rafa will be fine for AO. Playing with tiredness is a part and parcel of a professional tennis player. If anything, losses to Goffin and Djokovic will be a good assessment of where he stands at the moment and to improve on the aspects of the game he is lacking or lagging in the next few days ahead of AO.
Except, these losses are no indicator of game but overplaying. He was perfectly fine without them, before.
 
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Had he done what some predicted here, that is avoid Nole and play Doubles all hell would break loose in this forum.
Rafa isnt a coward. If he missed or lost a round before playing Nole or Federer the reason is rather simple. He couldnt play on that day. Doesnt matter if he has a winning streak or lossing strea.

The other thing Op talked about was Patriotism. Clearly you have none of that so how could you grasp at that word.
Federer isnt also. Guy was born 1 one place and grew up in another and live mostly in Dubai. Go figure.

Rafa was born and raised and married in Manacor. Thats Patriotism.

Was Federer smarted and avoided ATP Cup. Sure. He is older and needs to protect his body.
 

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People always underestim what Revenge Thirst can make you achieve.

I would have said Djokovic is full of confidence because of this week and a favourite BUT I heard him telling Courier "afterwards we won DC, our careers had a major improvement" as if he expected it will repeat.
Unfortunately for him, you cannot wait this like a reward, and he can pay this attitude.
Hopefully Bo5 is a format when you can react if you have entered a match head full of your previous trophies....
But Nadal is no1 player and he beat a lot of guys last year after close matches who seek revenge: for example Medvedev, Tsitsipas.
It's most probably task no1 for them as they beat Nole quite recently.
They will be motivated for 500% if they meet Nadal again in AO.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
The other thing Op talked about was Patriotism. Clearly you have none of that so how could you grasp at that word.
Federer isnt also. Guy was born 1 one place and grew up in another and live mostly in Dubai. Go figure.
How dare you.

I'll have you know that, as we speak, I'm dressed from head to toe in green, sitting in a bowl of shamrocks, drinking a pint of Guinness and a whiskey chaser, and playing I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen on the tin whistle.
 

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But Nadal is no1 player and he beat a lot of guys last year after close matches who seek revenge: for example Medvedev, Tsitsipas.
It's most probably task no1 for them as they beat Nole quite recently.
They will be motivated for 500% if they meet Nadal again in AO.
Well,

Mubadala and ATP Cup have shown that unfortunately for them, young guns are not able to defeat fresh Rafa and fresh Djokovic in Bo3.

I am afraid it will be even worse for them in Bo5.

They could have looked magnificent in 2019 latest stage but do not forget Nole and Rafa were 80% having given their energy to won 4 Slams.

I am far more confident in Rafole after what I have seen in Abu Dhabi Brisbane and Sydney.
 

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It's the millionth time I see here a statement that "he will be tired". Seriously....even if he had run three triathlons - he should be fresh like a daisy after 2-3 days.

And I don't think Rafa gives an F if the H2H is 26-28 or 26-29, what's the difference ?

I think that this tournament only raised some questions over his form, but he has the time to give the answers - it is still one week left and in the first week he won't be playing Djokovic, de Minaur or Goffin, but rather Sonego, Thompson and Paire. Don't overdramatize.......
 

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Rafa likely makes the QF at worst and the F at best, likely the SF IMO where he'll lose to Rogie if in the same half, else make the F if Rogie and Djokovic are on the other side of the draw!!
 

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Meh, two or three days of rest, and Rafa will be fine for AO. Playing with tiredness is a part and parcel of a professional tennis player. If anything, losses to Goffin and Djokovic will be a good assessment of where he stands at the moment and to improve on the aspects of the game he is lacking or lagging in the next few days ahead of AO.
Improve on what? dull has lost 19 consecutive sets to DJ on HC. I don't know if there's a player who is owned so badly let alone someone with 19 slams.

The issue is not dull, the issue is with dulltards who cant deal with simple facts and the fact is DJ is superior to dull on HC. End of.
 

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Rafa DID have control over his environment. He could have pulled out of some singles ties and had RBA (who was in good form) take them instead, while PCB took the other singles matches. He didn't.
 

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Rare case where I disagree with OP.

Rafa simply is not fazed by these losses. He has had embarrassing losses throughout his career, to Federer, Djokovic, DelPo, Ferrer, Tsonga, Berdych, Fognini but has always brushed them off.
Lot of players have troubled Rafa in matches, especially outside clay, but very few have been able to pull off upsets.
He looked so-so in the build up to AO 2019, but he easily made the finals bageling Berdych and Tsitsipas along the way.
 
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How dare you.

I'll have you know that, as we speak, I'm dressed from head to toe in green, sitting in a bowl of shamrocks, drinking a pint of Guinness and a whiskey chaser, and playing I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen on the tin whistle.
I’ll be in Dublin for business in a couple weeks. Should we have a Guinness while I’m there and watch some of the Aussie?
 

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Improve on what? dull has lost 19 consecutive sets to DJ on HC. I don't know if there's a player who is owned so badly let alone someone with 19 slams.

The issue is not dull, the issue is with dulltards who cant deal with simple facts and the fact is DJ is superior to dull on HC. End of.

... Nadal is 1 set away from being Djokovic's 'Hardcourt Ostrich'... LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I’ll be in Dublin for business in a couple weeks. Should we have a Guinness while I’m there and watch some of the Aussie?
Cheers, I've too many family commitments to take a trip to the big smoke (I live 100+ miles away), but I wish you a nice stay. I hope your meetings don't get in the way of the tennis!
 

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a) He lost two singles matches
Rafa won 4 matches, a lot better than skipping the event.

b) He played a lot, but still lost ranking points relative to Novak
If Rafa skipped the event it would have been even worse.
And it made no difference, as Novak is still well and truly #2.


c) From a patriotism perspective, losing the singles and then claiming to be too tired for the doubles, while understandable, is a bad look for someone who was so highly lauded for leading Spain to victory in the Davis Cup. The contrast to Djokovic in this respect is particularly sharp.
Its a good look, because it makes Djokovic look pathetic for almost losing the 2nd Set to an exhausted player.
Rafa now knows he can beat Djokovic in the AO Final.
Rafa had 5 break points in one game, meaning Djokovic was on the brink of losing that set, and Djokovic only won the tiebreaker because his shot hit the net and bounced over Rafa's head (Rafa was up a mini-break when Djokovic got lucky).


d) The H2H has swung further in Novak's direction.
Rafa still leads 9-6 in the Slam H2H, and that is why Rafa has 19 slams while Djokovic is stuck on 16 with no indication that Djokovic will even bridge the gap in future....
And nobody counts the overall H2H because Djokovic leads Federer, and we know Djokovic is trailer trash compared to Federer (and that's certainly how the media sees it).


e) He looked 2nd best today by a long way, which will have eroded his confidence.
Rafa looked better than Djokovic in the 2nd Set, despite being exhausted enough to withdraw from the doubles.
Djokovic won the match (a meaningless match when compared to the AO) but lost the narrative.


f) The two matches against Goffin and De Minaur showed other players a clear and replicable gameplan to trouble Rafa in these conditions.
It shows the out-of-form and lethargic Rafa can still breadstick De Minaur, a horrible sign for De Minaur's future.
Goffin we already knew could beat Rafa, so what did we learn?


g) He travelled lots and presumably slept little.
Now you're getting desperate.

h) He was rattled and moaned a lot. Grousing about the Serbian fans comes across as thin-skinned and petty.
Then what are you? This thread is the definition of petty, and Rafa won the Sportsmanship Award, so nobody is more respected.
Djokovic was more violent than ever in the Medvedev match, the reason why he'll never win the Sportsmanship Award.
 
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